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A FAMILY LIFESTYLE BLOG

THE BABY FEEDING SERIES WITH GEE GARDNER

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Hello and welcome back to another instalment of The Baby Feeding Series, that features real stories from real parents who have experienced how hard and baffling feeding your baby can be. I want this series to be a place where parents can share their own experiences in the hopes that other parents who are struggling can feel less alone. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but it's one of the most rewarding jobs too and so I want to share their stories.


  
I am delighted to let you all know that this week we have Georgina from Gee Gardner who has kindly offered to share her story about breastfeeding her two children, in which she has come across an array of different attitudes and a lot of different issues during the 6 years and 2 months of breastfeeding! So without further ado, I shall hand you over to the lovely Georgina. 

Breastfeeding and Me

I have collectively breastfed for 6 years 2 months over 2 kids and in that time I have come across an array of different attitudes and a lot of different issues. I’ve dealt with breastfeeding aversion, bleeding nipples, mastitis, blocked ducts, tongue and lip tie issues, D-MER, nipple blanching, vasospasm, food sensitivities, ulcerated nipples, sleepless nights and toddler nursing gymnastics. Breastfeeding is not easy! Even without any problems it's still bloody hard. 

One of the biggest things that really bothers me about the parenting world and breastfeeding in particular, is the judging. 11/10 you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, with whatever you end up doing. I’ve had people praise me and tell me how fantastic it is that I’ve managed to get this far and I’ve had people give me looks as though i’m stripping off naked and having a poo in the middle of the street when I was feeding my baby in the car! I’ve had people support me and I’ve had people tell me I shouldn’t post photos or celebrate my milestones because it offends them. A mixed bag really! I find a lot of people think breastfeeding Mums look down on formula feeding Mums and that just isn’t the case. I always feel a bit worried whenever I say that I breastfeed for fear of being judged. I’m sure there are parents on either side who fling the crap and I’m not going to sit here and pretend like formula feeders don't get stick too because they do. There will be high horse dwellers whichever path you take with anything in parenting.

The first time I ever breastfed I was a clueless 19 year old, in a hospital bed having just been handed my tiny 5lbs 13oz baby daughter. I still vaguely remember the struggle to get her to latch properly and her then being taken to the hospital nursery because I needed emergency intervention. I then spent the next few days in a hospital bed desperately trying to get this little human to latch in between her screaming or having blood tests and ECGs. 

I lost count of the times I had to ask a midwife to help me get her to latch and most of them ended up just offering me bottles of formula or whacking my boob in her mouth and then flouncing off again. Every time she managed to latch she would feed for hours on end and there were many a time where I felt like giving up. I hated my body for not doing what it was supposed to do, I hated myself for coping badly and I was worrying Eloise wasn't getting enough milk.

I was a single, teenage mum with this beautiful, tiny human who depended entirely on me. I remember one night in particular where she had been feeding all day every days for weeks and I was exhausted and just thought "sod this" and went to get the carton of formula I bought "just in case". These days became frequent but somehow I managed to persevere.

We had latching issues for months to the point I ended up with ulcerated nipples which bled every time I fed her. I had to pump to soften my breast so she could latch and all the came out was blood. On top of that, every time she fed she cut off the blood supply to my nipple and no one really knew why or knew how to help. There needs to be a so much more support, one thing I've noticed about breastfeeding is that everyone is told how easy and wonderful it is and how it doesn't hurt one bit etc etc. Well they're all liars! It is exhausting and bloody HARD. For the first few months Eloise was attached to me approximately 85% of the time but we got through it, and at about 4 months into our breastfeeding journey we both just seemed to get the hang of it and only went on to have a few blips where I got blocked ducts but nothing to write home about. 

My second baby, Lily was an entirely different story. I felt more confident this time, I knew what to do, I knew how to help her latch and I held less doubt over my body. I fed her straight away and although she took a while to get the hang of latching initially because she was so small we got into the swing of the physical side of things in no time at all. It's amazing how different two babies can be! Eloise took a good 40 minutes to feed whereas Lily takes about 10 minutes. I unfortunately got mastitis when Lily was a few days old and she began to plateau with her weight which was worrying as she was only 5lbs 7oz to begin with but I got better and Lily began putting on weight again. Cue hiccup number 3! 

Despite having the physical aspect of latching down, albeit a shallow latch due to her tongue and lip tie, I never felt right when I fed her. I felt the same with Eloise but at the time I just put it down to suffering with PND on top of being young, single and sleep deprived as hell. But this time my circumstances were different, I had breastfed for 4.5 years prior to this so knew what I was doing so why was I feeling so awful? It was discovered that I suffer from Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex or D-MER and breastfeeding aversion which in layman's terms is where you experience every negative emotion you can possibly think of each time you feed your baby. For me it happens as soon as my milk starts to let down and continues until Lily finishes feeding so I've never had that textbook blissful mummy and baby time when I breastfeed, and I can't help but feel guilty when Lily catches my gaze as she's feeding and smiles and I'm hating every second and just sat there willing her to finish so it's over and I can stop feeling like a huge black cloud is suffocating me. Now she is coming up to 18 months old she will also pull at my top and put her hand down my bra for comfort and this sets off the aversion and sends it through the roof. 

I adore both of my daughters and I love being a mother more than anything in the world but I don't enjoy breastfeeding. I feel awful saying it because I'm supposed to feel all these wonderful oxytocin fuelled emotions when I cradle my beautiful baby to feed or at least that's what all the pregnancy and baby books say but I just don’t. I hate it and that coupled with the constant uphill battle with normalising breastfeeding I’ve found it even harder this time and how I have managed to get to 17 months I honestly don’t know. With my first I managed to go the whole hog and let her self wean which she did around 4.5 years but this time I don’t think there is any way I’m going to cope with that from an emotional point of view. 

