10 Tips for Supporting your Breast Feeding Friend

August 1 – 7 is “World Breastfeeding Awareness” week. This week I thought I would look at what we could do to support our breast feeding friends.
1. Don’t question her decisions
– Why are you feeding so often?
– Why aren’t you feeding more?
– Are you sure the baby is getting enough?
– Why aren’t you giving her/him some formula?
– Why are you giving him/her some formula?
– Are you sure s/he needs another feed?

You may mean well but these questions/suggestions aren’t helping anyone. You’re probably just stressing your friend (and her partner) out. So please stop. Unless she asks you for advice, you don’t need to be sharing your unsolicited advice.


2. Just express
While expressing can be a life line – it can cut loose that ball and chain feeling sometimes felt when breastfeeding – it can also be soul destroying. Expressing is a different experience for every woman out there.

I had a love/hate relationship with expressing. Doing it meant that I could have a break from my child but getting that liquid gold out was hard work!

I would finish feeding my baby but then I had to continue to sit in my chair and pump some milk, so I could get a future break. The problem for me was that I would pump for 40 minutes, and sometimes all I would get was 100mls! It took more than that to keep baby happy.

To this day, the look/sound of the pump gives me the sweats.


3. Feed and water her
It’s said that in order to keep a steady supply of milk, the mum needs to keep herself hydrated and nourished. That can be easier said than done.

The thing is, sometimes, between feeding, everything else that comes with looking after a baby, and lack of sleep, it’s hard to include feeding self into the equation. So, when you drop in to visit, give  your mate (and her partner – because they are just as wrecked and sometimes overwhelmed) a ready made meal that can go straight from the fridge to the tummy or the most work that has to be done is to reheat it before eating.


4. Let her sleep
When you visit your friend and the baby don’t expect to be entertained. Go over and be of some practical help. After she has fed the baby, offer her the gift of sleep. If she is comfortable leaving the baby with you, take the child and send her up to bed for a power nap (or a long shower or just some her time – whatever she wants to do). That was one of my all time favourite gifts!


5. Don’t ask her if she’d feel more comfortable feeding in another room
Sometimes breast feeding can be such an alienating experience because as soon as you go to feed your baby the room may clear or you will be asked if you’d like to feed somewhere more private.

The intentions can be well meaning – let’s assume they don’t want the mum to feel uncomfortable feeding in front of others but the question that should be asked is who will it be more comfortable for – you or the mum?


6. Give Her Space
I know I just said to not vacate the room when your friend is feeding, however if that is what your friend wants, please respect her wishes and give her the space (and time) she needs.


7. Tell her if she’s leaking
More often than not, you can feel the leakage but if your friend is not aware, let her know. Don’t make a scene. Be subtle about it and then get practical. Ask her if she needs some tissues to stuff in her bra, loan her a top or a scarf to cover the leaks if she so wants. However, if she’s happy doing nothing about it, then let her be.


8. Don’t assume
Your friend is not just a mum. She’s still herself. While she may not have been able to meet up as much as she used to, don’t assume she can’t always make it. Don’t make her feel excluded. Include her in all plans but don’t pressure her into going. Let her decide.

If she has agreed to meet up but has to cancel at the last minute, don’t make her feel bad. Don’t tell her, she should have expressed more milk. She should have let the baby have more bottles before this meet up so she could have gone out and left the baby behind. You don’t know what she has done and what decisions she has made, and why, in the lead up to the meet up.


9. Don’t pressure her
Your girlfriend will stop breast feeding when she is ready. If that’s at day one or when the child is walking and talking, that is no-one else’s decision to make but hers. Your constant questions of why don’t you continue or why don’t you stop already aren’t helping anyone – oh, and it’s none of your business!


10. Just be there for her
Everyone’s breast feeding experience is unique and therefore everyone’s needs are going to be different. Take the lead from your friend and be whatever support she needs you to be.

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When Less Is More


Ever since I got back from my Australian holiday in May, there’s one thing I can’t stop doing. I think it has something to do with the fear I get after watching those hoarding programs and also how good I feel after I do it. I am on a declutter frenzy – most of it has been in my wardrobe. I have become addicted to it because it is amazing how much lighter I feel when the stuff is gone from the house. I have been losing all this weight without shedding a kilo!

I am seeing more of my local charity shop than usual. I seem to be there with bags of unwanted (but still in great condition) clothes/shoes every 2/3 weeks.

As great as it feels to get rid of stuff, I have been thinking over the past couple of months about how wasteful I can be and the impact that this wastefulness (is that even a word) has not only on my wallet, but on the environment.


