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Beside You photoshoot, Baby Sensory and a walk in the woods

In contrast to Tuesday, Thursday was bloody brilliant – busy, but brilliant!

Firstly, the weather was lovely. It was a proper spring day with the sun shining, a gentle breeze and it was warm enough just to wear a jumper. I really love days like this – they make me feel alive!

So anyway, usually on a Thursday we go to Baby Sensory but this week, I had signed up to do a mini photoshoot for #BesideYou beforehand.

#BesideYou is a local breastfeeding campaign in Medway with an aim to encourage more mothers in the local area to breastfeed by providing advice and support.

Currently Medway is below the national average for breastfeeding with 2/3rds of mothers stopping breastfeeding by 6 weeks and when I learnt this I was really surprised but it suddenly made something make sense. A few weeks ago I took Jack to the doctors and the doctor had assumed he was being bottle-fed and looked really surprised when I said he was bf (have shortened it as can’t be arsed to keep typing it!). Clearly I am a rarity around these parts but what a shame as I really enjoy it and I imagine a lot of other mothers do too so I hope that by joining in with this, I help encourage someone else to give bf  a go!

So for the 10min shoot, we went to the lovely Cafe Nucleus on Chatham High Street where lots of mums and their babies were already waiting. I’d never been there before but it’s tucked slightly off the High Street and is a little haven of loveliness – I was especially impressed by the individual cotton hand towels in the toilet (you are unlikely to even find somewhere to dry your hands in Chatham!).

Everyone was so welcoming once we were inside. The #BesideYou ladies introduced themselves and explained what they did and a bit more about what they were hoping to achieve and offered us (both me and James) whatever we wanted to order from the café.  Lots of people came over to coo over Jack (because he is just adorable) and before long it was our turn!

The photographer was a local lady called Jessica Richardson and she was wonderful. Jack started to get a bit fussy where he was tired almost as soon as it was our turn to be photographed but she was really patient with us. After a few shots both inside and outside, Jack still was unsettled so she suggested that we paused for a bit until he was calmer and then she would take some more of him in a bit. So that’s what we did and in the end Jack was the perfect little model!

It was really lovely not to feel or be rushed and from the sneek peek of the shoot Jessica posted on her Facebook, she took just the loveliest photo of me and Jack so I am really happy and can’t wait to see some more! It was also great to see other women openly breastfeeding because although I know people who have done it in the past, I’m the only one I know doing it at the moment – it was very empowering!

Now just quickly, you might think it was weird for James to come to a breastfeeding event with me but, as we have with everything in our relationship (we’ve been together for nearly 12 years now), we do things as a team and this is no different. I might have the actual boobies but James is the one who fetches me a drink or something to eat whilst I’m feeding Jack, or finishes off the dinner when Jack needs a feed half way through cooking. He comforts Jack when he decides he’s hungry just as I’m about to eat my dinner (how do babies know this!) so I can wolf it down quickly and don’t have to have yet another lukewarm meal. James is every bit a part of my breastfeeding experience so why wouldn’t he come along?! Noone batted an eyelid that he was there and everyone was as welcoming to him as they were to me. We are lucky in that James’ shift patterns allow him to do some weekday things with us every so often, but I am sure a lot more Dads would come along to events like this to show their support if they could.

So the whole event was great – thank you so much #BesideYou, to Jessica and to Cafe Nucleus for having us!

I would have stayed longer and chatted to some more people but we had our Baby Sensory class to get to! I’m not sure who enjoys these classes more – me or Jack – but we’ve been going since he was 4 weeks old and I think they are great fun and a good reason to get out of the house. This week is “messy play” so I shall write a bit more about it later in the week (Jack permitting!).

We rounded off our lovely family day with a trip to Shorne Woods Country Park in the afternoon which I think is one of my favourite places to go. It’s beautiful there and I can’t wait to take Jack when he is bigger so we can go exploring in the woods, looking for magical creatures, jumping in muddy puddles and collecting leaves, twigs and pinecones! (Part of the woods is under threat however from the proposed new Thames crossing but fingers crossed they decide on one of the other routes – say No to Option C people!)

Jack was asleep for most of our walk but woke up for a feed so we found a bench tucked just off the main path which overlooked a valley filled with trees and had a great view so I fed him there out in the open! It was wonderful – I felt all empowered, free, and so alive. It was like being all at one with nature, especially feeling fresh woody air in my lungs, the breeze through my hair and the sun on my face!

I felt so happy after such a lovely day that on the walk back to the car I spread out my arms, looked up at the sky through the tree branches and spun round and round like children do! To anyone watching I must have looked like a complete loon but I felt amazing and couldn’t stop smiling!

Happy days!! 😀

For more information about #BesideYou, visit: http://besideyou.abettermedway.co.uk

For a lovely family photographer, I really recommend Jessica Richardson as she was brilliant and is very talented. Jessica’s details can be found here: https://www.jessicarichardsonphotography.co.uk/

For a great place to feel alive, visit: http://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/kent-country-parks/shorne-woods-country-park

And if you are hungry whilst in Chatham visit: http://cafenucleus.co.uk

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