Physically, my body is producing enough milk for her, she is putting on weight just fine and is happy but I am not. I hate every feed and although some days are better than others I am now looking into moving on to combi feeding. I don’t want to stop breastfeeding completely because I don’t think she would cope well with that and stopping cold turkey would make me feel incredibly guilty. Prior to making this decision I hadn’t really thought about how I would feel if I was formula feeding. I always thought I would find it so much easier because of the aversion I felt towards breastfeeding but I find myself feeling guilty at just the thought of speaking to my health visitor about feeding her milk other than mine. Not because I think formula is bad but because I feel like my body is failing me. I’ve held myself to such a high standard trying to be super woman and putting breastfeeding before my mental health for so long and it’s really time I let myself admit that I’m not coping and that's okay. It’s okay to try this new avenue and if it doesn’t help then fine, I will just need to reevaluate again but I owe it to myself to give my boobs and my sanity a break and try and treat my feelings as a priority too.


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About Georgina

Georgina is a Mummy to 2 girls, Eloise (7) and Lily (1) telling it like it is whilst trying to keep it together on this wayward train of motherhood. I’ve been blogging for about 6 years now with a break in between, posting mostly about my experiences and screw ups of parenting and documenting my little family along the way.


You can find Georgina over at Gee Garner and don't forget to go give her a little follow and like over her social media platforms. 




Let's Party with the Disney Party Planner

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 A love for Disney is something that never really goes away, if anything it grows. Whenever I think about Disney it takes me back to my childhood and the fond memories of love, magic and fairy tales. Now that I have my own daughter I want the magic to continue. As a child I would love nothing more than have cuddles on the sofa with my parents and sister on Sunday afternoon to watch Disney films, and this is something that I really enjoy doing with my husband and daughter. Even though she is just three years old, she is becoming quite the Disney fan and we are making our way through her collection of classic films. I think that's what I love about Disney is that it's for all families of all ages, there is something for everyone. I am not just talking about films, there seems to be quite a lot of merchandise floating around these days, including wedding dresses and engagement rings, that are inspired by Disney princesses. My daughter is in complete awe of the Disney princesses, one in particular is by far her favourite. Princess Rapunzel! 


When we found out that The Disney Store have launched their Disney Party section, how could we say no to a Rapunzel themed party? This is your perfect party planner and all you need to host the best Disney Party around! You will be the envy of the other mums for your ideas and the coordinated approach to the party. When it comes to parties and celebrations I am very organised, but sometimes I can leave a few important items to the last minute, children's parties get the best of us. That's why the Disney Party Planner keeps everything in one place, you can even order your invitations. The invitations are then either emailed or you can print them out and you add everyone into your guest list to ensure that you keep track of all those little ones who can make it! So when we decided to host a mid-week hump party, the preparations could begin. First we ordered and sent out some invitations, then we had a look at the Disney Party Shop for some Rapunzel themed goodies. 



PARTY SUPPLIES

With the party planner it is so easy to keep on top of the details with their easy to use, free dashboard. We were able to design and manage our invitations, keep track of who's coming and create your party schedule for the day. We could schedule our activities to make sure that everything went according to plan, where we could even search on the website for inspiration for party ideas, including games, themed inspired food and even what to put in the party bags. The choice was endless. The tableware was something that we clearly needed to buy for the party and so we ordered some party plates, cups, napkins, straws along with some purple cutlery. Not forgetting all the Rapunzel inspired treats to go along with our tableware, we made Rapunzel Tower Cupcakes, and some tangled cookies. 



DECORATIONS

What party is complete without a few themed party decorations to make your little one feel extra special. So for our Rapunzel party we ordered a table cloth, balloons and this very adorable Rapunzel game. Inspired by the traditional party game, 'pin the tail on the donkey' but Rapunzel style where you basically stick Rapunzel's sidekick Pascal cut outs onto Rapunzel's hair. This party game includes a detailed poster, eight Pascal cuts outs and a blind fold. 


PARTY BAGS

Not forgetting the all important party bags for your guests as they are leaving. We brought some little gift bags a while back and thankfully had some left over for our mid-week hump party, however we got these bundles from the Disney shop - what a bundle. With each pack there were an array of goodies in there including 8 butterfly clips, 8 tracer rulers, 8 mini tops, 8 mini composition books, 8 bracelets with charms and 8 brushes. What more could a little princess want? Our guest were more than satisfied with their party goody bag. 


However the fun didn't end just there. You could also make a special birthday call from Mickey or Minnie Mouse, which would be the perfect ending to a special birthday. The special birthday call is free and available to anyone who purchases any party product, making it easy to add a touch of magic to their special day. The launch of the Disney Party Planner will make party planner less of a chore, as you have everything you need at the touch of button, what could be better than that? I have organised a few parties since my little girl came into the world, but the Disney Party Planner made planning so easy and fun. So the next party you have, don't forget to use this party planner! I know you won't be disappointed.


*DISCLAIMER* Mimi Rose and Me is a personal blog written and edited by myself only, unless otherwise note my reviews are completely based on my own opinion of the product reviewed. These products were supplied to me as a gift to review from The Disney Store UK. 

Welcoming Autumn with FENETIC WELLBEING*

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As much as I'm trying to hold onto the summer, I think it's pretty clear from the way it looks outside that Autumn is well and truly on it's way, which means lots of things to look forward to. In fact, as I write this post I've got a chunky knitted jumper on and it's looking very grey and miserable outside, I am not looking forward to the school run in a little while. Autumn has to be, by far, my favourite season of the year. There's nothing quite like looking at the changing colours of nature, the fresh crisp air, chunky knits, tan boots, cinnamon scents, and not forgetting berry coloured lipsticks. I'm definitely looking forward to snuggling up in blankets and reading a good book whilst watching the rain outside in the coming months and so in the name of the excitement and in the hopes that it inspires you, lets welcome the Autumn.



