Heidi and reflux

Reflux. This is something I had heard very little about before Heidi was born. I knew babies spit up, but I never expected it to get as bad as it did. Heidi was about a week old when we realised something wasn’t normal. She had been spitting up, a lot. And it was gradually getting worse and worse. But babies spit up right? So at first we didn’t think too much of it. She had been sleeping soundly in her basket, on her back for the first few days and suddenly, everytime we put her down, she became very very restless, arms shooting up in the air. She would eventually become so restless that in no time she was awake.

Getting any sleep at night was a total no go. I can’t even describe the tiredness we were experiencing. We were lucky if she slept for half an hour. And when she was asleep, we were scared to sleep because we could hear her spitting up and we were so scared she could choke. At this point, I was expressing into a bottle so we were taking it in turns getting up with her. Then during the day, we were giving each other opportunities to take naps. But when Gerard had to go back to work, it got so much harder. He did still help me at times during the night, but I felt bad that he had to go work in the morning so I insisted on taking most of the shifts myself. Of course then during the day, I had no one to help me. My family live an hour away, they came down as often as they could but with everyone having jobs/kids of their own, it was difficult to see them regularly. I had no offers of help during the weekdays. Everyone loves telling you to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’. Yeah, sure, I just won’t eat, I won’t go to the toilet, I won’t wash my face or change my underwear, or sit down for 10 minutes with a warm cup of tea! Heidis reflux was getting worse, so when i did find an opportunity to nap, of course, she wakened. It was no longer just little spit ups, it was being really sick. Sometimes she brought up entire feeds.

I got online to do some research. I found loads of tips on how to handle it such as, feeding her in a more upright position, holding her upright for at least 20 minutes after each feed and elevating her crib/mattress at one end. I tried all of these things and sometimes they helped, sometimes they didn’t. Day or night, everytime we put her down to sleep, I would have tears in my eyes, silently begging her to stay asleep. Getting a solid hour was a milestone in itself!!

I was ecstatic seeing Gerard coming through the door each day. He could take over for a while and let me nap. I loved my baby so much, but the tiredness had me so miserable and I remember looking at her sometimes feeling scared that I didn’t love her enough, as much as she deserved! I didn’t know if it was tiredness or if I was on the verge of post natal depression.

I started to notice that Heidi slept like a log when she was upright on my chest. So in desperation, I ‘slept’ like this for a couple of hours one night. I sat upright supported by pillows, and aware she was there, was too scared to drift into a deep sleep but it was just so nice to have a couple of hours where I could lightly doze and be undisturbed. There wasn’t a peep out of her the whole time. So for 3 or 4 nights in a row, when I got really desperate, I resorted to this, each time afterwards feeling so guilty for taking such a risk! It is drummed into you from the moment you get pregnant not to fall asleep with your baby but oh, my, God. When you are that desperate and exhausted, its hard not to feel the temptation pull you in. The guilt was too much however and I vowed not to do it again no matter how bad it got.

We purchased a bedside crib so that I could keep a closer eye on her. We elevated one end and for a night or 2 she actually slept pretty good and i thought it was really helping. But before long we were back to square one. I remember when I had had enough. One night Heidi had been sick so much, I had changed her babygrow and vest 4 times in an hour. I just couldn’t cope with this anymore. The wee pet was falling asleep, exhausted herself, but the moment I put her down she was sick. I was standing at her changing table, changing her again, crying my eyes out. This had been going on for 3-4 weeks. I was completely at my wits end. Why was nothing helping her? It didnt seem to be causing her pain like I had read some babies experienced. Being sick didn’t seem to annoy her too much but I felt so bad for her having to go through this and not getting peace to sleep herself. Gerard came in to take over and ushered me off to bed. I cried myself to sleep. Not that it took long.

In the morning, I rang my health visitor. It went to voicemail, so I left a message asking her to call me back and gave a brief reason for the call. Before I could even finish what I wanted to say I burst into tears. I was so embarassed and all I could think was, she is going to think I can’t cope and take my baby away!

I rang my GP and told the receptionist what was going on. A few twitter mums I had chatted to had mentioned medications that had helped their babies. I was hoping to avoid that path if possible but I had reached breaking point and I am sure Heidi had too. The receptionist sounded very sympathetic and assured me she would speak with the doctor as soon as he was free. She called me back an hour later and told me he had prescribed carobel. I didn’t even ask what it was I just thanked her a million times before hanging up. My mother in law picked it up for me and when I saw what it was and read the packet my heart sank. It was a powder to thicken the milk to make it harder for it to be brought up. That meant mixing it in a bottle. For anyone who hasn’t read my breastfeeding story, this was another big hurdle for us and I had been so happy with how things were going. I really didn’t want to go back to expressing for every feed. My health visitor called me back, asking if I was ok as I had sounded upset etc and assured me I had done the right thing phoning the GP. I felt stupid for not doing it sooner. Looking back now, why hadn’t I done it sooner? I hadn’t even thought to tell the GP receptionist I was breastfeeding and the doctor just assumed I was giving her formula. The health visitor helped me devise a pumping plan as she assured me the carobel was good. She also said Heidi might spread her feeds out a little since it would take longer to digest the milk. If it meant me getting a few decent nights sleep I was willing to try.

She found it strange at first going back to the bottle but soon got the hang of it. I noticed a difference with the carobel within a day. She definitely seemed to be keeping everything down. I had a stash of breastmilk in the freezer so this kept her going for a couple of days while I got back into a pumping routine. But I soon realised it wasn’t as easy as before. The last time I exclusively pumped Heidi was taking 2 or 3 oz feeds. Now she was needing 5-7 oz at a time! I couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t pump enough. I phoned my GP again and he advised me to feed it as a paste before each feed as advised on the packet. Have you ever tried spoon feeding paste to a 5 week old? It doesn’t work. And I wasn’t going to force feed it to her or struggle with it in public and during the night. So I asked for an appointment and went up.

He understood straight away why it wasn’t practical for breastfeeding and suggested omeprazole. I myself have used omeprazole in the pass and it had worked wonders on me so I was feeling quite excited to try this on her. He worked out how many mgs to give her each day according to her weight. I had to cut a tablet in 4, dissolve it in a little breastmilk and give it to her with a syringe. It was a bit fiddly at first but she soon got used to it and nowadays, shes like a little hamster licking water from its bottle!

