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Emily Tredget, one of the co-founders of Happity, suffered with severe PND and anxiety following the birth of her son. It made her feel ‘like a failure’ but once she  started to recover she wanted to help other mums overcome the illness. Here, she shares her story of recovery from PND. In the hope that no other mum has to feel like she did. And – if they do- they know how and where to get help and that they will get better.

Masking the truth

When you look at the photo above, what do you see?

A happy mum holding her gorgeous baby boy?

Sometimes a picture can tell a thousand lies.

I look so happy in this photo but inside I was suffering. Behind the smile I was in the midst of severe postnatal depression and anxiety.

This photo was taken just before going to my friend’s wedding.The build up to going had been tough. I had been hiding myself at home and had not felt able to face the world without having a panic attack. Before going to this wedding I had spent weeks over-analysing everything and meticulously planning ways to ‘escape’ if my PND overwhelmed me.

From a confident woman to an anxious wreck

Before I gave birth I was a confident, go-getter, yes-type person. An extrovert who loved working as part of a busy team. You could throw anything at me and I’d find a way to make it happen. With enthusiasm and drive.

When PND took hold even the thought of meeting my best friend for coffee flooded me with anxiety.

I was also exhausted. Not just the usual sleep deprivation that all new mums face but a fatigue that completely floored me. When my baby son slept at night I lay awake with crazy adrenalin and intrusive thoughts. I was surviving on about one hour’s sleep a night.

I couldn’t be left alone with my baby boy

It got to the stage where I was feeling so shaky and weak that I couldn’t be left alone with my baby. I was terrified that I would faint or have a panic attack when I was alone with him. It really affected how I bonded with him. I didn’t feel that rush of love that other mums talk about and that made me feel like a failure. And like I had to hide it from the rest of the world.

Masking PND

The first steps to recovery

I suffered for months before finding professional help. I did go to my GP very early on and talked about how I was feeling but because I was so ‘articulate’ (their words not mine!) about how I was feeling and what I was doing to help myself I don’t think they picked up on how bad things really were. I was given sleeping tablets to help with the insomnia but it was a little while before I was able to access specialised help to treat postnatal depression and anxiety.

Recovery from PND – it’s good to talk

When I talked to my GP I was offered medication. I know that this helps for many but I chose to try talking therapy first. I found that relational dynamic therapy was the key to my recovery. It was not a quick ‘fix’ by any means, but slowly I started to feel more like myself and more able to process how PND, anxiety and post traumatic stress had affected me. And to work towards my recovery.

The turning point

One of the big turning points in my recovery was accepting how I was at the time. I was so desperate to try and get better. My husband too wanted to try lots of things to fix everything. And when both he and I started to accept who I was in the moment it helped a lot. My husband told me ‘I love you. I will be with you. If this is what you are like for the rest of your life, that’s fine. I’m with you.’ And that took the pressure off. Instead of constantly trying and willing myself to get better I took things day by day. And it worked.

If you suffer from PND, you’re NOT alone

Having suffered from PND I wanted to help others. And so I set up an app called MummyLinks, which helped mums beat loneliness through meet-ups. A couple of years later MummyLinks and Happity joined forces which has been an amazing journey. Our mission is to combat loneliness by connecting parents through baby and toddler classes. Loneliness can be a real trigger for postnatal depression — it was certainly a big part of it for me. That’s why connecting parents is at the heart of all we do. Because it makes a real difference.

You can and will get better

If you are suffering with PND it is important to know that you will get better. You do have to put in the work and get help through counselling, medication or therapy. It’s a journey. Made better by surrounding yourself with people who understand. But you will get there in the end.

We have loads of information and advice about how and where to get support. Start by checking our PND page.

The first step – admitting and asking for help – is often the hardest. But it’s also your first step towards recovery from PND and so the best step to take.


You might also like

My PND Recovery: Talking, Tea and Tambourines

PND, PTSD and Post-Natal Anxiety – This Is Family

Find Your Tribe!

I felt that the birth going wrong was somehow my fault and I was resentful that the movie scene moment that I had pictured hadn’t happened.

Lisa Thompson

Lisa shares with us her experiences with a traumatic birth and dealing with PND, PTSD and Postnatal Anxiety. She has discussed sensitive subjects in this submission, all in the hope that it will help anyone who is currently going through a similar situation. If you yourself are currently dealing with PND, PTSD and/or Postnatal Anxiety, please do not suffer alone. Seek help if you can.

We want to give a trigger warning beforehand: Lisa has warned that the following submission discusses a traumatic birth and maternal mental health. Thank you for sharing with our community, Lisa. 💜


It’s fair to say that my labour story was not the one that I had planned. It’s a twisting tale full of complications that meant the actual event was nothing like the natural birth that I had hoped for.

From the second my labour started, I knew that things were not quite right, and I wasn’t wrong; I had previously undetected pre-eclampsia, maternal sepsis, hyponatremia, blood loss and a postpartum haemorrhage that left me fighting for my life. My son also had sepsis and hyponatremia. It was a difficult and scary time for all of us. But I will forever be grateful to the NHS workers who saved our lives and looked after us for the week we were under their care. Although things were tough, that first night together my son slept holding my finger all night and the love and protection that I felt for him overwhelmed me. Whatever happened, with my husband, we were an invincible team of 3.

Dealing with trauma and guilt

Following my son’s birth, I was broken. The recovery was long, and I was wracked with frustration and guilt. I felt that the birth going wrong was somehow my fault and I was resentful that the movie scene moment that I had pictured hadn’t happened.

It’s no surprise that my mental health suffered following all of this and over the next couple of years I experienced PND, PTSD and postnatal anxiety. Although I have the most incredible husband, family & friends, I kept most of what I was experiencing to myself. And I kept being selective with what I shared with people about how I was feeling. I was having intrusive thoughts and I was so worried that if I told people the full extent of everything, they would take my son away . There was a (un)healthy dose of paranoia involved too! I was so determined that how I was feeling would not affect my ability to be an amazing Mum and so just carried on pretending that everything was ok.

Seeking help for PND, PTSD and postnatal anxiety

As with all emotional health issues the more you try and suppress them, the more insistent they get to be noticed. For a while, I was in a cycle of being OK through to panic attacks and back to being OK again. So earlier this year after three years of riding this emotional rollercoaster I decided enough was enough. I reached out and was referred to a psychotherapist. Almost immediately after the first session I felt lighter, safer, and understood. My worst fears at sharing those hidden thoughts did not come true. She was understanding and helped me to realise that what I was experiencing was (sadly) common and not insurmountable. She has given me hope that I will fully recover, and my PND, PTSD & anxiety will be a thing of the past very soon.

