Seven years, Seven tips & Seven offers. Its lucky number 7.

Seven years, Seven tips & Seven offers. Its lucky number 7.

This month my Norwich based, baby and child photography business turns seven years old. I consider it my other child, my life passion and a source of great joy and pride.

To celebrate, I wanted to share how I got here; my seven tips for making what you love work and a very special lucky number 7 offer!

Something I am frequently asked; how did you start your business?

College was the catalyst for taking photography up as a hobby; where many an hour was spent working away in the dark room (the smell!!! If you know, you know! I LOVED it!)

Fast forward a few years and whilst enjoying an adult education course in photography, I found out I was pregnant! As for so many, evening sickness took its toll so badly, I had to give up the classes, but if anything, it spurred me to follow my dreams another way. I had a bump shoot and the wonderful photographer, who made me feel so at ease, inspired me when the arrival of my own baby provided the perfect model. Cass, my photographer came back and mentored me… so I took the plunge that so many of us mamas do when we want to work around having a baby – I stated my own business.

I have never stopped pursuing my dream and pushing myself. I never assumed I was at the zenith of my learning or knowledge and have over the years continued with 1-2-1 training with other new-born photographers. I have always learnt by absorbing and asking questions and it was no different with my own business. 20 months after the arrival of Lucas and the birth of my business, our little dream boat - Lilah burst into our world. I won’t lie, keeping everything afloat with 2 under 2 was hard and without the support and love of my hubby I wouldn’t have come out of the other side with everyone and the business intact!

Any business goes on a journey, working out what’s best, what’s popular, what makes you happy and some years into baby and child photography I made my own mark… I decided that what I loved best was the simple, neutral images. Showcasing the little ones for all that they are so I stripped it back, limited colour, limited props and it’s the same ethos I carry through into 2019 and beyond.

So, this blog is also a dedication; seven years of thanks and gratitude. To my husband, my children, my fur baby, my family ad friends. The support from everyone is never ending and to this day it amazes me that I continue to make friends on this journey. Most of all thank you to my clients and their beautiful models that made this business possible. Not only are you my bread and butter but you have created a support system I could never have dreamed of through the light and the recent heartbreak of losing my dad. You have made it easier - so thank you all!!!

My 7 lessons so far

1. Start as you mean to go on. In hindsight I think I started too soon. I was so eager (which isn’t a bad thing) I should have built up my portfolio and trained some more. Then marketed myself when I was more experienced and confident.  I started off too cheap and had to market myself to a new clientele. 

2. You do not need the most expensive equipment, most of my stuff is second-hand or not the top brand. You simply need to learn how to use it!

3. Trust your way. I ignored a lot of advice: I was told to use props, use lots of colour, to sell via in person sales and so on, the more I followed my heart and did things my way, the more it worked. 

4. Ignore what your competitors do and say, I know people say to keep an eye on them but I’ve found the more I stay focused on my work the less I worry or stress. (Also, it’s fine to be angry if you get someone copying your style or ideas. I have ranted to close friends, but every area of business gets it and it is wasted energy. Unless someone directly steals your clients, in the words of Elsa, LET IT GO) 

5. This is a hugely saturated market and some people will not value your work/your prices, it is not personal, it is business. The lesson? - not everyone is the right client for you. 

6. People will assume all you do is take photos! Family and friends will not always understand the full process behind photography and the final presented images, that’s ok because again its best to let it go (or educate them, whatever works for you!)

7. It’s a wonderful job but a hugely competitive field and can often lonely on your own – I have found networking with other freelancers and parent businesses to be a really positive experience. Find like-minded people in different fields so you can support and lift one another up. I’m very lucky that there are a lot of these events and individuals in Norwich!

So, there you have it, how I got here and seven years of tips. So now for a seven-year offer for seven lucky mummies to be!

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Are you pregnant? If so then I am offering the first 7 mums a maternity shoot!

The package:

  • A 25 minute shoot with 7 images via an email link for £75
  • Email to book in, and be quick! Once the 7 slots have gone, they are gone! 

