Preparing for re-opening my baby studio

Preparing for re-opening my baby studio.

Preparing for re-opening my baby studioAs there feels to be a shift in lockdown, a very slow re-emergence from a lockdown chrysalis I felt it sensible to start preparing my back to work plan not only for myself but for any customers booked in later in the year or yet to book. I won’t be opening (for both studio and outdoors) unless completely in line with government rules and regulations but I am preparing and will be working on a waiting list.

The very nature of my work demands for utmost respect and adhering to safety regulations so you can rest assured you will always find that in my studio, however I have decided (especially with this time on my hands) to up that level (especially with a little more time on my hands)

Sadly it is very hard to keep to the 2m social distancing rules so please bear with me, support me if you can and as soon as it is safe for me to do so I’ll be back photographing your gorgeous families.

Whilst closed I have been under taking courses ready for when I return to work

opening baby studio

So what does that mean?

My cosy baby studio is repeatedly washed down and cleaned in between all shoots anyway but when all is open again I am super pleased to tell you that it will have had a revamp. Fresh paint, Fresh fabrics and a fresh set of rules to ensure our safety.

I have also used my time to take some online courses to assure you I am 100% prepared for your safety with hygiene. These courses include a standard precaution hand hygiene achievements, my COVID-19 barbicide certificate and participation in a certificate for the infection prevention and control of coronavirus with the WHO. These were free and I can share the links. 

 

When you arrive at the studio it will likely be very different from the process I have posted previously on my social media and website. I will be asking everyone to wash hands thoroughly and remove shoes and coats before entering. Ideally if we can limit to immediate family only – so no extended relations. i have plenty of antibac etc. 

Sad as it makes me, I will be wearing gloves and a facemask, this is for all of our protection. I would also ask you to do the same (please provide your own where possible) and I’ll provide clear instructions on where to leave any items you have brought.  By the time the studio can open , I will be doing a few outdoor shoots these used to be at Waterloo and Catton park but if i feel these are too busy I will be doing them at Harrison’s wood its local and usually quiet , I really want to avoid photo-bombers and parents worried about passers by.  

 

Rest assured I will have a fresh uniform on for each individual booking and the studio will have been deep cleaned before your arrival. I use a minimum of props anyway, but for now I will be removing wooden toys, fluffy rug,  and the snacks and drinks I normally provide (I’m so sorry I know a hot drink is meant to be part of the experience!)

I will be logging mine and my family’s temperatures daily and will ask the same of you, if any of show any of the symptoms we will isolate and shoots postponed, if any health reason prevents the booking we can rearrange no problem.

 

I know it all sounds very clinical and it isn’t the normal, however with safe measures in place I can guarantee keeping you safe within my premises; even though the snacks and props are cancelled, your baby’s beautiful smile and wrinkly feet are not. There will be plenty of laughs and smiles as I capture your new bundle and making memories for a lifetime seems so much more important now wouldn’t you agree?

This might be the new way for now, but I promise I will make it the very best experience I can under the new rules.

Jess XX

PS I am monitoring the situation daily and will edit this blog should any of the current information be updated.

opening baby studio

pregnant with a toddler

Welcome to the world party – alternatives to a baby shower

Welcome to the world party – alternatives to a baby shower

Welcome to the world party – alternatives to a baby shower

I am so sad to hear so many of you are having to miss out on planned baby shower parties. I can’t imagine how hard this must be for so many reasons, it really is meant to be a once in a lifetime event.

However, I hope I can share some knowledge that will ease any sadness around this and hopefully suggest some ideas for how to turn that party into something else altogether when the time comes that yourself, friends and family can unite.

I am hearing lots of fabulous plans for ‘welcome to the world’ parties – a chance for everyone to shower you and your arrival with love and affection and really in lockdown there’s no better time to plan it. It’s a concept that has been around for a while – in many cases, it can act as an alternative to a Christening, for anyone that didn’t fancy a baby shower or for couples that have family stretching around the globe.

Welcome the world baby

I know the idea of planning a gathering in the hazy fuzz of new-born days may seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be large and extravagant – and I bet people would love to help plan and arrange on your behalf. Alternatively, why not wait until your little one is 2-3 months old?

In fact, I really like this idea full stop and not just as a solution to a global lockdown!

I have collated some ideas below for you, themes, props, and my favourite places to purchase items. I hope it helps and please share any of your thoughts, tips and ideas with my social community.

