Breastfeeding · Parenting · pregnancy

Breastfeeding in pregnancyΒ 

Disclaimer.. this is ANOTHER post about breastfeeding, so if you have no interest in the topic feel free to skim past this one! 

Yes you read it right, breastfeeding and pregnancy can go hand in hand. Before being a mum, I wouldn’t have had a clue about whether it was possible to breastfeed when pregnant. And it’s unsurprising as so many people believe this myth to be true, even health professionals! In fact, even my mum thought this to be true, as advised by her midwife at the time. So, when she fell pregnant with me when my sister was 3 months old, she too stopped breastfeeding. 

It’s widely assumed that your body cannot provide the right nutrients for both baby in utero alongside your breastmilk. This is infact false, and many women feed their babies throughout their pregnancies and beyond and eventually tandem feed. 

Tandem feeding didn’t appeal to me whatsoever. And so when I fell pregnant with his brother when he was just under 1, I had to reassess my aim to feed him until he was 2. I just knew it wasn’t for me. Perhaps this was due to the mental and physical demands breastfeeding required, but also I just couldn’t imagine having two babies so dependant on me, and the logistics! 

And so I knew I wanted to stop feeding my eldest before his brother arrived, but I didn’t put a time limit on it and I wasn’t ready to stop to begin with, and neither was my food refusing nearly 1 year old. Yes that’s right, at 1 he was still yet to eat a full meal of anything, so had been relying on me 100%.. (see what I mean about it being demanding)! 

So I decided to just go with the flow. And my baby decided more and more that he would feed more and more than ever before which made no sense to me as he had previously only been feeding at naptimes (twice daily), bedtime, and for night feeds. But I kept at it nervously as it seemed like I would actually end up tandem feeding after all! My monkey just showed no signs of stopping, and it felt cruel to take away his only nourishment as he still wasn’t eating or drinking anything else. 

But then it started to get painful. REALLY painful, sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. But I still soldiered on, sometimes crying through the pain. For anyone that’s ever experienced the pain of early breastfeeding whilst your milk supply and babies latch is being established will know how bad this is. Only there was no end to this. Then, at around 20 weeks pregnant, my baby wanted to feed EVEN more, sometimes 3 or 4 times an hour and all night. It had become unbearable. But at 14 months old he had finally started to eat some solids. 

And then it hit me. The constant feeding but him never being satisfied, the pain, and the frequency, led me to the realisation that my milk had turned back to colostrum. And as he wasn’t established onto solid food or any other liquid, he was getting more and more frustrated as even though he was feeding more, he wasn’t getting what he needed. 

I managed 3 months of feeding him through the worse pain ever and and I was now 5 months pregnant. It all become too much, I needed my body back for a few short months before it all started again, and I needed a rest, and definetly some sleep. And so when my monkey was 15 months old I decided to stop breastfeeding him. It took 3 days of offering cuddles and snacks instead of milk, no tears and no fuss. I was shocked! But I also truly think it was a lot easier as he had not been getting any milk for weeks, maybe months and was actually just getting frustrated and fed up by this. 

I hadn’t actual decided to night wean straight away, I was still going to continue with one night feed until I was ready to tackle it, but I was shocked further when after day 2 he stopped waking for his night feed and slept right through.. which was of course a bonus! 

So yes, breastfeeding and pregnancy can go hand in hand, but just like breastfeeding in general, it will not be an easy ride and it takes a lot of effort and dedication. I was proud to feed my baby for as long as I did during my pregnancy but I was also so thankful for the few months break I got in between, and the sleep! 

I’d love to hear other mums experiences of feeding whilst pregnant, or if any of you were fabulous enough to tandem feed. Was it worth the pain and preserving or like me are you glad you stopped when you did? 

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Breastfeeding · diet · Lifestyle · Parenting · pregnancy

Post baby diet starts NOW

Okay so I’ve been saying for some weeks now that the healthy eating has started, BUT after weighing myself last week and realising I have put on 4 POUNDS after losing the initial baby weight, this time I’m really really going to try. 

