Guest Blog from Cheeky Tinkers Maternity… Babies & Sleep!

My name is Louise Callear, and I am a qualified Maternity Practitioner and Gentle Baby Sleep Coach. I offer a
wide variety of packages which focus on helping parents in that fourth trimester and beyond. The most
popular topic for which I am contacted for, is most definitely sleep.
So, of course this blog will be all about just that! Let us start at the beginning, from when you bring your new
bundle home, and you are thrust into your new role as parents. It can feel so overwhelming, it can sometimes
feel like you are ushered on your way without any real guidance or real expectations of what is about to
happen in those first few months. So, what I like to call, the fourth trimester, is often the hardest part of that
new-born period and it can leave us feeling utterly exhausted and in a haze of feeding, pooping and baby sick!
It is hard to see the light at the end of that tunnel when you are in the thick of it, but it is completely normal to
feel a multitude of feelings along with sheer exhaustion, highs and lows, tears and laughter and a bunch of other stuff too.


It is important to stress that those first few weeks, the first month even, is spent getting to know your new-born baby, establishing feeding, whether that is bottle or breastfeeding, and equally as important, is resting and recovering from labour and from your own personal experience. You can absolutely say “No” to visitors in those first 2 weeks, as you are within your right to be in your bubble with you partner and your new baby. It is something that I would suggest doing as you spend your time as a family for the first time. It is such a special bonding time for you all. Soaking up all that skin to skin, laying in your bed, take naps when baby sleeps and just enjoying it.

There is a lot you can do in those first months also, which will help encourage longer periods of sleeps between feeds and which will help you get some rest and recuperation. Firstly, creating a great sleep environment and some positive sleep associations is a start. What does that entail? As your baby becomes a little older and your feeding is going well, you may start to notice that you have begun to fall into your own pattern, with similar feed times and perhaps similar sleep times even. If you are not, it’s not that you are doing anything wrong, there really is no right or wrong when it comes to being a parent, you find your own groove and what works for you. But also, what this does not have to mean, is that you are continuously surviving on the bare minimum of sleep. Sleep is indeed possible. It will of course be broken sleep as your baby will most definitely be waking for feeds in the night at this stage, but you can still get that quality rest in between those times.

Creating a good sleeping environment, so what does that involve?

Creating a good sleeping environment, so what does that involve?

  • A clear and safe sleeping space in your room firstly. You do not need to fill your babies sleep space with blankets, teddies, or pillows. The Lullaby Trust is a great organisation which can offer a wide variety of information regarding safe sleeping for your baby.

Your baby should also be placed with their feet at the foot of the bed. (See below)

  • Ensure your babies room is an accurate temperature for your baby to sleep well and comfortably. An ideal temperature according to the Lullaby Trust is between 16-20 Celsius.
  • Try making your babies room nice and dark, in order, for your baby to sleep soundly. The reason for this is that when the room is dark, your baby will produce a small amount of melatonin which is the hormone that helps you to relax and drift off to sleep. It is not essential to have your baby sleeping in a dark room for all naps, but potentially one big afternoon snooze and your baby’s bedtime snooze.
  • White noise is also an option which you can use in your babies sleep space. This is a familiar sound for new-born babies as it is said to mimic those sounds your baby heard inside of the tummy. There are many ways of introducing white noise alongside your babies sleeps, and you can choose a white noise machine or simply get a white noise app and download to your phone or device! See below some of my recommendations:


  • Swaddling in those early months can help your baby sleep soundly between feeds too. Swaddling can offer that reassurance and comfort and familiar environment which your baby felt inside the uterus. Security, warmth, and safety. See my recommendations below.

When discussing sleep with those families who come to me seeking support and guidance, it is typically around 8 weeks onwards. I would always discuss creating that perfect sleep environment firstly, either by seeing it first-hand or by discussing over the phone. I will ask questions regarding your babies feeding pattern and sleeping pattern so far and how and where baby goes down to sleep. One of the most popular question I am asked is… “When is a good time to introduce a bedtime routine?” and the answer is subjective. You can start creating that sleep environment, encourage those great sleep habits from as soon as 4 weeks old if you choose. Each baby is capable of different things, sleep lengths, awake lengths, and feed amounts. I always stress that there is no, one size fits all approach. I request a complete routine/guide of what is happening during a typical day and night for your baby and I will sit and go through that information and look at what quick changes we can make firstly before getting into talk of a sleep plan. One of the fundamentals that you would look at as part of your routine and things that may make a huge difference to your current routine is those nap gaps. Also known as awake times, or awake windows, the time spent awake between your babies feed and nap times.

