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. Breastfeeding - Why is it so awesome?

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    Breastfeeding is bloody hard work(Did you know that on average, one year of breastfeeding equates to around of1,800 hours feeding time. Let's compare that to a 40-hour work week with holiday which comes in at 1,960 hours and we can see that breastfeeding alone is equivalent to a full time job and that's before we even begin to add in any other parenting responsibilities)But breastfeeding can have some amazing benefits for both mum and baby. 

    Nourishment 

    Breast milk is the perfect meal to meet your newborn baby's nutritional needsBreast milk is packed with essential nutrients, antibodies, and enzymes that aid in the baby's growth and development. It is easily digestible, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal issues and allergies The NHS recommends giving nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months (26 weeks) of your baby's life.  After that, you continue breastfeeding but also introduce solid foodsThe amazing thing here is that your breast milk will adapt as your baby grows to meet your baby's changing needs.  Breastfeeding has also been linked to lower rates of childhood obesity, infections, and chronic diseases later in life.  

    The bond 

    Breastfeeding also fosters a strong emotional bond between the mother and child, promoting feelings of security and closeness .For mothers, breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, and can facilitate emotional well-being.    

     

    However, many mothers face challenges when it comes to breastfeeding, which is why breastfeeding support is crucial. Support groups, lactation consultants, and education about breastfeeding techniques can help mothers overcome obstacles and ensure successful breastfeeding experiences for both mother and child. 

    Fast food 

    Breastmilk really is the perfect fast food.  As long as you are with your child they will always have a ready supply of food whenever your baby is ready to eat.  Breast milk is always fresh and exactly the right temperature. It is ready for your baby whenever they are ready to eat. You do not have to heat it, boil water or sterilize bottles and many mums find this makes feeding so much easier! 

    Environmental wins 

    Yep, you guessed it as breast milk is completely packaging free and doesn't require energy for sterilizing bottles it's a great option for the environment too. 

    Budget friendly 

    Not having to purchase bottles, milk or sterilizers means onless thing to buy for a new baby. (Sure there are other costs to breastfeeding, like the time commitment for mum to feel and I’m passionate that this isn’t overlooked as simply free work from mum!) But when it comes to your weekly shopping bills breastfeeding can be a cheaper option. 

     

     

  2. 5 signs of burnout from motherhood

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    Burnout is not just something that be associated with your career, it can happen to any part of your life and it's also possible to feel burnt out from motherhood.  Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress and can affect anyone.  Burnout can impact your mental health and lead to depression, anxiety disorders and other serious conditions.  It is unfortunately incredibly common in teachers, but how do you tell if you're experiencing it?  Here are five ways to tell if you might be experiencing burnout:

    1. Chronic Fatigue

    Beyond the tiredness of night feeds do you struggle getting out of bed in the morning? Chronic fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of burnout. It's not just about feeling sleepy; it's more like an overwhelming sense of exhaustion that doesn't go away even with rest.    If your fatigue seems unrelated to any underlying medical condition like sleep apnea or chronic fatigue syndrome and has been ongoing for weeks or months despite sleeping well each night then it may be related with burnout and it might be worth talking to your GP.

    2. Lack Of Motivation

    Do things that once excited you now seem tedious? Have tasks become mundane even when they were previously interesting? A lack of motivation is another sign that could indicate an individual is experiencing burnouts.There are moments where we lose interest in activities we once enjoyed due various reasons but if this continues over time then something serious than mere boredom should be considered as a possibility.

    3. Difficulty Concentrating

    Burnouts can disturb cognitive functions which leads us find concentration challenging.Even simple tasks require more effort,distractibility increases resulting in difficulty focusing on work.This often leads decreased productivity which further aggravates our mood.The brain finds itself unable comprehend information at the same pace as before which leads to frustration and agitation.

    4. Mood Swings

    Burnouts affect our behavior patterns leading us to have mood swings.We may find ourselves becoming more irritable,angry and anxious even when the situation does not warrant it.There are also instances of feeling down or depressed due to a lack of interest in daily activities that once brought joy leading us down a path of negativity.

