Secret Art Basingstoke

Have you heard about Secret Art Basingstoke?

I’m not really one for inspirational Pinterest quotes. But I read one today that resonated;

Mothers who reach their breastfeeding goals are “lucky”, but not because they had no problems. They were lucky to be given accurate advice, practical support, and not just told to give up. Mothers don’t fail to breastfeed. Society fails to support them to do so.

Double negatives aside, I like this message because it doesn’t subscribe to;

a) Making people feel guilty for circumstance outside of their control.
b) Pitting mothers against mothers in the supposed breastmilk vs formula ‘war’.

I’m all for helping society support women to breastfeed, which is why I’m coordinating Secret Art Basingstoke, exclusively raising funds for NCT Basingstoke breastfeeding support.

Taking place between 23rd July and 3rd August 2018, Secret Art Basingstoke is an exhibition of hundreds of postcard-sized original works of art donated by artists, celebrities, dignitaries, graduates and illustrators. With no brief in medium or subject, the collection promises to be an eclectic mix of small but perfectly formed paintings, drawings and photographs.

The two week exhibition will be split across four spaces in Basingstoke town centre; THAT Gallery, Proteus Creation Space, The Discovery Centre and The Willis Museum (all hire costs have been generously waived by our venues – thank you all!). Our artist buddies from THAT Gallery will be holding art demos and workshops at the various locations to keep your little artists occupied, AND we’ll be running a scavenger hunt and junior postcard competition. Make sure you pop us on your list of ‘things to do during the summer holidays’ to be in with a chance of winning some beautiful prizes (kindly donated by Macmillan Publishers).

The entire collection will reunite at The Creation Space on Saturday 4th August, where every single postcard will be on sale for the affordable price of £20 each.

And the secret? The identity of the artist – you’ll only know who created your miniature masterpiece once you’ve bought it.

For a chance to get a sneak peek at the entire collection before everyone else, we’re holding a launch night on 19th July at Desklodge Basingstoke (venue kindly donated by Desklodge Ltd). The evening will include live music, art demonstrations and a charity auction with some AMAZING lots. Details and tickets will be available very soon – stay tuned!

If you have any questions regarding Secret Art Basingstoke, including how to becoming one of our sponsors, please head to, or drop us a line at

About NCT B.A.B.I.E.S

B.A.B.I.E.S is Basingstoke’s dedicated weekly breastfeeding counselling drop-in, providing evidence-based, impartial information, help and support. Fully qualified (DipHE) Breastfeeding Counsellors hold face to face drop-in sessions fifty weeks of the year, as well as offering telephone and email support. This service is completely free, and available to all parents and their children in Basingstoke. Since its inception in 2011, B.A.B.I.E.S has supported over 1000 parents. For more information on breastfeeding support in Basingstoke, including directions and opening times for B.A.B.I.E.S, head to the Hampshire Breastfeeding Counselling Facebook page.

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‘Juglife’ – One Night Only

The poster for new theatrical project ‘Juglife’ is pretty eye-catching. It features two topless women, save for a well-placed sippie cup, a Hooters mug, a breastfeeding doll and a man’s hand (whose hand?!) Lindsey Lawman and Stacy Hart are pretty brave. Either that, or they’re keen to sell tickets. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that it’s hard to ignore. And that’s just how Lindsey and Stacy like it.

Juglife is a brand new verbatim play focused solely on the subject of breasts. And before you ask, no, they will not be performing topless. As Lindsey Lawman points out:

“Naked boobs tend to draw focus away from what you’re saying. Or the fact you’re speaking at all. So we’ll definitely be wearing clothes.”

