Friday, 15 December 2017

pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding with type 1 diabetes

in july of 2015 we got pregnant, and that's where my story begins. which, as it turns out, is rather a long story, with lots of details, unexpected events and diabetic nightmares. so, instead of putting this in one blog post, i ended up writing a whole book about it, called 'A Sugar-free Bun in the Oven'.

i know that for those of you who are diabetic and would like to be pregnant one day, or who know someone who is, then this little book could be a useful starting point, or an additional story to the handful of other type 1 diabetes pregnancy stories on blogs out there.

i've made it possible to download for free, and also available on amazon to download, so you have your choice of ways to read it. and if you're not a reader, you can watch the YouTube video i did that gives a little insight into some of the main things you might be wondering. scroll down for links to download the book. 

so here's a few excerpts from the book so you can get a taster of what sort of things it covers (ps. it goes into gory details about other non-diabetic, pregnancy related things too, so stop here if that's not for you):


"Whilst for any type one diabetic the risk of a hypo is an ever present anxiety, we were even more nervous about this because last time a big change happened in my life I had a serious hypo which ended up with me losing consciousness and having a fit in the aisles in our local superstore, before being taken to hospital in an ambulance. "


"The doctor’s prescribed me a hormonal drug that would essentially ‘knock me out’ for a few days so that I was forced to take bedrest and not do anything that would put more pressure on the abrasion and cause it to bleed again. They said that the bleeding might take a week or so to subside, and that I should visit again if it did not disappear within 10 days.

On the way home my husband and I jointly decided that the drugs were probably not necessary or useful if their sole purpose was to keep me in bed, as I could quite easily do that myself without any hormonal confusion (I didn’t even want to find out what it would do to my insulin absorption or sugar levels)."


"This tiredness and consequent inactivity was one of my most frustrating things about being pregnant. I’m used to just keeping going all day long, and find that low-level activity through the day is one of the best ways to control my sugar levels. Most weekends my husband and I are on our feet the whole day, either out exploring the city on foot, going for a long walk in the countryside or doing housework. But at week 30, when a friend of ours came to visit and we went for a day trip to Antwerp although I did manage to walk for 10km, I fell asleep that whole evening and could barely get out of bed the next day."


so, if you're interested, you can download it at:

Gumroad (free download!) (Kindle) (Kindle)

Apple (iBooks)

and watch my little intro video to get a feel for it...

Friday, 10 November 2017

severe hypoglycaemic attacks: what are they like?

hey all, i want to share with you the stories of my attacks - yesterday i did a video about them, which i'll pop at the end of this post if you're interested to watch it. but, straight after i posted it i got an email from my mum reminding me that i had forgotten one! so, let this post contain all 6 stories of hypos where i've blacked out...

firstly let me say that it comes as no surprise to me that i've forgotten one of them, because a) they're traumatic and b) i black out and forget stuff.

secondly, severe hypos happen in type 1's when there's not enough sugar in the blood for the body to function - it can happen for so many different reasons and every person is different. i will detail the cause of each occasion in each story, so i can share some of what i've learnt from these 'episodes' with you. 

thirdly, don't let these stories either scare you, or make you complacent. although it could happen to you if you're a type 1 diabetic, i doesn't need to with a high level of care taken in managing the disease. however, again, i always think i manage it pretty well but i've still blacked out 6 times... every day i learn something new about how i should look after myself with diabetes and i think it's so important to learn from each other too. so please read and learn...

episode 1
my very first hypo was two years after i was diagnosed - i was 13 years old and it was in the middle of the night. mum heard me making weird noises, loud enough to get her out of bed and she found me having a fit in my room. she put sugar gel on my gums and called 999. my older brother heard it too and came to help, so i'm told. though of course i don't remember anything other than waking up in my bed covered in sweat and being taken for a bath.

why was i being taken for a bath? because i'd wet the bed, because my body had lost full control of itself. the paramedics came to check that all was ok and insisted on taking me into hospital to be checked out and monitored. i distinctly remember feeling as though it was ridiculous having to be taken out the house in a wheelchair when i was very capable of walking and talking, but they made me lie down on the stretcher in the ambulance too and so in return i asked if they'd put the flashy lights on and drive faster so it was like an actual ambulance experience - my first one too!

