This list is for those super interested in my background, for most parents knowing that I am a UK registered Paediatric nurse and experienced breastfeeding specialist is enough.
If you have any suggestions for my further training do let me know !
Royal College of Nursing – (2007 – present day)
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain (associate membership) – (2018 – present day)
Awaiting exam results for
IBCLC – Due end Dec 2019
Everywoman Doula – Breastfeeding through vulnerability (summer 2019)
1-2-1 Doula – Black Breastfeeding Week celebration CPD (Aug 2019)
Deborah Robertson’s Breastfeeding Specialist course – (June 2018 – Oct 2019)
St Johns Ambulance – First Aid (Summer 2018)
Kimberly Seals Allers – Writing for Social Change (Spring 2019)
Private Hospital & NHS – Ongoing Hospital mandatory training (Yearly)
Slingababy – Babywearing Consultancy Training (2015)
School of Babywearing – Peer support training (2014)
Milton Keynes Breastfeeding Festival
La Leche League Great Britain
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain
National Breastfeeding Helpline
Training planned in 2020
Pre visit questionnaire
Just after we have agreed a time and place for our session together, I will send you a link to the pre visit questionnaire.
Questions are about you and your baby, any health issues I should know about and some logistical concerns.
My preference in payment at the time of booking
You can pay on the day via cash or check if we have agreed in advance. Currently I do not accept card payments, but I hope to in the future.
Payment plans are also available to spread the cost & I would also accept skills swaps towards payment. Please talk to me about this, I would love to help you access skilled support.
I will usually text you to re confirm our appointment the day before & I will always let you know if I am running late on the day.
Unless otherwise discussed, I will aim to be with you for 1-2 hours.
This is so that we have time to fully explore your challenges and find workable solutions. If I am coming for feeding support, this usually means there will be one feed during my visit. Please do not worry if you baby feeds just before I arrive, I would always want you to meet your little peoples needs FIRST.
Some parents show me videos of feeding behavior that concerns them, in case they do not do it during the feeds when we are together.
Sometimes we run out of time, in this instance, a follow up visit (in person or online) will be warranted. This will usually be a shorted appointment and at a reduced fee. This could be because your baby has low tone and you both need intensive support, or it might be because I have made a few initial suggestions and we need time to see if they are the right fit for your unique situation. I have many tools in my helping kit (literally and metaphorically) and I will support you until you are confident again.
Dust if you must
But I will tell you not too! Other than making sure I can enter, sit and have somewhere to wash my hands, I do not need a polished home.
Please concentrate on compiling your questions, feeding yourself and NOT on making sure you home is clean and tidy for my visit.
A note of refreshments, I will of course accept a glass of water if you offer but please do not be offended if I refuse any refreshments. This is due to a range of my own allergies, and not intended as a rejection of your hospitality or culture.
I aim to create a safe space for us to work within, inclusive of all needs & abilities. If there is something I can do, specific to you needs, please do say.
This might be a cultural adjustment, having our consultation in you bed in the early post postpartum, or a practical like needing information in writing, or an emotional adjustment as a survivor of trauma.
For some families I work with, knowing my pronoun is important (she/her), some wish to be called parent over mother. However your fmaily is set up, please know I am looking forward to meeting you & willing to take any steps I can
to have you as comfortable as possible.
Sometimes, you might need help beyond my training or scope of practice. I might do a formal referral to a specific person (tongue tie specialists, birth debreif), or I might suggest you have a find someone with that skill set (counseling, holistic therapies).
Please place your pets in another room for the duration of our visit.
This is for two reasons, the first being that some pets will be protective of their families, specifically with a new baby to protect. The second is help me with my own allergies.
Who am I ?
Sometimes, family and friends can be intensely in interested in who is coming to visit, or you might just be wanting to see my face so you know who to open the door too 😉
I am continuously updating my training and education & every family I work with, teaches me something new (read more here).
If there is something you think I could work more on, I welcome feedback & suggestions at any time.
Usually I’ll give you a link to some information or a video covering the most relevant part of our session together, on the day.
I will write up what we have talked about, including links to further reading, and email it to you within a few days.
Any other questions..
Please get in touch if you have any other questions or need to change our appointment.
Except, about breastfeeding and human lactation, there really really is.
When I am seen carrying around my text books, whilst I study for the IBCLC certification exam, and I am asked all the time why there is so much to know about breastfeeding.
You just pop your baby on and hay presto right?
Not quite, and when the collective wisdom does not include breastfeeding, parents, (including me), have to seek those who do know.
The other day, I poped on an old music album I loved as a young person and I was singing away with the exact lyrics some 15 years later without missing a beat.
In places where breastfeeding is 100% normalised, this is how it is for the breastfeeding dyad. There is no need to read, consult and be confused about the ins and outs of there normal course of breastfeeding because it is lived, seen and known in all corners of life. The questions don’t even form, its just normal.
