Guest Post: Breast Versus Formula: Whose Fight Is It Anyway?

Today’s guest post is from MamaBeanParenting. Recently she posted a blog post about a sign she spotted hanging outside a cafe that she thought was cool – and it went viral and sparked a huge online debate about breastfeeding in public. Here she writes about THAT cafe sign and its response.

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Not for the first time, I‘ve found myself at the centre of a media breastfeeding storm.  The catalyst this time?  The following sign…

breastfeeding welcome

This sign stands outside of a café in Cheltenham, England and after the picture and my corresponding post went viral earlier this week, there has been quite a reaction.

There’s been a lot of this:

Amazing!”

So refreshing!”

What a step forward!”

And of course, there’s also been a fair amount of this:

But what about formula feeders?”

And so it begins.  Or should I say continues?  The all-out Breast versus Formula war.  The ‘Pick A Side And Slam The Other’ debate.  The ‘Us versus Them’ mentality.

Enough.  Enough, already!

A café opening its arms to a breastfeeding mother is not by default closes doors to formula feeders.  Or anybody else outside of this specific group for that matter; like fathers, or grandmothers, or nurses just finishing a night shift…or even young couples high on Honeymooning and totally unaware of the minefield of political correctness that embeds itself into the world of parenting…

breast is best

Because supporting breastfeeding does not go hand-in-hand with hating formula feeding.  It is in itself, a perfectly legitimate position to take; an independent cause to fight.

And by fight, I do not mean against you, kind formula feeding mama; you who sings lullabies to delicate and tiny ears, who kisses squidgy baby cheeks and who also, just like me, has broken up with Sleep.

By fight, I mean fight with you, sweet mama.

Because formula feeding mothers can also fight the fight to normalise breastfeeding.  The fight against shaming, against discrimination and against the over-sexualisation of our maternal bodies.

bottle is best

And believe it or not, breastfeeding-supporting formula feeders do actually exist.  In real life.  The proof?  The picture that sparked these comments was taken by a formula feeding mother.  Yes, you read that right.  She took it not to share on a hate site or to agonise over the unfairness and selectivity of free cups of tea.  Instead, she took it to share the joy, the acceptance and the progress of the drive to normalise nursing in public.

Unfortunately, this drive is still needed.  Every day I see stories online of mothers asked to cover up when their little ones start to root.  I can still see the disgust in strangers eyes from my own nursing in public adventures…but gone are the days where I would hide away to nurse my daughter…I found my confidence and somehow, quite unexpectedly, I’ve turned it into a voice.

And so it seems that this voice is getting louder, and with more than 328,000 ‘likes’ against my latest piece for The Huffington Post, it’s actually being listened to.  But just because I’m shouting ‘boob’ from my virtual platform and have the ‘equipment’ to cash in on free hot drinks from one enlightened English café, doesn’t mean that I’m cursing formula feeding in the same breath.

And so I’m not going to get into the ‘I bet they have bottle-warming facilities’ argument, or the ‘but you don’t begrudge students their discounts’ mindset.  I’m only going to say one thing: thank you.

To every supporter of breastfeeding – whether you are lactating or not – I say thank you.  Thank you for seeing this café’s sign as the positive step forwards that it is.  Thank you for seeing it as a simple gesture of support for nursing in public and not a low-blow at tired and thirsty formula feeding mothers.  Thank you for seeing it as a small but important step towards normalising the normal; towards normalising breastfeeding.

Author Bio:

Mama Bean writes to celebrate the realities of motherhood and if you haven’t already guessed it, she’s determined to normalise breastfeeding.  You can find her at www.MamaBeanParenting.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Posted in Babies | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

School’s Out!

Blog_of_the_week_badgeHooray! School’s out for the summer!

Anyone feeling a bit like this at the moment?!

Sussex Mama covers all bases in her Blog of the Week this week – School’s Out!

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schools out

No more lunch boxes.

No more spellings.

No more school trips.

