13 September 2012

Out & About Breastfeeding Essentials

It's about time I wrote another breastfeeding related post and what better way to start than by giving my lovely readers a guide to Breastfeeding Essentials for out and about with your baby. Breastfeeding is hard at the best of times and even more of a struggle when you go out to the shops/ restaurant/ cafe etc, you want to make sure you're baby is fed properly and content but you don't want to be flashing your ample breasts to the world. So here's a list of products to make your journeys out with your bubba a little bit easier.

Mum & Baby Rescue Balm
Sore nipples are not something you want at home never mind when you're at the shops as latching can be a bit tender for you. Not to fear though, the Mum & Baby Rescue Balm from Green People has been designed to soothe sore cracked nipples but can also be used as a handy cream for baby. It smells fab and is certified organic. It has even won a TIPS Must-have 2012 award because mums love it. Priced at £9.07 for 100ml it is expensive but it's brilliant. You can purchase some for yourself from www.greenpeople.co.uk

Ultra Dry Comfort Breast Pads
These extremely absorbent breast pads from NUK are very kind to the skin with a breathable out layer that ensures a circulation of air. The anatomically designed pad shape with increased diameter and secure NUK adhesive strips help for a snug fit and is virtually invisible. You get 24 pads in a pack for £3.05 and each set are hygienically in individual packs so easy to pop in your mummy bag ready to hit the shops. Available from www.nukbabyshop.co.uk

Nipple Shields
NUK also have some handy nipple shields when when your breasts feel just that extra bit tender or if they get a bit cracked and bleedy these will help protect when feeding your baby. I got sore cracked nipples when I first started breastfeeding but lucky my nipples healed really quickly so I had no need for nipple shields however I've heard a few mums at baby groups who swear by these when times get tough. Each pack from NUK comes with 2 nipple shields and their own handy storage box so perfect for on he go. Priced at £4.38 they won't break the bank and can be cleaned ready to use again. www.nukbabyshop.co.uk.

Lansinoh TheraPearl 3in1 Breast Therapy
Lansinoh® Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy brings advanced relief for a number of conditions associated with breastfeeding.  Therapearl can be used hot or cold and has also been specially designed to fit around your breast pump to encourage let down and promote faster milk flow.  Reusable and non-toxic, these unique packs are doctor designed and lactation consultant approved. They're perfect for keeping in babies changing bag and since they can be used cold you can pop them in your bra for soothing relief. They're £11.95 from John Lewis and so worth every penny. www.lansinoh.co.uk

Muslin Swaddle Blanket
As well as swaddling these are perfect for helping you cover up whilst breastfeeding keeping everything discreet. These have been spotted on lots of celeb babies including; Peaches Geldof, Mark Owen and Jamie Oliver's lot! Single 100% cotton muslin swaddling wrap, aden + anais® wraps are the ultimate in breathability and softness. The fabric’s light, open weave allows a baby’s body temperature to regulate itself naturally, helping to reduce the risk of overheating. It is gentle on baby’s skin and durable for everyday use. The more you wash aden + anais® wraps, the softer they get. aden + anais® wraps are extra large, measuring 47” x 47”, so that new and seasoned mums alike can swaddle babies of all sizes with ease. This brilliant blue swaddle costs £17.95 from www.adenandanais.co.uk.

Sterimar Baby
STÉRIMAR baby is an isotonic filtered sea water solution, 100 % natural and free from preservatives. It provides the beneficial properties of minerals salts and marine trace elements. With its specially designed nozzle, its very gentle pressure and microfine spray, STÉRIMAR baby ensures gentle nasal rinsing and cleansing. A great little piece of kit for keeping in your changing bag when baby has a blocked nose. Every mother knows it's hard to feed a baby never mind breast feed when they have a blocked nose so definitely worth having. Suitable from 0 - 3 years and costs around £4.07 for 50ml. www.sterimarnasal.co.uk.

Peaks of London Clothing
Peaks of London have some amazing breastfeeding tops and dresses, perfect for breastfeeding on the go. The flattering drapery of this waterfall breastfeeding top (above) is perfectly off-set by its fitted body – swish when you walk and it works with your curves. Wear with jeggings, skinnies or on its own as a minidress if you’re feeling daring…the perfect everyday tunic. Wherever you need to breastfeed this top will let you do it in style and discretion - pop baby underneath the soft fabric to keep him focused! www.peaksoflondon.com.

