Tips For Travelling Without Your Baby or Toddler Whilst Breastfeeding

Packing a hand luggage suitcase for the first weekend away without the baby

I’ve had the pleasure of travelling with our little family a few times now, abroad and around the U.K.

Breastfeeding has proved to have even more bonuses during these times as it’s saved a lot of room not packing bottles, sterilising equipment, formula and everything else that comes with artificial feeding. It’s been instant, the perfect comfort for a very stimulating day and keeps her hydrated too!

Getting ready to board a Ryanair flight to Dublin via Liverpool airport for the first time away from baby whilst breastfeeding

This week a story appeared on the BBC News website (my husband actually shared it with me) about yet another breastfeeding Mum having problems and confusing staff at an airport with her breast pump because she wasn’t travelling with her baby.

These stories also bring a lot of discussion on social media, lots of it from people who don’t really understand the importance of expressing whilst away from your child. They also repeatedly bring up the liquid restrictions saying the Mum should have known that but actually for breast milk they don’t fall under those restrictions (read more about that below). Thankfully it was refreshing to see a story highlighting the issues with the airport and not the mother…

All this reminded me of the lengths I went to trying to find out the rules and regulations about travelling with breast milk last year. I was planning to have a weekend away for a friend’s hen party in Dublin so would be gone a few nights and only travelling with hand luggage.

Alone and without the breastfeeding toddler.

How much would I need to pump?

What pump should I take?

How will I store the milk?

Will it get through airport security?

Soooooo many questions. I remembered getting quite anxious about what would happen transporting the milk and if it would get confiscated after reading one too many news stories about that very thing happening to some very distressed Mum’s.

Instead of worrying I did what every good planning obsessed person would do. I spent far too much time researching! So to save you time I thought I’d share what I learnt from that trip and hope it makes your plans that little bit easier…

  1. Plan Ahead and Know Your Facts!

    It’s worth contacting the airlines and airports you will be travelling through to get their official guidelines on travelling with breast milk without a child.

    I found Twitter to be the best at getting a quick response and they would sometimes get in touch with more detail via email. Below was the helpful response from Liverpool John Lennon Airport…

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And after following their advice I also contacted Dublin and got not only a friendly response but a helpful link too!

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It not only gave actual fact on what I could do within their guidelines but also reassurance. It confirmed that there are no restrictions on the quantities of breast milk (a bit of a grey area when discussed online) and that I may be required to prove the milk is mine by sampling it…yum!

But also I had it all in writing should I need to reference it during a debate at security…

2. Pack Wisely.

New Tripp suitcase to meet Ryanair restrictions first trip away from baby as a breastfeeding Mum so all organised with Marie Claire and new boots

I had an Ardo breast pump hired from my local children centre that helpfully had the option of using both a power lead AND batteries. So a good supply of batteries was needed as a back up in case there wasn’t an option to plug in.

I’d also need a few breast milk bags as although I planned to express a couple times a day I didn’t want to be mixing them together ideally so I took one bag per anticipated pump break plus a couple of spares.

I then took a couple of bottles so that I didn’t have extra worry of cleaning and drying between each pump break. Did you know that you don’t need to religiously sterilise breast pumps? Breast milk is naturally sterile so a rinse with hot (even soapy) water is all that’s needed between sessions. That’s another bonus, no additional cleaning equipment!

Packing a hand luggage suitcase for the first weekend away without the baby

I packed all my pumping needs in a handy ziplock style bag I’d got off eBay that was clear on one side (in case I needed to get it out at the airport). Along with this I also packed a cool bag for the journey home. As Liverpool John Lennon stated, I couldn’t take ice packs with me due to restrictions without the milk on the way there but would be fine to buy some in Dublin and bring it back with the milk. I didn’t need to in the end as it was a short flight and I purchased a couple of bottles of water to keep in there too.

3. Work Out How You Will Store Your Milk.

I checked ahead that the apartment had a fridge to enable me to safely store my milk to bring home.

On long wedding days I email or call before the day to advise them of me expressing and if they could store it for me. They always helpfully do so and it’s such a relief. Not all hotels have mini bars or fridges so it’s always worth checking options to save any stress once you arrive.