No more homework.

No more uniform.

No more last minutes drop-off’s.

No more last minute pick -ups.

No after-school clubs.

No after-school tantrums.

No bickering with friends.

No playground antics – adults included.

No neat hair.

No clean finger nails.

No more times-tables.

No more reading of deathly-dull-boring-yawn-making books.

No P.E.

No more working off sheets of paper.

No sitting cross-legged for hours.

No more assembly.

No prayers.

No rules, OK some rules.

No more maths.

No tests.

……and no more frigging cake sales!

hello summer**************************************************************************************************************

Find pages packed with ideas for summer fun over on Netmums

Posted in Blog of the Week, Holidays, Summer, Summer Holidays | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

The powerful story behind Sassy Bloom

Sassy Bloom owlsToday’s guest blog is from the founders of a gorgeous new business – Sassy Bloom – that aims to put smiles on mums and babies faces. The company was founded after Hollie discovered she had a rare and incurable condition during her pregnancy and after a gift from friends put a huge smile back on her face. Here they tell their powerful story and also offer Netmums members some amazing offers to try Sassy Bloom for themselves.

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Sassy Bloom was founded by Hollie, Darren and Paul Sassienie in 2012, after Hollie was diagnosed whilst 29 weeks pregnant with a very rare, incurable and life threatening progressive lung and heart disease called Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.

Sassy Bloom Hollie hospital

After passing out several times during her pregnancy and being rushed to hospital by ambulance on numerous occasions – only to be dismissed each time as the doctors were confused by the symptoms that Hollie was presenting – Hollie saw a cardiologist who luckily recognised the severity of Hollie’s symptoms and immediately called for an ambulance.

Darren, her husband was secretly told that his wife had a 50% chance of survival and that things were very serious and that the baby had to be born within 48 hours. “She looks very well on the outside, but your wife is EXTRMELY sick” he recalled. Hollie was transferred to a specialist hospital with an anaesthetist present as they feared she would die en route!

“It was scary but I don’t think I really realised the seriousness of the condition,” says Hollie. “It wasn’t until I opened my eyes at about 2am in the morning and found my parents, siblings and husband sat round my bed, all with ashen faces, that it started to sink in just how critical my condition was.”

“When the care team explained that I needed to get all my affairs in place as I might not get through the delivery, it really hit home just how ill I actually was”

After a month in hospital, lots of medication and many unpleasant tests including a permanent infusion to Hollies heart – the couple’s baby was scheduled to be delivered with a large team present. The delivery date kept moving as the team had to juggle Hollie’s health and delivering a premature baby.

Most mums previously in Hollie’s situation have died during labour or shortly after as the body re-adjusted. It was incredibly scary for Hollie, Darren and all their family and friends. At 34 weeks and after 5 hours in surgery – the couple’s new baby was delivered and taken to Special Care whilst Hollie was rushed to intensive care.

Darren spoke to specialists all around the world, tracked down patients and put Hollie in touch with a mum who had successfully come through the other side and did everything within his power to see Hollie through this chaos that turned the couple’s world upside down.

“In Intensive Care I had to tell Hollie everything was going to be ok whilst watching people dying as their relatives were breaking down behind her”.

Can you imagine a new mum going through all of this and then not being able to be with her baby for days?! Darren spent the coming days running from Special Care to Intensive Care to be with his new baby and his wife.

On day 5 in Intensive Care day the panic alarm went off and the entire team came running, Darren turned white as they shouted at team members to get him out of the room – he thought that Hollie had died just like all the other woman that he had read about on the internet! Luckily Hollie had just passed out and after a medication increase. Hollie learned to walk again – she was downgraded to the Cardiology unit – a big milestone.

Sassy Bloom Hollie and newborn

It was here that Hollie received (from close friends), a beautiful gift box full of carefully selected goodies for her new baby. Hollie was overwhelmed and really wanted other parents to be able to experience receiving a beautiful box full of handpicked goodies for their baby each month as it really put a smile on her face – the idea of Sassy Bloom was born.