After a few days we really started to notice a difference. She was still spitting up a little but nowhere near as often or as much and could be left on her back for a little longer than before, before becoming uncomfortable. And as time has gone on, her doseage has gone up with her weight. I like to give it to her in the evenings, about an hour before bedtime, to make sure her tummy is pretty settled before putting her down. There is an occasional night where I am putting her down and suddenly realise I have forgotten to give it to her. For a few days its noticeably worse again so we know it is definitely working for her! I have an alarm set on my phone now so I don’t forget either!

Our biggest success though in dealing with her reflux, (and please note, I am not telling anyone to try this, I am not a medical professional and I am not giving advice, I am simply telling my own experience), is tummy sleeping. As I had mentioned earlier, we noticed she slept great when sleeping on our chests. So during the day, I occasionally popped her down for a nap on her tummy and kept a close eye on her. She always slept so soundly! I couldn’t believe it. I had read that babies couldn’t choke if they spat up on their backs. One day I was changing Heidis nappy and the next thing I knew she was choking really bad and her face was bright red. I pulled her up quickly. It scared me and it scared her. She looked at me blankly before sobbing her heart out. It just made me more nervous at night and it happened on a couple of other occasions too.

My Mum suggested I try tummy sleeping at night, my sister and I were tummy sleepers and although she understands advice has changed over the years, that was the advice 30 years ago. I was so scared to though. If anything happened her I would never forgive myself. After a couple of weeks of observing her daytime naps though and seeing how good her neck control was and how she never lay on her face, one night we decided to give it a go. Of course, I barely slept. I was constantly checking on her, making sure she wasn’t on her face, if she was too still I poked her to make sure she was still breathing. She still got up for her night feeds but that was the best nights sleep she had had since she was born. So i kept going with it. Of course it meant I got little to no sleep, but I had become so used to it anyway. After a couple of weeks, a very generous friend gave me an angelcare movement monitor that she wasn’t using. The pad goes under the mattress and an alarm goes off if it doesn’t detect any movement for 15 seconds. Of course I still slept with one eye open at first, but as a little more time went on I became more trusting of the monitor and more confident in Heidi as a tummy sleeper. She has slept this way since she was about 10 weeks old and I now know what a half decent nights sleep is again. I do still check on her regularly, but fall right back to sleep again. Having the bedside crib makes it easy to check quickly and I can hear her breathing too which is so reassuring. The monitor is fantastic. Sometimes when i lift her for a feed I forget to switch it off and the alarm starts beeping so I know it definitely works! She is also rolling now so the more time goes on the happier we feel with our decision. Its not for everyone and I understand if anyone judges, I probably would too if Heidi was happy on her back.

We make sure we are being safe in every other aspect we can. No loose blankets (we prefer a sleeping bag), feet to the bottom, nothing in the crib with her, we keep a close eye on room temperature etc. This is the most open I have spoken about it. Sometimes I feel like a bad Mum and will be harshly judged if I talk about it but you know what? I will never forget the look on her face that first time she choked and I feel better knowing that if she is sick in her sleep, the only place its going is onto her sheet. I have also read several other blogs from Mums who have had similar experiences. After all, different things work for different people, different things work for different babies, and mum shaming is an awful thing.

For anyone with a reflux baby, please know it will get easier. You will find something that works for them and for you. And when you are up for the 15th time in the night changing yet another babygrow, it feels like you will never ever sleep again but you will. Speak to your doctor. Speak to your health visitor. There is help out there for your baby.


Heidi’s 4 month update

So its a little late. But on January 24th, Heidi turned 4 months old and even just saying it freaks me out! Its such a common thing you hear from parents, but time really does fly by!

This is definitely a really fun stage she is at! She is no longer our floppy little newborn. Shes a tiny little woman with loads of personality starting to shine through.


Heidi sleeps so well now (sorry to anyone not experiencing the same). She takes a massive feed at night so its normally around 10/10.30 before I actually get her into her crib. We are working on an earlier bedtime right now. But the little rascal is too nosey now and won’t sleep any earlier incase she misses something! Any tips here would be great! When she does go down though, she sleeps like a log until around 3.30/4am and after a fresh nappy and a feed, goes right back to sleep. She then usually sleeps until 7/8am before another feed and if we have nowhere to be, I let her sleep again until 9 or 10am somedays. I know this probably doesn’t help getting her to bed early so I haven’t been letting her do this as much, but it actually doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Once in a while she will sleep through until at least 7 before looking for a feed, but of course I don’t sleep any better as I wake up every hour to make sure shes still breathing (silly mum brain). Everyones favourite question is, “Is she sleeping all night for you?” When I say “Sometimes, but most nights shes up for a feed”, I instantly get these ‘oh poor you’ looks, “you must be exhausted. Have you tried a spoon of baby rice before bed?” Eeehhh….”Have you tried a spoon of minding your own *#@&* business??” You might think I’m mad, but I genuinely don’t mind the night feed. Shes not up screaming or crying, I lift her when she stirs so she doesn’t get a chance to be upset. Sometimes her dummy is all shes looking for but if not, then a quick feed and shes right back over. Compared to 2 months ago when our reflux baby was up every hour and had to have a clean babygrow several times a night due to being sick, we are extremely happy with how she is sleeping now.


The clusterfeeding has stopped! I repeat, the clusterfeeding…has stopped!!! Just suddenly out of nowhere it ended. And I felt like I had a little more of my sanity back. I no longer have to worry about leaving the house incase she decides she wants to feed for 2 hours. I am no longer glued to my sofa for 4 hours at night and when I am, its my choice, not because I am pinned down by a little human. As I said she takes a big feed at night which can be anywhere up to an hour but during the day she feeds for 20 mins or so every 3 hours, sometimes will go 4 hours. So its definitely easier for us both to get out more and to get things done.


She is definitely finding her voice and it is the cutest thing. A few weeks ago she was babbling constantly, telling stories and talking to anyone or anything that would listen, including her own hands! Then she discovered she could squeal, so for a solid week or 2, thats all she did! She would lay on the floor under her baby gym, and squeal in absolute delight at the funny bunny hanging over her head. Or if no one was looking at her (which is not very often), she would squeal for attention and then giggle in delight when you looked. Her latest thing is growling though. Yes, she growls. She does this low, gritty growl with her throat like shes trying to squeeze out the worlds biggest fart and does it until she coughs! This too is hilarious apparently.