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump
You might be wondering why I have a breast pump on this out and about feature however if you prefer to express milk and use a bottle of your expressed milk when you're out then this is perfect - especially if you're busy! This will definitely take the hard work out of doing it yourself. I had a manual breast pump when I tried to express for my son and god did my hand hurt afterwards! www.tommeetippee.co.uk.

Anita Cherry Blush Nursing Bra
Well you can't go out and about proper breastfeeding without the all essential nursing bra. When I was expecting a few people said oh you'll not need nursing bras just lift your own bra up or lift your breast up and out to feed your baby. Well I did get a few nursing bras and thank god I did. You breasts are very swollen with milk so the last thing you want to do is be shoving them under a normal bra or grappling to lift them out! No you just want to flick a clip and down comes the front of your bra ready for breastfeeding, hurrah for nursing bras. This fab Anita Cherry Blush nursing bra should do just the ticket. This bra costs around £39.99 and can be purchased from a number of different online stores. www.anita.com.

11 September 2012

Review: Ella's Kitchen New Dairy Range

Ella's Kitchen have come over all dairylicious with their new range of dairy products; smooth + scrummy fromage frais, teeny creamy rice pudding with vanilla and chilled out thick and fruity yogurt. Logan was lucky enough to receive some vouchers so he could try the products for himself for free. He's such a lucky boy and when we picked up a few from Tescos I must say they looked delicious and that's just from checking out the packaging!
Paul is the brains behind the Ella's Kitchen brand, I'll let him tell you how it all began: "I set up Ella’s Kitchen because I passionately believe that Ella, my daughter, along with her generation, should have the opportunity to eat better food and also to discover that healthy food can be fun, tasty and cool.

From my experience with Ella and her brother Paddy, we think it’s important to always approach things from a child’s point of view. So, we took simple, natural ingredients that ooze goodness and created baby foods, and packaging, that really connects with little ones – with flavours, colours, textures and even names that will appeal to all of their senses."

I've always loved the Ella's Kitchen products and so has Logan, they always taste and smell great and their new dairy range don't disappoint. The smooth + scrummy fromage frais are perfect for stage 1 feeding, i.e. from 6 months but also for older children. Logan thought they were very yummy and ate all 6 pots in a matter of days. You get 6x55g pots in each pack of fromage frais. Three of which are mango and the other 3 are banana. I think Logan did prefer the banana as he hasn't tasted mango that often but he happily ate them all. I even popped some in his morning bowl of porridge for an extra twist and he scoffed the lot down. You'll be glad to know these are 100% whole milk fromage frais with real fruit puree, nothing else added. The ingredients are also organic so even better for your little ones.

Next up is the teeny creamy rice pudding. Unfortunately Logan didn't quite like these, I think it was the bits of rice as opposed to taste. He's not a fan of lumps in yogurts etc so didn't take to these very well. My other half however loves rice pudding and scoffed the 2 pack down in a couple of spoonfuls! The pots are 60g each so understandable really for a man. These are 100% rice pudding and vanilla with nothing else added, just like the fromage frais. Suitable for stage 2 feeding i.e. from 7 months onwards.

Last but not least is the chilled out thick and fruity yogurt. You get 4 pots in a pack each 85g of fruity goodness with two delicious flavours; pineapple and mango and strawberry and pear. Logan loved these without a doubt, both flavours, and I had a cheeky wee taste myself and couldn't agree more. These are perfect for stage 3 feeding i.e. 12 months onwards and as with the others they're just 100% whole milk yogurt, real fruit puree and honey, nothing else added.

Overall brilliant yummy snacks for your little ones that won't break the bank. The fromage frais cost £1.89 for 6 pots, the rice pudding costs £1.09 for 2 pots and the yogurts cost £1.79 for 4 pots. I know some of you might think these prices are quite expensive however they all contain organic natural ingredients with no nasties what so ever. Well worth the extra pennies for your little cherub.

Please visit www.ellaskitchen.co.uk for more products and information. You can also see what they get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello! Remember to tell them The Breastest News sent you.