So why are thousands of mums loving sassy Bloom?

Sassy Bloom deliver ‘care packages’ to parents for their baby each month. Each Sassy Sassy Bloom boxBloom box is especially handpicked and tailored to baby’s age and stage of development, gender and sometimes even include personalised items too.

“Every parent wants the best for their baby but with so many products out there – it can often be time consuming and tricky for parents knowing what they need. Sassy Bloom is a really exciting way for mums to shop for their baby – discovering wonderful products and brands and with each Sassy Bloom box having a retail value of £40-£70 – it’s also a brilliant way to save too.” Says Hollie Sassienie, Co-Founder of Sassy Bloom.

“We have spent over two years searching for only the very best baby products from around the world. Our panel of experienced and first time mums have tried and tested all of the products with their little ones – only the best ones make the cut into one of our Sassy Bloom boxes. We’ve done all the hard work for mums, freeing up their time to spend with their little one.”

Sassy Bloom gift

We now have thousands of mums joining Sassy Bloom and the feedback received from our customers has been extremely encouraging, purporting to our “outstanding customer service”, how beautiful the box is and the high quality of brilliant products. It’s this that truly drives us each day to create the best possible experience for our customers in every single possible way.

We’ve also received some great celebrity endorsements from people such as Kimberley Walsh, Peter Andre, Jean-Christophe Novelli , Caprice, Edith Bowman, Danny Dyer, Lucy-Jo Hudson, Kerry Katona and Dame Sarah Storey.

Sassy Bloom are now working with over 200 fantastic baby brands including MAM, Jo Jo Maman Bebe, Tommee Tippee as well as independents such as Quack Quack Moo and Snoozeshade.

Sassy Bloom are aiming to raise £100,000 for charities including the Pulmonary Hypertension Association – the UK charity that helped Hollie and her family come to terms with this life changing disease that there is currently no cure for. Customers are able to donate to this charity along with some others as they checkout.

Netmums were lucky enough to receive some gorgeous Sassy Bloom boxes

The postman knocked on the door carrying three plain brown boxes and when we opened them our faces lit up. They contained three boxes of beautifully packaged, handpicked gifts from Sassy Bloom.

One for a mum who is 32 weeks pregnant with twins

Sassy Bloom - Zoe

One for a 6 month old baby boy

Sassy Bloom - Fred

And one for an 18 month old little girl

Sassy Bloom- Iris

It was so exciting to open up the beautifully wrapped packages and discover what treasures lay within. The gifts were all gorgeous – some personalised, all really beautiful and just perfect for the recipients. All three boxes were packed full and really worth the money it costs to buy them. We also discovered some unique and wonderful high-quality products we had never seen before. We don’t know how anyone receiving a Sassy Bloom box could fail to smile. They certainly brought a smile to our faces. Just wonderful.

Interested in joining Sassy Bloom or giving the gift of Sassy Bloom?

Sassy bloom

Sassy Bloom boxes currently cater for pregnant women in their third trimester up to babies who are 2 years of age

Join monthly or select a 3 month, 6 month or 12 month subscription, from as little as £22.15 which includes FREE delivery. Remember each Sassy Bloom box has a minimum RRP of £40!

Sassy Bloom has put together some special offers just for Netmums members

OFFER 1

£10.00 Off 6 month Get Sassy

Your Promo Code: NET10

OFFER 2– Best Value

£20.00 Off annual month Get Sassy

Your Promo Code: NET20

50% off your first order

Sassy Bloom are also offering the first 100 NETUMUMS members 50% off your first Get Sassy Box

Your Promo Code: NET50

£5 off any gift

Sassy Bloom makes a wonderful gift too – with options to suit your budget. £5.00 off any Gift

Your Promo Code: NETMUMS5

Use your code when you order from the website. Do go and take a look – it’s just gorgeous.

