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How to make going back to work a success: Guest Post & Giveaway

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To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (1st-8th August, 2012), MilkChic is hosting lots of giveaways to give mums a boost. Today (a day late due to 3rd birthday celebrations at MilkChic Manor), Greatvine are offering one lucky reader a free call and follow up email worth up to £40 with their Mothers Returning to Work Coach, Joycellyn Akuffo.

Woman working on an airplane motor at North American Aviation, Inc., plant in Calif. (LOC)Here are some tips from Joycellyn Akuffo, Greatvine expert and founder and editor of Motherswhowork.co.uk on how to make going back to work a success:

Going back to work can be unnerving for a lot of mums – just how do you keep on top of the school run, extra curricular activities for the kids and work?

1. Make a plan
Planning is the key to every working mum’s success – without a plan, you plan to fail. So, get off to a good start by investing in a good diary, where you can keep track of the family’s important dates, and key dates for work so you don’t get caught short.

2. Use technology
Set reminders on your mobile phone so you don’t have to remember things – everything from birthdays, school plays and school assemblies should go into your phone, it’s a great way to keep on track…and it’s free to do.

3. Call in your favours
While you’ve been off work, you’ve probably helped out friends and family with one thing or another. Now’s the time to call in those favours. Speak to friends and family to see what they could do to help if your days comes a-cropper. For example, if there are train delays, could they pick up your toddler from nursery for you, or take in your child who walks home from school? Get to know who you can depend on (and help out), so it’s not a major panic when things go wrong…they will, sometimes.

4. Superwoman wore a cape…do you?
One of the perils of being a working mum is that you work and still come home to all the chores that need doing. Some days, you’ll have next to no energy to do anything, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. You are human, after all, and it can be more draining doing things for other people (your family) and working than we give credit for. Don’t feel like you’re useless just because you can’t keep your home pristine during the week like a Stepford wife.

5. A problem shared…
Delegation is a skill that every working mum needs. If you’re cooking, get your partner to do the homework with the kids. Or get them to read the toddler a bedtime story, while you do some chores. If you try to do it all, you’ll get half the work done if you’re lucky, and it will feel like you haven’t achieved much every day, which will demotivate you. Get your children involved – teach them how to tidy up after themselves and it will soon become a habit you don’t have to nag about.

You can do it…you may not have the whole cake to eat, but you’ll definitely get more than a slice if you have a plan.

Win a free call and follow up email worth up to £40:

If you’d like to win a one to one telephone call and e-mail with Joycellyn, just leave a comment below telling us what you most worry about / most look forward to about work. For a bonus entry, share this on Facebook or tweet the following on Twitter:

I want to win a @Greatvine 1-to-1 phonecall & e-mail for #mums returning to #work @MilkChic http://milkchic.co.uk/60017 #workingmums

Don’t forget to enter all the other World Breastfeeding Week Giveaways too!

Giveaway Terms & Conditions: UK only. Closing date: 22/08/2012, 23:59. No cash alternative. Winners will be drawn randomly from all entrants. If the winner cannot be contacted after 7 days, an alternative winner may be drawn.

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Win George at Asda vouchers for World Breastfeeding Week

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To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (1st-8th August, 2012), MilkChic has teamed up with lots of breastfeeding friendly retailers to give nursing mums a treat. Today, it’s the turn of George at Asda, who are giving away a £50 voucher to one lucky mum!

George at AsdaSince pregnancy, I’ve got a bit more adventurous with fashion. Where previously I was a dress for your shape kinda girl (in my case, empire line / 50s styles… anything that would make my boobs seem less of a liability), now I’m more likely to try new things. Getting dressed used to be a lot easier when I was certain what worked, but it’s a lot more fun now I’m not ruling out shapes on sight. I bought my first ever pair of skinny jeans in Asda when small one was a few months old and they stock loads of breastfeeding-friendly styles at affordable prices, so you can experiment with new looks without breaking the bank.

*Word to the wise: If you’re trying to budget, close your eyes as you go past the kids section. I seem unable to walk by without picking up something.

Here are my picks of the current range… Gorgeous prints in classic dress shapes:




Animal Print Cotton Summer Dress, £12
Button front for breastfeeding access

Floral Print Shirt Dress, £20
Shirt dresses are brilliant for breastfeeding access, and this is just gorgeous!

Moda Printed Jersey Dress, £16
The crossover neckline will stretch for breastfeeding access.

Funky flat shoes:




Bird Print Canvas Shoes, £8

Aztec Print Canvas Shoes, £8

Patent Contrast Ballet Shoes, £10

Something to keep in the baby bag for when the weather isn’t “quite” as summery as you’d hoped:

This Crown Print Pac a Poncho is a good shape for breastfeeding in – wear with anything underneath and just lift up to feed.

(Other designs are also available)

And finally, some breastfeeding friendly nightwear to curl up in at the end of the day:




Floral Print Jumpsuit, £10
Button front for breastfeeding access

Ruffle Trim Pyjama Top, £6
Button placket will stretch for nursing access. I’d wear this with the Animal Print Pyjama Bottoms, £6

Win a £50 voucher – what are your favourites?

For a chance to win a £50 George at Asda voucher, visit George at Asda and tell me in the comments below what you would buy. For a bonus entry, share this on Facebook or tweet the following:

I’ve entered to #win a £50 @georgeatasda voucher with @milkchic http://milkchic.co.uk/59541 #fashion

Good luck! You can find lots more breastfeeding friendly George at Asda fashion on the shop pages. Don’t forget to enter the other World Breastfeeding Week 2012 Giveaways too.

Terms & Conditions: Entries restricted to UK & Ireland only. Closing date: 18th August 2012, 23:59. Winner of 1 x £50 George at Asda voucher will be selected at random from entries. No cash alternative. If winner cannot be contacted after 7 days, an alternative name may be drawn.

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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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The winners are….

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The winners of the Clothing at Tesco competition, who will each receive £50 worth of vouchers, are…..

295 Victoria 223 Marianne Lindfield 195 Kevin Devine

Find more breastfeeding friendly Tesco clothing here!

The re-drawn winner of the Boden necklace giveaway is:

160 Yvonne Poole (@earthmommaof6)

The winner of the £50 New Look voucher giveaway is:

33 Fritha Strickland

And last but not least, the winner of the Mammae Nursing Bra giveaway is:

86 Fiona Gill
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