    5. Feeling Detached

    Over time, burnout can lead individuals become detached.  This means that they feel disconnected from projects they once enjoyed or relatioships with which they previously valued and this can lead to feelings of isolation.

    The Bottom Line

    If you're noticing any combination of these symptoms,it could be time take a step back and assess your mental health.Taking breaks, self-care routines such as exercise, meditation or therapy can help turn around the effects caused by burnout.  A healthy body needs both physical and mental well-being so if you suspect something isn't right seek assistance immediately.Speak with family, friends, your partner or a professional who will support on this journey towards betterment .Don't let burnout rob you of your life x

     

  3. Newborn milestones

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    While milestones can be a useful guide for what to expect during the first year, every baby is completely different so they're not an exhaustive list of what "should" be happening for your baby at specific times. They can be helpful to know roughly what to expect and when and remember you can always chat to your health visitor, childrens' center or GP if you're concerned.  Milestones often take the form of physical milestones as well as cognitive and social milestones.

    1 Month:
    - Responds to sound
    - Can briefly lift head, often to help find a breast to latch on and feed
    - Can recognise your voice

    2 Months:
    - Begins to smile
    - Can follow a moving object with their eyes
    - Can make cooing sounds

    3 Months:
    - Can hold head up for longer periods
    - Has discovered their hands and can grasp and shake toys
    - Begins babbling

    4 Months:
    - Some babies may start to roll over, although this can come later for other babies too
    - Begins putting hands in mouth
    - Begins to laugh

    5 Months:
    - Can sit with support
    - Begins to show object permanence
    - Begins to imitate sounds

    6 Months:
    - Can sit without support
    - Begins teething
    - Begins to recognize faces

    7 Months:
    - Begins to crawl
    - Can pass objects from one hand to the other
    - Begins to understand "no"

    8 Months:
    - Begins pulling themselves up to stand
    - Starts to develop separation anxiety
    - Can say simple words like "mama" or "dada"

    9 Months:
    - Begins to "cruise" along furniture
    - Understands object permanence
    - Begins to point at objects

    10 Months:
    - Can walk with support
    - Begins to develop pincer grasp
    - Starts to wave goodbye

    11 Months:
    - Starts to stand unassisted
    - Begins to develop sense of humor
    - Begins to understand cause and effect

    12 Months:
    - May begin taking a few steps unaided
    - Begins to use simple gestures like waving
    - Starts to say simple phrases like "bye-bye"

     

  4. Baby's First Christmas

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    Baby's first Christmas - hotMaMa breastfeeding clothing
     
    Your first Christmas as a family makes the festive season extra special, we've listed a few ideas to think about adding to your Christmas this year!
     
    New traditions
    This might be the year you start new traditions as a family that you'll continue for years to come. Perhaps it's a special trip to take or a local festive event. Chat to your partner about things you'd both like to do as a family over the festive season. 
     
    See the lights
    Wrap up warm and take a wintry walk to visit some local Christmas light displays. Your baby will be enchanted by the bright contrasting colours and glowing colours. 
     
    Christmas crafts and keepsakes
    Perfect as a keepsake for yourself or as a sentential gift for the grandparents. There are lots of ideas online but you can't go wrong making your own footprint Christmas cards. Paint their feet and splodge them on a piece of card, depending on the colour of paint you use you can embellish them to look like any Christmas animal, reindee, snowmen and penguin are great festive ideas. Your baby will love the sensory experience of having the cool paint applied to their skin and you get a gorgeous footprint to look back on and say things like "I can't believe how tiny they were" if your baby is older you can try handprints too although little ones have a habit of curling up their fingers so footprints tend to have a much higher success rate!
     
    Take a family photo
    I bet your phone is filled with photos of your little one but how many family photos do you have? With family gatherings and parties aplenty make the most of those extra pairs of hands and get someone to snap a your first family Christmas photo.
     
    Novelty outfits
    Perhaps the marmite of the list as a novelty Christmas outfit tends to divide the crowd you'll either love it or hate it! If you love a novelty Christmas outfit you'll find almost every kind of outfit available for your little one from full on Christmas costumes to garments with a more subtle Christmas print. If you're looking to break yourself in slowly to Christmas clothing for your little one try a novelty bib or hat!
     