of course in hindsight i understand why they give you special treatment, because actually your brain can suffer a lot from a hypo, because it's the lack of sugar to the brain that causes a fit in the first place, so it's a wise precaution.

anyhow, i don't remember much else other than i was discharged home pretty quickly after the endocrinologist came to visit me to check all was well.

episode 2
my second hypo is the one i forgot about in the video. it was the night my brother's wife had given birth to their first baby, my first niece. i was 23 and living back at home with my mum after uni. it was quite late at night and we opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the safe arrival. i had only had a glass. however it was also winter, and so i had taken to sleeping by the woodburner where it was warm and cosy and i usually got a great nights sleep.

except this time, i had a fit during the night. again. however this time i remember nothing about it. i remember waking up to mum in the morning, and she had told me that i'd had a fit in the night and i recall absolutely nothing about the whole night. clearly the small amount of alcohol, the excitement and the hot fire had been enough to drop my sugar level in an extreme way. that time i think she called an ambulance to check on me, but she insisted that i didn't need to go to hospital, because the first time seemed to be a bit of a waste of everyone's time, and the paramedic could check i was physically and mentally fine.

episode 3
the next time was two months after i got married - my whole life had changed and i was adjusting to a new routine. that morning i woke and decided i would get a few bits and bobs from around the corner in the Lidl supermarket, which was a 3 minute walk from our house. i figured i'd go over and get some shopping really quickly and then make it back in time to eat breakfast and then start work from home at 9am. however, i somehow thought that i could inject for breakfast, then go out and make it back in a short enough space of time.

i used to pre-bolus for meals. emphasis on the "used to", because most of my episodes from here on in involve injecting before a meal rather than during or after. but, it had used to work for me - i used to inject 15-20 mins before a meal, so in theory the insulin would go in at the same time as the carbs. however, this is faulty and dangerous logic because there are too many factors in life that can make pre-bolusing go wrong, like not getting the food fast enough, getting not enough quick carbs in the meal, or not accounting for exercise, or not knowing the absorption rate of a particular injection site.

so, back to the story - i injected for my pre-prepared breakfast and went to the shop. i don't remember anything from walking into the door. but i do remember waking up on the floor near the freezers and wondering 'how the heck did i get to the freezers?' i must've looked like a crazy drunk before collapsing and having a fit by the frozen chicken.

the staff in the store were lovely, and called an ambulance. i woke very confused with someone explaining what had happened. i vaguely remember me paying for my shopping and remembering which card to use and the pin. i also remember getting a free sandwich and bottle of coke. someone saw my ring and figured i was married and called my husband, i suppose i must've given them the phone and told them, but it don't recollect that - but my husband will never forget expecting to hear my voice but hearing a man's instead and absolutely freaking out! "who is this?" he said in his best Taken impression. then i take it he got in his car and drove like the wind to the A&E department of the local hospital. he took me home and made sure i was looked after for the rest of the day.

one of the staff at Lidl continued to remember me every time i kept going back in and she would always look at me worriedly and say "are you doing ok?" - it was embarrassing, but i was so grateful to the staff, because i could so easily have hurt myself seriously on the hard floors in the store, so they must've looked after me well.

episode 4 & 5
i'm going to put these two together because they're too similar not to. both of them happened another couple of months after epidose 3 and on each occasion i was working from home, going about my regular routine. it was the morning, and i was preparing porridge on the stove. i'd already injected for it and i went into the dining room to get set up for the day. i remember waking up under the dining room table, staring at the underneath of the thing and wondering how in the heck i got there?! what a strange place to be, and how? i woke up to the smell of not-yet-burnt-but-caramelising porridge coming through from the kitchen, and i was so glad that i hadn't been out for very long, because that could've been an even greater disaster with a fire too. i had enough sense to eat the porridge first before calling my husband and explaining the whole scenario.