Jess x

Top tips for a party: digital or physical

WISHLIST I know when my friends have had babies, I have actively wanted to gift them something and I always worry about getting them something useful. Amazon wish-lists are a great way to let people know what you need if they ask. Fortunately, they are up and running during lockdown so people can always make sure you have gifts even if they can’t deliver themselves. My top tips on things you need for a baby… Ewan the dream sheep (is that still a thing?) and muslins… you can never, ever have enough. Also try looking local since lockdown I’ve sought out even more local suppliers.

DECORATE  you can go mad or simple… whether you choose to celebrate as a family or with guests. and best of all if you have your new baby you will know the sex and decorate accordingly (and I don’t mean just blue and pink!) bunting and a beautiful cake can be simply enough on its own or you could order balloon arches and a full on feast. Pinterest can be a wealth of inspiration ranging from traditional blue and pink set ups to full on boho glamour. It’s about suiting you and your baby. Currently, a lot of my favourite places aren’t trading at the time of this post, but Google is your friend… simply type in party decorations – Amazon can also come to the rescue once again. Another idea is a balloon display and Claire is amazing at Claire Carney Floral and Balloon Designs

PHOTOGRAPHY If you host a party ask everyone to take photos – it’s too easy for Mums to be the ones behind the camera but if you ask everyone to take pictures and share you can choose the best of a bunch. If you are at home and choose to have an isolation celebration, you can look at my photography guide for some simple tips using just your phone – these can apply to bump, baby and family!

CAKE doesn’t need an explanation! A lot of cake makers are going online you can test their cake before the party.  I highly recommend Sugar Buttons for cookies and also Vanilla Cloud Bakery who offers afternoon teas delivered too (check this might not be available at the moment)

LOCATION – I see my home as my sanctuary so would always have it as my go to place to host a gathering, but you could organise in a local park or café (this is assuming that lockdown rules are more relaxed) however you could host it digitally. An alternative to combat the lockdown would be to hold a zoom shower or party. Its not quite the same I know, but aren’t we lucky to live in times where we can connect like this. You can tell everyone your theme (see below) and ask them to decorate their background, you could even (if you wanted to push the boat out) have deliveries of cakes or biscuits for your guests (support a local business and brings everyone together over cake).

Maybe just scrap a party and have a shower with your partner! I loved seeing Millie Mackintosh on Instagram recently – her baby shower was cancelled so she and her partner celebrated with a dinner date, dressed up and took some beautiful photos. I can’t think of a nicer more intimate type of shower; special for all the reasons you would never have thought of.

THEME – not for everyone but they can be a great place to start when considering decorations. Here are some I came across when I was researching this piece: Local business Epic Event Hire cater for weddings and events check them out for ideas too.

  • Bees – simple natural foliage and lemon, yellow cupcakes -Pinterest has some lovely inspo for this.
  • Animals – jungle themes seem popular – with helium jungle balloons and green garlands.
  • Peter Rabbit – you can’t go wrong with anything Beatrix Potter!
  • Disney – you can pick and choose all your favourite elements to pull together a Disney theme for your prince or princess.
  • Traditional – pink or blue simply theme your party around a colour. Throw tradition out of the window and go for a trendy monochrome theme!
  • None at all – simply enjoy your favourite things with your favourite people.

 

I hope that was helpful – I’ll keep adding as I’m inspired and please feel free to message me with ideas of your own.

Newborn baby photographer Norfolk

8 years in business - newborn session giveaway!

Last month marked 8 years in business as a newborn baby photographer – my first year i was mobile and then we built my home studio in Norwich.

I have photographed hundreds of newborns (one day i’ll go back and total it up) and families over these wonderful 8 years.

To celebrate I am giving away two newborn packages you can see what you can win and how to enter here https://wp.me/P371zL-cdf


FESTIVE MINI SHOOTS

Festive Mini shoots - Christmas Mini shoots are back for 2019

Festive Mini shoots – Christmas Mini shoots are back for 2019

I am ready to book you in for my festive Mini shoots , I cant wait my Christmas Mini shoots are back for 2019 , last year they sold in record time! Taking place at my home studio in Norfolk.

 

These have now sold out – I have a waiting list but happy to suggest other photographers too if you need some suggestions. 

 

This year is the theme is snowy sparkle – white and silver stars !