I am now almost at the end of my sessions with my therapist and it’s like the clouds have parted and I no longer feel guilty for the complications during my labour. I have solid strategies to manage my anxiety and I am feeling ready to live life to the full again.

To those out there who are struggling with PND, PTSD and postnatal anxiety:

For anyone out there reading this and going through the same thing I have these messages:

  1. You are not alone
  2. It’s not your fault
  3. It’s ok to let people know what’s going on
  4. It can get better with some help
  5. You are a wonderful parent and are doing the best you can

My son is now three and a half he is quite simply, miraculous. He went through so much, but you’d never know. He is my little lion and I love seeing the world through his eyes; his excitement and wonder at everyday things, and how quick he is to laugh uncontrollably at the smallest joke. When he holds my hand, I am reminded of that first night together in the hospital. And of the unbreakable love that we have. I am so glad that I found the support I needed. We feel rest assured that we can now carrying on exploring the world together happily. And I hope that anyone reading this feels supported & encouraged to do the same.

Where can you seek help?

Thank you Lisa so much for sharing such a sensitive and vulnerable perspective. It can be incredibly difficult to reach out for help, and you are incredibly inspiring for doing so yourself.

If you yourself feel that you need to reach out for help, then we recommend that you contact your GP to tell them how you are feeling. Or, get in touch with charities specifically created to talk to you when you are struggling, such as PANDAS.

Find out more on our Mental Wellness & PND support page.

Would you like to share YOUR story?

We’d love to hear from you. This Is Family is all about sharing family stories – especially from families who feel like their voices are not often heard. Every family has a unique story to tell. We’d love to hear yours. Find out how you can feature on our blog and get involved. So that other parents can feel less alone.


Read more from Happity

My PND recovery: Talking, tea and tambourines

How to support someone through PND

How to tell if it’s PND or baby blues

Loneliness is something that so many new mums (and dads) can feel. And it can be a huge factor in contributing to PND. Which is why, here at Happity, we want to create an easy way for parents to connect and find friendship and support.

Finding and joining baby and toddler classes is a great way to meet other parents and find your tribe. But there are other ways you can make friends too.

Which is why we have put together this directory so finding friends (either online or in person) is easier.

Please do bear in mind that this directory is a work in progress. Keep checking back as we add to it and make improvements.

Find your tribe – Apps

There are so many great websites and apps that you can use to find and connect with other mums and parents. Here are some of the biggest and best that you can try:

  • Peanut – Find a mum near you! Connect with women who are at a similar stage in life–from fertility, pregnancy and motherhood through to menopause. Just download the app and start matching with like minded mums.
  • Mush – They call themselves the friendliest app for mums. They unite mums in peer ‘pods’ of 5 – matching you with others with things in common. Download Mush here.
  • Parenthood IO – “We are your parent neighbourhood, giving you support and advice and a place where you can chat to other parents with similar interests who are going through the same things as you.” Download Parenthood IO here.
  • Frindow – “Our mission is to be a central hub for all things that can help you to make new friends and get connected.” Find out more about Frindow here.
  • Mothers At Home Matter – A Local meetups group based in Essex, Hertfordshire and North London. Find out more about Mothers At Home Matter here.
  • Bumble BFF – A friend finding app where you can detail what you’re looking for (including mum friends!). Download Bumble BFF here.
  • Frolo – An app for single parents to meet each other (friendships and dating). Download Frolo here.

Happity

Find baby and toddler classes near you to meet other parents and start to build friendships and find support.

Find your tribe – Location-based Facebook groups

If downloading new apps isn’t for you, then Facebook could be a key player in helping you to find your tribe. As a social media site that almost everyone is on, it could be one of the key places to start meeting like-minded parents.

A lot of groups are set up for specific locations so that you can get to meet parents near you in an instant!

Take a look at our map below to see if there are any friendly groups near you.

(Please note: The team at Happity do not regularly check how active these groups are. However if you spot a group that you know to be inactive -get in touch with us and we’ll update it when we can.)

Can’t find any groups in your area? We will be updating this map as we discover more groups across the UK, so do be sure to check in every so often to see any updates we’ve made.

But, alternatively, we also have found groups that are meant for parents nationwide below!

Find your tribe – Nationwide Facebook groups

Parent groups


We are driving to find as many active groups as we can to add, and the map is going to be an ongoing improvement over time!

Please get in touch with us here if you run a group that you think would make a great fit for our map or list.

We dearly hope that this directory will help in our ongoing goal to end loneliness for parents.

Good luck finding your tribe ❤️

Follow us on Social Media:

There’s lots of information and advice out there about post natal depression. One of the things that’s harder to find is the honest and brutal truth about what it feels like when you suffer from PND. It’s a difficult thing to talk about. But doing so can make other mums feel less alone. And help us all understand it more.

We have pulled together some candid and honest words from mums about what it’s like to have PND. Many are from interviews and blogs that Emily, our co-founder and a mental health campaigner, put together for Mummy links, which was the app she ran before joining Happity.

Opening up about the hard stuff

Many of the words from mums are confronting and challenging. They tell the honest and brutal truth about how mums feel. The more we open up and really talk about PND, the more we can learn. And the more we can demand better support for new mums.

It’s important to know that, however hard it feels, you CAN and WILL recover.

It’s OK to not be OK

PND can happen to anyone and it is NOT your fault. But there’s still a lot of stigma attached to it Here’s what mums had to say:

  • “This is not how it was supposed to be or how I thought it would be and I felt like such a failure because of that”
  • “I wish more people understood that it can so come out in anger or anxiety. I’m not trying to be mean or annoying. I am actually just not feeling okay”
  • “I thought ‘Were social services going to take him away?'”
  • “The overwhelming fear for a mum may be “If someone thinks I can’t cope they’ll take my baby away” which can be more crippling than the shame”
  • “It is something that can happen to any parent – and can often be the one who looks like they’re coping and has it all together”
  • “When I was struggling the most, I made the biggest effort to look like I had it together”
  • “Masking is a very common way that women /mothers manage symptoms….so sad as it means feeling even lonelier and isolated”
  • “I felt like a failure for having it and that there was something wrong with me. Why wasn’t I over the moon at having my little rainbow baby and relishing in every moment spent with her? Instead I was feeling down and miserable all the time. I wish I would’ve known that it’s okay to feel like that, my suppressing it and ignoring it made it 100x times worse”
  • “Let’s normalise not being OK. And let’s normalise getting help. It’s time to stop making mums feel guilty for not coping”.
  • “We definitely need to talk about this more, as too many mothers blame themselves when it isn’t their fault”
speech bubbles on a blue background

The brutal truth about PND

The honest truth is that having PND can be very frightening. As a result, you can be taken to some dark places. You can feel desperate and broken. These most confronting brutal truths are the things we talk about least as they’re the very hardest things to say out loud.

