Tag Archives: Being a Mum

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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So much to do, so little time

I am still here! Promise. I’m slowly getting back in to the school routine, which also means getting back in to fitting play groups, cleaning, mealtimes etc around school drop offs and pick ups. Also, Taya seems to have given up her daytime nap unless we go in someone’s car, which suddenly means I have less time to myself, which, as most parents know is a valuable time to get on with jobs or hobbies. 

On top of everyday household jobs and playing I’m slowly trying to catch up on editing and sharing photos. It is a very long and slow job. A large majority of my “spare time” is used to edit photos. It feels like I’m slowly starting to make a little progress, but I’ll be very happy once I’m finally all caught up. 

I’m going to set myself a couple of goals, and hopefully they’ll help me to get back on track, feel free to nudge me if you feel I’m failing, sometimes I need a bit of a kick up the backside. So here goes: 

  1. Get back to doing daily German lessons. Before Germany I did a good few months of daily lessons, but once we were back I fell off the wagon. I admit to not doing one since despite adding it to my mental to do list. 
  2. More regular blog posts. I’d like to do a minimum of a post a week, but preferably at least twice. If you’ve got any ideas, suggest away, I’ll make a list of ideas so I can just choose one and hopefully never have that “what should I write?” moment.
  3. Take part in #Throwbackthursday. I did for a while, then once again failed to continue. I’m already taking part in Babipurs weekly Instagram Challenges so this is just another way of being more present on social media. 

I don’t want to set too many goals for now, as I think I’m more likely to fail if I do! So for now these will do. I think it’s enough and hopefully you shall see a lot more from me! 😁

On the subject of time, take a look at my photo clock! I got it for Christmas and only just sorted the photos out. Watch this space for it to finally get on a wall! 😜

The sleep thieves and I

Long time no see huh? I really do apologise and hope this post may explain, mainly to myself, why I’ve been utterly crap at doing anything the past couple weeks, and it also serves a huge, huge apology to everyone who has physically been with my grumpy arse, I’ve been in a foul and odd mood and I’m sorry if you got caught in it. I love you guys really. 

So, sleep thieves? I’m sure you all are aware of at least one in your life for some reason or another. I have 2 regulars, 3 if the kids each count as their own. The other is my Fibromyalgia, sometimes it causes insomnia, sometimes I’m just too damn uncomfortable to sleep, other times it’s the cause of medication. These past 2 weeks have been awful for sleep, and as you all know this has a great effect on yourself, and everyone around you. 

I’ve never understood “sleeping through” and the utterly ridiculous notion of expecting babies to sleep all night. It is not natural. They wake due to a biological design to prevent SIDS. Their stomachs are little and need filling up little and often, overfed babies “sleep through” due to their little bodies having to basically shut down so their stomach can catch up on digestion, it is not a sign of a good baby. It is normal for them to wake. I don’t know about you, but I still wake at least once a night, to pee, to drink or just because. So I’ve never expected the kids to sleep through, which they never have. I can count on both hands the number of times Logan has and a similar amount for Taya, although she did have a period of long sleep before the dreaded 4 month leap. These days Logan (6) goes to bed in his own room, and whenever he wakes, which can be anytime from 10pm through to 6am, he comes in to our bed for the remainder of the night. Taya (2) breastfeeds to sleep in the evening on the sofa with me. She’ll either stay in my arms or on a beanbag until we go up to bed. We co-sleep, we have her cotbed sidecarred to ours. There she’ll either sleep or sleep-feed all night. She’ll generally wake between 2 and 8 times. It can be tiring but it is so, so much easier co-sleeping, just roll over and pop a boob out, no need to fully wake up even. However the past couple weeks Taya has upped her waking to 10+ a night. It was so draining. I was exhausted, I was touched out, I didn’t want her touching me. But I kept reminding myself it is just a phase, it will pass. And it has, she’s slowly going longer again! I don’t see either of my kids ever sleeping through, but maybe they’ll get there one day, and if not it isn’t the end of the world. They’re only little for such a small amount of time, I’d rather cherish them, I’ll be able to sleep well in years to come. 

Old photo of our sleep setup. Taken at a ridiculously early time after Taya had a poonami. I still only get about the same amount of space.  

My second sleep thief, the one that causes the poor quality sleep is Fibromyalgia. I’ll go in to that in more detail another time, but just so you know now, I ache and hurt, a lot. I can cry from the painful aching at times, and getting comfortable at night is a never-ending struggle. 2 weeks ago I started to reduce my medication in preparation for changing to another, hopefully more helpful one. Whereas the actual aching and pain didn’t increase much (it hadn’t been working too well obviously!) the side effects, or withdrawal symptoms were horrendous. Despite the junior Dr telling me to just stop, I knew you had to reduce it slowly, although I could only do so 300mg at a time as she wouldn’t give me any lower, so I felt the effects. I’ve had a constant headache, I’ve felt sick, tired, grumpy, and I’m pretty sure I was a nightmare to live with. At night I was suddenly struck with more insomnia, I’d lie awake for hours, my anxiety would kick in and I’d worry myself to sleep. I’d wake up so sore from being in one spot for too long. I could go on, but I’m sure you get it, it was a horrible couple of weeks. I’m glad I’m finally off those tablets, and hoping that these new ones have a better effect. I can only hope. I still feel tired most of the time, a mix of my thieves all together and the general day to day aches take their toll, but I try and never let it slow me down. Sometimes I just have to, but mostly I smile and get on with it. 

