Breastfeeding is Beautiful – A Photo Series

My journey into Motherhood has been many things; rewarding, surprising, exhausting and beautiful but what most surprised me was just how isolating it can be.

I have slowly found some incredible women to surround myself with that give me strength on the tough days, and make me laugh when we are going through exactly the same thing (and both thought we were the only one tempted to open the wine before 6pm)! This support network has been and will continue to be invaluable to me as my beautiful girl grows and challenges me more.

I believe firmly that in order for women to succeed, we must support each other and share experiences. When it comes to breast feeding there is no better way to learn this skill – that can come easily or leave you in tears.

I decided to create this photo series for any Mum’s that are struggling, or just need to know – it is worth it. Hang in there. Whether you are expressing every 4 hours day & night, mix feeding or managing to breastfeed through cracked nipples & pain – know that you are incredible. You are super woman. And you are supported.

The following photographs are of some beautiful women & their babies that have  kindly & bravely shared their experiences in the hope that it might bring a smile to your face or help you in some small way on your journey.

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This series was inspired after taking part in Medela’s ‘Big Breastfeeding Cafe’.

If you need support, or advice you can tweet their Education Manager and in-house Lactation Consultant, Sioned Hilton @Medela_UK or leave me a comment!

Please feel free to share in the comments your best piece of advice for any Mum’s that are in need of support.

For more information on my Photography work & to book me please click here.

All images are strictly copyright Poppy Carter Portraits. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Poppy Carter.

The Big Breastfeeding Cafe with Medela

Today was the big day! Hundreds of Mum’s across the country connected to talk all things breastfeeding & expressing thanks to Medela‘s Big Breastfeeding Cafe! I hosted a cafe at home & we had an amazing time!

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All set up, ready to go including some goodies from Medela to give out!

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Isla had to be the first to tuck into the strawberries of course… 😉

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Some of the top tips shared were: “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it right the first time… Breastfeeding takes time to establish & that can be different for every baby even if it was easy with your first!”

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“Be patient, and don’t feel silly to ask questions/advice from friends or Breastfeeding specialists!”

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Nosy girls checking out cutie Bella getting changed! Haha!

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As you can see, my littlest guests didn’t think much of the chat!

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A big thank you to Gurgle Magazine for sending over a few copies of your latest issue for the ladies to enjoy! 🙂

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Isla took to her usual position of watching everyone eat… Haha!

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As you can see Mums & Babies all had a fantastic time sharing experiences, tips and advice! We talked about everything from best nipple creams to the best/worst advice we were given & how that impacted our breastfeeding/expressing journeys!

And one final piece of wisdom for any Mum’s struggling on their journey…

“Keep going, know that you are amazing & doing the best you possibly can for your baby every day!”

Thanks so much to Medela & Bump PR for organising such a great event for Mum’s all over the UK – it was great to be a small part of it! 🙂

8 Months

8 Months old & Isla is making huge leaps each month now! She’s crawling at the speed of light and is a determined young lady to say the least… She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it. We are certainly going to have our hands full.

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Isla’s favourite thing this month has been swimming – she now happily kicks all the way around the pool, I’m fairly sure she thinks she’s doing it all by herself! Haha!

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Weaning has been going well & we have found ourselves in the world of baby led weaning as she won’t let us help her and certainly won’t even consider food that has been pureed!

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Isla has just started to pull herself up on everything and walk her way around the room while holding on, so it won’t be long until I’m running after her I’m sure! As we head into Summer I’m most looking forward to playing in our new paddling pool & watching Isla explore everything with her growing curiosity!

 

Reading with Isla & Baby Lit

If you follow us on Instagram you’ll have noticed one of Isla’s favourite activities is reading, but our little madam is rather particular about her reading material… Enter BabyLit. They make an adorable range books that can introduce classic literature to your baby in a fun & stylish way!

“At BabyLit, we believe in the power of reading. Why? Because books take us places. Good places. And when we read with a child, we go places together. It’s more than just reading. It’s learning. It’s experiencing. It’s growing.”

Sounds good to me!

When I told Isla we were going to be reading during our photoshoot today she got just a little excited…

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That is her face whenever I get one of the BabyLit books out… Absolutely hilarious.