Often one of the causes in unsettled, fractious, and difficult babies, is overtiredness. We can get confused with just how long your baby is capable of remaining awake and we just are not given that information which is in fact one of those hugely common factors of wrongly diagnosed colic babies, when in actual fact they are extremely overtired which also presents itself in a similar way. Your baby may refuse to feed, cry for most of the time, struggle to sleep at all or for just short periods only. Your baby may just appear to be extremely difficult, when in fact, you just do not know about the sleep science behind those potential reasons, which is not your fault at all but because no one tells you any of this once you leave the hospital.

This is my focus, and my driving force behind helping those families in the fourth trimester and beyond. I will leave you fully equipped and armed with all the knowledge along with these important facts, for you to then make your own informed choice when it comes to improving your current situation. The response is always overwhelming with most parents saying they had no idea of those fundamentals and they wish they had been told when leaving the hospital….

To Be Continued……

Follow Louise on Instagram @Cheekytinkers_maternity


Third Trimester

For me personally the third trimester was the hardest of the three. I think this is mostly because I finally felt like I needed to slow down a bit and I am definitely not a “slow down and take it easy” kinda gal!

To be honest I really put up a good fight against slowing down, but at 30 weeks the tiredness you experience during the first trimester can really kick back in and force you to take a minute.

I used all my willpower to continue my work outs 2-3 times per week until I was 39 weeks pregnant, reducing the intensity down to doing long walks mixed with yoga classes and low impact hit training for the final two weeks. But this would often be all I could manage in a day and I would end up sitting in the sun with an iced coffee and a good book for the rest of the day. On the days I didn’t train I would tackle a little house work to get myself moving instead.

BRING ON THE Third trimester SYMPTOMS!

If you have escaped any major symptoms so far then you are one lucky lady… but brace yourself! Even though I had such an enjoyable pregnancy from start to finish and rarely complained, I did turn into a bit of a “Moaning Mertle” from 35 weeks pregnant onwards. There is no way you can grow a tiny human to full term and not really start to ‘feel it’ in the final month or two. But I genuinely really enjoyed seeing my bump get bigger, and feeling my baby’s kicks getting stronger.

Here are a few symptoms that affected me personally during my third trimester…

  • Heart Burn – Now I did mention this symptom during my second trimester blog post but it can ramp up further during the final trimester and that is what happened to me. I really had to pay attention to what I was eating to avoid it flaring up.  
  • Rib pain – This was the only symptom that really got me down. Baby River’s feet were tucked up like a little buddha underneath my ribs, so therefore my ribs had to move out of the way and widen quite significantly as he grew. This caused a constantly strong dull ache in my ribs followed by sharp pain that could go on for quite some time when he would wake up for a wriggle. If you suffer from this my advice would be to see a pregnancy specialist chiropractor to help ease the pain. Try using a cold compress on the area to encourage baby to wriggle down away from the cold spot giving you some temporary relief. When it get’s too sore try to get yourself moving, when you move it encourages baby to move too and sometimes that little adjustment makes all the difference. I’m not going to lie, rib pain is super jarring to deal with but as soon as River was born the pain was instantly gone and it was all worth while 
  • Piles – For some reason I got really worried about this happening to me during pregnancy. I think because I had heard that the only way to get rid of piles is to have an operation, therefore the recovery would be out of my control. Full transparency; I have one fookin bastard pile that I noticed at around 37 weeks pregnant! No, I’m not happy about it Lol, but I can live with it, it doesn’t bother me at all and me and Tony laugh about it as I was so determined not to get them.
  • Back Ache – It is no surprise that with carrying around an extra stone or two your back will begin to twinge or ache on a daily basis. Mine hurt the most when I was in the car driving or sitting in the same spot for too long. Tony treated me to an awesome electric massage machine that really helped relieve some of the tension.  Perhaps you could treat yourself to a pregnancy massage to help with the problem and also to give yourself some “me time” in the run up to your little one’s arrival.
  • Thrush – So this was a new one for me, pre pregnancy I had never once suffered with thrush however during my third trimester I had it twice. This is caused by hormonal changes and is easily treatable with over the counter creams. But be wary you can pass it onto your partner so no sexy time until it has gone. To be on the safe side both of you should use the treatment.
  • Constipation –  I mean isn’t this list just dreamy Lol … Yep so this one wasn’t ideal, when everyone tells you that pushing a baby out is like pushing out a huge poo and you start to struggle to do that you genuinely start to panic. I mean how am I going to push a baby out when I can’t even push out a damn poo Lol. For me a big bowl of fruit would do the trick, failing that prune juice is tried and tested!