If you didn’t know already, verbatim theatre is based on the spoken words of real people. Having put the call out on social media for women interested in discussing the topic of knockers, Lindsey and Stacy trekked across the country recording their stories. From those interviews, the pair have created an evening of monologues, taking a light-hearted look at the trials and tribulations of boobs; tales of loving them and hating them, gaining them and losing them, and everything in between. The results have been surprising, illuminating, and occasionally heartbreaking. Lindsey Lawman explains:

“Breasts are body parts like elbows or knees. But unlike elbows and knees, they carry a host of narratives which (can) inform a woman’s entire identity. Breasts are sexual, comforting, funny, intimidating, offensive, limiting, nurturing, dangerous. They can be a source of anxiety, of confidence, of pleasure, and of pain. The women we have spoken to have been brutally honest about the impact their breasts have had on their lives. There was a lot of laughter (one women spoke about her enviable ability to breastfeed herself!) But there were also times when our hearts ached listening to stories of crushingly low self-confidence, of defeat, of loss. We are so tremendously grateful for their bravery in sharing their stories, and we have no doubt there will a real sense of shared experience among the audience.”

That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom – far from it. Lindsey and Stacy say they’re keen to step away from the oft repeated headline of ‘breast shaming’, and instead want to celebrate the complexity of the female experience through the wonderfully fleshy lens of boobs.

Performed at The Tea Bar as part of The Basingstoke Festival ‘Discover Art in Unusual Places’ (, Juglife won’t feel like the usual piece of theatre. The audience will be sat at tables (with crucial access to the bar to sample the specially created breast-inspired cocktails!) as the actors perform not on a stage, but from within the crowd. Alongside the monologues will be a little bit of boob bingo (who knew there was 100 words for breasts?) and a rack raffle (with appropriately themed boob prizes). A percentage of the evening’s proceeds will go to help support NCT Basingstoke breastfeeding support.

When they are not raising tiny humans or performing, Stacy heads up the Basingstoke branch of the Women’s Equality Party, and Lindsey works as fundraising co-ordinator for Basingstoke NCT. As part of a series of fundraising events for the breastfeeding drop-in (or B.A.B.I.E.S – Babies And Breastfeeding, Information, Encouragement, Support) ‘Juglife’ is swiftly followed by Secret Art Basingstoke, a postcard art exhibition and sale taking place between 23 July and 4 August.

You can see ‘Juglife’ at The Tea Bar, Basingstoke on June 20 at 7.45pm. Tickets (£7), available to purchase online at

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NHM Readers: Hampshire Doulas

Louise recently asked “I’m currently working on a post about local Doula’s. Do you have any recommendations of local Doula’s that you have met and “worked” with? TIA”

Thank you to Desiree and Lisa for the following information websites on local doulas:

Welcome to Hampshire Doulas

Thanks also to all those NHM readers who gave the following recommendations. In no particular order. 

Thank you also to Juliet who put this post together!!

NHM Reader Recommendations: Doulas

Lisa Ramsay

Lisa Ramsey – Confident Birthing

Beth said “Lisa Ramsey”

Karen said “Currently working with Lisa Ramsey. Confident birthing”

Lyndsey said “Lisa Ramsay is wonderful”

Desiree Rawson

Desiree Rawson

Bethan said “Desiree Doula Rawson”

Jill said “Desiree Rawson”

Karen Mitchell

Karen Mitchell – My Doula

Beth says “Karen Mitchell”

Wendy Wood

Wendy Wood – Relax for Birth

Shaneene said “Wendy Wood – incredible lady”

Laura Geary

Laura Geary

Rebecca said “Laura Geary – she was fab for me!”

Jane Barnfield

Jane Barnfield – Bright and Beautiful Maternity Care

Lisa said “Jane Barnfield”

Carly Lewis

Carly Lewis – Doula Fairy

Jenni said “Carly Lewis”

Nicky White

Nicky White – Berkshire Doula

Victoria said “Nicky White”

Charmaine Sala

Charmaine Sala Massage Specialist

Kirsty said “Charmaine Sala”

Aliceja said “I’ve not used her but I met Charmaine Sala at a mothercare event and she is really lovely and in training to become a doula this year I think”

Carla said “Charmaine Sala”

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We ARE keeping a “Sitting with Jane” bench in Basingstoke! WHOOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When the first 12 Lot’s (benches) started bidding at £3000 my first thought was “ah well, at least we’ve raised £1000 for Ark Cancer Centre Charity“.

