Thursday, 30 June 2016

Breastfeeding 101


You may have read some of my other Mummy Me posts, such as, Welcome to Motherhood, Travel tips for parents and my open letter to my girls on their first birthday's. This post is a bit different. It may tell you things you don't want to hear, but it is honest. Out of all the things, I wish I had this honesty before I had my baby because I definitely would have done things differently. This post isn't here to get you to do one thing or another. It is simply my experience of breastfeeding, good and bad. I'm going to start with the bad.

Be prepared - If I'm honest, breastfeeding is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. From actually getting the baby to latch on (it's not as easy as it sounds) to constantly wondering whether your baby is satisfied.

I, like most first time mums, thought breastfeeding was something natural and ingrained within every mother. Your baby is born and their natural response is to feed - how hard could it be. Very hard. Very very hard. No, extremely hard. Are you getting the gist? Some women, I think, find it does come naturally. They are overflowing with milk and their baby latches on beautifully. That's amazing if it is you.  But for the rest of us it's not that easy. It means working at 'latching on' non stop for the first few weeks. If you aren't exhausted already due to lack of sleep, your mind working overtime, getting used to never being alone, throwing in breastfeeding is enough to push you over the edge. Also with first time mother's being more likely to use an epidural or drugs through their labour this actually can have a knock on effect on your hormones and  milk production. I have first hand experience of this as with my first I had an epidural (it was ineffective btw) and I really struggled with my breastfeeding. However with my second I had her completely naturally with no drugs, epidural, or gas and air and breastfeeding was so much easier!

The pain - is indescribable. Actually, scrap that, I can describe it perfectly. Initially it feels like someone is threading a needle through your nipple, with every suck another stitch. For me it was literally toe curling. My husband was literally there every time I fed my daughter for the first few weeks for moral support and to physically clench my feet as they curled in pain. I did have an infection and thrush in the nipple at one point but this pain was there with both my children and lasted about three weeks. Talking of sore nipples, a great cream is Lansinoh HPA Lanolin cream. I would put this on before and after each feed and it soothed the nipples and helped to heal any cracked skin. It's great because it can be put on before feeding and because it is a natural substance it does no harm to the baby and gives your nipples the lubrication they need with all that sucking. I feel like I've said nipples a bit too much.

It can also be very uncomfortable if you have had stitches or even a C-section to sit with your babying in your lap and feed which is the most convenient position. However there are lots of positions you can try. 


Satisfaction guaranteed? - As I mentioned before, never knowing if your child is satisfied is a pretty annoying feeling. Because you can't physically see the amount of milk going into the baby's mouth it is hard to know how much your baby is drinking. This in turn causes you to pull your boob out every time your baby cries.

On the other hand, eventually once established, breastfeeding gives you a kind of satisfaction that nothing else can give you. You are providing for your baby, and this magic potion that you are producing is giving it everything it needs (aside from love and sleep) and all it will need until around six months.

Time - How long does it take to feed your baby? There is no answer to this question. I remember a time when I was feeding my first where she was literally latched on to one breast for 40 minutes and the other for 20. So that was a whole hour of feeding. She then went an hour and wanted feeding again but this time only for 15! With my second she only ever really fed for 15 minutes at a time. So even though you already know you are going to have less time, expect to have even less time to do anything. Somehow you need to remember to eat though to keep up your milk production. It's also a good idea to swap breasts to encourage milk production in both. Some prefer to swap half way between a feed. But I found once latched on I didn't really want to move the baby. When they naturally released the breast I would always offer the other breast but if they didn't take it I would then offer this breast the next time I fed.

To go out, or not to go out? That is the question. - When you breastfeed you need to be comfortable with popping your boob out when the baby wants feeding. This isn't always practical. As long as you carry a scarf around with you, most of the time this can be done discreetly, however sometimes it's just more convenient to take a bottle. Obviously this is only doable if you aren't breastfeeding exclusively. To be honest, in the first few weeks of motherhood I didn't really leave the house because I wanted to get into a routine for the baby and I found when I did go out, it unsettled the baby and she didn't latch on or feed as well. By the way, if you are happy to breastfeed without covering up, power to you.



