Never stop learning

Being a photographer is like being on a never-ending learning curve. There is always a way to improve, or a new technique to try. Regular training is important, to learn new things to keep your work fresh, and to remind yourself of those important aspects such as safety, to keep you from getting complacent and cutting corners.

So as a photographer, when you find yourself child-free and caught up with work for a morning, having just received some beautiful new goodies, what else is there to do but get yourself set up and practise practise practise?

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My daughter’s doll acted as my model this morning, testing out my gorgeous new bonnet and stuffie set. Just one of many new props and bits I have arriving over the next few weeks. I will be putting out a model call on my Facebook page for real babies to test these soon!

So keep an eye on Little Pandas Photography for more details 🙂

Kelly.x

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10 Things every new parent needs to know

Parenting is one of life’s greatest adventures! Starting out on that journey is exciting and scary in equal measure. There are so many things to learn and remember, and many people are quick to offer advice and opinions on how you should be raising this tiny new person you’ve brought into the world.

But there are some things people don’t tell you. Maybe they think it will scare you, maybe they’ve just forgotten because it’s been so long since their children were tiny. So I’ve compiled a list of ten things every new parent should know.

 

   1. Meconium sticks to EVERYTHING!

Seriously, you think you’ve got it all ready. Nappies sorted, wipes on hand. But then your baby does their first poo. And you realise you could never have been prepared. This substance is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Thick and black, like something from the depths of hell. My husband described it as like melted licorice, a sticky black mess. You’ll be there with your cotton wool balls and water, and all it will do is smear it around and make a bigger mess! Don’t worry, after that first one it gets easier!

 

2. Boredom

No one will tell you this. It’s not something people like to admit to. But babies don’t really do much. They eat, cry, sleep and poo. And they look adorable. They will run you ragged, and sleep deprivation is an absolute killer and makes you feel like you are constantly on the go in those early days. But when the novelty, for want of a better word, passes, you will find yourself suffering from periods of boredom. They are beautiful, fascinating, wonderful little people. But the days can very easily all run into each other. Like Groundhog Day, except with less sleep and a snuffling, rooting baby instead of an alarm clock. Go out, see old friends or make new ones at Mummy groups. Or just go for a walk. Break up the monotony. You will both feel better for it.

 

3. Cluster feeding

You may have read a hundred parenting books, perused a thousand breastfeeding forums. But nothing can prepare you for the reality of cluster feeding. Most breastfed babies will do this in the evenings. Some can start as early as 3 in the afternoon. But you can pretty much guarantee that you will end up sat on a chair, or on the sofa, with a baby who just feeds and feeds, maybe naps for 5 minutes, and then feeds again. On repeat. For hours. This isn’t a sign that you have no milk. It isn’t a sign that your milk is “no good”, as well meaning friends or relatives will tell you. This is completely normal newborn behaviour. It’s basically baby signalling your body to make more milk, putting in an order for later if you like. It’s tiring, and can be frustrating at times. But it’s a necessary part of most breastfeeding journeys. So just make yourself comfy, get a good supply of snacks and drinks and grab the tv remote. Now would be a good time to catch up on all those favourites you’ve recorded, or start binge watching a new show on Netflix.

Oh, and just when you think you’re past the cluster feeding hell, bam! Growth spurt. The first 6 weeks are pretty much one big growth spurt, but they don’t stop there. Buy new cushions. You’ll be spending plenty of time on that sofa 🙂
4. Flashing the postman

Or the Amazon delivery man. Or the Myhermes courier. We’ve all done it. You’re feeding baby, boob out as you’re at home right? No need for discreet feeding here! Baby falls asleep. You sit, enjoying the brief respite, or just finishing up watching that episode of NCIS you’d started. Then there’s a knock at the door. You quickly but carefully lay baby down, and hurry to answer before they decide you’re not in and leave you the dreaded “While you were out” card. You just make it, opening the door just as they’re reaching for their pen. They look up, their eyes widen and then they hurriedly look away, shoving your parcel at you whilst mumbling something incoherent and then practically running back to their van. You close the door, wondering what had got into them, how rude! Then you feel the draft. In the rush to answer the door you’ve forgotten to put your boob away. You’ve treated Postman Pat to a view he’d have to pay good money for at Spearmint rhino. The shame. Next time he knocks at your door, assuming you haven’t scared him away for good, he will probably make some half-hearted attempt at humour, telling you he didn’t recognize you with your clothes on or suchlike. Thus cementing your embarrassment, and you vow never to order anything again, ever. Until you see that new sling that you have to have. And then you pray for a different courier.