4. Back Up Plan.

At one point this all seemed like such a faff and a lot of planning. I wasn’t sure if I was even going to pump that much!

What I did know is that I needed to pump to keep my supply going and make sure I was comfortable all weekend. Not only that but I was not going to pump and dump. Ever.

Thanks to a helpful friend over in Dublin my back up plan was to donate the milk to a local charity so at least someone would be benefiting from it. There’s lots of information online about donating milk and worth looking in to should you see that as a great option instead of transporting it home.

5. Enjoy The Break.

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Personally for me expressing is such a chore. I’ve never been one to fill bottle after bottle in a matter of minutes and would need to express for half an hour to get an oz or two out.

The thought of having to spend at least half an hour twice a day on a hen weekend was a little nerve-wracking (I didn’t know all the girls so wasn’t sure how they would respond, or even what all the plans were to factor in enough time). I was getting a little anxious about the whole thing in general! When actually, it was great.

I got to sit down and catch up with social media, read some online stories and digital magazines I’d downloaded, enjoy actual adult conversation…things I barely get a second to do at home. It also got a few of us talking, comparing Mummy notes and giving each other high fives on doing such a great job.

 

I hope my handy Top 5 tips for travelling without your child whilst breastfeeding proves really helpful. There was nothing online to point me in the right direction and a lot of conflicting views and opinions.

I’d love to hear if you have any tips you’d add? It seems like such a huge step leaving your baby for the first time and made even more challenging wondering how it will affect your breastfeeding journey. With a bit of planning it’ll be fine, I promise xx

 

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Starting To Sound Like Your Parents?

 

 

Early on in my pregnancy I’d spent time thinking about the sort of parent I would be.

I’d be fun, calm, kind, gentle, responsive, a good listener, creative, inspiring and was definitely drawn to a more ‘Gentle Parenting’ approach. Looking back that was a lot of pressure to put on myself. Not pressure in the sense that it’s impossible to be that kinda parent but pressure in that you can’t predict the future.

However, your past can be a good indication of the parent you may be and it’s worth thinking about whether that’s a good or bad thing!

As a child there were some elements to how I was parented that I knew I didn’t want for Paisley and even now as an adult make me feel sad/angry/anxious. It’s something discussed often in the news and on social media, how our childhood upbringing affects our adult mental health. It’s sometimes said jokingly that ‘you’re starting to sound like your Mum/Dad’ but what if we want our own parenting voice?

I believe its natural as we grow and become parents ourselves to want to pick and choose our parenting styles based on what we experienced. We will try hard to say, not lose our temper with our children because we remember times as children being scared of Daddy shouting at us again if we are don’t follow the rules, we’ve been ‘naughty’ or accidentally spilling something (for example) but then don’t you find that some days you end up sounding just like them?

Paisley loves being helpful and sharing her food with others (including her baby) 

My daughter is wonderful. She reminds me of that every day, even when the nights can get a little tough.

On a good day I am calm and patient, Paisley reacts well to a calm and understanding Mummy. It was this wonderful post from Hands Free Mama on yelling that inspired me early on that I could parent this way and avoid aggression. Even now if I’m around yelling I revert back to feeling scared as a child and it’s the one thing I’ve been keen to keep Paisley protected from.

It was this article that came back to me that day when I came to a breaking point.

Yep, perfect hard working, self employed Mummy broke.

At first we thought it was the sleep deprivation, the numerous night feeds and a daughter who was seemingly struggling at night with something taking it’s toll on me. Was it work? Was it all still too much for me?

Hands Free Mama says “the pursuit of perfection consumed me”. That was it. I was trying to be perfect at EVERYTHING. Mum, business owner, wife, daughter, sister, friend…everything.

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I wanted to be the perfect me.

I couldn’t be perfect at everything as much as I’d tried and believed. One day I too went pop and shouted, in the middle of the night after the 6th/8th/10th (who’s counting?) night feed I had to leave her crying in Daddy’s arms so I could go a sob myself downstairs. I have no idea what came over me but I needed the release and instantly felt guilty for raising my voice.

