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10 Things I have learnt after 2 and a half years of Breastfeeding

Today Taya turns 2 and a half, which means I have been breastfeeding for 30 months now! If you’ve heard of the breastfeeding Boobie awards then that means I’ve been awarded my ‘diamond boobs with jade crystals’ and I have to say I’m pretty darn proud of myself. I’ve spent many an hour thinking about everything I’ve learnt while on this successful breastfeeding journey, stuff I had wished I’d of known when I failed with Logan, and stuff that I’d probably of liked to have known before feeding Taya. Not that any negatives would of put me off, but sometimes a heads up is nice to get you prepared! So here are my 10 things I’d like to pass on to others:

  1. Breastfeeding is hard work, and takes a lot of determination, patienceIt’ and perseverance. It may well be natural, and babies instinctively search for the breast, but it is a huge learning curve for both mum and baby. I’d advise anyone considering breastfeeding to research it as much as possible. Positions, latching on, feeding cues, signs of successful feeding, everything you can think of. Despite all this, no matter how much knowledge you take with you in to parenthood it is purely down to the strength of your will. It is not easy, but nothing ever worth doing is simple, you have to put the work in to reap the rewards. This was the hurdle I never passed with Logan, and the hurdle I was so, so determined to leap over with Taya. I can say that it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears (many, many tears!) but I wouldn’t change those first few difficult weeks for anything. I think it took a good 6 weeks to really fully grasp it, enjoy it even, but after that it’s fairly plain sailing.
  2. Everyone has an opinion. As with all other aspects of parenthood, everyone (and anyone) will have their own opinion about breastfeeding. If it’s really best, when you should stop, where you should do it etc. Becoming a parent forces you to become quite thick-skinned. Most of the time you just have to smile and nod, even agree. If only for your own sanity. If ever you feel that someones ‘facts’ or opinions are making you doubt yourself go and do some research or ask for support from friends/support group.
  3. Nipple-twiddling is the worst. When Taya discovered her hands nipping, pinching and pulling became a firm favourite, and my breasts took a beating. They’d be covered in little scabs, and it really hurt. I’d hold her hand but then she’d get frustrated. A fiddle necklace became helpful, but she didn’t take that much notice of it as I’d of liked. Then she started the nipple twiddling. Oh my days, it’s horrible! It genuinely makes me feel a bit nauseous. And she is obsessed. She has to have her other hand down the other side if she’s feeding. She’ll also often stick her hand down for comfort. It drives me nuts, but nothing stops her. I’m constantly moving her hand, or covering up the other nipple. Sometimes she does give up, other times, like when she’s very tired or grumpy she gets frustrated and it makes her want to do it more. On more than one occasion I’ve just let her get on with it as it’s just not worth the hassle. I’m guessing she won’t outgrow this one, so I’ll just have to find ways to cope.
  4. Washable breast pads are so much nicer. I went through a lot of disposable breastpads in the early days, and to be honest I think they irritated my nipples more than I thought. I wish I had swapped to washables a lot sooner. They may not always seem cheap, but they are well worth it. They’re a lot comfier and just bung them in the wash when you’ve finished using them. You’ll end up saving yourself a lot of money if you are a big leaker like myself!
  5. There is quite often an alternative medication. I see this getting asked a lot in the breastfeeding support groups on facebook. Often Drs or whomever say you can’t have a particular drug, but they are often not very informed. If you are ever unsure ask. Ask in support groups, or research. The Breastfeeding Network – Drugs in Breastmilk is a great resource with lots of information and fact sheets. They cover all sorts of drugs but also procedures, which I checked when I needed a colonoscopy. Sometimes these are handy to print out and take with you to appointments where you think you may hit a problem. If you can’t find your answer or are still unsure you can drop them an e-mail or use their helpline which is run by a qualified pharmacist who is also a BfN Registered Breastfeeding Supporter. It is an invaluable resource, and I’ve often mentioned it to Drs when talking about medication.