New baby feeds for hours in an evening? Normal.
Baby feeding little and often in a heatwave? Normal.
Breastfeeding in public? Normal.
So then, much like my intermediate knowledge of Steps songs, the breastfeeding wisdom is there, ready to be applied quietly in your mind and that worried phone call to a helpline never even occurs.
Your post person, as much as your aunt is able to speak from experience and offer helpful suggestions.
This is not how it is for many parents in the UK.
We have lost this wisdom and breastfeeding is a forgin thing to many people.
It means pareents are scared to meet their babies needs, children are growing up unsure how babies are fed and all the while pregnant familes are cramming all they can into their lives before the baby comes.
In a perfect world, we’d all know about the basics of breastfeeding long before pregnancy.. but we don’t so until then we need parents supporting parents, skilled breastfeeding supporters and breastfeeding specialists.
And if you want to do thing about this gap in your own experiences, why not see if there is an antenatal breastfeeding workshop like mine, near you?
And if you are in High Wycombe and want a friendly face to answer your breastfeeding questions, PM me to find out how to work 1:1 with me.
Is it really free? Should it be?
It’s a common idea, anything that is essential in life, would be available free if it was needed.
Is there a need?
As a breastfeeding supporter, I see this applied to my specialism constantly. The need does not seem to be there with the uk having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. But when 74% of parents initiate breastfeeding in the UK, you have to wonder, what got in their way of reaching their feeding goals?
We need to change the conversation around breastfeeding; it is time to stop laying the blame for the UK’s low breastfeeding rates in the laps of individual women and instead acknowledge that this is a public health imperative for which government, policy makers, communities and families all share responsibility.Unicef – a call to action
Decent from within
It’s not just the general public who are opposed to the idea of parents paying for support in anyway.
It is not uncommon to see a seasoned health professional speaking against other professionals, being vehemently opposed to a private IBCLC charging parents for support.
Yet when you look at the pre registration training of health care professionals in the UK, an IBCLC is the ONLY one to have the full set of desirable topics in their training in this report.
This is where I feel all opponents are all missing the point and hurting truly innovative & caring souls.
Free at the point of care
In this western, modern world, the only truly free things, are given by loved ones. There rest of the things that seem free, have a price, even if you don’t notice you are paying it.
This what has come of the dream of the NHS 70 years ago, many services are, are the point a person access it, free.
But that is not the full picture. How is it funded? By the Government you think, yes and where do they get the money? From Tax payers. Not free then.
And how about the staff delivering the support? They are paid to be there, by whome? We follow the money back to the tax payer.
Do it yourself
We are used to idea of DIY, a video on how to do anything online and try to fix it your self tasks. Sometimes they go well and at best the efforts are a waste of time and money but at worst, goals are not met and people get hurt.
When we have a problem with our plumbing, or our car, we are all quite comfortable handing money over to a specialist who can help, as we readily recognize their skill, that we do not share.
So why is breastfeeding support any different?
If you are thinking now about the people who cannot afford it, the inequities in health care and the undeserved communities, I hear you. This is a problem for us ALL and not solved by lambasting a private specialist alone.
I have yet to meet one who has turned their back on a family in need when they cannot afford their service. I know first hand, the amount of free support, or effort to refer on breastfeeding supporters take.
Many of the supporters I know are innovating, educating and leading change. Do you want to work against these people? or with them
So maybe a way forward, is to group together, campaign for more funding and then share it.
Parents get the free support they deserve, and breastfeeding specialists get the salary and recognition they deserve.
Another day and another common query from a parent. This one wants to share all the positive effects of carrying with her pregnant friend & gift her a stretchy wrap.
My friend is having a baby in Nov and I want to gift her a stretchy for those first weeks and months! Any brand you recommend?A caring friend, 2019
I could give a one line answer & a link to my personal favorite brand BUT not only is that not my style, it doesn’t fit with my desire to empower parents.
So wether you are wanting to buy a wrap for a friend, or looking for yourself, I hope this information will help.
Stretchy Wrap (Video)
What is a stretchy wrap?
Let’s start at the beginning.
- A stretchy wrap is a long, stretchy length of t shirt like fabric
- They usually come in one size fits most length.
- They are often a cotton blended with something stretchy.
- Most often used between newborn and around 3 months, although many use longer.
- Two main sub types, stretching in two ways, or one.
One way & two way
The most common type seen on market, is the two way stretchy wrap.
Two way stretchy
- This means it has stretch in the fabric horizontally and vertically.
- It is very easy for someone learning to get the baby in and snug.
- As the baby grows, the strechyness means the baby will sink from where you first had them in the wrap.
- This will happen eventually in either type, although oftern later in a one way stretchy wrap.