I remember so many times being scared of shouting, scared of being punished and even hit on occasions because I’d done something ‘naughty’. Even now raised voices and aggression can leave me feeling overwhelmed and anxious and I am pretty certain it’s because of those childhood years. Phrases like ‘I was hit as a kid and I’m fine’ don’t stand with me anymore it’s safe to say.

Feeling awful I apologised to Paisley for her seeing me so angry and upset and me having to step away when she needed me just as much. She seemed to understand that I was sad and instantly calmed to give me a big cuddle which made us both feel better. I can already take comfort in me showing her kindness and trying to meet her needs means she can also empathise with me when I’m feeling sad too.

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At times of challenging behaviour it takes a lot of my strength to remain calm when I actually thought it would have come naturally to me, what with my little wish list of parenting styles you’d read about earlier. I mean, I practice yoga, did Hypno-birthing, (try to) meditate and am generally laid back so surely it’s a given? It’s not. I’m finding that how you were parented is a part of you whether you like it or not. Maybe there’s only a hint of it but it’s all there.

I shock myself when I feel I’m going to lose my temper as the first time it felt so unnatural and unlike me. Now I see it was always there because of my past. On reflection it’s a lot clearer to see, isn’t it always?

It even took me a while to be comfortable with hugs and kisses because I was never brought up in a family who show affection in that way, another odd one I realised a few years back. I think I’ve gone as far away from that as possible as Paisley will go and hug or hold hands with anyone at the moment! We now have to explain that not everyone wants affection, one of those other children may be how I was back then and I really want both myself and Paisley to be mindful of that.

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This picture best sums up how I was around my Dad at times…

I also feel I was always seeking approval as a child and that stems from seeking approval from my Dad. I always felt I was never good enough and felt stupid, I’m sure it was his attempt at pushing me to achieve more…

In adulthood this seeking approval manifests itself in my need for perfection. That I am now certain.

2016 has been the year of discovery for me. Having new tools to help me let go a little is helping on all levels and looking at the mental health links throughout my life has been a bit of an eye opener. It’s an ongoing thing and I’ve no doubt there may be a few blips along the way.

2017 for me is all about practising a more patient, gentle and understanding way of life. Not being too hard on myself. Being mindful. Being the parent I want to be…

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Totally Winging It

 

 

18 Months. How Has That Happened…?

My phone beeped this morning to tell me that my little lady is 18 months old today. How…? Not how did the phone know, I was sad enough to put that reminder in myself but, how…how did she grow to be a toddler so quickly?

Paisley-46

Photos thanks to Image Splash

In many ways those newborn days seem so far away yet I can still remember that soft, wrinkly skin. That newborn wobbly head (as Lee’s Aunt said, it’s like their head isn’t screwed on). The jerky hand and feet movements that seemed so alien to us. We’ve watched her grow so fast and as much as I’ve tried to take it all in I really wish I could hit the pause button and have a breather. Please, slow down a little and let me soak it in…

I’d love to spend time reflecting on an amazing 18 months but I have a million things to do, wedding films to edit and DVD’s to create. If I can squeeze in a cup of tea at some point in the next few months that would be awesome too. What I will share is that it really does get easier and although the goal posts get moved a little bit when our newborn turns in to crawler and then they turn in to a toddler, those days of feeling clueless and a bit lost are few and far between the more we grow as parents (at least when compared to those first few months!). Whatever you’re struggling with now, it will pass. It will get easier. To help get through those tougher times speak up, share your experiences and ask for help. We have either been there or going through the same and it’s hugely reassuring when you find that out after thinking you were totally alone! It usually turns out pretty much everyone else was thinking the same too (damn you media trying to create Mummy wars!).

I MUST work on continuing to make those mini films I love to create (you can see the first film I made here) but as ever my wedding work has taken over…I WILL work on one soon though, I promise. More to help slow this time down a little, to reflect on the amazing things we’ve done together and the little developments here and there. Here’s to another crazy, fun-filled 18 months and hopefully many more amazing things to film!

