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


Breast Feeding for first time Mama’s

Breast Feeding for first time Mama’s

So many of you asked for this blog post instalment, but I was VERY reluctant to speak about such a personal and important part of my journey as a new mummy until I felt like I had personally nailed it and could speak from experience. Let me start by saying, i’ve yet to speak to a new mum who has found breastfeeding a walk in the park, so if you are having any difficulty no matter how big or small then please know that you are not alone.

From the time I fell pregnant I instinctively knew that I wanted to exclusively breast feed my baby. I was determined to push past any problems to ensure that me and my baby could have a positive bonding feeding experience. So I think that is a good place to start, I believe having that time during pregnancy to read about breastfeeding from the experts and tapping into real life experiences from other mums online, allowed me to be mentally prepared for the potential problems with breastfeeding before the birth and the baby blues kicked in. Doing my research allowed me to know exactly what I wanted for me and my son and to be firm in my determination to make it happen. I also made a promise to myself to never quit breastfeeding on a bad day. 

During my personal breast feeding experience we tackled an undiagnosed double anterior tongue tie 100% which is basically the worst type of tongue tie he could have. We tackled nipple thrush; which is quite simply as painful as child birth, and we continue to tackle reflux. I have to be authentic here and tell you that the first 3 months of breastfeeding were really tough at times. There were moments that my nipples were so painful that I would procrastinate in feeding him even when he was crying for food. It was so I could try to psych myself up for the 20 minutes of complete agony ahead. BUT… I am pleased to share that right now I am having the most wonderful bonding experience with my son, and I am loving every moment of nourishing his little body with my breast milk. I am also pleased to report that I am pain free.

So with that said, I wanted to share my quick guide to breastfeeding having now survived everything that could go wrong… going wrong!

"Do Your Research"

Thanks to lockdown 1.0 I had plenty of time to “read the baby books”. So when it came to breastfeeding I chose a book that has been around since 2009 and continues to receive great reviews. It is written by author and midwife Ina May Gaskin and it is based on decades of her experience in caring for pregnant women, mothers, and babies. The book covers helpful advice, medical facts, and real-life stories that will help you understand how to breastfeed successfully and how you can use it to more deeply connect with your baby and your own body. It also covered subjects such as weaning and breastfeeding challenges along with how to overcome them. This book gave me confidence going into breastfeeding which I believe is half the battle already won. 

I also used Instagram and blogs not too dis-similar to this one to tap into other new mums experiences. I didn’t want to go into this believing it was all going to be a fairy tale bonding session, I wanted to be realistic.


Let me just begin by saying that lactation consultants are worth every single penny spent on them! Now i’ve cleared that up, let me share with you exactly why I make that statement.

Within 24 hours of River being born I spotted what I suspected was a tongue tie. Whilst in hospital I flagged my concerns with the midwife on the ward, the midwife who did his 9 point check and also with the on site breast feeding “expert”. Every single person who checked him said he did not have a tongue tie, he was latching well and appeared to be feeding sufficiently so there were no concerns. My motherly instincts were simply brushed aside. Fast forward one week, at this point my nipples had become sensitive, red, cracked and sore, so when I was back in hospital to deal with some post birth complications I asked one of the midwives to check him, once again I received the exact same response. Fast forward another two weeks… my nipples have turned white in colour, there is a weird flaming pattern on my areola, it is literally painful to wear a bra and to shower and I am wincing every time River latched. To be quite honest, I was dreading every single feed. At this point my partner reminded me that I had actually researched a lactation consultant during pregnancy just in case we needed help, so he insisted that I book an appointment. Katherine Fisher ( was an absolute godsend. Within 2 minutes of our arrival she confirmed that not only did River have a tongue tie, he had a double anterior tongue tie that was 100% in its severity. She said it was shameful that so many medical professionals had missed this but that it is sadly a very common story. She said  “it is a miracle that either of you are managing to breast feed”. I cannot tell you how relieved  I was that someone had diagnosed the problem and could instantly help us. Tongue tie is extremely common and occurs in approximately 11% of newborn babies. The NHS lists all of the signs to look out for and confirms that not only can tongue tie cause problems with breast feeding but it can also cause problems with eating certain foods and speech problems later on in your child’s life. (

Depending on who you speak with there may be denial that tongue tie causes speech issues, but it is listed as a concern on the NHS website and plenty of people from our parents generation will claim that a speech problem was eventually linked to an undiagnosed tongue tie. 

Katherine snipped Rivers tongue tie on the spot, within seconds I noticed the difference. Previously Rivers average feed time was 45 – 60 minutes long, following the procedure he did a full feed in 15 minutes. He was so much happier in himself and it was so cute watching him discover his tongue being able to move and poke out for the first time. I genuinely would recommend that every parent with even the slightest suspicion that their baby might have a tongue tie get it checked out by a trained lactation consultant, Midwives and post natal healthcare professionals are sadly not trained in tongue tie diagnoses or treatment hence why so many get missed. Trust me going private is worth every penny! The NHS does have a referral system but that can take up to 8 weeks and they will only treat baby if the baby cannot feed because of it, sadly there seems to be less concern for mothers comfort or potential future speech issues within the NHS. 


  • Itchy or burning nipples that appear fiery red, shiny, flaky, and/or have a rash with tiny blisters.
  • Discolouration of the nipples – turning bright red or completely white.
  • Cracked nipples.
  • Shooting pains in the breast  tissue during or after feedings.
  • Intense nipple or deep breast pain that is not improved with better latch-on and positioning.

These are all common symptoms of nipple thrush… firstly breast feeding is NOT supposed to be painful, however if nobody talks about nipple thrush how are we to know to look out for it! It is also worth mentioning that most of the mama’s I have spoken with who’s little ones had a tongue tie, also experienced nipple thrush! Perhaps connected???