 

5. They sleep through. You don’t.

You pray for sleep every night. You reach a point where you would literally give anything for a full nights sleep, or even a few hours more than you’re getting. But then it happens. Your body wakes you from a deep sleep, telling you it’s time baby was awake for a feed. You sit up abruptly, your heart pounding. Baby hasn’t woken. Your boobs feel like they’re about to explode. Why hasn’t baby woken? You look over to where they lie. You can’t just about make out their little profile. You watch them for a minute, trying to see the rise and fall of their little chest. It’s too dark, you can’t see! You reach over, rest your hand on their chest. Hold your breath so you can better detect any movement. You feel their little heart beating under your fingers, feel the reassuring up and down movement of their breathing. You breathe a sigh of relief, try and slow the beating of your own heart as you lie down and try to make the most of this unexpected turn of events.

But one of two things happen. Either you get comfy and start to doze off, but you have disturbed the baby! Soon that familiar snuffling sound and fist chewing start. You were so close to getting more sleep! But you had to ruin it. Now you’re awake for the next two hours as baby makes up for the missed feed, and you curse yourself. Or baby sleeps on soundly, but you just can’t get back to sleep. You lie awake, expecting baby to wake at any moment. You could have had two extra hours. Instead you have a headache, and you’re hungry, and damn it, now you have to pee. Sigh.

 

6. Snoring husbands make you homicidal

You’re sleep deprived. You’re awake for the 5th time, feeding the baby. Your nerves are frayed, and you just want to sleep for goodness sake! And what is that noise coming from the other side of the bed?! It sounds like a warthog has escaped from the zoo and found its way into your bed! The longer you lie there, the louder the sound gets. You give his leg a little tap with your foot, hoping to get him to turn over. He snorts like a pig hunting truffles, and then settles back into his rhythm. Resentful thoughts start to enter your head. Why does he get to sleep, when you’re awake for hours on end? Look at him, all peaceful and shit! How dare he even breathe, let alone snore! You contemplate putting the pillow over his head, just to muffle the noise a bit of course 😉 But you content yourself with shoving your elbow into his ribs instead. He wakes with a start, gives you a hurt look. “What was that for?!”, “You were snoring.” “I don’t snore!”

Then he turns over, goes back to sleep. And for a little while there is blissful silence. But now you think about it, even his breathing is annoying……….

 

7. Bottom sniffing

Before having a baby you would have turned your nose up at the thought of sniffing another human being’s backside. Its something dogs do, not people. But when you have a baby you find yourself doing it far more regularly than you care to admit. There is a suspicious smell in the air. You pick the baby up and sniff their bum. Baby passes wind. You pick them up and sniff their bum (to check for follow through). Butt sniffing is your new reality.

 

8. Hot drinks? Don’t make me laugh!

Pre-baby you probably liked nothing better than to sit down with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee. You took it for granted. But when you have a baby, drinking or eating anything whilst its hot is an almost unobtainable luxury. Baby is sleeping peacefully. You put the kettle on. You pour the water into your cup, and at this point you start to think that maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to enjoy this while its hot. You finish making your drink. You sit on the sofa with a sigh of contentment. And baby wakes up. Your drink is put down whilst you settle your precious little one. By the time you get back to it its cold. You play out a variation of this scenario every single time. Its like your baby has a sixth sense and knows just when you are sitting down with something hot. Steam radar. You learn to eat quickly, one handed. Sometimes whilst feeding. Sometimes dropping food on baby’s head. But thats ok. Mama got to eat!

 

9. A towel is your best friend in the middle of the night

Picture the scene. Its 2am. You are awoken by the sound of retching. Your baby or child is liberally painting their cot, or your bed, with vomit. You comfort them, clean them up. Change the sheets and trudge downstairs to put them in soak, or straight into the machine. 2.30am, and you finally settle back down to go to sleep. 3am the cycle is repeated. This time, you throw a towel over the sheets and go back to sleep. Towels are easier to change than sheets. You tend to have more of them too. They work great for vomit, pee, middle of the night water spillages. They save your sanity, and your sleep. Non-parents will sneer, think its disgusting. Even other parents may try to act horrified. But we’ve all done it. Long live the midnight towels!