Link – two stretchy wrap tutorial
One way stretchy
- Same as above except –
- Fabric stretches most in one direction only.
- Requires tightening more like a woven wrap (not stretchy).
- Some parents find they can carry their baby longer before needing a new type of sling
Link – Tighen one way stretchy wrap
- In short, you get what you pay for with stretchy wraps.
- You can pick one up for £6 BUT honestly, it’s worth the investment in a bigger brand.
- There are free hire schemes for newborns around the county, is there one near you?
- Look around your online market places, second hand slings are an affordable option for many !
- The colours and patterns do not affect their function, but choosing one you like might make you smile on a tough day.
- Investing in a higher quality stretchy wrap, often means they can last thought multiple children, and be lent to friends with bumps.
- I personally, I have 6 types in my teaching bag but I love most, an organic bamboo Hana baby wrap 😉
Want to know more about these types of slings? You can read more in the links and book to work with me 1:1 online and in person in Buckinghamshire.
find a local sling library and skilled helpers
Everything you’d ever need to know about stretchy slings (inc how to videos)
Stating to sag or feeling to heavy?
When babies enter the world, they expect to be, and need to be carried by us.
Be this in our arms or with the aid of slings and carriers, the positive effects are wide reaching for baby, parents and society as whole.
Positive effects for baby
- Encourages bonding
- Helps to regulate body systems and growth
- Promotes and encourages breastfeeding
- Reduces crying, often calming for fussy babies.
- Encourages social and language development
Positive effects for parents
- Heightens awareness and responsiveness to baby
- Help with perinatal mood disorders
- Increase Paternal confidence and family connections
- ’Hands free’ for tasks and getting out the house.
- Provide comfort and nurturing for older children
Positive effects for society
- Strong bonds are linked to more resilient children
- Carrying keeps families active
- associated higher breastfeeding rates
- Carried babies have less ear infections
- Improves perinatal mental health, good for everyone!
Read more (link)⠀⠀⠀
If you want to read more positive effects, read the original article here by Dr Rosie Knowles @ Carrying Matters.
Read more (Book)
If you want to know even more about babywearing, it’s history, the science and why it matters to everyone that we carry our babies.
Try Why Babywearing Matters
It’s written by Rosie, a GP who is also a bit of a babywearing community legend and I love love love this book. Well done Dr Rosie Knowles!
Once we’ve agreed upon a date and time, I’ll send you a previsit questionnaire. This makes sure I know a bit about you before I come also helps us both plan what we are going to cover.
We start in your home, where you are comfortable and sessions last between 1-2 hours.
I’ll bring my bags with resources and slings with me and we’ll use which ever one’s seem to fit your situation.
Often support people are around too, to share in learning and support you.
But what do you actually DO?
Are you are wondering what just can you cover in a session with me?
What am are you going to get from it?
How is it really different to what is available for free locally?
No, you are not failing at this. Yes it is this hard and yes it will get easier (eventually).
Every family I help, get’s to tell their story. The highs, the lows and somehow the deepest darkest fears about parenting always make their way to the surface. This is a result of my honed listening skills and experience and training. Many of us rarely experience the true gift of being listened too, with out judgement or suggestion. Often, parents I work with discover the answers they need, where already inside of them!
The complex mix of hormones during the first months of parenthood, literally compel you to seek support and find the answers to your problems but many of us do not find the skilled support they need and its not uncommon to feel confused and conflicted by all the conflicting information presented to us by loved ones and professionals.
You might be feeling lost, overwhelmed or struggling to cope with the intensity of your baby/child’s needs. What ever their age, what ever led you to me, I shall meet you with love and work with you to honor your unique situation.
You might feel like no one has ever experienced your problems, or can understand the complexity of your scenario. It’s quite normal to feel this way and I would say that it is unlikely that there aren’t familiar themes within them that I have come across before.
I will say that every family I work with do teach me something new, sometimes this might be reaching medical conditions but often it related to the wonder of the human spirit and the resilience of families.
I am not an expert in anything, not even myself! But I am a specialist, I have read many books, studied for many hours so that you do not have too. I can give you a short cut to the answers you seek, and suggest ideas you might not have come across before.
Sometimes I might need to seek further answers from others, this is the wonder of being a chatty person with a huge network of other breastfeeding supporters to ask. Either way, you will never hear me say, I don’t know, I give up. If you chose to work with me, I will help you find the answers you seek, beyond babyhood.
Many parents feel a bit abandoned after the intense monitoring and supervision during their entry to parenthood. Breastfeeding support services are often targeted at newborns and it can leave you a bit lost.
I remember the loss of intense support so hard, especially when I felt most in need. So my services are different. Not only can I help you with problems you are experiencing now, we can stay in touch for as long as you need too, beyond babyhood.
