The hotMaMa Diaries Blog - Breastfeeding blog and parenting blog

Breastfeeding and parenting blog

Everyone has a different experience of parenting and motherhood and there is no right or wrong path. The hotMaMa diaries is a place to read stories from other mothers and even share your own!

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Category: General Parenting

  1. To cloth or not to cloth?

    Posted on

    Cloth nappies, cloth nappies pros and cons, cloth nappy blog

    Cloth nappies have had quite the overhaul in recent years: Raggedy fabrics and safety pins are out and beautiful prints with modern fastenings are in! Using cloth nappies needn't be a complete swap from disposables either as many people use a combination of cloth and disposable nappies and find that part time cloth is what works for them. Still thinking about using cloth nappies? Here are some of the pros and cons and figure out if they’re the right fit for your family.


    The Environment
    They’re reusable meaning a huge reduction in nappies going to landfill where it's estimated they can take anywhere between 250 and 500 years to decompose.  Even just replacing one disposable nappy per day will save on average of 700 nappies going to landfill per child.  Other environmental benefits will depend on how many cloth nappies you choose to buy and where they are manufactured to determine the full environmental benefit eg buying second hand is a lot more environmentally friendly than buying new. But on the whole even factoring in manufacture and washing costs cloth nappies are considered much more environmentally friendly than disposables.

    Avoids Chemicals
    Disposable nappies contain chemicals which many mums prefer to avoid and can irritate a baby's bottom.

    It's estimated that the cost of using disposable nappies varies from £210-£450 per year depending on brand and number of changes per day. As most children don’t potty train until at least 2 years old the cost of disposables really adds up. Cloth nappy costs also depend on the type of nappy you choose and the brand. Although it can be considered expensive to start, the savings over two years can be anywhere between £80-£700. Plus cloth nappies can be used for more than one child so if you reuse your cloth nappy stash with future babies it won't cost you any more other than washing costs.  Cloth nappies also hold their value incredibly well for reselling after you've finished so many people make a good chunk of their initial investment back at the end of their cloth nappy journey.

    Never running out!
    Ok, so you may run out of clean cloth nappies if you're not on top of your washing but switching to cloth should mean mo more panicked trips to collect emergency nappies and no more nappies taking up valuable space in your shopping trolley.

    Potential for easier and earlier potty training
    Cloth diapers are thought to promote early potty training because your baby can actually feel the wetness against their skin. Disposables are so good at whickimg moisture away from baby that children can take longer to realise when they're going for a wee thus often making potty training a little harder. 

    Solid waste gets flushed down the toilet
    Breastfed poos can be washed out in the washing machine and post weaning poos can be emptied into the loo and flushed immediately. So no more poos sitting in your bin and festering on those hot summer days!

    Less nappy rash
    Cloth nappies are made of natural breathable fibers which allow air to circulate around baby's bottom therefore reducing the likelihood of nappy rash.

    They look beautiful!
    There really is a whole world of beautiful cloth nappies available for your little one. From colourful prints to solid colours there really is something for everyone!


    High upfront cost
    You'll pay for most of your nappies early on in your baby's life rather than spreading the cost through their whole nappy journey as you would with disposables so you will have to pay out more in the beginnning.  

    They need to be clean and dry for you to use so you need to be a bit more organised to ensure you have them ready for your little one.  Plus if you run out when out and about you can't always find them in shops as readily as you would disposables.

    It can take time to find the right fit for your child and the right style that works for your lifestyle, although this is often also the case when using disposables.  You will probably want to research the different types available and experiment with a few different brands before investing too heavily in one brand or style.  Local nappy librarys can help a great deal with this but can be dependent on the area you live in.

    Extra washing
    Most people wash their nappies every 2-3 days to ensure they have fresh nappies available which does mean extra loads in the washing machine which can be more challenging especially if you're reliant on a laundromat rather than having your own machine or struggle for space for things to dry in colder months.

