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What to expect: the boob diaries 

Breastfeeding! I’ve touched on this topic before, it’s a subject close to my heart (pun fully intended). Now, I know promoting breastfeeding can be seen as ‘pushy’! and, listing the benefits or mentioning that formula is inferior can raise emotions. There are articles upon articles of the benefits of breast feeding for both mother and child….. This is not one of them, it’s a what to expect guide from my own experiences and my role as a parenting supporter, I feel I need to add a joke or further pun there, to fit my normal style but I’m struggling, sometimes this parenting stuff needs to have a serious side)

In the UK, only 1% of women successfully manage to nurse exclusively for 6 months…. Given that it’s estimated that 95% of women can physically do so. Why is this? I know that I’ve come close to quitting on several occasions with all three of my children. I want to share with you the things no one told me, the things I wish I’d known and the things bizarrely you don’t hear about, 

It takes a village to raise a child…. Thats people, not facts and figures… Real emotions are involved. Quoting IQ scores or immunity statistics only enhances the feeling of guilt many bottle feeders experience. Breastfeeding is everything your child needs. If a wonder drug came on the market that provided all the amazing things our milk does, what parent would turn it down? I bet not many, which means mums who don’t breastfeed don’t take this choice lightly, for many it’s not a choice, it’s a decision made through tears, frustration and exhaustion… A decision that feels taken away from them.

So here are some facts from my own experience!

Breastfeeding hurts!!!!

If your baby is latched correctly it shouldnt hurt I was told when big girl H was born! So why did my toes curl, my teeth grind and my boobs sting and ache every time she came to my breast….despite midwives,YouTube and every frikkin book I read, saying she was on correctly?? Seriously!!! I actually used to bite down on a teething ring and cry. 

Truth is! When we were in the recovery room she had gone on fine first time, no pain, no desire to run away, no thoughts of I can’t bare this…. but, sometime between then, and a feed down the line, the pain kicked it. Imagine falling off a bike, grazing your knees, then having to get back on repeatedly, not giving them time to heal… Splitting them open with every turn of the spokes! This is why breastfeeding hurts! All it takes is one poor latch… Which in the early days is bound to frikkin happen cos you know, you’ve never had to do it before and your baby is used to an all encompassing life support system which requires no effort…… (More magnified if they are poorly, underweight or prem) Then imagine, that pain is so bad but you have no idea if it’s damage pain, or poor latch pain…. You’re tired, exhausted, youre feeling like a failure cos it’s meant to be natural…. Is it right? Is it thrush? Should you leave baby on, take her off, call someone?? 

There’s rarely support 

Who you gonna call then? Ah your midwife…. Any midwife… What?! every time you baby wants a feed?? (I’ll get on to that in a sec) To breastfeed you will feel as though you need someone there 24/7, someone offering you constant pointers and reassurance, affirmation you’re doing a fab job and its normal! Or,when it’s not normal, and you should seek help.

But then you also feel you should trust your own instincts…. Something which is impossible to do when you’re a hormonal mess, one min you’re crying, then laughing, then you move quickly and your back hurts from the spinal or hours of pushing or your c section scar stings,…. And you can’t take pain killers strong enough cos your frikkin breastfeeding.., and your baby is crying and you know you’re a mother who should be soothing and comforting her… But you feel like your lack of knowledge is the REASON SHE is crying….and there’s no midwife there 24/7. Your partner is trying, but he doesn’t have breasts (bastard) or your mum/sister/aunt is saying the wrong things. So someone says formula and you feel a bit more confident! Yes I can do that, my partner can do that. They can help! I’m not alone in this battle anymore. My baby is crying! And it’s suddenly within your power to make it better… And what mother doesn’t want that??

Your baby will cry more than you expect

The world is a strange and scary place for the newborn. Coupled with a tiny tiny tummy, she cries a lot! You think there is no way she needs more milk? She just fed for an hour on sore nipples. perhaps you’re thinking I’ve had ten mins to get a drink and she’s crying again! Everyone says she hungry…. There is no way you’re producing enough milk, you express: nothing happens save a drop of the white stuff and that took 20mins. You clearly dont have the supply…

 This is not true, pumping is no match for a child’s latch… In fact I couldn’t even express one drop with nerg… If he had been number one I would have concluded my supply insufficient… But, If your baby is putting on weight, has wet or dirty nappies and otherwise a clean bill of health from your check ups… She is getting enough. (Always see a professional if you’re concerned) maybe she wants to feel close to you, reconnect, breathe in your smell, top up that tiny belly…. Breast satisfies many needs.