When it comes to my wardrobe, I seem to swing one of both ways – I investment buy and so I have stuff that’s been there for years and gets reused to death; or there’s the stuff that is hardly ever worn but was bought to fill a need, was on sale or was cheap. These serve a purpose but I have found that more often than not I wear them 2/3 times and they get replaced with something else before going to the charity shop. This isn’t what I want my sustainable footprint to look like.


Only yesterday I was telling a friend how after getting rid of clothes I actually feel like I have so many more outfit choices and I seem to mix and match more.

It was great to see this morning that Irish website stiall.com have launched there #stiallchallenge. It wants you to try to dress yourself in August without buying new clothes. Getting 30 outfits from your current wardrobe. For more info visit http://www.stiall.com


I have decided to take it one step further and try to not buy any new things for the rest of the year. Be it clothes, shoes, stuff for the house, I’m going to try and live with what I already have and try and get rid of more stuff.

Realistically, I think I can make it through August but let’s see what happens when the season changes and when I see sales that are too good to refuse or I realise my winter wardrobe isn’t that well stocked!

I am also going to try and get rid of more stuff in this house. More of it will go to my local charity shop. One question to ask yourself when donating to charity is, is it still in good working condition? Would I use it or would it be better off in the bin? If it’s not in good condition don’t pass it onto the charity shop to bin – do that yourself!


So thanks, to stiall.com for putting this challenge out there, getting the conversation going, and making us take a good look at our own personal habits/impact on the environment. Who’s in?

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Six Life Lessons From My Six Year Old

Six year olds are smarter than we give them credit for. Hanging out with my own 6 year old has taught me that. This summer she has reminded me of some of the good things in life that we should all be doing more of.





1. There’s no such thing as too much sparkle!
When it comes to sparkle, my 6 year old can’t get enough. She likes to sparkle, sparkle and then add some more sparkle!

There’s so much darkness in the world at the moment, we need as much brightness as possible. So whether it be in our clothing, accessories, or personality – we should let that sparkle out! We should never dull our sparkle, instead let’s go out there and shine brightly.






2. Don’t wait for a special time to wear your fancy clothes
My 6 year wears whatever she feels like wearing on that day. Sometimes it will be leggings and a t-shirt and other days she will emerge from her bedroom wearing her sparkliest skirt, her best top and jewellery. Her clothes are one way of making her feel her best.

We can take a page out of her book when it comes to dressing. Sometimes, as materialistic as it sounds, if you love what you’re wearing and how you look, you can feel great and sometimes that’s half the battle won when going out there to take on the world!





 Enjoy your own company
Just the other day I was trying to hang out with my 6 year old and she just turned to me and said, “Go away mum – I just want to play by myself.”

No malice was intended, she just wanted to spend some time with herself and do what made her happy.

I’ve never been good at hanging out by myself – I love being surrounded by people but sometimes it’s good to appreciate your own company. You don’t have to do anything extravagant, you can do whatever you like, whatever makes you happy in that moment.






4. Sometimes smiling through the pain helps
My 6 year old got her ears pierced recently. I asked her if it hurt her. She said it did a little but do you know what she did when it hurt and she wanted to cry? “I held onto the seat and just smiled, and then I didn’t need to cry.”

I know it’s not always as simple as that, but do you know what, sometimes it can be.






5. Don’t always be in a rush. Try being in the moment.
Life is so busy. We try to fit so many things in and it sometimes feels like everything is a blur in the rush to get from A to B.

On a walk to the park, I kept yelling at my six year old, “Hurry up. Let’s get there.” I got frustrated everytime she stopped to pick a daisy, or climb a step, or look through a fence to see what was on the other side. But then I saw the contentment (and sometimes wonder) on her face. It made me take stock of what was actually happening and remember that sometimes pure joy comes from the simplest things and being in the moment.







6. Laugh hard. Laugh often.
One of my favourite sounds in the world is laughter and one of my favourite things to do is laugh. I do this a lot with my six year old.

Audrey Hepburn once said, “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills.”

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Interview: Steve Zahn (“War for the Planet of the Apes”)

Steve Zahn’s “Bad Ape” brings the laughs to the latest “Planet of the Apes” film, “War for the Planet of the Apes”.

As funny as Bad Ape is, I’d say playing an Ape isn’t the easiest thing. So how did Steve prepare for this role?

“It’s a very long and complicated process. I’ve always been a physical actor … but this is a completely different thing. It’s not about imitating. I learnt that early on. You have to embody it. It has to become second nature because you have to play a complex character. When you’re acting the last thing you want to think about is anything physical because it just doesn’t work. So when I got there on the first day, I thought all about this and I got really scared. I really worked hard.