If you sign up for one of the packages, you can join a clients only Whatsap group and The Quintessential package has monthly video meetings and you can keep on accessing skilled support alongside other parents who share a similar determination as you.
See also Babywearing Consultation
Antenatal breastfeeding preparation
Stretchy Wrap with newborns
Newborn breastfeeding support
Complex breastfeeding challenges
Introduction to slings
Troubleshooting your own slings
Refusal to breastfeed
Return to work
Toddlers and food
Night time parenting
Woven wrap skills
Preparing for Adoption
Debriefing breastfeeding experiences
and much more
The WHO code & your business.
So you run a baby business and some has mentioned the WHO code on marketing baby milk. They might have suggested that you are unintentionally violating it.
You are confused right? You are passionate about breastfeeding, how could you be doing something unhelpful?
Here’s what you need to know. This is COMPLEX issue. This is brief .
Thing 1 This is not just about hippies boycotting Nestle
Thing 2 Protects all, not just breastfeeding families
Parents need impartial information about feeding their babies, free from misleading or idealised marketing. It is available here via First Steps Nutrition
Thing 3 Advertising influences our behaviours
In the new age of sponsorship and social media, companies are finding even more inventive ways to reach parents. If you are paid by a code violating company to advertise their product, you are complicit in their sneaky ways. Do you mean to be?
Thing 4 When you know better, you can do better.
What you say and do online will reach many people. Make sure the partnerships and giveaways you do, are inline with your personal values.
The British Medical Journal just ended their advertising agreements with baby milk companies , its an interesting read.
Thing 5 There are good companies out there!
The Global Big Latch on have a fab recent blog with examples,
Think of a big brand in the baby world, there is a large chance they are
Known violators, Medela, Lansinoh, Mothercare.
Thing 6 Parents are being misled
All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding and Inequalities (APPGIFI) was formed to address these issues. You can invite your local MP to attend.
Thing 7 The ripples spread
The lure of a network of breastfeeding events with freebies is a sneaky way of increasing brand loyalty. You have a platform, why not use it to explain why you will *not participate in, or partner with events & companies who undermine breastfeeding?
Thing 8 Ethical sources of funding matter
There are many sources of funding for small businesses, other than the comity coin types. Usually, getting in contact with your local council will have resources. There is national lottery funding and many more. Yes this will take more effort, but it is honestly the right thing to do.
Thing 9 Supermarket community schemes
The WHO code and UK LAW prohibit a number of commonly ignored practices around sales of baby milk & food. For this reason, many organizations prohibit the use of their schemes. If you use one, you may find yourself being turned away from events who need to be WHO code compliant.
Thing 10 Closing off collatorations
Be mindful of your partnerships when you are seeking collaborative projects with other organisations. You may find, that Baby friendly healthcare teams refuse to work with you if you are unaware of the WHO code. An International Board certified Lactation Consultant would not be able to work with any known code violators or with someone who is in breach of their code of ethics. (Conflict of interests)
An International Board certified Lactation Consultant would not be able to work with any known code violators or with someone who is in breach of their code of ethics. (Conflict of interests)
Baby Milk Action (UK), Baby Feeding Law Group, The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN0 for reports and monitoring
First Steps Nutrition Impartial information on baby milk & food <5 years
Unicef Baby Friendly Health care teams
I trained for four years, in busy London Childrens hospitals as Paediatric nurse, qualifying in 2011.
After becoming a mother, I discovered a new thirst for knowledge in supporting mothers with carrying and feeding.
So in 2016 I started a sling library in High Wycombe, undertook peer support training with the School of Babywearing. At the same time, I also began training to be a breastfeeding counselor (BFc) with a national breastfeeding organisation.
“I wanted to become the supporter I needed”
Running two very busy voluntary groups, working part time AND being a mum, was too much for me and my family, so I handed over the sling library to its current custodian & it is still thriving.
I have spent years and a fair amount of money volunteering, and now it is time to offer my skills to you all, so I can save you some time and hard work.
In 2018, after a few years nurturing my growing family and supporting mothers in the voluntary sector as a BFc, I made the commitment to undertake a year long breastfeeding specialist course (self funded!), with the aim of becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
I sat the exam in Oct 2019 & the results are due end of Dec 2019..
I passed 😀 This wont be news to you if are reading this after 2020. I am excited to see what this new chapter will bring to my life.
I am supporting parents in their homes, and online with feeding and carrying.
I am teaching introduction to slings workshops with in The Village Midwives Postnatal course.
I am still also…
I am working one day a week in hospital as a Paediatric nurse.
I am podcasting about feeding at carrying.
as of 2020 I will be winding down my face to face breastfeeding counseling role.
Want to work with me?
If you feel I am a good fit to support you, I look forward to hearing from you soon 🙂