 

Holiday Anxiety

On the flight over to Kefalonia as Paisley napped on my lap I balanced my Marie Claire magazine on her little bottom while trying to avoid flashing my breast to the rest of the row. As lovely as it was to finally have a few moments to read a magazine, something I used to do frequently and out of sort of habit on a plane pre-baby, I ended up reading an article on stress free holidays that made me think…

It made me realise how much additional stress I had put on myself before the holiday and how ridiculous I felt about it. I have lost count the amount on last minute online shopping orders I’d made or sleepless nights I’d had over whether she needed one more UV suit for swimming! Yes, mothers worry will always be part of us I’m sure but when I sat there with the sun slowly dipping behind the mountains by the poolside I was glad I read that article at the start of the holiday. It made me check myself on a few occasions when I was over thinking and adding stress to our holiday. For example…

Nap times. Yes, they’re very much needed but it really can be like putting a drunk friend to bed trying to get an excited toddler to nap on holiday. We tried to relax a bit and stop clock watching and help her when she needed it. I think that helped us all!

Food. I knew she would love the food over in Greece as Houmous has always been one of her favourites and was going to be a fail safe lunch option. Obviously the laid back lifestyle and fresh home cooking meant long, ‘relaxing’ meal times so we went with that and would tag team up to allow her time to explore while waiting for our meals. This is pretty much how meal times go for us as we wouldn’t expect her to sit patiently for her food like us at her age (even we struggle!) yet we only realised it must be a good idea when Lee saw a couple struggling with their daughter at the table looking over and whispering. Suddenly she was out her chair and toddling over to say hi to Paisley. Happy babies, happy parents!


Baby led exploring
. Some days we went with what Paisley seemed to want to do. Most of the time it seemed to be wanting to make friends by the poolside and not actually getting in for a swim but we had so many guests comment on how lovely she was (even the lady who’s sparkly flip flops ended up on Paisley’s feet…A lot!). Although it kept us on our toes keeping an eye on her by the pool she seemed so happy being allowed to be herself. She loves new scenery so hiring a car to explore was a great idea as she took in so many new sites!

Breastfeeding on demand. This holiday really confirmed for me the amazing benefits of milk on tap! Not only getting through security without a hitch but also travelling around new and unknown places. The photo above was at a beach that we drove a good 15 minutes winding down a cliff face to finally get to and there were no facilities bar a very old and smelly toilet (the guide books say there’s a bar but that was closed a while ago,you’d have to go back up the cliff to find anything!). With it being so warm Paisley was in need of hydration more often and even in tricky situations like this I could offer her a refreshment without the need of additional cool bags or cutting out trip short to find somewhere buy water or milk. I also found she was like me in that she didn’t want huge meals while she was hot during the day so I knew she was keeping hydrated but also getting nutrients from breastmilk which can be reassuring.

Relaxed trips. Not setting days and times so rigidly for exploring the island helped too. It meant we could call it on the day what we fancied doing (weather would always be a factor, no one wanted to climb a mountain on a 35 degrees day or go to the beach in the rain) and go on longer stretches of driving when she needed a nap. Hiring a car meant that we had a bit more flexibility and we managed to tick loads of the list yet be stress free (as stress free as you can be when you’re map reading and working out Greek road signs…)

So thanks to the reality check from that wonderful magazine article our holiday became a lot more about enjoying the moment and less about the military planning I was used to. And,  I LOVED it! 

Do you have any tips to help keep you relaxed before and during your family holidays? I would love to hear them as we start to look for ideas for our next family break…

Living With Being Bullied

The other week I saw a few inspiring videos doing the rounds on Facebook about the Diana Awards and their Anti-Bullying #StandUpToBullying campaign. I then tuned in to Loose Women (don’t judge me, there isn’t much choice on my occasional lunch break/pump break and perfect background noise to do my emails) and they were also discussing bullying. I felt like it was a of a sign to write a personal post and so when I turned on the TV the next morning to see my most recent bully chatting away to Lorraine…well, that prompted a Facebook post that led to others sharing words of sadness as well as support. It’s amazing how many people live their life being subjected to bullying. And it’s not only at school for some of us, it extends in to adult life as it did with me. So here goes…

Way back I made the move from Nottingham to Liverpool to start my 3 year course in Media and Communication studies at John Moores University. I fell in love with the city when I came for an Open Day with my Mum and was excited to be moving away from home and starting a new, independent chapter! I didn’t even make it to the end of year one before wanting to quit. Sadly not because I found it wasn’t the right course for me but because towards the end of the year I found myself hiding in my room crying most days and avoiding the friends I’d made. I remember some of those overwhelming feelings like they were only weeks ago yet it was over 14/15 years ago!