the next time i had the same morning plan, but thankfully didn't attempt porridge that day. instead i actually forgot the entire morning because the fit had been so bad, the first thing i remember that day was waking up in bed and having a huge headache, freaking out at the clock because it was 9:30 and i thought i'd overslept. then i looked down and saw that i was dressed and then looked in the mirror and found massive bruising between my eyes from where i must've rubbed them extremely hard, and then a huge cut on my head from where i must've bashed it whilst writhing around in the bed. i then checked my sugar level monitor and realised that i'd done a level 45mins prior, so i'd been out of it for ages, alone in my house. and thankfully i'd woken up somehow. i think i remember that it was work that had woken me up actually by calling to see how the day was going so far or something.

that day i spent being looked after and swearing i wouldn't pre-bolus again. though clearly that didn't stick, and clearly it was a hard habit to shift from...

episode 6
the last time i had a severe hypo was the year before i got pregnant with my son. i was at my grandparents house and, contrary to previous occasions, it was the late afternoon. we had just come back from a cold walk (clearly my body is very sensitive to temperature and temperature changes) and settled down to have an aperitif of warm saké. this wasn't my regular drink, in fact i hadn't had saké hot before, and i haven't had any since... but we did usually have an aperitif before dinner at my grandparents house. though, unusually i had pre-bolused for dinner, or maybe i'd over-injected for the nibbles that came with the aperitif.

anyhow, i think i knew that i'd put myself at risk that time, and when i woke up on the floor i was less surprised than normal. the paramedic had got to their house in record time, and i remember not being able to move properly for a long while whilst i lay in my husbands arms with marmalade in my hair. which is what he'd used to rub into my gums to get my level back up. the paramedic spoke to me and made sure my brain was working fine before he wrote his report and then left.

i'd really scared my grandparents, but thankfully with the passing of time they've already forgotten about how terrified they were. my husband finally got to witness an episode and be my hero in saving me, which he was incredible at of course.

so, what are the lessons i've learnt from all of these episodes?
1. never pre-bolus, it isn't worth it.
2. watch out for hot alcohol.
3. don't sleep next to a hot fire after an exciting evening and a glass of champagne.
4. don't assume that regular routine will ensure the same pattern each day - injection sites, hormones and quality of sleep can all play a roll in messing with absorption and levels.
5. always go to sleep with a slightly higher level than you require, or eat a banana before bed.
6. exercise can do strange things to levels you can't predict.

please do share some of your hypo stories, so we can learn from each other, and let me know what you've learnt from your own episodes.

thanks for reading, i hope you enjoy watching the video too - and if you fancy educating the people around you, please feel free to share this video with your family and friends...

Monday, 18 September 2017

the fluffiest pancakes ever, and 'as american as apple pie'

hello world. i've been wanting to share this ever since i posted it up on instagram, because SERIOUSLY these are the most fluffy pancakes ever, and i realise now why they are called pan-"cakes", because these were actually like a cake when you ate them. perhaps i've been making pancakes wrongly, or perhaps my other pancakes need rebranding? anyhow, i needed to share these with you...

i switched the original recipe up a little to make them dairy free so my little one could eat them with me, and i added in some healthier grains and then stuck to the original method. i might tweak these even more as time goes on (because well, the food blogger inside of me wants to), but they're darn near perfect as they are.

the original recipe comes from this book, written by Phillip Stephen Schulz, published in 1990 - and it is an outstanding book for anyone who wants to get to grips with everyday American classics. i've had it for a while, and it's frequently used. and i'll tell you why...

the way the book is written is to tackle the "big" dishes in sections, taking each one and explaining the history, and then giving 5 to 10 variations on the dish. i love it! it means if i want to look for pancakes i'll get banana pancakes, classic breakfast pancakes, lace cakes, Wichita vanilla oat cakes, heavenly hots, New York potato pancakes and stuffed flannels. and each recipe i've tried from this book delivers, every time.

so the other day, i wanted pancakes. i wanted pancakes bad. and not just my regular crepe style things. no, i wanted fluffy. so i thought of the best country for fluffy pancakes, and i thought of my american cookbook and i went in search of a recipe. (arguably the Japanese make pretty darn fluffy pancakes, so i'll need a similar recipe book for Japanese cooking, any suggestions?)

and this is the level of fluffiness i achieved! it turns out it's really all about whisking the egg whites and about having the right consistency to the batter so it doesn't spread as you ladle it into the pan.

