My Little Duke

teething

Q & A with Rachel

Steph Duke1 Comment
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This blog post is dedicated to one of our amazing stockists - Rachel Fisher from Chewable Charm, California. The momma behind this brand is sweet, talented and hardworking; bringing a unique mix of fashion and practicality together for mums who don't want to lose their sense of self when a little one arrives. Her products are stylish, safe and subtle to wear ... and boy am I a big fan! In fact, I am such a fan of her sweet items that I stock and sell them here at My Little Duke. You will find a limited selection of her teething necklaces in our boutique, all handmade by Rachel in her home in California!

I wanted to interview Rachel so all you lovely customers here in the UK and Ireland can get to know the person behind the product. So take a wee read ...

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself …

Rachel - Hi there! I’m Rachel Fisher Owner/Designer of Chewable Charm. Momma to my sweet baby boy Austin, who is 1 & wife to my wonderful husband Blake. We are a true family business making Teething Necklaces for moms here in sunny California, currently living our dream of being parents and business owners.

Q. Tell us about Chewable Charm …

Rachel - I hope that moms feel just as fashionable as they feel practical wearing our handmade Teething Necklaces. Remember the days where you could actually wear that cute Anthropologie necklace without those little fingers pulling and nibbling on every inch? Your new “Mom style” is a real thing and believe me, it happens to all of us! We are here to help keep your pre-baby style with our modern designs while helping soothe your little ones teething gums. Our beads are 100% FDA approved high quality food grade silicone. BPA, PVC, Latex, phthalate and lead free. It’s great for gift giving and baby showers because all orders come gift wrapped.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your business?

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Rachel - I started making my own Teething Jewelry that matched my own style, which as most of my friends know is a mix of neutrals and whites and grays, so neutrals. I felt like there had to be other moms out there who would much rather wear a Teething Necklace that complimented their style without overpowering their outfits.  I really… like really, enjoy the craft of designing and making something beautiful in my home and sending it out to other moms and babies to wear and enjoy. I have always had “my brand” in my mind. You should see my secret Pinterest boards which I have gathered over the years. I started dreaming of a brand before I knew what our product would be. Being a mom of a teething baby was exhausting, overwhelming and heartbreaking. Finding something fun and stylish to wear and not worry about while my little guy shoved it into his mouth triggered a spark that caught to fire in our household. Quickly came the designs, the website, the Instagram, the photography done by our fabulous friends, and soon after that, came the orders. We are now in a handful of retail stores over the US and UK and growing into many more. It has been so much fun to see this little dream of ours turn heads.

Q. What have been your highlights since you started Chewable Charm?

Rachel - I love our new Spring and Summer line that has some pops of blush, light gray and nude colors incorporated with our mint and creams for the original line. It has been so fun to be picked up and in store all across the world! Another highlight was shortly after the release we were given the award for the Mom’s Best Network Hot Product for 2015!

Q. What advice would you give to a new mum?

Rachel - The best advice I got was when another mom told me “The days are long but the years are short.” She couldn’t have been more right. Some days and nights are rough and I want all moms out there to know they are not alone and it’s normal when it feels hard. Hang in there mommas!

There is just something so special about supporting the work and talent of a mama just like yourself, you know? Someone who shares the same daily struggles as you, the same joyous moments as you ... that same responsibility of being a 'mother.' I remember when I first came across Rachel's brand; I instantly fell in love with her subtle and unique style. I remember thinking that even if I didn't have Phoebe, I'd still want to buy a necklace as they looked so fab! Isn't it even better that these adorable necklaces are so unbelievably practical too?! They are so soft for Phoebe to teethe on and play with (especially while nursing!) What I really love though, is that we have shipped some of these beautiful necklaces off to some beautiful mamas and I just know they will be loved and used as much as mine is with Phoebe. These stunning necklaces are perfect to buy as a treat for yourself, your little one or even as a present for a new mama, a mama-to-be or to a mama who is feeling the stress and strain of a teething baby.  All our parcels come gift wrapped as standard, so why not treat yourself or another sweet mama to a handmade Chewable Charm necklace, all the way from sunny California!

Steph xx 

 

My Breastfeeding Journey

Steph DukeComment
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My daughter Phoebe is 19 weeks old today and is exclusively breastfed. This is a statement I never thought I'd make, let alone be proud of making it! 