  6. Breastfed baby poo isn’t actually unpleasant. Okay, so this may not be universal, but I actually miss exclusively breastfed baby poo. After baby has passed the meconium it turns to a yellow, runny poo. Sounds gross, but actually isn’t all that bad. It’s most often got a sweet kind of smell and is easy to clean up. The only 2 downsides I ever found where that it did stain white clothes well, and that you do not want to get caught out when the baby poos without a nappy on… Imagine water soaker pistol but with yellow poo…
  7. Night time feedings may cause you to want to kill your sleeping partner*. Okay, that may be overreacting, although I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook support groups which lead me to believe this. It seems some mums don’t get the help they want and/or need. Oviously I suppose you could express a bottle for partners to help with the night feeds, but ultimately you should be pumping that missed feed anyway, so you’d be up no matter what. There are other ways a Dad could help out at night, but still, when you’re up numerous times in the night feeding the baby, at some point you will probably look over at your sleeping partner and think I hate you.** It’s inevitable, and perfectly normal, you’re not alone on that, but heaven forbid said partner then makes a comment on how tired they are in the morning.
  8. It’s okay not to enjoy it all the time. It’s often believed that because you made the choice to do something that you have to enjoy it. All. The. Time. Well you chose to do it didn’t you? True. However, it is more than acceptable to not like it all the time. As a parent do you enjoy every aspect of parenting all the time? No. Kids can drive you crazy at times, and everyone has a breaking point. At some point you will more than likely say “I can’t do this anymore!” and the best advice I can ever give is to never give up on a bad day. Every stage shall pass. The witching hour? It shall pass. The teething causing biting? It shall pass. The endless sleepless nights? It shall pass. The baby stage? It shall pass. In years to come it’ll all be a fleeting memory. It’s okay to not be okay with it. (Unless you hate it all the time, then I’d seek advice)
  9. Nursing Aversion is a thing, it’s unpleasant, but not your fault and more common than you think. This ties in pretty well with number 8, and I’m pretty sure most breastfeeding mothers will experience this at some point. Breastfeeding/Nursing Aversion can often make you feel guilty for even feeling it, so I think it is something that is often not talked about as much as it should. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it. Sometimes I just want Taya to not feed, it makes my skin crawl and I just want to pull her off. At times I can distract myself and let her feed, other times I have to distract her, to try and get her mind off “Baba”. As said before, breastfeeding isn’t always easy. It’s like a roller coaster ride in fact, it has its highs and lows. If you’re struggling reach out, there is always someone to listen to you and offer some help.
  10.  Women are bloody amazing! The female body, it’s something that is quite often underappreciated. Women seem to have this obsession in picking out their flaws, in wishing that their body was ‘better’. From a young age it seems drummed in to you to obtain a seemingly unreachable ‘perfection’. But seriously, how amazing are woman’s bodies?! They grow small humans, and that in itself is no easy feat. Then, they birth them, and whatever way they do that I think is incredible. A mother sacrifices that ‘perfection’ that everyone has perceived to be the ultimate goal to bring life in to this world. Then on top of that a woman’s breasts are all you need to nurture and nourish your baby for the first 6 months of their life, your body knows exactly what they need and provide it for them. Now that seems pretty damn awesome to me.