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 Christmas set up can fit a max of 3 children only or 3 and a baby. Family images will be taken on my light grey plain backdrop.

FESTIVE MINI SHOOTS

I’ll be keeping it super simple.

simplicity = super cute images of your child/children!

I have sweet reindeer ears – feel free to bring your own bits.

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

This year I am donating £5 from every booking to East Anglian Air Ambulance !

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 3 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 newborns due to the strict time slots )

Cost?

2019 Christmas  Mini Session Package:

20 minutes in the studio

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

kids & siblings only (no cousins or friends)

£75

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

When?

 

Extra date added Sunday 27th October -SOLD OUT

Friday 8th November – 3 left

Saturday 9th November – SOLD OUT

Friday 29th November – 3 left

Sunday 1st  December – SOLD OUT

To book in follow the

 

 select the date, choose the time and then pay for the package in full £75.

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 2019 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. Images will lightly edited but nothing excessive. As these are mini sessions extra editing can be requested but will be charged for. This includes removal of nail varnish, tattoos etc. as this is more time intensive than a simple scratch on a cheek or spot.

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 photographer’s discretion.

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

 

I can’t wait!  Book in here by clicking this link https://jesswilkinsphotography.as.me/schedule.php?appointmentType=category%3AChristmas+Mini+Specials

FESTIVE MII SHOOTS NORWICH
FESTIVE MINI SHOOTS BOY DRESSED UP FOR CHRISTMAS

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Relationships

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Relationships

One thing I do not think you are fully prepared for after having a bay is how much the dynamic of your relationship changes with your partner.

Whilst you are pregnant you often live in a honeymoon bubble, excitedly imagining what your new life as parents is going to be like.

Then after the physical act of labour you are normally engulfed in the newborn bubble of bliss.

Give or take a couple of weeks suddenly you are both running on empty, mum smells like cheese and you watch as a slightly too eager dad leaves to return back to work.

Sleep deprivation is indescribable, and nor how you have to find your new balance as a family. Going from two of you to three, to four and the stress of finding your groove and getting a balance back can take months.

Resentment

The one thing that surprised me most about how our relationship changed were those undercurrents of resentment.

I resented him for getting to leave, for going out and being an adult, and for making me feel guilty if I asked him to help in the night because he had to get up for work and I was ‘just’ looking after the baby.

Knowing what I know now, it is normal to feel like this.

I guess you could say after having a baby in NICU and then open heart surgery we had it tougher than most, we got through it and looking back I never realised how hard it was for him too.

For me I was struggling and I was consumed with depression but he did not only go through this with his child too, but he watched his partner fall down somewhere that he was unsure if she was going to get back out of.

Then he watched as post-natal depression overwhelmed me after the birth of our second child, he was more involved than most and I never appreciated that at the time.

Tiredness

We bicker, we argue who is more tired, who does more and who the children like the best but the one thing we try to remember is that whatever ‘phase’ is stressing us out the most another illness, early wake-ups, no money, it won’t be forever.

There is, of course, the physical side chances are after having a baby and not sleeping for eight weeks straight you aren’t going to feel that frisky.

For me the change isn’t the physical aspect that never really bothered me, it was when we stopped communicating or being honest with one another that really affected me.

It was holding in what was bothering us causing it to fester under the surface.

For a while how the two pregnancies changed my body I was self-conscious that he no longer ‘fancied’ me as such but I think your relationship after having a baby goes to a new level where it isn’t just about superficiality anymore.

We try and talk to each other, validate one another and acknowledge how the other one is feeling but after ten years together and two children our relationship has changed vastly.

Little things

There are subtle things like when he makes me a coffee when I’m working or when we wait to watch a program until we are together that tend to mean more to us now.

We used to go out multiple nights of the week and would spend whole weekends hungover on the sofa but now, we are normally getting up at the time we used to come home with the kids!

Having two children under five is hard, and it is testing.

You are bone shatteringly tired, you’ve got barely any money and you’ve just put the toys away for the hundredth time that morning.

You snap, you whinge but you know when it comes down to it, sitting down in front of the Great British Bake Off praying that no one wakes up to interrupt you is where you want to be.

I want to remember these times as this is what made us stronger as a couple and a few years down the line you will look back and feel such a sense of pride you did it together.

It can be hard to see it from their point of view and it may be blown outs of spectacular proportion normally caused by no sleep and over something small but getting through these first early years together do change you as a couple.