Balloohttps://www.facebook.com/ClaireCarneyFloralAndBalloonDesigns/n by the awesome Claire Carny

breastfeeding Norfolk

Breastfeeding Myths Guest Blog by Sian - No Milk Like Mama’s

Breastfeeding Myths Guest Blog by Sian - No Milk Like Mama’s

 

breastfeeding Norfolk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Breastfeeding is painful

Whilst some discomfort can happen when you first start breastfeeding, truly painful breastfeeding is not ‘normal’ and is a sign that your baby does not have an optimal attachment to the breast. Too many times breastfeeding supporters see women who have struggled on through painful feeds, severe nipple trauma and dreading feeding their baby, with the misconception that it was normal to be painful and they just weren’t coping with this. This can lead to further issues which may take more support to unravel. Getting good quality support in place quickly if breastfeeding is painful can be key to breastfeeding success.

  • Breastfeeding mothers get less sleep

It is often thought that breastfeeding mothers get less sleep. However, research has shown us that overall breastfeeding mothers get more sleep. Hormones in breastmilk help our babies fall back to sleep quickly, and the hormones released whilst breastfeeding, help mums to do the same. A breastfeed in the night can usually be a quick and calm way to settle babies back to sleep with minimal disruption.

  • I’ll never be able to be away from my baby

In the newborn days it is true to say that breastfeeding can feel quite intense, but so can bottle feeding. Making feeds, heating water, washing bottles, sterilising, none of this is easy. All mothers work extremely hard. Whilst breastfeeding may feel a little all consuming in those early weeks, as your baby grows, your breastmilk changes. An increase in the casein:whey protein ratio in breastmilk enables babies to go a little longer between feeds, perhaps giving mum some time to relax and spend some time on herself.

  • Breastfeeding will make my breasts ‘saggy’

Nope, you can blame pregnancy hormones, age and a dose of gravity for that one!

  • I’ll have to stop breastfeeding when I go back to work

Many babies are already weaned onto solids by the time mum returns to work. Babies can eat meals, snacks and drink water when away from mum and return to the breast when they are reunited. If your baby does accept milk feeds when away from you, this can be given in a sippy or open cup, bottles are not always necessary. Health and Safety laws protect the needs of breastfeeding mothers to enable them to express at work and store their breastmilk.

  • I can’t breastfeed if I’m unwell

The opposite could not be truer. It is very important to continue to breastfeed when you are unwell. Your body makes antibodies against the specific virus you have, and these are then given to your baby via your breastmilk, giving them greater protection from this. Aren’t our bodies amazing?!

  • I can’t breastfeed if I am taking medication

Many medications are compatible with breastfeeding, and if a medication is not, alternatives can often be found. Please seek support to discuss this further if this concerns you.

  • Breastfeeding is easy

Whilst breastfeeding is natural, it is a learned skill of both mother and baby requiring time, patience and support. Good quality, compassionate and consistent support from family, friends and professionals enables the breastfeeding relationship to be an enjoyable one.

 

Sian Aldis, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
IBCLC. BA(Hons). FdSc.

Sian runs No Milk Like Mama’s and hosts a FREE Breastfeeding Support Café at Rowan House (Health & Wellbeing Centre) in Hethersett on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month between 10am and 12noon. Everyone is welcome to attend this drop in service. For more details of the services offered, please see http://www.nomilklikemamas.co.uk/or find her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 


Maternity Photographer Norwich

7 things you might have forgotten about having a newborn

7 things you might have forgotten about having a newborn

 

It’s so easy to forget each precious stage as they flash by before your eyes, but something I hear frequently from second time mothers and fathers is how much they had forgotten by the time baby number 2 arrives. So, I thought I would compile a list of 5 things to remind all you expectant second time mothers and also to prepare anyone in round one!

Baby photographer Norfolk

  1. Prepare to google ‘Can I die from sleep deprivation’ It hurts, it makes your body ache and its akin to torture. You exist in a weird mystical fog of forgetfulness and with no idea what the day is and even if it is day or night. You might forget the date your baby was born or maybe their name, who you invited round that afternoon and where you left your last cup of cold tea (cold tea is another point, read on!) It’s brutal, but it also jam packed with that wonderful thing oxytocin and it passes.