Every toy and stuffed animal she has not only gets talked to, squealed at or growled at, but it gets eaten. Everything goes straight to the mouth. She likes to hold a toy, screech at it and then stuff it in her mouth like a little vampire and gurgles at the same time. Then she pulls it away, letting it believe the torment is over, before repeating it again! Florence the bunny and Edgar the cat have gone from being soft adoreable creatures, to being matted, battered lumps of fluff in the space of a few weeks. Shes getting really good now with her hand/eye coordination. Its not perfect but its really coming along. You can see her eyeing something up, her face all wrinkled like shes trying to work out a maths equation before the hand slowly extends. Sometimes on target, sometimes not. The sometimes not results in lots of frustrated shouting.


She has really grown to love tummy time. She used to hate it but for Christmas we got her a tummy time cushion and it was the best thing we could have possibly got her. As soon as we placed her on it, she was able to lift her head a lot easier because she had some support under her chest and suddenly the world was seen from a different angle and her little face said it all. The cushion has lots of little toys and tabs attached to encourage them to reach so it definitely helped her enjoy it more. I would highly recommend. We purchased this Little Einstein one from smyths and have nothing but good things to say about it. https://www.smythstoys.com/uk/en-gb/baby/infant-toys/baby-einstein-rhythm-of-the-reef-prop-pillow/p/136653?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7-_69rmO2QIVzb_tCh3RpwS3EAQYASABEgJdMvD_BwE

Now she doesn’t need the pillow, but it still makes for an interesting toy.


I was not expecting this for a long time yet, but we started to help her to roll over anytime we were doing tummy time. One day, around 15/16 weeks she was on her baby gym, I was sitting on the sofa and the next thing I saw the legs up in the air and she toppled over on to her side, and then slowly squirmed her way round onto her belly! I thought it must be a fluke. No way can she be rolling at just over 3 months! But she kept practicing and has now mastered it like a pro! I read babies tend to go front to back first but shes still working on this. Of course when she does roll, she looks up with a massive grin on her face, all delighted with herself and rightly so.

While on her tummy, she will scream at a toy and then slam her face into it and eat it while growling. I swear shes a vampire! Its the funniest, cutest thing!

She loves bathtime, a right little water baby. Especially when Daddy goes mad with the baby bubble bath and ‘swims’ her around the big girl tub! This is just the best fun ever!

She really has turned into such a fun wee person lately. She is very bright and happy all the time. She constantly smiles and giggles and just melts my heart 24/7 and is absolutely adored by everyone round her. I personally must spend a good 4 hours a day with tears in my eyes just staring at her and kissing her and telling her how beautiful she is! It won’t be long til shes wiping her kisses off and telling me to leave her alone for 5 minutes, so I’m making the most of it.

MUMPALS gift swap

What is MUMPALS?

Mumpals is a new gift swap community set up by the lovely Holly, @lovehollyxox on twitter. Every couple of months or so Holly will organise a secret santa type gift swap. Drawing names from a hat and letting all mums who have signed up, know who they are buying for. Each swap has a theme and it could be a gift for baby or a gift for Mum with a budget set. We all get introduced to other Mums on twitter and have a little fun choosing gifts for each other, as well as the excitement of receiving a gift for your own baby or yourself!

In January we had our first swap organised. Holly emailed everyone the details of who they had to buy for, with the theme being clothes and the budget being £20! You can get quite a lot for £20 when it comes to baby clothes so I was excited to go shopping! I don’t want to name the Mum I had to buy for as I’m not sure she has received her parcel yet so I don’t want to spoil it for her, but her little girl is just about a month older than mine so shopping for her felt easy and familiar!

Once I got the parcel off in the post (we are given a date for posting so we all receive our parcels around the same time), I was really hoping my chosen mum and her little one would like them ok. I also began wondering who might be buying for Heidi and looked forward to receiving our own parcel!

As it turns out, the lovely @caitylis was buying for Heidi. She included in the parcel a lovely note written on a paparchase postcard, welcoming me to the world of blogging (how sweet!!!) and the clothing was wrapped in beautiful tissue paper. Heidi received a white longsleeve tshirt with a gorgeous big rainbow on it and the slogan “Rainbows make me smile”. This was accompanied by the most adoreable matching jog bottoms with rainbows and clouds all over. So colourful! Shes quite small for her age so by the time they fit it will be getting closer to springtime which will be just perfect!

Also in the package was an adoreable pack of socks and the sweetest little dungaree dress ever! Navy cord with a bunny face on the front and a pink longsleeve tshirt underneath!

@Caitylis chose extremely well. If I had been shopping for Heidi myself these are definitely items I would have picked. Thank you very, very much!

If you think you might like to take part in mumpals, check out @MUMPALS on twitter or search #MUMPALS. I am already looking forward to our next swap!

The story of our memory bear

I never thought I would end up getting emotionally attached to baby clothes, but when Heidi was 10 weeks old and finally outgrew her newborn babygrows, I got so emotional! My tiny baby was getting big and as strange as it sounds, I was sad when i folded up all her little clothes and brought out the next size. I didn’t want to stick my favourites in a box and look at them once in a blue moon. I wanted to be reminded of those newborn days every day!

I came across @handmadeholly_ on twitter via other mums I follow. She makes memory bears out of clothing. I browsed the photographs of her work on instagram and I just thought they were beautiful! What a stunning way to preserve memories and display them to see everyday! So I contacted Holly and she was such a delight from day one.

We got digging through Heidis babygrows and picked out our favourites. The number one choice was obviously the babygrow she wore home from hospital. I couldn’t believe looking at it again how tiny it was, and it was massive on her when she came home! We had to actually buy some tiny baby clothing for our teeny 6lb baby!

After selecting a few other favourites, I popped along to the post office to get them sent off. I sent 4 babygrows in total. Holly was so lovely throughout and kept in touch evey step of the way. She let me know when they arrived safely, when she began to work on it, double checked details etc and before I knew it, she was sending me some sneak peek photographs of our bear! You can really see in her work that she doesn’t just think of them as clothes, she understands these are precious memories and takes such care, even returning any leftover fabric! I also ordered some hanging hearts to be made from the same fabric but one of those is an upcoming birthday gift so I don’t want to give away too much!