Visit Sassy Bloom

Sassy Bloom awards

Posted in Babies, Business, motherhood, Mums, Mums in business | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog of the Week: ‘I wore a bikini…And I liked it’

Blog_of_the_week_badgeWhat a wonderful Blog of the Week we have to share with you this week!

It’s a celebration of women and women’s bodies by Kate from Wit Wit Woo, who admits that whilst her body may not be media perfect – she’s pretty happy with it anyway thank you very much.

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Kate Sutton

I can’t believe it was only a week ago that I was on holiday in Fuerteventura with Dexter – the week has flown by.  We had such a great time pretty much … not doing a great deal really.  We swam, I read a book AND an obligatory crappy woman’s magazine (although I also read Red which I thought was surprisingly great), we ate churros for breakfast, I drank Cava for breakfast every day, and we watched Lord of the Rings and X-Men every night back in our room after dinner.

It was our kinda perfect.

But remember before I went I wrote this post … ‘Should Big Girls Wear Bikinis?‘  It was, of course, a rhetorical question following a discussion I’d had online with my Twitter followers and the general consensus was that out of the plus size women I spoke to, it was a 50/50 split with who would feel comfortable enough wearing a bikini and who hated the thought.  However, interestingly, it soon became apparent that size wasn’t the driver for whether a woman would wear a bikini or not … women of all sizes had something to say.  (Have a read of the post.)

I have always said I’m comfortable in my own skin and I think sometimes people find that hard to believe as I’m a bigger woman.  But confidence isn’t something everyone has and it breaks my heart to hear women (whatever size) feel like they can’t wear this or they shouldn’t wear that.  Of course, everyone should wear what they want to wear but I totally understand that feeling of not wanting to be judged because no matter how big my … bravado, I’ve been hurt in the past my people’s comments – it’s horrible.

Anyway, I said I would be wearing a bikini on holiday, and so I did!

Kate Sutton

I’m no model (clearly), I’ve given birth to two 9lbs+ babies … my body has gone through a lot, but I think I look great!  I’m my biggest fan, pardon the pun, because quite frankly, I believe you truly have to be – no other bugger will think you’re great if you don’t!  Yes, I’m overweight and far from toned but honestly, hand on heart, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT I LOOK LIKE!!  I wanted to wear a bikini so … I wore one!  It’s really that simple.  I didn’t give it much thought.  I didn’t think about what other people thought and although I didn’t notice any overt pointing or whispering, I doubt anyone even noticed or, for that matter, gave a shit.  I’m just another woman wearing a bikini.

Because it’s hot. Because I like the feeling of wearing one.  Because I can.

In fact, I wore several! This one (below) didn’t hold me in as much as the polka dot one but it wasn’t indecent and again, who cares?

I PROMISE YOU …. PEOPLE JUST DON’T CARE!!

They’re on holiday enjoying time with their family … the fact that me, or anyone else, is wearing a bikini is just so insignificant, trust me.

Kate Sutton

I get that we’re so indoctrinated with the idea that we should look a certain way, that we should feel embarrassed or ashamed if we don’t conform – I totally get that because I’m bombarded too.  I just choose to stick a metaphorical two fingers up to the fat-shaming brigade and do what I WANT TO DO.  If that involves wearing a bikini when I’m a size 18, so be it.

I just happen to believe that imperfections make us who we are and that life would be incredibly dull if we all looked the same.

I love the fact that by me talking about this subject it has encouraged women to buy a bikini for the first time in a long time … women who wouldn’t have dreamt about wearing one before, and I hope that by sharing photos of me in a bikini it might, just might, encourage them to wear one too.

Wearing a bikini on holiday is one thing … sharing my photos on my blog and social media, a completely different thing.  It’s a little scary because as much as my friends are supportive and lovely I do realise I’m opening myself up to THE INTERNET ….  but if it makes one woman, whatever her size, think ‘if Kate can wear one, then so can I’ then it’s worth it.