On the first day, when I did my first scene with Andy – you know my God! It’s like your first day on the team is playing in the superbowl. But because Andy is the type of person, type of actor that he is, he made it so much easier.”

Steve has seen himself on the big screen many times but this time it was different. “It was a moving experience. It’s hard to explain why it was moving. I think it’s because you put so much effort and time into it, and to actually see yourself as an ape. Not some created computer thing, you see your work. All those things you came up with – it’s really exciting.”

In order to get a great film on screen, great direction is crucial. One of Steve’s favourite director’s is Steven Soderbergh (he worked with him on the Jennifer Lopez/George Clooney film “Out of Sight”). He loves the fact that Steven didn’t call “Action!” on set. “I hate when a director does that.” But isn’t that the word you need to get the scene started?

“It depends on how it’s done. I don’t like a big kind of like “AND GO, ACT!” It’s kind of totally contradictory to the whole idea of  just do your thing. I hate when people do that. But it wasn’t like that on this film. Matt (Reeves) is one of a kind. That guy is a brilliant director.”

In his career, Steve has been a part of some much loved films. When I tell him that one of my all time favourite films is “Reality Bites”, he doesn’t seem too impressed. So, if it’s not “Reality Bites”, which of his back catalogue do most people want to talk to him about?

“It varies. It really does. It depends on who you are. There are so many different comedies, like “Saving Silverman” is a big one, or “That Thing You Do”, or now I have done the series of “Whimpy Kids”, so I have these little guys who recognize me. It’s interesting how perception or over time it changes. How you become a part of somebody’s subconscious mind. It’s fun to guess, when someone is walking up to you,  what movie is the one they like.”

Next up, Steve is working on a series called “The Crossing”. In the meantime, you can catch him and all of his ape cast mates at the cinema in “War for the Planet of the Apes”.

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The third film, in the reboot of “The Planet of the Apes” franchise is here and this time it is all about the Apes going into battle with the humans in order to regain their freedom.

Director Matt Reeves has described this film as a biblical epic where Caesar can be describes as the “Moses” of the Apes.

I’d have to agree with him – this really is an epic film. Everything about it is big. The battle scenes, the emotions and even the apes themselves.

Fans have loved every minute of this film. Many of them are not afraid to admit that they have been very moved by it.

Reeves has done an amazing job. It is visually spectacular. To think that he starts off with people in motion capture suits and is able to turn that into the phenomenal visuals and mammoth war film he gives us is mind blowing.

All of that said, this film is not for me. I could appreciate the beauty of it and the skill it took to make it, however, the world of the apes just isn’t for me. I got bored quickly and would not rush in to watch any of the Planet of the Apes films. Not because they are badly made, but because this all comes down to personal taste, and I personally don’t enjoy these films. I just can’t connect with the apes.

That said, my review is redundant as fans of this film have been blown away and are raving about it. So, if you like the Apes, go and check it out – you won’t be disappointed. If you are not a fan, go see “Baby Driver”, “Spiderman: Homecoming” or “Wonder Woman” instead.

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According to vocabulary.com, “being beguiled is like being captivated, charmed, delighted, enthralled, or entranced. When you’re beguiled, you really like what you see.”

A truer definition could not have been written about Sofia Coppola’s latest film, “The Beguiled”. A tale about a group of (multi generational) women who are cut off from the world and have taken shelter in their Estate, during the Civil War. Their lives are turned upside down when they take in a wounded soldier.

“The Beguiled” is stunning. From the captivating performances that leads Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst & Colin Farrell deliver, to the charming and delightful supporting cast, to the absolutely beautiful imagery on screen.

It is also very funny, but herein is where the problem, at least for me, lies. I wasn’t sure whether or not the laughs were intentional. Was I laughing with the film or at the film? As a result, I felt quite uncomfortable watching it. But was this Sofia Coppola’s intention?

Vocabulary.com goes on to add, “When you’re beguiled, you like what you see so much that you can’t take your eyes off it — almost like being in a trance.” And that is what Sofia Coppola has managed to do. So even through my uncertainty, and sometimes uncomfortable moments, I was totally entranced with what was happening on the screen.

So was this an enjoyable experience or not? I am still having that debate with myself. “The Beguiled” has truly baffled me. However, Coppola has managed to leave a lasting impression on me with this film and for that reason alone it is worth checking this film out.

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Interview: Matt Reeves (“War for the Planet of the Apes)

Director Matt Reeves is back to direct the 3rd film, in the “Planet of the Apes” reboot, “War For the Planet of the Apes”.

