last stages of pregnancy

Braxton hicks are false contractions that are experienced by pretty much every pregnant women at some point during their pregnancy, they feel like the real thing but they are not, they are simply preparation / a practice run.

What do Braxton Hicks feel like?

Signs that you’re experiencing Braxton Hicks: usually they make you feel uncomfortable, they are not painful. The time intervals between each contraction are irregular (can occur every few minutes.) and can last for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Not every woman will experience them.

The differences: Braxton hicks vs real contractions?

Braxton hicks contractions may feel like an uncomfortable tightening sensation but are not as painful as true labor contractions. Labor contractions come at regular time intervals and get stronger over time. Becoming, closer together, more painful and more intense.

When can you experience Braxton hicks?

You could experience these practice contractions as early as the second trimester, (around 20 weeks pregnant.) However, they are more common in the third trimester.

What causes Braxton hicks contractions?

Triggers include dehydration, fetal movement, and more.

Why are they called Braxton hicks?

They are called Braxton hicks because the English doctor that studied them was called: ‘John Braxton Hicks’.

My experience with these contractions

I went all the way to the hospital thinking that I was in labor. However, I was sent home as it was just Braxton hicks that I was experiencing. I had to come back around 24 hours later when I was experiencing the real thing. I don’t regret going to the hospital beforehand though, at least their I was in safe hands. If I was to ‘not want to waste their time’ I could have stayed at home. Just staying at home, my waters could have broken, and I could have set myself up for an infection or all sorts of complications. My advice to you is that if you are having contractions and you are unsure.

For me when I had these practice contractions, I didn’t know that they weren’t real. This is because I didn’t have them during my first pregnancy. I only experienced it during the first early stages of induction with my second born. From around 30 weeks, I had regular ‘Braxton hicks’. 

Thinking it was a sign of early labor but it surely wasn’t! These tightenings simply felt as if the baby was sticking its body parts out of my belly for a few seconds. Which as you could imagine, it felt quite uncomfortable. They can take your breath away, but it’s all-natural. Here you are at 36 weeks pregnant, waddling everywhere you walk, tired, excited, and emotional. What should you be doing now in the later stages of pregnancy?

The benefits of rest during pregnancy

You should rest as much as possible in this stage of pregnancy, this is so that your body can prepare for the labor and birth of your baby. You can get the much-deserved sleep that you will most likely not have for a while after having your baby. Your body will have gone through so so much growing your tiny little poppy seed into a huge watermelon. You deserve to lay on the sofa, put your feet up, watch some soaps or your favourite TV programs. If you feel like a nap then take a nap, this is your time to get as much sleep and rest as possible.

The benefits of yoga during pregnancy

Later on in pregnancy during the last few weeks, you may discover pregnancy yoga. I did this when I was around 32 weeks pregnant. You can connect with your baby and your body on another level, you will have a trained yoga teacher who will only make you do poses you are comfortable with. Yoga can help you to make other mummy friends, bond more with your unborn child, it can help relieve back pains or other body pains that are a complaint during the later stages of pregnancy. It can help calm your nerves if you have a planned C-section, induction, etc.

I found yoga really relieved my back pain and pelvic pressure it was a great experience, as well as I, met another pregnant mother who had done pregnancy yoga from around 20 weeks.

Pack your hospital bag

You are nearly there, nearly full-term which means your baby could make an appearance any day! How exciting! Most pregnant women will pack theirs and their baby’s hospital bag at around 36 weeks. You will need a few pairs of knickers if not a pack! As after having a baby you will bleed a lot, even after a C-section.

Period pads, breast pads, 2-3 changes of clothes, snacks, comfy shoes/socks and some things to keep you entertained. You may be at the hospital for a while especially if you are in for an induction. If this is the case then I would recommend you bring a few more changes of clothes, toothbrush, hairbrush, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

For your baby. You will need 10 nappies, 1 packet of cotton balls, nappy cream, 4-5 baby grows, 3-4 under grows, mittens, car seat, formula milk, and bottle (if not breastfeeding) a hat and a small blanket for comfort.

hospital bag checklist

The hospital bag checklist for mum should include all of the following. These are just the basics and you may want to bring a few other home comforts to the hospital as well, just in case you have to stay for longer than expected. Let’s take a look at what you will need to pack.

1. Snacks

snacks for labour

This is pretty self-explanatory but you shouldn’t skip this. Food and drinks are always important for energy. More so, spending lots of time in the hospital can be extremely boring, my happiest times were when people came to visit me, as they had brought lots of snacks with them. It helped me not worry as much about everything and to focus on the tasty snacks instead.

2. Magazines or books

magazines to read in hospital

This is again simply because hospitals can be extremely boring. Not to mention that you will be sitting around waiting a lot of the time. A nice book can really combat the boring waiting feeling, the magazine that I took with me was mainly because of the crosswords, quizzes and trivial things inside that kept me entertained.

