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: Baby health

  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. 


    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. 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"


  3. Breastfeeding and hot weather

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    Breastfeeding and hot weather


    It's so lovely to enjoy a bit of sunshine and just like adults and older children babies need to stay hydrated!  Here are some top tips for you and your breastfed baby: 

    • During hot weather your baby may want to breastfeed more than usual, this is totally normal and part of your baby naturally upping their fluid intake for the hot weather.  Your mammary glands will actually start to produce milk with a higher water content in hot weather to keep your baby more hydrated. 

    • Sometimes the feeds may be more frequent and shorter as they need lots of little drinks in the heat. 

    • Keep yourself comfortable when feeding.  When everyone is feeling the heat the last thing you want to do is snuggle up together so make sure you stay cool by seeking the shade and staying well hydrated yourself.  Make sure you have water on hand when you sit down to feed and have a bottle with you if you head out. 

    • A towel, pillowcase, or cloth nappy placed between your baby and your arm and body can be helpful to feel less clammy and sweaty when feeding and experimenting with different positions like the rugby ball hold can help too. 

    • Exclusively breastfed babies don't need any additional water until they start eating solid foods at around six months.  From six months onwards you can start to offer them a little water but their main fluid intake will still come from breastmilk. 

    • Increased breastfeeds and hot weather can be intense and draining on you, make sure to be kind to yourself and get plenty of rest in the hot weather. 

    • If you're ever worried about your baby remember you can always seek professional advice from your health visitor or GP. 


    Sources (NHS online, Medela, Australian Breastfeeding Association 

  4. 5 Effective Tips for Weaning Your Baby

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    The first year of a baby's life sees a lot of developmental changes, from that first toothless chuckle to learning to roll over then sit up and another big one – weaning! At around six months of age, it's time to introduce solid foods to an otherwise milk-only diet in your baby's life. But this is no mean feat, nor a small step in your baby's life – it is, after all, their introduction to food, and that is an important relationship for life!

    So here are five tried-and-tested and mum and expert-certified tips for making the whole process of weaning less stressful and more enjoyable for both baby and mum.


    5 Effective Tips for Weaning your baby


    1. Choose the 'right' time to start weaning

    The advised age to start weaning your child is around six months of age (a few weeks before or after is fine, depending on your child's development and readiness). Experts advise against weaning too early (before four months) as your baby's digestive system isn't yet developed enough to handle solids.

    It's also important to see if your baby is able to sit up on his/her own or with some support, and is able to hold his/her head in a steady position – (and that usually happens at around six months) – so there is no risk of choking. Also, babies have better co-ordination at this age, which helps making the process of eating and feeding themselves easier. And lastly, they are also more capable of keeping the food in their mouth and swallowing it rather than spitting it out.

    Weaning takes time and patience, so make sure you don't start when you are travelling for instance, or starting a new job. Choosing the right time – and equipment, such as a good children's highchair – makes all the difference.

    2. Make the 'idea' of eating familiar and enjoyable

    As mentioned earlier, weaning takes a lot of time and patience. It is an entirely new concept for your baby, so it mustn't be rushed. There will be many trial-and-error moments, times when your baby will not co-operate or even downright refuse, and boy will there be a lot of mess! However, at this point the idea is to make your baby familiar with the concept of solid food and the process of eating i.e. putting food in their mouth, chewing it and exploring new tastes and textures. At the beginning, the amount of food your baby eats is not as important as how he/she responds to food and the idea of eating.

    Make it an enjoyable process and go according to your baby's cues and you will be rewarded later on – after all, a child's lifelong relationship with food begins here.

    3. Start with vegetables, not fruits (or anything sweet)

    It's very tempting (and a common notion) to start weaning with fruit purees, but it might make more sense to start with vegetables first. The reason being fruits are far sweeter, and if your child has tasted sweeter foods, he/she might not want or accept other less-sweet flavours. Once your baby has accepted other flavours, then mix a little fruit or introduce fruit purees. It's also important to remember not to add salt or sugar to your baby's food as both are harmful at this age.