My second thought was “PHEW!! I don’t need to work out what happens next if we win one!!!” Hahaha.

Then, Lot 13, “Girl Power” came on the screen and they started playing the Spice Girls in the background.

And I started to get a tingly feeling in my tummy…

The bidding started at £3K. Then it dropped to £2K. And then it dropped to £1K and I felt my hand shoot up into the air, with the bidding paddle.

Now, it’s a huge responsibility to bid with other people’s money and there was a LOT of expectation. Running a campaign like this is a huge honour and privilege, one which I don’t take lightly.

I was shaking ALL night.

Several of the benches raised £7K and I felt a teeeennny tiny bit out of my league.

Had it not been for Sue, Rachel and Cathy who came with me, I would have been a dribbling mess on the floor.

And then the Auctioneer said, “anymore bids?”…”Anymore?”…

Sue and Rachel were sat next to me and were clutching my arms and I LITERALLY didn’t breathe for about 5 minutes. At least that’s what it felt like.

“Going once”….

“Going twice”…..

And somebody put in a bid at £1250.


And that was it.

I thought it was all over.

I think I literally sagged in my chair.

I heard someone behind me bid for £1500. Then the bidding closed.

And then I got a text.

From Laura at The Topiary, who was sat at the back of the auction.

We had a conversation in the week that we would collaborate if things got a bit hairy in the auction and it didn’t look like either of us would get a chance of getting one.

And in her text it said “I’ll give you the £500”. “You can have it xxx”.

So, we got it!

“Girl Power”.

(Not the best pictures as I was STILL shaking at this point. However, I expect to see far better pictures of this bench in the future! lol).

Thank you!!!!

I need to say a HUGE thank you to the following people, without whom we never would have stood a chance.

My beloved husband, Mr NHM, whose encouragement and belief in my “crazy” ideas is never ending.

Sue – who took Miss NHM and I to see our first bench at the Walled Garden and got me caught up in this whole thing!! Your friendship and unfailing support means so much to me.

Rebecca at The Typeface Group who has been so supportive along this whole journey and who kept me going when I got back from holiday at the end of August and I thought I’d lost momentum.

Mark at The Ark for his brilliant support, enthusiasm and encouragement and Michelle for her wonderful support!!

Steve and Charlotte at Festival Place for their support and encouragement.

All of the NHM Ladies who believed we could do it and donated:  Wendy, CathyW, Lilian, LauraE, Zoe, Cathy, Karen, Lisa, Helen, Gisella, LauraW, Juliet, Emma, Sue, Sally, Mary, Sarah, Allison, Ceri, Katie, SueS, Victoria, Julie, Rebecca, Jules, Eleanor, Pauline, Michele, Jaz, Rachel, Natasha, Stephany, Kath, Sharon, Sarah, Claire, BeckyT, Lisa, Emily, Pam, Cat, Lyndsey, Rebecca H, Stephanie, Gillian. Thank you!!! You are ALL AWESOME!!!!!

Everyone who entered the competition and helped to raised the profile of the campaign. All of the children looked FANTASTIC!!!!

Mike O’Neil at Action Trophies for his very generous donation.

Nicky from Ma Humbugs Old Fashioned Sweet Shop for her generous donation.

John from Tidal Bay Crazy Adventure Golf for his VERY generous donation (£250!!!) about 30 minutes before the event started. STREEEESSSFFULLLL!!!!! Hahaha

Laura from The Topiary for her INCREDIBLE donation and without whom we never would have stood a chance of getting the bench.

Apologies if there is anyone whom I’ve missed off. I’ve barely slept a wink! lol.

What happens next?

Although I had a very strong feeling that we would get a bench, I hadn’t quite sorted out any of the details about what happens if we actually did!! lol.

I am looking to donate the bench to somewhere that people can still access the bench and where it will be indoors so that it lasts for a very long time. If you have any sensible suggestions please do let me know at

Otherwise it’s going on my Mum’s front drive! 😀 😀 :-D.

Also, if you know of anyone who might be able to help me move the bench as it needs to be removed by Monday (18th September), please do get in touch!!!!