    Greater chance of leaks
    Cloth nappies aren’t as absorbent as their disposable counterparts, making them more prone to leaks. You’ll have to make sure you have the right kind and number of insert(s) to accommodate your wetter. You’ll also need to make sure you have a proper fit, with no gaps around your baby’s legs or very soon you could be spotting wet patches on your little one.

    You have to clean poo off them
    Yes, cloth nappies require you clean the poo off of them before washing if your baby has been weaned onto solids so theyre not for the very squeemish or poo averse. (Realistically though many mums become quite desensitised to poo after having a baby and don't find this a huge drawback!)

    They can look more bulky
    Cloth nappies tend to be bigger so you might find certain styles of clothes (such as skinny jeans) more challenging to wear.

    Spriraling costs
    With all the beautiful prints available like anything some people can become addicted to buying the newest print or style to match to baby's wardrobe or for special occasions. This can mean you end up spending much more than you really need to. 


  2. Top photos to take of your baby during their first year

    Posted on

    Sometimes it's hard to believe but those early days really do slip by quickly, we've compiled a quick list of must-take photos you'll want to take before your bundle isn't so little anymore.

    In hospital:
    Mum with baby
    Dad with baby
    Mum and dad with baby
    Baby's hospital band
    In the hospital cot
    Meeting siblings for the first time
    Leaving the hospital

    Meeting other relatives eg siblings
    Close up of hands
    Close up of feet
    Sleeping soundly
    First bath
    First trip out of the house

    New baby photos, newborn baby blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, mummy blog, nursing clothing, nursing clothes, nursing tops, nursing top, nursing dress, nursing dresses, nursing wear, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding clothing, breastfeeding top, breastfeeding tops, breastfeeding sweater, breastfeeding jumpers, breastfeeding friendly clothes

    Family photos with extended family members
    With pets
    First smiles
    First tastes of foods
    Rolling over
    Sitting up
    Looking at books

    Month by month age photos eg: One month old, Two months old etc

    First christmas
    First trip to the beach
    First halloween

    New baby photos 2, New baby photos, newborn baby blog, breastfeeding blog, parenting blog, mummy blog, nursing clothing, nursing clothes, nursing tops, nursing top, nursing dress, nursing dresses, nursing wear, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding clothing, breastfeeding top, breastfeeding tops, breastfeeding sweater, breastfeeding jumpers, breastfeeding friendly clothes

  3. How it was different second time around

    Posted on

    I remember asking a lot of mum friends how it was having two when I still just had the one.  It was clear everyone has a different experience with their second child. A big factor that came in to play was the age gap between babies but regardless there were still lots of similarities with what people said, things I can now identify with having two myself with a two year age gap.

    Everything was unknown first time round
    First time round everything was new to us as parents. Each week or month it felt like there was a new milestone or development we needed to be supporting our child with and each seemed to require hours of Google research before we could make a decision on how to tackle it. I felt like I was always worrying if I was doing the right thing. Second time round you have the benefit of experience and hindsight, you know what works for you and your family whether it be sleep routines, weaning or simple logistics of the best way to get from A to B.  It's a good feeling to finally realise just how much you have learnt from your first child.

    Looking after one baby was a full time job, everything was carefully scheduled around naps, mealtimes and bedtime. When I had my second it was very different as number 2 just had to slot in around my first's routine and actually that worked fine, especially in the early days when you really appreciate just how much they sleep to begin with! Yes it's hectic with two, there were certainly times when I looked back and wondered what on earth I was doing all day with just one especially when I hit that magical period with one child who always took a two hour afternoon nap - those were the glory days!  Also with two I really learnt how to juggle lots of plates at once, whether it be entertaining a toddler while breastfeeding, keeping two entertained in the supermarket trolley or pottytraining one while dealing with a newborn.  Multitasking became second nature and baby wearing was a total lifesaver to free up my hands!