Most people don’t care

The media likes to remind us daily that breastfeeding is an issue,that women are harassed and hounded on the streets for providing milk to their offspring. While I’m not denying this happens, I can tell you I’ve never experienced it!! Not once, with any of my children, even when they passed a year. I have, however had compliments and smiles and, in turn, I have offered a knowing nod to other women publically nursing. Many  new mums, especially if they’re experiencing the issues mentioned, are terrified to leave the house! Worried about the boob police… I’m not saying it won’t happen to you! But I can say there are a lot of people out there who support you and your baby…. And the rest? Well, name and shame then in the daily mail…

Don’t be afraid

Maybe if I had heard these before having a baby I would have been scared, afraid of the pain that was coming… But isn’t that what we do when pregnant? We know labour hurts but we are ready and willing for the rewards? What if no one told you labour hurt? You were walking in blind

I also know that if someone was with me in those early days, perhaps reading the above to me, I would have felt consoled, understood and supported. Big girl h had a few bottles in those first weeks…. But I did persevere (read my other link for my reasons) and, I have successfully nursed all three of my children into toddlerhood. 

Perhaps if somone had told me beforehand it wouldnt be natural or easy I may have avoided even those early formula feeds. I don’t beat myself up about them and I don’t tell you to brag. I just want any mums out there gong through those early days to know that, more often than not those problems are NORMAL! And every breastfeeder has experienced them and come out the other side. 

One last thing
It gets easier!!!!! I promise! 
  

Mami 2 Five
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Week 31: We’ve been invaded

So I’ve managed to waddle (yep I’m doing that now) up to my office this evening, ice pole in one hand and banister clutched in the other… heaving myself up the stairs like a poor lame hippo, I figured it’s about time I update my blog with the joys of pregnancy and family life. I’m trying to climb the two flights of stairs as little as possible at the moment, terrified ill trip. For most people it would make sense to limit such excursions by remembering to take up or bring down various things each time, but I’m so forgetful that I often reach the top floor in a state of hyperventilation only to find I forgot to bring up the washing/paperwork/nit-comb etc…….

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Yep some pesky head lice have found a way into our home repeatedly over the last few weeks, at least 3 times a week I’ve found myself on the top floor bathroom with H only to discover I left the comb in the living room…. I’m very tempted to buy three and keep one on each floor just in case. Horrid little things! Although, I actually find eradicating them somewhat therapeutic. There’s something really satisfying about combing through my girls hair and catching a big fat wiggler… or at least there was for the first two weeks… I just can’t understand why they’re coming back, they’re like Rasputin, you kill them off with some pretty hard-core Headrin warfare, trap and dispose of their offspring, wash all the bed sheets and repeat over their (googled) life cycle and yet they still won’t blommin DIE!

It does appear as though H is the only unlucky one but on the safe side its best to check the entire Macdonald clan to be sure. This means the whole family now start running away when they see me appear in the room in manner of crazy headlice serial killer woman, with facemask, gloves, conditioner and comb (depending on if I remembered to bring it to the correct floor). Today it’s so far so good, but I’m starting to run out of steam… literally, if I sit in that boiling hot bathroom for one more friggin evening I’m gonna scream. Luckily, my girly is taking it very patiently and is able to look on the bright side of things…. Good bye boring ponytail ‘mummy now sends me to school with plaits of steal and buns of iron’. Just you try it pests… I dare you!!

So, I’m well and truly done with pregnancy, 9 weeks to go and counting. I’ve got my office fan up and running now which is helping at work but, with these eye issues and the heat I’m looking forward to going on leave in two weeks, not least because we have to move house again! Still, no better time to move and pack then when the nesting kicks in I guess, but I’m finding that even my x2 30 min daily naps are just not enough to stop me flagging by the evening.

And on cue, I just started yawning into my keyboard.

boyLittle man has self-weaned and hasn’t nursed for nearly a week now, I’m actually quite relieved as I don’t think either of us were enjoying it anymore, I’m preparing myself in case he wants to start again once ‘Macfly’ arrives but for the moment I’m loving that I can wear a decent bra for the first time in nearly two years… nursing get-up just isn’t attractive. A big plus (so far) to this pregnancy is that I don’t have any new stretch marks woo hoo, this may change over the next couple of months but for the moment it’s a relief to know my already tigger-like stomach hasn’t got any worse, they developed around the 25 weeks point in both my previous pregnancies so fingers crossed eh?

All recent blood tests were fine meaning no gestational diabetes, phew! or iron deficiency, this is a relief!