    4. Spoon-fed or baby-led weaning?

    This is a big question for mums: should you feed your baby or opt for baby-led weaning? Again, as with all things baby-related, there is no right or wrong answer. Do what you feel works best for you and your baby. Experiment with both, perhaps, and see which method your baby prefers?

    Else, start with spoon-feeding so it is easier for both you and your baby, and once he/she is comfortable with the idea of eating, leave him/her to experiment with foods and flavours. Offer various soft finger foods so it's easier to touch and feel the food, and put it in their mouth. If you're using a spoon, offer another one to your baby who might imitate you and attempt to feed him/herself.


    Parenting Blog


    Parenting Blog

    5. Experiment… but with caution

    While the first few months of weaning are all about experimenting with textures (puree, mashed, lumpy, soft solids) and flavours (try mixing different foods together), it is also important to be mindful of certain things.

    • Never introduce two or more different foods at the same time – so incase your baby has an allergic reaction, you know exactly which food caused it. Certain foods like eggs and berries sometimes cause rashes or mild allergies in babies, so be alert when introducing these for the first time.
    • Be cautious the first time you give your baby anything with nuts in it – incase he/she is allergic to nuts. And never give babies (or even toddlers) whole nuts for risk of choking.
    • When offering finger food/ non-pureed foods to your baby, make sure the pieces are small and soft. Babies don't have all their teeth as yet and will not be able to bite/ chew properly. Always supervise your baby when he/she is eating.
    Before becoming Mum, Nicole was a Lifestyle journalist with a national newspaper. She now juggles motherhood, blogging and life and documents it all on her Parenting and Lifestyle blog Tales from Mamaville. You can follow her on:
  5. World Sepsis Day Special Blog Post

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    My name is Joanne, and I’d like to share my person experience with sepsis and help raise some awareness about the potentially fatal infection not everyone is familiar with. Sepsis kills a person every 3.5 seconds somewhere in the world. In the United Kingdom we lose around 40,000 people to it per year. The condition is caused by an infection, typically illnesses like pneumonia or urine infections, but even a small cut of the skin can lead to it. That’s what makes it so important we know the signs. Sepsis can happen to anyone, but with all illnesses the young and old are particularly at risk. Sepsis can affect multiple organs or the entire body, even without blood poisoning or septicaemia.

    So, what do you look out for?

    In adults you want to keep an eye out for;
    temperatures too high or too low
    rapid heartrate
    fast breathing

    In children, parents need to be aware of;
    feeling cold to touch
    mottled, bluish or pale skin
    breathing fast
    fits of convulsions
    not urinating for longer than 12 hours
    floppy, weak and buging soft spots

    1 in 4 NHS trusts are failing to treat sepsis in time. This is a cause close to my heart, because during the delivery of my daughter I suffered from sepsis, as did my daughter. I was induced on a Monday afternoon and decided to go home and wait for contractions to start. Around 6am Tuesday morning, we went back to the hospital as I was experiencing pains in a pattern and noticed I had slightly wet underwear (TMI). I went to the triage unit where they said I still hadn’t dilated and my waters had not gone, despite my observation. I was put back onto the ward and received observations periodically and the induction process continued. They removed the hormone pessary which was covered in some sort of gross bodily crap…but they said that was normal. Still not contracting ‘enough’ or dilating. Hours pass and during my observations they notice I was tachycardic, but I told them I have a history of anxiety and was nervous so it was likely to be that. Tuesday afternoon a Doctor pays me a visit and does an ECG to see what is going on with my heart rate.  She says she's not concerned about there being anything actually wrong with my heart. Tuesday night was horrendous, I was wiping the crap I mentioned before each time I went to the toilet but as a first time mum just assumed that was what happened. The contractions were becoming unbearable, they were slowly upping the pain killers but it wasn’t even touching the pain. I was starting to panic how I would cope as they said I still wasn’t in established labour, all I could worry about was how bad real labour would be, considering the pain I was already in. They were still concerned about my heart rate and thought I wasn’t drinking enough and may be dehydrated, giving me jugs of water to drink, despite I was drinking enough anyway.