In an interview with The Guardian, Emma Jane Unsworth, opened up about the brutal truth of PND, saying:

I am jumpy and twitchy, like a person on high alert. I want to shout and scream and lie down and curl into a ball and have someone – anyone – just take the baby for a few hours and give me time to regroup. I’m feeling like I am on the edge of a psychic fit; some uncontrollable outburst….I feel, for the first time in my life, like it would sometimes be easier to just be dead. (At least then I could sleep.)

The Guardian, Emma Jane Unsworth

Incredibly tough feelings to admit. And incredibly tough feelings to feel too.

It’s important to remember, when you have intrusive thoughts, that it’s the PND talking, not you.

Finding a safe and supportive space to talk about them is one of the most vital things for any new mum suffering. When you get help you will be able to stop feeling this way and start to feel more like you again.

The brutal truth: Saying the unsayable

Here are some of the things mums want to say about how they felt, which feel ‘unsayable’:

  • “I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this”
  • “I’ve just wanted someone to take him away because I couldn’t do this”
  • “I’ve not felt how everyone said I would feel. I didn’t love him”
  • “I hate being a mum”
  • “At times, I regretted having him”

They say them so that anyone else feeling this way will feel less alone. And less ashamed. To recognise these feelings as symptoms of PND. And to know that they can get help so that they stop feeling like this and start recovering.

Voices of recovery

women holding up speech bubbles

One of the bravest and most important steps anyone suffering with PND can take is to reach out for help. Once you’ve taken that first step you can begin your road to recovery. It might not be a quick journey but you WILL get there in the end. And that’s really important to remember.

Here are what mums want you to know about recovery from PND:

  • “Support is paramount, it’s not a weakness to ask for help. It’s the bravest step”
  • “Having suffered so bad, I wish no one else ever would or is! The worst two years of my life.It’s so important for individuals to speak out and seek help.  There is light at the end of the tunnel”
  • “It takes time. And lots of strength. You can also take one step forward and then two steps back. But keep going because you can do it”
  • “(In recovery) every day/week you begin to feel a bit more like you and more able to enjoy being a mum”
  • “The journey out of it was long and hard but I’m so glad I kept going. YOU can do it too”

To find out how to take that first step and reach out for help head to our PND page

More about PND

16 things mums with PND wish you knew

How to tell if it’s PND or baby blues

My PND recovery: Talking, tea and tambourines

In need of some easy dinner recipes? Cooking can end up being a far too stressful when you’re cooking for a whole family. For some, the element of time is not on their side. For others, the main goal of their food shop is to buy as many ingredients as they can at their cheapest price, but can leave you feeling unsure of what to make or making repetitive meals.

Well, after previously submitting her story to our This Is Family series, Meraymi returns to the Happity blog and has been kind enough to send over some cheap and easy dinner recipes. Including a hearty bean chili, a tasty baked yoghurt chicken, and an easy roasted tomato pasta. They have care, heart, and absolutely anyone can cook them.

Thanks Meraymi. Chow down everyone!


Being versatile is so important as it makes life easier and you don’t have to stick to strict cooking rules because the result is always to get the dinner done with minimal effort without it being unhealthy or a huge strain. In my book, any recipe on a busy day that doesn’t require chopping or washing up multiple cooking utensils and pots is always a bonus.

I hope you like these recipes. You can adapt and alter then to suit your, and your families, needs and they are really easy to put together. Enjoy!


Easy dinner recipes 1: Slow-cooker bean chili with rice  

What I love about slow cooker recipes is you can just leave them to do their thing and you can go away and forget about it without the anxiety of thinking dinner will be ruined. This is one of them. This is great to batch cook and freeze for lazy days when you don’t want to cook from scratch again. It also makes a fabulous packed lunch for working parents as it easily heats up in the microwave.

For this recipe I tend to use up my store cupboard ingredients. I always make sure to have a few tins of black beans, kidney beans or just mixed beans. All three work together or you can just use a variety of two. This also works if you want to do half beef mince and beans. However you would have to fry the beef separately before putting into the slow cooker.

The spices are how I like the strength of my chili with a bit of a kick but don’t be afraid to experiment, add as much or as little as your family like, there are no rules! If you want to go extra with this add some smashed avocado, coriander, sour cream or even grated cheese.

Cheap and easy dinner recipe of Beans chilli with white rice

Ingredients:

  • Black beans (1 can)
  • Mixed beans (1 can)
  • Kidney beans (1 can)
  • Chopped tomatoes (1 can)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of paprika (smoked or regular) 
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cumin powder 
  • A teaspoon of chili powder  
  • Half a teaspoon of ground coriander 
  • Sprinkle of dried chili flakes 
  • 1 Beef or Vegetable (or vegetarian or vegan friendly) stockpot or cube 
  • Water 
  • Salt and pepper 

(Serves 6)

1. Strain the beans and rinse before adding to the slow cooker.

2. Add the tinned tomatoes, garlic paste, spices and stockpot or cube with a generous grinding of salt and pepper.

3. Using the tomato can fill up with water and add to the slow cooker.

4. Give everything a stir and place the lid on. If you are preparing this 3 hours in advance cook on setting 2, for any longer setting 1. This can be left to cook up to 6 hours in advance.

5. Check every so often to give it a stir and taste, add salt and pepper to your preference and if any more spice needs adding go ahead. If the chili goes a bit thick for your liking just add a dash of water to loosen it up.

6. Serve with long grain white rice, or if you are using a cheats method microwave rice ! This also goes well with tortilla bread if you want to try something different.


Easy dinner recipes 2: Baked yoghurt chicken with potatoes and mushy peas

This is a recipe for if you happen to have a little more time on your hands and don’t want a stew or curry type dinner.