When our bear arrived in the post, I was so happy with it immediately. The design was beautiful, the finish was perfect and the shape of it was just gorgeous! We were so delighted and Heidis little smile said it all.

Its a little bit nerve racking to send off such precious memories to be cut up, but for anyone with any doubts, I can tell you, you won’t be disappointed. Your garments will be well looked after.

My plan is to get a memory bear made for every size of clothing and display them on a shelf in Heidis room. I will be reminded of all the different stages of her growing and of special memories every time I look at them! At 4 months old, she is still in 0-3 clothes, it will be a little while before i can order the next bear. But I am already thinking about which pieces I might want to treasure forever.

Holly did not ask me to write this. I simply wanted to share a lovely experience and a lovely way to treasure memories!!

My Breastfeeding Journey

All the way through my pregnancy, I knew I wanted to breastfeed for all the obvious reasons really; the health benefits for baby and myself, the bond it develops with baby, the convenience of not making up bottles in the middle of the night, the list goes on. But I I never once put myself under pressure to see it through nor get my hopes up that it would work out. I have a condition called Fibroadenosis, also known as Fibrocystic breast disease. Its nowhere near as awful as it sounds and is actually very common. Monthly hormonal changes causes cysts and lumps in the breasts. It can be very painful, some people experience no pain at all and there is nothing really that can help it. I was diagnosed with it at 16 and the only advice really given was to take evening primrose oil to help ease the symptoms. I never really found a difference when I took it so didn’t bother in the end.

At the time, breastfeeding didn’t even enter my mind. I was 16, had no intentions of having kids for a very very, very long time so therefore it didn’t concern me. As soon as I got pregnant however and started to think about breastfeeding, I was suddenly worried this could cause problems. It was a big question on my mind at our 12 week scan/booking appointment. The midwife basically said it caused problems for some women and for others it was absolutely fine. The only thing I could do would be to wait and see how it goes. So from there, I hoped I could breastfeed, but didn’t put any pressure on myself. Fed is best after all, right?

I knew of some other reasons breastfeeding may not be successful. The pain, mastitis, low milk supply, to name but a few. But the problems I encountered, I was not expecting.

My little girl is 17 weeks old today and I am so happy to report that I am still breastfeeding. However, what a challenge it has been. When Heidi was born, we immediately did skin to skin. Baby was laid on my chest and to my absolute amazement, started to wiggle her way across me towards my breast. How do they know to do this?? It really is incredible. She tried to latch, she really did, but it just wasn’t happening. The midwife assured me it was common to have a little wobble at first, that we would keep trying and she would get it. Now I must say, we received fantastic support from the midwives in the hospital. I had 4 or 5 different women in with me over the 24 hour period between Heidis arrival and us going home. But none of them could get her to latch. I was determined not to get frustrated. Patience was key I figured. So in the meantime, I hand expressed and fed my teeny tiny baby colostrum from a syringe, every few hours. The next morning, the midwife who had delivered Heidi came back on duty and was determined to get her latched before we went home. Still no luck. She was trying, she just couldn’t do it. This was the first time a tongue tie was suggested. Her little mouth was so tiny and she wasn’t being very cooperative so it was impossible to get a good look under her tongue. “I’ll phone Barbara”, declared the midwife. She is a breastfeeding specialist at another hospital. So she came back a little while later to tell us that we were simply to keep trying but in the meantime, as Heidi was only 6lb, the specialist advised us to top up with formula so she wouldn’t lose too much weight. So we combined the syringe and formula that day and headed home.

The next morning, we had our first home visit from a midwife. She too tried to get Heidi latched, still no luck. This time I was told to get pumping! I had been under the impression that you shouldn’t pump for the first few weeks until a good breastfeeding routine is established. However, this midwife made a very good point in telling me that was impossible, how would I get a good supply going if I couldn’t physically breastfeed my baby!  So I got pumping and wow, there was definitely no issues with my milk supply! So although it was a little disappointing that Heidi couldn’t latch, I was just glad that I could take her off the formula and feed her exclusively on breastmilk, even if it was from a bottle.

That whole first week we had a midwife out everyday to see how we were getting on with feeding and every one of them tried so hard to get Heidi latched. The support really was fantastic. We mentioned the possibility of a tongue tie to them all but no one could get a good look. The wee woman just wasn’t cooperating. One of the midwives passed my name and number to a breastfeeding support group and a lady got in touch with tips and advice, different holding positions to try etc but nothing was working. Luckily by the end of the first week, Heidi was only on 50-60mls every 3 hours and I was able to pump 100ml from each breast per sitting so I had a load of milk in the fridge and freezer to keep us going. Then when Heidi was 8 days old, the specialist from the hospital who had recommended topping up with formula, rang to see how we were getting on. When I explained everything she asked us to come over that afternoon to see her. So away we went, I was beginning to feel that this would be our last chance. Although I had plenty of milk, I was so exhausted and pumping all the time wasn’t easy. During the night, when we did get Heidi back to sleep, I would still have to stay up for a while to pump. It was starting to feel like I would never do anything else but sterilise bottles and pump! Luckily I have a very supportive husband who helped me as much as he possibly could.

So, we got to the hospital to see the specialist. She watched what Heidi and I were doing. I was holding her right, positioning was good, baby was trying her best but could not grab on. She tried different positions, pinching my breast etc, nothing. “Lets try a nipple shield”. I wasn’t sure what to expect here. I had seen them, I had even bought them but I hadn’t got a clue how to work with them. She showed me how to simply turn it slightly inside out to create a suction, pop it on and let it go. Like a bottle teet for your nipple! And guess what…Heidi grabbed on and started to feed! I got very emotional. Ok, she wasn’t latched on directly to me, but this was the closest we had got and it felt wonderful to know I myself was feeding her. Not that there is anything wrong with a bottle, we wouldn’t have got through that first week without them. But I was so happy I persevered! I had considered a couple of times just giving up but something in the back of my mind just wouldn’t let me and I really think it was all the support I was getting. Not just from the midwives etc but also from family and friends and especially my husband.

Before we left the hospital, the specialist managed to get a look at Heidis tongue and she confirmed our suspicions. A tongue tie! Not a severe one, but enough to make her tongue movement quite restricted. She told us about a quick procedure that a local dentist could do to fix it which would then hopefully help her latch on. Although she did also say that she could eventually strengthen her tongue enough to not need it and although she couldn’t say for certain, didn’t think it was severe enough to cause any problems with speech later on. So the big question for us was, do we want to put her through that for possibly nothing?