These were my personal list of third trimester pains in the ass (literally). But the third trimester can come with many other symptoms such as swelling, head aches, stretch marks, urine infections, oily & spotty skin, dizzyness, trouble sleeping.

I think with this phase of pregnancy yes the symptoms start to ramp up, but the thing that made it all okay was that I was on the home stretch. I wasn’t that far from meeting my little bean. I kept reminding myself to try to enjoy the slower pace whilst I could, even if slowing down isn’t my normal vibe.  


pelvic floor training

Pelvic floor training was something I took very seriously during pregnancy. At 8 weeks pregnant I went to see a women’s  physiotherapist  to get an assessment on the strength of my pelvic floor and a measurement for my abdominal muscles. This allowed me to know exactly where my pelvic floor strength was at as a starting point.  I really upped the regularity of my exercises during my third trimester. Both my mum & my aunt suffered with post birth bladder problems and it played on my mind heavily during my pregnancy so I did my best to avoid the same fate. I started off with gently focusing on my pelvic floor more during my yoga classes. Then I started doing a daily squeeze workout, but to be honest I would often forget to do it! However, just before lockdown I went to ‘The Baby Show’ in London where I discovered a new brand called Elvie; they make breast pumps and also pelvic floor trainers. The pelvic floor trainer is genius and it worked really well for me. It a small soft egg that you insert into your vagina, it connects to an app on your phone that takes you through a 5 minute work out that gets harder over time as you built strength and control. It logs your progress on the app so that you can track how you are doing. It was great for me as I would take the time to go somewhere private and quiet to do my work outs without distraction, where as before when I was just doing my squeezes randomly throughout the day it would often end up with me being distracted or not completing my pelvic floor training goal. Instead I would end up answering that whatssap message or forgetting I was even doing it. 

I would say my pelvic floor was very strong towards the end of my pregnancy, tracking my progress allowed me to be confident I had prepared enough for delivering my baby. But, due my long pushing phase during birth, unfortunately it still caused some damage to my pelvic floor and bladder. I cant imagine what state I would be in had I not done any work at all on my pelvic floor during pregnancy. 


The third trimester is definitely the time to embrace the bump! The female body is absolutely incredible… I loved the experience of watching my belly grow week by week and I was in awe of seeing my baby poke his little limbs out through my skin for a stretch every day. I was very keen to have a pregnancy photoshoot at around 37 weeks when my bump was a good size and I still felt a little sexy and hadn’t quite hit the “feeling like a whale” stage yet. I booked my first shoot with Anna Fowler as she is a photographer who’s work I have always admired seeing on Instagram. Then I was blessed enough to have two photographers ask to shoot me as well. The first was Lazara Storm from Zips & Jpegs who captured some amazing images in our home of both me and Tony. Secondly Amanda Akokhia who captured some stunning images for me in her studio. Each shoot had a different look and feel, so I ended up with three separate shoots that I can always look back on remember how special it was to be carrying my son for 9 months and how happy Tony and I were during my pregnancy.

I would definitely recommend booking a professional photoshoot if you can! But if you cant afford it then don’t fret as you can take some beautiful images on your phone these days. Take your time to do your hair and make up properly, find a room at home with great natural light or get out into your garden or a beautiful lavender field and snap away.  You can play with floaty fabric with a fan on you, get some underwear pics with you caressing your bump. I promise you, you wont regret documenting this moment in your pregnancy and having pretty images for you to look back on.