I hated peas growing up, I found them bland and uninteresting, I think if my mum had served them up like this I would have been more inclined to try them and enjoy them too! The creaminess of the peas on the side is so popular in my house it’s one of my husband’s favourites and he will make it with anything such as homemade fish and chips or steak. Yogurt gives it a nice texture but if you don’t happen to have this, a knob of butter, dash of cream or crème fraiche will also do.

The core ingredients are the chicken, potatoes and peas but everything you cook with them can essentially be found in the store cupboard. The potato tray back I enjoy with red onion but can be done with a brown onion and sprinkling of cheese. Or if you have any other vegetables in the fridge to use up, please do! Peppers, courgettes and even aubergine pair very well, just dice up and add in. Or even just a side salad if you don’t fancy the mushy peas.
Adding vegetables really does get your 5 a day in and I love roasting them it’s just the easiest way to get them onto the plate.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Chicken Thighs
  • 240g Greek or natural yogurt
  • 500g-600g White potatoes
  • 1 large Red onion
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • 1x Lemon

For the Mushy peas:

  • 300g Frozen peas
  • 1x tsp Garlic paste (optional)
  • 1x tbsp Natural yogurt (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

(Serves 2 adults and 2-3 children)

1. Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and add yogurt, squeeze the lemon juice in with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Combine thoroughly, cover the bowl and keep in the fridge. You can make this ahead and leave in the fridge from 1-24 hours before using.

2. Dice the onion and put onto a separate baking tray. Roughly chop the potatoes into bite size cubes and add a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper give the onion and potatoes a stir so everything is combined.

3. Place the chicken on a foil lined baking tray. When the chicken cooks the fat from the yogurt will run out but this is fine as it will leave a nice coating on the meat. The foil just makes it easier to avoid spillage and discard it when it’s finished cooking.

4. Place the chicken and potatoes into a preheated oven at 200 Celsius/ 180 fan/ gas mark 4 for 30 minutes. You may want to give the potatoes a stir half way through cooking.

5. Boil a saucepan of water and add the frozen peas. Once cooked drain and put back into the saucepan. Add a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkling of salt and teaspoon of garlic paste. Then blitz with a stick blender until you have a mushy pea consistency.

6. Serve with the chicken thighs, potatoes and peas.


Easy dinner recipes 3: Roasted tomato pasta

This recipe is incredibly easy and versatile. It’s quick and can be done at minimal effort. It’s ingredients can be picked up at bargain prices and can be batch made. Therefore if you are a bigger family or want to make a larger pot for freezing or leftover packed lunches (especially if you are working the next day) just double up on pasta, add another onion and throw in some extra tomatoes or even some red or yellow peppers.

I like to blitz up the vegetables into a sauce but this isn’t compulsory and is just as good stirred in straight from the oven if you don’t have a blender to hand.

Who doesn’t love cheesy pasta? Any grated cheese will suffice, I tend to use whatever is available in my fridge at the time. Cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan or even Machego! They all work beautifully.

Ingredients:

  • 5 or 6 tomatoes
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh or dried basil
  • 250g pasta
  • Single or double cream (optional)
  • Grated cheese of your choice

(Serves 2 hungry adults, or 4 children)

1. Quarter the onion and place in a baking tray with the tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

2. Place in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius / 160 fan oven / gas mark 4 for 25 minutes.

3. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Once cooked drain.

4. When the vegetables have finished roasting, tip them into the empty pasta saucepan. Use a stick blender to blitz them all into a thick sauce, if you wish to go the extra mile by making it creamier add the cream to your desired consistency.

5. Toss in fresh or dried basil with a grinding of salt and pepper as you like. Then stir in the cooked pasta and serve with a generous sprinkle of grated cheese.


Thanks Meraymi for these great dinner recipes! You really have demonstrated that cooking a dinner for your family can be as easy as 1, 2, 3!

To help put a face to these recipes, Meraymi has also shared a picture with us of herself and her beautiful son, Matteo. You can follow Meraymi at @poetryinactionn on Instagram.

She has previously shared a story with us on our This Is Family series the past, offering some insight into what it was like having a premature birth. You can read that post here.

We hope that you give some of these recipes a go and can try something new today. Happy cooking folks!

If you find yourself trying out these recipes, then please do share your results on Instagram! And make sure to tag our page @Happity.co.uk!


If you liked Meraymi’s post, you might also like:

Matteo arrived early: This is family (also written by Meraymi!)

11 totally doable ways to fit self-care into your schedule

15 easy to do rainy day activities

Breastfeeding always looks easy on paper, but a lot of new mums do end up looking for tips and advice as it’s not quite as straight forward as it looks in the films or on social media. Breastfeeding can have highs and lows. But, Anita (who has also previously submitted a This Is Family story here) has been kind enough to share with us and our audience some of her best breastfeeding tips for new mums.

We hope that they prove to be useful!


At 10:56am on the 20th March last year, the anaesthetist (who’d somehow kept me calm through major surgery), uttered the words, “are you ready to meet your baby?” Minutes later, my beautiful daughter was born, fiercely suckling her tiny fists.

As I lay cuddling her in recovery, I felt completely overwhelmed with love for this little person I’d made. It was easy to see why this precious skin to skin time was known as the ‘golden hour.’ She latched on effortlessly and fed solidly for an hour and a half. Almost a year later, I am still breastfeeding; a journey that has been full of ups and downs, but has ultimately proven to be immensely rewarding.

I wanted to share twelve breastfeeding tips for new mums. They are things I’ve learned (one for every month), for anyone about to embark on this chapter. It goes without saying I’m not a professional and this shouldn’t replace expert advice. But I hope it provides some guidance, as many of them are things I wish I’d known myself!

1. Learn as much as you can during pregnancy.

Most couples and new mums enrol in antenatal classes (I loved my Bump & Baby course, even though lockdown moved it online) to find out some breastfeeding tips, but these might only include one session on the topic of feeding. The sad reality is most postnatal wards are incredibly busy places with midwives stretched beyond their resources (which isn’t their fault at all!). It just meant I left the hospital as clueless as when I went in. Aside from a perfunctory glance at my latch, I didn’t really receive any support. So consider reading books or looking for courses online that focus specifically on infant feeding. Instagram proved a really valuable source of information for me too. I particularly love @olivia_lactation_consultant, who makes the science very accessible.

2. Be open to all kinds of feeding.

I found combination feeding (formula and breastmilk) in the first few months a sanity saver. When I was struggling to cope with the marathon cluster feeding sessions, it meant my husband could help and I used the time to catch up on much-needed rest.