Dynamic

I think it can be easy to think that when you are pregnant you will both stay the same and the baby slots in, but I think it is really you two adapting around the baby.

You can’t just nip out for date night now, you will think twice about going on an all-nighter and guess what C Beebies and a toddler whilst suffering from a hangover doth not make a fun Sunday.

Everything changes, who does what, when, you as people change too and there is one way is a mourning period of the couple you used to be and the lives you used to have before the baby.

I don’t think we have a magic formula, we argue like most, we are tired, but one thing we always remember and what I would say to any new parents is to accept the changes they are inevitable but they don’t define you and just laugh.

Even when you are in those trenches fighting a losing battle of getting up a hundred times in one night, and start arguing about who hasn’t fed the cat again, just laugh it won’t last forever but you two will if you stick together.

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

 


The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on…. Birth

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on…. Birth

I recently met someone who I knew, last time I saw her she was heavily pregnant, and now she was pushing a little bundle around.

I went to congratulate her, and then it was though I couldn’t help myself, I then asked her if the birth was good, turns out she had a rotten time and I felt awful and intrusive for even asking.

Having both of my boys, I have suffered two birth traumas and used to hate when people asked me if it was natural, painful or my favourite ‘good’.

I had found myself using the exact phrase I used to abide, why is it as a nation we are so interested in birth stories, and always want to know exactly how someone gave birth before you’ve even asked the baby’s name?

Wellbeing

It’s odd we are normally so focused on the baby, we tend to forget the wellbeing of the mum, as she is just expected to put everything to one side now she is responsible for the small human she just birthed.

Birth has changed so much over time, dads are now active birth partners, there are new practices and methods.

I think I must have just been really oblivious when I was pregnant with my eldest about giving birth, we went to antenatal classes but seeing a doll being pushed through a pelvis doesn’t really have the same effect as actually giving birth, does it?

One Born Every Minute terrified me so I had to stop watching it, towards the end of my pregnancy I was felt very underprepared. I felt for the first time mum I was not really educated when it came to giving birth. Yes, all births are different and it might have been my own fault for relying only on the antenatal classes, but I really didn’t have a clue.

Spoiler alert; it is not like it is in the films.

With both of my births, I was sick and had an awful stomach during contractions which meant for two labours I spent most of my time on the toilet. I actually stayed on the toilet with both of them until I was ready to push!

Hospital vs Home

Elijah was born in hospital after 8 hours and a fairly textbook labour but I suffered a significant hemorrhage and the aftermath of being stitched up traumatised me. I developed and infection and needed a blood transfusion. I didn’t have a clue what was being done or why.

I spent so much of my time re living the birth over and over which when I fell pregnant the second time, it made me fear giving birth again.

There was a turning point and that was attending a hypnobirthing course with Jackie at The Orange Grove Clinic. I learned so much about my attitude towards birth, my language and for the first time in seven months I felt positive and empowered to give birth the way I wanted.

That’s the thing with giving birth again you are suddenly more aware, you know what could and couldn’t happen and you are more prepared.

Let down

Which makes me think perhaps we are letting down some first-time mums if they like me were solely relying on the local antenatal classes, or perhaps as a society, it is our view as birth as a whole?

Out attitude, our language, our pressure to live up to an unrealistic image of birth and when we don’t achieve it we feel as though we have failed.

Turns out my second son had other ideas, and after sitting down to watch Die Hard 2, I ended up giving birth less than fifty minutes later in the bath!

My two experiences were polar opposites when I did eventually get to the hospital with Harlow, I was met on the Midwife Led Birthing Unit, and they were so mindful of my past experience and supported and understood me.

Empowered

It made me think it really does make a difference when there is someone there to empower you, I wish I had that the first time around. Or perhaps someone had just taken the time to talk to me, to explain what was going on, being done then perhaps I wouldn’t have been so unaware of things.

There is an attitude shift towards birth at the moment, and we are beginning to look at our attitude, our language is no longer your dirty little secret if you have a ‘bad’ birth or trauma, there is a focus on you, and your wellbeing after birth.

Birth Better

There is a fabulous network called the Birth Better Network who are doing just that, and revolutionising the way birth has affected us, and how we can make significant changes for the future. The Huffington Post which has hundreds of thousands of readers every day is also currently doing a fantastic series called the Birth Diaries to show how diverse birth can be.