It can't all be bad.... can it?! - No it's not all bad. I mean I did it twice (!) and if I had another I would again. The hard work pays off in the end. As a mum, you have a resilience within you that appears the second your baby is born. It's this thing where you do things just because you have to. There is no questioning, you just do. It's that same resilience that got me through my breastfeeding. Maybe to the detriment of my mental health with my first! But the hard work pays off in the end. This resilience is amazing because it sneaks its way in through other aspects of your life. It's definitely something I didn't have before having my babies.

Sleep - So we all know there is a severe lack of sleep when you first have a baby. So if I told you breastfeeding can give you more sleep then bonus right!? The great thing with breastfeeding is the night feeds. No having to get out of bed and boil the kettle, no having to cool the bottle so the milk is the right temperature. You just get the baby, pop them on and relax, all while laying down in your bed! I loved this as it saved me some lost kip! I wore sleep bras while sleeping which have no wire and are basically just made out of material. Kind of like a crop top. These gave me the support I needed while asleep and also when feeding, as by the way, your boobs are going to grow to extremes you have never seen, so will need more support.

Bonding - You do have a bond when you breastfeed. And I'm not saying it's not the same bond you would have if you were bottle feeding, but there is something about the closeness you feel when  feeding your baby. Sometimes they fall asleep on you or sometimes they stare deep into your eyes and no matter what you feel somehow you are connecting with your baby. And it's just special. It's so hard to explain because a lot of the pro points to breastfeeding are hypothetical and link to the emotions you feel. Whereas the negatives relate to practicality.



A happy medium - I found what worked best for me was actually part breastfeeding and part bottle feeding. Now this isn't practical for everyone. But with my first, I didn't feel as though I was feeding the baby enough milk, the baby was getting restless which was making me more anxious, in turn affecting my milk production. From the advice of my midwife I then purchased an expressing machine (these are available to rent from most children centres, but if you chose to purchase try and get a double electric one as it saves so much time!). When initially expressing I wasn't even producing enough for a full feed which then reiterated the fact to me that I wasn't producing enough breast milk to satisfy my baby. So I would then top up some of the feeds with formula milk. This then gave me a break from breastfeeding. However I would say expressing is great for those who are producing a lot of milk, but for those of us who don't, it is just an extra thing you have to do in order to give yourself a break later on. Great for if you are going out though. Some might say if you have to top up with formula any way what's the point? I don't have a response back to this.

Choice - All I can say is breastfeeding is personal choice, so please don't be forced into doing something you don't want. Yes I breastfed and would do it again, but if it put me in a position where I was putting my own mental and physical health at risk there is no way I would choose to do it. A happy mum equals a happy baby. I would never put myself through what I did with my first and the only reason I breastfed the second time was because I had learnt from my first experience and honestly found it easier. I would encourage every mum to give it a go but please don't think it is the be all and end all of a healthy baby. Mum knows best, so go with your instinct and I'm sure you'll be fine.

I feel as though I could write a whole book about this! But for now I hope you find this helpful. If you have any questions or any comments I would love to hear them.

Here are some websites you might find helpful:
https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/breastfeeding-support/
https://www.laleche.org.uk
http://www.netmums.com/baby/feeding-your-new-baby

Amina xx
New Mummy Blog
Mummuddlingthrough

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Facial bleaching - Is it ever ok?



Hi Guys,

So this week I tried something I never have before - bleaching my face! That's right! But before you recoil in horror, it's not what you think. I bleached my facial hair, not the skin on my face. That's another topic altogether. I have never done this before, so was pretty scared, but I just found recently that the hairs on my face were becoming more visible. I thought about other ways of getting rid of the hair like waxing, threading, and even shaving but I just didn't like the thought of a stubbly face, and I can't afford the laser option. When I heard about bleaching I thought it was the best option for me.