It saddens me now that at the time I felt like a failure for sending my husband to buy that bottle of ready-made formula. It was 10:30pm and I’d been pinned to the sofa all day. I needed a break for my own wellbeing and there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I’d recommend Lucy Ruddle’s book ‘Mixed Feeding’ for an unbiased and really thorough guide on how to do combi feeding successfully, whilst protecting your milk supply. Lucy is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and passionate about supporting parents, however they choose to feed their babies. At around 2 months, I moved to exclusive breastfeeding but many choose to continue with combi feeding.

3. Practise different breastfeeding positions and find the one that works for you.

Cradle hold is lovely but can be sore when recovering from a caesarean. Side-lying feeding is hands-free and means you can rest. This is still my preferred way to settle my own baby to sleep at bedtime and for some naps. You don’t necessarily need a feeding pillow so save your pennies and see how you get on before investing! I found mine quite cumbersome, although I know they can work brilliantly for others.

4. Find a support group

Both La Leche League and my Local Council Service have been so helpful for me. My LLL group has been a place to gather twice a month and gain invaluable advice from others. As time passed, I also found it incredibly rewarding to be able to offer my own advice to those in the earlier stages of their journey. There is such camaraderie in a room full of people breastfeeding. These meetings are free to attend and run by trained volunteers but rely on donations to keep going so it’s always appreciated when attendees take out a membership. There are also several helplines you can call, including the NCT feeding line or the National Breastfeeding helpline. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

5. You don’t have to replace your wardrobe!

One great tip is to simply wear a vest and another top over it to keep your tummy warm. But if you did want to invest in a top to help make breastfeeding easier when out and about, I’d recommend the B shirt. If you feel self-conscious, these are a great option as they have a flap you pull up to feed. I have a plain black vest, which goes with pretty much everything. A friend recently recommended the Facebook page ‘Can I Breastfeed In It? UK’ as another place for sartorial feeding advice.

6. Try to get comfortable feeding in public if you can.

It’s totally normal! Your baby is just eating. My first alfresco feed was on a sweltering June day following a turdnado of epic proportions. And it was still lovely! Just so you know, nobody can stop you from breastfeeding in public unless you are causing a literal obstruction! Get to know your legal rights.

7. Breastfeeding can be a quick, reliable and comforting way to get your baby to sleep.

If you find transfers tricky, you can feed to sleep lying down and then enjoy lots of lovely snuggles afterwards. Perfect! In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s become my solution to everything. Jabs? Boob. Poorly? Boob. Bumped their head while cruising? You’ve guessed it: boob!

8. It is totally possible to continue breastfeeding as a new mum when you return to work, if you choose to.

I have opted to continue as a way to help my baby cope with the transition to childcare and to help us reconnect after being separated during the day. If you choose to partially or totally wean, make sure you do this gradually to avoid blocked ducts or Mastitis. Again, the support services I mentioned earlier are a great resource if you’re not sure how best to approach this.

9. You don’t have to buy a pump before your baby is born.

First, give yourself time to see how breastfeeding is going and whether you actually need one. Mine packed up after two uses (a very expensive £90!). I also struggled with a strong physical aversion to the sensation of an electric pump. I had much better success with a manual pump (I liked the Medela). Try to practise hand expressing too, which can be a good way to gently relieve some discomfort when needed.

10. Eat, eat, eat!

Breastfeeding can use up to 700 calories a day. It’s really important to replace all of that lost energy and nourish your body. In the fourth trimester, it’s helpful to set yourself up with a little snack and drinks station and your favourite boxed set. A great excuse to eat lots of Hobnobs, as if you needed one! If you have a partner, this is a good way for them to help out too. Those first few weeks are all about your recovery so accept any help that’s offered. You’re literally keeping a human alive and that’s no mean feat!

11. Don’t get bogged down with feeding schedules.

Breastfeeding is likely to be affected by a variety of factors. Illness, starting solids, the climate and periods of separation are all things that can impact the duration and amount of feeding. There’ll be times it feels like they’ll never unlatch and others they’re distracted by everything in sight. Trust in your baby’s ability to communicate their needs and learn to recognise their unique cues. That said, if you do have genuine concerns, there’s no harm in seeking expert advice.

12. Be proud. Breastfeeding as a new mum isn’t easy!

Finally, however long you choose to breastfeed, celebrate and be proud of yourself. Whether you exclusively breastfeed from day one, combi-feed or switch to formula after a week, every single feed counts.


Thanks for these brilliant breastfeeding tips for new mums, Anita! These are incredibly useful, and we hope that everyone who has read through the post has managed to gain some insight, or picked up a few useful ideas to try out for themselves.


If you liked this post, you might also like:

Sleep? I hardly know her (Also written by Anita!)

When breastfeeding is hard

Baby’s first teeth: Reality bites – and bites hard!

Babies outgrow clothes so fast it can be hard to keep up! With little ones outgrowing 7 clothing sizes in just 2 years, it quickly can get very expensive and feels horrible seeing so many clothes go to waste!

A genius rental service is trying to change that. Meet Bundlee. 

What is Bundlee?

Bundlee is the UK’s first rental service for baby clothes. Pick your Bundlee subscription plan and receive a set of clothes for your little one’s size and the season. Then just like magic, conveniently swap clothes as they grow.

Bundlee’s baby clothing rental service is a great way to get amazing quality clothes at a fraction of the price – you can rent from some of our favourite brands including MORI, Mini Rodini, Patagonia and more and save 75% on RRP. It’s also a great space saving hack as you return outgrown clothes, creating peace in your home.  

With sustainability at the core, Bundlee want to provide a better alternative for parents. Clothes that are returned are professionally cleaned and sanitised before being shared with the next renting family. Bundlee’s model reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 86% – pretty amazing! 

By trying out Bundlee for a month, you’ll have saved 7kg of CO2 emissions, helping to create a better future for your little one to grow into. 

Clothing set examples of what you can expect to see with a Bundlee Capsule Subscription, or a Bundlee Personalised Subscription

Bundlee offers 2 subscriptions to suit your style. With the Capsule Subscription, Bundlee’s expert team will curate a set of 15 quality essentials especially for your baby’s size and the season, for just £24 per month. Perfect if you’re not sure what your little one will need and would like a helping hand. 

In the Personalised Subscription, you can pick your favourite 15 pieces to rent from Bundlee’s premium brands, for just £39 per month. Great if you know what styles and brands you want to dress your little one in, or if you want to refresh their wardrobe of hand-me-downs from your first baby.