 

  1. The Love is like nothing you have ever known. The link between you and your baby is powerful, the dull ache you feel through your whole body when your baby cries, the desperate itch to whip them back to you if anyone hugs them for too long. The strange sensation for breastfeeding mummies of twingy boobs if your baby cries. Its magical stuff, my hubby didn’t experience this, but I did, anyone else out there too?

 

  1. It’s just a phase. How hard it is to remember that with a new-born. Endless nights of colic or maybe cluster feeding, illness, screaming or just no reason behaviour. It feels like the end will never be in sight. But with retrospect, it doesn’t last forever and it’s a rite of passage that all parents stare desperately at one another in the middle of the night and pep talk one another

 

  1. How to hold a new-born! This is a funny one, you’d think as parents of an older sibling that you have been there and done that, that’s its something you don’t forget, well I can assure you that while you will eventually get the hang of it those first holds put you under enormous pressure, which brings me to a sub-point of point 4! The enormity of being responsible for new life is just the same as first time around. To keep them alive and kicking – adhering to all the rules and regulations and advice as set out by everyone around you (authorities and family) It’s hard but remember you can do this!

 

  1. Cold tea. Your tea will not be hot when you drink it for a long time. There is no way around this.

 

  1. Never ever say out loud, or in your head that you are nailing something. As we all know, the minute your baby hears you they will immediately move the goalposts and you will have no idea what is going on. Be it sleep, feeding, routine, smiling, rolling you name it. They can smell parents celebrating success!

 

  1. In those hazy first days, it feels like no sleep, no hot tea, no routine and no idea will be your life forever, but, just remember, you will re-enter the normal world at some point. So, try to enjoy being home in a new-born bubble. Because as we all know ‘It’s just a phase’

Family baby photographer near me

And just to add – you will love this baby as much as your first , you may even feel sad about it not just being you and your first born.  But that soon went when Lila arrived, the emotions we feel as parents are so mixed and varied. Every journey is different but im pretty sure whatever you feel , someone else is feeling/ felt  the same. The fact that  we worry,  if we are doing a good job means we are!

 

If you are having your 3rd , 4th, 5th etc baby i’d love you hear from you and have you guest blog !

 

Jess

Newborn baby photographer Norwich


co-sleeping baby

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Co- sleeping

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Co- sleeping

 

Don’t let baby sleep in your bed.

Put them down awake.

Get rid of the dummy.

Put socks on him.

Dream feed them.

Have you tried a banana before bed?

Order a white noise machine, Gro clock and black out blinds.

Type in ‘how to get a baby to sleep through the night’,  and you will be met with so much conflicting and sometimes very odd advice.

Elijah our first child was always a pretty good sleeper, from around six weeks he slept 7-7 and after about a year he did so in his own room. Other than the odd early wake up, or a bout of illness and even getting rid of the dummy we have always had it pretty good with him.

We co slept for a while, it just happened naturally, if he woke up early he would come in with us and we would sleep until a reasonable hour.

I remember being told that this was the worst possibly thing to do, we would ‘create a rod for our own backs’, he wouldn’t never sleep in his own room and wouldn’t be able to settle himself etc.

I liked him being close to me, it meant I could keep an eye on him, and as he got bigger I liked when he snuck in our bed.

co-sleeping baby

Bed hopping

I do vaguely remember there was a time where the three of us would bed hop, between his room, our room and the sofa but do you know what, we still slept.

I got told by someone that if it isn’t a problem for you, then there is no problem and I hand on my heart believe this. We all slept and no it wasn’t the most convenient thing in the world but it kind of worked.

Then came his brother who didn’t quite follow in his brothers footsteps, so much so even now at sixteen months still doesn’t sleep very well.

We thought we had learnt a lot from having Elijah, and we were quite open to co sleeping again if it meant that we all slept but we were not prepared when it came to our little sleep thief.

I even in a sleep deprived  state ordered a Ewan the Sheep in hope it would work, it did not.

Take last night, he went to bed in his room, woke up but settled again around five times but as we were approaching the wee hours he came in with us and slept until 7am, and allowed his brother a lay in until 7.30am!

The need for sleep

Some may have an issue about co sleeping and it obviously can be very dangerous in certain situations and I am not necessarily an advocate for it, I am however very much for getting sleep.