 

10. You won’t remember your name half the time. But you’ll know every word of the Peppa Pig theme tune

Pregnancy kills brain cells. This is a fact. Baby brain is a very real phenomenon. Add sleep deprivation into the mix, and you’re basically a zombie (or a “mombie”, as its now known). Putting the milk in the cupboard and your car keys in the fridge will become second nature. You essentially turn into Dory, suffering from short term me-memory loss. But that damn Peppa theme tune just keeps getting stuck in your head! You find yourself singing it to yourself. In fact, kid’s tv theme tunes in general seem to be made to be as catchy and irritating as possible. Even if you limit screen time, and they only watch once in a blue moon, you will still find yourself humming along to Thomas and friends as you cook dinner.

“Darling, where did you put that important letter?”

“I’ve no idea Dear. But I can tell you what Nanny Plum and the Grand Old Elf have been up to and how to make Easy Peasey Pasta like Bing!”

 

Parenting is a roller coaster ride for sure. But those early days pass in such a blur. Thats why what I do is so important. Capturing those memories, so you can look back on them and remember those days with fondness.

Kelly.x

 

Little Pandas Photography – Providing a bespoke home photography service in Hythe and SE Kent.

 

 

 

Making memories

One of my greatest pleasures in life is spending time with my husband and children, outside in the fresh air. Not really doing anything, just being together and walking, letting the children explore. Its not something we get to do often. Weekends are mainly taken up by my husband working Saturdays, and my son playing football and us visiting family on Sundays. So when we found ourselves with a free Sunday, we decided to spend it exploring a new and undiscovered place (to us anyway!).

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By the time we were all up, bathed and organised it was past lunchtime, and the weather was cool and overcast. Perfect for a walk!

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With lots of trees to climb and mud and leaves to squish about in the children were in their element! Lots of imaginative play opportunities, and plenty of space to run around and explore. And of course, me with my camera 🙂 The perfect Sunday afternoon!

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The only disappointment was that my son arranged to go to his friend’s house instead of coming with us. He would have loved it! But it gives us good reason to visit again 🙂

Homebirth – Frequently asked questions

Homebirth. Its a subject that divides opinion. Some see it as the worst thing possible, going against science and medicine and all the progress that has been made to make birth “safe”. Some see it as the ideal, a calm and peaceful way to bring their baby into the world with minimal intervention (and in some cases, without even medical personnel present).

The reality is that both opinions are right, and wrong. Homebirth isn’t right for everyone. But neither is hospital birth. Having had both (and a birth at a midwife-led unit too!) I can hand on heart say that I am in the latter camp. Hospital birth, with all its restrictions and medicalisation, just isn’t for me. I made a choice to have two homebirths after my 3rd pregnancy ended in a caesarean section (hbacs). I didn’t make this decision lightly, I researched extensively and weighed up all the pros and cons. In the end I felt the benefits for myself, my baby and our family far outweighed any risk. I will touch more on hbac at the end of the blog, so if you’re here for that then just skip to the end 😉

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Before my 3rd pregnancy all went wrong, I was planning to have my baby at home. With a previous (horrendous) hospital birth and a (lovely, but fraught) MLU birth. It felt like a natural progression for me. Plus my circumstances had changed somewhat. My childcare options were more limited. My husband didn’t drive at the time, and my Dad (my only real emergency transport option) was awaiting a hip replacement. Being at home seemed to be the obvious choice. But I still had questions.

So I wanted to cover some questions I had myself, and some of those I’ve seen and heard asked many times in various parent groups and forums.

Is it safe?

The NHS Choices website states that for women having normal, healthy second or more pregnancies and with no previous obstetric history that could pose a risk, homebirth is as safe as hospital birth. For first time mothers there is a slight increase in risk to baby (from 5 in 1000 to 9 in 1000). Its important to bear in mind though that this increase still adds up to less than 1% of cases.

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Will I be allowed a homebirth?

Some women may have had a previous pregnancy or birth that makes them automatically “high risk”, even if they are having a perfect pregnancy next time around. Some women may have some issues with their pregnancy, or suffer from a medical condition that puts a question mark over whether they should be in hospital or not.The general consensus amongst consultants, and even some midwives, in this case is that homebirth is not recommended. But each woman should be treated as an individual, and each woman is entitled to make her own choice about where to give birth. No-one can tell you you’re not “allowed”, although believe me, some consultants will try! They can only inform you of any risks, and give you the information to make an informed decision.

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Is it messy?