    Create a wish list
    All of a sudden people will be asking you what they should get your little one for Christmas. Having a few ideas to hand can be really useful, people often love being directed to a specific toy or item as it makes life easier for them plus it reduces the chance of you ending up with duplicate items. 
     
     
    Don't be afraid to keep it simple
    Your extended family will likely go overboard on presents for your little one, you might find this especially true if this is the first grandchild in the family. Don't feel pressured to do the same, after all your little one won't remember this year at all. Perhaps just choose something small or sentimental from yourself, maybe a carefully chosen soft toy or a special book you could write a message to your little one in the inside cover to remember this first milestone. 
     
    Enjoy it!
    Christmas can also be stressful, as a new mum don't forget to be kind to yourself. Our festive blog post from last year covers lots of tips for surviving the festive season as a breastfeeding mum. Read it here.
  5. What is mastitis?

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    What is mastitis?

     

    Breastfeeding is a bit of a minefield, all of a sudden you find youself faced with things you've never even hear of before.  Mastitis might well be one of them.  It's an inflammation of the breast, usually caused by a build up of milk in the breast leading to an infection. It often happens while a woman is breastfeeding, especially during the first 6-12 weeks.

    Symptoms

    - A swollen area on your breast that may feel hot and painful to touch – the area may become red but this can be harder to see if you have darker skin. It usually only affects one breastand symptoms can begin rapidly.

    - A wedge-shaped breast lump or a hard area on your breast

    - A burning pain in your breast that might be constant or only when you breastfeed

    nipple discharge, which may be white or contain streaks of blood

    -  You may also get flu-like symptoms, such as chills, nausea, aches, a high temperature, tiredness or even vomiting.

     

    What can you do?

    - Soak a cloth in warm water and place it on your breast to help relieve the pain – a warm shower or bath may also help.

    - Rest and drink lots of fluids.

    - Continue to breastfeed.

    - Start feeds with the sore breast first.

    - Express milk from your breast in between feeds.

    - Make sure your breast is completely drained after a feed. You may need to check your baby's latch as a poor latch may mean your baby struggles to do this.

    - Massage your breast to help clear any blockages – stroke from the lumpy or sore area towards your nipple to help the milk flow.

    - Apply heat prior to feedings to promote breast drainage.

    - Wear comfortable clothing and a wireless bra.

    - See a GP if you do not feel better within 24 hours despite continuing to breastfeed, they will usually be able to prescribe you antibiotics. 

     

    (Sources, LaLeche League, NHS, Medela)

  6. Tips for your first breastfeed in public

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    Breastfeeding clothes

    Your first breastfeed outside your own home can feel scary. What can you do to make it a little less daunting?

    Go somewhere you are familiar with

    There's so much more to think about now you have a little one like if there's space for a pram of if a baby carrier would be better or if there is a baby change is. All things you don't want to be stressing about with a hungry baby.


    Make sure you can sit down comfortably

    Perching precriously on the edge of a wall or having to stand is no good. You'll be uncomfortable and it will have you rushing for the feed to be over. Make sure you can relax so your little one can have time to fill that little tummy and make it a positive experience. Cafes are great at having comfortable chairs for breastfeeding.


    Get your clothing right!

    You don't want to feel flustered trying to get your boob out, dealing with excessive complicated layers. One of our specially designed breastfeeding tops or dresses will make feeding access a breaze even with just one hand.


    Allow enough time

    Again, you don't want to feel rushed and you want to make sure your baby is not overly hungry before you're actually positioned and ready to feed. 

    Take a friend

    Arrange to meet or go with a friend  one with another baby is a bonus.  It's always nice to have someone to talk to and if you're with someone you're comfortable with you'll feel more at ease feeding.

    Have a drink with you or get one Breastfeeding is thirsty work mama! 


    Wear breast pads, just incase you leak! 

    Last of all, don't worry! Remember that breastfeeding your baby is normal and once you start thinking about it you'll probably spot lots of breastfeeding mamas out and about feeding that you just wouldn't have spotted before. Relax, sit back and enjoy!