29 Apr 2014

Breastfeeding Made Easy

Breastfeeding hasn't been as smooth as I would like this time. In fact at one point I thought I might not be able to carry on. Now don't get me wrong, I know people have it way worse than I was dealing with, I didn't have bleeding nipples or anything that awful! It's about personal perception though isn't it?   Dealing with it being hard and the whole two children thing, it just felt like it would push me over the edge.

I just seemed to have an over abundant production which Judah couldn't cope with. He would sound like he was drowning, then would fuss around and not latch on properly. I did some research for how to deal with it, then decided to ignore all the advice! It felt like Judah wasn't draining my breast properly, so when I got the 'let down' sensation it was excrutiating. I decided to get a little bit of milk expressed (which will stimulate milk production) then bottle feed expressed milk over the weekend. Expressing just felt like it drained me better. Thomas got to feed him too which was nice for him and it did really help. On the Monday it was much less painful but by the Friday it was painful again. I did only have to do it for a few weeks though. Now we both seem to have got that hang of things, he isn't feeding quite as often (and boy did he want to feed a lot before) and I don't feel the 'let down' sensation any more. Only problem is now, I used to read to Noah when I was feeding, but I can't anymore because Judah stops to listen! 

So when I received and email from Pinter and Martin Publishers asking me to review Breastfeeding Made Easy by Carlos Gonzales, it was perfect timing. I love reading, but I have to admit to not utilising books for information. I use google a lot, then you get a lot of opinions and different theories. Picking between fact and opinion is a skill though, and sometimes you only get snippets of information instead of the whole picture. This book has been a real eye opener for me, I have really enjoyed having all the statistics backing up the information.

Gonzales is a real advocate for feeding on demand, something which just came naturally to me. I didn't spend lots of time reading about routines and schedules, Thomas and I don't have routines for anything we prefer to be more spontaneous than that, so why should our babies?! Gonzales has a stronger stand point on the issue:

"Amazing isn't it, the way zoologists and vets allow mothers and babies to do what they want, and then they decide that this is normal. It would never occur to them to write in a book: 'Female giraffes must feed their young for twelve minutes every five hours', and then try to persuade mother giraffes to conform. This only happens in the human species."

I think that quote is brilliant! He also discusses the differences between all sorts of cultures around the world; !Kung or bush people of the Kalahari nurse approximately six times an hour during the day, but each feed only lasts 90 seconds. Babies survive on all different schedules, and mothers tend to do what is normal in their culture.

The problem is in our culture babies are expected to have at least 3 hours in between feeds, when breastfeeding you have no way of knowing how much your baby has taken, so how can you say your baby won't be hungry again for another 3 hours? In our culture mothers are more likely to leave the baby to cry for a long time because they 'can't possibly be hungry yet'! I can't bear to let my baby cry so I feed him when he needs it. They aren't usually long feeds and he is a very happy kid in between!

Gonzales also takes a big issue with everyone else trying to butt in! His constant reference to a 'mother in law' giving bad advice, judging or saying 'I told you so' is kind of comical! He is right though, it is hard to persevere with something that is hard when everyone else has an opinion on it that isn't necessarily helpful! I know I am strong willed and trust my instincts (which I think is why I find labour kind of easy) but I know plenty of women who would be worried a lot by other people telling them to change their ways.

Reading about how the breast actually works is really interesting, but also how the stories and advice people give can literally be disproved by the anatomy and physiology. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is having difficulties, I think you would be much more likely to persevere and not turn to the bottle when you see that science is on your side!

My one main criticism of this book is at the beginning of chapter four; Gonzales says that people who have had a cesarian under general anaesthetic statistically feed for a shorter time. I think this is quite unhelpful, especially when he is talking about how mothers can be negatively affected by what other people say. If a mother has to have general anaesthetic that is fairly major, there is not likely to be any element of choice in the matter. So why tell someone she is more likely to struggle because of something she could have done nothing about! Just leave that bit out!

So back to my troubles. Gonzales says the symptoms of incorrect positioning are:

  1. Hollow cheeks
  2. Sore or cracked nipples
  3. Long feeds, staying latched on the breast
  4. He is still hungry
  5. Frequent nursing
  6. Full breasts, breast engorgement, mastitis
  7. Fast milk ejection reflex
  8. Vomiting and regurgitation
  9. Diarrhoea
  10. Crying and colic
I would say I was dealing with numbers 2,3,4,5,7and 8. So there it is, my positioning wasn't great! There are really good pictures in the book showing good positioning. 

Later chapters of discuss weaning, going back to work and illnesses in the mother and baby. These are obviously more things to dip into as you need, and I will definitely read the weaning chapter before we embark on that adventure again! 

Breastfeeding made Easy is available from Pinter and Martin and they currently have an offer on. This would be a good gift for mums to be that are planning to breastfeed. 

*I was kindly sent this book for the purpose of the review but all the opinions are honest and my own.


27 Apr 2014

World's Toughest Job

Has everyone seen this video? It is most definitely a must see.

I have to admit I cried watching it. It really is the world's toughest job and I have to admit I've been really struggling with it lately. I keep thinking, boy having two kids is HARD, but actually it's not that so much. Toddlers are really hard, I was struggling way before Judah arrived. Judah just increased the number of curve balls that Noah throws a day! 

