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Breastfeeding – Ending Our Journey: Day 13

Officially I would say we are at the end of our bf journey. He barely asks for Boobie and if he does it’s not a demand for comfort. More of a fondness of a well thought of friend.

So now we have moved on to stage two of our plan… ending co sleeping. As I write this it’s 4.30am and he’s sleeping next to me seeking comfort now and again. We started three days ago… we’ll keep a note of that too.

Boobs still have a little milk in them, but nothing note worthy. No pain or discomfort now not that there was much any way.

Thank you for following our journey. We hope it helps you too if you’re contemplating starting yours.

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Fire Safety

The Grenfell Tower fire is an atrocity which is sitting deeply and uncomfortably in our hearts. So many lives were lost, including babies. So I wanted to help raise awareness of steps you can take to help your family.

If you are not confident or had training to deal with a fire, using appropriate fire safety equipment- leave the fire alone! Instead leave the building and raise the alarm!

Equipment that can help, fire extinguishers and a fire blanket.

You should also learn first aid for both adults and kids. So if there was an incident you could help deal with shock and any initial injuries.

Make sure you have the appropriate number of smoke detectors and fire alarms that are in good working order. Test them regularly in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

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Staying Safe in Summer Sun

Looks like Summer is finally here Everyone!

Still we need to take care in the heat especially if like us you rarely see heat like this!

Did you know in the summer between 11am and 3pm, the sun is at its strongest? 

Babies, young children, pregnant ladies and the elderly can become very ill during very hot weather. Their health can be seriously affected by dehydration, heat exhaustion, heatstroke and sunburn.
Try these tips for keeping you and Baby healthy in the heat.

Try to keep your baby cool and protect them from the sun.

Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight. Older infants should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible.

When out, attach a parasol or sunshade to your baby’s pushchair to keep them out of direct sunlight. But do not cover them or their car seats with a blanket or Muslin as these can trap the heat and cause your little ones to get ill.

Apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to your baby’s skin every couple of hours. Apply the suncream regularly, particularly if your child is in and out of the sea or paddling pool. 

Pop on a sunhat with either a wide brim or a long flap at the back, to protect the neck from the sun.

Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids or having ice lollies. So make sure you carry water for yourself and everyone in the family. Plenty of fruit and salad will also help keep their fluid levels up.

Did you know, if you’re breastfeeding your baby, you don’t need to give them water as well as breast milk. Your breastmikk changes consistently to adapt to the needs of baby. But you should offer feeds more than usual.  

If you’re bottle feeding, as well as their usual milk feeds, you can give your baby cooled boiled water throughout the day. If your baby wakes at night, they’ll probably want milk. If they’ve had their usual milk feeds, try cooled boiled water as well. 

Playing in a paddling pool is a good way of keeping babies and children cool. Keep the pool in the shade.   

A cool bath before bedtime can also help at night. Check out what they should wear tonne using the picture in our useful photo album

You can keep rooms cool during the day by closing blinds or curtains. You can also use a fan to circulate the air in the room.  

A room thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of your room. Your baby will sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16C (61F) and 20C (68F).

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After Maternity Leave: 6 months later

I have found returning to work so hard as many of you will. It’s an agonizing decision whether to leave your career to be a stay at home mum (SAHM) or try to have it all whether party time or full time.

I went back part time, to a different role due to having had an extended maternity leave. I thought it would be good gave plenty of notice but alas things didn’t turn out quite as planned…

A Positive Performance Appraisal was lovely this past week especially as it included an apology for not having had a plan in place for my return to work, no training given relating to the new role etc… any wonder why I’ve been chomping at the bit etc

Then in this time there were the bitchy comments of staff and non communications, definitely made some days harder than others. See and that’s without the hormones and achy breasts or other worries of being a good parent.

Before I went on maternity leave I didn’t have the best experience either I felt stressed due to undue comments of HR staff discussing the return of another person from maternity leave, and just how difficult both they and the MP planned to make it. I was 6 weeks pregnant at the time and it ruined the rest of my pregnancy it haunted my every decision. I didn’t want to lose my job I wanted to show them I could do it all. It made me sick.

