Thursday 23 June 2016

My Breastfeeding Journey Weeks 5 to 12

My baby is 12 weeks old tomorrow, I can hardly believe I am typing this to be honest as in some ways it has gone really fast but in other ways it has been a long journey and has felt like an age...

After I posted my birth story and 4 week update  in which I mentioned that the early difficulties of breastfeeding appeared to have been conquered and we were finally getting 'it' it seemed life had other ideas...little did I know that things were about to get so much worse.

Just as I thought that feeding was becoming pain free, I then found myself feeling really tired and generally unwell..I also noticed a blocked milk duct and tried to feed through it to clear it. I knew that if I didn't feed on the affected breast that I could get mastitis. My breast was very painful and heavy. Unfortunately I did go on to get mastitis but as I recognised the symptoms I sought help from my local GP's surgery very quickly. Taking medication sorted it out with not too much of an issue. The GP I saw did ask me if I wanted to continue and I said I definitely did. I told her how long I had managed before. She was impressed but to be honest I am just a stubborn creature and I knew that if I held on things would get better. I was sure of it....Although to be honest I was wobbling.

However during this time I also noticed that breastfeeding was hurting me once again, really, really hurting me. The searing pain was back and was getting worse with each feed. E wanted to feed almost constantly and for long periods of a time, pretty much half an hour to forty minutes - 4 week growth spurt! My breasts hurt so much I couldn't bear to have anything near them and found it hard to pick him up and hold him close, not hard actually, nigh on impossible.
I was in so much pain. I couldn't bear it and was baffled as I had thought his latch had improved. My nipple was bleeding and stinging. I was feeling down and crying so much because I felt so ill.

Thursday evening I noticed a load of blood in my little one's mouth and looked down to see my nipple shredded. I tried calling some breastfeeding helplines and no one picked up the phone. I was despairing and felt so helpless. I was desperate, in pain. I could barely function and feeling low so we gave my little one a formula feed in a bottle that evening. I was nervous, would he prefer the bottle to me? Was this the beginning of the end of our breastfeeding journey? I really hoped not. I had breastfed his older brother exclusively for 7 weeks, and then topped up his breastfeeds with formula at every feed to help his weight gain. I had mix fed until he was almost a year, I had wanted to do the same this time round. How had things gone so terribly wrong.

It was Friday, we had made it through the night and I called the HV's in desperation asking for help. I was on the phone for 45 minutes crying as she reassured me I was doing well but essentially told me that the next clinic for breastfeeding help was on Tuesday. I cried even more down the phone, how was I going to battle through till then?!

Somehow I did (with the help of the odd formula feed here and there to help give me a rest) and Tuesday I made my way to the clinic. This seemed to be just a baby weigh in clinic, around me were mothers happily feeding their babies whilst waiting to be called to be weighed. I asked someone where the breastfeeding class was, a lady told me that lady wasn't in that day.

I stood there and burst into tears. I had only got through the weekend holding on to the thought that all my breastfeeding issues were going to be solved today. With everyone looking at me, me completely broken and a snivelling mess whilst holding my crying baby, a kindly lady took me under her wing and promised me that I would get help.

My son was weighed and he had put on a good amount of weight, no worries there! That made me feel better. I was then observed feeding and the latch was checked. He fed really well, the helpers looked at me as if I was mad. Everything is fine they told me. I knew it wasn't - why was I in so much pain?

They noticed my nipples were red and sore looking. The area around them was dry and red. They suggested I made an appointment with the GP. They checked my son for thrush signs in his mouth. There was none.

The next day I was at the Surgery being seen by the GP for suspected nipple thrush - probably set off by the antibiotics I had taken for mastitis! - she gave me some oral gel for me and my son to take (him in his mouth, mine on the affected area). She also hinted that I may want to give up. She thought I was brave for continuing but she questioned whether it was good for my sanity. I reiterated that I was sure I would be fine as long as these health issues were sorted. I had been there before remember with my first son and I was determined to continue

I applied the gel for a couple of days but things were just getting worse, the pain was off the scale - the pain was like glass ripping my nipple to shreds. There really are no words for this horrendous side effect of breastfeeding. It is so very cruel!!

I spoke to a friend who is a pharmacist, she told me that the gel was pretty much ineffective for me (fine for the baby) and to purchase a cream to apply instead. The cream was great, it was soothing and for a week and a bit it seemed to be doing the trick.. Things were slowly improving. The pain was still relentless but by now I was used to it. And then the searing pain returned and this time there was a deep pain in my breast, a nasty pulling pain all the way up to my shoulder - the thrush had got into my breast. I knew I needed more medicine from the GP as the cream was only dealing with the external problem not the internal one.

All the while the pain was making me want to swear, this was really unfair I thought. I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life! I continued to stubbornly breastfeed all this while. It was truly a most terrible time in my life. I thank my family and friends for their support during this dreadful time. Without them I would never have been able to continue as they rallied around, assisting with the school runs and keeping my spirits up. I was in real danger of falling into a depressive state. My immune system was low, I had a list of eight different things wrong with me and it was getting on top of me and yet I was stubborn and refused to give in.