3. Maternity pads

maternity pads

These are needed because after you have had your little one. it is likely that you will be bleeding, a lot. Some hospitals will supply them but not all, so it is best to have your own just in case. Remember that babies come at their own time, so expect a long wait.

Pregnancy is hard enough without the stress of worrying about leaks  To help you through each stage of your pregnancy, we offer maternity pads for women. Suitable for prenatal and postnatal stages, this pack has a total of 30 pads for you to use. They’re designed to be extra long and cushioned to provide you with protection and comfort throughout your day to day life. Each pad is also kind to delicate skin, being made of super soft materials that will not cause any irritation or discomfort when used. The materials used are fragrance free and can be easily disposed of after use.

Due to their comfort, they can also be used at night and whilst you sleep if you have any worries. Should you need them for use at the hospital, you can also pack some in your hospital bag (or leave them with your partner) for use when required. These maxi pads with wings can also be used immediately after birth to give you that extra peace of mind and confidence whilst you rest. Available to individuals located in the UK, you can buy these maternity pads directly through Amazon. They have received many great reviews due to their comfort and ease of use.

4. Clothing

Have at least 3 days worth of clothing so that you can get changed after using the shower facilities. That’s if they have show facilities of course. Also, you don’t know how long you will have to stay in for as it depends on the situation, having a baby can be unpredictable at times. A dressing gown is used by many mums-to-be and mums for comfort when staying at a place that is different from home.

Whilst it is optional after you’ve had the baby you will be so happy that you brought it with you. When they are crying on the mother and baby ward, you will most likely walk around in your dressing gown. This is perfect for trying to help them soothe. Comfortable knickers are to be packed due to the fact that everything down there will be a bit sore and sensitive.

5. Breast pads

breast pads

You will need these because of your milk supply. It will come through a few days after you have had your newborn. Your breasts may leak milk, and if you do not want all of your tops getting wet these are a must.

6. Shampoo

faith in nature shampoo

 

Shampoo so that you can wash your hair if you have to stay in longer than expected. After a couple of nights in the hospital, you will want to try to feel good about yourself.

7. Toothbrush & paste

tooth paste and brush

Toothbrush, and paste is a must have, after one day of not brushing your teeth, it can make your mouth feel horrible. If you have to stay overnight, without toothpaste, you will want to leave. Don’t forget to take these things with you when you go into labour. You should pack them in a suitcase or large bag one month before your due date as babies can come at any time.

Get the last of the baby bits

It is such an exciting and nerve-racking time waiting for your baby to arrive. Making sure you have everything can be stressful. By around 36 weeks pregnant you need to make sure you have everything you need. Make sure certain items are set up ready for baby or are on its way to your home. Your Moses basket should be set up, baby clothes put away nicely ready for you to grab when your baby needs a change of clothing.

It should be set up somewhere easy to get to for nappy changing. You do not need a cot or cot bed until the baby is around 6 months so you do not need to hurry to get one just yet. Baby pram/buggy is essential if you are not going to be using a carrier so you can get out and about with your baby.

What will I need for my baby?

Checklist for the baby should include at least 5 baby grows and under-grows. Pre-made infant formula milk if you are planning to not breastfeed. Plenty of Muslins to wipe babies milky mouth. Breast pads for when your milk comes in. If you have a preferred type of baby bottle you can bring these into the hospital with you.

A dummy is completely optional. Some parents choose to as it can help them soothe their crying baby and it can also prevent cot death. Cotton wool should be used to clean their bum in the early days. This is because commercial wipes can contain harsh chemicals and newborn babies skin is very sensitive.

Pack essentials for the season

Hospitals can be quite cold, so I would recommend bringing a few hats, and hand mittens as the baby can scratch their face. Also, baby booties can be helpful. Jackets and snowsuits depending on the time of year. You should have nappies however it is likely that the hospital will provide them during your stay. But to save them providing them for a long period of time pack some of your own choices. Newborns go through around 12 nappies a day so I recommend you buy a few packs.

A breathable blanket to keep baby warm and safe. Most hospitals do provide a blanket but they have to be left at the hospital for other newborns so bring one that you can wrap them in for leaving the hospital. The last item is the most important, the staff will not let you leave without a car seat.

This can be brought to the hospital when you go into labour. Alternatively, you can have someone take it to you on the day that you are leaving. This is probably the best choice as it is less to have with you, making travel a little easier. It is a good idea to check through your baby hospital bag before you leave to make sure nothing is forgotten as you could be in the hospital for up to a few weeks depending on the birth situation such as having a cesarian section.

Food preparation

When you and your partner bring home your new baby the last thing you want to be doing is cooking. So you may end up buying take away foods that are not nutritional enough especially if you will be breastfeeding baby. Preparing dinners and freezing them in bags or freezer-safe dishes can be very beneficial to you and your partner. Having healthy snacks that will boost energy such as raw fruit, veg and crackers can be helpful also.