We decided to see how she would get on over the next week, but in the meantime I was just so excited to get using the nipple shields! When the midwife came the next morning I was delighted to tell her it had been almost 24 hours since Heidi had fed from a bottle. All her feeds were going great, she had taken to the nipple shields brilliantly. As the week went on, I kept using the shields and then half way through the feed would discreetly slip it off to see if she could latch on properly. Still no luck. So we eventually decided to go ahead with the tongue tie procedure. It was an extremely quick referall, the midwife referred us one day, the next day we had a call from the dentists surgery, and the day after that, I was taking her in for her appointment. Gerard had to go back to work at this point so I was taking her in alone. I was so nervous. I had been told it didn’t hurt them but how could it not? The dentist is basically using a pair of scissors to snip under her tongue!

When we were called, we were greeted by a very friendly man who reassured me it wasn’t as horrific as it seemed and Heidi would be just fine. He had a good look and confirmed that yes she did definitely have a tongue tie and although it was a grade 3 (grade 4 is the mildest, grade 1 the worst), it was enough to cause restrictions with her tongue movement. So I had to sit in the dentist chair, hold Heidi and try to keep her arms down while a dental nurse held her head still. She was extremely upset by this which broke my heart. I then saw the dentist get closer with an instrument resembling scissors at which point I looked away and braced myself. The next thing I knew Heidi was quiet and the dentist said that was it over. It literally took a few seconds and that was it. She was more upset at getting held than getting the actual procedure! I was so relieved. We were shown into a quiet room and the dentist told me to try feeding her straight away to stem any bleeding and to not give the wound a chance to close over again. She still needed to use the shield but he assured me this was very common as she would now need to get used to this new freedom with her tongue.

We did notice over the next few days her tongue was a lot more mobile and she seemed aware of this as suddenly she was sticking it out all the time, something she couldn’t do before, but still. no. latch. I was still receiving the odd phone call from different midwives, health visitors etc to see how it was going, honestly the support was unreal, and after a few weeks of still using the shields, another specialist came out to see us at the house. She tried and tried but no luck at all and basically said she reckoned Heidi had just gotten so used to using a teet between the bottles at the beginning and the shields, that she wasn’t honestly sure if I would ever get her off them. All I could do would be to keep trying.

Heidi has had terrible reflux since she was only a couple of weeks old. After finally getting settled with using the shields, my patience was tested once again. After another sleepless night thanks to her reflux, I rang the doctors to ask for something, anything, that would help calm it down for her. The receptionist rang me back a while later to tell me the doctor had prescribed carobel. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, carobel is a cow & gate powder which thickens the milk, making it harder for them to bring it back up again. I was so tired I didn’t question it and picked up the prescription. So I got it home and realised, this was not breastfeeding friendly. The box advised breastfed babies could be spoon fed it as a paste. Have you ever tried spoon feeding a 2 month old? No way could I do this before every single feed. So I got back on the phone to the doctors and was advised if she wouldn’t take it that way, the only other option would be to pump and mix the carobel in the bottle. So we were back to pumping. Back to bottles. Only now it was ten times harder because Heidi was taking bigger feeds.  So although she was sleeping better, I wasn’t because I was trying to pump between feeds to make sure there was enough milk for the next one and this was day and night! I couldn’t keep up. I used up the whole stash I had had in the freezer and couldn’t pump enough to keep up with a clusterfeeding baby! No one tells you in advance about the clusterfeeding do they?

Anyways, long story short, after a few days I rang the doctor back and asked to see him. The breastfeeding figures in Northern Ireland are so low he had just assumed I was formula feeding and that was why carobel had been prescribed. So i had gone through a nightmare few days for nothing! Omeprazole was prescribed, I could get back to breastfeeding and Heidis reflux settled down not too long after.

I was discussing all of this with my sister one day and how I would love to get rid of the shields when she said something no one else had said before. She didn’t know why I was fussing so much about not using them. If she had known about them herself, she probably wouldn’t have stopped breastfeeding in the first place. It was the first time I was stuck for words on the topic. She told me how the pain for her had been unbareable, how she had dreaded every feed, cried during every feed and in the end, mastitis had been the final straw and that was when she felt she couldn’t carry on. I suddenly realised, I had never experienced any of the pain, any of the discomfort that you hear so much about when it comes to breastfeeding. The bleeding nipples, the sore cracked skin, I have 3 tubes of nipple cream upstairs I have never had to use! Yes, I will admit, the shields can be annoying, especially when Heidi decides to mess around and pull it off when its full of milk and I have a soggy bra until I get home again! Yes, they are fiddly to use in public, especially when I’m trying to hold her, keep myself discreet and pop the shield on all at the same time. But I do wonder, is this the reason I have been able to feed pain free for so long?

It has helped me actually realise that theres no need to stress about it anymore. Yes ok, it may not be ideal, it may not be for everyone, it might be fiddly and awkward but you know what? Heidi is happy, well fed, I’m happy that shes exclusively breastfed and I am so happy that we have made it this far! 17 weeks is more than I ever thought I would achieve, especially when it just seemed so impossible at the beginning. I thought the Fibroadenosis would have caused me lots of problems but it hasn’t! If anything, I haven’t had any trouble with it at all, breastfeeding seems to have helped to calm it down. It also makes me wonder why nipple shields aren’t advised more when people are struggling? Even just to use them for a few days as a relief until your skin has a chance to heal. A friend of my sisters was also baffled when she heard I was using them. She had never heard of them and also said she probably wouldn’t have stopped if she had.

The only time I have really felt like giving up, was when Heidi went through clusterfeeding phases. I had never heard of this before. We had an antenatal class on breastfeeding, but knowing what I know now, they actually told us very little at that class. Almost all breastfeeding mums I have spoke to didn’t hear about clusterfeeding beforehand. There were days I thought I would never leave the house again. Times I thought I would never get off the sofa again. Moments when I thought I couldn’t fill my baby! Why wouldn’t she stop eating? I can’t do this!! I would stop enjoying breastfeeding completely. I would complain about it, someone would say, ‘don’t make yourself miserable, switch to formula, happy mum happy baby!’ And I admit, a couple of times it did enter my mind and I instantly felt guilty for it. Not because I disapprove of formula feeding. I don’t at all. I think I felt guilty just thinking about everything we had overcome! I had tried so hard to breastfeed, so many people had taken time to help us, I had pumped and pumped and pumped and tried so hard to succeed with latching etc. No way was I going to give up now!! I am so glad that I didn’t.