    First time around we bought clothes as and when we needed them and carefully washed and stored them when they had been grown out of.  Second time round we seem to have endless stashes of clothes in various sizes: Things for child 1 to grow in to, things  child 1 wears, things child 1 has grown out of but are still too big for child 2, things for child 2, plus all of the things child 2 has grown out of that you can't bear to part with or are saving just incase you have a third.  Every spare cupboard or drawer is crammed full with clothing that doesn't currently fit either of your children but cannot possibly be parted with at the moment.  

    First time around I had photos that probably captured every single day of my baby's first year thanks to the convenience of camera phones. Second baby has significantly less photos.  I suppose I can't spend hours snuggling and photographing my little one while they nap so I have a lot less 'sleeping' baby photos but also the speed of daily life means I just don't mange to take nearly as many as I'd like.

    Sibling love
    Sibling love is amazing.  I worried they wouldn't bond or that number 1 would feel left out when number 2 arrived.  I know every family is different but we've been really lucky, watching their little bond grow each day has been one of my favourite parts of parenting and makes the madness all worth it.



  4. What I wish I'd known first time around

    Posted on

    What I wish Id known first time around

    If I could turn back time and talk to my pre-baby self, what would I want to tell her?


    I almost obsessed with birth during my first baby. Reading about childbirth, talking about birthplans, practising breathing for labour and worrying if I would cope with the pain. I almost forgot I would actually have a tiny human to raise at the end of it.  By the time I was home from the hospital the actual birth seemed a world away. While nothing really prepares you for actually becoming a mother, it was then that I realised how little I knew about looking after a baby. In reality with childbirth you have very limited control over when or how baby will arrive so I wish I had spent just a tad more time thinking about parenting rather than birthing. 


    You will sleep for more than three consecutive  hours again. 
    You will get back to a routine where day and night are different. 
    You will function as a normal adult human again. 
    You will reclaim some much craved adult time. You will feel like you again. 
    You will wear clothes that arnt marked with baby milk/baby poo/your own lunch. 

    This phase you're in right now is tough, but it will get easier.


    For me, the newborn please was really hard, but the bigger they get the more you will get back from them. Don't get me wrong parenting is still the most thankless role you will ever have  undertake but when those first few smiles and giggles start to come it really does make it all worthwhile. 



    Endless googling of 'When do babies sleep through the night' will not make your baby sleep through the night any quicker. In fact, reading stories about babies who slept through the night from 3 weeks/3 months old only serves to make you feel worse when your baby is nowhere near to doing so. Every baby is different but they will eventually start sleeping a little longer between night feeds and even this will make a huge difference and then eventually they will sleep through the night. 


    For me, from the moment that I became pregnant, part of me was already a parent.  I felt my baby move inside me and formed a magical bond that existed between us even before they were born.  In contrast my husband said he only became a parent when our first was born and that bond between parent and child can take much longer to develop for them.  In the early days I was baby's only source of food and much of their comfort which often made it harder for him to find a way to be useful. Dads are often back to work for long hours and as baby routines can change from one day to the next dads can feel like they're always playing catchup. It doesn't mean that they don't want to be as involved, just that they're finding their feet with their role as parents too and sometimes this can take a little longer. 


    At times this can be incredibly overwhelming and frustating.  Some of it's good, some of it's bad and some if it's downright ridiculous.  Everyone seems to have an opinion on how babies should eat/sleep/be held/entertained.  If it's not advice that's right for you then you don't have to follow it, but every now and then someone will pass on a golden nugget of information that's totally magic for your child and you would be lost without. 


    Parenting can be really lonely in the beginning.  So get out there to your local baby group and meet some other mums. You might not like the first one you go to but persevere with different ones. You will be opened up to a whole new social circle of other parents going through the exact same things as you and that can be a lifeline for you in this new stage of your life.