I only put on a stone with this pregnancy but I still had a stone to lose from pregnancy number one when I fell pregnant, so in total I am just over a stone larger than I’m used to. Breastfeeding makes me super super hungry and lack of time and preparation leaves me reaching for sugary snacks. I have consumed probably a dozen packs of digestive biscuits in the last 12 weeks, it’s actually embarrassing! I’m going to be realistic and hope to lose up to half a stone, as I know my appetite is crazy as a breastfeeding mum. 

We have so many summer weddings and events that I really do want to do something about it now. So I am writing this post with the aim that it will motivate me to stick to it and update any progress. So, as I write this I am 9 stone 7 pounds.. wish me luck! 

Fruit taken from my fruit bowl which is almost rotting due to non consumption πŸ˜‚
Labour · Parenting · pregnancy

My new diaper bag

When I first started to think about my ‘must have’ items for baby number 2’s arrival, top of my list was a new nappy bag. I had long given up on my Pacapod, it was hard to adjust, didn’t fit as a rucksack and was too small. I knew I would need a bigger bag with more room to carry essentials for both babies so off I went on the hunt for a new mum bag! 

With a toddler who was reluctant to walk and a newborn, I knew that it was essential that I had my hands free, and so I was set on getting a rucksack. The other factors I considered were  practicality of organising and fitting everything in (the pods concept in the pacapod just didn’t work for me), and style as I still want to look half decent sometimes! 

I was pretty much set on getting a Tiba + Marl. They make stylish mum bags and you’d never guess they were for storing nappies at first (or second) glance. I originally opted for the quilted Elwood but didn’t love the fabric, so I switched it for the Elwood in black. It’s pricey at Β£130 but I justified the purchase by reminding myself that I had barely brought any new things for baby number two! 

I’ve only been using it for 7 weeks but I love it already. It’s super lightweight even packed full with essentials for both babies, it has various compartments and pockets to make it easy to organise, a built in shoulder bag/purse for my essentials (keys, money, phone & lippy) and it looks G R E A T! 

I don’t fumble around trying to find what I need in a mad panic, as I have everything organised in the different sections, this is so helpful when I have two little monkeys causing chaos. It’s big enough to carry extra everything’s so I don’t have to repack my bag every time we go out. So far I love it and love the way it looks and I’m so glad I decided to treat myself. As always, il leave you with some pics.. 


birth story · Labour · Lifestyle · Maternity · Parenting · pregnancy

Welcoming baby number 2.. my birth storyΒ 

With my first baby, we were in the midst of renovating and moving house so I was in no rush for my monkey to make an appearance. Well this time being heavily pregnant with a toddler (who had just learnt to walk), and being more ‘prepared’ (if that’s even possible), meant that I was counting down the arrival of my little munchkin from around 36 weeks pregnant…Do not listen to people who tell you second babies arrive sooner, it will only make you feel disheartened, and the wait feel even longer!

I laboured at home for the majority of my last labour and coped well with a ‘mama’ tens machine and bouncy ball. I got to hospital when I was 9cm dialated which I was quite chuffed about.. so surely second time round was going to be even easier.. or so I thought!

My contractions started on Friday evening but they were short, only lasting around 30 seconds, and very bearable. So much so I managed to sleep okay at night, but woke in the early hours as the pain was increasing and then didn’t go back to sleep. I now know this was a bad idea and I should have got as much sleep as possible…

My husband was home and my mum and sister had come over, so my monkey was well taken care of for the day. I spent the day upstairs, out of sight of my toddler, catching up on eastenders with my tens machine on and half heartedly using the bouncy ball. I kept thinking that the contractions were no way near as bad as last time, but put this down to the fact that last time I experienced back labour and it killed.

By the evening, the frequency and pain had intensified but was still very manageable. But, having had them for 24 hours at this point, I was convinced I must be almost ready for labour, as surely labour second time round is supposed to be quicker?! My contractions were every 3-4 minutes so off we went to hospital to be examined. After allll that, I was a measley 2cm dialated! I was gutted, although I was laughing and joking through the contractions so should have expected it really. The midwife did say that although I was only 2cm, my cervix had thinned out considerably and was in a good position (not posterior if I remember correctly) so I had ‘done all the hard work already’. She said she thought I’d be back by 1am and I’d have a baby by the morning… hmm. So at around 10pm we left the hospital in search of some nice food.