Anyone struggling with clusterfeeding please hear me when I say IT WILL END! It feels like it never will, but all of a sudden it does. My husband was extremely supportive. Heidi would clusterfeed between 5pm-11pm for days at a time and Gerard was there at my beck and call to make me tea, bring me food, chocolate, the tv remote, my phone, whatever I needed! And now, my beautiful daughter feeds every 3-4 hours for 20mins/half an hour tops. Her longest feed is at night before bed which can be anywhere up to an hour! All of a sudden I can leave the house again, I can feed her in public without worrying that we are going to be there forever.

Looking back at our journey over the past 4 months, I feel like we have conquered Everest! I realise now that I have serious determination and must be as stubborn as they come because if someone had told me how difficult that was all going to be, I may not have tried at all! I am so lucky to have gotten such amazing support from all the health professionals, friends and family. I know that isn’t the case for everyone which is such a shame! We are constantly told ‘breast is best’ and yet some areas have no support whatsoever. I am so happy that I stuck with it because there is nothing more magical to me than cuddling up with my little one and half through her feed, she pauses to look up at me with the biggest, sweetest smile on her beautiful little face. I still don’t put pressure on myself to continue however. I had initially set myself a goal of making it to 3 weeks, then 6 weeks, then Christmas. Then I said I would love to make it to 6 months and if I make it that far I might aim for a whole year! But anything could change at any time so I am just taking it one day at a time.

After all, FED IS BEST.

My Birth Story

Wow, I have thought about writing my birth story a lot lately. Reliving it all in my head, it feels like a million years ago in some ways, but it also just feels like yesterday! Its crazy how everything changes overnight when you have a baby. Everyone told me, as soon as you meet your little one, all the pain and craziness of labour just instantly melts away. And that is so true. Let me start from the beginning…

My due date was Friday, the 22nd September 2017. We had a check up appointment that afternoon so Gerard finished work early to come with me. My father in law was terminally ill, and we didn’t know how much longer he had, so we were very keen for this baby to make an appearance so he could meet her. Our appointment was all fine, blood pressure, heartbeat etc all excellent. Brilliant news! But I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed when they weren’t willing to do a sweep unless I went a few days over. Don’t get me wrong, I know its better for baby to come when its good and ready, but I figured since I was full term, it wouldn’t do any harm. We were just really hoping to make my FIL a Grandad and I was also getting worried that Gerard would end up having to choose between his Dads funeral and being at the hospital with me. We were just gonna have to let nature take its course. The midwife booked us in for a sweep the following Thursday just in case. We left the hospital and went for lunch, our last outing as just the two of us.

We live about an hour away from my family and my Mum was keen to be at the hospital with us, so she came up that night to stay. I couldn’t help but laugh in a way because I was convinced the weekend would pass and I would go into labour as soon as she went home. But she came anyway and that night, we stayed up til 3am chatting. When I announced I was going to bed, Mum and Gerard tried to convince me to stay up a little longer but I had a feeling I was going to need my sleep, as my tummy had been feeling a little dodgy. Saturday morning came, thank goodness Gerard doesn’t work weekends, and around 9.15 I woke really suddenly and didn’t know why. Then I felt a strange ‘pop’ and felt a trickle on my leg. I jumped out of bed and ran like John Wayne to the bathroom. Gerard’s shouting “Whats wrong?”, and I’m like “Uhhhhh, I think my waters broke!!” In he comes, “Are you sure?”. I stood up and to spare the gory details, “Yes, I’m sure”.

I waddled my way downstairs, my Mum all tucked up on the sofa. I told her the news, much to her excitement and I got on the phone to the MLU. They told me to come on over for an assessment. I told my Mum I was going to get my make up on. “Laura, you’re having a baby, I don’t think you need make up”. But of course it was going to be a loooooooong day! I might as well not look like shit for some of it!

My MIL drove us over, me sitting on a bin bag of course. It had been about an hour since my waters broke and I felt my first twinge. We got to the hospital, we were greeted by a very friendly nurse who brought us into the assessment room and wasted no time offering us tea and toast while we waited for a midwife! Of course none of us had had time for breakfast so this was music to our ears! The tea and toast went down a treat and about 20 minutes later, a midwife came in, apologising for keeping us waiting. Apparently everyone in the unit had decided to give birth at the same time! All the necessary checks took place, they confirmed my waters had in fact broke, not that I needed confirmation as if this wasn’t the case, I was having serious bladder failure! They advised me to go home again and just go with the flow for as long as possible, maybe take a bath and try to rest as much as possible to reserve my energy. They asked me to come back at 9pm, approximately 12 hours after my waters broke, if things weren’t moving along quicker than this, just so they could check me over as I would be at risk of infection. They also booked me into the Royal Hospital for induction at 9am the next morning incase things didn’t happen naturally. Although the Royal is a stones throw from our house, I had my heart set on delivering my baby in the MLU at another hospital as we would have our own private room for the entire length of our stay and a sofa bed for my husband to stay with me, including overnight. We could have visitors anytime we wanted, our own private bathroom and a birthing pool in each room! There was also extra little comforts like a tv, an iphone dock etc, little things to help us feel at home.

We headed back home and the day was spent just trying to relax, my sister drove down to be with us, and it wasn’t long before my contractions really started to kick in. For the entire afternoon they were about 10 minutes apart and I was feeling them all in my back. I couldn’t really get peace to sleep so I just lazed about and did as little as possible, bouncing on my birthing ball from time to time. Dinner time approached and we ordered a chinese, I wanted a good feed before the long night ahead and by this point things were starting to get more intense. I had only been feeling the contractions in my back up until this point, but now it felt like the pain was everywhere. Gerard ran me a bath to see if it would help and although I didn’t have a solid birth plan in place, I did know that I wanted a water birth, so I was keen to see how this felt. In I got and before very long my contractions started to come closer together and more intense. It got to the stage where I wanted out, I didn’t like that I couldn’t move around much. I figured the pool would be better because there would be more space to move.