#1 B L A N K E T S

Now that we have said goodbye to the sunshine, beautiful blue skies, and all those summer adventures we can begin to welcome the colder weather, cosy evenings and snuggles. With snuggles, an essential must have that you need in your life is most definitely a luxurious thick and fluffy blanket. Some days we like to drag our duvet downstairs if we want to be particularly cosy, although this results in an afternoon snooze. However a nice cosy blanket normally does the trick. Last year we were kindly given a super fluffy blanket, but we have use it that much the fluffiness has disappeared so we need a new one. Feeling a little more indulgent when it comes to a new blanket I have found the one from Laura Ashley, Anastasia Whisper Blanket that will match our current decor, so it's a must buy really. 



#2 B E I N G   C O M F O R T A B L E 

So if we are staying with the theme of cosiness, let's talk about ways in which we can go that one step further this Autumn and get extra comfy. When it comes to being comfortable, everybody is different. Some like to add a new blanket or pillow to their current decor, some enjoy turning the heating up and some like to indulge. By adding a new rug, or curtains can make all the difference to your home to help make it feel more comfortable. This month we have made a few purchases for our home to get ready for Autumn and Winter, including a brand new sofa that you literally sink into as soon as you sit down. Someone else who likes to get comfortable is Fenetic Wellbeing, a company that provides individual mobility solutions for people, and they have asked me to be part of their #RelaxAndRecline campaign I couldn't say no really. I am always up for a cosy evening and this campaign is all about the good things that come with welcoming the Autumn comforts such a chunky knits, hot chocolate, blankets and of course, a comfy recliner to snuggle up on. Being a blogger requires a lot of time sat writing on my laptop,  but as Autumn is well and truly here it makes sense to alter my working space a little and with the help of Fenetic Wellbeing, I may have the perfect solution. A beautiful swivel reclining chair would be the perfect addition to making sure that I am comfortable. This office chair looks so comfy and even comes with a massage and heat functions, so what could be better than that. In our spare room we have decorated with simplicity in mind and the cream chair would be great way to add a decadent touch to the room. 


#3 T H E  F O O D  A N D  H O T  D R I N K S

The cold weather autumn gives you an excuse to cook hearty stews and sip on mugs of hot chocolate - with marshmallows and cream, of course. Not forgetting that Starbucks have launched their Pumpkin Spice Latte and drinking indulgent drinks is an absolute must have for Autumn, forget the calories. With the Autumnal drinks comes with array of new vegetables that you can try and use, such as pumpkins and butternut squash. Talking of pumpkins. Autumn also means a trip to a pumpkin patch with my little one, which I am way too excited for. 



#4 C A N D L E S

Candles just make a cosy night in, there is nothing better than filling your space with the sweet aroma of your favourite scent. My favourite scent at the moment has to be this Lemongrass & Verbena Exquisite Candle. I was kindly sent this beautiful candle. Bright citrus notes with with verbena. Blended with notes of melon, rose and jasmine. Fresh vibrant and uplifting. There's nothing I enjoy more is waiting until the little lady goes to bed and relaxing with a nice bubble bath and candles and so it seem as if receiving this candle was telling me that I needed to some time out to rest and recuperate. As soon as I opened the box to the scented candle I could instantly smell the lemongrass, it was so refreshing as I was running a bath I could definitely notice the scent in the bathroom, however this got stronger as I lit the candle.


#5 E N T E R T A I N M E N T

Another great thing about Autumn is that you simply have the best excuse for staying in and have a snuggle instead of braving the cold. Evening television become more interesting and that's pretty great for me. It's the whole 'do we watch X-factor or Strictly?' on Saturday, the choice is very hard! What camp are you? When these are over, it's Netflix time! Is there anything more necessary in life than a quality Netflix binge every now and then? It's a time to unwind on the sofa with loved ones maybe some popcorn and a glass of wine, while you're at it. Of course, if you're looking to get lost in a TV show or film together, your faithful companion is your good old pal Netflix. Luckily, the service has something to offer for any and every situation.

What do you normally do to welcome in the Autumn?

*Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post with Fenetic Wellbeing post but as always all words are my own

HELLO AUTUMN | A Bucket List

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As much as I'm trying to hold onto the summer, I think it's pretty clear from the way it looks outside that Autumn is well and truly on it's way, which means lots of things to look forward to. In fact, as I write this post I've got a chunky knitted jumper on and it's looking very grey and miserable outside, I am not looking forward to the school run in a little while. Autumn has to be, by far, my favourite season of the year. There's nothing quite like looking at the changing colours of nature, the fresh crisp air, chunky knits, tan boots, cinnamon scents, and not forgetting berry coloured lipsticks. I'm definitely looking forward to snuggling up in blankets and reading a good book whilst watching the rain outside in the coming months and so in the name of the excitement and in the hopes that it inspires you, lets welcome the Autumn with a bucket list.



GO PUMPKIN PICKING

Before last year, neither my husband or I had ever ventured to hunt for pumpkins, even as children. My parents wouldn't allow us to celebrate anything that remotely relates to Halloween, and my husband's family would just take a trip to the local supermarket to pick one up. Last year going pumpkin picking was a new tradition that we started in our own family, and we took a trip to the Undley Pumpkin Patch and we had so much fun. As well as seeing an array of bright orange pumpkins there is so much more to do including a giant pumpkin shaped bouncy castle, maize maze, face painting, crafts, donkey rides, as well as hay bales to climb and some lovely stalls to have a browse through. So without a doubt this is something we plan on doing again, perhaps a different pumpkin patch this time. 