It was not our lucky night and we drove around for over an hour as everywhere we went had ran out of what we wanted or were no longer doing take aways. We settled for a greasy burger and chips and went home to eat it. My contractions were still bearable but were a lot more painful. I had stopped timing at this point as I was just getting disheartened…

I had just finished my greasy meal and was enjoying my coke (sat on my bouncy ball) talking of getting some sleep, when out of nowhere I heard something rupture in my belly followed by a huge gush. My waters had broke, it was horrible, the water kept coming! It was literally like you see in the movies and so unexpected as last time only my front waters broke, until the very end when I was too out of it to notice. Luckily mum and my sister cleared it up, helped me change clothes and off we went back to the hospital.

We joked that we had a mystic midwife as it was exactly 1am when we returned, just like she predicted. My contractions had really intensified now and I was in A LOT of pain. But when she examined me I was only 3cm.. I was SO disheartened, I felt ready to push and had contractions less than a minute apart. I wasn’t allowed to stay in the delivery suite, and could have no pain relief. Apparently even if I wanted paracetamol I would need to be admitted on to a ward… no thanks.

I really didn’t want to leave, and the midwife tried her best to let me stay, but the strict rules meant I had to leave again. I literally wouldn’t leave the room so eventually she suggested that we took a walk around the hospital for an hour then came back. So we walked for five minutes back to the waiting room, where I then told my husband and sister that I wasn’t walking anymore and didn’t want to get into the car and go back home as I was in far too much pain and this baby was coming soon.

We stayed in the waiting room for around 40 minutes while I experienced the worse contractions. I had given up on my tens machine a long time ago so was relying on my sister and husband to rub my back through the contractions. I was getting fed up of going backwards and forwards so I decided we would go back to see if my labour had progressed and if it hadn’t I’d accept it finally, and we would go home and wait it out there.

I could barely walk back to the delivery suite, and when we got there and Betty (my midwife) finally examined me (a long time after we arrived as she said she wasn’t going to this time she just wanted to observe me), I was FULLY DILATED! Woohoo! I felt like saying I told you so, but I knew it wasn’t Betty’s fault, she had tried to let me stay.

Straight away I asked for gas and air, but Betty, (and another midwife who suddenly appreared out of nowhere) said no! Great! They told me I really needed to push and get the baby out… so I tried my best, I could feel a sense of panic in the room so tried to focus on finally meeting my baby, which helped me push. Both midwives stayed in the room which added to the panic and they called for a resus kit… I knew I had to push this baby out and quickly, and 15 minutes later my beautiful baby boy was born. I laugh when I read my hospital notes as I was technically only admitted for 15 minutes… but that’s because I spent almost an hour in the corridor before hand!

My poor little munchkin was very blue and didn’t cry on his arrival but I was told he was fine… he had the umbilical chord stuck around his neck, hence the panic I had picked up on, but we got him out nice and quickly so all was fine. My baby latched on straight away but I was so tired that I was falling asleep whilst he had the world’s longest feed. I kept nodding off, only to be rudely awoken by somebody stiching me up (great another tear, I thought, how unlucky am I). I had lost a lot of blood so was told to shower up then get some rest but that I would be going home by lunchtime.

I couldn’t wait to get home, baby was checked over and given the all clear so now I was just waiting on a blood test and then we could leave. I waited hours and hours for the test and finally had it late afternoon, to be told at 8pm that I had to stay overnight as I had lost a lot of blood and was at risk of a blood clot. I was gutted, I wanted to get home and I knew my toddler would be missing me. I was cheered up a little by the Nando’s the husband hand delivered to the hospital (a Nando’s post labour is turning into a tradition). All was well the next day and we were able to go home and spend some time as a family of four 😍😍.

My beautiful baby boy was born on Sunday 18th February at 4.48am, weighing 7 lbs and 4 oz (much bigger than we were expecting)… I am now officially outnumbered by my 3 boys πŸ’™.