It may seem trivial … me talking about bikinis, it may seem like such a small thing but body confidence permeates how you live your life and if you can overcome a small thing like this, I honestly believe you’ll start to carry yourself differently and begin to feel good about yourself.

Wear a bikini.  Don’t wear one.  Do what YOU feel comfortable doing … but please PLEASE don’t let anyone make you feel shit about your choice.

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So what do you think? Are you supportive of Kate and her courage to not be defined by what people might think? Or do you believe that ‘big girls’ shouldn’t wear bikinis at all?

Posted in Woman - the woman behind the mum | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Blog of the Week: The Other Side

Blog_of_the_week_badge

Our Blog of the Week this week is all about optimism – the ‘coming out the other side of toddlerhood’ and the joys it brings.

But how do you know when it hits? Read on for some top clues from Wonderful Wagon on knowing when you are finally on The Other Side…

 

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HOW do you know you have come out the other side of toddlerhood?  It’s not a trick question.  There are a number of clues.  If you have to think of the answer well, then, congratulations, you lucky sucker; you’re out the other side.

See how easy it is to forget all about the hardships that accompany that tricky, messy stage in your life.

Oh, I know.  You haven’t forgotten them.  I haven’t either.  There are some red hot ones still burning holes in my brain.   But see how easy things are after a good nights sleep.  Bet you thought you’d never see that again.

Image: Netmums

Image: Netmums

How about that first uninterrupted cup of coffee during the 15 minutes Peppa Pig burned a different hole in your brain?

What about coming out of the bathroom and feeling strange?  Strange because you were in there alone.  For all of five minutes.

 

 

make up

Image: Netmums

See?  Those things.

I am wearing makeup again.  Proper stuff now not like the time I only drew on one eyebrow and forgot to blend in my dots of foundation.

I am going through my handbag for something or other and realise it’s actually a handbag and not a family sized rucksack.  Also there isn’t a baby wipe in sight!

I am wearing jewellery again.  Dangly stuff too.  The fear of getting the ear lobe ripped off me by an eager, grabby toddler has long passed.  Now my only worry is the dog (or the child) eating my beads and chains.  Poo watch anyone?

Image: Netmums

Image: Netmums

There is alcohol again.  And not alcopops either but proper grown up wine and spirits and the odd beer.

I wear clothes that are not black.  Clothes that might actually be white!  Or close enough to it anyway.  I am still dodging mucky puppy hands and snotty noses but most days when I don white duds, they are still clean(ish) when I take them off.

 

Relax at your peril though.  Never ever let your guard down.  Kids are always on the lookout for perfect opportunities to embarrass you and entertain everyone else in the café.  You think they were given high pitch voices because it’s cute?  Nooooo! It’s so everyone within a five mile radius can hear them.

Here is a conversation that may or may not have taken place between me and one of my boys lately.  On a day when I was wearing the aforementioned white(ish) trousers plus a short sleeved top.

 “What’s that under your arms?”

“Nothing.”  (Distracted and reaching across for the cappuccino)

“There is.  I saw something.”

“What did you see?”  (Sipping coffee with my guard down. Totally out in the open and unprotected).

“Prickly stuff.  Look!  There it is again. I told you.  YOU HAVE HAIR BALLS UNDER YOUR ARMS!”

Recently I took the four boys and our lovely Juno girl doggy off on a skyte through some small woods near us.  Delighted with myself.

Wearing the beige linen trousers.  Delighted with myself.  Walked the wood with them all.  Delighted with myself.

Returned home with only a smidgeon of pepperoni on the side of my beige linen trousers that couldn’t be seen if I pulled my top down enough.

Later on that same day when I took off the linen trousers I saw what I knew was a smushed lump of chocolate brownie on the backside of it.  But I know the 67 people who saw me between the hours of 2pm and 11pm thought it was shite!

See?  You will get to the other side but they just won’t let you enjoy it.  Keep those arms pinned to your sides at all times and keep a rain jacket or some such handy to wrap around your waist in the event that you sit in something unsavoury.