In my experience, no. Not at all. I had a birthing pool for both of my homebirths. I also had some cheap shower curtains (Asda do great quality ones in their basics range) and puppy training pads (Home bargains!) in strategic places (for me that was the floor between the pool and the sofa, and on the sofa itself). Once I’d given birth and was sat snuggling my new little bundle, my wonderful midwives just scooped thee up and put them in the bin. My husband set up the pump to empty the pool, and once it was empty he washed it out and sterilised it with Milton sterilising fluid. It took around an hour in total. Apart from some towels that needed a wash, all was back to normal!

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What pain relief can I have?

Not much. You can’t have an epidural at home. If you reach a point where you are really not coping and really feel you need one, your midwife will discuss transferring to hospital with you. Pethadine is available in some areas, but would need to be prescribed by a Dr beforehand for the midwives to administer. Gas and air is available, although you are limited to what the midwives carry. This is usually two or three canisters. You are free to use a TENS machine and water, be that the bath or a dedicated birthing pool (although obviously the TENS would need to be removed before you entered the water! Hypnobirthing  is also popular.

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For those local to me I will include some links to hypnobirthing practitioners. Its definitely worth it, even if you birth in hospital!

The good news is that many women find they need less pain relief than they would have in hospital. Being in their own surroundings, with less medical interference and able to move freely, eat and drink when they feel like it and have their own things around them is often enough to help a woman get into a place mentally where she copes better with the pain. This leads to less interventions and a calmer, happier birth.

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What will i need?

As mentioned above, shower curtains or tarpaulins, puppy training pads (or potty training/maternity bed mats, although these tend to be more expensive), old towels. A large bowl or bucket for the placenta (although they will bring a tub to take it away in if you don’t want to keep it, they will need to examine it to ensure it is intact at delivery). A pool if you are wanting a waterbirth, and accessories to go with it such as a clean hose to fill/empty it, a water thermometer, a mirror.

The midwives will provide everything else you need from a medical point of view, either bringing it with them on the day or dropping off a homebirth kit in the weeks before.

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What about my other children?

If you want them there, then there is no reason for them not to be there! With my first homebirth my younger children were both in bed upstairs, whilst I laboured and gave birth downstairs with their Daddy and their big sister watching and supporting me. I’ll never forget their little faces when they woke and came down to us cuddling up to their new baby sister 🙂 With my second homebirth, all the other children were awake before he was born. I ended up sending them to my neighbour for the last half an hour or so, as I found myself focusing on them and worrying about scaring them, instead of focusing on my breathing and birthing. They were fetched back within minutes of my son being born. My older daughter was my birth photographer!

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What if no midwife is available when I go into labour?

Sadly for some women, home birth isn’t that well supported. Sometimes you will ring and be told you will have to come in, as no-one is free to attend you at home. This can be an upsetting and stressful time. Labour can be stressful enough, without having your plans changed at the last minute. No-one can make you go to hospital. You are free to give birth where you want, and you have a right to be supported in that choice. If there are genuinely not enough midwives available then an ambulance may be called, and paramedics on hand to deliver your baby. But often the case is that when you make it clear you will be staying at home, a midwife is made available to you. Of course you don’t have to stay at home. If you aren’t invested in a homebirth and don’t mind hospital then you can go in. Your body, your birth, your choice 🙂

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What if something goes wrong?

Midwives are trained to spot problems. When you labour and birth at home you will have one, in most cases two, midwives present. These midwives are there solely to make sure you and your baby are safe. Unlike in hospital, where you may be sharing your midwife with other labouring women, they are entirely focused on you. In the majority of cases they will spot any potential issues very quickly, and transfer to hospital can be arranged. In the event of something unforeseen, such as shoulder dystocia at birth, they are trained in methods to deliver baby safely. They carry the same equipment as a MLU should baby need some help to breathe, and carry medication to help slow bleeding in the case of maternal haemorrhage.

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What happens afterwards?

Bliss! Total and utter babymoon heaven 🙂 The midwives will do yours and the baby’s checks when you are ready.They are really inobtrusive. Baby’s APGAR score is observed at one minute and five minutes after birth (it is also sometimes done at 10 minutes, if needed). You probably won’t even notice the midwife doing this. You are free to cuddle your baby, have skin to skin, cuddle your partner, whatever you want. You can drink champagne, eat a full 3 course meal or just have a cup of tea and beans on toast, all in the comfort of your own bed, chair, sofa or wherever you fancy! At some point the mdwife will want to weigh baby, but theres no rush. Usually one of the midwives will stay for an hour or two after the birth, to help with the clean up and just observe yourself and baby. But you have no restrictions. If you want your whole family to visit straight away, thats fine! If you want no interruptions and just to cuddle up as a family and enjoy your new addition, thats fine too! You can sleep when you want, with no other babies or ladies (or their partners, if your hospital stay was anything like mine!) keeping you awake, no Drs coming to poke or prod you. This is where homebirth really comes into its own 🙂

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A special note about HBAC (homebirth after caesarean), and other high risk pregnancies

As I mentioned above, both my homebirths were hbacs. Both were technically against medical advice. But I was confident in my own ability to birth my babies, and I had 100% trust in the midwives’ ability to spot any problems early.

