Breastfeeding Celebration Week 2017

Right from when I fell pregnant with my first daughter, breastfeeding was definitely something I wanted to try, even if I couldn’t do it for long, I knew I needed to have a go. Early induction, due to Pre-Eclampsia, a very slow labour ending in an emergency caesarean section, nothing was going according to the plan in which I wanted. She was whisked into NICU and I was introduced to a breast pump. Unfortunately days after birth was when my breastfeeding journey with her went downhill. I was made to have bed rest for 24 hours, where I couldn’t see my baby, it was difficult being inexperienced figuring out how to pump. There was the odd nice midwife who took their time to try and help. But I ended up getting mixed messages from the Antenatal Ward and NICU, it was terribly confusing. At six days old she was allowed to come to the ward with me. Being tube fed for the days she was in NICU, it was also difficult for her, head moving from side to side, we were both getting frustrated.

A stern midwife, old school I guess came and thought she was helping, yet actually she triggered the final switch for me to end. She picked up my daughter, held her by the back of the head, grabbed my breast, and roughly pushed us together, no chance of her (who was 4lb 8oz born, but had of course dropped weight too), ever being able to latch, looking back now, it was impossible.

Going home on day eight feeling deflated and drained, my body had been through a lot, by day nine our breastfeeding journey stopped. It is something I will always deeply regret, particularly as I look back from where I am now to back then.




Just under three years later, I had my son. Once again I really wanted to try breastfeeding again. This time I was left to my own mind. It was an elective caesarean that time, he was able to stay with me, rather than be taken to NICU, which of course was a huge relief. I was numb and unable to move, I couldn’t quite reach my bell by my bed, so it gave me the opportunity to have a go at latching him by myself. Thankfully he took to it, a complete natural, he fed beautifully and a lot. I was soon advised from family members, health visitors to top him up with formula, because he seemed to be feeding “too much”. But we continued, even when I returned to work, he’d have a feed at breakfast, then at bed and overnight.

The relationship between his Dad and I broke down, I continued to feed a little while longer, but made the decision with a new relationship forming, that around two years old was enough for both of us. (My son and I). I felt so pleased to have gotten that far with him, he mostly weaned himself; he’d go days where he wouldn’t want a feed. But it was the perfect end to how I’d wanted.


2hrs 11mins old

With a new relationship, we started to add to our family, fell pregnant with my next daughter. After a difficult pregnancy, she was born via emergency caesarean section at just 26+6 weeks, the point of delivery I had no idea as to whether she’d survive let alone breastfeeding her, at point of birth I didn’t think it would happen.

But it did, but not direct.

As soon as I was back in recovery, I had an amazing midwife (definitely a lot more hands on than the earlier one), who came to my room, armed with syringes, and a knitted boob. My arms were full of needles and BP equipment, I could barely move, numb, but also in pain and very anxious, she was determined to get the best start for our girl, who I didn’t even know how she was doing.

She patiently showed me how to hand express, used the knitted boob, helped show me the position for my hands to be in, she even showed my husband – that was amusing. After some movement, I had expressed 1.5ml. I wasn’t overly impressed, I guess I was expecting it to just flow out. But the Midwife was thrilled; even 1.5 ml would at that stage be far too much for our tiny little girl. (1.5lb of tiny). It was a start. It was the start of my pumping journey for our micro premature baby.

Although my eldest was born early, and there were pumps involved, this level of prematurity was really a whole new level of difficulty.

I’d still have to pump around the clock as if I had a baby with me, it was hard when all I had was a picture or a Muslim square for her scent, but in reality it really is not the same.

I’d walk into the unit, with my little bottles of expressed milk, placed into the freezer, it was my routine, it was a special walk knowing that I was feeding her.

There were times where they would give her formula, it certainly wasn’t ideal, would have rather donor milk, but of course it wasn’t available. I just wanted her to have to best start for someone so early. I’d have domperidone to help bring in my supply, to keep up with her demands.

I was able to express by her cot, where I would shoot my husband in the back side with the milk which had missed the bottle. Him being surprised that my milk was warm, is one of my favourite memories.

Unfortunately our pumping journey came to an abrupt end, when she passed away at five weeks old.

My freshly pumped milk and breast pump, I threw in the bin, swapping my domperidone for tablets to make the milk which had come in on the day she died, to stop.