So, here’s to some good nights ahead. I hope you all get some good sleep, even if you don’t get a full nights, make the most of the time you do get! Here’s some more photos of sleepy Taya, as I never tire of photos of her asleep 😍

The long road home.

So, we’re home! To be precise we got home at 22:40 on Sunday night, and since then it’s been a tiring blur of washing, tidying, shopping and play group this morning. Figured I’d give you a run down of our journey home today, and then shall do a rough overview of our holiday in another post. So, Sunday…

We’d set our alarms for 4am, with the aim of leaving the house by 5. The ferry wasn’t due to leave till 2pm, with boarding from 12:30, but with a 5 hour drive ahead of us we wanted to give ourselves an extra 2 hours for stops or traffic, and in the end it was a good decision. The family we were currently staying with, Kibas mum, her husband, 3 of Kibas sisters and one of his brothers, had all decided to get up to say goodbye so we attempted an earlyish night, which probably did not end up as early as we’d have hoped. 

I was rudely awoken at around 2am by a breeze coming from the previously closed window above my head. As I awoke I realised Kiba was standing there and as I asked what was up he replied with the short answer “I need to pee.” Ah. At his Mums to go to the loo at night meant going downstairs and getting through a room full of dogs that didn’t particularly like our night wandering, as we’d previously found out with many growls and barking, so I could see his predicament. I heard him attempt to get down only to retreat with the growls following him. After a bit more muttering and pacing he decided to pee out of the window, much to my amusement. It still makes me want to giggle thinking about it. 

4am came, and the final preparations were sorted. The goodbyes were hard and came with a lot of tears from Kibas mum and sisters, the hugs were long, no one wanting to let go. But 5am soon turned up and we set off, not long before the sun began to rise. I’ll admit that this time on the 5hr leg of our journey my tiredness got the better of me and I drifted in and out of sleep in between admiring the views, hoping it wouldn’t be too long before we were back. We took two stops along the way, first so Kiba could pee, and I could give Taya some milk, and the second as Taya was crying as she wanted to breastfeed again, and was getting quite upset. Luckily we’d allowed for extra time. 

We got close to the Hook of Holland before Kiba needed the toilet again, and we decided to get some food, so used my Google maps to find the closest McDonald’s. Now, if you haven’t driven over in Holland let me tell you now, the roads can be quite confusing! On a roundabout in most places you can go round and exit, in your lane, but if really need be you can change when safe to do so. In Holland you have one chance at choosing the right lane, as they are all separate, so we did go wrong a couple of times admittedly. Eventually we got to McDonald’s for around 11am, so we decided on an early lunch and quick play in their play area for the kids. By 12 we decided to head to the ferry. 

After checking in we surprisingly were allowed on straight away, no waiting about whatsoever. We were right near the front and this time remembered to take a photo of deck and coloured stairs so we wouldn’t forget. The only bad thing of boarding early meant we had a fair wait until setting sail, although even that was slightly early. We settled on the sun deck at first, after Taya had walked in to a post on the way there, (she has a tendency to not look where she is going) and Logan was thrilled that there was a ball available to play in the basketball/football cage. Taya was thrilled that she could open and shut the door of said cage. Taya then fell off the bench getting down off my lap, so wasn’t in the happiest of moods. We set sail and she wanted to breastfeed, so I ended up missing one of times I think is most exciting to watch overboard, leaving the port. It soon got quite windy and chilly, so we decided to venture inside and made our way to the playroom. I’m pretty sure Kiba had a good nap on the floor in there, Logan either played on his DS or watched the Curious George cartoons that they had on. Taya happily played. I chatted briefly on messenger and played with Taya. We stayed a good while before going for another wander, only to head back shortly for the children’s entertainment. 

This time it was an older gentleman called Adrian. He did a mix of magic, Punch & Judy (and the Dutch equivalent) and balloon modelling. He was a very interesting character who spoke his mind, knew his facts, and was very engaging with his audience. Logan once again managed to get picked, and came away with a pretty awesome balloon t-rex hat! Taya slept through the whole thing, she only fell asleep as she was hiding from Adrian, so it was worth going to see for both kids! 