Again hooray for my lactation consultant! As soon as she had diagnosed River’s nipple thrush she asked to see my nipples… Instantly she said ” oh you poor thing, you must be in agony, does it hurt to shower?” 

“Ermmm yes it bloody hurt to shower, everything hurt my nipples, even the sheets in bed” I said.

Following my diagnosis, I wondered how on earth did I not know about this and it became apparent that it was because non of my mummy friends ever spoke about it. It was not that some of them hadn’t experienced it. I think the word “thrush” just doesn’t sound nice does it? so therefore people don’t speak about it. I mean I get it, before I became pregnant, I had never ever had thrush in my life. Then boom, i’m pregnant and I get vaginal thrush, then I give birth and its oral and nipple thrush! I was horrified at first, but then I though f*#k it! Its not my fault, its a yeast problem not a STI for goodness sake Lol. 

Treatment was simple, oral drops for River and Nipple cream for me, however it is HIGHLY contagious so River and I kept passing it back and forth until eventually I returned to the doctor for an an anti fungal tablet ‘Fluconazole’ prescription which cleared the problem in 2 weeks. I will be honest nipple thrush is a ball ache and it hurts like hell so the earlier you get treatment the better. A friend of mine waited and tried the holistic natural remedy approach at first but it sadly didn’t work for her and she resorted to the tablets just like I did. 

Here is a little run down of my nipple thrush saviours…

Nipple Shields – These helped when it became far to painful ( however make sure you wash them in boiling water as only hot can kill a fungal infection)

Nipple cream – I used Lansinoh nipple balm, this was great to sooth the nipples during feeds as you must remove the fungal cream during feeds.

Silky PJ’s – At night a silky texture was the least irritating to my nipples .

Support & Encouragement – Don’t underestimate the power of the support of your partner, mum or a friend to keep going. This pain will pass, so whatever you do, don’t quit on a bad day!

"Pumping is a full time job!"

Now that my breastfeeding experience is so much more enjoyable, and now that I am no longer going through the wars so to speak, I can truly say that I love breastfeeding. I enjoy the time bonding with my son, I cherish our connection and I LOVE the way his little eyes look deep into mine when he is feeding. But the problem is when he isn’t near me I need to bloody pump. Pumping is NOT rewarding people! Its boring, it is time consuming, and the set up / clean up is a mission in itself. I write this as I sit in my dressing room at QVC after spending the first night away from my 4 month old baby, I still have 10 hours left at work and i’ve already had to pump 6 times (*Rolls eyes).  

Being self employed I needed to be able to pump quite soon after birth so I decided to explore the wonderful world of breast pumps to establish what would work for me and my lifestyle. I think this is definitely the key to choosing a breast pump… when do you need to pump, at home? whilst driving? at work? only when you look at your lifestyle do I truly believe that you can pick the correct pump for you.

After reviewing TONNES of breast pumps, I settled on two different ones…. 

  • The Elvie Double Breast Pump – £449.00

This is a revolutionary new to the market product that allows women to pump discreetly and quietly. Im talking you can pump at your desk or whilst filling your car with petrol and no one would know kind of discreet.  Its completely quiet, and fits snuggly into your bra. No wires, no tubes and no bottles hanging from your chest like you belong in a dairy farm. Its all connected to an app on your phone, is USB chargeable as well so thats a super useful feature. I am currently using this now whilst working at QVC, it is perfect to use with a cold water steriliser as well ( I use the Milton one £12.99 from Amazon).

What is included:

  • 2 Hubs
  • 4 Bottles (5oz/150ml, BPA free)
  • 2 Breast Shield (24mm)
  • 2 Breast Shield (28mm)
  • 4 Valves
  • 4 Spouts
  • 4 Seals
  • 4 Storage Lids
  • 4 Bra Adjusters
  • 2 USB Charging Cables
  • 2 Carry Bags
  • Instructions for Use
  • Medela Freestyle Flex 2 Phase Double Breast Pump – £349.99

This brand is one of the most highly awarded brands in the market. This electric breast pump is perfect for pumping at home or in a private space. It produces an outstanding 11% more milk than any other pump on the market due to its technology that very closely mimics the suckling of a real baby. Its not as quiet or discreet at the Elvie but in terms of being effective this is your best friend. This is my at home breast pump, when it doesn’t matter how I look (Thank god as I look like I belong in a dairy farm when using this pump Lol), but it is great for getting a lot of milk very quickly (10-15 minutes max). 

What is included: 1 x Freestyle Flex™ double electric breast pump
2 x Medela PersonalFit Flex™ breast shield size 21 mm
2 x Medela PersonalFit Flex™ breast shield size 24 mm
2 x Medela PersonalFit Flex™ connector
1 x tubing
4 x 150 ml breast milk bottle
4 x lid
2 x bottle stand
1 x power adaptor with USB cable
1 x carry bag
1 x cooler with cooler element

The reason I opted for both is I wanted the Elvie for work purposes such as pumping in the dressing room at QVC where I would rather use the discreet option, however when at home the Medela was my top choice to ensure my pumping time is the most effective and I am getting the most milk possible for baby. 

So there you have it, we have covered, breast feeding prep, tongue tie, nipple thrush, and pumping. Breast feeding is a personal choice, it isn’t easy but no one ever told me it would be. Most women quit within the first 8 weeks of breast feeding and having experienced the worst of it I completely understand why. However, I know that with a little support, lots more open conversations around it and by managing a new mummies expectations a lot more ladies would be likely to stick with it for longer. If I am honest it took 3 months for me to settle into breast feeding and to really begin to actually enjoy it, but trust me it is definitely worth the wait! 

Much Love

Shanie xXx

Follow me on Instagram @Shanie_Ryan for the latest on my new mummy journey!