The other side.  It’s the best finish line you will ever cross.

Posted in Blog of the Week, bloggers, motherhood, Mums | Leave a comment

#WhatNormalFeelsLike – Knowing Your Boobs Could Save Your Life

This month sees the launch of a new campaign from breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel!, with the aim to get us talking about breast cancer, checking our boobs and learning what our normal feels like.

With hormonal changes, pregnancy and breastfeeding, we all know there are constant fluctuations in our breasts, but being a busy Mum and always putting the children first makes it all the more important to take some time out for yourself and check regularly to ascertain what your ‘normal’ is.

CoppaFeel! Founder Kris Hallenga

#CoppaFeel! Founder Kris Hallenga What is normal for your boobs? Unless you check yours regularly, would you really be able to tell? CoppaFeel’s aim is to get us doing just that.

The charity’s founder Kris Hallenga, herself diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at the age of 23, recently took to the road to ask women what their personal descriptions were. Other than big, small, perky or saggy the adjectives were lacking; #WhatNormalFeelsLike aims to change that.

Kris commented on her discovery; “By challenging women to truly describe how their breasts look and feel beyond these limiting descriptions, CoppaFeel! aims to widen the nation’s vocabulary and make checking your breasts the norm. Your boobs are a part of you. You should know them inside out. How they feel, what they look like, what’s unique to each one!”

Did you know the vast majority of women in the UK check their weight more regularly than their breasts for signs and symptoms of breast cancer? So how do you check them? How do you do it properly? And when? Did you know there is no particular right or wrong way to check your boobs; just get involved, give them a squeeze and start getting to know them! Checking your boobs takes less that five minutes, which is why CoppaFeel! produces helpful reminders of what to look out for on a shower sticker (available from http://www.coppafeel.org) – it’s the perfect time and place to do it, even if it’s the only time you can have five minutes to yourself away from the little ones! Look out for changes in the skin texture, for example puckering or dimpling, nipple inversion or changes in direction and rashes or crusting of the nipple and surrounding areas or discharge from the nipples. Feel your breasts so you can be aware of any new lumps or thickening, any painful areas or swelling. Look out for changes in size and shape, and any areas of swelling around your armpit or collarbone. By taking the time to get to know your boobs and get to know just exactly what’s normal for you, you’re more likely to spot when something isn’t quite right.

Breast check tips

Kris founded CoppaFeel! with the aim to stamp out late detection and misdiagnosis of CoppaFeelbreast cancer, by ensuring that people know the signs and symptoms, know what their boobs look and feel like on a week to week basis, check their boobs regularly throughout their lifetime and have the confidence to seek medical referral when they detect abnormalities. CoppaFeel! strives for a country where no one dies of breast cancer because of late detection or misdiagnosis.

To open up the conversation and raise awareness CoppaFeel! are touring the country popping up at Festivals, beaches and town centres nationwide. So whether your normal is solid or squishy, pointy or perky, bumpy or marshmallowy join in the conversation and tell CoppaFeel! #whatnormalfeelslike to you, because knowing your boobs could save your life…

For you monthly free* text reminder from CoppaFeel! to check your boobs; text NORMAL + ‘Your word’ to 70300

*Standard network rates apply for the initial text. Every following text you receive is free

Posted in activism, Health, Woman - the woman behind the mum | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Guest post and Giveaway – If only they’d told me!

Today we have a guest post on author and mother Jacqui Lockington. Her book co-written with her friend Natalie will have every mother chuckling and nodding along. We have 10 books to giveaway so read on….

If Only They’d Told Me…..”  the words every mother utters at one time or another…

British Mum Jacqui Lockington had her world turned upside down when she became a mum. For someone who was incredibly organised and in control, her ‘perfect world’ was smashed to smithereens. Jacqui,  a self-confessed ‘neat freak’ couldn’t understand why her baby didn’t conform to the time-table Gina Ford set out in book The Contented Baby. As a pregnant-in-heels Mulberry bag swishing advertising executive, she had sworn that her baby would not change her life one bit.