the fluffiest spelt pancakes ever
makes about 12 pancakes

2 eggs, separated
1Tbsp maple syrup
1 cup soy yoghurt, mixed with 1dsp apple cider vinegar or lemon to make "buttermilk"
2Tbsp melted coconut oil
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1 tsp baking soda

1. beat the egg yolks with the maple syrup until light.
2. whisk in the "buttermilk", coconut oil, flours and baking soda.
3. beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the batter. use either a whisk or a flat spatula and go slowly - if you keep "folding" it will eventually combine, and just as it does it's ready to cook.
4. heat a flat-based, non-stick pan. pour in the batter and cook for about 2 minutes before flipping and lightly browning the other side. keep warm in a low oven whilst you a flipping the other pancakes.
5. enjoy warm with your favourite toppings!

so there you have it! i hope you enjoy these as much as i did.

currently listening to: the get your greens and urban gardening with Jill Volat episode of the Earth To Us podcast

Monday, 11 September 2017

how we did sleep training with our 18 month old toddler (the long story)

this is purely the story of what worked for us, how we did it and what we do now. it's for anyone who thinks it's too late to sleep train, but who need more time for themselves and want to help their child learn how to sleep by themselves. so let's start with some background, because every baby is different, and i really feel the foundations for good sleep need to be laid down to begin with.

since he came home from the hospital at 3 weeks old we've rocked him to sleep, in a swaddle and then in his sleeping bag and then the Ergobaby carrier. he's slept long stretches from pretty early on this way, because he was taught in the hospital to go 3-4 hours between feeds and that seems to have stuck with him, also Daddy had this sense to know hunger cries from "why have I woken up, help me sleep" cries, so would put a blanket over and cuddle him instead and that helped him sleep through the night from about 10 weeks old. in fact, between the ages of about 5 months old and 9 months old, he would rub his eyes and daddy would take him up to his bed and put him down and he'd go off to sleep.

when he reached 9 months old and started teething he forgot how to go down to bed himself and we've been putting him to sleep in the carrier since that point (which is tricky with my arthyalgia and the fact he weighs in a pretty high percentile). in fact, we never really have minded using the carrier to put him to sleep, my husband and i quite like it actually, because who wouldn't want be cuddled to sleep or cuddle someone else to sleep?!

then things started to get worse. when the clocks went back in april, his bedtime started getting later. at first it was just the hour, and then it became later and later until he was keeping us up past our bedtime, it was like he had so much to learn and he didn't want to stop learning.

then in June he began really protesting being put in the carrier and was also experiencing night wakings (once lasting 5 hours between midnight and 5am!). we are pretty sure this was the 18 month old sleep regression caused by teething and a growth spurt AND his understanding of language really starting to emerge...

so, come Saturday 19th August at my mums house - i'd not been on a date with my husband for months, and our evenings had been hugely disturbed and we were both exhausted looking after a boy that wakes up during the night.

mum and i chat about how i need sleep and i wanted to try sleep training if we were at home and she was with us in Belgium (which we were not because of the two funerals we'd had to go back to England for). i was sure that i didn't have the energy to "do" sleep training, so i assumed if a third person were around then they could deal with the night wakings and lack of sleep.

anyhow, we weren't in belgium, we were in a different house, so i said to mum, "it would be great if you could just try one night to see if you can get him to sleep without the Ergo carrier" - she agreed and said she'd do it that night and see how it goes (he'd already slept one night in the room and was familiar with it), so that evening we spend time trying to wind him down (impossible) and get him "ready for bed". so, when he was displaying tired signals (rubbing his eyes and touching his ears) mum tried to cuddle him tightly, sway him, sing to him, all her usual grandmother tricks... but nothing worked...  so eventually, she popped him in the cot and covered him over with a blanket and then left the room.

he cried for an hour that first night.

and i cried too.