I would really love to get a little plaque for the bench which will say:

“I dedicate this bench to all of the Mums, and their children, in North Hampshire”.

We did it.

Thank you!

You are all AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xx

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Keeping a “Sitting with Jane” bench in BASINGSTOKE!!!

Have you seen the “Sitting with Jane” benches that have been dotted all over Basingstoke and local areas in the past month?

Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if we could crowd fund one of them to stay in Basingstoke? So we could show our children that we all did something AMAZING together?

The NorthHantsMum Community and anyone else who would like to be involved, are working hard to raise money for one of the “Sitting with Jane” benches to stay in one of the local parks, maybe War Memorial or Eastrop Park, depending on whether Basingstoke and Deane council agree.

I am hoping the bench will be used by lots of people but also as a safe place where Mum’s can meet other Mum’s and children can meet other children. How cool would that be!!!!

(Crowd funding means that the money is only taken at the end of the 30 days, IF the project goes ahead. However, I’ve made the executive decision that ALL donations that are made will still go to the Ark Cancer Centre Charity, even if we aren’t successful in our bid.)

The NorthHantsMum Bench – June 2016

At the end of June 2016, just after the Brexit announcement, I had several friends who were struggling with certain aspects of their life.

I posted up the following status on my “Louise nhm Smith” profile and was completely blown away by the positive feedback that came back: “Good Afternoon Everyone! I have several “Mum” friends who are struggling at the moment. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather or the Brexit result or even England being out of the football, but if you are struggling at the moment, I want to send you a MASSIVE hug and ask you to reach out to someone and tell them. Don’t suffer in silence. Being a Mum is REALLY hard work at the best of times, but even harder when, for example, your baby has colic or the ground floor of your house has been flooded or you are on your knees with exhaustion. Somehow though, knowing that there are other Mum’s who are highly sympathetic, it makes it easier to get through. If you are struggling to find someone who will listen to you, let me know and I will see if I can help in whatever ways I can. Massive hugs to anyone who is struggling at the mo.”

That night I was chatting to Mr NHM about how I want to do something tangible to support local Mum’s and he came up with the idea of having a “Mum bench” in either Eastrop Park or the War Memorial Park.

It was such a brilliant idea and I started campaigning straight away. But a week or two later Miss NHM became quite seriously ill and that took over everything for nearly a year of our lives.

When my friend Sue mentioned about the “Sitting with Jane” bench trail at the beginning of August 2017, I didn’t really get it until we went to see the Walled Garden bench and the children LOVED it!

Then a few days later I had a spine tingling moment and thought about how awesome it would be if we could raise some money to keep one of the benches in Basingstoke after the trail closed, for everyone to use whilst raising money for an amazing cause…

So it’s all Mr NHM’s fault really! lol.


You can donate here:

All money raised will go towards the Ark Cancer Centre Charity, regardless of whether we are successful with our bid.

Even if you can only donate £1, this will go towards the bid for a chair at the auction will be taking place on Friday 15th September.

Every time someone makes a donation towards the campaign, I will post up a picture to NorthHantsMum FB Page of a local child sitting on one of the benches with the amount of the donation.

If you would like your child to be featured as part of the campaign, please email me their picture to, with some words that say you are their parent and are happy for their picture to be used.

Everyone who donates towards the bench will also have their name listed in this post and hopefully somewhere on the bench, although I don’t quite know how that will work yet! (If you would like your last name to be included, just to let me know).

If you are sponsoring as a business, a link to your business will also be included in this post.

This is going to be an AWESOME way for the community to come together to raise funds to keep a little bit of heritage right here in our town.

Everyone who has donated towards the bench…


Wendy D

Cathy W

Lilian K












My Mum


















Stephany C

Kath R










Rebecca H



Mike O’Neil at Action Trophies for his very generous donation.

Nicky from Ma Humbugs Old Fashioned Sweet Shop for her generous donation.

John from Tidal Bay Crazy Adventure Golf for his VERY generous donation (£250!!!) about 30 minutes before the event started. STREEEESSSFFULLLL!!!!! Hahaha

Laura from The Topiary for her INCREDIBLE donation and without whom we never would have stood a chance of getting the bench.