    The night shift was coming to an end and the midwife said to me she didn’t think I would’ve dilated much, offered to examine me but said there wouldn’t be much point. So I agreed and said not to bother. A few hours later, just as we’re getting ready for breakfast a shift leading midwife pops in, the same lady who started the induction. She examines me and says, ‘did you know your waters have gone?’ I replied ‘oh have they?’ as I was told when I thought they had…they hadn’t. The midwife went on to say there’s meconium, and asked if I had noticed, so I explained I had seen it but didn’t think anything of it as the midwife who saw the same, or extremely similar substance wasn’t concerned. She explained that it could be because I was overdue and babies start to become stressed, and that I would be taken down to delivery when there was a bed available.

    Quickly after, she returned and whisked me off to the delivery suite where I met the new midwife who’d be looking after me. I was so happy to finally be in delivery, my first words are ‘can I have the drugs now?. I was so tired, I had been in pain for 24 hours and barely slept, observations every few hours and barely eaten. The midwife administered pethidine and gave me the gas and air. I literally didn’t let go of the gas and air lol. The process is a bit of a blur still, as I was ill…not that I knew this. I opened my eyes to 1 Consultant, 2 doctors and 3 midwives standing around my bed to ‘say hello’. I wasn’t convinced. I knew they had messed up by not listening to me about my waters, and we were past the 24 hour deadline of when things start to get dangerous. They stood there and were bickering about what symptoms should be treated with what and eventually put me on IV fluids and antibiotics. My midwife explained to my birthing partners that if in case of emergency, there was a big reg button by my bed and how to use it. She told us that because of the meconium there would need to be a paediatrician on hand when Ivy was born in case she needed resuscitating.  That in itself was enough to send my blood pressure through the roof (they medicated me for that too). I asked if I was able to eat and the consultant made it very clear I could not eat or drink, and I knew from watching countless episodes of One Born Every Minute that she thought I would need a c-section. They said how I had a certain amount of time to dilate and give birth naturally or I’d have an emergency c-section, this was a while into the process. The oxytocin drip I was on was making Ivy’s heart rate rise so they had to turn that off, so I was relying completely on my body doing its job and dilating itself. I opted for an epidural because I couldn’t cope any more and they said it may slow the labour down, but I didn’t care at this point. It didn’t even work. Still felt everything.

    11 hours after entering delivery I have a sudden urge to poo (tmi..) and told the new consultant I felt like I needed to push. The consultant didn’t seem to think I would be at that point yet, and said ‘I wasn’t going to examine you for another couple hours’ but lo and behold, I was finally 10cm dilated (hooray)! After an hours pushing Ivy-Willow entered the world, covered in poo. Once they could see she didn’t have any trouble breathing I got to hold her for the first time. Then she pooed on me, too. Y’know, inside me wasn’t enough. Tom and my mum went home to get some more bits for our now 3-day-stay at the hospital. There I was, after being in labour for the good part of 36 hours…they’ve shoved a paracetamol up my back side, taken my new baby to the NICU so she could have her treatment for sepsis and I’m just laying there…alone. Can’t move, starving hungry, nobody around waiting for someone to bring me toast, and it was cold.

    Ivy and I had out temperatures checked, IV given and blood pressure checked every few hours for three days. Its crazy to think that if they had listened to me none of it may have ever happened, but I am grateful that they took no time in waiting around before starting anti-biotics. Nobody ever explained to us what the infection was, or why we needed to be watched so closely. I remember Ivy having her blood taken and I just started crying, the baby blues that you usually experience in the comfort of your own home, started after seeing her be poked and prodded time and time again. It wasn’t until I got home and read my hospital notes that it said we were being treated for sepsis.

    The stress didn’t end there though, once we got home we both ended up getting another infection due to the anti-biotics. Sorry to have gone on for so long, but it’s really important you make your voice heard. I wish I had listened to my body more and spoke up, health care professionals are over stretched and do get things wrong. So, take the time and learn about sepsis.

    23Breastfeeding Blog, Sepsis, World Sepsis Day5

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