I don’t have any worries that by co sleeping that I will have one of them in the bed until they are teenagers.

I think in the first couple of years you are in survival mode and you do what you can to get the illustrious bout of sleep that you think about  all day long.

There will be a time where they wont be waking up. Clambering into your bed, kicking you for hours through the night or my personal favourite using your head as a pillow.

It is and when your child doesn’t sleep, and you really do get quite desperate trying everything and anything.

It can be even harder when you know others their age who do sleep, and it can feel as though you are the one doing something wrong.

Once you have had a baby you are in such a rush for them to sleep through the night as we believe that this is an indication of their ability in a way.

Truth be told, I don’t think much helps, they will sleep when and where they want to. A little further down the road something will click and you will be waking up with a toddler heavy breathing in your face demanding that it is time for breakfast and C Beebies.

Baby photographer Norfolk

Three or four in a bed

Strangely, you will begin to miss those times where you woke up with no duvet and neck ache, snuggled up with someone whose nappy is feeling and smelling way too full.

Or when you, your partner, your child and every single one of their teddies has to come in and you find yourself balanced on the edge of the bed not daring to move in case you fall out!

Let go of the pressure, the guilt if you are reading this after a semi successful night where your baby/toddler/ pre-schooler/ cat and you did share a bed then don’t sweat it.

Once again, if it isn’t a problem for you, it isn’t a problem, try not to compare yourselves.

Different things work for different people, and that’s okay, however if one of them does still sleep with us when he is in his twenties then I may come back to revisit this!

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog, founded and runs The NICU Parent Partnership Organisation and co-hosts @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club.. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Blog

 

bottle feeding


antenatal

Pregnancy guest blogger 35 weeks - hypnobirthing and antenatal classes

Waking up on the floor, dazed and confused…I was obviously quite receptive to a hypnotised Alpha Brain state… Or if not… i was very tired!

 

We saw the wonderful Jackie – owner of ‘The Orange Grove Clinic’ for a weekend of Hypnobirthing. She was great! Honest, informative and reassuring. We studied Balloon breathing, Feather breathing and Deep breathing whilst pelvic tilting on a Bouncy ball all on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I now feel like i understand what my clever body will go through. I never thought i would be able to have a water birth or be able to give birth to my baby without medical intervention, i now truly believe that i am capable of doing whatever i wish for our little ones big day. I feel more empowered than ever. Go women!

 

We have begun our Antenatal classes this month. ‘Birth to Babies’ was what we opted for. Our team of new parent troops are lovely, and our tutor Sian is very informative and makes the evening entertaining. We group up in small numbers to express fears and then try solve them, we test out birthing positions, strategies and discuss the role of our other halves. I’m now part of a ‘Yummy Mummy’s’ group in which we share advice and plan catch ups over must needed coffee and cake.

antenatal

Sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all, so my hubby and I had a treat night away at Park Farm. Swimming in their warm pool feeling light and bouncy and lounging in our luxury suite was just what we needed. I’m a sucker for a freebie, so coming into our room with salted caramel and hazelnut chocolate, wrapped up in ribbon on the bed accompanied by bottle of ice cold Shloer (pregnancy wish) was such a treat and i felt super special.

 

After our romantic getaway we thought we would make detour to visit to MLBU ward. We rang ahead and they confirmed it was quiet that day so we should pop up to visit. The rooms we could sneak a peek into had dimmed lighting, twinkly lights and birthing pools, which is perfect for me to use my new hypnobirthing techniques along with my portable music soundsystem, essential oils spray and battery candles… Like a spa they say. All of the midwives at N&N have been reassuring friendly and we are so lucky to be having our baby in their safe hands!

 

On a final note we are PACKED! Everything prepared in the boot rearing to go. I’ve tried to cleverly pack my bag that my hubby knows where to look for my ‘Give me this item now’ when i’m squealing at him and throwing raised eyebrows in his direction. Baby’s bag was the best to pack as i get to sit there all teary eyed deciding on which baby grow i love the most, and looking through the tiny socks and booties trying to match to the outfit. Hubby’s bag is filled with pants and food…. Standard.