Baby · Family · Lifestyle · Parenting · pregnancy

Choosing baby names…

Having a name that NOBODY can pronounce was a nuisance growing up. Especially when your name can be mispronounced as ‘Salmon’, which is what I was unfortunately called for the first 16 years of my life.  This went on until I got to sixth form and decided I was fed up of being known by such an ugly name and made it my mission to correct everyone. But I know how annoying it is to have to correct people or spell your name out. For those of you who don’t know, my name is Saman, pronounced ‘summon’, as in a court summons…

I was therefore adamant about giving my children names that were easy to say and recognise. With baby number one, I spent hours reading baby name books and searching the internet to come up with lists of names I liked. But my husband thought it was ‘too early’ to discuss names until after the baby was born. So in the end I gave him my top 3 and he picked ‘Sami’ from my list, after our son was born. Simple πŸ˜„

So this time around we didn’t even discuss baby names. We knew the gender and I find boys names so much harder.  Being a multi racial family, it’s important for us both to pick names that ‘fit in’ with both cultures, as we don’t want our children to have confused identities. I had gone off the other two boys names I had picked last time (thank god my husband didn’t pick them) so we were back to square one and I knew if I started looking into it or making a list, he would be unwilling to discuss it. I did have one boy’s name that I liked in the past and had made a mental note off (it was saved in my iPhone notes.. my idea of a mental note).

One evening when I was around 34 weeks pregnant my husband asked me if I had picked any names yet. This was a funny question coming from him as if I had been spending my time looking at names he would have humoured me, telling me it was ‘too early’. This is exactly what I told him, and then mentioned that there was one name I did like… Laith. He thought about it for a few seconds then agreed that he liked it, and just like that we had our second boy’s name.

Laith is an Arabic name meaning ‘lion’ ‘strong’ or ‘brave’, but is easy enough for everyone to pronounce (I think anyway, time will tell). I love the name and think it is beautiful, just like my little boy. I also think Sami & Laith go together really nicely which is also something I considered.

So that’s how simple it was for us to come up with our babies’ names, thankfully we both agreed with each other and have picked names we both love…I’m all out of boys names though, so if we have another boy we would be stuck!

Family · Labour · Lifestyle · Maternity · Parenting · pregnancy

39 week bumpdate..

Okay, so by now I really really thought baby would have made an appearance! Don’t listen to people who tell you second babies come earlier, it’s nonsense! 

I’m so eager to meet my baby and have them here with us now.. I’m anxious about the labour and want it out of the way, plus it’s getting increasingly hard to look after an active toddler being SO pregnant! I think I’m kidding myself thinking it’s going to get any easier once baby arrives though.. I’ll have to let you know.. 

Having been on maternity leave for two weeks now, I think I have finally completed my ‘to do’ list of everything I wanted to before baby arrives, so I am all prepared! Although it’s really surreal as mentally I don’t think I’ve actually prepared myself for actually having another baby here with us, sounds strange I know but I can’t explain it. I can’t imagine another baby that isn’t Sami, that doesn’t look like Sami, or act like Sami. Also I don’t want to devastate him when he realises the ‘baba’ that he kisses and cuddles daily, is going to share mummy’s attention with him.. he is still very much a mummy’s boy. I just keep thinking he will thank me in the long term. 

I literally feel like I’m just waiting for baby CONSTANTLY which is so different to last time as I was wanting baby to stay put until our house was ready and we were all moved in. The waiting is horrible! And I’m too tired to really make the most of this time, plus I’m so exhausted from looking after my little monkey and keeping everything in the house ticking along. Anyway enough of me rambling on, here’s my 39 week bumpdate: 

Total weight gain: 1 stone 2 pounds.. still barely put on anything this pregnancy, I’m still mainly all bump. By 39 weeks last time I was a swollen mess πŸ˜‚

How big is the baby
: I’m not sure exactly (not that they really know anyway) but my midwife tells me the baby has had a growth spurt in the last fortnight and has grown loads. Maybe we won’t have a teeny tiny 5 pounder this time! 

Sleep
: Since baby dropped about 2 weeks ago, I’m finding it much easier to sleep, finally πŸ™‚ but I still wake regularly for the loo.. every pregnant women’s nightmare I think! 