Good meals to make and freeze

  • Lasagne
  • Beef cannelloni
  • Shepherds pie
  • Butternut squash soup
  • Tomato soup
  • Chicken and vegetable soup
  • Curry

Antenatal classes

Something I wish I had taken part in when pregnant is antenatal classes. My midwife went on at me every week telling me which ones I could attend, yet I ignored them. I didn’t attend one class, so I didn’t know what to expect from labor other than what I had seen on tv birth programs. When I developed pre-eclampsia at 36 weeks pregnant,  I was in and out of the hospital. I didn’t know much about the condition and I would have known more if I had attended the classes.

10 Tips for a new mum

1. Sleep when baby sleeps

mum and baby asleep

When you have a baby your body goes through so many hormonal changes and when it comes to delivery that can happen at any time. Not everyone is ready for it. After you’ve given birth in hospital it can be uncomfortable and you will want to be home as soon as possible. Your will want your routine back, but everything changes. Enjoy your stay at the hospital because the midwives are there to help and support with any questions before you leave.

When you do get to take your little one home, you may feel more relaxed as your in your usual surroundings, your own bath, toilet, kitchen and your own bed! But night feeds and day feeds do get the better of you and you will feel your awake more than asleep, but the baby sleeps whenever the feel like it. Put down that washing, leave the washing up and get into bed, when your baby has a nap, you have a nap! Don’t worry about chores, meeting with people, having visitors, that can all wait, after all a tired mummy isn’t fun!

2. Accept help

Don’t be a proud mum and think your superwoman, if you need to sleep or take time for you, accept it when a midwife or family or even friend offer to come round and help. Everyone wants to make you happy and who doesn’t want a cuddle with a baby? My family were quite helpful, most of the Time they did just want a cuddle from the baby, but a lot of the time they would take her off my hands so I could just go to the toilet or wash up or sterilize bottles. Being a new mum is not easy, nobody said it was and if they did they’re lying.

Also asking for help is good. I called my friend who I’ve known for years and asked if she would watch the baby whilst I did shopping. That gave me such freedom I went out and done shopping without a baby attached to me or crying in the buggy. I feel I didn’t ask for enough help and I was offered it enough. But I thought I could do it just me and my partner but we were both exhausted a lot of the time.

3. Do baby groups

The one thing I regret not doing with my first born is baby groups. My partner worked full time at a local retail shop. He would sometimes work from 5am till 11pm I would be sat alone with my new baby all day long. Just sat there waiting the hours, with nothing to do but clean bottles, feed, pump, change nappies and repeat. I had no social interactions other than family members coming and going every so often to see the baby while she was still a baby! Friends and family could see I was suffering from anxiety as a mother especially not knowing what to expect from it at all! Even though my whole life since I could remember I wanted a baby and that was it.

When my lovely health visitor came to see me she kept on at me to come to her baby groups she ran but the more I stayed in the more I would be too anxious to leave my flat. I eventually got the courage to go to one of her groups with my daughter when she was 9 months old! It was lovely, there were other mothers just like me who felt how I did, but due to me living in a different area to all the other mothers I didn’t make any long term friends which is what I needed. When I had my son I was better with going out, we had moved to a more secure area and my partner stopped work to help me raise two under two. When my daughter started nursery I tried and tried going to different baby groups and it made me feel so much better than going home with my son and letting him play alone, I got to know some other mums that I now see on the school run to have a good old chat.

4. Look after yourself

As a new mum your main priority is going to be that beautiful baby you’ve made. I gave up on making an effort to brush my hair and paint my nails. Being so tired from night feeds and didn’t care for myself. I wish I did because my mental health maybe wouldn’t have suffered as much as it did. Its no lie that all new mums get a little touch of the baby blues but some more than others get it worse with debilitating anxiety to accompany it. Sometimes you have to put YOU first!

Have a bath, wash your hair, do what makes you feel good! Ask family or a babysitter for a break, you deserve time and space to make your life happy.

5. Socialize 

As I said before, go to baby groups! Or if that doesn’t suit you visit your mum, or aunt or old best friend. Being alone when you have a new baby can be such a lovely time but lonely as well. Try going to a new cafe or a local park. There is always single or stay at home mums and dads to chat to. There’s always someone in the same boat as you! Have a night out with a friend or family, get someone you trust to watch the baby and let your hair down, meet new people and have fun chatting all night long instead of changing nappy after nappy.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I started an adult learning course for maths as it was something I failed time and time again at school and college, I met loads of other mums who had slightly older children I was the only pregnant one. I passed just after having my baby girl, I wish that I had stuck to it and done level two. But my anxiety was playing up before each lesson I stopped. But I still see some of the mums now and they are friends for life.