If I'm honest, I was completely open to either breastfeeding or formula feeding my baby during my pregnancy. However, as I neared my due date, I began to feel a strong motherly urge to try and nurture my little one in the most natural way. To me, and many other mums, this is breastfeeding. So I made the conscious decision to 'try' and breastfeed Phoebe as long as she and I were both happy and healthy. I never put a targeted time frame on this decision because I was beginning this journey with no expectations and little knowledge about breastfeeding. I am one of the first in my family and friend group to have a baby, so have had little to compare myself to - and I like it like that! I found this was especially beneficial to me as I embarked on my breastfeeding journey.

Nothing really prepares you for just how hard breastfeeding can be. There is so much emphasis on how 'natural' it is, and although this may be true, it definitely doesn't inform mothers of what struggles they may face. I chose not to read too much information on breastfeeding as I wanted to just take each day as it came and 'see how we got on.' I decided that if it got to the stage were I was too distressed or Phoebe wasn't gaining enough weight; we would stop. Thankfully, this was never the case. Though, it certainly was close at times!

In those precious first few days, Phoebe was more interested in sleeping, rather than feeding! So often she would fall asleep at the breast and I just knew she wasn't getting enough food. She was a hefty girl (9lbs,11) when she emerged via c-section, (a whole other blog post!) so I knew she would want plenty of milk. I will never forget that 'dreaded' day 5 (postpartum). Phoebe was crying for food, yet would not settle at the breast, so I tried to express. I had one little bottle and no pump, so I stood over the sink in the bathroom, hand expressing into this bottle as quickly as I could. It was midnight. After each 20 minutes, when my back could take it no longer, I would rush into my husband who would feed Phoebe, then I would frantically rush back to the bathroom and pump like crazy again. For almost two hours I pumped, for almost two hours I bent over that sink feeling like a cow being milked! By the way, all that bending and pumping was not good for a very sore c-section wound!! Yet, we made it ... we made it to day 6 and things began to get easier and feel more natural. 

Don't get me wrong, from that day on, things have not been smooth sailing with regard to breastfeeding. Yet, I am so thankful that we are continuing in our breastfeeding journey today, despite the ups and downs. Yes, there have been tears. My right breast at times has been excruciatingly painful while Phoebe has been feeding. So much so, that for 2 weeks I had to express milk and feed Phoebe from a bottle and the other breast solely. I remember tentatively trying to get Phoebe to latch on again after those 2 weeks and tensing up, toes curling, ready to wince at the pain ... and nothing! I remember my utter delight at another breastfeeding hurdle jumped! Another challenge conquered! 

It is most definitely not easy choosing to breastfeed. Feeding on demand is not convenient and it usually means being late somewhere or not going at all sometimes. You have got to stick at it, even when you feel like giving up, and push on and through because once you get to the other side ... breastfeeding your baby can be totally beautiful. The closeness and bond between mama and baby is like nothing I can describe. I feel wholly connected to Phoebe and enjoy nursing more than I ever imagined I could. It forces me to stop and take time. Time I otherwise wouldn't take for myself and my daughter. Time to rest and reflect on all that it means to be a mother. Time to wish that this time would go more slowly. I already feel the very real fear of when that time comes to wean my girl off the breast. The end of my maternity leave is looming ever closer and I worry about my ability to express enough milk and whether it would just be easier to have Phoebe on the bottle by then. That very thought makes my heart sad. Yet when all is said and done I hold my head high and be proud that we have come this far. At present, Phoebe loves to nurse, and so do I. For now, we will enjoy the moment. 

In our boutique, we stock a selection of stylish necklaces handmade by Rachel at Chewable Charm. Primarily they are teething necklaces; you gorgeous mamas wear them and your sweet littles can safely chew away to soothe their wee gums. But I have found that they are also great for nursing mums too! They serve as a super distraction from hair pulling and baby checking out the surroundings while nursing. They are a fab tactile and visual stimulus. Phoebe loves twiddling away on mine while happily nursing! We do have limited stock of these necklaces so if they take your fancy, order one today! I absolutely adore mine ... they are totally practical and right on trend for all you fashion conscious mamas out there! 

Love

Steph xo