The 213th day of the Year has arrived!

 

Look at us here…

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This is us – Both full of anticipation and nerves. The nerves felt largely by knowing that a c-section is surgery just like any other surgery, it is not the easy choice by no means.

I can’t say I embraced the idea of birthing my daughter by elective c-section. Yet given the circumstances with the pregnancy I didn’t have an alternative. I did feel robbed of the opportunity for a natural birth…but then a safe birth is really the end goal.

So here we are waiting.

Waiting for our allotted time for our daughter to be received in to this world.

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Soraya was born on the 1st of August and what a joy she has been. Actually the first 2 days she was more a crying screaming mess ! But she has become a beautifully calm little one, thankfully !

I got to have skin to skin, something I didn’t get to do immediately when Hana was born due to it being an emergency with her. It was a calm and relatively pain free experience, the spinal was simple enough and not unpleasant and I think anaesthetists are fantastic at keeping you at ease through the whole thing.

A few days have passed and I can say that the recovery has been tough. I naively believed that my recovery for an elective procedure would be much easier than my first emergency c-section!

 

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Why doesn’t anyone warn you about the dreaded ‘after pains’ ! a bit of mental preparation would have helped before I experienced these! After pains are the uterine contractions that occur triggered when you breastfeed your newborn…Why why why! Hasn’t the female body gone through enough that we now have pain ‘after’ the pain of birth ?!

On the plus side I feel like I actually know what I’m doing this time, no longer new to motherhood. I understand what a good breastfeeding latch is, and it has come easily this time.

Rekindling a breastfeeding relationship has been a blessing and I am glad that our newest addition is a natural at it!

I look forward to chronicaling my second journey in to motherhood – keep an eye out! and checkout my Instagram for pics x

Something you don’t know but should !

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Breastfeeding is important to me. Feeding a baby full stop is an important topic. Is it important to you ?

Then read on because you might just want to take note, and maybe even get involved in an exciting project!

As a paediatric doctor returning from a year of maternity leave I found myself wanting more from my job. Looking after children, when they are sick is rewarding I cannot say it is anything but rewarding. However…Medicine in the run of the mill day to day practice lacks something.

Creativity and innovation.

Turns out medicine is full of innovation, and once you open your eyes to it you realise there are many like minded individuals with amazing ideas driving it forward and making healthcare better.

I am proud to say that I am on the NHS Clinical entrepreneur fellowship. A chance to pursue my creative entrepreneurial aspirations alongside my professional ones, With mentors and networking opportunities I just would not have been able to access without it.

In particular I want to make feeding your baby in public be it breast, expressed or formula… an all round easier and more comfortable experience.

As parents we deserve to look after our children in clean and free environments. Must you always pay for a coffee to sit somewhere nice?

We can make it happen! With that in mind, I have a project with a vision that I would like to share with you all.

Hana Pie is not just a blog. It is the initiation of a journey towards creating better public feeding spaces.

There is a deeper message too.

Worldwide 800 000 deaths from childhood illnesses and 20 000 deaths from breast cancer could be avoided just by increasing the rate of breastfeeding. Isn’t that staggering.

I want to stress most importantly that there is a misconception that breastfeeding saves lives in developing countries and not the western world. That is not so, here in our modern age cities we as a society benefit from breastfeeding too from a health and economical perspective.

So doesn’t it make sense to support mothers in making that choice ? When it can often times feel like the challenging choice, then we should recognise the commitment a woman puts in and make her feel that society supports and celebrates her choice.

I propose creating a hub for example in retail centres  which will be much more than the current substandard baby rooms that do exist where it is deemed decent and acceptable to feed your baby in a plastic chair near the nappy bin and changing table !

The central hub will be multifunctional, it’s heart will be a free seating area that will be visually inviting and practical. Giving families a chance to meet with their peers and also providing more private spaces for those who prefer that option.

For infants there will be a sensory area to stimulate and develop their growing senses and self awareness.

We have to be honest here, retail is a sector where without the investment the concept will not work. There is a reason why corporate responsibility lends only the isolated corners of a baby changing room to breastfeeding mothers.


This project has 3 streams to maintain revenue to fund the free feeding space.

 

  1. ‘Hana Pie’ Childrenswear brand whose proportion of profit will directly fund the social impact element, being the free seating area and sensory space.
  2. A community space designed to attract local groups and classes which will generate revenue through hire.
  3. A ‘Pop up’ Shop which will be ever-changing  creating interest for users, accessing products which are not ordinarily available on the high street which will generate revenue through hire and sales.