    ...and not one where you're you know what time it is from what daytime TV your watching.  
    Perhaps not everyone needs this but it really helped me. I went straight from work to having a baby with no maternity time wind down. I found it really hard to adjust to the change of pace from the hectic jam packed schedule of a workday to the completely different pace of this 24h job of parenting where at times I felt like I was living some crazy groundhog day.  Don't get me wrong I still watched a lot of boxsets in the newborn days but getting my own routine being showered and dresses (even in the early days if I wasn't going to leave the house) helped me start to feel human again. 


    Easier said than done if you've had a winter baby but a bit of fresh air really does make you feel so much better, and it doesn't have to be for long. Plus a gentle walk is great for healing post birth. 

  5. Why being a Mum doesn't need to define you!

    Posted on

    I get so many comments usually from the older generations such as my grandparents and their friends about my life, I think they forget it is mine to live and I understand they may mean well however I wish they would understand it is my life. Now I have 4 children with a range of ages as that is just how life happened so I have a 10, 8, 6 and 20 month old. They are fabulous kids and I love them to bits however being a mum is not the only thing I am. I am also a wife and I make time for my husband, we have monthly, sometimes even fortnight dates if we can get babysitters and we have something to do or go see. It doesn't have to be a long date or anything brilliant just a game of bowling or a cinema show where we just go out as a couple with no kids and we chat to each other, we kiss, hold hands and just enjoy each others company. Now we have been married nearly 2 years so probably in the honeymoon stage still but I love that we make time for each other and the reason we do is just that when the children grow older and then leave home, what if you don't like the person you have spent the last 18 years living with? What if you have nothing in common or don't really talk to know each other. Even if you can't go out because you don't have a babysitter just put the kids to bed or in different rooms and enjoy just a meal together or have a nice massage with each other, play a board game or just have a drink and a dance in the living room but spend the time on your relationship. 

    Work - My grandma hates me working for some reason. She loves and is so proud that I completed University while having 4 kids at home but then when I am in employment she feels I should be at home with the children, like I should feel guilty for being a working mum and I do see this from both sides however I work part time so my older kids know which days I am home. I am around to take them to their classes, I try and move my shifts and days to accommodate when they are on Celebration chairs or when they have plays at school so I can get involved however they know there will be times I cannot attend these things and having a good chat with the kids about work is helpful, explaining to them it doesn't mean you don't love them but you go to work because you need the money to provide opportunities, to pay for extra classes, their hobbies, their birthday parties or even just for rent or a mortgage. I work because I enjoy it, because it gives me a break from the kids and because I have worked hard to learn things that I want to put to good use, I don't have time for an 18 year career break and why should I have to when I can work part time and still be at home some days to get the cleaning done and catch up on the mountains of washing we go through as a family of 6. I won't feel guilty for trying to provide a better live and nicer holidays for my kids and my truth is explaining to them more about money so they understand how work and money goes hand in hand so they are more knowledgeable when they grow up and so they understand more about why I am not their sometimes. I grew up where my dad worked 60-70 hours a week, we had great Christmas and Birthday presents but we hardly ever saw my dad. Him and my mum just did things separately on weekends and they divorced when I was 11 so this is why I like my husband to do his 40 hours and then we are hope to be as a family getting this quality time together. 
    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding tops
    Friends - I feel like I have never really had a lot of friends, I have had acquaintances and don't get me wrong I have tried to make friends but I find it quite an effort sometimes so the people I have as friends are usually just those I can be myself around and even though I don't have many of them - Probably 3 good friends if I am honest and we don't see each other all that much I know that when we get together we can say and do anything and we will just get each other, everything is easy from choosing where to go, what activity to do and we all just get on with it and have a laugh doing it so essentially we arrange meet ups probably twice a year or more if there are some local strippers on as that is guaranteed to get other acquaintances out as sometimes it is really difficult to get mummy friends out - They almost hibernate all year round and may come out once in the summer, which is fine but I need my friend time sometimes, time to get drunk, dance, party and just have a laugh and a moan about the men in our lives, or the kid dramas we have. 
    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding tops
    Hobbies - Now I have never been one for too many hobbies. My parents never really pushed me to try any clubs or activities. I was good at Netball and always picked first because I was tall. I did swimming classes and got my lifesaver award but that was as far as I wanted to take it. I was a good academic child, I learnt and had a passion for reading and wanting to better myself. I enjoyed learning and finance and business and as I grew older I had an interest in property. My hobbies when I was a teen involved a lot of karaoke and drinking and relaxing with friends shopping and attending the cinema. When I became a mum I didn't have time for hobbies, I tried a local line dancing class and then a Zumba class, I tried the gym, cycling, home exercise, a dance class and even kick boxing and circuit classes but none I ever stuck to. I just don't have the motivation for those sorts of things. Which is why I am glad I re-found Netball quite recently. I haven't played for around 14 years however it was great to be put in a team and now if I don't go I will feel like I am letting my team down, we play weekly matches every week and we have noticed we are getting a lot stronger. I think I have finally found the hobby for me. 
    So you see a Mum isn't the only thing I am, and I don't want to feel guilty for having other interests and letting my hair down once in a while because I am still Gemma, a wife, a daughter, a netball league team player, an employee and also a girlfriend to my friends - And as much as I love my children the fact I have other interests is great as well as they see me supporting them financially, they gain a good work ethic and hopefully interests in sports will inspire the to stick to their hobbies and develop those. 
    Written by Gem at
  6. Sleeping soundly at night because i have worthless nipples!