6. Be honest

Honesty is the best policy, if your not feeling 100% talk to someone. Weather its a friend, family, health visitor, midwife or doctor. I was offered medication when my daughter was just 6 weeks old. I refused and tried to get over my mental health problems myself. Others may find they help but I’ve done CBT and counselling instead and it has helped me soo much to get out of the house more. And even to start driving lessons again which I was petrified of.

Never hide how you really feel. Talking to a professional can really help, I find just talking about what I’m going through helps relieve negative thoughts and feeling that sometimes come. We all have good and bad days but never ignore your negative thoughts, don’t worry about someone taking your baby because of being honest about how you feel, as long as you are able to accept help and have supportive family nothing will happen to you or your baby.

7. Treat yourself

woman shopping

Want that new dress you’ve been seeing every day for the past week? Get it! Wanting your hair and nails done to feel better about your appearance? Do it! 
If you are not feeling good in yourself, it shows, treating yourself now and again is no trouble at all. Making an effort to just get out of the house and brush your hair can be hard. Ask a family member to watch the baby for a night. You and a friend can go out and be ‘normal’ for a night or you and your partner could just chill and sleep and catch up on well needed rest?

8. Build a Routine

You may hear this A LOT but, routine is key! Getting out everyday for fresh air with the baby helps break up your day. Go for a coffee with a friend and some other babies for your little one to interact with. Make it a weekly thing so you have something planed. Setting up a bedtime routine first will be the best beginning of you getting your life back on track.

Most babies around 3-4 months can start having a good sleep routine, some earlier and some later. Having a bath, bottle/breast, cuddle, story and some lullabies before bed sets your baby up for the best and fullest night sleep!  Without a routine you and your baby may experience stress and anxiety. As you are both un aware or what will happen next, you may get bored, lonely and depressed. Teaching your baby day and night time also helps them develop a sense of routine. Some parents don’t take their newborns out for a while because of being tired, nervous and cooped up. But, taking baby out in the day and getting plenty of sunshine on you both helps them be a calmer more grounded baby. Having it darker in the bedroom when its bedtime lets them realize that it is nighttime.

9. Your body won't bounce back

mum tum

After you become a mum your body changes. It has gone through months and months of growing a tiny little human. Then giving birth puts your body through so much trauma! Don’t expect that straight after you have your baby that you will just bounce back to the old you. You will have a bump or loose skin for at least 6 weeks. Don’t be doing too much vigorous exercise, your baby needs you. Don’t worry if your hair is falling out, its totally normal because of all your hormones. You will find that down below doesn’t quite feel the same. Don’t rush into having sex again straight away as it can be painful. After around 6 weeks depending on the labor and birth you had, you can start to do some yoga, and brisk walking if you feel like it.

10. Breastfeeding is hard work

breastfeeding problems

If you do decide to breast-feed your newborn, hats off to you! Some women take to it like a duck to water. Others struggle in fact for the majority of new mums it is one of the hardest part of having your baby. Your nipples will be sore, of course they will because you have never let a baby suckle on them before.

Your milk will come in eventually. Normally at day 3 the colostrum turns into actual liquid gold for your baby.  Your breast will hurt but the key is to keep feeding your baby on demand. And they will demand your boobies a lot. Make sure you have time to feed your baby. Don’t make so many plans in the first 6 weeks. Bond with your newborn and feed when your baby needs feeding. If you are struggling with latching you can contact a local midwife, health visitor, doctor or a lactation consultant. If you feel like giving up, you’re tired and feel its not working, keep trying. You can do it. It’s the hardest thing but you will get through it and believe me it’s the best thing.

Bonding with your baby knowing that you can keep them alive by feeding them with something your body is naturally making for them is an incredible feeling. These are the most common problems with breastfeeding, not to worry though. Each problem has its very own solution.

Tongue-tied

This is a problem that occurs at birth that prevents the tongue from being able to move freely. It is when the frenulum underneath the tongue is too small. Symptoms will vary but usually, the baby will have problems regarding trying to feed. Whilst it can improve on its own after your baby reaches the age of 2-3 years old, it can be treated by cutting the frenulum. This treatment is known as a frenectomy.

Nipple confusion

This occurs when you are trying to breastfeed but have introduced a bottle and/or dummy. As the baby can easily adapt to the large size of the teat of a bottle, it can make it difficult going back to the breast. If you would like to successfully breastfeed, you should avoid using a bottle or dummy for the first six weeks. If they have already been introduced, you should discontinue in order to have the best chance of continuing. Check out this article for tips on ditching the dummy.

I never heard of it nipple confusion, until I had my daughter. When I decided to bottle and breastfeed my daughter she got upset every time I tried to breastfeed. A bottle is much easier for their mouths to adjust to, but going back to the breast when they are only just starting out with feeding can cause confusion and a very stressed baby. I would recommend you don’t bottle-feed your baby until at least they are in a good routine of breastfeeding and know how to latch properly and comfortably.  If your baby won’t take to the breast after bottle feeding, keep trying you will get there!