Belly button: still in just about but verryyy stretched 


Stretch marks:
babies growth spurt has resulted in me finally getting some stretch marks! Kinda sucks but never mind. 

Maternity clothes: apart from maternity leggings I’m still kidding myself that my normal clothes fit so am living in my ‘normal’ clothes’ although haven’t been pregnant/ breastfeeding for the last 28 months I don’t feel I have any ‘normal’ clothes anymore.. a shopping spree is deffo in order post baby πŸ˜„

Favourite moment this week: dropping my little monkey to nursery this morning and he just ran off (did I mention he’s a proper walker now??), didn’t even turn to say bye! We’ve come a longggg way from crying every morning for almost 3 months. Makes such a difference! 

Cravings: still don’t believe in pregnancy cravings although I do always want salty food right now! 

Labour signs: none, absolutely ZERO!

Most looking forward to: the tea and toast post labour in hospital πŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸ‘ŒπŸΌ and my babies meeting for the first time.. 


Family · Labour · Lifestyle · Parenting · pregnancy

My birth plan

This time around I am so much more anxious about the labour. First time round your oblivious and you don’t know what to except, plus your also more excited. This time, although I had a smooth labour myself previously, I’ve heard everyone else’s birth stories, and some are terrifying. Once you join the ‘mum club’, fellow mummy’s no longer hold back on giving you the A to Z on their own experiences. I am probably guilty of this too, although my birth story was not so gruesome or terrifying.

So anyway.. my birth plan. I don’t have one as such, and my midwife said we will go through this at my 38 week appointment, which is surely too late loads of women have given birth by then?! I didn’t have a birth plan last time either, I wanted a water birth, no drugs and skin to skin but was fairly relaxed about how I may change my mind and that things may progress differently..

So this time, I am keeping an open mind again, I’m not going to have a strict or detailed birth plan, but there are a few things I would want in an ideal world:

  • Drug free labour. I want to stay at home as long as possible using my tens and bouncy ball. I want to use gas and air if possible (only got an hour last time as I was so far along when I arrived at hospital and my midwife wanted me to use the pain to push!).. does gas and air count as a drug? I don’t know.. but like I said I’ll keep an open mind depending on how the labour turns out. 
  • Water birth. I really wanted one last time, but I got to hospital too late and there were no birthing pools free. Really hoping I can this time πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½
  • Skin to skin immediately after birth. I know this isn’t always possible but I want this to happen as soon as possible even if I am totally out of it and knocked out.
  • Donor milk. If for some reason me and baby are separated for a long period after birth, I only want baby to be given donor breast milk, fed via a tube. My reasons being I don’t want to jeapordise my breastfeeding relationship by using a bottle, and also because of the Virgin gut, (Read more here ).. I know not everyone will agree with me on this, but it is a preference I have if it’s possible, not that there’s anything wrong with doing things differently! 

And that’s it! I’m fully aware that things could go pear shaped and in all honesty I’m trying not to focus on labour itself, and putting it to the back of my mind. Kind of strange when I’m also patiently waiting for my labour to start.. pretty ironic isn’t it? 

    Wish me luck! 

    Labour · Lifestyle · Maternity · motherhood · Parenting · pregnancy

    My post baby ‘coming home’ wish list..Β 

    Last time I gave birth we were so focused on getting the house and everything ready for the babies arrival,  I didn’t think much about after the labour and coming home! 

    So, this time I have put together a short wish list of things I’d like to come home to.. My husband is more than likely never going to read this, so I’ll be relying on my wonderful sister to pass the message on πŸ™‚ 

    So here is what I’d like to come home to: 

    1. A freshly made bed.. preferably with the pregnancy pillow washed and hidden away somewhere, I’m so fed up of it I don’t want to see it for a LONG time. 
    2. A fully stocked fridge/ snack cupboard.. if I remember right I had no real appetite last time but snacked on a lot of fruit. Some nice refreshing drinks would be nice too πŸ‘πŸΌ
    3. A clean and tidy house 
    4. A gift! Preferably diamonds or sapphires πŸ˜‹.. last time I hinted and hinted to my husband for a gift and got absolutely zilch! Not even flowers, a card or chocolates. Luckily my wonderful sister and cousin L spoilt me rotten with beautiful jewellery. 
    5. My monkey.. and this is the most important one. Hoping to come home to a happy, well fed, and well slept little monkey. It’s the first time he will be left without me so I am quite anxious about this! 