Chelsea

 

read Chelsea’s other guest blogs here 🙂

 

to book a shoot or chart about bump and newborn shoots please use my contact form. 


bottle feeding

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on…. Baby Classes

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on…. Baby Classes

 

So, it seems that once you’ve got the baby out of you then you have to then suddenly fill your calendar with sensory classes, baby massage and bounce and rhyme classes.

During my pregnancy with my eldest I can’t really remember on finding local baby classes, or planning to attend them. It was more than likely the fact others were doing it and me feeling like I should too!

I was quite fortunate to live a few minutes from a local children’s centre where they held most of the baby classes ion my town.

Even looking back now I remember baby classes with conflicting emotions.

Elijah had colic so someone had suggested baby massage and I did put our names down to see if it would help.

By this point we had endured a NICU stay, and were waiting for a surgery date. I began to decline mentally and certainly remember feeling panicky about attending the class.

Luckily my friend also attended with me, but I still feeling some afraid that people would pick out me as the NICU Mum, and I didn’t want their pity. I was going through a really bad time of accepting what we had been through, and also what we would have to go through and meeting other mums with their healthy babies was hard.

I briefly mentioned it to the teacher in case there was any sort of medical restriction and I saw the pity in her eyes.

I did what I do best, and deflected it, providing some distraction was also Elijah who had projectile vomited all over one of those brightly coloured matts.

As much as baby classes are great for getting you out of the house, for meeting other mums I think there is also a slightly darker side to them, well that’s my experience anyway.

I found I was always comparing myself to others, and my baby too, who was bigger, was was sleeping better, who was doing what.

There is also a fear of judgement when I whipped my Tommee Tippee out of the changing bag, I felt like I was failing.

This is likely just a representation of my mental state at the time, and I am even now, very socially awkward.

I did find it quite hard to go into a room full of parents I didn’t know and to me felt as though I was being put on trial.

I tended to feel comfortable with certain mum friends and would prefer just a house play date rather than sitting in a circle singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Over the first 18 months with Elijah we attended them sporadically, but I just don’t think we found the right fit for us. We also had a lot going on with NICU surgery, recovery etc they were just not on my top list of priorities.

I think there is a stigma surrounding baby classes too, I know of some wonderful ladies whom I have met who run their own classes and I am sure they would have certainly been better suited to us.

There are some great baby classes now on offer that are now offering something different from the norm that also help the parents out too (links below).

Greg always felt the odd one out as he tended to be the only dad and I just didn’t feel comfortable enough to keep going back.

I haven’t actually taken Harlow to a baby class and I do beat myself up he is missing out but truth is with two kids, and a trillion schedules to manage we just don’t have time. He is quite happy to play with Elijah and friends.

It has sadden me that many Children’s Centres are closing and this is where many baby classes are held, and despite me not using them much I know how important they are to others and having the access of them.

It is funny how we as parents put so much pressure on ourselves to sensor the hell out of our little ones believing it is what we should be doing at a detriment to ourselves.

I worry about this un necessary pressure on vulnerable new mums, and wish I could go back and tell that panicked mum it was all okay and it doesn’t matter because you are just doing your best.

Happy mum/dad, happy baby whether you go to baby class or not.

Yoga Babies

Baby Fit

Waterbabies

Beebops

Get Me Out the Four Walls

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Blog

 

If you love Vicki honest blog please read her other blogs here.

 

 


bottle feeding

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… PND Guest blog

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… PND

 

Those three little letters, changed my life in a way I never thought they could.

They held so much power over me, they changed me, I turned on myself and my family because of those three little letters.

I had suffered with my mental health after Elijah was in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but after my second son was born, Post-Natal Depression (PND) consumed me.

The signs

Looking back in those first few weeks after Harlow was born I knew more about how my mental health could take a battering after having a baby than I did first time round.

It all seems to be a blur now, establishing feeding, sleep deprivation, recovery and watching my eldest struggle with the transition and my partner feeling the brunt of it all.

I cannot remember when it started, it didn’t really build up as such.

It most certainly was not just a bad case of the ‘baby blues’ it was so much more.

I remember finding a leaflet about PND in my Bounty folder and how it spoke about it didn’t reflect how I was feeling, it didn’t talk about the reality of what it was really like to have PND.