So lets look at the specific risk factors for HBAC. The biggest “fact” you will have thrown at you is the risk of uterine rupture. You will probably be told that your risk doubles once you have had a c-section, and technically this is true. What they don’t tell you is how small that risk still is. In a normal pregnancy, with no history of c-section or other scarring, the risk of uterine rupture is less than 1%. In a VBAC that risk can increase to up to 2%. But looking closer into these figures, they have actually included all scar disruptions, even those that caused no problems. The risk of a true scar rupture during VBAC is actually closer to 0.35%. Interestingly, the risk after a repeat caesarean is 0.12%. But that of course is only one risk factor of repeat c-section, infection being the biggest.

I saw a consultant before my first homebirth. He told me a horror story about a woman who’s scar ruptured during a homebirth and she lost the baby, very nearly losing her life. A horrifying situation for sure. After further questioning though, it transpired that this lady lived quite some distance from the hospital, and it took around half an hour for her to arrive there. I asked how long it takes them to perform an emergency c/s once the need has been identified. I was told 10-15 minutes. I know that I can drive from my house to the hospital in 10 minutes (I have sadly had to do so when my son had an accident as a baby), and thats without blue lights and sirens. I asked the consultant what difference it would make if I were to be en-route by ambulance whilst they were prepping theatre and paging staff, rather than in a hospital bed in the delivery suite. He admitted it would make none, as the paramedics and midwife would be suitably trained to look after me in that situation and they would be preparing for my arrival so I could be taken straight into surgery.

With these concerns assuaged I was able to address the more mundane aspects of hospital VBAC vs HBAC. I was told I would need continual monitoring, so wouldn’t be able to have an active labour. But further research showed me that there are many other signs to show that a rupture may happen. Pain in the area of the scar and/or between contractions, rapid maternal pulse and possibly shock, excessive vaginal bleeding and slowing of labour. By having two midwives in attendance at home, regularly taking my pulse and temperature and observing my demeanor, I felt I would be safer than just being stuck on a monitor in a hospital room, with midwives popping in and out. Midwives are also able to listen to baby’s heartrate at home, even underwater.

My other main concern was the fact that my c-section had been performed due to failed induction, which was largely put down to my previous bad hospital birth experience. In simple terms, my body had entered it’s fight or flight response. I was petrified, I didn’t feel safe, and so my body refused to go into labour. I didn’t see any reason why this wouldn’t happen again, were I to attempt a VBAC in hospital. So my choice came down to a repeat caesarean, which isn’t to be taken lightly, and carries its own risks just like any other major surgery, or a HBAC. Being in my own home, with my children and my husband allowed to stay with me and all the other positives, won out for me. My homebirths were both magical experiences. I delivered both of them myself (with midwives present), shared precious moments in the pool with them whilst waiting for the cord to stop pulsating so it could be cut. Being able to sleep in my own bed, with all my children with me, was bliss. I found breastfeeding easier in a less distracting and pressured environment, and my recovery was much much quicker (36 hours after my first homebirth I attended my eldest daughter’s last primary school May day celebration. My baby girl even got a special mention as the youngest audience member!).

Thats not to say it would be the right choice for everyone. If you are considering a HBAC then you should do your own research, and decide what is right for you 🙂

Here are some links to start you off 🙂

Caesarean.org

NCT-VBAC

Heathline.com – Uterine rupture

Babycenter – uterine rupture

Good sites for general homebirth questions are Homebirth.org and NCT – Homebirth, and AIMS is great if you are experiencing unfair resistance to your homebirth plans 🙂

As promised, here are some local (Kent, UK) hypnobirthing links:

Hypnobirthing in Kent (clinic in Hythe)

JMHypnotherapy Folkestone

Kent Hypnobirthing

I hope I’ve provided information that is useful to you! I loved my homebirths, and I am always happy to take enquiries for anyone wanting someone to capture theirs on camera 🙂 The photos on this post are from my own last homebirth, taken by my then-16 year old in very challenging conditions (I like to labour with the light really REALLY low). I treasure them.