Bundlee review: A review of Bundlee’s baby clothing rental service

We spoke to first-time mum Jaimie, for her review of Bundlee’s service. Here Jaimie shares her experience of renting baby clothes for her son, Fitz. Jaimie chose a Personalised Subscription and had her first set of clothes delivered before Fitz arrived. 

Why did you try Bundlee?

Sustainability was my number one reason. Reflecting on my own household, I couldn’t stomach the amount of waste we would have simply through clothes alone.

I had been actively looking for ways to be as sustainable as possible as a mum, and Bundlee fit the bill! I loved that we could start to teach Fitz green habits from day 1!

Did you have any concerns about renting clothes?

My main concern was that I wouldn’t be able to “style” Fitz how I wanted. But when I discovered that I could personalise my bundlee, I was so happy to be able to pick pieces that I thought would suit his personality!

What do you think of the clothes?

I love shopping on Bundlee! The selection keeps me trying prints and outfits that I don’t think I would pick out normally when buying. My son wore a lavender Mini Rodini sweatsuit today – I am absolutely obsessed! 

The RRP on buying a lot of these brands’ clothes means I couldn’t justify the purchase – but renting means we can have all the fun without the same outlay. The added bonus is I’m not figuring out what to do with everything when he’s outgrown it, or feeling guilty for spending so much on something he only wore a few times.

Jaimie and her son, Fitz

How clean are the clothes?

The clothes are delivered to the cleanest of standards. I’ve seen the stains my son can put on his clothes, so when I receive my bundlee without a stain in sight and looking brand new – I know they are immaculately clean! The fact that the clothes are sanitised has given me peace of mind.

I look after the clothes like they are my own, but unlike my own – insurance is included for those impossible stains so I don’t need to worry 🙂

Do you think it’s good value for money?

Absolutely! I’ve already saved £912 compared to buying the same pieces new. And when you consider rental insurance is included in the subscription, it’s a no-brainer. When I look at my cost savings across the year, it’s clear Bundlee was the right choice on this alone (although of course there are other reasons!)

Has Bundlee been helpful in any other ways?

Well firstly there is the massive space savings in my home! I’m not storing stuff we don’t need and can’t use right now. I’ve also found Bundlee to be helpful in introducing me to other sustainable and quality brands I don’t think I would have come across. Brands like Mini Rodini have now become a favourite. 

Bundlee Graphic- a summary of what Bundlee have been able to provide Jaimie over the period of 9 months!

Would you recommend Bundlee to other parents?

I’d definitely recommend Bundlee to all families! You save money and time on buying clothes your children will outgrow quickly – and you can put that money towards meaningful purchases, like a family holiday. Your baby will be stylish and sustainable. And your wardrobes won’t be filled with bags of clothes you need to donate. 


Thanks Jaimie for that great review of Bundlee! It’s really interesting to see Jaimie’s experience renting baby clothes. 

Are you interested in trying out renting baby clothes with Bundlee? 

Bundlee have a special offer for the Happity community. You can try Bundlee now risk-free with a 30 day free trial. Just use code HAPPITY30 at the checkout. To learn more and start your trial go here.


More from Happity’s blog:

Baby’s first teeth: Reality bites – and bites hard!

11 totally doable ways to fit self-care into your schedule

9 easy and adorable nature crafts for kids

Last October (2021) the Petitions Committee published a report called: ‘Impact of Covid-19 on new parents: One Year On’. It outlined the additional pressures new parents faced during the pandemic and called for strengthened perinatal mental health services, a return of face-to-face visits for new parents and a review into the funding and affordability of childcare. The government has now issued a formal response to the issues highlighted in this report.

The closure of baby & toddler classes

When baby and toddler classes were forced to run online during lockdowns they provided vital support for new parents. But we all missed being able to meet up face to face and it was a lonely time. When lockdown restrictions were lifted the guidance for when and how groups and classes could return face to face was often confusing. Providers were desperate to restart their classes. Parents couldn’t wait to join the classes and find company and friendship. The new report recognises the importance of classes and groups for new parents:

The Government understands the importance of community support groups and parent and child groups and will continue to review the need for guidance for specific groups on operating in a Covid-safe way on a case-by-case basis.

In recognition of the support needed by parents with young children, during the November 2020 national restrictions, the government introduced a gatherings exception for new parents, and excluded under-fives. When national restrictions ended on 2 December 2020, a new exception for parent and child groups was introduced.

The Department for Education continues to update guidance for parent and child groups in Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak—GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). This guidance is for Ofsted registered early years and childcare settings and while some providers will meet in Ofsted registered settings, not all will, and there is no single responsible body with complete oversight of these groups. Parent and child groups are a cross-government policy with different departments having an interest

Impact of Covid-19 on new parents: one year on: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report

Thankfully all lockdown restrictions have now been lifted in England. By the end of March it is expected that remaining restrictions will be lifted in the rest of the UK too. Safety measures, such as wearing face-coverings and isolating if you have Covid will no longer be mandatory, but down to the individual choice, as we all learn to live with Covid-19.

We’re all so glad that baby & toddler classes are back. Even though the road was a long (and often frustrating one) to get here!

More support for new parents

The initial report looked in detail at the impact the pandemic had on new parents. It recommended that the government should produce a covid-19 recovery strategy to support new parents. While such a report will not be written, the government has set out a package of support for babies and families, which was announced in the Budget on the 27th October, 2021. This package of measures includes:

£100 million for bespoke mental health support for new and expectant parents, £82 million to expand the network of Family Hubs to a further 75 Local Authorities across England, and £10 million for Local Authorities to trial and test new and innovative recruitment models to train up more staff. Nursery staff will also have access to more high-quality training funded by a separate £153 million investment announced as part of the £1.4 billion education recovery package in Summer 2021.

Impact of Covid-19 on new parents: one year on: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report

They also highlighted the fact that:

GPs are required to offer a 6–8 week maternal postnatal health check for new mothers as an additional appointment to that for the baby. This should include a review of the mother’s mental health and wellbeing, in line with NICE guidance.

The impact will continue to be felt by parents

Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, is concerned that the impact on parents from the pandemic will continue to be felt, despite these plans for support. She says:

Although most restrictions have now been lifted, the pandemic’s impact will continue to be felt for years to come. Especially by new parents, for whom help was cut off when they most needed it. “The investment in family services in last Autumn’s Spending Review was welcome. But the Government’s failure to provide new catch-up funding for health visiting and parental mental health leaves new parents facing an accumulation of adversity without the support they deserve.