Things get serious pretty quickly though…

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This week I bought Isla two new books from BabyLit, Romeo & Juliet – to join in with all the celebrations for Shakespeare 400 & Moby-Dick!

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Before you start worrying that Isla might be slightly traumatised by the ending of Romeo & Juliet all the books don’t really tell the story as such… They introduce key characters and themes with beautiful pictures and usually all while counting to 10! (1 town, 2 lovers… etc etc!)

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I think it’s so important to encourage reading from an early age & you really can’t start too soon! If you want to buy your little one some of BabyLit’s amazing books you can shop direct or find them at a local supplier. We’ve got our eye on Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Wizard of Oz next!

They also make play sets, puzzles, dolls, notebooks and totes so you can really bring their favourite characters off the page!

Follow us on Instagram for more & you can find BabyLit here too!

Oh and just one more thing… I couldn’t resist sharing a few behind the scenes shots from our little photoshoot…

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Isla’s personal wardrobe mistress/assistant/dribble wiper for the day was my brilliant Mum, which she thought was just hilarious!

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So much love for Nanny!!

This is the first time I’ve convinced my mum to step in front of the camera, and I’m going to treasure these photographs forever. I juggle being Mummy, blogging and running my own photography business as well as the rest of life & I couldn’t do it without the amazing support my Mum gives me! And as you can see Isla is also a huge fan! 🙂

Moving into Isla’s room with GroBag

Ever since Isla was born I have always been very careful to follow the Lullaby Trust’s safe sleep guidance & now that she’s ready to move into her own room it’s more important than ever!

Incase you haven’t read up on the safest way to put your baby to bed, these are the current guidelines…

THINGS YOU CAN DO:

 

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth
  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months
  • Breastfeed your baby
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
THINGS TO AVOID:

 

  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth-weight
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

 

To avoid accidents remove all pillows, soft bedding, cot bumpers and soft toys from the cot.

We swaddled Isla for the first few months as she constantly woke herself up with the startle reflex but now she’s done with swaddles we knew the best choice would be to put her in a GroBag to sleep! They work closely with the lullaby trust and are incredibly safe. Every GroBag comes with a thermometer and a guide to what your baby should be wearing when she sleeps which is useful for all us nervous first time Mum’s! 😉

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Moving Isla into her own room filled me with so much dread, and I really didn’t think it would! It’s hardly like she was moving far, only across the hallway, still I couldn’t help but be incredibly nervous! I even kept her cot in our room for the first few days just incase I chickened out and had to move her back. I even had the baby monitor on next to me so I could keep checking up on her! Luckily, there was nothing to worry about & we all loved it! No more waking every time she rolled over or coughed! I felt like I finally got a proper nights sleep for the first time in months and Isla slept beautifully in her GroBag.

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Just checking out her stylish new sleeping bag! 🙂

The GroCompany very kindly sent Isla this beautiful Kissing Rabbits GroBag to try out and we love it! An exclusive design collaboration, this Grobag features a funky Anorak print inspired by the great outdoors. Seeing as Isla is bunny obsessed I thought it would be the perfect choice for her!

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Isla’s nursery has come together really well & is exactly what I’d hoped it would be! I wanted it to be stylish but still fun for her to play in.

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This limited edition print is from the first Harry Potter film – and was art work in Harry’s nursery in Godrick Hollow! A little bit of my childhood that I’m hoping Isla will love just as much…

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The Cloud Mobile is from The Little White Company

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As you can see Isla is thrilled with her big girl room & her new GroBag! Almost two months have passed & she’s now finally sleeping through the night! (I can’t believe I just said that out loud… She’ll wake up 10 times tonight now I’m sure…!) 😉

We absolutely love the GroCompany and all their brilliant products! We also use their GroEgg Thermometer which is great for feeling confident that your little one is sleeping in the perfect temperature nursery.

Did you have the same worries when you moved your little one into their room? What were your main struggles? Join in the conversation on my Facebook or Tweet me @Poppy_Carter!

7 Months

Happy 7 Months to our tiny lunatic! And I really do mean that now!