The other thing we did to document my bump was a belly cast. Tony and I did it together and we both got really into it, giggled a lot and made a mess, so it was a lovely intimate thing for us to do together. You can order the kits online, they only take about an hour to do and the end result is pretty cool!

Colostrum Harvesting

Whether you intend to breast feed or not it is said that Colostrum harvesting is a must if you want your baby to get that liquid gold goodness and the best start in life. I started harvesting when I was 37 weeks pregnant, it isn’t recommended to do it any sooner as it can induce labour.

I have to say I found this task to be a two man job… and one that Tony and I giggled about the first few times whilst we tried to master the collection technique!

In my personal opinion colostrum harvesting is a must! It contains vital properties that develop your babies immune system and helps to colonise the baby’s gut with healthy bacteria that protect against allergy and disease.

It contains the ideal balance of proteins, fats and micronutrients needed for babies as well as acting as a laxative to help the passing of the first tarry meconium poops!

How to hand express:

  • To start wash your hands before expressing or you can have a hot shower, a warm bath or apply a warm flannel compress to your breast to help the flow of colostrum.
  • Get comfy… I would always like to sit on the sofa with a cushion behind my back.
  • Start with a gentle breast massage, stroking from the back of your breast towards the nipple to encourage the let-down reflex.
  • Next you will put your thumb above the nipple and your first few fingers below the nipple. You will be cupping the breast in a ‘C’ shape.
  • With your thumb and fingers, feel a few centimetres back from the nipple.
  • Press back towards your chest, then compress (press your fingers together), and release.I would also get successful production from giving a gentle squeeze either side of my nipple.
  • Repeat this process, building up a rhythm. Press, compress, release.
  • Get your partner to collect the colostrum using a sterile syringe (Amazon).
  • Next store them in the freezer ready for taking them to the hospital with you when you go into labour. 
  • You tube has plenty of useful videos demonstrating this technique in more detail so have a look online.

I’m not going to lie it feels super time consuming for not much reward! On some days it would take me 40 minutes just to produce 0.3 mls. However, once River was born on days one to three, I continued to hand express colostrum in between feeds and at this point I was filling the syringe to the top which was a lot more rewarding. We took five syringes from the freezer to the hospital with us when I went into labour. Tony gave them to River whilst I was getting some post birth medical attention, so they really came in handy. Overall my advice is persevere with the colostrum harvesting and anything you can collect is amazing for your baby so it is totally worth it.


The third trimester is when shit gets real and you start to think to yourself “Holy shit i’ve actually got to get this baby out of my body”. This happened to me when we had around 8 weeks to go. This can be quite an overwhelming thought and fear can take a hold of you real quick! Try not to spiral out of control, in fact I actively did the opposite. I took control of my fear and I was pro-actively and  deliberately positive.

I watched positive birth videos on Instagram, read my birth plan with Tony, I practiced my hypnobirthing breathing techniques, did some yoga and meditation. But one of my biggest tips is… print off some of your favourite birth affirmations and stick them onto your fridge door so that you see them every single day. Just reading those reassuring and positive little quotes every time I popped to the fridge  (which was often Lol) helped me to feel more prepared on a subconscious level. I also put a print out in my hospital bag and during labour whenever I said something a little negative such as “I cant do this” Tony would reply with the appropriate affirmation to steer me back on track. It turned out he had also been learning them from seeing them on the fridge and he was equipped to help me stay focused and positive on the day.

So there you have it my personal experience of the third trimester! Some of the other things I did whilst in the last few months of my pregnancy were…

Organising my “new mum wardrobe”. It occurred to me that the clothes that worked for my bump weren’t necessarily the clothes that worked for breast feeding. So, in my last few weeks I started packing away my non breast feeding friendly clothing and putting it into storage making room for any garments that had easy access to the boobies!

Tony and I ensured we got in a few date nights and I arranged catch up brunches and lunches with my close friends and family. I figured it would be a good idea to ensure I was up to date with all my nearest and dearest lives whilst I could still give them my full attention. I know from experience when my friends have had babies that it is  pretty difficult to have a fully focused conversation over lunch with a demanding newborn in attendance. 

Next Sunday I will be uploading the blog post many of you have DM’d me about… My birth story. So check back Sunday lunch time!

Shanie Xx