The Government’s failure to make progress on stronger employment protections for new mothers, which it promised in its response to our previous report, is particularly troubling. Its continued refusal to extend parental leave and pay entitlements to all new parents and guardians is equally concerning.

This response is all the more disappointing as it is the second time the Government has turned a blind eye to the impacts we have highlighted. This continued lack of action means new parents’ needs will continue to go unrecognised and unmet, with long-term consequences for their wellbeing and their babies’ health and development.

Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP

You can read the government’s response to the report in full in the First Special Report of Session 2021–22.

More you might like:

The impact of Covid-19 on new parents: One year on

Share your story: This is family

Baby & toddler classes: Why they’re important for new parents

They admitted me to hospital and after five days of consistent bleeding, I went in for an emergency C-section for a premature birth

They told me during the surgery that I had suffered a placental abruption.

Meraymi Ibrahim

Meraymi Ibrahim shares with us her experiences of giving birth to her son, Matteo, prematurely. Read on to find out more about her parenting journey, and find out where you can find support if you are dealing with a similar situation.


I Was Immensely Happy When I Found Out I Was Pregnant

Me and my husband didn’t have to try for very long and for this I consider myself lucky. I am aware how difficult it can be for some couples, so we were truly grateful. I was so excited through every stage of the pregnancy. From finding out we were having a boy, to thinking of names, all the funny symptoms, changes your body go through and even the weird cravings. I enjoyed and loved every second of it.

Sometimes I would wake in the night and feel my baby move around inside me. It was the best feeling. I felt so safe with my little being inside me. It was a glorious relationship and magic to bond with. I never felt anxious or alone.

But things took a turn when my little baby stopped moving so much. The night time movements slowed right down and I really had to poke him persistently to get him to jolt.

They always emphasise to take action when this happens and thank goodness I did. I was referred for a scan at 30 weeks and it was confirmed that he hadn’t grown since my 20 week scan. It was concerning.

My waters broke not long after that and I was bleeding. They admitted me to hospital and after five days when the bleeding did not cease I went in for an emergency C-section at only 31 weeks. It was confirmed during the surgery I had suffered a placental abruption.

Matteo following his premature birth

The Truth Of What It’s Like To Have A Premature Birth

Our little Matteo was born healthy but tiny and was looked after in neonatal by a fantastic team of nurses round the clock. There was so much I didn’t know about premature postnatal care; I felt completely out of my depth, frightened and unprepared. I didn’t even have any nappies or a blanket ready for him on the day he was born.

But despite all that, nothing can prepare you for the heartache of returning home without your baby. You are discharged from the hospital after major surgery, but the trauma of it and also having no baby with you was just unimaginably painful.

I mourned the early end of my pregnancy, made more difficult from not having my son at home with me. I went everyday to the ward with my husband to see our dear little one wired up to machines and tubes.

Eventually, we were encouraged to start changing his nappies. We learned about feeding him. I expressed as much milk as I could. We did skin on skin and everything the doctors said to ensure that he would develop as rapidly as he could so we could take him home.

A Premature Birth Feels Like Forever… But It’s Not.

After four weeks we were finally given the all clear.

He put on enough weight and was feeding consistently to be discharged. We were overjoyed, but it was so daunting. New parent anxiety is real and it was overwhelming on our first day back at home. I am fortunate that during everything, my family was there to support me. I cherish them so much- their help really meant a lot and I cannot imagine how single women or those doing things alone cope. It’s tough enough as it is.

Being able to later reflect on everything is bittersweet.

As parents, me and my partner were able to learn so much about caring for Matteo while he was in neonatal (which goes beyond what you learn in antenatal classes). This is only to be expected when you have a premature birth.

I always feel like there’s so much lost time to make up for, as the beginning of his life was spent in intensive care. I feel like I missed out on so much that a new mum gets to have with her baby during the first days of their life.

While we were over the moon to be able to finally go home as a family and start our new lives, I was also aware that I was still healing from everything. It was crucial for me to be the best I could be. I had to give myself TLC to mentally and physically recover and that takes time. The trauma of the birth and separation from my new-born was a lot to handle.

Thank You So Much, PANDAS

One resource that was so helpful was the Pandas Foundation. They are a network of counsellors who have experience in maternity care who are there to listen to parents are going through perinatal and post natal issues.


I called them during my struggle and they were so kind and empathetic. I think it’s important to spread the word of them so more mothers feel like they can reach out. It can be so hard making the first move when you enter parenthood. We tend to accept the hardships around it without question. But it is also completely justifiable to not feel ok for whatever reason. There is no shame in reaching out, even if it is just for some reassurance.

It is almost 4 months now since Matteo has been home and while there has been challenges. He has settled in fantastically. I am glad I spoke to someone when things got tough. No one is invincible but the best thing we can do is support each other and stick together.

Thank you PANDAS 💙

Would You Like To Share Your Story Too?

If you’d like to share your story we’d love to hear from you. Every family is different and every family has a unique story to tell. We want to hear your story, your challenges and your triumphs so other parents in similar situations can learn, share and realise that they are not alone. Read more about #This Is Family and find out how you can get involved too.


More From This Is Family:

Sleep? I Hardly Know Her

When Breastfeeding Is Hard

It’s 3am. You’ve been cluster feeding for what feels like an eternity. But, somehow, this tiny limpet with a stomach the size of a cherry is hungry AGAIN!

Anita Casu

Anita Casu shares with us her experience raising a baby who simply wouldn’t sleep at night. Read on to find out how she overcame/is overcoming the challenges she has faced during the first 10 months of motherhood.


In the last photo taken of me before I gave birth, I’m standing in a corner of the nursery cradling a (clearly quite stubborn) 42 week bump. Tell-tale circles under my eyes betray another night punctuated by hourly bathroom trips. No one ever warns you about the joys of third trimester bladder trampoline.

Aside from predictable forays into sourdough, a lockdown pregnancy had also afforded us plenty of time for DIY. Every weekend, my husband and I joined the throngs outside our local Homebase, committed to the cause of home improvement. (Or perhaps, unenthused by the prospect of another government-mandated walk)

My backdrop in the photo is a sunshine-yellow feature wall with a picture of a fox frolicking in snow. Draped across the wall is a felt garland, along with a trendy knitted name sign and various fox-themed items confirming an unhealthy addiction to Etsy. You’d be forgiven for wondering what on earth this all has to do with sleep. Well, in the centre of the nursery – of course – is a cot. Because that’s what babies sleep in, right?