I think we still have a long way to go regarding educating ourselves about birth, and we still need to shift our attitude and let the new mum take the lead to talk about her experience is she wants to but the important thing is not to put pressure or high expectations on birth and to give everyone the tools they need to have the birth they want. Or if things don’t go to plan it is explained to them every step of the way.

Make Birth Better Network

Huffington Post Birth Diaries

The Orange Grove Clinic

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


baby cafe

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

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

 

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 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 in 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 mats.

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 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 playdate 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 helps 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 the 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 saddened 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 unnecessary 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.

 

 


motherhood

5 things I have learnt as a parent business - guest blog

5 things I have learnt as a parent business in Norfolk

I went on maternity, I got made redundant, I found a wonderful part-time job but then my little one got poorly, and I found myself chucking it all in to give myself some breathing space because it got far too overwhelming … and @muffinandpuffinmarketing just sort of ‘happened’

It’s wonderful being able to flex my time and it’s awful trying to keep my spirits afloat as projects and clients chop and change and I’m never entirely sure what the following month will bring.

It has been a fruitful and eye-opening nine months and I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt

motherhood

  1. Money makes the world go around, but kinship makes it kinder. Don’t always consider money as payment, sometimes collaboration with fellow businesses can get you just as far. Organising a photoshoot with a group of you who can all bring something to the table and then share that content. If you have a friend who is good at writing – ask them for content and bake them a cake. It doesn’t ever hurt to ask and more often than not you’ll lift one another up. Not drag each other

 

  1. Look at what you are doing, the energy you can waste in comparison can stop you going forward. We all know that social media shows only a certain truth, the best part of ourselves so celebrate it and know that there is always a #bts (behind the scenes)

 

 

  1. Always be inspired – remember who you are and create your own CPD – when I worked ‘before’ (as I like to call it) I had regular training and development goal settings with my team and directors. As a freelancer or mum worker, it’s easy to get tied up in the cogs of admin, work, child, repeat … take time to be who you were and who you are and always improve. Go to a gallery if you are creative, go for a walk if you are of the outdoors, see an exhibition, travel if you can, subscribe to a journal, be part of a Facebook group – there are endless opportunities. Don’t stop developing who you are because your business will only bloom as you continue too.

 

  1. It can be lonely working from home, don’t mistake me – I love working in PJs on the sofa, but I was someone who thrived in an office of like-minded and similar aged people. While I like my own headspace more than ever before, it’s important I touch base with people…. In Norwich we have an amazing mama movement on Instagram and I regularly have laughs and chats over DMs…it’s the closest thing and when we meet in ‘real’ life more often than not we become friends.

 

 

  1. I do not have a head for numbers, so it was important for me to be organised, have a great online bookkeeping system and engage with a local accountant. She has put my mind at ease and allowed me to make sure I am completely transparent as my little business grows its legs! I can’t imagine having to do a tax return after a year of ignoring your admin, so take a few hours every month. It will be worth it when HMRC letters pop through your door!

Sophie Lynn

Owner @ Muffin&Puffin

‘A mini marketing company’

07738533889

www.muffinandpuffin.com -> please note website not currently live

Instagram – @muffinandpuffinmarketing

Facebook – Muffin&Puffin


baby cafe

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Bottle Feeding - Guest Blog

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Bottle Feeding advice Norfolk.

 

Okay, here goes.

I bottle fed both of my children.

Now, I am likely to come under fire for saying this, which to me is simply a fact.

Many will say that I didn’t give them the best start to life, that I am advocating bottle feeding or a trillion other arguments I didn’t even know existed before I became a parent.

.

Many will say that I didn’t give them the best start to life, that I am advocating bottle feeding or a trillion other arguments I didn’t even know existed before I became a parent.

Isn’t it funny before you have children you just are not aware that how you decide to feed your children is an invitation for you to come under fire, you are put on display and have your parenting ability judged and dissected on this one choice which seems so minor in the great scheme of things.

When I was pregnant with Elijah, I just couldn’t shake of the feeling that I didn’t want to breast feed. I did what I did best, I researched. Strangely, to me it felt un natural.

I spoke to so many of my friends, my Nan who had bottle fed two children and read as many articles as I could.

The feeling was still there when I was nearing my due date and we went in with some ready made bottles in my hospital bag and we would see how I feel after I gave birth.

It seems though the decision was perhaps already made for us.