I’m afraid I wasn’t the person to donate my unused milk; it was the last thing on my mind. I found it incredibly hard to have milk, and absolutely no baby.

Our baby after our daughter arrived 13 months later. Not only was I determined for her not to enter NICU, but to never have a drop of formula. I’d developed a fear of it, it wasn’t the cause of death, of course it wasn’t but my brain had somehow associated it with our lost daughter, it was something I just didn’t want for our new baby.

Again she took to the breast instantly, she dropped weight, and there were talks of formula and NICU trips, things that were definitely off the list of things we wanted.

With sheer determination, and a supportive husband, we were able to stay home, avoid NICU and we avoided formula, for six months she was exclusively breastfed, carrying on her feeding until a little over three. (Although has had a sneaky overnight boob with her sister, and I recently expressed some when she was really ill, she is now four years old).

We tandem fed for a while, once her little sister was born, and we fed through my very difficult pregnancy with her, suffering with severe Hyperemesis, it was the only thing I could cope with.

My fifth and final pregnancy, as I mentioned above was very challenging, many, many hospital trips, vomiting so many times a day. Our youngest was born via my fifth caesarean section. She took to feeding sooner than any of them before her, wanted a breast before I had finished being stitched back together.

She has pretty much stayed on the breast ever since!

She has just turned two, with no signs of stopping any time soon. She has had to deal with allergies, which meant I have had to go product free. Starting with gluten, wheat, celery, milk free. She has come out of the gluten, wheat and celery intolerances, but we’re still working on the dairy.

So, for me this was another new challenge, but removing these from my diet, was so worth it, as I have been able to continue to feed her through tummy pains and reflux.

I will be sad once the feeding has ended, as she is my final baby. But I really am proud of what we have achieved together.



This brings me to my Best Breast Friend – my husband.

He has been my rock through all the difficult times of feeding.

From getting up at 4am for pumping sessions, making me a cup of tea, putting the pump together, even when at times I would fall back to sleep!

For getting me a mountain of flap jack or oaty products, letting me take baby moons with the youngest two.

Researching the various dairy free options for dieting or treats. .


4hour 20ish old

Somerset Majorette Troupe are looking for new members.


Merriott Majorettes are recruiting.


Juliet Mckelvey and Sarah Foley set up the troupe 21 years ago when Juliet’s daughters Samantha and Hannah showed an interest in wanting to be Majorettes.


With both girls continuing until they were of an age where they could no longer compete, and Samantha took on the role of training the Tiny Tots Section, while Sarah and Juliet continued to train the Junior and Senior Sections, training once a week in Crewkerne’s 1610 Sports Hall and The Tithe Barn in Merriott.

The troupe is made up of three sections.

Tot Section where the ages are from five until nine.


Junior Section Nine until thirteen


Senior Section aged Thirteen and above.


Merriott Majorettes are excited to inform you that an opportunity has arisen where the troupe are now looking to welcome new members, to join their very talented team of boys and girls.

The Majorettes are currently in their competing season, where they attend various competitions throughout the South West, together they have brought home a number of trophies this season, with competitions still to attend.


As well as the competitons the Majorettes spend time displaying at various fetes and events through out the Summer months, then of course the Somerset Carnivals, with their final procession of the year leading Father Christmas to the Crewkerne Christmas Light Switch on.


(Chris Swan)

Merriott Majorettes Train once a week, Friday nights.

The Tots Section train at Merriott Tithe Barn 6-7pm

The Junior Section train at Crewkerne 1610 Sports Hall 6-7pm

The Senior Section also train at the Sports Hall 7-8pm


Are You Looking for something FUN?

A chance to make some wonderful childhood memories.

To make new FRIENDS?

Like-minded people, from the youths themselves right through to the parents making life-long friendships.

Learn new and unique skills?

A way of learning an incredible skill of using a baton in a coordinated way, which can be mesmerizing to watch, particularly any aerial work they achieve.

The children get a huge sense of pride when they perfect such skills, to show them off to their family, their friends and of course any time they compete and display.

Get regular exercise?

Both Baton and Pom Pom routines are a fantastic way for the children to keep fit, not only whilst having fun, but most importantly whilst wearing some fantastic costumes while on display.

Be part of a team?

I say team; it is more like family, working together, supporting one another, forming ideas for routines and our all-important fundraising events.


They’re currently not sponsored, so do their own fundraising for uniforms and equipment, with parents and troupe members support.