Kelly.x

 

 

 

Magali and Miles – Breastfeeding mini session

I love babies. I love everything about them. Small ones, big ones, ones with hair, ones without. I am a baby person 🙂 I find them equally as cute no matter how they are fed. But there is just something about seeing a mother breastfeeding her child that speaks to me deeply. It is something I feel passionate about, something that I truly believe is special. Not in a “breastfed babies are better” way, not at all. But in a primal way.

I am so honoured every time someone hires me to capture these moments for them. Often I am asked not to share, and obviously I completely respect that. For some feeding is a private thing that they want to record just for themselves, and that is absolutely ok 🙂 But that just makes it even more special when I am allowed to share!

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Magali is one of those few who have consented to sharing. From the moment she told me she would prefer a public shoot to a home session I knew we were on the same wavelength! I think we were both overjoyed that the weather was kind on the day of the shoot, so we were able to head to the park.

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The autumn colours were out in force and gave the location such a beautiful palette!

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Miles was just adorable, giving me lots of smiles. Such a happy baby! Thankfully he was hungry too, so we were able to maximise the variety from the session.

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I am so happy to have been able to capture these memories for Magali and Miles. The photos make me smile, and hopefully by sharing them we are doing our bit to help breastfeeding be seen as the natural, biological, “normal” act that it is.

#normalisebreastfeeding

Kelly.x

 

Breastfeeding mini sessions are just £45*, bookings available for home or public sessions.

*A 50p per mile surcharge is payable for sessions taking place 15 miles or over outside the Hythe area.

 

More education – Adding another string to my bow!

I’m so excited! Tomorrow marks the start of a new journey for me, something I have wanted to do for a very long time.

Tomorrow I have my first Sure start volunteer training session. And the day after that, my very first Breastfeeding peer supporter training session! Eek!

I’ve been passionate about breastfeeding since my third baby was born. We had so many issues, from a c-section birth to 10% weight loss in the first week, to being hospitalised at 6 weeks seriously ill with bronchiolitis, to undiagnosed silent reflux and all that goes with it. I managed to get through them all. And I couldn’t have done it without the help of a forum full of ladies who were a font of all knowledge when it came to breastfeeding. Some were professionals, some just spoke from experience. But they helped me so much. I have tried to pay that forward ever since. So being accepted to train as a peer supporter is a dream come true for me!

I already feel that I’ve learnt so much about breastfeeding, but I know there is more to learn, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity.

It also means that I can provide an extra service to my clients, if needed. Which makes me so happy, because I can combine two of the things I am most passionate about!

I’ll keep you all up to date with my training journey.

Kelly.x

Choosing a sling – Guest post by BabywearingKimmy

I wanted to write a post about choosing a sling, the different kinds and how to know what is best suited to you and your baby. But whilst I have worn all of my babies one way or another, I’m far from an expert.

So I asked my lovely friend Kimmy (AKA BabywearingKimmy) if she would be willing to share her knowledge and write a guest post for me! She is so passionate about wearing ALL the babies so she was happy to oblige. So I’ll pass you over to Kimmy, I hope this helps if you’re struggling through the seemingly daunting minefield that is babywearing.
This is what I have written up, please let me know if its not any good! ❤ 😊


I have been attending sling meets from Maidstone to Manchester, I love babywearing, and I love babywearers, and I am being 100% honest when I say that empowering other parents to babywear is probably one of my favourite things to do.
I have had a significant increase in expectant parents who want to try babywearing with every meet I run locally. They all have pretty much the same set of questions that I hope I can help you with!
The first thing you need to consider will be how long are you planning on wearing your baby? If you just want to wear for a few weeks or months, your best option is to find a local (or postal) sling library and hire a carrier. If you plan on wearing for longer you will want to buy yourself a carrier, so you need to consider what your budget is as well as what style you want to go for.
There is a wide array of styles of carriers, and with each style is its benefits. Just like finding the right pair of jeans to suit you, there is the right baby carrier for you and your baby. The best guess we can make with expectant parents or those who plan to carry their newborn baby, is to focus on the benefits they want to gain from wearing.
Stretchy wraps are pretty self explanatory. They are a length of stretchy fabric that you wrap around yourself and pop baby into. Stretchy wraps are great because you can pre tie it onto you, and then pop the baby in and out as many times as you need throughout the day without having to rewrap/tie. And when you have a newborn that feeds and poops, you know you need to pop it in and out! Most people transition from stretchies to other styles from about 6 months onwards.
Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs) or sometimes referred to as ‘buckles’ are very quick to get on and off, especially once you have adjusted the straps to fit you and baby. Whereas with the stretchy wraps I could wear it all day around the house, if I wanted to pop out to the shops I would use my buckles as it was easiest to put on in a car park or shop for example. Some carriers come with newborn inserts which makes it comfortable for the babies who still need their little legs in the right position, so these too are suitable to use from birth. As your baby gets bigger you can remove these inserts and adjust the straps, meaning with the right carrier you can use it well into toddlerhood!

