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 😍

When your toddler learns the dreaded ‘M’ word..

My monkey has a new favourite word.. When he first said it I thought it was so cute and clever. He was eating his morning weetabix and had finished his last spoon and asked for ‘more’. What a clever boy I thought.. 

Fast forward a month and ‘more’ his deffo his fave word. He wants ‘more’ snacks before he’s even finished what he’s eating, he wants ‘more’ stories before we’ve read the first page of the current one, more songs, more water, more bubbles, more time in the bath, everything is more, more, MORE! 

Last night he went to sleep asking for ‘more’ not sure what he wanted exactly but I’m guessing it was more awake time, but it was so so cute he’d get sleepier every time he said it. It wasn’t so cute this morning when we were trying to get in the car to get to nursery and he was asking for ‘more’ weetabix followed by a tantrum (yes we have tantrums already). 

So anyway, the moral of the story is.. don’t intentionally teach your toddler to say ‘more’ until your ready for the consequences 😂😂 

My DIY cake smash

I have been meaning to publish this post for literally ever. But life has got in the way.. Oh and we’ve been away for a month, yes a MONTH. But more on that another time. 

When I told people I was doing a cake smash for Sami’s first birthday, my friends and family didn’t really get it. They’ve obviously been living on another planet, because everyone is doing them these days. I however did not want to fork out £150+ to get a professional photo shoot done.. So I decided to do it myself, and here’s how:

The outfit:

I originally picked a mint green bow tie and nappy cover from Etsy to go with my colour scheme, but daddy was not impressed when I brought Sami downstairs on the morning of the cake smash. Luckily I had an outfit for his first birthday BBQ ready, so quickly changed him into that and thank god it went perfectly with the colour scheme.


The setting:

I decided to do the cake smash outdoors for a couple of reasons. Firstly, less mess in the house and less to clean up after, and secondly I felt I had a better shot at getting the photos right. Also, I wanted to keep the setup simple and felt this was a lot easier in the garden with lots of greenary as a natural setting, with a few added touches. I ordered a couple of props online, a hessian canvas cloth, a wooden crate and some wooden letters/numbers. I also digged out some leftover wedding party decorative balls and a banner. My main aim was to keep it simple, I didn’t want it to look overdone or cheesy. 


The cake: 

I initially looked to order one, but couldn’t justify the cost for a cake that was going to mainly go to waste. The whole point of a DIY cake smash was to save money so I just couldn’t bring myself to spend fifty odd quid on one. Thankfully my sister stepped in and she did a marvellous job of icing her first cake. 


Then all I needed was a happy baby.. And here’s the bit I didn’t plan for. My baby just was NOT interested. Whatsoever. Any photos of him touching/eating/ playing with the cake had to be staged. This got me thinking, do any one year olds really go for the cake or are they all staged?? I’d love to know.. Answers on a postcode please.. 

I’m really pleased with how my pictures turned out and so happy I didn’t fork out loads of ££.. Here’s some tips on doing your own:

  • Keep it simple, and I mean SIMPLE. Too many probs and objects can make the photos too crowded and tacky. Less is definitely more in this case. 
  • A happy baby makes better pictures.. I did my shoot straight after Sami’s morning nap so I knew he wouldn’t be tired or grumpy. 
  • I also picked morning as I didn’t want too much sun in the pictures. In the end it was a pretty miserable day but you can’t tell in the photos. 
  • Increase the ISO on your camera as your baby will not sit and pose nicely, you will be taking moving action shots, and if the ISO is too low you will end up with blurry photos. 
  • Lower your expectations. I really thought my baby was going to have so much fun, I wasn’t prepared for how he actually reacted. Be prepared for this, so that you are not too disappointed. It’s maybe not a good idea to do it at their birthday party with an audience incase of a negative reaction. 
  • Don’t over worry/ over think things like the cake or outfit. The cake doesn’t have to be perfect, minor blemishes won’t show in the pictures. In hindsight I am so glad I didn’t stick to my original outfit (well half naked baby) as it just wouldn’t have looked as good. 

I’ll leave you with some photos to enjoy.. 


    It finally happened.. 

    I feel like my little munchkin has been teething FOREVER.. Yet somehow we still made it to ten months old with a cute toothless smile. He looks so cute without teeth that I kind of wanted him to put it off longer. However the constant colds, upset tummies and other teething related nuisances made me want these teeth to hurry hurry! 

    For the past week Sami had all of a sudden started waking multiple times a night and I just couldn’t understand why. He didn’t want to feed (usually what he wants when he wakes), instead wanted cuddles and to fall asleep on my chest. I was convinced he was going through separation anxiety, which didn’t make much sense as he is so happy and confident with all of the people he sees regularly. 

    So anyway, last night I had a feel of his gums (he doesn’t let me look at them, he is very headstrong already!).. And I was suprised to feel a teeny tiny sharp tooth on his bottom gum. It finally happened, he finally got his first tooth! I don’t know why I was so excited by this, as it’s not a developmental milestone, but I was acting like an excited child! 

    It made me realise my little teeny 5 pound baby is growing up so then I got all sentimental and spent the whole of this morning looking at every single photo I’ve ever taken of him! I am such a typical ‘mom’. Anyway, looking through said pictures I looked so slim and healthy and well groomed after my baby was born. Now I look like a tired mess pretty much all of the time. 

    My appetite is crazy thanks to breastfeeding and I crave sugar even though I’ve never really had much of a sweet tooth before. The pounds are slowly piling on. This time I mean it when I say I am going to do something about it.. I have just over two months before my holiday and I want to feel ‘nice’ in my summer clothes by then.. 

    So from today I am going to make healthier choices, try and do some kind of exercise and no more junk! I mean it this time.. 

      

    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..