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Maternal Mental Health and How To Look After It

Our minds

They bloom like flowers

They shed their leaves

Like trees

They go through moments of madness

They become a place of peace

Our minds are with us always

They govern our day to day

So what do you say, about opening it up

To make sure they stay okay?

As a mother and more specifically as a breastfeeding mother, it is easy to feel touched out, to be sleep deprived, to feel isolated or always on call! These things all add too or take from our mental health.

I’m not one to shy away from talking about mental health! It’s a taboo and it shouldn’t be! Just like our physical health, our mental health affects our day to day, how we interact with others and the world. If it’s in good health – everything can flow easily but if it is not, then life can be tough! Really really tough!

I’ve been through both, places of bliss, love and light and spaces of darkness, pain and plight. It bewilders me a little that it is my mental state that changes and not necessarily circumstances in life.

It helps to talk about it, especially to friends and professionals. Whether you are in a good mental space or not. It’s like your physical health, you put some effort in to keep your body healthy and in shape and if you … break a leg, you go to get help. Why do we not speak about mental health more generally? Why do we worry about getting professional help when things feel ‘broken’?

Today, I feel … Blurgh. And I have worried about my mental health. I’ve made a note in my To Dos to check in with a therapist to help me stay on track because I am aware that as the days get darker, my mind may follow suit. Maybe not – I’m hopeful! But I’m going to prepare (#summerbodyready ?! More like #wintermindready).

Here are my top tips on how to look after your mental health as a new mum.

Get some sleep

According to The Sleep Foundation ‘It’s well-established that sleep is essential to our physical and mental health.‘ So let’s listen to the professional and sleep when the baby sleeps – the laundry can wait!

Eat well and Stay Hydrated

You are what you eat. Have you ever heard of that! That goes for you body and your mind. The Mind Charity have explained that ‘as well as affecting our physical health, what we eat may also affect the way we feel.‘ So it is important to eat well and stay hydrated.

Get some sunlight

Research by the NHS has shown that, ‘a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression.’ So try to get out into the sunshine as often as you can.

Manage stress

The Mental Health Organisation describe stress as, ‘a feeling of being under abnormal pressure.‘ Which can result from a number of circumstances. They recommend three step to help manage stress to better improve your mental health. Realise when it is causing you a problem, Identify the causes and Review your lifestyle.

Exercise

Sometime when you are feeling low, exercise is the last thing you want to do! But… professional at the NHS explain that, ‘Regular exercise can boost your mood if you have depression, and it’s especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression.‘ I encourage to do things before recognising signs of a strained mental health in order to prevent it. Make exercise a lifestyle.

Ask for help

When you’re breastfeeding it may feel like you’re the only one that can do anything for your baby. There are many things that others can do to help you physically and mentally.

Keep a gratitude journal

Harvard Health at Harvard Medical School have published a scientific article in their journal entitled Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier . There is so much scientific evidence which proves that gratitude does improve your mental health. Gratitude Journals such as the one by Chaneen Saliee on Chic and Discreet Moments For Me: A Journal for Gratitude and Self Love, allows for short moments each day to be grateful.

Do your research

There is often a stigma around mental illness, it is this stigma which may prevent people going to get help when they need it. These stigmas run deep in a society and individuals may not even know they are subject to it, according to The Community and Health Research Unit . Doing your research and developing your knowledge of mental health and the things that affect you will help to make sure you stay on to of your mental health and it will help you to develop your own ideas about it. This may also help you to understand what you need to do when you are beginning to feel a shift in how you feel.

Slow down

We live in such a fast paced society which is so full of high expectations all of the time. It’s the norm, we don’t often have time to take stock of our emotions and pushing through discomfort is just part of our day-to-day existence.

But when it comes to your mental health, this non-stop mentality can be enormously damaging and can trigger a gradual descent into serious mental illness. Says writer and lifestyle reporter Natalie Morris.

Slow down. Take stock. Get to know how you feel, how you are doing and take note of any patterns.