With all carriers though you must be safe, which is why I would always say if you can – try and get yourself to a local meet or sling library. The Sling Pages http://www.slingpages.co.uk/ is a great resource for finding local babywearing help, and for online safety information. The main thing is to remember TICKS Guidelines and ABC reminders

Photo courtesy of babywearingsafety.co.uk
T – Tight, 

I – In view at all times, 

C – Close enough to kiss,

K – Keep chin off chest, 

S – Supported back, 

Photo courtesy of babywearing international.org
Airway

Body Positioning

Comfort

I hope you have found this helpful, and can use this information to enjoy wearing your baby!
Kimmy.x

Kimmy is a qualified babywearing consultant and member of BABI (British Accossiation of Babywearing Instructors). She is due to launch Mid Kent babywearing in September 2016. Consisting of a sling library, sling swing (babywearing exercise classes) and one to one consultancy. 

Follow her pages on Facebook at BabywearingKimmy and midkent babywearing.

12 Bright/Rainbow buys for babies

I love rainbows! I may have mentioned that once or twice before 😉 I don’t really like the whole gender stereotyping thing, pink for a girl and blue for a boy. I love things that have a bit of colour, a bit of personality. A rainbow can always cheer up even the dullest day!

So I decided to share some of my favourite rainbow/bright things I’ve come across.

Little Bird by Jools Oliver at Mothercare

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I LOVE the Little Bird range! Sadly it only goes up to age 7-8, meaning that only two of my little pandas fit into the clothes still. But we sure make the most of it! The bright colours and vintage feel, plus the often gender neutral designs, make this our go-to brand for fun, stand out clothes on the high street.

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Rainbows and brights are the signature colours, so its easy to spot another Little Bird whilst out and about. A great conversation opener!

Sizes start from newborn, so its never too soon to be a Little Bird.

 

Mamas and Papas Jamboree Blanket

Mamas and papas blanket

Made from 100% cotton, this blanket is just so bright and colourful! It has co-ordinating items available too, so you can choose to just add a splash of colour to your pram, or deck out the whole nursery in matching brights. Available from Mamas and Papas.

I also have to give a mention to the Mamas and Papas Gingerbread blanket, which is another one of my favourites!

mamas and papas gingerbread

 

Kokadi Rainbow Stars Wrap

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This is such a happy, bright and funky wrap! Woven from 100% organic cotton, once its broken in its so butter soft and comfortable. I don’t own one, but I wish I did! One of my favourite wraps of all time.

kokadi-rainbow-stars-3ad

 

Annzel Creations Rainbow Nappy

rainbow nappy

Whats not to love about this gorgeous cloth nappy? Rainbows AND unicorns! Its just awesome. And handmade too! Annzel creations is a WAHM (Work at home mum), and she doesn’t just make nappies! Check out her Facebook page for more yummy rainbowness!

 

Sainsburys Colour Sort Rainbow

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I love wooden toys. They are generally so much more tactile than plastic, and more hardwearing. Obviously the natural materials is a big bonus too!

This rainbow from Sainsburys is everything I love in a toy. Wooden, brightly coloured, fun and educational. My littlest panda has one, and he loves it!

 

All The Small Things Tie Dye Clothing

all the small things tie dyed clothing

Photo by All the small things

As the slightly-crunchy, hippy, AP parent I am of course I love myself a bit of tie dye! We were gifted a babygrow dyed by Linds at All The Small Things. It was love! My little panda looked amazing in it, and the quality of the dye job was fantastic. I’ve been a fan ever since! Linds takes customs, so if you have something in mind then just pop over to her Facebook page or website and ask!

 

JojoMaman Bebe Rainbow Stripe Slipper Socks

rainbow slipper socks

These were a lifesaver for us when Littlest panda was small! Being in the sling alot of the time, and being the Houdini of socks, he would get really cold feet. We would have people stop us in the street and say “Oh, aren’t his little feet getting cold?”, when he had started off with a pair of socks on! So when someone suggested these to me I was ready to try anything!