There are approximately 700, 000 babies born each year, the vast majority of mothers will try to breastfeed – roughly 70%. But by 1 week it drops to 46% and by 6 weeks 23%.

Public breastfeeding is one part of the issue, it isn’t the whole slice of the pie. Yet I do believe society and peer support is so vital that it can have an impact.

1 in 10 mothers decide not to breastfeed because they worry about how they will cope in public!

It is time to prove this concept has substance !

It is time to take on board your ideas because this is an evolution, and can only work if we cater to what Mothers and families in general want from this project.

Please do get in touch via Twitter or Facebook – the links are on the blog (top right)

 

XX

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Just over halfway now. We found out we are expecting a baby girl !

I have to say I am really happy for Hana, I never had a sister growing up and the idea of her experiencing it makes me feel very excited. Hope they get on as they get older !

I would say I need to look after myself more, which is hard when you are working and have a toddler to contend with ! I am my own worst enemy and tire myself out really !

Number one issue is hydration ! I just don’t drink enough water. I spent a few weeks drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning and then the habit just died !

Forming new habits in general I find quite hard. Even something as simple as drinking enough seems a tall order. But when you put it down in writing you feel more committed to completing the task.

Another one for the job list; The dilemma of finding a suitable name… Any suggestions are welcome !

20 something weeks and my, is this a long haul!

21 weeks and 1 day to be exact.

I am just over half way through and I am reminded of how long pregnancy is. I guess developing a tiny human is not meant to be quick. However now I know she is healthy and that Hana is going to have a little sister to dote on. My patience is wearing out !

3 generationsAt the same time, I am really trying to enjoy this time I have with Hana as my only little girl. These times are precious and I will miss holding her in my arms. She is 2yrs and 8 months but still petite and easy to carry around! When she is older I will miss the ‘squeezy’ hugs and her arms around my neck as we walk through the shops or the park.

Pregnancy belly is well and truly out and Hana is aware that she has a little sister growing inside my tummy. She will put her hand on my tummy waiting to feel a kick and will tell her about her fun filled day. I can see she will fit the older sibling role well 🙂

 

What will they think !

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1 in 10 mother’s decide not to breastfeed their child based on their concerns surrounding public breastfeeding.

Recently I shared a little anecdote about one particularly memorable time I fed Hana in public. It was in Starbucks at Selfridges in Birmingham.

Wanting to sit comfortably I chose a sofa which had opposite it another sofa, upon which sat a probably late twenties chap on his laptop.

I was alone with my pushchair and a then 5 month old little monkey, who was due a feed. The guy was lovely, he struck up some conversation about Hana, asking how old she is etc, polite conversation…But then, I started to worry. This stranger is less so a stranger now but still a member of the larger public.

I wanted to breastfeed Hana. I can clearly remember trying to decide if I should pack everything up and go to a changing room or a toilet to feed her. But that would be silly ! I bought a coffee, and I needed a break ! So I just swallowed my fears and got on with it. Frankly, I am glad I didn’t succumb to this ‘fear’ I had of what will this stranger think of me.

Because ultimately it doesn’t matter ! What matters is that I was doing what I ordinarily do. I had been confidently breastfeeding in public for months, and was still rattled by that experience.

This leads me to think of those women who feel this way always, or at least a lot of the time.

Why do ⅓ of women shy away from feeding their babies in public, a proportion of mothers ‘feel’ that society does not support them, but actually the overwhelming majority do support the mother’s right to feed wherever and whenever they need to.

So how do we fix this ? How can we bring confidence to those mother’s who require it and marry it with the support of our society ? 

Well that’s a little project I’m working on. If anyone is curious or wants to help then feel free to get in touch!

 

Breastfeeding on schedule – An interesting tale

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If you have read my ‘About me’ section, you will know that I am a paediatric doctor, you will also know that I breastfed my daughter for 12 months.

Neither of the above makes me an expert on breastfeeding. I have my opinions, and I do my best to back them up with reputable resources.

So now begins my story, not long ago… I was working the weekend on-call in the hospital. We have quite a number of young babies who will have been admitted for poor weight gain. These can be babies who are breast-fed, formula fed or both.  I went on my ward round to see a mother whose 17 day old baby had been losing weight and was exclusively breastfed. He had been through a traumatic start to life with a rough delivery and had been on the neonatal unit initially. Understandably it was disheartening for his mother to be in hospital with him yet again.

