Our breastfeeding journey.. 

Breastfeeding was something I felt really strongly about. I was adamant it was what I was going to do and if you asked me a year ago I had strong views on why anyone would do anything differently. It’s so easy to have views on parenting choices when your not a parent!  Anyway, back to my reasons for breastfeeding, the facts speak for themselves..( read up on the benefits here).. plus it felt like the most natural thing to do. But, I now know, I was lucky with my breastfeeding journey, very lucky..

My baby latched on straight away after birth (skin to skin deffo helped). Yes the first 4-6 weeks were HARD. It was painful, I had sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. Me and my baby struggled to find the right latch, and I felt uncomfortable even feeding at home with so many people around. We had just moved house and only had one living room set up, if I wanted privacy (which I did), I had to leave the room. Which wasn’t easy initially with my stitches. In the end I gave in and fed in front of everyone, making me more anxious and uncomfortable in the early days. 

But, we had no real issues. Cracked nipples and soreness is completely normal, and because I was adamant I didn’t let this stop me. But I can easily see how this would be hard for some people to deal with. Especially with lack of knowledge and the wrong advice. And as a new mum, the advice keeps flowing, and you start to question whether the baby is getting enough milk, are they hungry, are they jaundice, is your milk sufficient? Like I said I was lucky, we had no major feeding issues so my only challenge was dealing with the pain and getting the hang of it which took around 6 weeks. Had I not been so determined and desperate to make it work, and had not done my research, I could have easily given up. And if I had given up, there would have been nothing wrong with that, a happy baby and mum is more important than anything. 

And this is where my views have changed. Prior to being a mother, and even as a new mum, I couldn’t understand why a women wouldn’t breastfeed or atleast attempt to. I was so naïve. I’ve since witnessed my cousin and best friend become mums and have totally different experiences to me. Both wanting to breastfeed, but both being separated from their babies after birth, and consequently having to face even more difficulties in their breastfeeding journeys than normal. I’ve also witnessed lack of support from health professionals in the first few days, at the detriment of establishing breastfeeding altogether. I now know, that for some people, no matter how adamant they are, the circumstances take the choice away from them. Again, I was lucky, and am thankful for how things turned out for me. 

As I said before, breastfeeding is hard. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done..I can easily see why so many people do not stick it out. Your baby relies on you 100%, which means everything you do, everything you wear, down to everywhere you go, is centred around feeding your baby. And, if like me, you have a bottle refuser (my monkey had no interest in expressed milk), you literally feel like you never get a break from being ‘mummy’. And the night wake ups and lack of sleep can really catch up on you. When your a breastfeeding mummy, you can’t just have a night off, or even a few hours off. Your always there, on call incase your baby needs you, 24 hours a day. 

As well as being a bottle refuser, what made breastfeeding harder for me, was the fact that he was not interested in food until he was 13 months old. Which meant he was exclusively fed by me until then. Finally at 13 months he started to eat a meal a day, then within days this turned into three meals! I nearly cried the first time he ate a meal as I literally thought the day would never come and it meant so much to me. 

And it couldn’t have come at a better time as I was 4 months pregnant, and was getting kicked in the tummy and breastfeeding was becoming uncomfortable. Being pregnant, my milk supply had dwindled drastically and the soreness and pain from breastfeeding in the early days came flooding back. But I persevered for two more months. I had always hoped to feed until a minimum of 2 years, as recommended by the World Health Organisation, but the realities of feeding when pregnant, the pain, the tiredness, and my monkeys frustration from getting very little milk from me, which in turn added to the soreness, had become too much. 

So at 15 months we called it a day, it took three days for my monkey to stop asking and I offered lots of snacks and lots of cuddles. I felt so sad and so bad for my monkey for refusing him of the one thing he wanted. But if he hadn’t have taken to it so well, I probably would have continued. I really think the fact I was pregnant and my supply had reduced so much, made the whole thing so much easier, for us both. He’s never asked again and the last two months have resulted in a toddler who eats so much, is less clingy and sleeps all night (an added bonus). 

I am so proud of our breastfeeding journey, and proud of us both for making it to 15 months, especially since recent research suggests that only 0.5% of people are still breastfeeding at 12 months in the U.K. (BBC article, 2016). A statistic that shocks me, but also fills me with pride. I’m proud that I could feed my baby, and give him the best start I could, and I’m also grateful as I know, it’s not so simple for everyone, and mothers do the best they can in the choices they make. I’m not going to lie, it’s been nice to have a break from feeding this last two months, but I am looking forward to hopefully doing it again..only 9 weeks to go 😍

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I think I have insomnia.. 

Every parent waits for the day that their baby finally ‘sleeps’. Of course all babies sleep, what I mean by this is you put them down at bedtime and don’t hear a peep out of them until morning.. bliss! Well I did my time and waited a whole 15 months for this day. At first I thought it was a fluke, but it’s been almost two months and my monkey has ‘slept’ ever since. 