Isla is officially on the move. Her crawling style would be closer to some sort of downward dog/spider mess… but she gets there… eventually. She goes backwards when I’m fairly sure she’s meant to be going forward a lot still, so theres room for improvement but I love her unique ‘style’! She spends most of her time using me as a climbing frame to get herself closer anything that looks expensive or dangerous!

Her first tooth came through a few weeks ago and now the one right next to it has just broken through today so she’s well on the way to eating her first steak with Daddy! For now we’ll just have to stick to the apple rice cakes that she’s quickly become obsessed with!

Other favourites this month are the sun hat pictured below so that’s why I chose this outfit – from The Little White Company! I really thought it would be a battle to get her to keep it on but she loves it – so I’m taking that as a tiny win as the summer months are apparently on the way!

This photoshoot was the first time playing in our garden & we managed to have our fun, take all the photos I needed and get packed up JUST as the first drop of rain fell so as much as these photos looks incredibly summery – I think we were graced with our own beautiful mini climate for 30 minutes only! I can’t wait for many more days out in the garden with Isla when it arrives for real! 🙂

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6 Months

Isla turns 6 months old today & I can’t believe we are here already… Sitting up, rolling over and now giving crawling a really good go! I just want to freeze time & enjoy my tiny baby for a bit longer. She brings so much love & light to everyone she meets – chatting & laughing to anyone who will pay her even the slightest bit of attention. Most nights she does ‘Twinkle Twinkle Stars’ fingers and then applauds herself in her cot before going to sleep… I can’t even. We’ve been exploring art and music a lot this month – she has even ‘painted’ her first masterpieces for her Nanny & Grandma. She loves watching videos of child prodigies playing the cello!

Our photoshoot this month was taken in the kitchen after breakfast this morning! I want to remember her how I saw her every day, just hanging out in her PJ vest, as well as all dressed up for fun.

Happy 6 Months my crazy Beanie Bear!

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Cybex Aton Q Car Seat Review

Choosing the right car seat is one of the most important things you can do to keep your little one safe – but it really is a minefield for new parents! After staring cluelessly at a wall of plastic & material with a startling price range (You can get a car seat from £20 in certain supermarkets… surely that can’t be safe!?) I’d never heard of ‘ISOFIX’ let alone what the current government safety standards were… So my research began…  I was kindly helped by an incredibly knowledgeable sales assistant at Mama’s & Papa’s & we were on our way!

So here are the top things you should know…

  1. You MUST have a car seat for your baby, even if you don’t own a car – if you are planning on bringing baby home from the hospital.
  2. Choosing the right car seat for your baby’s age & weight is crucial.
  3. Be careful about borrowing/buying a second hand car seat – you must make sure it’s never been in a crash before & that you have the manual so you can install it properly.
  4. Check the weight range on the car seat you are buying. Group 0 is from Birth to 22lbs. Or Group 0+ is from Birth to 29lbs. (It’s worth noting that a new standard called ‘i-Size’ is being introduced in the UK. Car seats using this standard will be classified by height rather than weight. Which will eventually replace the old weight-based classification, but not until at least 2018.)
  5. Your baby should stay rear-facing for as long as possible as it’s 80% safer.
  6. Check your car has ISOFIX points – if it was made compulsory for all cars made after 2006. (Metal bars that secure the chair directly to the car with no need for a seatbelt).
  7. You will need to purchase the ISOFIX base separately so remember to budget for that too!
  8. Never leave your new baby in the car seat for more than 2 hours at a time. Once they can sit up un-aided this does not apply.

Anyway… After all that… We found our car seat… PHEW…

The Cybex Aton Q Car Seat.

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Oooh… Aaah! I hear you cry!

I love how it looks – especially with the shell sun canopy cover up. Also it’s still looking pretty perfect, after 6 months of use!

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Isla’s taking all this VERY seriously.

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The Aton Q is group 0+, suitable from Birth to 13kgs/29lbs. It has:

– Safer sides – superior side impact protection.
– Telescopic shock absorbers – retractable side impact rods help the energy absorbing shell soak up the force of a side on collision.
– Easy up and down – seat height adjusts automatically.
– Adjustable headrest – 8 comfy positions plus an integrated harness guide.
– Energy-absorbing shell – cushions the impact in case of a crash.
– Super comfy straps – extra wide Y-harness straps with soft belt and crotch pad.
– Ready-made shade – integrated XXL foldaway sun canopy in matching colours.
– Sun safe – all fabrics are UPF 50+.
– Removable covers – easily slipped off and safe to wash at 30 degrees.

