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Book Review & Giveaway: First-time Mum

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For World Breastfeeding Week 2012, I’m hosting a series of giveaways to celebrate. Today, I have 3 copies of Hollie Smith’s latest book, First Time Mum: Surviving and enjoying your baby’s first year to give away.

The book covers the first year of baby’s life, and starts with some great equipment shopping lists which are broken down into essentials, sometimes useful, and completely unnecessary items. I was sold on her criteria when I saw scratch mitts listed in the pointless section – I was given so many and they fell off within seconds!
(Word to the wise: If your child really needs them, and mine didn’t, socks are far more effective)

There are some great practical tips – a lot of those things you spend the first few weeks struggling with are covered here:

Dressing is a skill that can take a bit of practice. The key aim here is to put the garment on your baby, rather than your baby into the garment…

So simple when you know how! It also covers some of the bigger but less talked-about issues for new mums – the mum & baby groups, isolation and adjustment to the new role, baby blues and postnatal depression, and even a potential return to work. These are a bit hidden at the back of the book, but well written and useful.

There are a couple of mentions of Gina Ford schedules (vs demand feeding) and Cry It Out type sleep training, which made me cringe a bit, but I guess if I want to read a balanced, largely unbiased guide to the first year, then I can expect them to be mentioned. To be clear, they were mentioned, explained, but not recommended, and she did make it clear that most health professionals believe demand feeding is important for continued breastfeeding. Having read the recent research on CIO and the effect it has on brain development, it was interesting to know that although she used these sleep training methods with her own children, she would perhaps choose a gentler approach now.

And what of breastfeeding and feeding advice? It’s pretty balanced really. The advice is practical and direct, and I like her honest approach:

…while some women sail through the start of breastfeeding, for many, it’s no picnic. And it’s better to go into it with realistic expectations and then find it’s easier or more enjoyable than you thought, than imagine it will be some kind of rose-tinted rush, only to experience the absolute opposite.

The author has personal experience of feeding both ways and assumes that most mums will try to breastfeed and that some will then move to formula, which is statistically accurate for the UK. It was good to see instructions for making up a bottle safely too – I still don’t know how, and assume other parents are similarly clueless, plenty of whom actually need that information to look after their child.

All in all, a good read and one I would probably have appreciated before small one was born.

Win a copy of First Time Mum:
If you’d like to win a copy to read yourself, tell me what you would like / would have liked to know before your baby was born. For a bonus entry, either share the giveaway on Facebook, or tweet the following:

I’ve entered to win a copy of First Time Mum by Hollie Smith @MilkChic http://milkchic.co.uk/59425 #parenting #pregnancy #baby

Don’t forget to enter the other World Breastfeeding Week 2012 Giveaways too.

First Time Mum by Hollie Smith is available on Amazon for £8.35 (paperback) or £6.00 (Kindle edition). I received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

Giveaway Terms & Conditions: Restricted to UK & Ireland. Closing date: 18th August 2012, 23:59. Winners will be picked at random from entrants. No cash alternative. If the winner cannot be contacted after 7 days, an alternative may be drawn.

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Win A Crave Maternity Nursing Dress: World Breastfeeding Week

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World Breastfeeding Week is 1st-8th August 2012 and to celebrate, MilkChic has teamed up with lots of breastfeeding friendly retailers to give nursing mums a treat. Today, Crave Maternity are giving away a gorgeous dress, that will stretch from the first weeks of pregnancy right through until you finish breastfeeding!

Pregnancy is a great excuse to shop, but if money is tight it’s hard to justify buying a whole new wardrobe for less than 9 months wear. You can reduce the guilt, and the strain on your purse-strings by picking breastfeeding friendly items that you can continue to wear in the months after baby is born*.

*I am acutely aware that if pregnant me had read that last sentence, I would have been horrified… wear maternity clothes? For MONTHS after I give birth??! But you will… so they might as well be nice.

Sod’s law also dictates that you will need to attend a christening, wedding, or similarly dressy event within 8 weeks of your baby’s birth. If you are breastfeeding, you will then need to buy a flattering, breastfeeding-friendly outfit for a body you haven’t yet adjusted to and which will helpfully continue to shape shift hourly, and you’ll need to find it with a squealing newborn in tow. MilkChic is obviously the destination website for this kind of dilemma… but having a versatile dress in your wardrobe that will cover the crossover from pregnancy to new mum is a godsend – you might even get to wear it a few times before maternity leave too!

Crave Maternity are giving away the French Navy Panel Nursing / Maternity Dress worth £75, pictured above to one lucky winner. The dress is made of soft, stretchy jersey and includes a panel just over the belly which allows for nursing, making it a great investment piece.

To enter the giveaway, visit the Crave Maternity website and then leave a comment below telling me what your favourite item is from their range.

For a bonus entry, share this giveaway on Facebook, or tweet the following on Twitter:

I want to win a @CraveMaternity #maternity & #breastfeeding dress with @MilkChic http://milkchic.co.uk/59453 #WorldBreastfeedingWeek

Crave have lots more breastfeeding friendly maternity styles. This is what I would choose!

This Taupe Tea Dress is stylish, easy to throw on and will work for day or evening – just change accessories to completely change your look. The stretchy crossover front will give nursing access, while the flattering shape will skim the wobbly bits.

After baby is born, a nursing vest like the Amoralia Shapewear Nursing Chemise will give you extra body confidence

You can also get 20% off at Crave Maternity with code: NEWMUM until 31st August 2012. You can find some more breastfeeding friendly Crave designs here.

Giveaway Terms & Conditions: Entries restricted to UK & Ireland only. Closing date: 13th August 2012, 23:59. Winners will be chosen at random from entrants and announced at http://www.milkchic.co.uk. No cash alternative. If initial winner cannot be contacted after 7 days, we reserve the right to draw an alternative.

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