The year started well in all fairness. I lived in a house with 4 other girls. I do remember those awkward first few days when we tried to remember names (poor Eimear, I had no clue how to pronounce that when she sent me a text!) and get to know each other but we were soon partying hard and enjoying the social side of things. Our neighbours were pretty cool too and I found some common ground over a love of Kylie and Newcastle United with a couple of them. Writing this is actually reminding me I did enjoy so many parts, fond memories that had become a little clouded due to the overwhelming sadness about the bullying.

I can’t recall the moment we met, my bully and I. My earliest memory was helping her escape her bullying flat mates. I don’t think I ever met them but I did help her sneak in to get some belongings so she could stay in my room until she found somewhere else to live. I remember being sat on my bed, her sat on my windowsill and her calling her Mum to tell me how similar her new friend was to her. How excited she was to find out we loved the same things like Gone With The Wind and cheesy music. I’m sure there were other nice moments but that one always sticks in my mind as it went from that to remembering the moment it turned. Walking down from the Anglican Cathedral to town and walking towards me was the bully and the girl in the room next to me, a friend I thought. They spotted me and seemed to suddenly quicken in pace like they were going to run right past me. When I went to stop them I was accused of calling the bully and making threatening phone calls and even calling and hanging up to ‘scare her’. Ironically claiming I was trying to stop her being friends with my friends and bullying her…I headed in to town shocked and confused. I honestly don’t remember much else but her going out with my new friends and me being left behind and alone. Awkward glances. Nasty comments. Feeling like no-one talking to me or that I could even talk to them. I even remember sitting in my room for hours because I didn’t want to bump in to the girl next door and would wait to hear her leave and not come back. In a weird way I think I felt it must have been my fault I’d ended up alone. I must have done something to make her despise me that much. Being so shy at times it must’ve been my fault that I wasn’t able to talk to people, to get them to see it was her and not me. My confidence was at an all time low.

 

Around that time I’d also picked up leaflet in the Student Union from Camp Leaders in America. I had actually picked it up to pretend I was reading something while I ate my lunch to avoid eye contact with the bully. When I got back to my room I decided to contact them and find out more. I went for an interview and was soon signing up to go to be a camp leader in the U.S.A! I know I was trying to get away from it all. I felt too ashamed to tell anyone and played it that it was an exciting thing I’d been wanting to do for ages. I’d not even been able to attend my University classes because I felt so ashamed and so my grades were slipping and I was basically failing uni. I didn’t have time to care, I couldn’t face being there any longer.

We had a few group meetings before flying out and I soon found out I was heading to Camp Tannadoona in Minnesota. I hadn’t even heard of the place but again, didn’t care! With my confidence and self esteem at an all time low I arrived putting on a bit of an act, starting a fresh and trying to be the confident and fun girl I wanted to be. What a place to find yourself though. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard at times but also amazing. I became an archery instructor, made some amazing memories with some great people too. 

As you can see from the photo my camp nickname was ‘Posh’. Mainly because of my wannabe Spice Girl tenancies but maybe I was a little posh too…

And, I fell in love. We may have only been there a few months but anyone who’s experienced camp life will tell you it’s so intense a week feels like a month, a month like a year. It was there I met my best friend and soon to be husband. I did worry when we got back that he’d ‘forget’ my number (I’d saved his in my new Baby G watch he helped me pick out at the Mall of America). Maybe I’d gotten a little swept away with camp life. Maybe in the real world he wouldn’t like me. But he didn’t forget and he did still love me…for me. In only a few weeks I’d met his family and his friends, he’d helped me quit uni and find another course I loved, even a new job and a new room in a house to rent. It’s like I was living a whole new life. I did meet up with a couple of the uni friends and looking back I wish I’d made more effort but I was still scarred and scared. I didn’t even open up to my new house mates and kept myself to myself as much as I could. Lee was my security blanket in many ways while I attempted to find my feet.