UPDATE HOME DECOR FOR THE AUTUMN 

As soon as we begin to see those crisp golden leaves fall from trees, I am always ready to update my home for Autumn. At the minute, everything still seems to be light and bright but now I am ready to welcome the seasonal changes. We have pretty neutral décor in our house, so we’ll be adding in a few Autumnal prints and a cosy knit blanket or two. So far, we have updated our blinds and added some lovely mocha thermal curtains which is something that we have been meaning to do for some time, but never seem to get around in doing. Throughout the next couple of months we will be making slightly different changes to our home, including a new carpet for our living room, I cannot wait to update the wooden flooring. I am ready for the Autumnal feels in our home and we have already started to update every single candle, not forgetting stocking up on the best autumnal candle, the gingerbread candle. We have been adding a few copper hues to our living rooms and last month we some jar lights that are perfect to switch on alongside our lamp in the evenings. When it comes to being comfortable during the colder months, everybody is different. Some like to add a new blanket or pillow to their current decor, some enjoy turning the heating up and some like to indulge. By adding a new rug, or curtains can make all the difference to your home to help make it feel more comfortable. 

BE CREATIVE AND MAKE A AUTUMNAL DECORATIONS

Every morning on the way to nursery my daughter loves to pick up leaves, sticks and acorns, she tells me that she is collecting them for Squirrel Nutkin for the Winter. However she does have quite the collection in the garden so what better way to try get into the spirit of all things Autumn and create Autumnal decorations for the home and for her scrapbook. My daughter loves to keep me on my toes and so trying to keep her hands busy by being more creativity is much more useful and it also give me the opportunity to teach her about the changing seasons whilst creating fond memories together. 

TRY AND CREATE MY OWN PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE

The cold weather autumn gives you an excuse to sip on mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, of course. Not forgetting that Starbucks have launched their Pumpkin Spice Latte and drinking indulgent drinks is an absolute must do for Autumn, forget the calories. There is no Autumn without Pumpkin Spice, fact. However, over the autumn and winter the expenditure can be too much for a coffee everyday and so I plan on trying my own creation of pumpkin spice latte. Starbucks, watch out.



ALL THINGS HALLOWEEN

Now that my daughter is three I think that it's time that she got involved with all things Halloween. My parents would never allow me to get involved with anything that was remotely to do with Halloween, it was just something that they never agreed with. However, both my husband and I are a little different and don't mind the idea of some Halloween fun. My daughter has asked if she can dress up as a witch so I may try and be creative and make one from scratch, however my seamstress skills leaves much to be desired. So we may just take a trip to the supermarket for one. What is Halloween without a little pumpkin carving? Carving pumpkins is so much fun and the possibilities are endless. My husband and daughter had a great time carving pumpkins last year together, obviously my husband did the actual carving, however our daughter had so much fun scooping the insides out. With all things Halloween, I wanted to have a Halloween themed night in with the family where we could indulge in Halloween sweet treats, watching scary movies or perhaps share ghost stories with a torch under your chin. Last year I was unwell for actually going out for some Halloween adventures and along with my husband we shall take our daughter to some local events and craft fairs. I am looking forward to October, if you couldn't tell!



What would you add to your Autumn Bucket List?


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THE BABY FEEDING SERIES WITH THE FOXFAIRIES PART 3

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Hello and welcome back to another instalment of The Baby Feeding Series, that features real stories from real parents who have experienced how hard and baffling feeding your baby can be. I want this series to be a place where parents can share their own experiences in the hopes that other parents who are struggling can feel less alone. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but it's one of the most rewarding jobs too and so I want to share their stories.

This week for The Baby Feeding Series we have the lovely Haley from The Foxfairies once again taking part with her final guest post with the series. Please read over Haley's previously guest posts: How To Feed Twin and Expressing and Feeding Twins at the Same Time. This week Haley wants to put forward a post about formula feeding her twins and her experience. So, it's over to you Haley!

Formula Feeding Twins

So you will have read from my last post that I had mastered the skill of expressing my breast milk AND feeding the twins…at the same time! Go me. I felt really proud that I could finally provide our babies with breast milk for almost every feed.

As I was expressing breast milk I needed to learn how to sterilise bottles in order to feed the twins. Wanting to go for the simplest approach, I bought self-sterilising @MAMbabyuk bottles. They really do what it says on the tin. And it’s bloomin’ marvellous. No having to wait around for sterilising machines to kill all of those nasties. I can wash, assemble and put them into microwave and in 3 tiny minutes, you have a sterilised bottle ready to use (N.B. if you are sterilising more than one bottle, add one extra minute per bottle, so 1 bottle = 3 minutes, 2 bottles = 4 minutes, 3 bottles = 5 minutes etc.)

However the one thing I was concerned about once the bottles were sterilised was how to avoid putting the different pieces onto the countertop to assemble, thus diminishing the point of sterilising in the first place. Guess what? Of course, being the determined fairy that I am, have found a solution to this problem. Here are the steps that we follow:



How To Move From Breast To Formula

But as they say: life gets in the way. I was finding expressing, feeding, caring for the babies, looking after the house and going through a house move extremely exhausting and overwhelming. That’s when I made the tough decision to move onto formula feeding. But this wasn’t something that happened overnight.

When you decide to stop breast feeding the worry is that you will firstly get really sore breasts (and in extreme cases develop mastitis) and secondly, and more embarrassingly, completely douse people with your mummy milk as it escapes your breasts like shaken bottles of Prosecco. Cringe. I avoided the soreness by decreasing the amount I was pumping in every session (unfortunately didn’t avoid the milk squirting through…the struggle is real). As time went on, I worked up to missing out a pumping session altogether. My body was getting used to not needing the milk anymore. It took about 3 weeks for my milk to completely dry up.

Once we had decided to move onto formula, I wanted to make the whole process as simple as possible as there were many different elements to think about. This was particularly relevant when prepping for the night feeds (who wants to be counting out scoops of milk powder at 2.45am, especially as the risk of miscounting the scoops when you’re deliriously tired is extremely likely?). That was when we started to decant the required amount of powder for each feed into small containers. As the twins were feeding different amounts, I additionally had to make sure I separated these powders into different trays (I am sure they did this just to test my skills of organisation…see picture below).