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Baby Weighing Clinics in Basingstoke (Last updated January 2018)


9.30am – 11.30am, Christ Church Hall, Reading Road, Chineham RG24 8LT – 1st & 3rd Mon of each month (breastfeeding consultant weekly)
1.30pm – 2.45pm, Gillies Health Centre, Sullivan Road, Brighton Hill RG22 4EH – 2nd & 4th Mon each month

9.30am – 11am, Odiham Cottage Hospital (Rosefield Day Centre), Buryfields, Odiham RG29 1NE – 2nd & 4th Mon of each month


10am – 11.30am, Gill Nethercott Centre, Whitchurch RG28 7HP – 1st Tues of each month
2pm – 3.30pm, Woolton Hill Surgery, Trade Street, Woolton Hill RG20 9UL – 3rd Tues of each month

2pm – 3.30pm, Hook Surgery, Reading Road, Hook RG27 9ED – 1st & 3rd Tues of each month


9.30am – 11am, Clift Meadow Pavilion, Minchens Lane, Bramley RG26 5BH – 2nd Weds in month, Stay & Play session
9.30am – 11.30am, Rooksdown Community Centre, Park Prewett Road, Rooksdown RG24 9RG – 3rd Weds each month
10am – 11:30am, Popley Fields Community Centre, Carpenters Down, Popley RG24 9AE – WEEKLY
10.30am – 12pm, Hatch Warren Community Centre, Longcross lane RG22 4XF – 2nd & 4th Weds each month
1.30pm – 3pm, Tadley Community Centre, New Church Road, Tadley RG26 4HN – 1st & 3rd Wedn each month (starting Mar 18)
2pm – 3.30pm, St Leonards Centre, Rectory Road, Oakley RG23 7ED – 1st Weds of each month


1.30pm – 2.45pm, Westside Community Centre, Paddock Road, South Ham  RG22 6QB – 1st & 3rd Thurs of each month
2pm – 3.30pm, Kingsclere Medical Practice, North Street, Kingsclere RG20 5QY – 4th Thurs of each month

1.30pm – 3pm, St John’s Church Fleet road, Hartley Wintney RG27 8ED – 2nd & 4th Thurs of each month


9:30am – 11am, Overton Community Centre, WInchester Street, Overton RG25 3HS – 3rd Fri each month
10am – 11.30am, Basingstoke Discovery Centre (town centre Library), Festival Place RG21 7LS – WEEKLY

9.30am – 11am, The HIVE, located in the Welfare and Community Centre (WACC) on Kersley Crescent, Odiham – 1st Fri of each month

Related Posts

13 Things to do in Basingstoke with a newborn

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The next “Baby and Me” classes – June 2017

“Thrilled to let u all know another course has been agreed…highly recommended for any mums with young babies. Feedback has been brilliant from previous course and looks fab”!

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Mama’s Meals

While you look after the baby, who looks after you?

That was a question that I couldn’t answer after I had my son Harry and so I set up Mama’s Meals, a meal delivery system for parents of newborn babies in and around the Basingstoke area.

I cook, freeze and deliver hearty meals using fresh ingredients with a focus on nutrition and wellbeing to parents who don’t have the time, energy or inclination to shop and cook but still want to eat healthily.


How Mama’s Meals was ‘born’

I set up Mama’s Meals after my first son Harry was born. Prior to his birth I followed a clean eating regime and exercised regularly, (I was at the gym the day before he was born!). However once Harry arrived, (three and a half weeks early!) this went completely out of the window and I struggled to find the time to eat anything at all! I survived on food that could be opened and eaten with one hand, mostly toast and biscuits; this did nothing for my post-natal recovery or my mood and I would have given my right arm for a home cooked meal with some vegetables!


Both my son and I have allergies so I’m highly experienced in preparing and cooking meals where extra care is required around ingredients and avoiding cross contamination. I apply the same principles when cooking for vegetarians and vegans. I really understand how important it is that allergies, intolerances or lifestyle choices are taken seriously and will take the utmost care when preparing your meals.