I had my antibiotics prescribed for the nipple/breast thrush and just continued along waiting for things to get better. I was only coping with the pain of the feeds by taking painkillers and also still applying the cream. My little boy was still being given the gel in his mouth.

Finally at 9 and a bit weeks and with the end of the antibiotics (a two week course) I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel the pain was lessening.

Things have got better. I no longer dread a feed and can give my son all his feeds quite happily. In the evening we give him one bottle of formula. He has no confusion with either methods of feeding.

It was a long, hard and extremely painful slog. Mentally and physically it took a toll. I do hope I am now through the worst and don't have to deal with them ever again!!

My son on the other hand has been positively thriving throughout. Smiling at four weeks, closely followed by proper belly laughs. He babbles away happily making the most sweetest of sounds. Today he started to bat his toys on the playmat. He is a gorgeously happy baby who is content. He feeds well and sleeps well.

I hope you have found my story interesting and can see that there are positive  breastfeeding stories. It has taken us almost 3 months but we are there at long last!

Bettina x

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Vichy Dermablend 3D Correction Foundation Review

Vichy say 

Dermablend 3D is enriched with reference skincare ingredients salicylic acid and eperulin, soothes the feel of skin and reduces the appearance of imperfections.

- Up to 16 hour wear
- 5 shades
- Dermatological tolerance
- Tested on sensitive skin
- Allergy tested
- Non comedogenic
- SPF 25 for shades 05 to 55
- SPF 15 for shades 65 and 75

The complexion looks even, smooth and matte for up to 16 hours. The skin feels supple and comfortable.

The skin’s transformation is immediate: 91% of women agree it improves their acne-prone skin texture*

A breathable, gentle, effective formula that will:
- Leave skin looking clearer
- Provide immediate texture correction
- Helps conceal blemishes and breakouts of acne
- Reduce the appearance of redness
- Mattify skin for a natural finish

*consumer test on 60 women

With VICHY DERMABLEND [3D CORRECTION], only one application is enough to turn acne-prone skin into a smoother, more even, “ready to face the world” complexion.

This is thanks to a texture innovation, Alliagel™. The pigments and soft focus agents that cover and blur imperfections are trapped in this gel, which unfold like a second skin, only more even, smoother, and more beautiful.

Application tips 

1) Pick up a small amount of Dermablend [3D CORRECTION] with a makeup brush or your fingers.
2) Apply a little product on the most pigmented imperfections. Dab it on to melt it into the skin. Repeat if your imperfections are still visible.
3) With a large brush or your fingers, smooth down and blend outwards all the foundation you have just applied, for a seamless, natural looking finish, do not apply to an unhealed wound.

My thoughts 

I was sent shade 15 OPAL which is a bit pale for me but I would much rather a shade be a bit lighter than darker as you can always warm it up by applying a bronzer.

My skin type is normal/combination (in the t-zone) however since giving birth 10 weeks ago it has felt a bit drier and has some psoriasis patches which are really dry... This foundation states that it is for oily/acne prone skin which I don't have and I can see why when using it.

Coverage wise this is a really effective foundation and there are tips on how to apply it which I have mentioned above. Personally I found that it worked best if the skin is well moisturised as it just glides across the skin, or else as it will cling to any dry patches. You also only really need a small amount as a little goes a really, really long way. A thin layer really does disguise the bits you want hidden and enhances your good bits.

I liked the brightening effect it gave, matte doesn't have to equal dull as this foundation shows. It feels nice on the skin and it lasts a full day. Used in conjunction with the fabulous translucent setting powder, you can be confident of great skin all day long.

The setting powder being white doesn't change the shade of your base and is undetectable once applied.

Vichy Dermablend 3D

Wearing Vichy Dermablend 3D Correction Foundation

Vichy Dermablend 3D Correction Foundation £21.50
Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder £17

*PR Samples

Monday 13 June 2016

The Body Shop Oils Of Life Sleeping Cream Review

I have already reviewed The Body Shop Oils of Life collection which gave me great results so I was keen to try the latest product in the range - Oils of Life Sleeping Cream - when it popped through my letterbox.

Twitter followers will know that since the birth of my second son 10 weeks ago I have suffered with psoriasis which has been getting progressively worse, I have avoided using products that may irritate the skin especially as it has spread to patches on my face. I have also noticed my face feeling much drier than usual and so was feeling the need to try something to restore my face to feeling balanced, well moisturised and beautifully soft.

As my hormones are beginning to settle down, I have noticed a very, very slight improvement so have ventured into giving this Sleeping Cream a go...