Not latching

As feeding is a new thing for your baby and you, it may be difficult to figure out a position that is comfortable and is suitable for you both. This could improve as you get used to each other, but other things that can help is asking a midwife or lactation consultant for some tips as they have lots of experiences and knowledge regarding breastfeeding.

Low milk supply

When your baby is firstborn, it is very common that your breast will not produce a sufficient amount of milk. However, regular feeds as well as expressing will help your milk flow come through at a better rate that will suit your baby’s needs. Avoid using formula milk to feed your baby as this will likely affect your supply as your body will only produce how much milk your baby is drinking. If you are worried that your baby is not getting enough, you should contact your health visitor or midwife and they will be able to check your baby’s weight for concern.

We’ve all been there, being told by a midwife that “there’s no such thing as not enough milk.” That is true in a way, but if you’re not feeding every time your baby demands it. Your breasts simply won’t produce the amount of milk needed.

How to improve my low milk supply?

Make sure to avoid using a dummy, feed as much as you can to get that milk in. Soon enough you’ll have enough supply to even keep some in the fridge. Things that can bring your supply on more is oats, fenugreek capsules, spinach, garlic, sesame seeds, etc. Make sure that when your feeding use both sides, this will increase the milk and encourage it to come in both sides rather than just the one, no one wants a lopsided breast! Your baby will choose a favourite breast, but don’t let that stop you from switching it up.

Don’t use formula milk this will only stop you from getting the amount you need in. Lastly, make sure you’re comfortable with this. If you feel forced into feeding your baby because of other mums. Don’t beat yourself up, its not the end of the world if you don’t want to breastfeed. Some people feel pressured and it slows down the healing proses from birth and stops you bonding with your infant. If you want to bottle feed, bottle feed if you want to breastfeed but need help don’t be afraid to ask it!

Sore nipples

Almost every woman when breastfeeding at some point will experience sore or cracked nipples and there are many things that you can do. Such as use a nipple cream, avoid a poor-latch, try nipple shields. If all else fails, many women tend to like using savoy cabbage leaves which have been known to naturally cool and reduce pain. A hot compress could also be beneficial, especially if there is any type of inflammation.

My experience with breastfeeding

Through my whole pregnancy, I wished to breastfeed my baby girl, I never considered using a bottle. When the day came that she was born 12.58am after an 8-hour labour and pre-eclampsia issues. I was knackered. The midwives and nurses left me alone with my baby to sleep, shower, and bond. Soon the time came that they encouraged me to feed her. She was a tiny baby only 5 pounds 12oz, I was so scared that I would drop her!

The midwife helped her latch, but it wasn’t as easy as my friends and family had told me. Was I not good enough for my baby? Do I not have the strength to feed her properly? All horrid thoughts rushed through my head. Because of the pre-eclampsia issues. I had to stay in for a few days with my baby girl. Which was fine as it gave me more time to bond and try get to grips with feeding. My partner came to visit me, and so did all of his family on the same day.

Trying to breastfeed for a first time mum in front of my in-laws was not fun or successful. They left after a few cuddles and a little bit of chit chat. So that I and my partner could try to get our daughter to feed properly.

Breastfeeding without support

With the midwives help and the lactation consultant, I got her to have a few suckles and she latched. We were sent home the next day. After a tough night of not getting her to latch and me being exhausted, they let me take her home and try in the comfort of my own living space.

When we got home it was so surreal. My daughter was three days old and was slightly yellow. It was only mild Jaundice and my midwife said the breast milk would help. After 4 days of trying and trying she was not getting enough, I worried everyone would judge me especially other mums. But my baby girl had bottles instead, it was still bottles of my breast milk, we didn’t formula feed her until she was around 2 weeks old when my milk stopped coming through as much.

16 months later I gave birth to a baby boy and successfully breastfed him for two weeks, the only reason I stopped was due to the stress of moving house and having a toddler that needed my full attention. I would happily have another baby and breastfeed and not formula feed at all.

The best breastfeeding positions

mum feeding baby

My favourite position is the rugby hold (clutch position) so that you can relax without moving into different angles. Here is a step by step for you to achieve this position.

  1. Sitting in a chair or bed upright, grab a pillow for your back and a pillow for under your arm for baby to happily lay next to you.
  2. Choose which breast you would like to feed on
  3. Place your baby on the pillow, hip to hip. (ideally in just a nappy and you without a top for skin to skin)
  4. Whilst supporting the baby’s neck with your hand, level baby’s nose with your nipple and guide them onto your breast so they can latch when ready.

Laying on your side is great if your night breastfeeding in bed, or if you have had a tough delivery such as a cesarean section. You should start by getting into a comfortable position on your side depending on which breast you want to feed from.