How To Prepare Formula When Going Out

However the one difficultly I came across when using solely formula was how to prepare it for when the twins and I went out for the day. Breast milk is easy because you just heat it up. But formula requires boiling water, bottles, powder etc etc… The advice is to use boiling water when preparing formula to make sure any bacteria in the milk powder has been killed off. But have you actually done this and waited for the milk to cool down?? When your babies are ravenously screaming and there’s no cold tap to cool it down with…you would rather sign yourself up to step on lego than wait for it to be ready. So I wanted to work out a way of safely preparing the formula without having to wait a painful, slow and deafening few minutes (which felt like hours) for it to be cool enough for the babies to drink.

That was when a friend pointed out that you could replicate the Tommy Tippee’s Prep Machine process and use boiling water to cover the formula powder, then top it up with cooled boiled water so that it is immediately at drinking temperature. Revolutionary! (I would just like to highlight that there has been some controversy over whether the Prep Machine actually kills all of the bacteria so therefore it is questionable to imitate it…all I’ll say is I’m not trained to give advice, however the twins have used it for 4 months and haven’t yet grown a third eye, so I’ll leave that one with you).

So here are the items that I pack in my travel bag in order to prepare formula milk:

*One flask of boiling water

*One flask of cool boiled water

*Portioned formula powder

*Sterilised bottles

*(N.B. I always pack a couple of ready made milks too and a container to warm them up in just in case I need extra feeds…always prepared for every eventuality!)



This was the process I decided to follow when preparing formula out in the big wide world:

*Open sterilised bottles

*Decant portioned formula powder from the little container into each bottle

*Cover powder with boiling hot water from flask 1

*Use flask 2 to top up with cool boiled water to the required amount of feed

Now that I take the two different temperatures of water out with us, I am able to put together their feeds in minimum time. That means no hysterical babies and a happy Mumma. The only downside is the weight of my rucksack, but if I gain a toned back and slightly smaller waist from traipsing it around town, then I’ll take one for the team.

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About Haley
Originally from Devon, Haley and her husband Pete relocated to London four years ago. Having worked in Education for over ten years, a stickler for organisation and now a twin mama, Haley blogs to capture their Foxfairy adventures.
You can find Haley over at The Foxfairies
Don't forget to go and find her social media platforms and give her a little like or follow
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What To Do If You're in a Blogging Slump

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Blogging slumps are real. I don't know if you can tell or not, but I am in a blogging slump. Over the last few weeks I have become way too focused on increasing my numbers over my social media platforms meaning that creating content for my blog has taken a back seat. It is starting to have an effect on my blog stats and my motivation to write, if you're guessing - I have none, whatsoever! I am well and truly in a blogging slump. There are so many reasons why some of us fall into a blogging slump, and it can be very discouraging  when you put some much time, effort and a hell of a lot of patience to make your blog a success. If you're a blogger, it doesn't matter who you are, it's inevitable that you will fall into a blogging slump at some point. However it's time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself, move away from the sofa and create some good content, I'm sure that the reason you're here reading this post is that you're feeling the same. So let's get out this slump and be proactive.


Before we get our teeth into this post, it can always be a good idea to figure out why you're in a blogging slump in the first place. Perhaps you have become too busy in your personal life, you've run out of blog post ideas, or you just don't feel motivated to write and now your blog seems to be suffering and failing to grow.  There are so many things that can make us feel as if we are heading into a blogging slump. For me, I have been way too distracted with my daughter starting nursery, making sure she settles and a new arrival in the family. My personal life has been crazy and therefore left me feeling unmotivated and unenthusiastic when it comes to writing posts. Blogging slumps get the best of us and so I thought that with this post we could help climb out of this blogging slump and get back to creating good content. 

Amadeoâ„¢ Regular

Sometimes life just gets in the way and this is okay. If you have a lot going on the last thing you want to do is force out a post, that's probably too rushed and crap, your readers will see that you're clutching at straws and you could loose regular readers. Ease the pressure and brainstorms a few ideas on a piece of paper and work from there, don't just sit at your computer hoping inspiration will come your way. It just may not work in your favour. I have found that when you're in the throes of writing good content, take five minutes each day to write down a few ideas for blog post, you could even host a poll on twitter asking your followers what content they would like you to share. Even some bloggers in a slump, write ' # blog post ideas' as a post so you won't be short of a few ideas when the slump comes around. 

Amadeoâ„¢ Regular

Are you use to blogging five, three or two times a week? Is the pressure of creating content and writing making you feel absolutely exhausted. If it is, then you simply need to ease up and take a break. If you're feeling the blogging slump, walk away from your laptop and take a break for a week or so. It's so important to allow yourself to take a break if you need it. It's always a good idea to let your readers know what is going on and tell them much how time you will need, I am pretty sure that many with sympathise with you too. The last thing you want to do is create content for the sake of it, your readers will recognise the slump content and veer off somewhere else for enthusiastic content, so don't force it. There's no reason why you should be blogging if you are not enjoying it, take time out and come back with a fresh head full of ideas.

Amadeoâ„¢ Regular

One of my favourite places to go to is Pinterest for inspiration, but I also love to have a look on Bloglovin and even some magazines. There are certainly not short of an idea or two. It may also be a good idea to try and write a list or even create a blog post about ideas for blog post to help you feel inspired to write a few. By seeing an idea for a blog post can motivate you to actually write one, and then hopefully spark more ideas until you're back on track, blogging consistently. Perhaps there is a blogging month coming up, such as blogtober or blogmas. These months are never short of a few ideas to help get you inspired and writing! 