When I met her for the first time, 3 days in to her admission, I was surprised to hear that the doctor the previous day had told her to not feed her son more frequently than every 3 hours, and to offer top-up expressed milk thereafter each feed. The top-ups weren’t surprising, after all this baby had lost weight on breastfeeds alone.

However a few things troubled me:

  • A breastfed baby should be able to feed on demand, otherwise the milk supply will not develop.
  • Any baby this young will have their own feeding pattern, and breast fed babies may feed as frequently as 1-2 hourly which initially can be very normal
  • Insisting on 3 hourly feeds meant this mother was ignoring the baby’s demand to feed prior to the allotted time, causing her distress when he cried for 20 minutes straight.
  • Suggesting 3 hourly feeds to a breastfeeding mother, does not account for the future episodes where a baby will cluster feed during growth spurts or other times.

Given how passionate I feel about breastfeeding, I had no issue with being up front with the mother. I apologised because I felt an apology was due. Why ? Because no breastfeeding support was arranged while she was an inpatient, no thought had been put as to whether this baby was having a poor latch leading to inadequate weight gain etc… And because I believe we are there to guide and enable good weight gain, but not at the detriment of creating a poor breastfeeding relationship.

Anyway…after allaying her anxiety she was relieved to hear that demand feeding is a good thing and that what I had said echoed the information she had received on the neonatal unit.

Here comes the problem. The following day I was given ‘feedback’ about how my plan led to this baby losing weight. I disagree…this baby lost weight on the strict 3 hourly schedule also. I was told that  after my advice of mother demand feeding and topping up ; the baby had fed every half an hour and as a consequence had been losing weight. Again I disagree, I believe our failure to give this women correct breastfeeding support was the issue and restricted feeding. I suspect the baby fed every half an hour because it was making up for lost time, or had an inadequate latch or because mum wasn’t clear on feeding cues, unfortunately I was not on the ward to find out.

What do you do when a senior colleague tells you this ? Well I apologised, and genuinely so. Because I had undermined her strict scheduled feed plan.

But I do stand by my original opinion…A breastfed baby should be able to feed on demand especially at 17 days old, a schedule thereafter is really up to a mother to plan on depending on what her baby is like and after understanding how breastfeeding works.

I believe the NHS is doing a lot to educate the organisation about breastfeeding, but the truth is the reach of good and effective support is still not as effective as it should be.  If you find yourself questioning a medical professional about the plan they implement for your breastfed baby, do not be afraid to demand reasoning and evidence for their decision making.

That is all !

 

Well its real!

12 week scan

 

Apologies first and foremost…

I have let the slump and exhaustion stop me from doing almost anything productive. Hana’s nap time is MY nap time!

I had my 12 week scan and here it is ! The little foetus growing inside me. Quite honestly it hadn’t felt real up until this point. I’m quite open to keeping the gender a surprise, but curious others are not so keen on that prospect!

I am actually now close to 15 weeks pregnant, and I am starting to feel a lot better. The nausea is still there however, worse on a dreaded night shift…but otherwise my energy is returning which is such a relief!

I can still fit in to my jeans, even if the button is looking like it is about to pop off. Much easier to walk around with it undone to be honest ! Much simpler than trying to find clothes that will fit me through this journey !

 

The Slump and the Hump

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This is me right now – slumped in bed on a day off. In fact that’s me…Any opportunity I get ! Week 8 has hit me with an onslaught of exhaustion and waves of nausea. Hence the lack of blog writing, but I do intend on writing a breastfeeding post soon. With that, it is time to nap ! x

Week 7

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Week 7 has been a little shaky, I won’t lie.

I experienced some spotting which made me fear the worst. Funnily enough though, with the miscarriage I was symptomless – in fact so free of pregnancy symptoms which was why I suspected something had gone wrong.

This time, I have still been exhausted and mildly nauseous so that was reassuring but not enjoyable !

So we did what we always do, and paid out for a private scan. For me the reassurance is worth it, and we saw a flicker of a heartbeat ! I know it is still extremely early and so we’re not out of the woods yet…but there is hope, which is so important!

Now I know the pregnancy is viable, I have finally got my act together and contacted a midwife!