Have your baby’s hips facing you, tummy to tummy! (Again with skin to skin this really helps have a good feed.) You could place some pillows behind you for support as you could be there for a while. You can then use your free arm to support your baby, whilst putting them into a good position with the breast.

The cradle-hold feeding position

This is a good all round position. This is mostly what you will be doing after having your baby at the hospital. You can do it sitting up in bed, feeding chair or sofa. To get started you will need to lay your baby across your lap with or without a feeding pillow. (These can be purchased at any parenting store or online.)

Make sure to remove any tight clothing from you and baby, maintaining that skin to skin contact. Have your baby, by the position of the breast you would like to feed on. Have your baby’s lower arm under yours for comfort. Then make sure their ears, shoulders and hips are in a straight line.

Why breastfeeding is the best

The perfect food

Breast vs bottle? It’s no secret that breastfeeding is better than a bottle for your baby in terms of nutrition. Mothers breast milk is a perfectly complete food. Providing all-natural vitamins and minerals, even antibodies that will help out the immune system.

Breast is best but this is not too say that bottle feeding is bad? Some women cannot breastfeed due to medical conditions.  Long ago when formula milk was invented it did, in fact, save many babies lives. It is considered a healthy alternative, providing babies with what they need to grow.

What formula milk to buy?

Whilst it is no secret that breastfeeding is best as it does provide all the nutrients that your baby needs. Sometimes a mother may not be able to produce enough milk. The baby may not be able to drink from the nipple, or the mum just may not want to breastfeed. Most formula milks are made the same way formula milk is considered a complete food, that is the best alternative to breastmilk.

Let's discuss the four main types of formula milk and when you would need them. It’s also advised that once you’ve chosen a brand that you shouldn’t switch between because they are all made slightly different and this could give baby an upset tummy and could even give them diarrhoea.

Cow’s milk formula

SMA baby milk 

Most bottle fed babies will be given cow’s milk formula because it has the right balance of nutrients making the formula easier to digest. Babies usually do well on cow’s milk formula, however some babies can be allergic to the proteins in the cows milk. The proteins are called: casein and whey. Babies can also be allergic to the sugar in cow’s milk which is known as lactose, the allergy is called lactose intolerance. If they suffer from any allergy to the cow’s milk they will may need another type of formula.

Goat’s based formula

You may be wondering why goats milk-based formula. The simple answer is because it contain more naturally occurring nutrients. For example, goats milk in comparison to cow’s milk has 46% more vitamin A, 33% more magnesium, 37% more Vitamin C, 10% more calcium which means that overall there is less need for artificial ingredients to improve the nutritional value. Whilst goats milk is not suitable for someone with lactose intolerance, it does contain a lot less.

If you directly compare goats milk and cows milk, you will find that goats milk is the healthier option, and whilst that comes at a slight cost, your babies health is much more important. If your baby has an allergy to the proteins found in cows milk, goats milk should not be given as it contains very similar protein compounds and could cause harm.

Hydrolysed protein formula

Hydrolysed protein formula is the closest in size to breast milk, which makes it easier to digest whilst still teaching babies stomach and intestines how to handle protein. Research suggests that infants fed hydrolysed protein formula are less likely to develop atopic diseases such as eczema. The hydrolysed formula is usually a good choice if your baby suffers from colic, or stomach upset a lot.

Soya based formula

soya milk for babys

Soy formula is safe for most healthy babies and is just as nutritious as other types of formula, it is the most beneficial for vegan families and babies who have an allergy to other milk proteins or lactose. Common side effects of soya based formula include constipation, abdominal pain and nausea.

All these kinds of milk above are all nutritional made to a standard of vitamins and whilst ingredients will vary, they are pretty much made equally. Hospitals in the UK tend to use Aptamil as their option but only you can decide what is right for your baby. Through my own experience, my firstborn daughter was completely fine on cow-based formula milk but my second-born son was not.

Lactose intolerance

When my son was a baby, the formula milk just didn’t agree with him. It would constantly make him sick and it turned out that he was lactose intolerant.

The negatives of formula milk

The downsides of infant formula are that it can have some side effects due to the proteins found in cows milk. Infants can have an allergy which can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, skin rash, and wheezing. My son was breastfed for 2 weeks, which had to stop due to a low supply. He consumed breastmilk completely fine and when we switched to formula, he struggled.

He would be sick after each feed, regurgitating most of it back up, we tried switching and tried other kinds but they had the same effect on him. At 6 months, we introduced weaning so that we could cut down his bottles and still get him the nutrition that he needed. At around 11 months (earlier than recommended, but as our health visitor recommended.) Instead of switching him to full-fat cows milk, we switched him to organic soy and oat milk which stopped his sickness.