Amadeoâ„¢ Regular

Normally when I feel as if I am getting deeper and deeper into a blogging slump I will go and read some of my favourite bloggers for inspiration. However, whatever you do, don't get sucked into comparing yourself or your blog to others. When I do this I tend to get an overwhelming feeling of self-doubt and I even begin questioning the whole 'is blogging for me?'. I adore blogging, of course. But we have all had moments of self doubt where we do nothing but compare. So, focus on what you are doing, on your blog and this is something that I have been trying to work hard at this year. Not allowing myself to feel bad about sitting at home in my comfys while other bloggers are attending award ceremonies and amazing luxurious press trips. It's about you! 

Amadeoâ„¢ Regular

In the midst of a blogging a slump a great way to begin the inspiration cycle is to sit and think about what makes you click a link? By creating content that keeps you interested will certainly be a popular post, as you will be able to tell withing your post. For me, a book review on a book that I would never read will never appeal as much as a detailed review on a new mascara I need to try. What can I say? I'm weak! 

Amadeoâ„¢ Regular

Do you know what? Powering through a blogging slump won't last forever. Sometimes you have to be tough on yourself and power through because the deeper you get into a blogging slump the more likely you'll be put off forever, sometimes all it takes is a little while push into the right direction. In this currently blogging slump it's made me realise that I need to stop waiting for my blog to become successful. The only person that can make this happen is me, and it won't happen while I am sitting on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. It's going to take a lot of time, effort and a lot of patience. But I am ready to become more proactive. 

What do you normally do when you're in a blogging slump?

BEING A MUM IS AMAZING, YET...

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Being a mother is a truly remarkable gift and a privilege that I hold very close to my heart. For me, becoming a mother to my beautiful little lady has been one of the biggest accomplishments that I have ever and probably will ever make in my life. Any decision that I have ever made in my life has never brought so much joy and so much love into my heart. I am more than sure that many of you reading this, mothers or fathers will understand exactly what I mean. We all have felt what it's like to love another, but being a mother or a father is a completely different form of love, one that is everlasting, one that is unconditional, a love that's impossible to break. But my journey into motherhood has been by far one of the hardest things that I have ever had to go through, it's been an emotional roller coaster. I have been thinking back to those first moments as a mother and remembering how hard they were, actually harder than I ever imagined. I don't think I was prepared for the emotional complexities that comes with motherhood. I expected to love my daughter and to be loved in return, but something that I didn't expect was the intricate shapes that both our love for one another assumes. It's powerful, it's unconditional and it's beautiful. In the midst of the beautiful world of being a mother it can be easy to find the joy and smiles, however it doesn't come without sacrifice.


Anyone will tell you that being a parent is the most exciting time in your life and all you can think about is bringing a new life into the world. As it should be, there's nothing more wonderful than watching a bump grow into a little person. In the moments before the arrival of your bundle of joy, the excitement continues to build until you find yourself wishing those last moments of your pregnancy away, after all you are eager to meet your baby. But instead of wishing that time away enjoy the last few moments of being able to sleep during the day, have lazy mornings in bed watching TV, doing things on a whim and go on as many dates as you possibly can. Just make sure you make the most of your time. Because all too soon your world will be turned upside down thanks to a certain little person. Nothing can prepare you for the joy, sheer exhaustion and happiness that is coming your way. But as amazing it is being a mother to my beautiful little girl there were some things that I never expected. In the beauty of motherhood I failed to realise that there is a lot of sacrifice...

SLEEP

Well that's a shocker! I assume that this would be on the top of every parents list, right? Remember those late nights on the tiles and the glorious lie ins. Absolute bliss. Late nights now consist of soothing cries, changing beds and listening out my daughter squeaks, then waking up at the crack of arse because she's needs to poop! I can vaguely remember a couple of people saying to me 'sleep while you can' and I remember thinking it can't be that bad! It's absolute torture, the first few months were unbearable, you cannot even begin to understand what I mean until you've been awake for six days straight.

Parenting can mean sacrificing your sleep...



TIME

Time with my husband, time to poop, time to wash and dry my hair without someone needing my attention. So, yes time is something that has most definitely been sacrificed! It's so hard to try and manage time when you have children. Before having our daughter we would always do things on a whim, we could get up late, or just spend all day in bed. And now our time is no longer ours and we struggle to get a few minutes by ourselves. Do you know what I miss the most? No, not that! Keep your minds out the gutter people! The little things, like holding his hand around town, normally we are too busy carrying the truck load of stuff that our little person needs, holding her sticky hand, or pushing the pram.  I cannot even remember the last time we had a date night, actually come to think of it, our anniversary last year! So it's been a while! Now our date nights consist of a Netflix binge with one of us (normally the husband) dropping a noddy before the opening credits have even rolled! We have to plan everything and I know that its all a part of becoming a parent but it's not fun and takes the mystery away. However it's a small sacrifice to make and I think that we cherish all the moments we do get alone so much more.

Time for myself? Forget it! I cannot remember the last time where I actually had a big bubble bath just for me, without a certain little lady using me a slide. To actually be alone, to sit in the quiet, to exhale and slump down in the sofa because someone offered to take my daughter for an afternoon, just to relax. I honestly really struggle to actually make time for myself, even though it's so important, I just end up forgetting. But looking after a toddler, the cooking, the cleaning and bath time I am just too knackered to have me time. All I want to do is sleep.

Parenting can mean sacrificing time with loved ones, and time for yourself.



RELATIONSHIPS

I was one of the first in my friendship group to have a baby, so I have plenty of friends who don’t have children. You know the ones that will always say we should meet up soon, but cancel last minute. But even though that are shitty for cancelling I am so envious of what they get up to and never realised becoming a parent would mean giving up so much. I have swapped all the late nights for early mornings, the cocktails and dinner dates for copious amounts of tea and quick and easy dinners. Don't even get me started on my wardrobe changes from skinny jeans and blouses to mum leggings and baggy tees. But even when I do go out I'm pretty sure I bore people to death with all my baby talk and baby photo spam. Being a parent is the most joyous thing in the world. Whether you agree or not, your lifestyle does change with children and I have seen so many changes because of my little girl.