Gran went in on her hands and knees when his screams started to escalate to sound distressed instead of just angry and she said "snuggle down, go to sleep", so he knew someone was nearby and then he basically went straight to sleep, she didn't touch him, just used her voice without him seeing her there.

the next night Gran tried to get him to sleep in the pushchair and transfer him (i think we were both a little traumatized by the sleeping that first night), which partly worked - he fell asleep in the chair but didn't transfer, instead he woke up and then i breastfed him and then put him down and rubbed his back whilst he fell to sleep. it was 10pm.

the following night we were in a different place, so my husband put him to sleep in the carrier and then he woke screaming in the night - he was inconsolable being held by anyone, but i was adamant i wouldn't breastfeed in the night as i was sure that the nightfeeds and the food in the night hadn't helped his sleep patterns - eventually after 45mins of crying and us all trying to calm him I said "if he's arching his back then maybe he just wants to go to bed and practice going to sleep" - so we put him down and he seemed to settle more in the cot than with cuddles, even though he continued to cry for another 45 minutes he did eventually go to sleep by himself. that night we also went in every 5 minutes or so to say "snuggle down now, it's time to go to sleep" and to lay him back down and put the sheet over him (a little bit of the ferber method ideas going in there).

the following night my husband and i had to go out for dinner and he'd already been crying for half an hour before we arrived home (due to it being late and his being in a new place), so i breastfed him and he went straight to sleep and slept all the way through.

the following night, the Wednesday, i went upstairs to put him to bed and left him in the cot to go to sleep, and it took 35 minutes for him to go to sleep that night.

by the Friday we managed to get him worn out by 8:30 and i did his new bedtime routine and put him down and then he stood up, but i still left the room and 4 minutes of screaming later he was quiet - i was so nervous something had happened to him!

the Saturday i did the same thing - but this time it was just 2 minutes of screaming - he was really getting the hang of what was going on, and he wasn't protesting that he didn't know what was happening, he was just angry that i'd left.

the Sunday, i put him down and he literally only cried from the moment I walked away from the cot, to the moment that I shut the door and then he snuggled down - that was also the first time that when i put him down he didn't start crying immediately, he actually seemed contented in the bed.

now, two  weeks on, he's been consistently sleeping, without the need for a dream feed, and for almost 12 hours straight. it's a different world we live in! we've slept in 2 different beds, as well as his own room, and he's been fine (with a day of adjustment) in every bed.

some very important notes:
• each day we've made sure to physically exhaust him, take him for walks and go to the park, and do a lot of playing (not just mentally stimulating, but physically stimulating too). if we haven't had enough exercise by dinnertime we have a game of softball inside the house until he starts looking tired!
• each day we make sure he eats enough - a lot of breast milk and water and food, and often a snack before bedtime (we have fruit and cereal in the morning, protein and veggies for lunch, and veggies and carbs for dinner, then for a snack more carbs or some soy yoghurt)
• the bedtime routine is very simple: snack, teeth, nappy/diaper, jammies, breastfeed, nursery rhyme, book(s), tell him about his day, say the "phrase" (snuggle down now, it's time to go to sleep), put him down with a cuddly toy and put his muslin over him - our previous routine was a mess because the bath would excite him too much and he wasn't physically tired enough to relax his body, now we do the bath much earlier in the evening and his "routine" is pretty quick so we can do it anywhere too
• to begin with there were days when my breasts were too full to not give him a quick dreamfeed before i went to sleep, but i haven't done that for a week now and i hope not to do that again!
• if we plan travel, we plan when his sleep will be in the day, but we don't worry about always getting the midday nap, because if we go out for the day he will have two "power" naps in the car and that seems to work well, so long as we get back for dinner and haven't spent all day in the pushchair

for more info, check out my YouTube video where i talk about it - there's so much info in this, it's almost impossible to cover everything in one blog post or one 10 minute video, but hopefully it helps:

i'd love to hear your experiences, and please comment to ask any questions, i know how confusing it can seem to sleep train as there's lots of different ways of doing it!