Mama’s Meals offers a healthy alternative to takeaways and supermarket ready meals which are often laden with hidden fats, salt, sugar and preservatives. The portion sizes of takeaways and shop bought ready meals often don’t leave you feeling satisfied and this way of eating can be very costly.

Delicious and nutritious

I focus on providing meals which are nutritionally dense and aid post-birth recovery. My meals are also ideal if you’re breastfeeding as they ensure that you receive a balanced meal with a healthy amount of calories and as many vitamins and minerals as possible. For example instead of using 100% potato mash I add in carrot and swede to increase the vitamin content whilst ensuring a great taste! I also sneak extra vegetables into items such as the tomato sauce in my lasagne, an easy way to hit your 5 a day.



Perfect for as long as you need

Even if you got the chance to cook and freeze some meals before you gave birth, (which I didn’t – I hadn’t even started maternity leave!) your freezer can only store so much. Mama’s Meals will provide you with home-cooked meals on a weekly basis for as long as you need and also offers a great range of meals so you don’t get bored.

Flexible meal choices

I offer a choice of lunches and dinners for you, you and your partner or for your entire family. You can choose to order meals for the entire week but if you fancy a takeaway at the weekend you can order less, (minimum of 5 meals per person, per week).

I deliver on a Saturday or Sunday so that you have meals for the coming week.

Good home cooked food

Mama’s Meals is not a diet program, it’s fresh, home-cooked food, frozen immediately to protect the nutritional content that aids post-birth recovery and breastfeeding and is the type of food I cook and eat at home.

For more information and to browse our amazing meal selection why not visit our website by clicking here

Or visit us on Facebook

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A NHM Reader’s Experience: Tongue Tie

This is a heartbreaking read. I can relate to so much of what is in this post because Miss NHM also had a posterior Tongue Tie and it wasn’t identified until she was 9 weeks old.

Reading today’s post has bought bank a lot of painful memories for me of that very difficult time but hopefully this Mum’s experience may help other Mum’s who are going through, or have been through, the same thing. The last sentence on this post is spot on.

Thank you very much to the anonymous reader for sharing her experience. I know it’s not easy writing something like this but hopefully it’s helped as part of the healing process.

If you would like to share your experience of anything to do with being a Mum or parent, please get in touch.

A NHM Reader’s Experience: Tongue Tie

Tongue tie, as a first time mum I had no clue what this was and the problems your little one can face from it. Throughout my pregnancy as like all mummies to be, I just wanted my baby to be healthy and arrive into the world safely.

However Tongue tie was one of the things no one had even thought to make me aware of, considering it is so common with apparently 1 in 8 babies being born with it and how easily it is to fix. Hopefully by sharing our story I hope more mummies are made aware of tongue tie.

On the arrival of my beautiful baby girl, I was put in a side room at the hospital. The midwife initially checked my baby could breastfeed and then I was left to it. We saw a health assistant once more briefly to check that everything was OK, the paediatrician quickly checked her over and we were given the all clear to go home.

On going home we saw the midwife for the follow up visits. On one of these, they weighed my little girl and found she had dropped weight but this was less then 10% so they were not concerned.

However on her five day check, we went to the clinic and on weighing her, it was found her weight had dropped further. As a new mum, five days post giving birth you are very emotional and it is the last thing you want to hear that your baby is dropping weight, rather then gaining.

At the clinic I saw two older midwifes and they asked me to show them how I was feeding her. This was an eeekkkk moment as I’m not a mum that is confident breastfeeding in front of people. However I knew I had to suck this up and get on with it, so I did.

On doing this, I was told immediately the way I was holding her was wrong and to hold her like a rugby ball under my arm. I was then asked questions about my milk supply and they came to the conclusion this was failing and told me to get some formula in!

I held myself together but on leaving the clinic and getting back to the car, the tears just rolled down as it was the worst thing I could have been told, that I was unable to feed my baby well enough and all I felt was that I was a complete failure.