I was very ill, and Elijah was rushed away into the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit and wasn’t allowed to feed for three days.

When he was finally given the all clear to feed, it seemed so natural to us for Greg to take the lead with bottles while I was still physically recovering.

In NICU there was no pressure, no judgement and the nurses went with our lead. I asked if breastfeeding would help Elijah and they said that no matter how we fed our child, his heart wouldn’t suddenly be okay, it didn’t make a difference to us in that situation.

Midwives and Health Visitors continuously spoke to me about breastfeeding, or made comments when I said we were bottle feeding.

You are made to feel as though you have failed your child, and that is a personal failure as after all you are the one with the boobs which you aren’t using to feed your child with even more so when you have an ill child.

But, I look back and why? I fed my child, I got him as strong as he could be for open heart surgery.

I have fed two children, who have thrived, put weight on and are happy and healthy.

Still though we are put under this immense pressure that how we feed our child is a direct correlation to how good or bad we are as a parent.

Which is why I perhaps got a bee in my bonnet when I was pregnant with Harlow.

I knew this was likely our last pregnancy so planned to give breastfeeding ago promising myself if it began to affect me, our family I would swap to bottles and I would not feel guilty (or would at least try not too).

I breastfed Harlow for eight days before we changed to bottles. The dynamic just wasn’t working. Elijah was pushed out, Greg felt redundant and I was in a lot of pain.

I know women who have breastfeed for years, some who breastfed three children at a time and I am in awe of them but for us it just didn’t work and I am okay with that so why isn’t society?

baby cafe

How you choose to feed your baby is a personal choice, as long as you have all the information you need, have access to advice and know what you are doing and you are your baby are happy and healthy then it really doesn’t matter.

I have seen women torn apart online for their choice, bombarded with the stats, facts and pushy campaigns.

But why?

Aren’t we all just trying our best?

No one is better than anyone because of the way they feed their child.

We are all equal.

Chances are the baby still wont sleep, throw a tantrum in Morrison’s but at least we can start to try and drop the stigma around bottle feeding, give parents support and advice on all choices and don’t regard one as superior over the other.

We must be careful and mindful of the language we use, especially for vulnerable pregnant and new mums, some may feel isolated and the feelings of failure can become destructive.

There are some great websites that provide all round information on feeding choices and personal experiences with no judgement which can be found here;

http://www.frankaboutfeeding.com/

https://norwich.mumbler.co.uk/parents/support-services/feeding/

https://norwich.mumbler.co.uk/breastfeeding-and-feeding-support-norwich-and-norfolk/

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;

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PARENT

3 questions to help you confidently parent on your terms - guest blog

3 questions to help you confidently parent on your terms.

 

Parenthood is a rollercoaster of emotions and can be a time in your life when everyone has an opinion on what you “should” be doing, here I’ve suggested 3 questions to help you confidently parent on your terms. I often hear parents doubting their choices and decisions.

Sam James Life Coach Norfolk

From the moment you announce your pregnancy onwards, it can feel like some of the social etiquettes seem to have been forgotten – your great auntie Dot’s next door neighbour seems to feel like they have a right to know the intimate details of any medical appointment you have, people in the supermarket queues feel it is OK to touch your stomach,  strangers want to tell you their horror stories of birth and everyone you meet has an opinion on how you should be parenting (whether they have children or not!).

 

When you are tired, hormonal and learning this new role as a parent, it can become so confusing about which way to turn, what piece of advice to follow. The best antidote to this is to get really clear on the important things for you and your family unit.

  • Get clear on how you want to be living life on your terms. What are your values and principles, that you want to be living your life by?
  • Think about in years to come when your little people have grown up, how do you want them to describe you as a parent? How do you want them to describe your family?
  • What are your key priorities for you and your family?

You can use these as your blueprint to guide your decisions and choices. When someone offers some well-meaning advice, or something causes you to question yourself, pause and ask yourself, “Am I acting in line with my values and priorities and how I want to parent?”.

Everyone’s parenting journey is unique – each child you have is unique. One thing I confidently will say is there is not one size fits all solution. My parenting journey is unique to me and not a carbon copy of any of my friends. Each of theirs is unique to them. Yours is unique to you. By recognising and accepting that everyone will make different choices, and no-one is right or wrong, will allow you to enjoy being a parent on your terms in a way that feels natural and comfortable for you.

 

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