I never saw her again, not in person anyway. With my confidence slowly building I worked hard at college and made the right contacts to get myself some amazing work opportunities in the TV and Film industry. Sometimes trying to avoid making friends and burying your head in your books does pay off. We bought a house, got married and the rest really is history (and one I’ve not really wanted to relive). 

Lee and I at Mr Beans Holiday film premiere in London.

I do wonder if life would have been different if I hadn’t been bullied. Maybe I’d have more friends now and a better memory of my young adult years but then if all the above hadn’t of happened than Lee and I may never have met. Every cloud and all that…

After writing this I do of course worry that Paisley could end up dealing with bullies but what can we really do? Hopefully give her the confidence to keep her head high, something that’s taken me far too long to do myself!

So make a stand. Bullying isn’t right. If you haven’t been bullied I imagine it’s hard to understand how devastating and life changing it can be to some people. I’ve lived with this shadow for far too long and it’s time to forgive and forget. Time is a great healer but so is love xx

National Breastfeeding Week

As National Breastfeeding week nears the end I’ve been thinking a lot about what has been said over social media. It’s always sad to read about someone’s breastfeeding ‘failure’ (although I’m always quick to reassure them even trying is a success and definitely nothing to feel a failure about) or that someone has regretted stopping so early. I was even saddened to read that people felt pressure to stop because friend/family/strangers pressured them to use formula very early on for all sorts of dated reasons, though I’d like to think it’s because they felt they were trying to help make things easier for them…


Personally I have had nothing but support. Okay, there’s been the odd ‘you’re STILL feeding?’ Or suggestions her breastfeeding may be the reason she doesn’t ‘sleep through’ but nothing that has made me want to hide indoors or feel ashamed I’m relieved to say. I mean, when I was pregnant all I remember reading about was how people were made to feel they were doing something disgusting feeding in public and were chased out of public spaces. I don’t recall many, if any, success stories. Our first trip out was even carefully planned so it was somewhere quiet and hopefully breastfeeding friendly. We even tried to time it so there may have been a chance she would sleep through the lot and I could sneak back home to get my boob out in private! You wouldn’t think that now as I’m very confident about public feeding but at the time I was consumed by anxiety about doing it. She did need a feed, and yes I fed her and no, it wasnt traumatic. No one screamed at me to leave, I could have sworn a couple moved tables at the time but looking back I’d like to think it was because they were by the door…it was February after all.

This got me thinking. I wonder what other things could and do influence Mum’s (and Dad’s) decision to/not to breastfeed their baby…

Bonding. 


It is strongly suggested in some circles that breastfeeding means Dad’s, and other family members, can’t bond with the baby if it’s breastfed. It really isn’t the case. There’s more to a baby than being fed. At times of cluster feeds then breastfeeding can be quite often but that’s where Mum’s could do with rest and Dad can take with the cuddles, nappy changes and tending to their every need. Lee also loved wearing her out and about, that closeness can help create the best bond ever between parents and babies. There’s also the option of expressing once breastfeeding is established to enable others to feed the baby, that’s also handy if you need to go back to work early! Those first 6 weeks are the hardest but push through and it becomes much easier. 

It hurts. 


Yes, for some it does and some Mum’s have issues from blocked ducts to cracked nipples but all things can be sorted with support. Again, you only ever hear the bad stuff don’t you? I’ve gotten to 16m with only one occasion of lumpy boobs that was easily sorted with a massage in the shower and a bit of hand expressing thankfully. And the only ‘OUCH’ moment I’ve had so far was when Paisley started growing teeth. She seems to get snotty with every tooth which obviously causes issues with being able to breathe with your mouth full and her having to adjust her latch with these new things in her mouth, thankfully it’s only occasionally and not on purpose. The above was our first feed, look how excited I was that we had managed it despite all previous negativity from everyone.

Not enough milk. 