When my daughter was born we were overwhelmed with visitors. The first five days were completely crazy, I thought you were supposed to give new parents time to adjust, obviously some didn't get that memo. As lovely as it was to have guests, trying to entertain family and friends when you have just pushed out a little human being is very hard. I would find myself walking around very slowly for fear of making funny faces and funny noises if I tried to sit down, I just wanted to cry. But where did all these people go? No seriously. It seems once the baby was three months old these people vanished into thin air and now my daughter is lucky if she gets a birthday card!


Not once did I ever imagine my relationship with my husband would change after having our daughter. Yes sure, we knew that she would cause an upheaval in our life, and we would soon adjust but our relationship would always be the same. Thinking back now, I was pretty naïve in expecting that our lives and our relationship would simply go back to what it what before our baby, but it would be three times as fun. Becoming a family of three was tough, we struggled, we snapped at one another but we soon adapted to our new life as a family. Our relationship has changed, it's not the same at all - but we have a child to love and a family to build, so it's a small sacrifice to pay.

Parenting can mean sacrificing some relationships...

MY JOB

I have always worked. I never would have imagined becoming a stay at home mum and not returning to work. I was never going to be one of those mums who couldn't bare leaving their little one. But you know what? I am. I get to spend all day with my daughter and watch as much Peter Rabbit as I possible can. I do think that life can be funny like that, so whatever you do, never expect your life to go the way you planned. But now that my daughter is older and will be heading off to nursery, I feel now is the perfect time to get back into work. I am kind of glad that this is coming around because I do actually miss working, miss the adult conversation that doesn't focus on a child's poop pattern or answering all those annoyed 'why?' questions. However being a stay at home mother to my daughter has opened up new doors, that I would have imagined would have even be possible.

Parenting can mean sacrificing your career?




MY APPEARANCE

Before having my child I would always make sure that I had regular hair cuts, style my hair and never ever go without makeup. Now? The make-up free, no contacts, mum bun wearing is the look that I roll with. I'm not saying that I have let myself go or anything, Ok maybe a little, but you get my point.  Lovely clothes? Forget it! There really is no point in buying or wearing any blouses with all those beautiful embellishments, you know the ones you have to dry clean! As my little one likes to investigates, teeth, dribble or pull at them so why bother? If it dangles, sparkles or can be taken off...forget it...it can be snapped, broken, or stolen in seconds.

Parenting can mean sacrificing your appearance...



MY BODY

When I fell pregnant, I did not think about how a baby bump would affect my body. Normally women gain weight during pregnancy, I on the other hand lost weight and I can even remember telling my sister that being pregnant was great for weight loss, plus a bundle of joy, haha. There's no doubt about it, pregnancy changes a woman's body. It was strange to see my bump getting bigger, but losng weight, I hated the fact that my face filled out into three extra chins though. Even though the initial weight loss was great, my body lost its shape. Before having a baby I was more of a curvaceous woman that had a good sized proportion throughout, big boobs and bum and slighter smaller waist. But pregnancy has left me with, what can only be described as floppy bits. I hated this part of becoming a mum and even two years on, I still hate my body because of those bits. I don't resent my baby because of it, because well my body helped my baby grow but I have to learn to love those bits, floppy or not.

Parenting means sacrificing your body...


BUT WITH ALL THIS SACRIFICE...
  
Motherhood isn't always easy, and it's not always fun. There are some days filled with non-stop laughter and others I could break down in tears. There are days I never leave the house and days where I get no sleep. But every day is worth it and everyday is precious. So even though it may look like all you do is sacrifice they are all worthwhile because someone looks up to you, someone depend son you and someone loves you more than anything. To some you can just be a part of their world, however to your children, you are their world.

THE BABY FEEDING SERIES WITH THE FOXFAIRIES PART 2

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Hello and welcome back to another instalment of The Baby Feeding Series, that features real stories from real parents who have experienced how hard and baffling feeding your baby can be. I want this series to be a place where parents can share their own experiences in the hopes that other parents who are struggling can feel less alone. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but it's one of the most rewarding jobs too and so I want to share their stories.

I'm very excited to say that this week for The Baby Feeding Series we have the lovely Haley from The Foxfairies guest posting for us again to share another part to feeding her twins for this series, thank you Haley for kindly offering to share your post.

Expressing And Feeding Twins At The Same Time (Part 2)


Following on from my last post, I was open minded about how I was going to feed our twins. I had the intention of expressing so that others could also have the joy of helping to feed, whilst still giving them nutritious breast milk. However, I was realistic in the fact that feeding two babies solely on breast milk was not going to be an easy and straightforward option.

A friend advised me to pump very regularly and for long periods of time to get my body used to the demand of milk. I was trying to feed two mouths after all. So I started pumping after every bottle feed (which was every 2-3 hours) for half an hour at a time (even if I could only pump milk for 20 minutes, I would still continue to express for the full half an hour). Even writing that now makes me feel exhausted. I was very native to how tiring expressing would be. After every pumping session I felt like I had endured a mini marathon with two Dyson hoovers attached to me. Glamorous.



As time went on, I could see the amount of breast milk increasing every few days. At the peak of expressing each baby would only need one feed of formula and the rest would be breast milk (very proud Mumma). The one down side I found with this routine was I was constantly feeding, either physically giving the babies their bottles or expressing. I was a glorified, exhausted cow.

How To Feed And Express Simultaneously

I was challenged with a conundrum. I wanted to try and figure out a way that I could be more efficient with my time so that I didn’t have to spend all of my waking hours (which happened to be all day and all night) feeding and expressing. I thought to myself: when I am feeding the babies, does it not make sense to pump at the same time…?

Was I joking? No. Was I mad? Possibly a tiny bit. Impossible? Not at all.