That evening I tried to struggle through but feeling so low and with no real support on breastfeeding, I caved and sent my husband to Tescos at midnight to buy formula. All I could think was I was starving my baby who was crying and getting more frustrated as she was struggling to feed, so I had to get some milk in her someway. However this did not solve our problems and just brought on a whole load of different issues.

We started on formula and within days we had stopped breastfeeding altogether as she just couldn’t latch properly. We thought this was best and her weight started going up. The midwifes were happy and we were subsequently discharged from their care. We thought great our baby is now on the right tracks and all will be fine. How wrong could we have been!

In the subsequent weeks our little girl started to suffer with colic, reflux and projectile vomiting whenever she had a bottle. The colic was the worst as our poor girl was literally in pain and cried continuously for hours on end as she was just full of wind, to the point she would rattle with it.

We spoke to the health visitor who said to see the GP, so we did. I explained all her symptoms and I was just given medication to try to help settle her. At no point did the GP or health visitor check in her mouth to see that she had a good latch but it was a case of being told that babies do suffer from colic, sickness and reflux when being fed formula and that it would pass.

However the symptoms were just getting worse to the point that one day while I was home on my own, I had given her a bottle but she started to choke and turn blue.

This is honestly the most scary situation seeing your baby looking terrified as they cannot breath. I managed to get her to throw up and she started breathing again but was inconsolably crying.

I took her straight to A&E as my instincts knew there was something wrong with her and this was not normal. On arrival, I asked her to be booked in and told the receptionist what the problem was, she looked over the desk and commented, well she looks ok now, she’s breathing! I couldn’t believe this and politely but in a no messing with me tone, said that I still wanted her seen to regardless of the wait.

On seeing the nurse in triage, due to her age we were taken through to see the doctor. I again explained the situation and what had happened but they had no clue why she had choked and put it down to one of those things.

The doctor in A&E referred the details to a paediatrician and we were taken to the day ward for observation. They again checked her over and I explained what had happened. The consultant said it sounded like she had just choked and that this can happen when babies are so little as they don’t have a gag reflex yet. She said if it happens again to put her on her front and pat her back which should clear it.

Each time we saw someone we were asked if this was our first baby and when we said yes, the ‘look’ of oh they are first time parents worrying too much came out. As she didn’t do this again while we were there, we were sent home with the advice we had been given.

Over the months proceeding this, we struggled on and found ways to help stop the choking with reflux wedges and sitting her upright for an hour after a bottle. While we did this the next challenge we had was getting her to drink a bottle. Our poor girl was still suffering and we felt like we just had to struggle on as it would get better in time, as this was what we were being told repeatedly.

On taking her to her monthly weigh in, her weight was really starting to struggle. The health visitor at my local one looked at me and said oh her weight has dropped what are you doing with her, what’s happened to change this?

Again this is not what I wanted to be faced with, a question to make me feel as though I was at fault for my beautiful baby girl not gaining as much weight as she should. I replied to say nothing had changed but I was still having the same issues. A

gain no one thought to check in her mouth and it was put down to a blip and she would pick up again. I swiftly left the clinic, again feeling as though I had failed my baby girl. I hated going to the weigh ins after this, to the point I would work myself up beforehand so I decided to buy my own scales and do her weight checks myself at home.

On approaching four months old, her weight had dropped to between the 9th and 25th centile. She was also getting to the point she would only drink an ounce or two of milk at a time and then she would refuse anymore. I knew this was due to the pain it was causing her so I spoke to my health visitor but she didn’t really help and said to go and see her on the next weigh in.

I thought this is not right and I was so worried as I knew my little girl was suffering, I needed to find out what was causing it so I decided to google her symptoms. Normally I would never do this as it can give you so many horror stories and cause unnecessary worry but I had to see if there was any possibilities of what was wrong with her. On looking at the search it all pointed to tongue tie.

The helpful reference was this chart that listed out the symptoms: image2

From looking at this list, my little girl had all the symptoms so I wasted no time and booked her into see the GP. The GP checked her but wasn’t sure so asked the midwife at my practice to have a look. She first of all put a finger in her mouth to see what suction she had and the poor girl didn’t have any. They agreed the best thing to do was to refer her to the paediatrician at the hospital that dealt with this and go from there.