It’s common early on for every Mum to worry their baby isn’t getting enough. After all, you haven’t got a measuring gauge on the side of your boob to show ounces have you? Then there’s the pressure with growth charts! Your baby is getting enough. There is no rule with breastfed babies. My F.A.B breastfeeding support visit was amazing for reassuring me of that. That babies could feed between 5-45 minutes from every 2-4 hours, it’s more about on demand feeding and feeding when they need it. Some babies love a big feed every so often,some are snackers and some are a mix of the two. Like us they may only need a snack or a drink before they have their lunch. 

Feeling like they’re constantly attached. 


Even with the best feeders there may be times when they seem to always be feeding but it’s usually with reason. Be it cluster feeding during a growth spurt, promoting more milk, when they’re poorly and needing the goodness your milk provides, or simply keeping hydrated in hot weather. The most used phrase in parenting groups is ‘it will pass’ and it does but if you’re ever worried that’s what the support is there for. I found local peer support groups and breastfeeding helplines invaluable during moments of ‘are we getting this right?!’ every time it turned out to be perfectly normal. So no, it’s not constant but there may be times when it feels like it is. And if you figure out how to feed your baby whilst wearing them you can feed on the go too!

Not being able to leave the house.


For fear of the baby needing a feed whilst out early on, what will people say? Or like above you feel they’re always feeding and can never time it right to get out. It comes with confidence I can promise you. In a matter of weeks I went from being anxious about where we could go to feed in peace to feeding her whenever she needed it. My turning point was when walking back from a baby group she started getting upset and I thought I’d make it home, it was only a 15 minute walk after all, but I couldn’t bear her cries. Thankfully a lonely bench under a tree offered some shade and it became a frequent stop off most weeks! Milk basically on tap, the right temperature and consistency. Every time. 

Clothing. 


You do start thinking you need to invest in all sorts of ‘nursing clothing’ and gadgets to allow you to feed discreetly out and about. You don’t really. I did buy a lovely JoJo Maman Bebe nursing dress (the blue and white striped one a few photos above) which I love and no one even realises I’m feeding but it works as well as the infamous ‘on up, one down’ technique utilising a vest top and top over that. The only investment you really need is a good nursing bra with easy access clips to save stretching and ruining you favourite bras! Saying that I can’t help but spot nice outfits with a handy zip or buttons that’ll be ideal to feed in!

What other negatives did you hear before starting your breastfeeding journey, I’d love to know? I imagine I may think of more as time goes on but these common ones I hear from a lot of Mums. Saying that, I do hope it’s mostly been positive and if it has then get sharing those experiences, it may encourage other mums to try breastfeeding and get those national figures up!

Father’s Day 2016

Hope you all had a nice Father’s Day, whether it was celebrating with your own Dad’s, Father in Law’s or your partners for their 1st/2nd/3rd etc Father’s Day. 2016 saw us celebrating our 2nd Father’s Day as a family, I can’t believe I’m even saying that…2! Crazy how time flies.

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This was us enjoying the view at Museum of Liverpool. We wanted somewhere to get out of the rain and allow Paisley to run about and explore, this was perfect!

I had a very long and busy wedding day on the Saturday and with only coming back from our holiday on the Wednesday getting the gifts together was a bit of rush but I think they went down well. After all, Mother’s Day was so impressive (I was booked on to a local bread-making course, one I take later this year) I had to make sure I at least looked like I’d thought about him!
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As you can see Paisley opted for a Liverpool FC kit with ‘Paisley’ on the back. She already loves football, be it watching it with her Daddy or kicking her new football around, so it seemed the perfect choice. She also loves her tickly beard kisses from Daddy but Mummy…not so much. So I did a bit of research and got a great taster set of beard oils from The Bearded Man Company. He’s fussy so this was the perfect gift of something he actually wanted but without risking getting one that had a smell he wasn’t fond of (more common that you think I’m lead to believe after reading soooooo many reviews!). No we have the issue of picking a favourite as they all smell so nice. The first to be trialled was the Sicillian Lemon which seems to be a hit as the others are yet to get a look in!
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The gifts were only a token really. For us it is another opportunity to celebrate our little family and to make sure Lee knows how much he means to us. Paisley is such a Daddy’s girl already and I think she’s had so much fun spending 2 full weeks with him. I don’t know who is going to be more sad with him now back at work…

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My Dad passed away more than 10 years ago now so no celebrating that as such but it’s always nice to take time to remember them and I imagine there’s a lot of people missing their Dad’s even more when they see so many people celebrating on Facebook.

