The British weather is known to the world for being unpredictable. But in wintertime, the forecast becomes less of a guessing game—we know it’s going to get wet and wild!
For many of us, though, the colder months are the perfect excuse to get cosy in our homes. And for those of us who are breastfeeding or pumping breastmilk, being cosy is music to our ears. There’s nothing quite like snuggling up with our babies and bonding over this most intimate act.
But being warm is essential to feeling cosy. And when it comes to heating our homes in winter, there’s nothing that says traditional Britain quite like nestling down in front of a roaring log fire. These days, open fires are more common in rural areas. But the rising cost of heating has meant that many urban British homes have invested in multifuel stoves or log burners. And they are just as good at making our homes feel like a haven of peace when the nights draw in and the temperature drops.
Like anything in life, there are risks to log burners and open fires so the first thing to ask ourselves is: can we get cosy without them? The simple answer is: Yes!
Getting Cosy Without The Flame
Whether you choose to light your open fire or log burner while you breastfeed or not, there are lots of products that can support you in your breastfeeding or pumping journey and get cosy while you do it without lighting that flame.
Breastfeeding is a wonderfully natural part of motherhood, but no one said it will always be easy. Most mums go through problematic episodes and some of us find that direct breastfeeding isn’t for us. Some of us mums choose to breastfeed our babies solely through expressed breastmilk from the get-go—whatever is comfortable is fine.
When I express, I use my Momcozy wearable breast pump. It’s especially good because it doesn’t weigh me down, it’s discreet and is super comfortable when I’m ready to get cosy. It’s so easy to wear with my pumping bra that I nearly forget I’m expressing.
To boost my baby's comfort in the darker days of British winters, I Iike to breastfeed her while she’s in her nursing pillow. It means I can get comfy wherever I am at home and my little one is fully supported too.
Light My Fire
If you are breastfeeding but want to light your log burner or fire during the winter months, you need to know if you’re making the safest choices for you and your baby. That’s why it’s important to know the risks before putting a match to your fire.
Here are my tips for making the right choice for you as a breastfeeding British mum:
Understanding the Risks
Open fires, log burners or multi-fuel stoves all pose some sort of risk, and not just to breastfeeding mums.
The obvious risk is that any kind of combustion in the home is a fire hazard. From the candle we light to scent the room, the gas hob on our ovens when we boil the spuds, or the logs and coal burning in our fires or burners, they all have the potential to start a house fire.
Does that mean we stop lighting candles, no longer use our stoves, or rely on central heating? We might, but often we don’t. Providing we use any combustible items safely and according to the manufacturer's guidance, we can still use our appliances—but we need to do it with caution.
Vigilance is key and keeping our eyes on our babies is one of the things we all need to do. One of the products I swear by is my Momcozy Video Baby Monitor. I’d never leave an open flame unattended and the same goes for my baby!
The other risk posed by log burners or multifuel stoves is less obvious. Open fires and log burners not only emit heat but the process of combustion also means that tiny particles are released into the air. What we burn in our fires or burners also plays a part. If you burn certain substances you may be at risk of potentially harmful gases affecting the indoor air quality.
For breastfeeding mums, this raises concerns about their own health and that of their baby, and rightly so. Infants are more sensitive to air pollution and there’s no denying there may be some risk to your household’s respiratory health if you use an open fire or log burner. A CO2 monitor and fire alarm are essential.
It may seem obvious to say, but open fires pose more of a risk than log burners or multi-fuel stoves. This is because the particles created during the burning process are more likely to enter the room. Log burners’ and stoves’ emissions are mostly taken by the flue out into the atmosphere. It is for this reason many breastfeeding mums choose not to use their open fires while they are breastfeeding.
For those mums who do choose to breastfeed and use their log burner, it’s essential to make sure your appliance is properly installed and maintained. In the UK you should use a HETAS registered installer and maintenance professional. Your home insurance probably expects you to have your stove or burner safety checked annually. And even if it doesn’t, if you’re breastfeeding—a safety check is a must!
The British government brought in new guidance regarding log burners in late 2022 so burners bought in 2023 must comply with these laws. One of these laws is that stoves and burners must meet the Ecodesign regulations. This means that they produce less harmful emissions into our homes and into the environment—which is a win-win!
Stay Warm, Stay Safe
British breastfeeding mums can still enjoy the warmth and cosiness of their log burners if they choose. Providing safety guidelines are followed and you educate yourself on the potential risks of lighting your open fire or log burner, you can decide if it’s right for you and your little one.
Whatever heating solutions we choose, us mothers are brilliant at creating cosy and comfortable environments for both ourselves and our babies.