And boy is it nice! So much so, that you forget all the sleepless nights, the every two hour wake ups, the 5am starts, the evenings where your forever putting your baby back to sleep and overall the relentlessness and sleep deprivation! Okay, well maybe I haven’t forgotten it totally, but somehow you forget just how hard it really was.

So now that my baby sleeps, I have a new problem.. I CANT sleep! Typical. Well I fall asleep just fine, but I wake multiple times at night, for a glass of water, to use the loo, because the baby is kicking, or because I can’t get comfy (despite the pregnancy pillow that is taking over my bed). And atleast once a night, usually around 3-4am I cannot go back to sleep for 1, sometimes 2 hours. Not even my trusty rain and thunder sleep music works, which has been a godsend these last 17 months. If your having issues going back to sleep after the relentless night feeds, try it! It used to work wonders for me! 

So anyway, I lie awake for AGES, thinking and overthinking, replaying my day, or thinking about alllllll the things I need to do, and the most annoying one, thinking about work and my ever growing todo list. Apart from pregnancy, I blame work for my inability to sleep. Thank god I only have two short months left of work, before another little monkey arrives and I actually have no sleep for the forseeeable future again 😂😂. 

Last night I woke at 4am and did not sleep again until gone 5.30am, only to be woken at 6.30am! And typically, my little monkey didn’t wake until 8am so we were late for nursery. Luckily it’s my morning off and I am not budging from the sofa until it’s time to collect him again. 

Happy Tuesday everyone! 

Maybe I need an adult version of one of these.. 

We love Fridays..

I love Fridays! Even though I am currently a ‘stay at home mum’ and apparently everyday is Friday. 

I love Fridays because, on Fridays we go swimming. I like  seeing my monkey splashing around in the water, he loves it and it makes me happy! 

I still get happy about the weekend, as it means we get to spend quality time with all our family and friends. So yeah, even though everyday is a holiday (yeah right) for me, we still live for Fridays and the weekend. But why is it that every single Friday, my little man decides that he does not want to nap on time and therefore I have to wake him up for swimming and rush him home straight after for his next nap. 

Today, it took almost two hours for him to have his morning nap, I kept finding him blowing raspberries to himself in his cot! He has finally fallen asleep and in exactly 36 minutes I will need to wake him up and will then have fifteen minutes to get him ready for swimming.. Being a mum has taught me to do everything super super quick!

Happy Friday everyone.. 

   
 

Finally a lie in 

I don’t need an alarm clock anymore, and haven’t done for nearly nine months now. I’m woken up by my lovely little boy (screaming) who is most definitely an early bird. For the last couple of months he has woken up by 6am, and regularly wakes for the day between 4 and 5.30am. 

Every morning I pray for a miracle that he goes back to sleep, but sure enough, every morning this doesn’t happen and I give in and we start our day. So why am I sat here at 7.45am this morning, debating whether to go in and check on him (which will in turn wake him up), as he surely can’t still be sleeping?! Can he? 

This has made me chuckle to myself. I don’t want him to wake too early, but if he doesn’t wake up I get concerned! My poor baby can’t win! As parents we are never happy! So and so’s baby is always sleeping better or longer or happier or bigger or crawling or not crawling.. You get the jist. Anyway for now I’m just going to enjoy lying in bed doing absolutely NOTHING, as it’s been awhile.. 

   

Sleep when the baby sleeps.. 

‘Are you prepared for the lack of sleep’ they said. Yes, I thought I was. I could handle a few weeks of no sleep, maybe a month or two, surely after that things would settle down. I heard this a lot, but nobody told me the extent of the lack of sleep I was about to encounter, and how it lasts months and months. Why did nobody tell me this? 

‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ they said. But nobody told me that this would be impossible as my newborn baby would want to nap only on me. Putting my baby down so I could perhaps even rest risked going through the whole getting baby to sleep hour long procedure again. This was naptime for the first few months at least. 

As he got older and I could finally put him down for naps, nobody told me he would nap for exactly thirty minutes only, leaving me just enough time to do some laundry, tidy up a bit and make a cup of tea. Just as I sipped my first long awaited sip, he would wake up. I couldn’t even attempt to catch up on sleep and ‘sleep when my baby slept.’

‘He’s hungry’ they said. ‘Just wait until he’s on solids,’ they said. I had built false expectations of my baby sleeping through the night (or at least better), once I introduced solids. But nobody told me that food would cause my baby to actually wake up more from wind and a bad tummy. And why did nobody tell me just how hard weaning a fussy breastfed baby would be. 

Now they ask me what I do with all my free time as I am no longer working. ‘You must watch so much TV’ they ask. I wish! I wake up at 6am and don’t sit back down until 7pm once the babies asleep. When explaining this, I often get told to just sleep when the baby sleeps..