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This picture sums up our relationship. My sister was and still is a total Daddy’s girl but I was never really that close and always felt my love was a little forced at times. So many reasons I’ve explored over the years…maybe that’s one for another post when I’m feeling brave enough to share.

I hope whether it was a happy or sad time for you that you were still able to cherish some memories and make some new ones…

Our Secret Getaway

You may not know it but the McNabbs have been on a family holiday…

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You see, Daddy likes to keep private during our times away and not post photos and check in at every opportunity and I like to respect that. I actually agree with him (for a change) as we’ve joked a few times when our friends message us or whatsapp whilst their away that they must be sat in silence together on their phones. Though I am alone whilst typing this. It was our last day of holiday because Lee was enjoying a Euro 2016 game in peace as Paisley napped.  Gloomy clouds have rolled in over the mountains and threaten rain so we were both making the most of the down time. Win win!

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Technically another big reason for radio silence is security. With my business address being easily accessed and  having a good social media pressence we don’t really want to be like ‘hey, look we are away. Come rob us as our house is empty!’ Overthinking it? Maybe. Probably. Still, better to be safe than sorry and enjoy posting a few snaps once we are back so we can delay those post holiday blues. I do plan to make a film again like I have with holidays previous to this but with a wedding in a few days and wedding season in full swing it may take me a little longer than usual…

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Paisley is a lucky girl and it’s her second holiday abroad, our first being to Belgium, and we’ve been up to so much it deserves another post or two to share our success (and epic fail) stories. With Bruges we nearly didn’t go after having to postpone to due terror threats and transport being on lockdown. This time we arrived safe and have enjoyed all that Kefelonia had to offer (bar sailing as Lee doesn’t cope well out at sea!)
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Minimising technology on holiday has been great for me. Running your own business is a 24hr job and add a toddler to the mix it’s thouroughly exhausting so I made a conscious effort to invest time in myself and my family by only checking emails twice in 10 days and only popping on Facebook during a well deserved nap break (that’s if I wasn’t napping myself or doing a spot of HIIT or Yoga, I’ve never been good at laying in the sun for hours even before the baby!). It has been pretty refreshing. As much as I love my phone, blogging, taking photos and Instagram it can take you away from the moment sometimes don’t you think? It’s amazing how quickly you get back in to it though but I’m proud to say it wasn’t all about catching up on Facebook this time as I was dying to know how to make a homemade pita bread, chicken gyros and tzatziki!
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So it’s back to reality for us but we are weaning ourselves back in slowly before my next wedding on Saturday. I plan to attempt these pitas tomorrow so I had best get some rest as I am sure Paisley will want to help in the kitchen tomorrow…

Big Fish Little Fish and No Sign Of A Cardboard Box

Last week we went to an awesome event held at Constellations in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. It was epic. Big Fish Little Fish 2-4 hour party people is a rave specifically for babies and toddlers.

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With a real DJ, bubble machines, face painting, craft, glow sticks, a drawing wall and some other crazy things to blow their little minds it really was the best couple of hours we’ve spent together as a family. What my husband loved the most was watching her run around exploring and getting involved. From helping older kids pick up confetti and draw on the wall to dancing on Daddy’s shoulders to some old skool house music (I wonder who loved that bit more?). Her obsession with kicking balls and balloons continued and we watched as she would come back every now and then to give us a cuddle and head straight back off to enjoy the party.

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I have my eyes peeled for more like this and even tempted to check out family festivals as I think we will all have such fun filling our senses and creating more crazy memories. If you fancy

Making the most of weekends is probably one of the main reasons I’ve never had that sudden realisation that I’ve been back at work and not spending a real maternity leave with my little lady. Mummy guilt can be all consuming sometimes so it’s good to look at the positives and enjoy those moments you do have together…