      Baby · Labour · Lifestyle · Maternity · Maternity fashion · motherhood · Parenting · pregnancy

      The end is near.. 35 week bumpdate

      I’ve been pretty quiet updating my blog as we’ve spent the last few weeks sick with coughs, colds and generally feeling ill. We get better for a day or so, before catching another bug. The worse part is, your limited in medication when your pregnant. So yes, I’ve been feeling very sorry for myself lately, and my little monkey who despite being ill too is still in good spirits and full of energy. I’m lucky enough to have my family around to help, as there was one week I literally couldn’t get out of bed, and typically that was the week I had annual leave from work.. talk about timing. 

      So anyway, we made it to 35 weeks! I’m starting to feel like the baby could make an appearance at any time, so am frantically trying to get my house in order while I can. In other words, nesting has well and truly kicked in! 

      Those of you who have read my blog for a while will know we moved into our home the day I went into labour with Sami, therefore I never got to unpack and organise our things properly. I was very lucky to have my sister unpack everything for me, but with Sami never spending more than a few hours apart from me until he was 14 months old in September (exclusively breastfed and a bottle refuser), I never had the time to organise the house. When he finally gained independence and started nursery, I went back to work three days a week, and did not want to spend my days off doing chores..

      I have spent the last week frantically getting all these jobs done. My kitchen cupboards are now super organised, my (many wardrobes) are organised and decluttered, Sami’s wardrobes have been reorganised to make space for the babies clothes and I’ve tackled the walk in wardrobe. I’m feeling a lot less stressed about the house situation but still really need to start preparing for this little baby that will be with us imminently! I still have to pack a hospital bag, and need to get some clothes ready and washed! 

      We haven’t brought a single thing for this baby as we’re hoping to use most of the things we already have. However, I do need to get a few things, so that’s next on the to do list once my hospital bag is packed. Whenever I get a little stressed at the situation, I just think back to last time and the fact my husband was assembling our bed, the crib and all other essentials as I was in Labour, whilst our carpets where being laid and our possessions were being unloaded from the removal van. It can’t possibly be any worse this time! We have a crib, we have Nappies and clothes, and breast milk on tap! That’s all the essentials covered! 

      So anyway I’ve turned this into an essay already, here’s my 35 week bump update…

      Total weight gain: 1 stone 1 pound! Hardly put anything on this pregnancy but I was a stone heavier to begin with

      How big is the baby: No idea, but bump is measuring as 32 weeks, so we may have a baby that is even tinier than Sami was

      Sleep: Still not had a full nights sleep since Sami was born. Baby number two wakes me with kicks, or I can’t get comfy, or I need the loo. On top of this I have been experiencing extreme itchiness, which is worse at night. Lucky me..(itchiness in pregnancy can be a sign of Obstetric Cholestatis so make sure you get it checked out if you experience this). I can’t wait to ditch the pregnancy pillow and sleep on my front again πŸ™‚ 

      Belly button: Still in, just about. Last time it stayed well and truly in the whole pregnancy

      Stretch marks: Luckily I’ve not noticed any to date, hoping to be stretch mark free like last time 

      Maternity clothes: Still wearing my normal clothes coupled with maternity leggings or tights, so have done well not to need a new wardrobe again

      Favourite moment this week: Watching my little monkey take his first few steps, hoping to see him walk sometime soon 

      Cravings: None, I’m still not convinced these even exist

      Labour signs: None.. thankfully it’s too early and too much to do, baby is head down for now and I have major braxton hicks

      Most looking forward to: The start of maternity leave, only two weeks (that’s 6 working days for me) to go… 

      oh and we have picked a name :):) 


      Baby · Baby sleep · Bedtime · Breastfeeding · Family · Lifestyle · Maternity · motherhood · Mummy · normalize breastfeeding · Parenting · pregnancy · Pro breastfeeding

      Our breastfeeding journey..Β 

      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 naΓ―ve. 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 😍