9pm came and we arrived back at the MLU with bags in hand just incase they kept me in. I was kind of hoping by now that they would just because the thought of trailing all the way home again just to come back later seemed like too much of a chore. The bath had also sped things up a bit! So we were once again brought into the assessment room and of course while waiting for a midwife, my contractions slowed down again. I was getting frustrated. I just wanted to get on with things! They checked me over and were happy that there was no infection and agreed to let me stay for a while to see if things picked up again. It didn’t. The contractions were still too inconsistent. They gave me some painkillers and convinced me I would be comfortable at home as I still had a long night ahead of me. I was advised to get some sleep (easy to say when you’re not in agonising pain every 7-10 minutes) and I was given 2 more painkillers to take around 2am.

We got back home around 11.00pm and my sister had to leave us and make the hour long journey back home. She had 2 boys of her own to get home to and had work the next day. Once she left, I decided to go up to bed and try to get some sort of sleep. I figured the painkillers might kick in hard enough to let me. Oh how wrong was I. Gerard and I weren’t laying down half an hour when suddenly, it was like someone flicked a switch! I thought the contractions were getting bad before. This was next level! I was on all fours rocking back and forth. I asked Gerard the time, it was almost midnight. The realisation that it was another 2 hours before I could take the next 2 painkillers was torture. About 15 minutes later I couldn’t take it. Gerard phoned the MLU and they told us to come back up. Neither Gerard nor my Mum drive and at such a late hour I didn’t want to bother anyone so we phoned for a taxi. He got there fast but talked about his cats the whole way there! Really dude??

The midwife greeted us at the door and said they had reckoned I wouldn’t be back until about 4am! Once again we were took into the assessment room to be checked over while they got me a room ready. My contractions were about 5 minutes apart now and coming consistently.

We were soon taken down to our delivery room. It was so lovely. I was delighted my hopes of giving birth here were becoming a reality. From here, time seemed to disappear. I was just completely in the zone, my own world, I had no idea what time it was. My mum got comfy in a chair in the corner, I was brought in a birthing ball and a sling which was very comfortable and Gerard began taking selfies of us with bedpans on his head! I know, when I tell that part of the story most women start saying things like, oh typical man, messing around while you’re doing all the hard work! Gerard is not a typical man, we have a very easy going relationship and a sense of humour is a big part of our house! I appreciated the laugh. Although I did ask him a few weeks beforehand to chose his moments wisely when labour came.

Like I said, time no longer existed to me but I’m guessing an hour or 2 passed, and I decided I needed something else to help with the pain. So the midwife got me set up with gas and air. At first I didn’t really feel a difference, I was waiting for the contraction to really kick in before taking it as opposed to taking it as soon as I felt it coming. I soon got the hang of it and it really did bring some relief! Of course, Gerard had a few blasts when the midwife left the room and had to agree it was quite good! So another couple of hours passed I think and the gas and air just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I wanted to get into the pool. So I got changed and was feeling slightly out of it by now due to sheer exhaustion. I had been awake for probably around 20 hours and had only had 6 hours sleep the night before that. That doesn’t sound too bad but when you’re in labour, its a different story! The midwife kept asking me if I wanted to change in the bathroom and I made some wise ass joke about how I had great tits thanks to my Mum so I didn’t need to hide them. That brought a lot of laughter and my poor Mum was mortified. I still blame the exhaustion!

I got into the pool and at first it felt fantastic. But just like before at home, in the bath, something just went into overdrive. My contractions were suddenly coming at a terrifying rate. The pain was worse than I ever imagined it could be. Gerard now compares it to a seal splashing around in a tub. What a lovely picture. I can’t explain how much the heat of the water had such an effect on me. I was suddenly getting this crazy urge to push and was making noises like I was possessed despite my determination to be quiet and calm. I finally broke. I began to cry and begged for more pain relief. I couldn’t cope. Straight away my midwife, who was absolutely fantastic, pointed at me and said “No Laura, do not lose control or you won’t get it back again!” Its crazy how much those words calmed me down. I knew she was right and I didn’t want my baby coming into the world thinking her mother was a banshee. I later learned my Mum had been behind me silently crying and the midwife had had a very concerned look on her face. I got out of the pool and the midwife examined me. 4cm….. What? 4cm? Are you kidding me? Straight away I asked for more pain relief. Screw the pool, it wasn’t for me, just give me whatever you have! So I agreed to a diamorphine injection. Within half an hour I really felt the effects. What a relief. For a while.

More time passed and before I knew it, my midwifes shift was ending and another one was taking over. I was gutted at first as this lady had been incredible but it turned out the new one was every bit as good if not better! As my midwife was leaving she promised she would see me on her next shift. Over the next couple of hours I was changing positions on the bed, kneeling on the floor, walking around, not once letting go of my gas and air and before I knew it they were telling me it was time to push. So i started to push. And push. And push. Nothing was happening. I don’t know if it was exhaustion or what, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get this baby out. I was on the floor, I was on the bed, I was standing, I was squatting, I was kneeling, I tried everything. Another midwife came in to help out and it was suggested that I try emptying my bladder incase it was full and making it hard for the babys head to move down. So a little trolley was brought in for my gas and air so I could take it with me and there I was, on the toilet mid labour. Gerard was on the floor holding my hands telling me how amazing I was doing. The midwife popped her head in and suggested we stay there for a few contractions because apparently sitting at that particular angle can help! So there I was, pushing away with every contraction begging Gerard not to let me give birth on a toilet.

Thank goodness we made it back to the bed, still no baby and things kept going the same. After pushing for 2 hours, my midwife broke the news that they thought I was going to need more help and they would have to ring for an ambulance to take me to the Royal Hospital, if there was no baby in the next 10 minutes. Desperation struck, I tried so hard but I could not get this baby out! The next thing I knew the midwife was telling me they had let me now push for 2 hours 30 minutes and that they really did have to go and ring for an ambulance now. So while one of them did that, the other started putting a needle in my wrist to prepare me for a drip. I think. I wasn’t really listening to her explain what it was for.