I had a look around and decided to go with a brand called Jolen who produce a cream bleach suitable for lightening hair all over the body. A 30ml bottle sets you back around £3 and a 125ml will cost you around £7, so not bad for a quick fix. Obviously the results are temporary as naturally your hairs fall our and reproduce, but I thought I would give it a go.





When you open the box there are two tubs. One with a cream and one with a powder. You also get a little mini mixing palette the size of a credit card and a spatula. The box recommends you mix two spatulas of cream to one spatula of powder and mix thoroughly. The powder activates the cream and then you are ready to go. I found this amount was enough to cover the full face. 

Two spatulas of cream.

One spatula of powder.

Mix thoroughly.


I then applied all over the face using the spatula, however if you want to wear gloves I am sure it would be fine to apply using fingers. I personally like using the spatula, as it provides a neat application especially around the hairline and eyebrows! It's goes without saying, not to apply too close to the eyes as if it gets into the eye it could be dangerous. Once applied I left on for 10 minutes. There is a tingling sensation and you often find yourself wanting to itch your nose but you soon get used to it. Once the ten minutes were up I then scraped it off using the mixing palette. Once most of it was off I then washed thoroughly with soap to make sure all the bleach was removed. This step is really important as if there is any bleach left on your face it will continue to bleach your hair and the skin  on your face which is not good!

Applied using the spatula provided.


Scrape of using mixing palette.

The results speak for themselves and I feel like my skin just looks so much brighter and cleaner. I am so happy with the results and definitely am going to make this part of my routine. I think I will probably have to repeat the process every six weeks but will update you once I see how long it lasts. I hope you like the honesty of the post. I very nearly didn't write it due to embarrassment but then thought what the hell, I've been in more embarrassing situations!

Before


After

                 Before                                                          After   


Let me know what you think. Have you ever tried bleaching your hair? What other hair removal/minimising products do you use? Please comment below!

Amina xx

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Queen of Oil - Argan Oil Review

Hi Guys,

I have noticed of late that facial oils and lip oils are starting to get quite popular. I already use a facial oil by Aldi, which you can read about in my Skincare post here. However, I was recently contacted by a brand called Queen of Oil who specialise in Argan Oil products - from lip balms to shampoos.

From left to right: Citrus, Coconut & Pure

If you don't already know, Argan Oil, which originates from the Argan tree, is an organic substance which is high in Vitamin E and fatty acids. It can be used as a moisturiser, is said to have anti-ageing properties, can tone skin and can also reduce the appearance of stretch marks. If used on hair, it gives the hair moisture and shine and when massaged into the scalp is said to promote hair growth! People also use it on their lips, cuticles and chapped feet. Basically, it has so many uses and benefits, we should probably be bathing in it!



We've all heard of Moroccan Oil, right? Well, guess what? A lot of their products contain Argan Oil, as well as a few added extras. The great thing about pure Argan Oil is that it's 100% vegan and organic. Because of this it can also be added to other products like body butters. It may not be widely used by people, but that's largely due to its price - a 100ml bottle can cost upwards of £30. However I like the fact that Queen of Oil sell a 10ml bottle for £7, so you can use this as a tester before deciding if it's worth investing in.

I was sent a few of the 10ml bottles by Queen of Oil and decided to use the Argan Oil on my unruly, curly, frizz-prone hair a few times and the result left me with soft, hydrated hair, which makes a change to the usual straw-like mane I am left with. I have also been applying it to the stretch marks across my belly that I have been blessed with after having two kids, and it honestly leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. The only down side, I would say, is the smell. It can only be explained as a nutty, warm type of smell (if a smell can be warm), but isn't to my taste. Luckily Queen of Oil also sell fragranced Argan Oil in cherry, coconut, and citrus scents. Coconut was definitely my favourite! I am tempted to buy the coconut Argan Oil and think it makes a nice change to what is offered on the High Street.
My unruly curls.

Arian Oil before being massaged into the skin.

Have you tried Argan oil before, or any other essential oil? What are your experiences of it? Leave your comments below!