Monday, 24 July 2017

why i love sweden - the perfect holiday destination for families

have you ever found it really hard to leave a place? well, this week i did.

it was a weird feeling really, sort of like I was leaving home... so i think it's safe to say that Sweden has taken a little piece of me and i shall have to go back soon.

so here's a little list of reasons why i love Sweden (for those of you who've never been), in no particular order:

*cinnamon rolls are everywhere. as are cardamom knots, which are gorgeous too
*everyone speaks English, but not in an annoyed way, they are always extremely friendly
*the countryside is exceptional, all lakes and forests and farms

*the air is seriously clean
*even in little cafes you can get a prawn salad
*its THE most child friendly place I've ever been - toy boxes, changing stations and high chairs in almost all places we went, even ones we didn't expect. also in restaurants they were so happy to do half portions of regular dishes
*perfect weather (for me) - 24c in the summer and a few clouds, you'll tan because you'll be outside so much

*sightseeing is pretty easy because lots of things to see are free, Slottskogen, Varberg castle, all the lakes
*the Swedes attitude for life is one of a kind - they like things simple and beautiful in all aspects of living, not just their home furnishings - when we arrived at our @airbnb I asked the guy if there were any rules for swimming in the lake and he looked at me like i was crazy and said "of course not, and if it's there evening you could go in naked". they love to party and have friends round and they love a good barbecue

*Lilla Laxen - the BEST drive thru on the planet? it's salmon and potatoes in a drive through, seriously, yes, so good.
*swimming in lakes is so much better than swimming in any other kind of water, and Sweden has a LOT of lakes ;)
*seafood is abundant, fresh and delicious

so if you haven't yet been, or even considered Sweden as a holiday destination, then you probably should. especially if you have babies and/or children, or are the adventurous type. it's probably not for you if you just want a reliably hot beach holiday... although Halmstad is a great beach resort if you're interested in being beach-side.

and one word of caution... because of the abundance of trees and water, Sweden is usually known for their mosquitoes and other tiny biting critters, so make sure to pack a bug spray. although, this year we didn't seem to be bothered by them at all, so clearly it wasn't the year for them. or my new bug spray is hugely effective!

thanks for reading, and please let me know your favourite undiscovered holiday destinations...

currently listening to: (the tune of the holiday) despacito by luis fonsi

Friday, 5 May 2017

13 tips for increasing your breast milk supply

hi all, i'm back today with my top tips for increasing milk supply. i read a ton of these posts in those first few months, because i felt, and i honestly think EVERYONE feels, like i wasn't making enough milk. even my grandmother admitted when she had just had my dad that she fed him only for 3 months because she felt like she wasn't making enough and had to supplement with formula, and that was 60-70 years ago (there was me thinking it was a recent phenomenon)!

this is really a bit of a round-up from other posts i've read, and these are things i genuinely did each day, and i ended up with a whole freezer drawer full of frozen 'spare' milk...

1. drink fennel tea!
this was something they were always asking me in the hospital - 'have you drunk your fennel tea?' - and so it was always ringing in my head when we got home from the hospital too. fennel is an amazing galactagogue and does wonders for increasing your supply. it doesn't matter which brand you choose, but get the best you can afford (you can even just buy the seeds from the spices section rather than ready in a teabag) and drink it every day, multiple times a day. it tastes nice so don't worry!

2. pump
we bought a Medela breast pump in advance because we knew we would use it. and by heck did we! if you're going to breast feed and you're serious about it, then getting an electric pump is the way forward. any time you want to stimulate your supply, you can simply just express the first little bit from your boobs and then baby gets the creamy top portion which helps them sleep better and grow better (you can then offer them this milk later in the day when your supply is lower).

3. eat well - eat nutrient-rich foods.
this is a tough one to accomplish because of number 4 in this list, and so it requires a bit of pre-thought when you're pregnant and some planning. but making sure that you don't try to survive on toast and takeaway foods is essential. i stocked my freezer, and we even turned on our spare freezer and filled that up too, and i created a new pantry area with wholefood essentials like tins of chickpeas and cartons of tomatoes. my mission was to have it ready by week 35, and i did (thank goodness, because he was early!).

if you're pregnant reading this, now is the time to start practicing cooking easy meals, and slow-cooker meals, and getting in tins of beans and packets of dried mango. think about what you like and if you're not sure, i hugely recommend reading the first forty days - it's an incredible guide on keeping yourself nourished.

4. set up camp on your sofa and nurse lots!
put on your favourite series on netflix, buy a cute comfortable cushion for breastfeeding - we just had this simple nursing pillow via amazon - and get a huge bottle of water by your side and some healthy snacks, and enjoy time with your little one on the sofa. the more you relax and rest the more energy your body can put into making milk. seriously the amount of selfies i sent of me to my husband in the same position on this sofa is a LOT...