On speaking with his secretary on the Monday morning, she took my details and then asked how my baby was fed, I said by bottle and suddenly the tone of the call changed, where she informed me that the paediatrician only dealt with breastfed babies.

Even with me explaining that there was no possibility she could do this and how her health was suffering, I was told he may see her but it would be at his absolute discretion, plus I would have to wait three weeks for this honour.

On putting the phone down I thought to myself sod that, I’m not being made to feel like a second class citizen for bottle feeding my baby as she couldn’t breastfeed so I looked online for somewhere I could have her seen to privately. This is where I found a website that listed all the tongue tie practitioners in the country,

I looked through the list of practitioners in my local area and called Katherine. On speaking to her and trying to discuss the problems we were having, I just broke down on her and cried.

Katherine was great, she said she could certainly help and gave me an appointment for the following day at her clinic. On going to the appointment, after explaining the symptoms and looking at her weight chart, she looked in her mouth and confirmed she had a posterior tongue tie which was restricting her tongue by over 50%.

Katherine explained that posterior tongue tie is not picked up so easily as it is not visible but it was very easily treated. Katherine told me what she would do to release the tongue tie which involved one cut to the piece of skin with surgical scissors and that it would take less then a minute.

She asked me to leave the room while she did it and by the time I got to the waiting room and sat down, it was all over. One little snip with the scissors by a trained health professional was all that was needed. This cost £95 privately and I can’t tell you the relief that I felt knowing I wasn’t an over bearing first time mum and that my instincts were right. More importantly, my beautiful little girl would hopefully now start to overcome this and be out of pain.

Picture of her posterior tongue tie

Picture after the procedure

image3I will say this made a difference straight away. The colic and wind settled down as she was not sucking in air. The reflux also calmed down and choking stopped over the proceeding days.

However she had learnt to adapt to having a restricted tongue for the first four months of her life so she had to relearn how to use her mouth and the muscles with her tongue now freed.

This took several months to reeducate her but she is now a completely changed baby. She’s happy, no longer in pain and her weight is back up, which makes me one happy mum.

Looking back, I have such a mixture of emotions about what we went through as a family. From anger to pure sadness that my little girl was left to struggle and be in pain for the first four months of her life.

I also feel so let down by all the health professionals that saw her as no one picked this up sooner. Such a simple thing to fix but the problems and pain it caused her unnecessarily, when she could have been thriving and happy.

Ultimately I have learnt from this, that you should always trust your instincts as a mum, you know your baby best and don’t think you are worrying unnecessarily.

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New Drop-In’s for Breastfeeding Support!!!!!

drop-ins poster

Breastfeeding support in our area has some new drop-ins, one in Andover, Basingstoke and Eastleigh.

The new ones are being funded under a 6 month trial by Hampshire Hospitals but delivered by professionally trained breastfeeding counsellors.

Please come along for support with breastfeeding, no appointment necessary.

And share 🙂

NEW!! Every Monday

10 – 11.30am Blue Room, Sherborne Building, Basingstoke Hospital RG24 9NA

Every Tuesday

10 – 11:30am (NCT run) Spring Meadow Children’s Centre, Smannell Rd., Andover SP11 6JP

NCT Bumps & Babies Tuesdays Term Time Only 1 – 2:30pm Valley Park Community Centre, Eastleigh SO53 4ST

Every Wednesday

9:30am – 12pm (NCT run) Lantern’s Children’s Centre, Bereweeke Rd., Winchester SO22 6AJ

NEW!! Every Thursday

10 – 11:30am Conference/seminar room (near Peaches restaurant) Andover War Memorial Hospital, Charlton Rd., Andover SP10 3LB

Every Friday

10-11.30am (NCT run) Brookvale Village Hall, Lower Brook St, Basingstoke, RG21 7RU

NEW Every Friday 1 – 2:30pm (starts Sep 23rd) All Saints Church, Desborough Rd, Eastleigh SO50 5NH

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!