The Body Shop say

A night time cream to deeply nourish, visibly revitalize and intensely firm while you sleep. We searched the world and selected 3 Precious Seed Oils known for their revitalizing and repairing properties. By infusing them with 7 Powerful Essential Oils, into a refreshing yet cushiony cream, we've created an Intensely Revitalizing Sleeping Cream that replenishes like a dream (almost)
A night time cream, to moisturise, revitalise and nourish the skin whilst you sleep.
  • Skin looks and feels:
  • Revitalised
  • More supple
  • Nourished
  • Visibly Rested
  • Reduced appearance of ageing
The Oils of Life Intensively Revitalising Sleeping Cream contains the same 3 precious seed oils contained in the rest of the Oils of Life range - Black Cumin seed oil, Camellia seed oil and Rosehip seed oil. The 7 essential oils are - Lavender, Rosemary Leaf, Geranium, Roman Camomile, Marjoram Leaf, Orange Peel and Lavendum.

My thoughts

The cream features the same spicy scent that I mentioned in my original review, it may not appeal to everyone but I personally quite like it. In any case the scent really doesn't linger once applied. The cream has an almost light, gel texture which instantly absorbs into the skin. Skin is left feeling super immediately to the touch and not at all tacky. Next morning skin still feels super soft, smooth and well hydrated and comfortable.

I really like this cream and it does make my skin look nicer, I have only been using it for 3 days now but I noticed the difference straightaway. it certainly makes applying my foundation a lot nicer, the dry spots are far less noticeable. Foundation just glides on and my skin looks more radiant.

I am a fan of the lovely Oils of Life collection as it breathes back and restores the life in my skin that hormones have been so savagely taking.

The Body Shop Oils Of Life Sleeping Cream 80ml costs £28

*PR Sample

L'Oreal Extraordinary Clay Review - Shampoo & Conditioner

I do love to try before I buy so I was happy that last month's Red Magazine had sample sachets of L'Oreal's newest hair care range - Extraordinary Clay - both shampoo and conditioner to try.

I managed to get two uses out of the sachets and have to say I was pleasantly surprised, I had envisaged a clay like texture to the products but actually they were just like a regular shampoo and conditioner.

L'Oreal say 

Introducing our breakthrough innovation from Elvive, Extraordinary Clay. For the first time we have combined 3 refined clays into a hair care range to break the vicious cycle of oily roots & dry ends.

Clays have been celebrated in beauty rituals for thousands of years due to their unrivalled ability to cleanse, purify and energise. In terms of hair care, Clays combat the excessive oil production at the roots but also any dehydration throughout the lengths and ends.


• Scalp feels deeply purified for 72 hours with freshness and light, lifted roots.
• Dry hair feels hydrated right to the ends for fluid, free-flowing lengths.
• Revitalises the hair with softness, shine and bounce.

L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay Re-balancing Shampoo - 

L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay Re-balancing Conditioner - 

Deeply purified roots, hydrated feeling ends. For perfectly balanced hair.

My thoughts 

The products smell fresh and gorgeous, the shampoo lathers well and the conditioner leaves hair soft and silky. Hair smells lovely once dried and feels super clean. I was actually really surprised that this did what it promises. My ends have really looked dead and dry and I wasn't expecting much but the result once dried and styled was that my ends looked healthy and smooth. Hair looked glossy and bright, so bright in fact that my mother in law asked if I had just had my hair highlighted!

I have thick, coarse highlighted hair and Extraordinary Clay rejuvenated my hair and worked a treat. My only reservation which would stop me buying the shampoo is the fact that it contains SLS. As I have scalp psoriasis, continued use of this shampoo would start irritating it. I would definitely consider buying the conditioner however. 

Have you tried this new range? 

Friday 3 June 2016

Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Body Lotion Review

I love almond scented products so I was really pleased when Weleda launched their Almond range, now I haven't tried all the products in this range (next on my list is the hand cream) but this Sensitive Skin Body Lotion does not disappoint in the slightest.

Weleda say 

A particularly mild formula, created using just a few, carefully selected ingredients, to calm irritation-prone skin and gently care for the skin
Soothing Almond Sensitive Skin Body Lotion enfolds your skin like a gentle embrace.

Just as the almond wraps its kernel in a protective shell, the Almond Sensitive Skin Body Lotion gently protects sensitive skin. The lotion with organic almond oil strengthens the skin’s own protective function and therefore defends against exposure to the elements. At the same time it provides long lasting moisture, thereby reducing feelings of skin tightness. Almond Sensitive Skin Body Lotion absorbs quickly, calms skin prone to irritation and helps to reduce redness. It restores the skin’s natural balance, for skin that feels silky soft.

My thoughts 

The product has been created with sensitive skin in mind but there is no reason why those with other skin types cannot use it. Texture wise it is a fantastically light lotion that absorbs fast and leaves skin feeling incredibly soft and smooth. I adore the fact that skin is left beautifully scented with freshly peeled almonds. And being Weleda there are no nasties. What is there not to love?

A perfect end to my bath/shower routine.

Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Body Lotion 200ml costs £13.95


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