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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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First Time Mums/Parents: Eating Out with Baby

Avoiding eating out is just not an option as a new mum. My first trip out was horrendous, first of all it had taken me two hours atleast to get out of the hours and after an hour in the breast feeding room at Mamas & Papa trying to placate my screaming new born, I decided to go get something to eat in Carluccio’s.

Hard seats and bright lights didn’t help my plight, neither did the awkward table layout – as we were placed at a round table with the push chair sticking out and in the midst of room.

Baby of course started to scream his head off and I remember trying to settle him for a nap with a Muslim over his head, post partum hormones sweating out of my body thinking everyone’s looking at me! 

A savior in the form of the waiter helped me when he whisked away my plate so the chef could cut up my eagerly anticipated steak into child like bite sized pieces. I felt so silly – such the rookie mum but I was proud because we had finally made it out of the house on our own! And that’s no easy feat as a new mum!!!

That first trip was a disaster to be fair – I’ve skipped over some of the details. But what I learnt helped me to realize what both my baby and I need when out and about in order to survive.

1. Where to go to eat

Sometimes you don’t have many options, but if you can pick somewhere with comfy seats (for you :-)) and not harsh bright lighting – then you’re onto a winner

2. Pick where you want to sit

Don’t let the staff usher you to awkward spaces. Sometimes they have no experience with children and can’t identify your needs. 

The Centre of a restaurant is too awkward for buggies and breast feeding (even if your the most accomplished discrete person) unless you like people eyeing you whilst you see to your child. See if you can sit off to the side, leave your push chair somewhere. Don’t be afraid to ask for a rearrangement of tables

3. Pick somewhere with adequate changing facilities 

Parents shouldn’t be expected to change babies on the floors of restaurants toilets! It’s disgusting! Nor should you have to leave to find public facilities that are ages away thus disrupting your meal.

Once Baby can sit up:

4. High chairs

Different restaurants have different types. Definitely don’t hesitate to ask if they have any, nor to carry your own sterilizing wipes to clean them down before you put baby in – believe me some of them are left in disgusting states. But for me they need to have straps or a harness to keep baby secure. Without them, your little one will be slipping and sliding all over the place.

5. Carry the relevant milk/food you need to feed your little one. They most likely won’t make formula for you but may provide you with hot water if you ask.

6. Forgotten babies water cup ask for tap water with a straw – it’s a skill they learn very quickly whether bottle or breast fed. NO ICE! Ice can harbor harmful bacteria which isn’t good for baby when melting. Plus the extreme temperature may not be good for them as it takes quite some time before their bodies can do that.

7. Keeping little ones entertained is a feat. Place the child between you and another person if you can so you can take it in turns to eat.

Take toys, books – if weaning crudités (bread sticks, carrot, sweet peppers, cucumber sticks) are often available for the little ones. Cheddar cheese is another good one to keep them entertained. Talking to them throughout the meal also helps them to understand their surroundings.

8. Sit them away from where plates of hot food will be passing over them and if necessary guide the staff accordingly to avoid doing this and a burn on a baby can be fatal if they go into shock from the burn.

9. Try to relax and enjoy yourself and baby will too 🙂

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Travelling with Baby: What to Pack

Congratulations you’ve decided to take a big step and travel with your little one! This guide offers general advice as to what you will need whilst travelling with your little one and we hope you enjoy 🙂

Start packing at least 1 week in advance! Packing for yourself and little one takes so much more coordination than it ever did before they arrived!

Speak to your health visitor/ GP at least a moth or three before you travel so they can advise and coordinate any relevant medications. You may need to use bottled water rather than tap for instance in order to avoid tummy issues even though travelling within the UK.

Carry the phone number of your at home medical team and also look up the details of your nearest doctors/ hospital that has a children’s department at your destination and make a note of their details x

Now for the list – First of all this is for little ones up to a year:

Clothes 

An outfit plus a spare or two for each day your away. Don’t forget to put one change of clothes into your baby’s changing bag

Put pjs on top of ur suitcase if your arriving near bedtime with the towel so you can get lo ready for bed 

Toys

Books

Steriliser & tablets – you can get ones where it comes in a bag with a tablet that you can travel with.

Food/ snacks -depending on how you’re travelling. You can take baby milk – through security. But I don’t think you can travel with food as some airlines can be funny about that so best to check with the airline. You can often preorder formula for baby to be available to collect via the pharmacy beyond security. So definitely investigate at the airport.