The anger

When you think of PND you probably think of a mum unable to cope, crying and one that isn’t able to love her child.

That isn’t a correct portrayal of PND, the information in things such as ante natal classes is severely lacking.

I wasn’t just weepy, I was emotionally volatile, the smallest thing would set me of.

I remember feeling so out of control,  the rage would build in me and literally explode.

Never have I been so scared of myself.

It was as though I had my baby, came home lived in the newborn bubble for a few days and boom there it was, PND knocking at my door.

Auto Pilot

I vividly remember a time where Elijah was at his Nan’s and Greg was at work. I was on my own with the baby binge watching Netflix and living in that feed, sleep and repeat cycle. As I got ready to feed him again one afternoon I looked down and I remember feeling numb. There was no rush of love, no happiness, there was nothing.

It was as though I was on auto pilot, I was doing everything that was expected of me, but without at real emotion attached to it.

I don’t think I truly bonded with Harlow until he was perhaps nearly a year old, and of course I beat myself up about it every single day.

Help

Because I was so unaware of what was happening when I was ill with Elijah, I let it fester, too ashamed to get help. To understand that what I was feeling was actually ‘normal’ per se and that my baby wouldn’t be taken away from me. It took my first year with Elijah away from me and I knew I couldn’t let it happen again.

At my 6 week check I told my GP how I was feeling, and she instantly diagnosed PND, there they were those three little letters.

The ones that defined me for what seemed like months, the ones who took over even with medication, therapy and my usual outlet of blogging.

It took me so long to claw myself out of depression, it resulted in me moving in with my Nan so she could help with the children.

Break Down

Greg stood by me the whole time, always the pillar that held our family up. He never judged me when I broke down and said I was miserable, that maybe we shouldn’t have had another baby, that I was a rubbish mum and wanted to leave.

Day after day I told him they were better off without me, I was a failure.

The sense of failure I felt for those months was draining, it affected every part of my being, my life and I couldn’t even recognize who I was anymore.

Advice

I have often wondered about what I would tell someone to do if they think they have PND, or what they can do. One thing I pride myself on is honesty. It has at times be hard to be so honest when I write down and recall how I felt when I suffered from PND, it was pure hell.

But, here is my advice (based on my own experiences, this is not a one size fits all miracle cure)

  1. Always talk, no matter how bad you feel, how dark your thoughts are, if you feel you cannot vocalize them to someone you trust, write them down. Sometimes hearing the words, or seeing them on the page helps you rationalise them, process them. You must always be open and honest no matter how hard that it. When we begin to hide it, suffer in silence, it festers.
  2. Never fear judgement from anyone. Many mums and dads have PND it is nothing to ever be ashamed of and it doesn’t reflect your parenting ability in the slightest.
  3. Find something you enjoy, a bath, a book, write a blog, go for a walk whatever makes you feel as though you are you again, make it a priority. If you can try and get out for a walk now and again (GMOT4W can help locally in Norfolk with this!)
  4. This is the hard one, but seek help. From a GP, midwife, charity (I have listed some below) they can help you, advise you and they are not there to judge you.
  5. Take one day at a time, small steps, they will turn into bigger steps, and you will find there will be a time where there are more good days than bad. It can be hard to believe it when you are in the trenches but one day you feel like you again.
  6. Someone is likely to have gone through what you have, felt how you have felt at some point, it really is okay to be honest you are never alone.

PANDAS

GMOT4W

Mind

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Blog

 

 

 


bottle feeding

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum talks Vaccines.

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum talks Vaccines.

This is the first post in my new guest blog series for Jess Wilkins Photography where I take controversial parenting subjects and provide my honest confessions and experiences on them.

Warning!

Okay, before I begin I will just like to say this is not a pro rant for vaccinations nor is it to offer any advice in when making a decision about vaccinating your children.

This is all about my experiences as a NICU mum to a son who has a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) and my family.

Loaded subject

Never, until I became a parent, did I know that the subject of vaccines is so volatile and explosive.

Even the word vaccine on a post will likely divide and cause a huge argument you didn’t even know you can have.

People you don’t even know, and have never met will tear apart your parenting abilities all based on one single opinion.