I was laying there feeling defeated. Feeling so disappointed in myself that I couldn’t do this alone, I had come so far, been there all night long and I was going to need help. I felt like a failure. And suddenly, I just refused to let it happen that way. I felt another contraction coming and I insisted I was not getting in that ambulance. Despite being beyond exhausted, I somehow found strength inside of me that I never knew existed. I squeezed Gerards hand so hard he thought it was going to snap and yet when we try to recreate it now, I can’t squeeze anywhere near as hard as I did in that moment. I had 2 midwives and Gerard, pushing my knees up as high as they could, my Mum standing at my shoulder, everyone shouting GO GO GO!!!! Again it wasn’t enough. Suddenly the midwife ordered silence. She explained that my babys heartbeat was dropping drastically and that I had to focus as hard as I possibly could and get this baby out! I was strangely calm. In that instant I just knew that panicking was only going to make things worse. This was my baby and only I could fix this. I pushed until I thought I was going to explode. And all of a sudden, one of the midwives said “Look at that head of hair”! Gerard followed this up with “THERE’S AN EAR!!!” And her head was out! I barely paused for breath before I pushed again determined to just get this finished! I pushed again and suddenly it was over. Instantly the pain disappeared and all I could hear was the loudest set of lungs I had ever heard in my life. Heidi was here and she wasn’t afraid to tell the world! Gerard was crying, I was crying, my Mum was crying. The second I laid eyes on Heidi I loved her with my entire soul. I could not believe how perfect she was. When the time of birth was announced as 12.49pm, Sunday 24th September I was shocked! I thought it was about 5am and it was only then I realised it was daylight. Its crazy how everything else just melts away around you and all you focus on is bringing your baby into the world. She was 6lb exactly and the most perfect thing I had ever laid my eyes on. I was ecstatic she was healthy, I had given birth where I wanted and everything had worked out. The ambulance was sent away.

It had been almost 28 hours since my water had broken so they had to keep me in for a minimum of 12 hours for observation. This was taking us up to almost 1am so we agreed I would stay in overnight. I was absolutely fine with this. As first time parents, we wanted all the support we could get before heading home. She was so tiny and I would have been scared to take her home any sooner. We had a few visitors that day, Gerards Mum, his Aunt and cousin, and my Dad and his girlfriend. But everyone was more than considerate and didn’t hang around long. I was so tired I didn’t even know if I was saying my words out loud at one point or just imagining them. The midwife that was on nightshift stuck to her word and came to see me when she came in that evening, all smiles and congratulating us. We had fantastic support in terms of breastfeeding etc, and I ate tea and toast until it was coming out of my ears!! In fact, my first photo with Heidi about 30 mins after she was born, I have a slice of toast in my hand!

Looking back, its crazy how it all seems so fast in the grand scheme of things but yet at the time, it all feels like its never going to end. And yet I would relive it all in a heartbeat, just to hold her again for the very first time.

Welcome to my story

Hi! Thanks so much for visiting my blog. As you can see, I am new here, and new to blogging in fact! Its something I never really paid much attention to. But when I got pregnant, I found myself googling, A LOT! I would be surprised if there were any pregnant ladies nowadays who didn’t hop on Google every single time some question or query popped into mind. Anyhow, as I ended up down many Google rabbit holes, I suddenly noticed all of these blogs everywhere. I had heard of blogging, sure, but like I said, I never really paid much attention. Suddenly, I was reading all these lovely stories and articles written by like minded folks like myself. Not professional writers. But everyday, honest, real Mums/fellow pregnant ladies. It was so comforting to read about other peoples experiences, to see that I wasn’t alone in all of this, and that a lot of my concerns were in fact, completely normal!

I have had a Twitter account for years,  but never really grasped how to work it or found anyone to follow other than celebrities. Celebrities who usually ended up being tossers in real life, so I would unfollow them. Reading blogs encouraged me to get back on Twitter and really figure out how to use it. I was never the type of person who cared that much about social media. I knew what hashtags were but never explored them. Once I started to, I found loads of bloggers and other Mums all over the place! It was nice to connect with other people. Don’t get me wrong, I have a fantastic, supportive family and a select few, very close friends. But none of them were pregnant when I was. So chatting with other Mums/Mums-to-be on Twitter etc, was just lovely! Their experiences helped! I picked up tips, empathised, laughed and I feel like I made some friends.

So I started thinking, maybe I could give blogging a go! The reason? Since becoming pregnant, I have experienced things I never thought I would have to deal with. Not just the usual everyday pregnancy/parenting things, but other stuff on the side, that made all the stuff I was expecting, that little bit more challenging. I hope, with this blog, that some of MY experiences, can bring a little bit of comfort to other people. And to help me make sense of a lot stuff too.

Before I dive in though, I wanted to introduce myself a little. Most of what I am about to say, is in my ‘About me’ section, but I’ll go into a little more detail here.

So, my name is Laura. I am 30 years old and I live in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I earn my living as a driving instructor (random, I know) and I also attempt to make Jewellery. I met my husband Gerard when I was 17. I have played guitar since I was 13, a big heavy metal fan, and started playing in bands at 16. Gerard, a guitarist and vocalist, played in bands too! And this is what brought us together. We are now together almost 13 years and married just over 2. We have a cat called She-ra. We got her when she was 7 months old and is now 12, so she has been with us, pretty much our whole relationship. Then in September last year, we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Heidi. And oh, how life has changed, in the most amazing ways.


Throughout my pregnancy, Gerards Dad was terminally ill. So a lot of my pregnancy was spent trying to keep myself relaxed, not letting myself get stressed or upset, but also trying to find a balance to support my husband and mother in law. He passed away when Heidi was just 6 weeks old. In ways this was amazing because we weren’t expecting he would meet her at all. We were all delighted that he did. But in other ways, coping with grief and a newborn, was not the easiest in the world to juggle, nor was it how I pictured starting motherhood. And of course, for Gerard, not how he pictured becoming a Father himself. This is one of many things I plan to blog about. I never managed to find anyone who could relate to my experience. So I think writing it all down will be good!

On a happier note, I have been breastfeeding for 15 weeks and counting! I am so delighted with this. I have a mild case of Fibroadenosis, so from day one, I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to breastfeed. It was just a case of wait and see. This was the only thing that concerned me with breastfeeding, so when other problems arose, things I hadn’t even considered could happen, needless to say I was surprised.

I hope I haven’t rambled on too much. I wanted to give a little insight into what you can expect soon with my blog and hopefully you feel like you know me a little better. And of course, I can’t wait to sit down and write my birth story. Until then, thanks for stopping by.

Laura X