Ok so there is no doubt that the viral craze of #treeoflife pictures swimming around Instagram are beautiful. If you haven’t seen them, they show stunning artwork of mothers and babies bonding through a very natural thing, with trees connecting mother and baby through breastfeeding. However, in some people’s eyes, they are another example of how non breastfeeding mum’s are feeling guilt and shame. Hashtags like #breastisbest don’t help the matter! Does that mean that formula feeding mums don’t give their babies life and don’t have a bond with their baby?  Of course not!

From what I can gather, it started to support the #normalisebreastfeeding cause that many breastfeeding groups try hard to advocate. This always surprises me though, as honestly from my standpoint it is a totally normal part of life, to the point where formula feeding mums are made to feel inadequate by health professionals, the media and the breastfeeding army. Let me get one thing straight, when I use the term breastfeeding army, it’s not all breastfeeding mums, it’s the group of keyboard warriors who have their view and will not be tolerant or understanding of others. I respect all mums as, let’s face it, what ever choice we make we get criticised for it but I have an issue with those who purposely set out to make others feel bad. All of the breastfeeding mums I know would hate to think they’d upset or shamed anyone. They agree that however you feed your baby, as long as they are happy, it doesn’t matter. But not all breastfeeding advocates have the same compassion. I think it’s lovely that mums who breastfeed can share something so beautiful and feel empowered by it, but it’s the message it spreads to others that makes me wary of the craze.

Yes breast milk is amazing for babies but not everyone can feed this way. The argument that it’s natural and been around since the dawn of time is valid but historically babies would have died due to feeding issues without a wet nurse or formula. Society and medicine has moved on to allow healthy happy babies whatever the feeding situation!

I have fed Little every which way because she was born too early to feed orally. She was tube fed until she was ready to attempt oral feeding. We attempted breast feeding and fed bottled expressed breast milk and eventually formula. The one she had the most trouble and upset with was breast. So no breastfeeding is not best for every mum and baby. Fed is best and it always will be!

Formula feeding and still we have a connection and bond

What Little thinks to those who shame people for their choice of feeding

Back in the early days when she would take the breast

The oversupply of expressed breast milk I brought home from the hospital. I was a milking machine!

Big feeding a very tiny Little my ebm while we were still in hospital

Little with her NGT (nasal gastric tube) that she loved to pull out!

I have already seen some beautiful bottle feeding tree of life art work. I’m glad these have popped up as they show that no matter how your baby is fed, you still have a bond and give them life. I’d considered doing one from when I could breastfeed, then thought I could do a bottle feeding one, but then realised I actually don’t want to do one at all. Yes they are beautiful pieces of art, but my feeding journey can’t be summed up in a picture like that.

It is lovely to see the pictures, but before posting, consider the hashtags used and the wording of your post. Just because you breast feed or formula feed, doesn’t mean that it is best. We all need to support each other. Always remember #fedisbest

Have you made one of these pictures – either bottle or breast? If so did you consider the impact on others? Should we even have to consider it, or is it simply people being over sensitive? If you don’t breastfeed, how do the pictures make you feel?

I’m interested in open discussions on this but if you comment please be mindful that everyone is entitled to their own views. 

Little Big Love

Becky xx

My name is Becky and I’m an Instagram Addict!

Although I only started Little, Big and Me recently, I have blogged for a couple of years. I have always been a very occasional blogger and have tended to pick it up and put it down as I felt motivated. But, the one thing I’ve always kept up with is Instagram.

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I spend far too much time scrolling through people’s pages, liking and commenting on photos and replying to comments on my photos. I find I can get lost in those little squares sometimes and  I have my phone in my hand more than I should some days! Although its not all bad, Instagram is a form of social media that I find really positive (most of the time!)

There is a fantastic community of people on there who share stories, experiences and their lives. I first met an amazing community of women who were going through fertility issues. I was able to share my diary of my fertility treatment with a group of people who really understood. The support was invaluable, especially when people around me in ‘real life’ couldn’t understand. Many of those on the fertility journey have now become part of this fantastic community of parents that exists in Instagram too. Again it has become a place to discuss all things mum and see snapshots of life from some beautiful babies as they grow and develop.