LUCOZADE_ORIGINALThe GDT wasn’t a fun experience; I had to have a blood test at the hospital confirming again why I don’t want to give birth anywhere but my own house… I then had to sit for two hours after drinking Lucozade… normally I would relish some time away from the kids and there was a TV in the day room, but had I been at home I could have watched a bit of Jeremy Kyle without feeling guilty/embarrassed/ashamed of myself, but I knew I couldn’t risk tuning in while the midwives floated about…. God forbid anyone discover my guilty pleasure… instead I hid a copy of closer magazine (I found it there) inside the guardian…. It was full of celebrities I’ve never heard of losing weight after pregnancy… way to go NHS!! Way to go!!

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It’s the final countdown

So I’ve hit the 27 week mark, hello third trimester! I’m sure my body knew instantly over night that the blooming stage of pregnancy was over. My eyes are worse than normal and once again im writing in ten min slots. I recently found out little one is lying transverse and boy do my hips hurt at the moment. I wouldn’t normally worry, it’s just that my first two nestled snugly into the head down position very early and didn’t turn again from this point onwards, but every pregnancy is different they say so fingers crossed eh?

With the final lap underway we headed to our local boot sale this weekend to pick up a few little bits for baby, We have become booty addicts of the past few months and I’m pretty sure we should start some sort of therapy before it gets out of hand. We have managed to get everything we will need for little one now and, at under £100 for the lot (bar the cot), its easy to see why we would spend our weekends walking past stalls of silk flowers and crystal hedgehogs in search of a bargain or two. We’ve even managed to get the two eldest summer outfits for less than the cost of fuel needed to get to the various venues, providing you can see past the mullets and tat it’s amazing what you can collect.

Feeling pretty darn pleased with ourselves this weekend after adding hats and scratch mits to our collection, we headed home to the sound of Phil Collins in the Cd player (not my choice but the CD got stuck weeks ago…. If I hear ‘against all odds’ one more frikkin time…..). On the way we spotted a sign for a local baby show and felt we could justify a quick look… plus I really needed to pee.

Unfortunately, given the lovely weather, the place was a bit quiet…. My husband also had to point out to the security guy on the door that I had indeed put sun screen on and that my face was red because I had acne…. Ever seen a 6ft 5 bald man in an orange vest cringe?? Think giant satsuma! Serves him right for telling me what I should and shouldn’t put on my face!

I did find a great product at the show though. Cherub Chews! I remember looking for something similar when Roo was a bit younger but talking myself of it because of the price but with products starting from just £6 I couldn’t resist this one.

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Remember when your little one was a newborn? They would nuzzle in for cuddles and nurse snug in your arms? Well fast-forward a few months and you have arms flailing, toes waggling and hair pulling…. In fact recently Roo has taken to poking a tiny mole I have on my shoulder during his limited nursing sessions…. Sometimes he would play with his feet, other times, if I was silly enough to wear earrings, he would play magpie and see how hard he could tug on them before I yelped in pain. Who hasn’t has to wrestle a tiny fist away from grandmas priceless silver necklace when she leans in for a cuddle and is shocked to find herself wondering if she will escape the house alive?

Cherub Chews have been inspired by Mums for Mums & are designed to attract babies attention while nursing & Babywearing.

Cherub Chews was created out of a need for a distraction for an inquisitive little one whilst feeding and babywearing. Necklaces have been tried and tested by ‘Head of quality control’- Oaks, Cherub Chews Owners Son. He gives them a toothy grin and thumbs up!

Each necklace is handmade in Exeter, Devon, with materials sourced as locally as possible. As a small family run business we try to source everything from small business’ and as we continue to grow quality and craftsmanship is always at the forefront of our products.

photo 3I must admit I was quite seduced by some of the brighter products but in the end I settled for The Coconut Button Necklace only because I have trouble co-coordinating my socks in the morning let alone putting together a stylish outfit with matching accessories, I figured this one would go with most of my clothes and also be quite subtle.

Little man loved it and actually sat happily playing and chewing on it for a good half an hour that evening, leaving me to watch nearly a whole episode of ‘Buffy’ while hubby cooked tea. That’s got to make it a winner right? I wonder how the littlest will get along with it? Three months to go…. And yes, I’m counting!!

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The mid-way spot week 21

Woo hoo, I’ve past the halfway point and therefore last week we got to see our little one again. The 20 week scan was pretty awesome, no, not the 45 min wait with a bored 8 year old and an inquisitive toddler, not the constant trips to the loo or even seeing the fish again, but the sonographer was lovely. She explained everything she was looking at and even if I did have to nod and smile a few times because the fuzz on the screen made little sense to me, it was great to know that all is well and our ‘macfly’ is developing away nicely. I have to admit that on one of my many trips to the loo (half way through the scan I add) I did have an overwhelming urge to know the sex of our next arrival. Luckily hubby stayed strong and we are still team yellow.

scan 2

Despite raving about how wonderful my skin is looking these days I’m having to write this post in 15 min slots as, I have apparently developed a bad case of eye acne… yep it exists. My face is clear but after weeks of struggling in front of the computer for work, a trip to the A&E eye department confirmed that I have been getting inflamed cysts on my inner eyelids. It’s a condition which affects menopausal women?? And can lead to flaks of skin being dragged across the eye causing infections (like the conjunctivitis I had before) and dry eye. No wonder I’ve been in so much pain! Just to top this off, I have also got some on my ears too which could be the cause of my headaches. Off to the specialist Friday to see what can be done, It may be a case of put up until little one arrives…. And I thought everything was going so well.

