Sharing the love
Penny Campbell's work for baby products company Philips AVENT is close to her heart
From marketing whiz to new mum, Penny Campbell knows that plummeting feeling when you first take your baby home from hospital.
"We thought, 'You're letting us go with this baby? Really? Are you mad? We don't know what we're doing!'" Penny now laughs uproariously.
But it was no joke when she was trying to feed a newborn who, for the first three weeks, consistently nipple-fed - an excruciatingly painful experience.
Penny would dread Lily waking up, because it meant feeding her again. Finally, she admitted her difficulties to the midwife who got her in to see a lactation consultant.
"She sorted me out and it was plain sailing from there. I carried on until Lily was 12 months old."
All that was over five years ago. Penny's the proud (solo) mum of Lily who has just started school.
But having known how hard it is to establish breastfeeding, helping new mums is one of the main motivators in Penny's role as brand manager for Philips AVENT - a leading supplier of breast pumps and related feeding products.
Now, when she meets pregnant women at promotional events she urges them to put their hands up if they have trouble with feeding - because there's no shame in seeking help.
"The thing that drives me is that, if I can change one woman's experience because she knows to ask for help, then that's awesome. Because that makes a difference not only in her life but in the lives of her child and those around her.
She wonders, though, if women are getting a balanced view on feeding their babies and suggests that perhaps, with all the focus on breastfeeding, the needs of women who don't breastfeed are being somewhat neglected.
"Facebook is a great opener of discussions. You read the experiences of some women - they have been made to feel they are the worst thing on earth for not breastfeeding.
"I had a phone call from a friend whose sister had tried breastfeeding but it didn't work out, for whatever reason," she continues. "She started feeding her baby formula but the baby was having lots of tummy problems. It turned out that she was buying different formulas each time - depending on what was on special. She didn't know that you can't do that.
"I'm pro breastfeeding but I don't think I've got any right to cast a judgement on women who don't breastfeed. I just hope they've been given the right information to make an informed decision."
Penny separated from her partner when Lily was a year old but, though it was tough at first, she kept alive her connection with him so Lily would still see her dad.
Penny works around 28 hours a week, sometimes in the evenings or weekends so she can still enjoy quality time with her daughter who's growing up fast and getting more independent every day.
"The thing that really blows me away is that I love her more and more as she grows up. I think, 'How could I possibly love her any more?'
"Then she does something and I think, 'Oh, my love just got a bit bigger!'"