    Posted on

    dec 1

    This meme that Clare sent me on Facebook made me laugh so hard, for a few reasons.

    Firstly, because im actually 7 years old and i laugh at very simple things, and secondly because its so true. 

    I find that at this moment in my life with Sofia (Our 2 week old baby girl) im quite lucky, and why you may ask? well the answer is simple, boobs! Clare is breastfeeding Sofia so this means that i dont have to get up during the night and do the dreaded bottle feeding! 

    its not to say that i havent been up once or twice with a bottle of breastmilk, but Sofia just refuses to take the bottle full stop.

    Memes and more sleep aside, this made me sit down and think about breastfeeding in a little more depth. 

    We have flirted with breastfeeding our two boys before but them simply refused and preferred the formula, but this led to reflux, baby vomit, and trapped wind and so on, things that were just awful, and especially when its your first child, can be stressful.

    But this time, its different, its more relaxed, theres no vomit, theres no reflux, theres no standing in the kitchen making bottles at 3am and coating my arm with milk to make sure the temperature is right! 

    Sofia is calm, she lets out one or two small cries to indicate she is hungry, she feeds until she is full and content. She is getting more nutrients than she could ever possibly get from formula AND ITS NATURAL!

    Clare and I talked about breastfeeding all during this pregnancy and i fully support it, but initially, i was feeling weird, its almost like a stigma than some men have! but being fully on board with it, i do envy how close Clare and Sofia have become because of this, an important thing in the early weeks of both of their lives!

    But here in the UK there seems to be an issue surrounding public breastfeeding, and even social experiments have been carried out to highlight the issue! I even seen a facebook video where a lady feeding her baby was subjected to verbal abuse from two men, and another fella stood up for her and physically man handled the two abusers from the train at the next stop, unfortunately they got the guy arrested for assault i believe, but this was subsequently quashed in court.

    In an instance God forbid this happened to Clare i would certainly stand up for her, and if i wasnt there i would certainly hope someone else would step up.

    and ive taken some benefits from the NHS website which i have the link for you to look at:

    So guys, if your partner is or wants to breastfeed, be supportive, be strong and help her! if she wants to change to formula, be assertive that she is doing a wonderful job, and encourage her to continue without being forceful! 

    Breast is Best!

    dec 2

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