5. put baby to both breasts at each session.
there was some age old wisdom that said to do one boob at a time, but ours has always done both, so always 'put them' to both breasts even if they seem done with the first one. it'll stimulate the breast anyhow and that's always a good thing.

6. get good rest and sleep when you can.
i could always tell a difference in production after a good nap. my mum was always saying, 'have you had your nap today?' for the first two months. as i'm not usually a good napper i was worried i wasn't going to be able to, but i did always sleep once a day for even just half an hour and felt so much better afterwards. so close the curtains and try to get some shut eye.

7. drink lots of water
i'll keep this one simple - milk is wet right? it's made of water? i reckon it's probably a good idea to try and drink even more than you normally would... i always kept a huge bottle of water by me and took it everywhere i went, and drank every time we breastfed, to 'replace' the milk.

8. eat galactagogues, and make lactation cookies.
galatagogues are foods that help you to produce milk, some of them are - oats, kale, spinach, broccoli, fennel, garlic, chickpeas, almonds, sesame seeds, ginger, papaya - these all are full of nutrients and can help stimulate production of milk (this is kind of half old wife's tale and half science). i loved lactation cookies, half because they taste so dang delicious, and half because i swear the day i didn't have one was a bad baby day.

a recipe for lactation cookies:

pre-heat oven to 180c/350f, put 2 cups of rolled oats into a blender/processor/grinder, and blend until the oats are a flour-like consistency. add in 1 tbsp of fennel seeds to the grinder and grind to a fine powder. add these to a bowl and mix in 1/4 cup spelt flour/ground almonds, 1/4 cup brewer’s yeast flakes, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda and 1/2 tsp sea salt.

in another bowl, put 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup tahini (or other nut/seed butter), 1/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp melted coconut oil, 2 eggs (can replace with flax egg), 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. mix very well. add in 1/2 cup sultanas or 1/2 cup of choc chips at this point if you like.

mix wet with dry, and form into balls and place on a parchment lined baking tray. bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned. pop in the freezer for future use and take it out 30 mins before you want to eat one.

9. make sure you're getting enough calories.
if you're breastfeeding you need extra calories, because breastfeeding is exercise. that's right. so now is not the time to diet, it's the time to eat the extra slice of cake, because you can! that's probably the secret reason we're still breastfeeding at 14 months, because i just don't want to give up the extra slice of cake ;)

10. avoid paci's and bottles in those first few months.
sucking is the way your baby communicates to your breast how much milk to make, so if they're sucking elsewhere it could mean they're too tired to suck at your boob, and then they don't suck enough. so try to limit or eliminate the use of other things to suck on - if they want comfort, put them to your breast, even if it's exhausting, it's just the short term.

11. make sure you've got a good latch
is the baby actually sucking correctly? this is probably the first thing to correct, and the best thing to do is to have someone that's breastfed come and take a look, because they'll know what to look out for. there are heaps of guides on this, but you just want to make sure that baby is swallowing and not just sucking that's the key part.

12. keep your baby close to you.
i always found that when i was further away from my bean i made less milk, and sometimes to help a let down i needed to stop being distracted and just look at him and relax as i think about how cute and awesome he is. so if you're having issues with the let down of your milk, just stop thinking of other things and focus on your baby. also when you've got lots of guests in a day, make sure you still spend time bonding with him/her because that's really important for your hormones and therefore your milk supply.

13. wear the right type of bra.
i've been living in these stretchy nursing bras for over a year now, and although they're not sexy, i've not once had a problem with my boobs, no infections or anything. i have a multipack i bought on amazon, and then i bought them again, so i would always have a spare of each colour and avoid washing all the time (because you leak lots when your supply is up). but don't try to wedge your boobs into bras, and sometimes just don't wear a bra at all (especially when all that milk comes in). i bought a nighttime nursing bra and it was a waste of money, it made much more sense for the health of my boobs to just put a towel down over my side of the bed.

and just in case the post wasn't enough info for you, there's a video of me explaining this all as well:

also, check out my 'living life with a newborn' post, which has had a lot of positive feedback, so i would recommend giving that one a whirl.

all the best with your breast feeding journey xx