After doctors appointments and seeing our health visitor, it turned out that he was lactose intolerant. We all cut out dairy and now he is a healthy two-year-old. If you can breastfeed, it’s recommended to do it until they are 12 months or for as long as you can! What is better breast vs bottle? Well, breast wins first place for sure, but the second place option is still good.

What to expect from your newborn

Congratulations, You’re a parent! How exciting. Well, it’s pretty scary if you ask the majority of new mums and dads. The first week is so so surreal especially if you get to bring home your bundle of joy straight away! what to expect from a baby in the first few weeks?

Really in the simplest form, don’t expect anything other than making bottles, sleeping when their not drinking or pooping or burping. Newborns are a dream! Well, that’s if you get any sleep in the first week haha. Some people’s newborns may be great sleepers but most do wake every 2-3 or maybe 4 for a feed or cuddle or nappy change.

Having a newborn can be very daunting at first then your used to sleeping at least a good 8 hours at night and having no responsibilities other than your own personal lifestyle. But it all changes when that gorgeous little human being is brought into your lives. In the first few weeks just give your baby plenty of snuggles, keep them close to your skin as it can be very weird for newborns not being in the womb as you would expect it is dark, noise is muffled and now they are fully exposed to the world keep them safe and close to your heart.

Your Baby At 6 Weeks Old

What to expect from the doctor’s checkup?

At the 6-week mark, you will expect to be going for your doctor’s check-up. This will be for both mother and baby. The doctor will check your baby’s hips, leg joints, check for any signs of rash/irritation anywhere. Checking eye movements, reflexes to check everything is within normal development. It is common to be asked if they are cooing/gurgling/smiling/laughing etc.

You will be asked how you are feeling in mental health, do be honest and speak up if there is anything at all bothering you, they’re there to help and not judge you, it is completely normal to not feel 100% as a new mum, it can be a lonely time especially if your partner has gone to work most days and your left alone with baby.  You may expect to have babies hearing tested if not already done at the hospital if you have any concerns in your baby well being and health do not hesitate to tell your general practitioner as they can advise further.

Tips to develop your baby

At around 6-8 weeks your baby will start to be awake more in the day, if not don’t worry they are all different! Tummy time is key at this time, it strengthens their neck muscles, it helps them learn to push up with their arms, lay a soft blanket on the floor (or another safe place) and place some toys around the baby.

Give them plenty of encouragement as they will sometimes feel distressed, don’t do it if they’re due a bottle or have just had one, avoid doing it when they’re tired as it will just not be a nice experience for you both! Black and white toys help baby develop through senses in their eyesight, most babies are only able to see black, white, red and yellow as they are bright/bold colours so using toys and books this colour will help them and they will be able to see a little better than other colours.

Have a stroll/walk, babies love the outside, even if they’re asleep the whole time! It is great for you both to get some fresh air. Taking them in the sling/carrier is a lovely idea as your bonding at the same time as getting clean fresh air and excessive. The sounds of the birds, buses, cars, people help develop babies’ senses of hearing so make sure they always get out at least once a day!

Bond with your baby, even at 6 weeks it is still important for regular skin to skin. Especially if you are breastfeeding, taking baths together, plenty of cuddles and most of all talking to them! They start to coo at this age and may even smile so get the camera at the ready as this is one of the most fun times! It will make you well up big time!

The 6-week growth spurt

Yes, that’s right, you heard it! Your baby will be hungry. They will probably grow out of their first size baby suits now. So it’s time to open up a new pair. They will demand more milk as their little brains are working harder. So get that milk in! If you are breastfeeding expect cluster feeding around now.

They also may want to be sleeping more often as growing is hard work. 6 Weeks is a favourite development time they start to coo at me.  My heart melted it made me not want to put her down. The pure love you get just from a little person and their smile! Ahh, those days I will cherish forever.

Talking to her was just heaven, she smiled, she gurgled, she cooed, she was just perfection. Enjoy every moment with your precious ones. Because before you know it they’re a teenager or Threenager (three-year-old acting like a teenager) like I’ve got now. That talks back to me like a proper teenager yet she’s got another 10 years haha.

Breast feeding essentials to help you.

Breast Milk Storage Bag Pouches (50 Pack)

milk bags

To use, simply express the breast milk using your lansinoh breast pump, whilst the bag is connected to the pump the milk will drip directly into the bag you will find at the start of breast feeding you will produce so much milk so keep these pouches everywere, if you have decided to not breast feed but would still like to give your baby breast milk this is the perfect soloution you can pour the milk directly into a sterilizes bottle. 

These amazing bags come with a ziploc which is a double zipper for a super secure seal ensuring your breast milk will be safe and secure in the fridge or freezer. They are also BPA Free meaning your breast milk will be kept safe and clean without harmful plastics getting in which you dont want going into your babies body. 

Unfortunately breast milk storage bags are not reusable as they are previously pre-sterilised. However you can buy many many ziplock breast milk storage bags in bulk for cheap online.