During those difficult times I held on to my faith, tried to remain calm and professional albeit sometimes I wish I had the confidence to call people out on their horrid ways.

I found solice looking into areas of other interest. I even found a great website to read where other women shared their stories of returning to the office post baby.

If you find yourself unhappy having returned to work know that you can find happiness outside of work, at home within yourself again. Just do some soul searching & an ear to lean on.

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Breastfeeding – Ending Our Journey: Days 2 and 3

So after a very tiresome first night without bf – everyone awoke feeling grumpy.

But little one didn’t ask for booby in the morning and went off to nursery ok. 

Feeling a bit full I’ve expressed a little in the morning.

Fast forward to the evening, he ate his tea and played without even asking for it again and he went to bed just fine – says daddy. Unfortunately I was in hospital getting a lump checked out… results in a few weeks.

Once I got home he awoke once – and slept through the WHOLE night!!!! He did however wake up at 4.30am!!! But none the less it’s a miracle!

Day 3 has been great too. Having woken up feeling more refreshed little monkey went to nursery just fine. Breasts are very engorged so having to express a few times today to feel more comfortable.

He’s asked for booby a couple of times but he’s not had a melt down like he did before and he seems to be accepting the explanation that it’s finished.

So far he’s been asleep for about an hour and a half and it’s 8.30pm nearly he’s not 100% settled but this feels amazing- a whole nights sleep…but we shall see what tonight brings…

Good night x

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Breastfeeding – Ending Our Journey: Day 1

Never did I think these things:

  1. I couldn’t breast feed
  2. I’d still be breastfeeding over a year from when our journey began 
  3. I’d struggle to stop!

You see, my little monkey is 16 months old meaning we have been breastfeeding (in one way or another) for just as long! This amazes me in light of just how tough it was in the beginning to even start this journey.

Born slightly prematurely my little monkey had trouble latching for the first month of his life. This meant sore nipples, frustrated baby (screaming) & mum (meltdowns) and sadly weight loss.

I saw midwives, health visitors and finally a Lactation consultant who was also a chiropractor specializing in babies, who came to me on Valentines Day… and no one could help. It was a skill baby had to learn. 

The hours I spent feeling like a failure determined to feed by breast, made me miserable. The engorged breasts those first few days were crazy painful – hot shower and rub them hard to avoid blocked ducts and mastitis!!!! Turned out I was doing everything right – he just wouldn’t latch.

Fast forward past the challenges of mixed feeding, blocked ducts, and finally settled routine of exclusively breast feeding (ebf), it’s time to end our journey. Why do I not wish to prolong feed my little one you might be asking?

Well I have a few reasons:

  1. Breastfeeding keeps up certain hormones in your body like when you were pregnant (albeit less) that means your body doesn’t fully resettle from the pregnancy. I had spd/pgp and so these hormones mean my body is still too relaxed and isn’t healing quickly enough for my liking resulting in pain (I’m hoping ending our journey will help)
  2. Lack of night time sleep. Whilst we have reduced our daytime feeds to bed time, my little one treats booby like an all night snacking bar. And without fail is up every 3 hours… I’m tired of being tired.
  3. We’ve heard once the all night snacking bar closes, transitioning to their own beds is made easier… don’t quote me on this… but this is our ultimate goal

So here we are at 1.25am on day 1 of attempt number 2 of trying to end the bf journey (tried to start 4 nights ago- but I couldn’t handle the screaming)…

Let’s back track to the beginning of the night at 6.30pm: He cried and howled but it wasn’t as bad as a few nights ago. I sung “it’s all gone” – a song he learnt from baby signing class which instantly resulted in him cleaning up!!! (Shocked and feeling dumb I didn’t think of this before!)