Mumpreneurs: Jules McKeen and Sheena Gunn

Jules McKeen and Sheena Gunn are the brilliant mumpreneurs behind Peaks of London who manufacture and sell beautiful breastfeeding clothing from tops to dresses. Jules was kind enough to spare some of her busy time and tell us all about them and their journey. You can see all they have to offer at www.peaksoflondon.com.

So first things first, tell me a little bit about yourself and your family?

I have two little boys, Alfie and Harry, aged 2 and 4, and Sheena has two girls, Rosie and Joy, aged 12 and 10. We met in London where we were neighbours but I recently moved out to the country in Buckinghamshire where we can romp through the woods of a morning and be in my office in Covent Garden, London within an hour. My husband and I met in the advertising agency where we both worked, and this was my career for 15 years before setting up Peaks of London with Sheena.

What's the story behind Peaks of London?

Sheena - who is my co-founder and the designer - and I were neighbours. I had just had Alfie and ran into Sheena as I set out on a mission to find something to wear to a wedding which I could breastfeed in. Sheena was adamant there was nothing decent out there and indeed she was proven right. We decided to right this wrong in our own small way! Whilst on my maternity leave from being Group Marketing Director at an advertising group, we developed a capsule collection and essentially spent a year researching both the concept and the product with breastfeeding women to ensure every item was easy and discreet to feed in, felt and looked uber-stylish, was easy to wash and which passed our quality test: each garment must be met with the words 'what a lovely dress/top' as opposed to 'what a lovely breastfeeding dress'.

Jules and her boys

Where there any struggles along the way?

Giving up well paid jobs was a huge decision, and without having big personal wealth or a monied backer, the financial pressure was immense. We still plough every penny back into the business and due to my children being so small - and Harry coming along two weeks before our first shoot - there's a constant wrestle to see the family, grow the business and manage the crippling cost of childcare. We have grown the business to selling into ten countries as of January next year (including Japan, Russia, France, UAE, Lebanon and of course the UK), and so far have managed pretty much everything ourselves and self-funded. Having no staff to help us has been a challenge, with orders on the website coming in late at night when one of us is abroad looking at fabrics...

Looking back is there anything you wish you could have done differently?

Like everyone, setting up a business is a huge learning curve. I wish we'd set up fulfilment management earlier to handle and ship orders. I wish we had known a little more about the paperwork involved in running a company. But having said that, I think sometimes blind naivety coupled with confidence in a good product pays dividends; we found our whole collection sold into the first store we walked into on the 'offchance' and within a couple of weeks it had sold out in Harrods. Similarly Isetan - like Selfridges in Japan - are on their third season with us, but it was a chance e mail from Japan which led to that. Had we followed a rigid 'three year plan', probably these happy accidents might not have occured. The trick is prioritising however as it's so tempting to take any and every opportunity to grow your business, and sometimes you have to accept you have limited personal bandwidth at this stage to do everything and stay sane!

Are there any new products in the pipeline?
Yes - a few designer collaborations in the print area which we're excited about, and our Spring/Summer 13 collection just sold into retailers with a beautiful, silk yellow occasion dress called the Audrey which you would never guess you could feed in. We also have a silk T-shirt in the offing which is something you NEVER get to wear when you're breastfeeding. I'm excited about a couple of 'high neck' options, living in such a cold climate as we do!

A lot of mums would love to work for themselves, what advice can you give them?

Think really hard about whether you want a working business or a 'hobby business' (a phrase I found utterly patronising until I understood that actually I would need to commit serious time and money to the business to really make it work). What's tricky is when a hobby business becomes bigger and needs personal investment to get to the next stage. Really plot out if you and your family are up for the ride. Be brutal about your product. Never be satisfied and be your harshest critic. Always assume someone is going to come and eat your breakfast. Consider where, when and how you will get a proper space in the week to dedicate to the business. Personally, my efforts to work at home made things worse for my little ones and for the granny or nanny looking after them so I had to absent myself!

Finally, make time which is utterly for you and your family - switch off fully for a couple of days per week otherwise the guilt will overtake you!

2 September 2012

Silent Sunday


Silent Sunday


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