It was more about timing and organisation. I set up my own breast pumping pack so that everything was organised and ready to use for each expressing session:



My breast pumping pack included:

*Medela swing maxi double breast pump

*Hands-free expressing bra

*Mama Mio Keep Calm nipple balm

*Kitchen roll paper for any spills / to wipe up as you detach the pumps

So this was how I successfully pumped and fed the twins at the same time (if you are going to try this, just to reassure you that this was not successful straight away. It took many attempts, a lot of wasted milk and numerous words of frustration, before I could do this effectively. Don’t be disheartened if it is not successful straight away, practise makes perfect).

*Have the breast pump set up and ready to use

*When it is almost time to feed your baby, put the hands-free breast pump bra on

*Prepare baby bottles ready to feed

*Put babies in curved cushions, attach the breast pumps to your bra, start pumping and feed babies at the same time

*Once you have finished feeding the babies, wind them, detach the pumps and store your milk in breast milk bags (A little tip: ALWAYS remember to use nibble balm straight after each pumping session to keep your nipples moisturised and sore-free)

Once I got the hang of it, this was the routine that I followed for every feed. In truth, I felt like super mum. I had worked out how to simultaneously express and feed the twins, which meant I could gain a little bit of my own time back (which, to be honest, was spent cleaning, bathing, food shopping, doing the laundry etc etc etc…but it was my time nonetheless).

However, after 2 months of feeding the babies on breast milk, I had to make the tough decision to move onto full time formula feeding.


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About Haley
Originally from Devon, Haley and her husband Pete relocated to London four years ago. Having worked in Education for over ten years, a stickler for organisation and now a twin mama, Haley blogs to capture their Foxfairy adventures.
You can find Haley over at The Foxfairies
Don't forget to go and find her social media platforms and give her a little like or follow
TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST

A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER ON HER FIRST DAY AT NURSERY

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It's absolute madness that today I will officially become a 'school run mum'. Today, my beautiful daughter will mark a big milestone in her life and start nursery for the first time. In fact if I'm being completely honest I am not entirely ready and this little post has been in my drafts for some time because I didn't want to post it, as it would become more real. I feel that ever since she turned three, life has been crazy and time flies doesn’t it when you least want it to. Suddenly it’s the end of Summer and the forms are all filled in and she’s ready to go and I want to cry my heart out. And actually I have done…on more than one occasion. Even when I received a very thoughtful welcome pack over the summer, I cried like a baby, I know as I write this that I’m being completely and utterly daft. Starting nursery is the beginning of a new exciting stage in my daughter's life. But I can't help but think it's the end of an era with feelings of sadness and anxiety, which I think are inevitable. 


If I actually sit and think about it, I know that she will be absolutely fine. I have met some of the keys workers and the nursery leader who are so friendly and the nursery has fantastic facilities. Plus, my sister's little girl will be in the same session as my little girl, and they play together frequently so it’s not like she won’t know anyone at all. I know deep down that this is the best thing for her, it's time to let her become her own person, and become a social butterfly. And because this moment will never come again, here are a few words I wanted to say to her on her first day at nursery...



To my beautiful little girl,

It's the end of summer and those mornings at play groups, on play dates, playing with toys, baking sweet treats are longer no more. Now our mornings will consist of getting up, rushing to get you your breakfast, into your uniform and out the door before 8.30 and I can't help but feel a little sad. In that, it feels like it's the end of something special, but at the same time I am looking forward to all the new exciting things that we will be able to talk about. It's bittersweet.


Ever since you made your entrance into the world, we've been together, we've been together every waking moment from the second you were born. Holding you, guiding you, comforting you, playing with you, and even teaching you a thing or two. So, I guess it's not really surprising that watching you disappear into a room of virtual strangers is enough to fill me with doubt. When you look back to read this I want you to know that you were ready for nursery. You were so excited. You even loved to tell complete strangers that you would be starting nursery because you're a big girl. You were so happy and excited but your only concern was me. You would tell me not to worry and that you would be fine and that you'd be coming home soon. Yes, of course I know you were right and that it was only a few hours but you starting nursery was a bittersweet moment, I was excited for you, but I can't help but feel a little pinch inside....

As I am sat here thinking about I think that pinch inside is me feeling a little regretful. I regret those days when I became a shouty mum, and as I put your in room for a time out and left muttering 'Can it be September already?'. I regret those moments where I wished our time away, the late nights, the hours I would count down to bed time, the times where my patience had reached that peak and I couldn't handle another episode of Topsy and Tim! Or the times where I have told you to wait because I am busy doing something that could have clearly be done later. I regret that I didn't make the most of every single moment we had together for the past three years, I just didn't know how fast time would pass and even though some days are hard, I would give anything to be able to hold on to you for a moment longer. And yet here I am writing a letter to you on your first day of nursery...


What if you cry? How will you cope without me? What about if other children are mean to you? What if you cry and no one cuddles you? What about if you don't cry? I know that most parents who's little ones's are embarking on the same milestone as you are probably asking the same questions, but I know that you are far more resilient that I actually give you credit for. You're a ray of sunshine, I know that you will brighten that nursery room with your smiles, laughter and undoubtedly your sassiness. Please don't ever stop being you! I know deep down that you will cope with changes just fine, flourish even. I have absolutely no clue what I will do for those hours you're at nursery, most probably clock watching until I see you again.

As you walked away in your new pinafore and shiny new shoes into a room full of other excited faces, I cried. It's the end of something but the start of something quite special. A time where I will eagerly wait for you at the school gates wanting to know every detail of your day. Seeing your beautiful excited face as we try and look for one another in the gaggle of parents and other excited children. I can't wait to see the creative things you'll make. As I let go of your hand, wiped my tears away just know that I have every faith in you and that I am with you every step of the way. I hope that nursery school is everything that you want and more, and that you shine bright like all the stars in the sky. Love you always little lady!

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