Aside from everything they do as a team, and supporting various events, they have also put together their own Charity events, their most recent in 2016 raising £1000 for two charities of their choice… Brain Tumour Research and Bristol Children’s hospital, following that success, they’re in the midst of organising another this coming August for St Margaret’s Hospice and Towards Tomorrow Together.



An exciting and fun way to be part of the community.


All of the Trainers and Committee Team are Regularly DBS (Disclosure Barring Service, Previously CRB) checked; also First Aid, Child Protection and Safe Guarding too.

The Majorettes are proudly part of South West Associated Majorettes – S.W.A.M, currently the only troupe in the local area who compete with in this association.


It is a fantastic hobby, gives so much for the children, building confidence and social skills making way to adulthood.

Merriott Majorettes’ Open Evening

Friday 30th June 6-8pm

Crewkerne Sports Hall (1610, on Wadham School Site).

This will be a great opportunity to come and meet the trainers and their team in a relaxed way. It is a chance to ask questions, whilst your child can have a go at Marching, Pom Pom and Baton and of course see the Girls and Boys in action.


Any questions please find their Facebook Group and Event Information.

Or Contact Juliet Mckelvey on 07984063122 or Sarah Foley on 07867517199

May 2017

May moved forward in a blink of an eye.  It was busy and it was fun. Most of all we made some decisions as a family which will hopefully lead to some new and exciting things… But of course we have to get to that point first, and to try not to build our hopes up too much for the direction we plan to take.


Mr Red was diagnosed with a Leg Ulcer, which meant he’s had to have time from work to rest, in the hope it would heal, which helped me to be able to do extra shifts at my day job, leading us to make the decision for us to swap roles; for him to spend more time with the children and for me to concentrate on a career –  a career I never imagined I wanted to do, let alone be this excited about.  It will be slow progress, because of finances and getting the child care for the initial role swap. But it’ll hopefully in turn help him work on a self employed project he is hoping to embark on too, hopefully it’ll lead him to not suffer with his legs again, or at least not in the way he has this past 18 months.

Whilst he rested, May led to the usual Wednesday outings. We’ve met up now for just over three years on a Wednesday, has gone by so quickly. The children love it too. Taking a visit to a local Wildlife Park – Axe Valley. It isn’t a large place, but it is perfect for younger children, of course there was rain, but did manage a picnic in between the showers, underneath their covered picnic area.

The girl’s favourite part had to be the Guinea Pig fishing, where the park attendants tie string on to long sticks, with metal clips at the end, which hold pieces of vegetables to feed the guinea pigs, letting the younger children be involved with feeding time.




There is a lovely assortment of animals and wildlife, from Llamas to Flamingos; and Hedgehogs and Peacocks. We’ve been before, a couple of times so would definitely recommend a visit, particularly if you have smaller children.





Other outings included a trip to Montacute House, where the Sun finally graced us with its presence.



Makes the memory making all that more easier when the sun is shining, which at times feels like not very often.

Boy Red had an inset day, it was an opportunity for us to have one to one. The original plan had been to take him to see The Flying Scotsman in MInehead, but unfortunately due to trespassers spoiling the opportunities for others to see the train, timetables were changed but not advertised. So instead we took a trip to Sainsbury’s (his choice), where he decided on lunch there in the store, he was incredibly lucky to have received a random act of kindness, when a stranger gave him 11 packets of Lego cards, I think it made his month.

It was such a lovely day of beautiful weather, on the travel home we decided to stop off and take a walk to the old Railway Station – Donyatt Halt, at least he’d get some kind of train fix, even if there haven’t been any trains there since the sixties.

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It is an incredibly peaceful part of the countryside, is actually a setting to a children’s book I have been working on.


If only he were waiting for a real train.


May brought us Half Term, our final one until the Summer, it wasn’t the best of weathers, but certainly made good of what we had.

Trip to the beach


Picnics in the park with friends.

Can never expect a serious picture with this crazy lot.

May has been a lovely month, friends helping to make the time easier, since 2012, it has been a month of feeling either particularly heavy, or numbing I guess, being the month full of should haves, with the month that should have had a discharge date or at best a birthday.  It is the month in which we took our vows 6 years ago too, celebrated too with great company and many giggles.

Have really enjoyed this month, I’m really looking forward to seeing what will come next.

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Thank you for reading.