Amina xx


Thursday, 9 June 2016

IMATS LONDON 2016!

Hi Everyone,

Last week I attended the International Make-up Artist Trade Show (IMATS). If you aren't familiar with this, it is basically a convention held at the Kensington Olympia Conference Centre in London, where lots of make-up brands attend and sell their products at discounted prices to make-up professionals and the public. There are brands like MAC, Bobbi Brown, YSL, but also retailers attend like Love Makeup and Beauty B Cosmetics, where you can purchase harder to access cosmetics like L.A. Girl, Ben Nye, Milani, and Lime Crime. Even though some of these are accessible online it gives you the perfect chance to try out products that are raved about before you buy!



I attended with a few friends and had such a great day. I caught the train to London at the crack of dawn and was so excited when I got there. We headed for NYX first as I had been told there is always a big queue and there was. I was disappointed however that there wasn't any testers for the products but I still made a few purchases! Other stores that were popular with the crowds were, Love Makeup and Beauty B cosmetics, mainly because they were carrying  brands like Zoeva, Lime Crime and L.A Girl.

I'm the one in the middle, incase you can't tell!



 There are two stages where make-up artists do talks and live demonstrations and throughout the event the make-up companies are doing demos on their stands. There was some amazing make-up and prosthetic work that caught my attention.



The whole body was fake! The attention to detail was amazing.

Leonardo DiCaprio from The Revenant. (I wish!)

Now for the exciting part, my purchases! I set myself a limit and definitely went over! When I look at the amount I bought it hardly seems like much. Some of my favourites that I had been after for a while are the Beauty Blender, Z palette, Ben Nye Banana Powder and L.A. Girl matte pigment gloss. I also got myself a new make-up trolley from Ingot, which has been a long time coming! Another amazing buy were glitters from Eye Kandy which I will definitely be featuring on the blog in the future!




The tickets cost around £45 but it is definitely worth the amount for the money you save on discounts! People take suitcases to this event so you can imagine how popular it is. All in all it was a fab event and I can wait to share my reviews and products I came away with! Have you been to IMATS? Did you bag yourself any bargains?

Amina xx


Thursday, 2 June 2016

Charlotte Tilbury Blusher Review



Hi Guys,

For this week's post I've decided to do a review of Charlotte Tilbury 'From Cheek to Chic' blusher, which is one of my most recent purchases and my first from this brand. Well, I say purchases, but I got it bought for me as as a birthday gift, even though my birthday isn't until August! (Lucky me!) Just picture me with puppy dog eyes!

Ever since Charlotte Tilbury concession hit Selfridges in Birmingham, I was drawn to the brand. I like Charlotte's unique approach of creating complete makeup looks and laying out all the products used for you to buy. It's especially great for people who may not know how to pull a look together themselves. Plus, her packaging is flawless and so pretty! The gold really adds a touch of luxe and makes the products so easily identifiable as Charlotte Tilbury.



Back to the blusher - I got it in 'The Climax' and it is such a gorgeous colour! Once applied it really gives a sculpted look. Because my complexion is of medium skin tone, I just preferred the slightly darker tone of this blusher compared to the others in the collection. I can only describe it as a peachy bronze with the centre giving a splash of pink. When built up, the colour also gives off a shimmery effect. 

Top: outer circle Bottom: centre

The blusher is also described as 'Swish and Pop' with the idea being you swish your blusher brush around the outside and apply to the cheek bone, and then pop it into the middle section and apply to the apples of your cheeks.

It is a bit pricey at £30, however the quality is clear and my experience is that you generally do get what you pay for when it comes to makeup. It is very pigmented so I can imagine it will last you a very long time before you have to repurchase and blends nicely onto the skin. The blusher lasted me most of the day before I decided to reapply in the evening.



Overall, a great product, and as my first product from the brand, really has me sold. Eek, is this the start of another love affair? Anyway I would definitely recommend!

Have you bought anything from the Charlotte Tilbury range? Were you impressed?

Amina xx