Suddenly, you find yourself looking at friends whom you’ve known forever with some sort of fear because they have declared that they have not vaccinated their children.

We are put into two categories and told to go off and fight the good fight for pro or against.

But why? It is a personal family choice and one that should remain that way!

At Risk

It can seem that every Winter I can turn a bit ‘pro vaccine’, but there is a very good reason. Around the beginning of September to March I brace myself for the onslaught of cold and flu season.

I begin to post about the dangers of flu and CHD, and the whole family receive the flu vaccine.

It is more to advise on the effects of being ill around Elijah and passing him something. It isn’t to tell you to all go to get the flu shot right this second!

Elijah is at risk of hospitalisation, pneumonia, respiratory issues, stroke or even a heart attack should he ever catch the flu, and for some CHD sufferers it can be fatal.

Elijah tends to pick things up and they instantly go straight onto his chest.

Trust

We have in the past been admitted to hospital because of it, my son was born with a heart that structurally wasn’t correct and didn’t work properly.

I had to trust in medical science and the procedure which repaired his heart, and this is what I do each and every year when choosing to vaccinate my family against the flu.

I’ve read the ‘horror stories’, I have done my research, I’ve spoken to specialists and consultants and most of all I have to trust my gut.

Nursery

Elijah attends nursery twice a week, and I know that there is plenty of bugs, colds and illnesses going about that he could pick up. But, I will try and do what I can to protect him, or lessen the risk/ severity of symptoms for him in anything I can.

Chicken Pox

I recently learnt this the hard way when Elijah and his brother caught chicken pox. I had been researching into getting the vaccine for this, but it was too late.

We had 4 111 calls in total, two GP appointments and one hospital admission onto the children’s paediatric ward.

They suffered quite badly from this, and no, not everyone will have a severe or prolific case as mine did but deep down I knew this could have been avoided.

It could have been less suffering and pain for them both.

They were ill for nearly a month, and it was such a horrendous time for the family.

 Judgement

I understand the herd immunity argument surrounding immunisation, things such as the flu vaccine will be more effective should the ‘herd’ aka the majority get it and they will then protect those at risk of not being able to have it for what ever reason (some allergic, some medical reasons).

But I wouldn’t judge another parent’s abilities if they choose or don’t choose to vaccinate their child. For me I have one thing that is my focus, doing what I can to protect Elijah because of his heart condition.

If he didn’t have this condition, perhaps I wouldn’t have to think so much about things like this.

But, I do and these are merely my honest experience and opinions on vaccines.

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Blog

 

 

Read more of Vicki’s guest blogs here !


guest blogger Norfolk

Raising children to be body positive - The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum

Raising children to be body positive

I have never been body positive, or confident in my own skin. Perhaps, that comes from my mum constantly criticizing me. I was always jealous of others, and deemed myself not good enough. It has had a devastating impact on my confidence, one that I carried through childhood to now.

Self confidence

I didn’t have the self confidence of others, and I suffered from eating disorders as a teenager. It wasn’t until after I fell pregnant with Elijah and then again with Harlow, that I realised how much pressure and unrealistic expectation is really out there. There is pressure on is on a new mother to suddenly regain the body she did before she feel pregnant, despite growing and accommodating a human (or two, or three!) and giving birth.

Pressure

I had two fairly large babies and I found it perplexing that we were being pressurised by what we saw in the media, adverts and magazines sometimes sadly ones aimed at parents that we were failing if we didn’t fit into our skinny jeans 2 weeks after giving birth. Even family members were telling me towards the end of my pregnancy that the weight will soon come off afterwards. Every day I was told I was big, I was small as if my uterus was now up for public discussion.

‘Scummy mummies’

We are made to feel that if we don’t have a full face of makeup and sport a perfect up do we are ‘scummy mummies’. We as a society love to shame others. We are constantly bombarded with images of perfection that do not mirror real life. Even more now we live in the age of social media.

We are told we must change our bodies, our faces, our hair to look like this, to be that and to not accept and be proud of who we are. I am still a very self-conscious person, but I want my two boys to be comfortable on their own skin, to be body positive and to have the self-confidence I never had.