She’d had visions of parking a sleeping baby under the table of many a popular restaurant, of carrying on with life exactly as before and returning to the work-force after a few short months of.

She was not prepared for the reality of parenthood and how it would totally change her, her friendships and her relationship.

She decided to turn her struggles into writing for other parents. She was determined to write something real and honest and funny too, and provide an outlet of anecdotes and stories which mums could draw on to make them realise that they are not alone. If Only They’d Told Me was born.IOTTM_coverfinal

Canadian-born Natalie Cutler-Welsh was at the same time in the planning stages of her own book, How to have a thriving (not just surviving) relationship in the early years. Her book was inspired by friends whose marriage broke down when they had young ones. She recognised the strains children put on relationships and was keen to address it with a book.

The two women only got together after the New Zealand Earthquake in Christchurch in February 2011. Nat, whose third child was born the day after the earthquake, relocated her family to Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand to start life afresh. Jacqui, married to a Kiwi, had at that point been living in New Zealand for a number of years. Both books were well underway and over the next few months the two mums would share tips and ideas before recognising that, by combining their writing, they would have something unique.

The book is even more hilarious as both Jacqui and Nat freely admit they are totally different from each-other. Jacqui was pregnant-in-heels, likes her designer labels, is an incredible neat-freak and likes to do things by the book with lists and routine. She was also very much all about Heinz baby food and disposable nappies. She went back to work full-time in advertising early on and juggles parenting, a highly pressured career and her writing.

Nat, on the other hand, is very much an eco-mum. All three of her children have been in cloth nappies, she loves everything organic, hunts out bargains in second-hand stores, organises clothing swops. She has been a stay-at-home mum for a number of years. Rather than heels Nat is very much flats and functional. She doesn’t believe in routine and housework is low down on her priorities. She calls herself ‘organised chaos’.

The two have recently been labelled ‘The Trinny and Susannah’ of the parenting world and their differences come through in their parenting styles and opinions too – meaning that there really is something for everyone in the book.

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Natalie and Jacqui

The book is born out of a desire to help other parents and, whilst they didn’t want to provide a ‘How To’ (Jacqui and Nat freely admit that they are not the experts), they recognised that by being honest and sharing real stories, laughter and tips, they could help other mothers cope and laugh at those hurdles children throw at us every day. They were also keen to shed some light on things from the Dad perspective and their book covers everything from what Dad thinks to tips to help your marriage thrive, sex and even friendships and how they change. The book isn’t just full of funny stories but includes some raw moments and personal issues as well as interviews and insights with other parents around world and some top tips from parenting experts.

If Only They’d Told Me, the book is just the tip of the iceberg. Three years ago Jacqui and Nat started their own blog www.ifonlytheydtoldme.com in order to share stories along the way and to test their material with other parents. The women also run a free podcasting service, publishing a podcast every week on iTunes and Stitcher Radio on a range of topics from How to be a happy stay-at-home mum and Top tips for getting ready for baby to Post Natal Depression, Parenting Twins and Thriving after separation. The podcasts are extremely popular (Jacqui and Nat have been on the iTunes What’s Hot list) since they launched – right next to Ellen and Chris Evans. Jacqui and Nat have almost 60,000 downloads to-date.

Jacqui and Nat recognise that parenthood isn’t easy. Jacqui says: “It’s an art which you learn as you go, making mistakes along the way. When you get it right it is an incredibly rewarding time, a time that you will never get back. There is no getting around the fact that you will have hiccups along the way. Sometimes knowing this before you start makes it an easier journey.”

We have ten copies of this book to giveaway. To enter simply leave a comment below and from all comments received by midnight on 21st July we will pick ten lucky winners.

 If Only They’d Told Me is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Posted in Books and reading, Giveaway, motherhood, Mums | Tagged , , | 339 Comments