Just not mine.

Would it surprise you to know I could probably count on one hand the number of times my baby graced the cot with her presence?

When thinking about my journey with baby sleep, I couldn’t help but think of Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief:

Anita's baby sleeping soundly

First Stage: Denial

“Enjoy your sleep now!” Those well-intentioned friends warn you. “You’ll never sleep again!”

You nod politely. It’s easier than replying, “Actually Susan, I had 9lbs of baby using my bladder as a stage for Irish dancing last night.” You’ve got restless legs, heartburn, hip pain and even the pregnancy pillow you’ve fondly nicknamed “The Giant Tooth” isn’t enough to make you feel comfortable. So you’re well primed for the sleepless nights in store. It’ll be fiiiine.

Second Stage: Anger

It’s 3am. You’ve been cluster feeding for what feels like an eternity but somehow, this tiny limpet with a stomach the size of a cherry is hungry AGAIN. How is it that you can switch the vacuum cleaner on during the day and your baby nods off in nanoseconds but at night they JUST… WON’T… SLEEP?

Third Stage: Bargaining

You’ve never been religious. Agnostic at best. But having spent the night repeatedly trying to lower your baby into the glorified bedside table that is their crib, you’ll try anything. You buy a different crib, try a thicker mattress and pray to any passing deity that might hear your nocturnal ramblings.

Fourth Stage: Depression

By this point, you’re struggling to form sentences. Your brain feels like plasticine, your signature scent is sour milk and to say you resemble a scarecrow is putting it lightly. Perhaps the nights were getting better but with each stage of growth comes an explosion of development that interferes with any progress made. Hello, split nights and 4am parties.

You realise that something has to change for the sake of your sanity.

Final Stage: Acceptance

At this point, I realised I was fighting a losing battle and whatever I had been trying wasn’t going to work, no matter how hard I tried. It was around this time I stumbled across the Instagram page of Lyndsey Hookway: pioneer of the Holistic Sleep Coaching Programme (and many other impressive qualifications besides). I read her book ‘Let’s Talk About Your New Family’s Sleep’ and found it immensely reassuring. There *was* a middle-ground between sleep training (which, with absolutely zero judgment, isn’t for me) and just waiting it out for the situation to improve. The idea of looking at sleep holistically really appealed. Rather than following generic advice, everything from birth to diet and temperament is taken into consideration. Babies aren’t robots, after all.

Anita's baby sleeping well on a walk through the outdoors

Rather than scheduling my day around a strict set of awake windows and tracking the minutiae of my baby’s sleep on Huckleberry (uninstalling that app was the best thing I’ve ever done), I surrendered to the fact that sleep was never going to be linear. Some days would be better than others, when teething, illness or peaks in separation anxiety might scupper my plans.

But did the world end when she skipped a nap or became overtired? Of course it didn’t! Instead, I accepted the things I could control and let go of those I couldn’t. I knew my baby loved to nap in the pram so instead of forcing naps at home, I’d wait until she was really tired, wrap up warm and stroll around the park listening to a podcast. I was moving my body and both of us were getting fresh air.

Sleep Involves A Bit Of Trial And Error

The other game-changer in our sleep journey so far has been embracing the Montessori method of a floor bed. Developed as a way of promoting independence and free movement, the floor bed is also a wonderful way of supporting a baby or child to sleep before rolling away (ensuring they are over 6 months old, the room is fully baby-proofed and you have followed age-appropriate safe sleeping advice).

Having co-slept from day one, this felt like a logical progression. So at 8 months, we sold that lovely yellow cot and put a double mattress on the floor of her nursery. As usual, I’d breastfeed to sleep then ‘ninja-roll’ away to read, watch some Netflix or just decompress. At first, the false starts were almost immediate. But I persisted and with time, she just started sleeping for longer stretches on her own. I’d anxiously watch the monitor, waiting for the inevitable wake-up but soon that 20 minutes turned into several hours.

All those nights spent feeding, cuddling and shushing my baby to sleep had finally paid off and she felt comfortable enough to sleep solo.

Where Are We With Sleep Now?

At the time of writing this, my baby is 10 and a bit months old. She’s teething, on her third cold and on top of all that, trying so hard to walk. It’s little wonder, therefore, that there’s been an increased need for support at night. As I said, sleep is never linear; when you think you’ve cracked it, something comes along to test you. The wonderful thing about a floor bed, however, is that rather than being up and down like a yo-yo, I can just go to sleep if she needs me close by and maximise my own rest. No tricky transfer required.

With a return to work on the horizon, I’m fully aware there’ll be other challenges in store but that’s ok. Perhaps the biggest piece of advice I could give a new parent with regards to sleep is to drown out the noise and trust your own instinct. Only you know your baby’s temperament, family set-up and unique set of circumstances.

Anita and her baby (sleep finally at work!)

If a rigidly-structured day helps you to feel in control, that’s fine! However, so much generic advice is bandied about as the gospel truth and the result is that it can make you feel like a failure. It’s seen as kooky to share a sleep space with your baby when really, it’s the most natural thing in the world and the norm in several cultures.

Some babies sleep through the night in their cot but I want other parents to know they’re not failing if their baby doesn’t. They’re not failing if their baby is one of the 80% of 6-18 month olds who wake through the night. They’re not failing if their baby doesn’t do a long lunchtime nap but instead prefers to nod off in a sling or the pram in the park. Their baby is just… behaving like a baby.

Sleep Is No Picnic

I won’t pretend it’s always been easy. Sleep (or the lack thereof), has certainly been a cause of stress in this first year of motherhood. But learning to follow my baby’s unique cues and accepting there’d be times she’d need me more than others has made all the difference. The days are so fleeting. In a matter of weeks, I’ll have a one year old. I’m never going to look back on this time and regret all the contact naps, cuddles and nights spent sleeping next to her. It feels right for us and it won’t be forever. For now, I’m soaking it all up while it lasts.

The Lullaby Trust is an invaluable resource for all things related to safer sleep. 

I also highly recommend the lovely Charlotte Inskip, a Holistic Sleep Coach who can be found over at @theholisticsleepmama on Instagram. 

Would You Like To Share Your Story Too?

Has Anita’s story inspired you to share your own? We want to hear as many different stories from as many different families as we can. Because, sharing your own challenges and triumphs, helps other families feel less alone and more supported. Want to get involved and share your family story too? Find out how here


More From This Is Family:

Matteo Arrived Early

When Breastfeeding Is Hard