He sees this film as a biblical epic where Caesar is the Ape Moses “because if you look at it in the history of this early ape civilisation, he is the critical figure. Without him, they wouldn’t be where they are. The idea, especially given the conflict of this story, which is a war story, was to put Caesar to his greatest test yet and in passing it, he will transcend into the realm of the mythic. He will be that ape that other apes will look back at and say, “he forged the path for us. He is why we are here.”

With a biblical film, comes a mammoth budget but it doesn’t mean that Matt can just spend all the money he wants in the way he wants.

“It’s interesting because the thing about these movies, the movies are enormously expensive but what is most expensive are the visual effects. The challenge of this movie was, I wanted to do an ape point of view movie. And that meant that the apes are in every scene. And so, in the other films there were always scenes that didn’t have apes in them and the apes shots are incredibly expensive. So the budget actually goes paying to make sure you see these close ups of these apes and that you are connecting to the emotion of what you are seeing. So, in a weird way, you’d be surprised how the production is not as grand as you think. However, given that, it’s a war movie, so we wanted to have battles. I wanted it to be like a David Lean movie. I wanted the movie to be the most ambitious apes movie yet and we were able to do that. It was thrilling. You know we went out and shot on 65mm and we shot on these beautiful locations. We have some pretty sizeable battle scenes. The thing that matters the most though, and the thing that really, most of that money went to, was the intimacy. Which is all of the stuff that really matters. It’s a war movie between the species but it’s the war for Caesar’s soul that really matters and so most of that money went to make sure that the emotions that Andy Serkis was giving us in his performance were translated into this photo real ape that you looked at and felt like you were seeing yourself inside.

In order for this film to work, we have to embrace these apes and have some sort of affection for them. That said, how does Matt go about casting an ape and how does he know that even though this is a good actor, a good actor isn’t going to be able to necessarily be able to convey the emotions you need for a good ape.

“It’s not that they can’t convey the emotions because a good actor can convey the emotions. The question is can they find a way to convey the emotions and still do what is required physically? What basically has to happen is that they have to be able to work with Terry Notary, to be in their bodies in such a way. It’s almost like you are learning a certain skill that then you have to forget, because the only thing that really matters is the emotional essence. But if you can’t as a foundation, do the ape movements, then the illusion won’t be complete. So the casting process is challenging. You know, the actors come in and I first have them do a scene, that is a human scene, and I see what they are like as actors. Then we start throwing at them these kind of more primitive exercises and then if there is an actor that I really like, we have them do call backs where I have them work with Terry Notary, and I talk to Terry and say, “So Terry, you know, I like this actor a lot, what was your sense about their ability to pick up these movements?” He gives me his thoughts and ultimately I make the call as to whether or not I think I am going to get what I need from that actor. So it’s an unusual process.”

I’ve always marvelled at how a director can see the end product even when what is being directed is far from what it will look like on screen. How does Matt do that?

“Well the direction is actually easier for me, than the putting together. Because the direction, look I am looking at Andy Serkis in the first version of the movie that I am making is not Planet of the Apes, it’s planet of these people in these mo-cap suits. That movie works. That’s the movie I first cut together. But what happens is, you then have to find a way to, in post, represent that movie and so much of what is supposed to be there isn’t there, and you have to look at it as if it is there. So you do this weird thing where, you know as a director, my job is to respond to what I am seeing. Here I have to block out things I am not supposed to be seeing and yet respond to the essence of what is going to be there. So it’s a weird mind trick you play on yourself and that’s the hardest part actually.”

In the past Matt has said that he sees Planet of the Apes as more than just three films, does he still see it that way?

“For sure. Yeah, I mean one of the things we were seeding in “Bad Ape”, was this notion that there are more apes out there, that aren’t Caesar’s apes, and that the world is much larger than the apes ever imagined. And I think, those apes might not just be pockets of one and two, there might be communities of apes that wouldn’t have had the benefit of Caesar’s leadership and so the conflicts in the future may not just be between humans and apes, they might be between the apes.”

But Matt’s world isn’t all about the Apes, his next big film is the much anticipated film, “The Batman”. How is he feeling about this project?

“I’m excited. We’re at the very beginning. I just finished this movie. I mean literally, the one thing about doing a movie where the main characters don’t exist until they are realised through the most complicated visual effects that there are today, that means the movie is not done until literally you are done. So I finished the movie about eight days ago, literally. That is  what is so weird. I have been working on this film for the last three years, and the last year is all about the realisation of shots. And then what happens is around the time that the last shot comes in, because we will work up until the very end, you’re done. So suddenly I am like, so that’s the movie, and then it’s like, “Here’s the movie”. It’s a very strange process. So, the point of that being, I haven’t even begun working on “The Batman” yet but I am very excited about it.”

“War for the Planet of the Apes” is in cinemas now.


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