I love to share parts of daily life and the fact that its so instant really helps. Unlike blog posts that need writing, editing, and links adding, among other things. I also really enjoy the comments and likes (I’m a bit of a like whore) from such a wide range of people. It enables conversations to open with people around the world, and closer to home too.

I’m lucky enough that I’ve actually met some lovely people through Instagram that I would call my friends. I’ve been able to connect with people in real life, through friendships made in squares of photos online!

So yes I’m an Instagram Addict, but it’s had a great affect on my life so far.

Here are some of my favourite Instgram photos I’ve posted:

 

 

As you can see, there is a bit of a theme! Well it is all about Little, Big and Me after all!

What is your Instagram username? Come follow me and give me a comment on a picture you enjoy.

Little Big Love

Becky xx

When I became pregnant I was absolutely over the moon. Then the reality of giving birth set in and, in all honesty, I have never been so terrified!

We decided that we would go along to an antenatal course to help try and alleviate some of my fears. We booked the course well in advance of my due date, so that we could be sure we would be well prepared. We went along to the first two and learnt about taking care during pregnancy, preparing a hospital bag and drawing up a birth plan. The third class was going to be introduction to labour, but something got in the way!

The night after class two I started having really bad pains. I was 28 weeks pregnant and had been having what I thought was Braxton Hicks for a couple of weeks. I barely got any sleep that night and, when I finally gave up and got out of bed, I saw some blood when I went to the toilet. I rang the assessment centre straight away just for some reassurance. They said it didn’t sound like an emergency, but to go up late morning when they had some space and they’d check me out. I was in a strange state of mild panic but feeling like if they weren’t worried, then I shouldn’t be either.

At the Hospital

When I got there I was examined and had swabs taken to find out if any contraction hormones had been released. We also heard our baby’s heartbeat and little kicks and movements on the monitor.

My barely there bump hooked up to the monitors

 

After hours waiting and being told they were still getting results, I was told that I had tested positive for contractions and had to be admitted. I was in a state of shock but again trying not to worry as they said it was just a precaution. I was examined again and this time told that I was 1cm dilated. That’s when I really started to panic! I was 28 weeks pregnant. My baby wasn’t supposed to be born yet. We had nothing ready. I wasn’t ready! The Dr told us that I was under threat of labour and, due to the gestation, I was going to be rushed to a specialist neonatal hospital an hour away from home. I actually started shaking uncontrollably but weirdly for me I still didn’t cry! Instead I was strapped to a bed, loaded on to an ambulance and driven off with blue lights flashing. Having never been in an ambulance before at least it’s one I can tick off my bucket list!

When the ambulance arrived, I was given a steroid injection, which was so bloody sore, and put on a drip to slow the labour. We had a Dr from the neonatal ward come and discuss with us what could happen if our baby was delivered. Words like intubated, brain bleeds, oxygen, incubator, critical, among others stuck out and the shaking started again. But still, I kept the tears in. Looking back at it now I think it was the shock! Luckily, as we were so far from home, my hubby was allowed to stay with me. I don’t think I’d have coped without him as my brain went in to overdrive about what could happen.

The next morning, I woke up to a sleeping hubby, that could only be likened to a body in a morgue, next to me. I have no idea how or why he managed to get himself in this position but at least it gave me a laugh!

I felt like things had calmed down. The pains had disappeared and the bleeding had stopped. I was given another steroid injection (just as painful as the first) and told that as long as things stayed calm, they would look at transferring me back home the next day. Over the next 2 days the pains came and went. I called then ‘tightenings’ and so did the medical staff, so in my mind I wasn’t in labour.