Spare nappies/ sacks/ nappy cream – pack one for each hour your travelling says baby centre. I never leave home without 6 in my baby bag (a days worth except on nappy-explosion days!). And I pack a pack or another days or so worth in baby’s suitcase if I know I can get same brand of nappies at new location. Otherwise I’m taking the pack!

Transportable baby mat – believe me when I say you need this. You don’t know how clean or comfortable the space you’ll have to use to change your little one will be. I’ve had to use the floor of a bathroom too many times!!!

Thermometer and paracetamol – as well as any other medication your little one may use: think gripe water/ teething powder.

Blankets & Muslins (2 for each day) and bibs

Small bottles of antibacterial hand gel.

Don’t forget baby wash, baby lotions or creams and toothbrush & toothpaste

Dummies (if used)

Washable bibs

Sun hat

If your Weaning your little one carry a plastic feeding set with utensils, and baby food if possible.

Extra bottles, nipples, and sippy cups

Breast pump (if you use one)

Baby monitor – camera and sound if you have one

Baby Carrier – God send!!! As helps keep your baby close in crowded places like airports. However you do have to remove them when going through security so don’t be surprised if they ask u to remove it. This has helped me many a time in getting the young one through the airport and bounced off to sleep.

Also pick what you wear to travel in carefully because it’s hard to take off shoes etc whilst wearing baby

Travel cots are handy but it may be worth checking whether one will be available at your destination or whether you would prefer to order one there.

Inflatable baby bathtub – when my sister came to visit I got her one of these which was a godsend! She used it all the time even when visiting grand parents

Car seat for safer travel by car or plane – again check if one will be hirable if hiring a car. Lots of companies provide however take blankets or your own incase they’re mankey.

Collapsible stroller – you can get some strollers suitable from birth if they recline all the way back. I’m sure lots of shops do them but Mothercare do a cheap one: Nano and it’s good. We used it as our back up to our main travel system.

Can be gate-checked or checked in at the checking desk. Some can stored in the overhead bin of an airplane but check with the airline!

Some airlines allow you to carry baby items either one or two for free. You should consider this when packing as to whether you’ll take the travel system chassis and car seat, or whether to take a travel cot. Phone or visit the website for your airlines as each are different.

The same goes with luggage and hand luggage for baby. Check with the airline. As baby bag can go on board but that might be your only hand luggage. Rather than a separate bag for you.

HAPPY TRAVELS!

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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

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Tips on Going Back to Work: Life at Home

Here’s a few tips Mums have found helpful in making the work/home life more balanced:

  1. meal prep at weekend so basically on a week night I only have to warm up!
  2. Slow cooker is a life saver. 
  3. Load washing machine night before out it on in morning hang up before work
  4. Slow cooker, 
  5. online Food shopping, 
  6. acceptance that housework will always be there so just do as much as you can. 
  7. Try to spend time with partner and/or kids – even if it is just a weekly movie night or a walk etc.
  8. Cook large batches and freeze just remember to defrost something before you leave the house in the morning

Meals that are quick n easy to make are: mac n cheese, bean chilli, jacket potatoes, tuna pasta, sausage n mash, stir frys, fish fingers and chips

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Travelling with Baby: Planning a holiday or GetAway Break

As we are about to enter into the big holiday season we wanted to help you tackle your worries over travelling with your little baby over a series of blog posts.

The Key to travelling with a little one is trying to keep as much of their routine as possible

Sleep: the night before you travel try to make sure you all get a good nights sleep. I find that if I start packing much earlier on including writing lists of what I may need, the last minute panicking can be avoided 

Travel: sometimes the best method of travel pre-baby has to be reassessed. Obviously flying, driving, catching a coach or train come with their benefits and down falls. But think about your babies routine, the length of time it will take you to get there. But most importantly- breaks. Where and how often do you need to take meaningful breaks? Do you need a hotel?

If you can travel, when it’s their nap time so they’re more likely to sleep during the harder part of the journey. When we fly or drive this works very well for us. Not so much so on the train!

Activities: this very much depends on child’s age. But story books, activity books, colouring in, simple games (no small pieces), Music CDs/Story CDs, cuddly toys are just a few of the things you should arm yourself with whilst travelling.

Food on journey and at destination: depending on how your travelling you may wish to take food enroute to your destination. This enables you to deal with any impromptu requests sooner rather than later. However if you aren’t taking food consider how you can feed your child.

For instance do you need to pack formula or can you buy a ready pack from the chemist past security at the airport? Don’t wait til you get there bye preorder it and have it waiting for you before you board that plane. 

If your little one is Weaning same thing just be prepared to either pack food stuffs (depending on how and where your travelling to – such as flying out of the country you may not be allowed to take food with you).