Lower your expectations

It’s the expectations that cause us the most stress. We constantly resit the flow of life when we have expectation upon expectation back up in a long line stringing throughout our lives. What happens is, we have an expectation, “the baby will wake at 3am feed for 30 minutes and then go back to sleep.” We rely on that expectation. But when it doesn’t happen that way, when the baby doesn’t go back to sleep after 30 minutes we become frustrated, annoyed even. We begin to feel anxious thinking about what else wrong may happen next and we end up in a mental tangle.

If we lower our expectations of what we can be or do during early motherhood, then I think our minds would appreciate the peace. As a result too, we’d probably get even more done that way.

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How to make the most of Monochrome

When we shop we tend to buy things in the colours that we like most or that we have been complemented in. For some of us this means that our wardrobe can look pretty samey- with lots of different items in the same colour, tones and hues.

I’m going to show you how to swap those, ‘I have nothing to wear’ mornings or, ‘I’ll look silly if I wear all yellow’ days.

It’s pretty simple, I promise and soon you’ll be be able to mix and match regardless of colours.

TEXTURE IS KEY!

When wearing any monochromatic outfit, or wearing one colour in different tones or shades, I’d always always recommend mixing up textures.

Texture is an important element when putting together monochromatic looks otherwise if your monochromatic outfit consisted of just one fabric it would most likely look pretty dull.

This beauty here has paired her plum breastfeeding top with a faux fur gilet in the same colour.

It’s a simple combination but it looks chic because of the different textures.

TRY IT YOURSELF!

My suggestions: try mixing cotton with leather for a cool look, wool and canvas (shoes) for a casual look or satin and velvet for a more formal look.

Don’t head out and buy more if you don’t need to, fast fashion is fast becoming a thing of the past! Why not shop your wardrobe and see what you can come up with.

Be sure to send in photos or tag us in your posts – @chicanddiscreet

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3 Ways To Style The Beige Breastfeeding Top.

Classy

Wearing similar colours together can make any outfit look well put together and chic. Always pair with the different items later for a completely different look. But it’s Christmas add some gold glitz or sequins for a festive look.

Neutral

Pair this top with more neutral colours for a more formal ensemble. If your headed back to work try pairing it with a khaki or camel colour blazer set. If your work allows for it you could swap the blazer for a cardigan.

Casual

If there’s no occasion in particular pairing this top with simple denim jeans means you can take this look anywhere from a quick school run, then to play group and a coffee catch up with some friends.

The best thing about all of these looks is that they’re breastfeeding friendly with the Chic and Discreet Long Sleeve Breastfeeding Top – Beige.

I love to see how you style our clothes, be sure to tag us in your photos.

Happy Styling.

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How to Style … Chic and Discreet Basics

Chic and Discreet Basics is a collection of clothes that are very versatile therefore very cost effective. You’ll wear these pieces again and again and again for years and seasons to come.

We’ll give you some styling tips on how to get the most out of these basics. You’ll be ready to go, in style, whether you’re headed out for a school run, a coffee catch up, play group, a Christmas dinner or a day at work.

Each item in the collection features a simple design or pattern which means it can be mixed and matched for a range breastfeeding friendly outfits throughout the year.

We love seeing how you style our clothes so make sure to send over and tag us in all photos.

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We’re Coming Back

I’ve been pretty quiet on here lately, still working hard in the background to create beautiful and helpful breastfeeding clothes for you mamas. But the time has come that I get a little bit louder on here.

I’ll be joining the tandem feeding mamas soon (yay!), which means my time will be shared out even more than it is already. I’m so excited for all the newy newness and I’ve been planning on how I can make this work best for all of us.

I am working with designers and manufacturers to help me with my work load. For a little while stock availability will be reduced but still so chic and discreet.

I’m excited to introduced you to our Chic and Discreet basics range and our signature Leopard Print Breastfeeding Clothes.

I’ll be working more closely with you beautiful mamas because you have some of the most amazing suggestions for what you’d like to add to your wardrobe.

I’m currently looking for London based Mamas who are interested in trying out some of our new designs, so if you’re interested or know a mama who might be I’d love to hear from you. Please send them my details or DM me theirs.

I’m so excited for all that is to come and I hope that you are too. After all, this is Chic and Discreet breastfeeding for you stylish mamas.

-C x