We spent the rest of the trip in a space next to the stairs, as there were yet again no inside seats available. The kids thought this was great though as they could crawl under the stairs! They had fun chasing each other, looking through their books/magazines and playing with the playdoh grab bag I had bought them, and I also finally got Logan to write his postcards, better late than never! As we started to come in to port I took the kids for a walk on the sundeck, and let Logan have a quick kick about before heading to the play area, while waiting near the top of our stairs. Soon we were allowed down and we packed up in the car. It took forever to get off the ferry, for being nearly the first on we were left nearly till last to get off. And that’s where we began our wait. 45 minutes. It took 45 minutes to get through UK border control. Taya was miserable for most of it, and Logan fell asleep in that time! We were within the last 10 vehicles to leave the port. It was slightly ridiculous. 

Finally we were on the final stretch, less than 2 hours till home. We did stop off to grab a baguette and drink for Kiba and I. The kids had eaten all our snacks On-board the ferry, and we weren’t going to pay €5 for a sandwich! So we’d waited, and even though they weren’t the best, it was food and it was good. It gave us the final energy boost for the drive, before then I’d been struggling to stay awake again, but now I could keep Kiba company in the drive in to recognisable known territory. The light quickly faded, and we arrived home in the dark, just as we had left it. We got everything inside and it really didn’t take long before we all collapsed in to bed, deep sleeps all round.

Two days later and I still feel tired, and unorganised, but we’re slowly getting there, hopefully regular posts will also be back to normal soon. If you’ve got this far in yet another long post then thank you. 

A quick snap, I took a lot of photos, shall share some another time, so keep an eye out!

Due Date Anniversary & Mum Emotions 

I’ve always been an emotional person, I’d say I was quite sensitive, but could handle or hide my emotions well, most of the time. Yet nothing quite prepares you for that initial rush of emotion when your child is born. Nothing hits you as strongly as the sudden emotional roller-coaster you’re thrown on to when you become a mother. Every mother will know what I’m talking about, you don’t know over-emotional until you become a mother. You never understand how mums can post such ‘soppy’ posts on Facebook, and I bet most people will promise themselves not to go mushy all over their own child. Nothing prepares you. 

Today is my due date anniversary. Again, if you’re not a mother you’re probably wondering why on earth do I care? But I do. I get over emotional about a lot of things to do with my kids, but around birthdays it definitely goes in to over drive. 

The emotional roller-coaster starts as soon as a baby is conceived, and you climb that hill until you peak at birth, and from then on it’s a crazy ride. Loop-the-loops and all. You can cry at anything, especially in pregnancy, any little thing can set you off, an advert, no ice cream in the freezer, a kind gesture. And you can forget about watching sad movies any time from now, unless you’re well prepared with tissues at hand. If you hear a baby/child cry, whether on screen or real life prepare for your heart strings to be well and truly tugged (and for those breastfeeding mummies, make sure you have breastpads on 😉). Yup, you truly did not know what emotional was before kids. 

So, two years ago I reached my due date for Taya to be born. My guess date if you wish, as no one truly knows when a baby shall be born, they come in their own time. Only 4% of babies come on their due date. So with that in mind, 2 years ago I decided that I’d still go with Logan on his preschool trip to Banham Zoo! What better way to encourage little miss to make her exit than walk round a zoo all day?! The hospital was a half hour drive away, which was the same distance as our house to there, so I didn’t see the problem. I took my hospital bag and my birthing partner, my sister, with me just in case. Lots of people asked when I was due, the look of surprise on their faces when I answered with a cheery “Today!” I’m guessing most people thought I was utter crazy. However Logan had an amazing day with one of his best friends, and I had a great day with my Mum, sister, one of my best friends and future best friend of Taya! And the exercise must of helped, two days later and Taya was here! But I think I’ll save that story for her birthday. 

Mums often get some slack for being over emotional, especially about our children, but why should we? We made them, we grew them, we birthed them, we have helped raise them, we are emotionally bound to them. I’ve heard a term before which I’ve always wanted to use. Wombfruit. They are our Wombfruit, our children, and quite often our everything. We should be proud! We should be emotional, it’s human nature. We don’t want our babies to grow up, but at the same time we want them to flourish in to a wonderful human being, with us every step of the way, guiding them, supporting them, loving them. 

I’ve found this emotional journey a lot more extreme the second time round, maybe as I think Taya may possibly be the last baby I carry. The second, and probably every child after that, goes so, so much faster than you can imagine. Cherish every moment has so much more meaning as you try and cram everything in to daily life, as you try and balance the children’s wants and needs, and your partners wants and needs. Those moments in family life when time seems to go slowly are ever so precious, but very few and far between. No wonder people need time to unwind, to gather their emotions and sort though them. Life with kids can be so chaotic, so emotional, but is also the most rewarding job anyone can have. So what if we’re proud, so what if we’re upset of the changes, so what if wish time would stand still? Can you tell I’m in that “oh my God, my baby is another year older” stage? It’s real. It hits you hard. However it’s a time to celebrate, and that’s exactly what we shall be doing this week, especially as one of Tayas best friends is also turning 2 this week, so celebrations all round! I’ll leave you with my due date bump photo!