Do they expire? 

Breast milk can last up to 6 months in a home freezer but after this it will expire and will need chucking away. Otherwise you could potentially harm your baby with gone off breast milk. Also if your freezer is to break down you will need to make sure the milk is consumed or chucked away within a few days to avoid unwanted bacteria growth. 

How to thaw breast milk?

To thaw breast milk simply put the pouch of expressed milk into your fridge and within 12 hours it will be fully thawed and read for baby to drink. Or if it is a warm day it can be left out near a window for a few hours. 

Medela Single Electric Breast Pump

breast pump

Every woman after giving birth begins to produce breast milk. This is the best liquid to give your newborn other than formula milk. Electric breast pumps are the best pumps to help you get the best start in breastfeeding. This medela breast pump is an award-winning pump in being comfortable and very easy to use. Nobody wants a large battery breast pump that they cannot use out in public places. But this one is the smallest and lightest electrical pump made yet. This means you can store in your handbag and take it anywhere with you.

The swing breast pump can be powered by mains or used with batteries. This is to ensure flexibility for use at home or on the go! It pumps in the same motion that a newborn baby does. So that you can get more and more milk out faster. Meaning that it pumps more breast milk in one sitting. The electric breast pump can fit in just one hand, you can also switch between two phases and vacuum levels depending on how fast you need your breast milk.

I found this breast pump extremely helpful as I was having some difficulties with latching my daughter on the breast, I used this pump to collect my milk so she could drink that from a bottle instead. Breast milk in my opinion and many others is the best drink for your baby having all of the antibodies and nutrients that are ideal for your little one. If you had your baby prematurely the hospital will recommend you use these pumps in the breastfeeding section to get breast milk for your baby, they would much prefer that you give them your milk instead of formula as breast milk will give them the best start and help them grow at a good pace.

Women’s Maternity Nursing Bra

breast feeding bras

This nursing bra guarantees safety, support and comfort. The style of the bra keeps you feeling sophisticated and elegant and of course sexy, as well as being able to feed your newborn happily and with ease. These bras are properly adjustable to add support on your shoulders and adjustable back strap to accommodate to your fluctuating breasts casing relief of your back. Being 80% cotton making it more breathable to avoid too much unwanted sweating. They are suitable for pregnancy as your breast grow and become fuller, nursing and postpartum.

This breastfeeding bra set comes with 12 washable reusable breast pads that are 100% leak proof. These breast pads are eco-friendly as one-time-use ones end up going into landfill and in turn not helping anyone environmentally. These bras are commonly used for sleeping for extra comfort and support and easily accessible during the night to feed your baby. It also comes with a washable laundry bag to fill and wash the breast pads for complete cleanliness. Racerback straps offer more support for your neck, back and shoulders as you feed your baby regularly.

Breastfeeding bras are a dream! I found them so helpful, especially being out and about with your newborn and being new to breastfeeding. Nursing bras offer you discrete feeding out in public so you feel comfortable to give your baby a feed at any time they want. This bra, in particular, offers you great support, breathable fabric and they look beautiful on. They support your ever-growing bust during your breastfeeding time. No one wants to feel over exposed, with this bra you can unclip the breast side that you require whilst the other is covered, and when you need to you can just pop the breast back away using the bra clip.

Grey Feeding Pillow

breast feeding pillow

 

This baby breastfeeding nursing pillow is available in a range of different colours and designs. Our breastfeeding pillow is perfect for feeding time with your baby. Made using a 100% cotton cover. Our nursing pillow is specially designed for comfort for you and your baby whether you are breastfeeding or taking a rest. For most new mothers, breastfeeding is a crucial aspect of your baby’s early development. It is a process that takes time to master. Our pillow can help both you and your baby during this process. Whilst ensuring that you are both as comfortable as possible.

Additionally, to make things easier for you. Our 100% cotton cover can be removed for ease of cleaning. Breastfeeding can at times, be a messy experience, often getting your clothes messy. Instead, your pillow can take any mess then its cover can simply be washed to allow for an easy experience. The Pillow is used from the moment your baby starts breastfeeding. With its high-quality materials lasting until you have stopped breastfeeding your baby. Making it a fantastic investment for your baby’s early years.

Is a feeding pillow essential?

The pillow itself is not essential for breastfeeding. However, it can make the whole process better for you and your baby. Being simple and easy to use, it can provide comfort for your baby. Whilst also allowing you to rest should you feel tired at any point, after all, raising a baby is a tiring experience.

One benefit of using a pillow is that it securely holds your baby in a comfortable position. This provides some relief from reflux and allows your baby to remain comfortable throughout the feeding session. Another benefit is that it improves the strength of your baby’s muscles. Over time, your baby will become stronger and use their own muscles to hold themselves up. Using a pillow provides a perfect foundation for this development.

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