I’m pretty sure I could have provided more points, but alas, my booby-monster wants her ‘Baba’ and who am I to deny her? I don’t know how much further we will get in to our journey before the dynamics change or we stop completely, but I am glad we were able to have this experience, and right now, I don’t want to stop. It kind of feels a very definitive end to the baby years, and I’m not quite ready to let that go at this time. So for now I am very glad I can continue to provide her nourishment, comfort and much more.
*Whereas the thought may occur to some, I admittedly have never wanted to kill my OH, and I’m sure no one actually ever does. 

** I don’t hate Kiba, maybe in the heat of the moment where my hormones have been all over the place and I’m incredibly sleep-deprived I may suddenly think it, but then instantly regret it. He means the world to me and does so, so much for me that I could never hate him. I love him more than anything. You know, just sometimes everything gets to you and you do wish your partner had milk producing boobs too! 

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Autumnal Chicken Pox Adventure

Wahoo! It’s finally half term! 10 days with both my kiddies lies ahead, alas I’ve caught some sort of lurgy along with Taya, but, I have to make the most of both kids being home, so as long as Taya is up for it, and Logan doesn’t catch it also, we shall be having lots of fun! Hopefully! 

Talking of the lurgy links in with today’s #ThrowbackBlog going back to October 2014. Logan caught chickenpox at the end of September. He wasn’t happy, he was very itchy and wasn’t impressed of being housebound. As he started to scab over we decided we just had to get out, but obviously didn’t want to go anywhere that we could pass on the pox. So we visited both the beach and the woods, the fresh air did us all the world of good and it was nice for Logan to burn some energy off. Today’s photos are from our trip to the woods. I actually believe they may have been taken on Kibas birthday.

We’re really lucky in that we live in an area that has loads of natural landscapes to explore. We have heaths, woods, marshes, broads, beaches and many green spaces to explore. The particular woods we went to this day was just a short drive away, we literally parked on the side of the road and wandered in to the autumnal sunshine streaming down through the leafy canopy. 



Logan decided to take his (plastic) sword along, I can’t remember the particular reason, he could of been a pirate, a knight or maybe hunting Dragons or demons. He had a great time whatever he was doing. He mainly followed Kiba around, who I’m sure was looking for decent trees to climb. Logan mainly used his sword for the many, many brambles that covered the woodland floor. It made it slightly tough going, but to be honest we didn’t wander particularly far, and just let Logan have free reign to explore the area. 

After a while Logan found some charred wood, where it was obvious that someone had either tried to make a ‘campfire’ or were just burning something. Logan loved playing with the ash, and using his sword to cut in to the softer wood, breaking bits off. He was getting pretty filthy as you’d expect, but as he was enjoying himself we let him get on with it. We’re fairly relaxed with mess as it is, everything, including clothes can be cleaned. 



He’s still pretty darn gorgeous whether picking his nose or covered in spots! I’m glad we took the opportunity to get out and grab some fresh air, you sure do get cabin fever when you’re stuck in with a sick toddler. I encourage anyone who has a kid with the pox, if they’re feeling up for it, grab some outdoor time, away from the public, you’ll all feel much better for it. When Taya eventually has chickenpox then we’ll be taking the same approach, sometimes you just have to blow away the cobwebs and germs! 

P.s. The photos have an older watermark on them, it’s actually logans footprint from when he was a baby! 

To drive or not to drive?

NOTE: The featured image of the speedometer was taken while we were in Germany on the autobahn where, if you don’t know, they have no speed limit. It is honestly kind of terrifying, and Kiba wanted to briefly see how fast he could go, this speed was not maintained. At one point we were cruising along at 90 odd and suddenly a police car came shooting past, with a (presumably) civilian car keeping up with them, and they were gone within moments! Germans love their speed! Kiba loves driving, and has had many cars in his driving history, his latest is this beauty:

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I don’t drive. I can’t drive. I have reached the age of 25 without stepping behind the wheel of a car once. Growing up I never daydreamed about owning my own car, never really imagined myself driving. As a teenager when everyone around me started to learn and ultimately pass their tests the urge to do the same never occurred. It wasn’t until after Logan was born and Kiba learnt to drive that I ever really started to consider it. But I was terrified of the idea. I still am pretty scared. I just can’t imagine myself in control of a large metal box on wheels. Up until recently the idea of it made me feel physically nauseous. I can now imagine it, but still don’t think I am anywhere near ready to ever attempt it. Yet there seems to be a lot of pressure out there to drive. I’m regularly asked if I am going to, if I’ve considered taking the leap as it would enrich my own and my kids lives. Of course I have considered it. I’m a worrier, I worry about it a lot. (Just ask Kiba)

I’ve come to realize that a lot of people seem to think you should drive if you’ve got kids, yet I know a lot of people who don’t. I have even seen people claim that you can’t be a ‘good’ parent as you can’t take them places etc. This is utter nonsense. Yes, I may not be able to get the kids places myself, but I have some darn good friends and family who help me out as much as they can. They say it takes a village to raise a child and in my case my ‘village’ sure does help a lot. Which is particularly good as I do live in a small rural village, where the bus routes aren’t the best, but I can honestly say I’ve never taken the bus here, or even a taxi. I could, and I probably should at times, but my anxiety has often got the better of me. So should I learn to drive? It’s something I have thought about a lot. Kiba and I have had many conversations about it. I asked in the Babipur Hangout a facebook group filled with lots of friendly parents who love Babipur on their opinions and who could drive. Of the 103 people who replied, 63 could drive, 40 could not. There were some interesting comments and I was quite surprised at the number of families were both parents were non-drivers. Some of the comments cemented my fear of the kids missing out, and that they might begrudge that in future, but ultimately it gave me some reassurance on my decision so far of not driving.  I think it comes down to being a very personal choice, but I’ve decided to write some Pros/Cons for each situation in case anyone was in the same conundrum as I am. I’ll be adding some side notes of my own though.