Part thick sock, part moccasin, they really are an amazing invention. You can pull them on and tuck in little trousers, which means no riding up and leaving a bare patch of skin. And no matter how much they kick and kick those little legs, these beauties are not coming off! Plus they look awesome, so its a win-win 🙂 Available from the JoJo website here.

 

Bubble and Geek Rainbow Romper

bubble and geek rainbow romper

Another fantastic WAHM creation! Bubble and Geek make some gorgeous rainbow-y things for babies and kids, but this rainbow romper is my favourite. Handmade with love, from quality fabrics. They are well wroth a look if you are wanting something unique for your little ones! Check out her website or her Facebook page

 

Cheeky Wipes Rainbow Muslins

rainbow muslins

Muslins are a parenting essential! They are so versatile. Mopping up spills and baby sick, using as a nursing cover or a swaddling rag, a comforter or a face wipe. their uses are endless. So if you’re going to be whipping it out every 5 minutes you may as well make it pretty right?

These gorgeous rainbow muslins are from Cheeky wipes (who also make great reusable baby wipe kits!).

Silicone Teething/Feeding Necklace

rainbow teeting feeding necklace

I absolutely love these necklaces from Funky Twiddle Mamas! So bright and colourful, but so useful too. Not only do they look stylish, but they are great for little ones to chomp on to ease the pain of teething. they are great for distracting little one during breastfeeding, to stop them from pulling hair, scratching and turning around to see what the cat is up to every 3 seconds 😉 They can also be worn when babywearing, to give baby something to fiddle with. Not just a pretty adornment!

 

Rainbow Legwarmers

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For those days when socks or booties just aren’t enough, or for showing off those pretty nappies in the summertime, you can’t beat these funky legwarmers from Ali Express. Gender neutral and oh so bright, they are amazing for keeping little legs warm in the sling, or over the top of socks in wellington boots.

 

Short Rainbow Romper and Bib

Rainbow baby romper and bib

This gorgeous set is another WAHM creation, from the very talented Rainbow Baby. As the name suggests, she specialises in rainbows! She has so many awesome makes, I struggled to pick just one for this list. Pop over to her Facebook page and check out her other makes, you won’t be disappointed!

 

I’ve had so much fun putting this list together, and found it so hard to narrow it down! In fact, I may just have to do a follow up 😉 I used to despair about the lack of funky clothes for little ones, boys in particular. Everything seemed to be dull and beige or blue (or pink pink pink for little girls). But as you can see, there are nice clothes and other items out there! I hope this list helps you to find them 🙂

 

Kelly.x

Babywearing session – Kimmy and Tilly

I was really excited about this one! When Kimmy contacted me and told me she was training to be a babywearing consultant I knew that she would have a few wraps. But when I jokingly replied to her message saying she didn’t know which ones to bring with “All of them!”, I didn’t expect to be greeted by a bag full of gorgeous coloured slingy loveliness! Coupled with such a vibrant, genuinely lovely lady, beautiful little people and a truly gorgeous location, we had a great afternoon lined up!


Leeds castle has so many beautiful locations, and Kimmy had a sling for all of them.


The weather stayed beautiful for us, and we had such a wonderful afternoon. I have serious sling envy again, especially when Kimmy cracked out Erna! One of my all time favorite wrap designs.


So many lovely photos to choose from, only a fraction of them here! I’m loving these babywearing shoots in the sunshine! To for details on how to book see my Facebook page www.facebook.com/littlepandasphotography, or my price list page on the website.

To follow Kimmy’s journey go to www.facebook.com/babywearingkimmy

Kelly.x

Babywearing session – Katie, Annie and Olivia

My second babywearing session at Camber sands was with Katie and her beautiful baby, Annie. Olivia, Katie’s adorable 3 year old came too. My heart melted when I saw that Katie and Olivia were wearing matching carriers, just the cutest sight!


I wanted to shoot this beautiful family just how they were, lifestyle style. Olivia played and, with a little encouragement, interacted with her Mummy and baby sister. 


Katie had brought another carrier with her (Olivia also had a matching one again, but she had had enough babywearing for one day!), so she switched Annie over and we were able to capture some more gorgeous shots.


I was left with a bad case of sling envy! Thank you Katie, Annie and Olivia for a wonderful, enjoyable shoot.