Written By Alice Bingham on behalf of Medela Australia
Just under two years ago, I had a wild experience with my third birth.
I went between three hospitals in just one day.
I had an ambulance with sirens, a 20hr breach labour which then transitioned to an emergency c- section under general anaesthetic and welcomed our baby girl at just 35 weeks. All while having heart symptoms going on and a possible Pulmonary Embolism.
I ended up spending the week in hospital with heart monitors on myself and tests run all week, all while trying to care for our newest addition who had a few health things going on herself with being a premie. It was quite the experience, one that I will never forget. When I look at my happy little 21-month old now, I pinch myself that we are both okay and doing well.
In fact, we are expecting our fourth child in February 2021.
This has had me reflect a lot on my experience with birth and breastfeeding my third baby in 2019 – how can I use this to prepare myself and my baby for a beautiful breastfeeding experience after a year where nothing’s gone to plan?
A reminder to embrace the chaos with presence.
The first 12- weeks of any newborn’s life can be a bit of a blur for any mum. And mine was no different. I had two little ones to care for, and was also recovering from a c-section and a feeding schedule for our preemie baby.
I was given the Medela Symphony pump immediately and was told to pump a minimum of eight times in 24 hours.
So, I was very grateful for the Medela double breast pump in the hospital as it was fast and efficient, which I needed as the feeding routine was extremely exhausting for me.
On day three, my daughter’s blood sugar level remained low. I asked to speak to a Lactation Consultant and a Paediatrician to see if a different feeding routine would help her blood sugar levels stabilise. Our current schedule of 10 minutes on the boob topped up with expressed breast milk, then pumping again wasn’t working. The team and I decided to change her feeding schedule to give her expressed breastmilk (EBM), then 5 minutes on the boob and then double pumping again for top-ups. I would also set alarms for breastfeeding and alarms for pumping using my Medela Harmony breast pump. The beauty of pumping was it made me sit down, which is essential for recovery.
My two children, then 3.5 years and 18 months, would also come and sit with me or play on the floor near me. Some days they would all be crying at once; I just had to take a deep breath and remind myself I was doing my best. The days were long, but the weeks would fly by, it was all a bit of beautiful chaos. And this is one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt with motherhood and breastfeeding – embracing the chaos, with mindfulness and presence.
For any other mum or mum-to-be who may be finding motherhood and breastfeeding difficult – I hear you.
But if you can take time to find your breath and come back to this moment, it’s one of the most powerful ways to find strength, peace and joy in these moments of chaos. I found great comfort in journaling too. A simple way to practice gratitude and reflect on the day. Plus, my journal is filled with many raw and wonderful memories of those postnatal days. I often look back on these pages to see how far I have come.
Lean on your support army wherever and however you can
The year 2020 has brought some great uncertainly for a lot of us in the Australian community, with restrictions and lock downs. Postnatal after our third child, we required a lot of appointments once we left the hospital. We ended up seeing lactation consultants, had daily weigh-ins at the hospital, saw midwifes and child health nurse practitioners for the first 12 weeks of our little girls’ life.
This had me thinking after everything happening right now, would we receive the same support if we required that care again with this child? During this pregnancy I haven’t been allowed to have my children at antenatal appointments or my husband at the scans or appointments. I also had to have emergency surgery a few months ago when pregnant, we were given some news that meant our baby may have not made it, I would have loved to have had my husband there with me, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, he was not allowed at the hospital with me. So, I had to take the news by myself and just chat to my husband over the phone during my hospital stay.
Thankfully, this baby is still doing well though post-surgery and as I write this, I am 26 weeks and filled with gratitude. There have been some positives though, during this pregnancy, I have been lucky enough to have the support of my own midwife. She has been able to come to our home for visits for my check-ups, if I have my other young children at home. Plus, David can be here as well.
I have seen some great improvises from our local hospital and the staff doing their best to support families and the post-natal care they provide for them. Now thankfully with restrictions easing, I feel a lot more positive about having our fourth child next year. Wherever you can – call on your support networks – from experts and loved ones. But if you are having trouble – telehealth is a great avenue to find support from a lactation consultant. Or engage in online communities where you can find and talk to likeminded mums. Rely on breastfeeding aids if you need it
I think having this will give me the freedom to pop out a little more in the earlier days to my close friends and families houses. Or even to pop in the car and drive to the waterfront. Pumping with a view is oh so blissful! The Harmony Manual Breast Pump is light, compact and portable making it easy to pop into your nappy bag and go.
Being on a time schedule with breastfeeding a premmie can be challenging if you need to be back home all the time to do it. I think this will allow me some more freedom. I am highly impressed with the 2-Phase Expression technology as it can mimic your baby’s natural suckling rhythm, which is ideal for going from baby to pump for your breasts. I think this pump will make my life a little easier, with four children in five years, I am up for anything that will guide that! So, as a final prompt to myself and other pregnant and breastfeeding mums today, in this extra time of change – take life slower, more mindful and be kind to ourselves – and always call on help when need it.