The zipper club

I knew it would be easy for me to pass on my insecurities to my children but I knew I had to be the one to set a good example. Especially with Elijah who has an incision ‘zipper’ scar running down his chest from open heart surgery.

When we took Elijah swimming for the first time I was worried that people would stare, they would look at him and make comments about his chest. A friend of ours at the time was very blunt with me and said, who cares? He should be proud of it. Ever since then I have always promoted body positivity in both of my children.

Brands

Slowly, some big brands have cottoned onto the fact that they are responsible to promote body positivity, but we still have a long way to go. The language we use for example, phrases like ‘plus size’ I believe are still detrimental when actually they are likely to be of an average size that many of us can resonate with.

Real women

I don’t think it was until after I had children that I realised how important it was as a parent to promote body positivity.  I do not hide my body in front of them, as I want them to know what a real body looks like, one that has had two children and given birth twice! I want them to know a woman doesn’t need to wear make up to look pretty, she doesn’t need an elaborate hair do to fit in with everyone else. That it is okay to feel comfortable being who you are, looking like what you do.

Acceptance

I want to teach them to be accepting of everyone and to never judge anyone just by looks, or by societies expectations of them. I want them to know the adverts that they see and the images on social media aren’t necessarily the real world and to never compare themselves to them.

Most of all, the gift I want to pass onto my children is one I didn’t receive myself, I want them to be truly comfortable in their own skin and proud of who they are.

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Blog

Vicki regularly blogs for me,  along with other guest bloggers check out some here !

 

Jess x

 

 


christmas

Christmas Mini Sessions 2018

Christmas Mini Sessions 2018

Booking is open for 2018 Christmas Minis sessions !

christmas
christmas

After the success of last years simple set up my theme this year is the reindeer backdrop as voted for, please note the reindeer etc is printed onto the backdrop and not a prop.

You don’t want to miss out on these – spots will go fast and are available on a first come first serve basis.

These sessions are designed to provide you with super adorable images,  to design Christmas cards and gifts. The Reindeer Christmas set up can fit a max of 2 children only. Family images will be taken on my light grey plain backdrop.

I’ll be keeping it super duper simple, i’ll also have some star bunting on my white wooden backdrop see above

simplicity = super cute images of your child!

I have some baby outfits at the studio which ive selected to compliment the set up. I have baby boy &  girl rompers , some delicate headbands and reindeer ears – feel free to bring your own bits .

I recommend Christmas jumpers or Christmas PJ’s as outfit choices for your children !

The time slot is very strict and we will only have time for one Christmas outfit and one non-Christmas outfit change.  

Mini sessions are perfect for single children or 2 siblings . Please note these mini are only suitable for babies at the sitting up stage from 6 months old unless coming with a sibling who can hold them upright to give you some variety.

  (Mini’s not suitable for babies under 6 months especially new-borns due to the strict time slots )

Cost?

2018 Christmas  Mini session Package:

20 minutes in studio

5 digital images via download to print as you wish, max of 10 to select from

kids & siblings only (no cousins or friends)

£65

(extra images can be purchased after at £5 each)

When?

Friday 9th November – 1 LEFT

Saturday 10th November SOLD OUT

Saturday December 1st SOLD OUT

To book in follow the link here to the dates, select the date, choose the time and then pay for the package in full £65.

you will then receive confirmation and my information sheet!

 *If you have a shy child  or want longer time in the studio with no time restraints ,  more outfit changes ,  different set ups and props , and more images in your gallery then you can book a full length package off my main pricelist these start at £200. 

Christmas Mini Sessions 2018 T&c

The number of images is dependent on the little/s one on the day but you can expect 5-10 images in your online gallery as a rough guide.

Due to the time limited nature of the session where a child may become shy or unwilling no guarantees are offered to provide a specified number.

You can purchase any extra images for £5 each. Images include print permission to print as you wish.

Your gallery will be ready to view approx 1 week later

The images will be sent via a download link / dropbox

If your baby becomes unwell or upset , we may reschedule at the photographers discretion.

My studio is small and with 3 set ups its gonna be a squeeze so only parents can attend , a max of 2 adults per time slot.

 

I cant wait!

christmasx