Throughout this process like everything communication is key. Here I’m trying to change the dynamics of our relationship not torture the little lamb. And I don’t think he understood it before but he does seem to now.

So having sung for ages various melodic albeit out of tune songs – including birds of a feather tv show songs he’s calm enough to attempt to put him down to bed… this included rocking as well.

Total time spent: 90mins

At which point his eyes sprung open and he lay next me cuddled into the fetus position and my body cocooning his. Seems to have worked … I fell asleep before he did through sheer exhaustion! Bouncing and singing does that to you after a full day at work.

He woke up at 11.30pm looking for his best friend (our other name for booby). But after a bit of distraction (trip to bathroom – I needed to go), he soon settled back into our cosy position with a firm “enough! It’s sleepy time goodnight”.

And he’s still sleeping now. Just the odd whine of booby has escaped his lips and I feel awful. But I remind myself my mental health is important too.

Please note my decision to stop now is down to my little boy being able to do the following:

Communicate what he does and doesn’t want – this includes words and pointing. He can ask and distinguish between booby and juice (water), say no and ask for his bed… so I know he comprehends what’s what.

He has a healthy appetite often asking for seconds at meal time albeit he isn’t a chubby monkey.

And overall he’s a happy soul. He didn’t take a dummy but used me instead and now it’s time to stop.

I think it’s important to pick the time to introduce a change in your little ones life. And if you can, manage the process.

He goes to nursery so doesn’t bf at all during the day most days, he can sleep on his own as he does so there. These were all challenges that we over came and now we’re ready for the next stage…

Hopefully you’ll find comfort on these pages as you start ending your BF journey too and can hopefully share your experiences too.

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Breast Feeding: Your Essential Guide

What to expect:

Think about the hardest thing you have ever done – now think breast feeding after child birth is the hardest. You have no control over it. When your milk will come in, how long you will be able to breast feed for (unless you chose to stop), and the agony you can be in is ridiculous!

Resources – websites/facebook page/books/classes/consultants/ breastfeeding groups

Website most useful was Kelly’sMom

Facebook pages: local breastfeeding support groups and NCT FB groups

Books: none lol

Classes: NHS vs NCT Ante natal classes – NHS won hands down.

Establishing Breastfeeding

It took a month with the help of a Lactation Consultant. 

Pumping: the advice is don’t pump for 6 weeks until your supply regulates… hold on but if my milk wont come in and baby won’t latch what do I do? PUMP & FREEZE! Freeze any excess so that you save those amazing antibodies and nutrients for later on!

Other fundamentals: drink plenty of water, eat lots of protein, sleep as much as you can as all these things affect your milk supply

Increase Milk supply: 

Lactation cookies/ oats/ oat milk/ hob nobs/ porridge/flap jacks / fenugreek tea (makes your pee smell like treacle lol)

What you need

A pump: manual or electric – you can rent electric ones however if your baby was premature you may be able to get one from your local PEER group via the HV.

Hot showers and flannels – when your milk comes your boobs are hard as hell! And sore!!! Omg the pain!!! So you’ll need to take warm showers and massage the shit (pardon me please here), as in form a fist and commit self harm kind of massage until your milk and tender boobs hurt no more. If you can’t self harm like this get help seriously… mastitis is worse from what I hear!

Breast pads for impromptu leakages

Maternity bras – god send!

Nipple shields/ nipple shells – the first can help to establish latching (though didn’t in my case) and the other catches any milk that escapes in your bra allowing you to give it later on

Pros

It’s natural & helps babies immune system for the first 6 months

Great time for you to bond with baby

It’s a lovely thing to do and helps create an amazing bond x

Cons

You don’t know how much baby is having and you depend on how many wet nappies. See our Facebook page for the picture on this!

Blocked ducts

Mastitis – requires antibiotics

Thrush of babies mouth your breast both require treatment!!!

Lipstick nipples mean poor latch! Painful nipples due to this or biting!!!

You feel judged for how and when and how long you chose to breast feed (bf)
We do not judge here so feel free to ask away