Together, we’ve got this – and whatever life throws our way.
ABOUT MEDELA AUSTRALIA
Medela exists to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of human milk. Medela has actively been supporting Australian mothers, babies, and their families in Australia for more than 19 years.
As Australia’s hospital breast-pump innovator, Medela, has launched their Harmony™ manual pump at $69.95, to their Medela Flex™ technology range which adapt to fit every mum’s personal breast shape and lifestyle needs.
Developed and clinically tested with a team of research scientists and breastfeeding mums, the Medela Flex™ family help mums produce up to 11 percent more breast milk, more comfortably.1
The Medela Flex™ technology range is now available from major pharmacies and retail outlets including Baby Bunting and Chemist Warehouse, as well as via the Medela Store Online.
½ cup 100% Peanut Butter 2 tbsp Peanut Butter Powder by @macr0mike 1 cup Oats 5 large Medjool Dates, presoaked in ¼ cup Boiling Water ¼ cup Almond Meal ¼ dried Cranberries 1 tsp coconut oil 1 tbsp Manuka Honey or Maple Syrup ¼ tsp vanilla essence
Blitz all ingredients in a food processor until the mixture can rolled out into bliss balls. If you like them really smooth, blitz oats into a flour first.
Roll into 10 large bliss balls or 20 small ones. Allow to set in fridge then store in a glass jar or container in the fridge.
Enjoy 😉 . Thanks to my girl @wyldefolkstudio_ for taking these snaps 📷 and letting your adorable pup “Teddy” (swipe 👉🏼) join me in the kitchen.
I was #gifted a few punnets of @australianblueberries and to be honest I was pumped as we eat a punnet every few days in our house. With smoothies, snack boxes, homemade jam and did I mention snack boxes 🤪🙈. I wanted to make up something different and get creative in the kitchen after we went to the shops. I’m craving 🤰 a blueberry pie with coyo yogurt so I thought why not make one up. It was so easy to make. .
2 sheets of short crust pastry(we use a vegan one) 1 large punnet of @australianblueberries 1 small red apple, grated 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 2 drops of green mandarin essential oil (could totally squeeze a lemon though) 2/3 cup of warm filtered water 3 tbsp. maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 180degrees.
Line a small Pyrex pie dish.
Throw in the blueberries and the grated apple into the centre.
In a bowl mix, warm water, maple, spices and citrus.
Pour over the apple and blueberry mix.
Pop some of the remaining pastry on top however you wish to style.
Bake in oven for 45minutes on 180 degrees. Then turn down to 100 degrees and bake a further 15minutes. . Serve warm or cold. We are teaming this with coyo, but you could totally serve it up with ice cream, custard, cream. Your choice. ✌🏼
It is with great honour, that I am able to blog yet another stunning, photoshoot by our now friend, Jennifer Horner. She has captured so many beautiful memories of our family over the past two years. Memories that have become photographs in our lounge room on the wall or on display in the hallway or in our children’s photo books. Ones we will treasure forever. This time round Jennifer photographed our newest addition Lottie Jean, at just 14 days.
She has such a natural way with babies and children. My children are always so drawn to her. She is professional, friendly and a whole lot of fun. She uses sensory play and safe practice to capture your little ones. When photographing newborn’s Jen always has someone working with her, someone that has trained with Jen over the years and is experienced. Jen was constantly explaining to David and I with rationale the safe practice of supporting a little one when photographing them. As Lottie’s parents, David and I felt perfectly safe with Jennifer handling our little darling.
Just like with Winter Rose’s shot, we again had a discussion of what David and I wanted to capture with Lottie on the day. She allows plenty of time for the session to shoot, in case you need to breastfeed and have a break. She also sends through an email prior to the day, so you know what to expect, what to bring and some useful tips on when to feed bub prior.
I am so in love with the neural tones, soft pinks and creams, lush greenery, palm prints (so me) and all the extra little details Jennifer had prepared for us on the day. I feel she really captured those special memories of our darling girl we will hold on to forever. A favourite flower of mine is babies breath, I had my cousin create a flower crown of babies breath for our Lottie and Jennifer continued with this theme in a series of shots with a stunning flat lay of babies breath she got from a local flower farm that day. She truly does go above and beyond.
Jennifer has offered my friends, family and Alice In Healthyland tribe members, a special one time offer to use on any booking you make with her. $100OFF. This is not something Jennifer does often, so honestly if you feel this is something you have been wanting to do for a while, just do it. You will not regret it at all, I promise.
BOOK HERE and make sure you state ALICE IN HEALTHYLAND when you book.
Okay so drum roll please…
Here are the stunning images from our Lottie girls Newborn shoot.