I was hooked up to the monitor several times and on a couple of occasions her heartbeat dropped. This meant a rush of Doctors who would then see her heart rate jump back up and off they’d trot. That was until I hit the day when I was 29 weeks pregnant and a Midwife couldn’t find her heart beat at all. Hubby and I thought she just wasn’t searching in the right place, and sure enough when the Dr turned up she could find a heart beat. Just to be sure she decided to examine me. Much to everyone’s surprise I was 8cm dilated! I had got through on the odd paracetamol as I’d not realised I was in labour. That sent everyone in to overdrive. Out came the various delivery equipment and the room filled with more midwives and the neonatal Dr who came to check everything was ok.

I was told I needed to go on a magnesium drip to support the baby’s brain development but warned that it might make me feel a little ill. I told them I was prepared to do whatever was good for the baby. They put the drip in to my arm and I immediately heated up. I could feel myself sweating, my breathing quickening and my arm burning. As I was telling the midwife I felt funny, I started to feel a rush in my head. It was like a wave coming over me, my ears ringing and everything in the room seeming to blur out of focus. They laid me back, ripped out the drip and put pressure on my arm. I had been about to black out when they caught it. The vein had collapsed and my arm was filling up. I came round and they put the drip back in. A similar feeling washed over me, without the swelling, but this time they told me to lie down, it was just a side effect of the magnesium and it would soon pass.

After about 5 hours I started to feel a bit better. I sat in silence next to by husband, still sweaty and light headed, listening to a woman in labour in the next room. She was screaming and shouting, crying and telling them to help her. This is when I cried. I mean really cried. Everything bubbled to the surface. I realised I was having this baby and there was no stopping it.

Come and read the next part of our story.

Little Big Love

Becky xx

I like to think as parents Big and I are quite relaxed. I’m not sure that most people that know me would agree with that as I’m very careful with her, but we went through a lot after Little’s premature birth and it taught us how to cope with her not being well. 

After Little had been born, we spent nearly 7 weeks in hospital with her before we could come home. We saw her under go all sorts of procedures and tests, and covered in wires. It was the worst time of our lives, but the best time getting to see how she thrived. 

She’s had little bugs and colds since coming home but nothing major. The one thing we have had to really consider has been her umbilical hernia. 

An umbilical hernia is where the hole from the umbilical cord doesn’t heal properly so the bowel pops through it and the baby ends up with an extra large outie belly button that is filled with gurgling bowels! 


We have been vigilant with it but as it’s never bothered her we’ve just got on with it. Until this weekend! 

On Saturday we noticed it was larger than usual and she had become really distressed. I wondered if she was hungry so tried to feed her but she refused food and her bottle, which in not like our little piggy! I often feel the hernia when she’s distressed to check it’s ok but when I touched it she screamed and cried more. We decided the go up to A&E, as we’d been told to by her consultant if she was displaying symptoms like these. After what seemed like an age and jumping the queue due to how much she was crying at one point, we were seen by a Dr. They tried to take bloods from her heel but couldn’t get much so we were sent up to the children’s ward. They fitted her with a cannula, which I had to cover with a sock because she wouldn’t stop sucking it! They then took her bloods. Throughout all of this she was so brace and the distractions calmed her down. Luckily the bloods were ok but the Paediatrician was still not happy. After a long wait, where we managed to settle her to sleep, we were sent to our nearest children’s hospital an hour away to be seen by a surgeon. Once we got there and had some checks we managed to get her to sleep again while we waited. 

Holding on to Big ❤️ She was so quiet and cuddly that we knew she wasn’t well as she’s not normally like that! When the surgeon came to see us she was so relaxed that he was able to push the hernia back in with his fingers. He explained that it may have been that more bowel popped out than usual, causing her to be more uncomfortable and tender. We were so glad that everything was ok! The hernia popped straight back out but because it was soft and back to its normal size it was fine. We were able to leave straight away so we drove home in the dark, where Little had her first bottle since that morning and settled in her cot. Big and I collapsed into bed after the usual sterilising routine and we all slept until morning, even Little who is a terrible sleeper! 

Has anyone experienced an umbilical hernia? How long did it take for it to disappear? 

Little Big Love

Becky xx