The sickness has died down, only once or twice a week now and I’m getting bigger by the day. Baby Roo seems to be over his nursing strike and, although I’m questioning if he’s getting any milk now or just enjoys the comfort of nursing, I’m glad he wants to continue a while longer. We’re having to negotiate the bump now which is tricky, not to mention that if the next one continues as long as him I will have been breastfeeding for 4 years straight…. Geez… 4 years of nursing bras and baggy tops How glamorous! That’s also four years of sitting down to nurse only to discover that both your cupa tea and the tv remote are out of reach and, four years of worrying you’re gonna squirt milk over anyone who happens to be within boob shot of your hungry child…. You’ve been there right? That rush of panic when little one pulls away suddenly mid-feed and your milk lands on your friend’s tuna sandwich. Still, We have two for a reason right?

bfeeding

The name debate continues, we cannot agree on one for either sex and I’m starting to wonder if we will ever find something we both like…. Of course Macfly Macdonald has a ring to it right?? I find myself listening more on the school run as parents call after their offspring in sing song tones, ‘Did you remember your lunch Jasper?’ ‘How was your day Gertrude’ ‘Don’t pick your nose Billy’ you get the idea… It would be nice to have something more unique this time around; I think you get braver the more children you have…. I mean little Gertrude is number 5 in her family…. Suggestions on a postcard!

baby name

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Sweet 16

Those of you who read my articles on Bella Kidz or follow me on facebook will know that the morning sickness has struck…. At week 15/16… yep, who knew that could happen? It’s possible that some pretty crippling headaches could be the cause of this sudden occurrence and I’m feeling pretty darn sorry for myself at the moment. That said, I can finally feel baby moving around which is magical. The hubby is convinced that means it’s a boy (footballer in the making) but I’m not quite so sure.

My blood test results came back all clear and I think the re-test maybe related to that toddler group cold I came down with a few weeks ago.

My bump seems so small and while many people will look and say otherwise, I’m certain that is because I’m OBESE! Yep it’s official, I’m a chub! I don’t think even my stone weight loss since conception (I know! how chuffed was I when I stood on the scales last week) is enough to shift this label quite yet, and I really hope it doesn’t prevent me having a home birth. But, if I lose another stone I will fall nicely back a weight category which would be ideal, we shall see. For the moment it’s no fast food, no full fat milk and def. no more lemonade. In fairness I think I suffer from lack-of-exercise-itis (it’s a serious condition you know) so lots of brisk walks are planned, we could all do to get out the house more anyway, but it’s good to know all those school runs on foot are paying off.

I got my wedding dress out earlier, and I couldn’t believe how much I’ve piled on since that special day. I didn’t dare try it on. I think it’s time to make a sale, I’m pretty sure I’ll never have occasion to wear it again and providing I can get the fake tan off of it (fail) the contribution will be very helpful considering our new arrival.

We have started preparing the other children for a sibling and I’m pretty sure H knows what to expect, ‘I know when mummy makes cow noises, the baby will come’. She’s determined she will have a sister this time and I must admit seeing all those little girlie clothes in shops is sending me a bit gooey. But, we have cupboards full of boy’s clothes….. it’s very tempting to find out this time so we can plan more, luckily the nursery and general paraphernalia are neutral… and in fairness a baby poos, sleeps and boobs for the best part of three months anyway, I don’t think they’ll care what colour they’re wearing.

Roo now points to my belly when I ask where the baby is, I’m not sure if this is confusing for him, because let’s face it, he has a permanent look of confusion on his features anyway, but he has taken to playing with one of H’s dolls and fingers crossed he won’t mind moving up to his big boy room soon.1533849_10152787996259498_3579530736342946911_n

So ‘Mcfly’ is now the size of an avocado, wow! less than a month until we can see him/her again and hopefully we can hear the heartbeat when we visit the midwife next week. Unfortunately the OH is working late on the day of the scan so may not be able to come along; I do hope we can change the date. Maybe I’ll tease him and say I found out the sex… maybe I will find out… hmmm…