So we recently welcomed a new addition to the Bingham tribe, our darling Lottie Jean. So upgrading our nappy bag size was a must for us. I have a 3 year old boy, Cruz, a 18month girl, Winter Rose and a newborn baby girl, Lottie. 2 days a week its just Lottie and myself but the other 5 days we will head out on adventures as a mini tribe. I have had a few messages from you mumma’s asking what we pack in our nappy bag. So here it is lovelies…
Firstly the nappy bag I choose was the Storksak Stevie Luxe in black scuba. I choose this bag because it was a decent size (being a mum of 3), however it is super lightweight to carry. It has lots of compartments to keep your bag organised, which we all know “sparks joy” thank you Marie Kondo for reminding us of those oh so good feels. It also keeps your essentials stored safely. There is even a cheeky cooler at the back of the bag with a hidden zip for easy access to the baby bottle. This has come in handy for me as I have had to pump EBM every three hours so I didn’t have to hunt through the bag when she got hungry. The bag comes with a cooler bag, I have used this to not only store milk but snacks too. You can even use it as a cooler bag for your lunch, once you no longer need a nappy bag. There is also a luxurious size changing mat with pocket storage, so it is easy to take out of the bag and it covers the surface area of most changing tables in the parents rooms.
So what is in the nappy bag this time round you ask…
Nappies of course, I have a mixture of both cloth and disposable.
Wipes, I make my own and store in a travel sealed container (see recipe here) or love Water Wipes.
Change Mat, I love to use a reusable one to look after the environment. My nappy bag came with one ,but you can buy one from Storksak if you don’t already have one. The parents rooms can be a little gross or there might not be somewhere to change your bub, so you can just do it in the pram or on the floor with the mat.
Hand Sanitiser, just a small one is fine. I make my own non toxic one with essential oils and aloe vera gel.
Outfits for the baby, just one spare in case of emergency poop. For my toddler I have spare undies (because toilet training).
Snacks for all of us and bottles for the girls (still breastfeeding to but expressing). I like to stick to easy snacks like fruit, popcorn, bliss balls, mini muffins.
Not always, but depending on where we go I like to put a small activity or toys in the bag like colouring pencils and a pad or cars for my son.
A muslin wrap, this can be doubled as a cover for bub or tie the two corners around the neck and its a breastfeeding cover. Great if bub falls asleep and you can cover the pram with it. I always like to keep a pram peg in the bag to, just to secure if need be.
I currently need an organic or natural baby/nipple balm. I buy one that can do both.
A disposable bag to store a dirty nappy. Just in case there is not a bin around.
CADDY STROLLER ORGANISER LUXE is handy if you are just heading out for a few hours. Fits a packet of wipes, 2 nappies, baby bottle, my wallet and phone.
I have been friends with Tahlia for a little over three years. Prior to that we may have passed each other by as we both grew up around Brisbane and went to the same gym. Our real connection started when we caught up with our little babes, Cruz and Summer. It’s been beautiful having our friendship blossom over time as well as watching our growing family create the same friendships and bonds too. You know when the universe just guides you and you just know that we were destained to be best friends (just like the movie Step Brothers when they go DID WE JUST BECOME BESTFRIENDS? moment).
Tahlia loves natural, organic and light inspired work. She does not distort her work with large amounts of editing. She believes that gentle touch ups and colour adjustments is all you need. Tahlia sets a beautiful environment for her clients and always makes sure they feel at ease with her presence. She knows how to make them laugh and sings while she photographs your children. You can see it’s her passion and she loves what she is doing.
Tahlia has photographed so many memories for our family and for my business and blog @aliceinhealthyland. So I was so grateful to have her shoot this special moment in my pregnancy and capture the bump with our two little babes. Cruz was scared of the flowers in the bath haha #mumlife but we managed to capture some cute snaps with him and the bump.
Tahlia is offering my following a special discount. State my name ALICE and you will get $50off your booking of a Maternity, Newborn or Family Photoshoot. Thanks so much beautiful! Such a lovely gesture.
A special thank you to the girls CBA Hair for styling my hair, Bohemian Blossom Crowns for making Winter Rose and I’s flower crowns and to Lust Minerals for supplying the make up. Necklace is by Eden Zoe and has my little ones initials on.
I made these cookies for breakfast as I wanted to have a bit of a change from the usual smoothies and porridge. The cookies are completely egg and dairy free. I got them out the oven and within literally 30 minutes, the tribe and I ate them all. None left haha! I guess they were a winner. They were chewy on the outside and soft on the inside, delicious!
We lived in a granny flat for almost 3 years so I was never able to style a nursery properly for Cruz. Then when we moved in to our new home in August, Cruz has a toddler room and Winter Rose well we just chucked the baby furniture in her room. She was on 6 weeks old then. The rooms needed painting which was on our to do list, so we thought there was no point decorating until we could afford to to that first. Then a few months past because you know – LIFE – newborn, toddler, adjusting to our new home.