To be able to drive;

PROS;
– To be able to do what you want, when you want. Not having to rely on others.
– Emergency situations. Self explanatory.
– Reliability. Unlike buses/trains etc that may get cancelled or delayed.
– Better job opportunities.

CONS;
– Expense. Cars or any other vehicle are expensive. The lessons and test to drive for starters. Then the actual vehicles, the insurance, the fuel and then the upkeep. It all adds up and can be quite costly.
– Parking. It can be a nightmare. Personally we can’t even park outside our house, it’s a short walk up the road, which is fine in the summer, but in Winter or if it’s peeing with rain, or if you’ve got lots to carry it is a bit of a nightmare.
– It’s a big responsibility. Cars are huge, potentially dangerous metal boxes, and when they mix with people in an accident the cars get the lighter deal. I’d be terrified of an accident, which would then mean I’m more of a danger as I am a nervous driver.
– Congestion. There are a lot of cars out there these days, which leads me to the next point
– Environmental Impact. We all know about this.

Not being able to drive:

PROS;
– It’s eco friendly. You’re not adding your own CO2 in to the atmosphere.
– Saving money by not having the cost of a car
– Less stressful. This is a personal one.

CONS;
– Having to rely on others for lifts for everything that can’t be reached by public transport.
– Moving car seats between cars, although if you only have one and go in others cars anyway you’d still probably be moving it about at some point.
– Public transport can be expensive
– Emergency situations (although if it truly is an emergency I would call 999, and any other I have a fabulous network who’d help me out)

All in all, I think that if I were to learn to drive I’d have to be so, so much more confident. Kiba has told me that I am not to learn until I have gotten over the fear of it, as a nervous driver can be a dangerous driver. I also think that if I do one day want to become a Doula then I am going to have to drive, as who would want to hire a doula that can’t get to you quickly? It’s a bit of an awkward situation though, to drive I need money, but to earn money I ultimately would need to drive. I shall have to cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now as a family we really can’t afford lessons and then a second car. I think for now I need to focus on my wedding (324 days from today!) as that in itself is a pricey and slightly stressful thing to think about. Afterwards I shall reassess our situation and how I feel and go from there. I know not being able to drive does not make me a bad parent. I know my kids have just as good as a life as kids with a mum who does drive. No one should feel forced in their decision, or guilty of their choice. I shall strive to be the best person I can, no matter what my circumstances.

I just want to take a quick moment to thank those, and they’ll know who they are, that have helped the kids and I get about the past few years. I really, really appreciate you guys. Thank you.

PS. I just found this photo, the closest to driving I have been, unless Mario Kart counts!

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Kids Birthday Parties: Top tips! 

Everyone knows them, at some point everyone has either held one or been to one. For children they’re quite often an amazing couple of hours filled with excitement and hyperactivity. For parents they’re more likely to be a stressful occasion, or one of dread. You could be a parent who likes parties, although I don’t think I’ve found a parent who likes them all. I think it comes down to what the party entails, how long, what activities etc. As soon as your child starts attending a regular group of children placement, be it school, preschool, nursery etc the invitations start flooding in. In the 2 years Logan has been at school we’ve had a good amount of party invitations, most I’ve accepted, some we couldn’t make. He’s been to a great variety of parties, from soft play to Home, entertainers to pottery painting, and yesterday he attended a go kart party! Whatever the theme I’ve found most to be quite noisy, excitement inducing, and full of sugary snacks and drinks. He’s enjoyed each and every one of them though. I suppose that’s what counts. I’ve managed to avoid organising a party so far, but have almost done so until we convinced master Heberling otherwise, but here are a few tips for organising a party from my point of view:

  1. Cost. Parties can be ridiculously expensive. Consider working out a rough budget before deciding on what to do. Lots of different things will effect how much it’ll cost, where it’ll be, if you have entertainment or not, decorations, food, cake, party bags etc. If you do it all yourself at home or at a village hall you may save yourself some pennies. Pinterest may also come in use for money saving ideas, or how to do things yourself. Kids don’t need to have an expensive entertainer or soft play party, so don’t feel you need to go all out. It’s not a competition. 
  2. Who to invite. You may be on a limit of who you can invite, maybe by price, location or a certain activity you’re doing. Many people seem to invite the whole class, and this seems to work well if you’re not under a limit. No one gets left out, and it may be a good way to get to know classmates (and their parents!). If you’re under a limit ask your child, don’t go by people you like, sit down your child and ask who’d they’d like there. If they’re not sure on names you could always ask their teacher who their friends are. Please don’t leave just one or two children out when the rest of the class is invited. Just because you don’t like the parent or think the child’s a troublemaker doesn’t mean you should penalise the child. Remember the class will most likely talk about it, and that child would feel very left out. It’s not kind, don’t do it. 
  3. Party food. Food is a hard one I feel. When we were young it was all junk food and fizzy. Then there was a craze of healthy food. Personally I feel that you should provide a good selection of both healthy and junk food. Kids can be fussy, pizza and nuggets are always a winner. Fruit probably wouldn’t go down too well depending on age, but there are plenty of healthy alternatives out there. I’d much prefer fizzy to not be on offer until they’re much older. Avoid nuts, and consider if any child has any intolerances. Alternatively, avoid meal times, and just have drinks and cake! 
  4. Party bags/favours. Remember as a child you got a bag of tat? A mix of random little things that either broke very quickly or were pointless? These still exist. Don’t go there. There are plenty of other options. Most go for sweet cones these days, which are obviously always a hit, and fairly cheap to either buy or make yourself. Give a pot of playdoh and a cutter or two for younger kids. DIY science experiment kits can be a hit for older kids. One party we’ve been to gave out a book to each child which I think is a fantastic idea! Again, there’s loads on pinterest. Be creative and choose something that you’d also be happy to have at home, nothing annoying!
  5. Have fun. Don’t get stressed about it all, a party is supposed to be fun for everyone, organisers included. Your child will enjoy it more if you’re enjoying it too. Get help from family and friends if you’re doing it yourself. Take a moment to step back and watch your child having fun, take photos, join in. Birthday parties are there to remind you that your child is growing up. They’re only little once. Relish in the moment.

    Obviously there’s lots more to parties than that, but I think they’re some important things to think about. Now, if you are a parent of an attendee there is also a couple of things to consider:

    1. Presents. I’m sure this is at the front of most people’s minds once the invitations have been sent out. For some kids you know exactly what you’ll get them, but other kids you may not know so well, or at all, so what do you get them? Whatever you do, don’t go overboard. Set a limit on what you’ll spend. Ask your child what you think the birthday child would like. Consider the age of the child and how well your child knows them. Personally, I go for a book for most parties, if Logan knows them well and is a really good friend then I’d get them something more, but I think books are perfect, there’s always a book to fit the birthday child’s needs. If you’re really unsure, or don’t want to spend much then rally together with a couple of other parents and buy something between you. Remember, don’t feel you have to spend a lot, never forget presence over presents. 
    2. Don’t force your child to join in. Parties can be quite overwhelming, loud and down right scary places to be, especially for small children. There may be people they’ve never met before there. There may be an entertainer who is a bit too much for your child. They may not want to run around with the other children, kicking balloons. Don’t force them to join in if they do not want to. Parties can be unsettling and new. Let your child soak it all in, let it be their decision on when to join in. Stay with them, and point things out, explain things, encourage but don’t push, experience it with them. Most kids will warm up, some don’t, and that’s okay. If it’s a drop off party then explain to the birthday parent, they should let you settle them before leaving or even stay the whole time. If your child isn’t a party animal don’t ever feel the need to apologise about them, don’t worry about if you leave early or even not attend the party. Everyone has to enjoy themselves and if you have to make that decision for the better of your child then you are doing a great job knowing their needs.

    Hope you can take something away from this, or maybe you feel I’m not qualified to tell you how to organise a party due to never actually doing so myself. However I’ve attended a fair few (two for this week!) and discussed it a lot with other parents, so feel I’ve had a good insight. Happy party planning, and remember, if you’re attending a party, don’t forget to have something to hand for that inevitable headache you get from the shrill shrieks of a group of small children. 

    Photo shows a cake that Mr Heberling made for logans 4th birthday, it did have dinosaurs on, but we took them off for the eruption!