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When I put Isla in, I put the straps tucked up into the headrest so they don’t get in the way & I can easily grab them to secure her with no fuss!

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We got a baby mirror so we can always check on her & now she’s obsessed with laughing at that funny baby in the mirror… until we reach 30mph & she’s out like a light!

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It is also travel system compatible with our Urbo 2 Pushchair which is great if we are just popping into a shop quickly & don’t want to disturb nap time!

The only downside is, it is heavy. I really struggle to carry it very far with Isla in – but as it clips right onto the pram – this is rarely an issue.

Cybex do a full range of beautiful & incredibly safe car seats for every age group! You can see them here. We are already looking at the next stage up for Isla but we have quite a few months of life left in our Aton Q before we will need to make our next big decision!

 

Mrs. Henderson Presents – Opening Night

The opening night of Mrs. Henderson presents was on Tuesday & seeing as it was Barney’s first time as Musical Director of a West End show (SO FREAKIN’ COOL!) we thought we’d celebrate properly!

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We decided to book a hotel & asked my lovely mum look after Isla so Barney could enjoy his big night without having to leave the party early to catch a train. Booking a hotel in London is always an interesting experience – you can pay hundreds for a tiny box or find a hidden gem (still hundreds!) and get a whole penthouse!

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I’ve walked past LIB-RARY so many times & thought, ‘That looks so cool,  I wonder whats in there!?’… seeing as it’s a private members club, I’d never managed to satisfy my curiosity. But we just couldn’t resist booking it when it sits perfectly between the theatre & the after party! And as you can see… we were not disappointed! Room4Room

Complete with it’s own balcony over looking St. Martins Lane – it had the ‘wow’ factor at every turn!

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#blessed

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With all my pregnancy hip problems I’ve had to ease myself very gently back into exercise and also be a lot more realistic with my goals – so when I had to find an outfit for an industry party I knew the thing I needed the most would be shapewear!! The wonderful people at BellyBandit kindly sent me their Mother Tucker Corset to try & I fell in love instantly!!

This wardrobe essential is comfortable enough to wear all day (no, seriously!) and thin enough to hide under your clothes. Created with 2 layers of SecureStretch™ material for double compression, this smart corset slims your waist and tummy while concealing bothersome back bulge. The soft boning ensures the corset will stay in place without rolling or digging, and the lightweight and breathable fabric provides maximum comfort. The 6-hook design allows for greater adjustability and compression.

Once I’d found a dress all I needed were some killer heels & I was ready to go!
These beauties are by Sophia Webster – they have been sitting in the box waiting to be worn since I bought them two days before I found out I was pregnant!

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The view from the balcony was beautiful & perfect for truly appreciating the glory of the Coliseum!

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I haven’t been out in such a long time, I actually forgot what I needed & didn’t bring anything to do my hair – so a pony tail would have to do!! Into my dressMother Tucker® Corset, & Marc Jacobs jacket (similar here) & ready to go!

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It was amazing to spend some time just being a double act again – even if I did cry on FaceTime to Isla… twice!!

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The show was as incredible as I’d remembered from it’s time playing the Theatre Royal in Bath & finished the night with a much deserved four tier standing ovation. I was bursting with pride for my wonderful best friend/partner in crime/fiance!

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Barney’s jacket is Ted Baker & my hand bag is a Boy Bag from Chanel.

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After a few glasses of champagne with some wonderful friends, we were well & truly partied out & stumbled the mere few steps from the National Gallery back to our penthouse to finish the night eating a cupcake with boobs on at 2am…

See the show & you’ll get it…

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Of course, I barely slept – thinking about Isla – seeing as it was my first time away from her that was to be expected! Even though I knew she would be having the best time being spoilt by her nanny with kisses and silly games!

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We had a quick breakfast on our balcony before I headed back to be reunited with our sweet girl!

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It was great to just be me for a few hours and not ‘mummy’ – but my goodness I missed her every second I was away!