This is the time when having other mum friends is really important. Ones that you can be honest about what you find hard and find you are completely normal! The thing is, the rest of the world doesn't seem to want to offer any support, even those who have kids. If I'm out and about I don't get encouraging looks, I get frowns and disapproving looks. Even at toddler groups from other parents. A woman even told Thomas off in the middle of Bluewater the other day. 

So I say, this video is great. It's really needed. Everyone should learn from it and change their attitudes. Encourage young parents, be kind and patient. At some point you have probably had, will have or were a little monster, give us a break!

25 Apr 2014

Noah says.....

Every morning Noah appears in our bedroom. Straight away he's asking to watch cartoon. Damn emergency use of iPhones, iPads and CBeebies when we weren't ready to get up yet!

The other morning the conversation went as follows.....

Me: Morning Noah. How are you feeling today?

Noah: I'm feeling cartoony!

Cheeky smiles and raucous laughter ensued!


22 Apr 2014

New Mum Essentials

I thought I would do a little post about the things I can't live without as a new mum. Some of these I figured out last time round, others I am totally kicking myself that I didn't have them. This may not seem an interesting post if you aren't expecting a baby, but I reckon some of the make pretty good gifts.

So first up is a nursing pillow. This one is made by Baroo, they do lots of cool prints. I don't actually have one made by them. I liked mine as it came with two covers. I actually bought mine when I was pregnant to help with the pain in my hips at night, it really is comfy to sleep with. I didn't really think I would use it afterwards as I coped perfectly well without it last time. I was wrong. Once I used it for feeding I found it was so much easier. Especially when I'm trying to wrestle with Noah, it's good to know Judah is being largely supported by the cushion. I also use it as a back support now and when I was pregnant and my back was killing me, and I sit Judah on it, lay him on it (here's where I need that spare cover, spit up, blergh), use it to stop him rolling of the sofa. You name it, I use it. It follows me around the house!

Next up is my wrap! Boy I love this thing. I was given one from Liberty Slings so I can't say I did any research into buying them, they are pretty much just a piece of fabric though so there can't be many differences. New babies just want cuddles. End of. New mummies just want to cuddle their babies! Unfortunately though, there are other things that need doing sometimes and this is a great solution. Judah particular loves to be held and I use my wrap way more than I actually use the buggy. I still use it for my bags of course! I'm looking into a Mei Tai to use as he gets bigger.

Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. I actually can't read that little quote there without drooling! Now I know once you've had a baby you are meant to be all about the weight loss, but I say give yourself a couple of months. Unless you eat all the worst foods in the world you will just start to loose the weight anyway. When you are first breastfeeding the sugar cravings are crazy, well they were for me anyway! Chocolate is the one thing I really wanted to eat, and still do if Judah has a bit of an evening feeding frenzy. I was given so many beautiful bunches of flowers, our house was over flowing, BUT I had this deep dark desire someone would bring me amazing chocolates and no one did (how ungrateful do I sound?!). I have decided I will always include chocolates along with cute baby things in future gifts. These particular chocolates are made by an old friend of mine Jane, I highly recommend her beautiful treats as gifts for people.

This one is another one I wish we'd had last time. I put some aden and anais swaddles in my RNIL....001 post and my Granny was kind enough to buy them for me. They have been amazing and I'm pretty certain I will go on using them lots even though Judah's getting a bit strong for actually being swaddled. We still put him down in them every night but he's not really in them by the morning. When Noah was a baby he spent a lot of nights sleeping on Thomas' chest, I kind of wish we had these, although with a first baby you don't mind so much. This time we are more like 'I need the best quality sleep possible!!!'. Using the swaddles has really helped Judah settle in the crib and not need to be held quite so much.


This I consider my own personal little bit of wisdom. I happen to think it's pretty great! It's safe to say you wont want to ever see your maternity clothes ever again after giving birth. You are also not likely to fit into all your old clothes just yet. Going shopping for an interim wardrobe is the best idea, don't leave yourself feeling rubbish about how you look (believe me tears followed by emergency Bluewater trips with toddlers are not fun)! These things I think are KEY if you are breastfeeding ..... buy jersey vests that are low cut and stretchy enough that you can pull them down under your boob, then buy pretty sheer blouses. A blouse like the one above will not only make you feel nice but will helpfully skim over that saggy baby belly! Both the above tops are from H&M which is nice and cheap and they have lots of these kind of things. Then, and here's the important bit, when you feed, pull the blouse up and the vest down, exposing only one boob which will be completely hidden by your baby's head and the fabric of the blouse, and voila, no need for carrying around extra feeding covers or making anyone feel uncomfortable. No one will be able to see any flesh and you'll look awesome!

I hope you have found this useful. There's a tonne of other things I use all the time but these are my top picks!

21 Apr 2014

Project 52 - 16/52

I know I've been a bit rubbish at posting anything other than these posts at the moment. There seems to be so much going on but not much to write about!

This weekend was Easter and we have had such a good weekend. I thought it was going to be jam packed from start to finish, but it ended up only half full and that was greatly needed! We got to see a lot of lovely people, eat lots of food and drink lots of wine. I did spend most of Sunday feeling rough though, I was worried I had mastitis but today I have been fine so maybe not!

I think maybe....... it was fear of going for a run again!!!! I took up running this week as a nice free way to get in better shape, but after a going out on Friday and Saturday I hurt so much I'm not looking forward to another one. I may go out tonight, but Thomas needs to go for a run too. If there's only time for one of us to go he gets dibs. He is training for a half marathon after all.*

So, this weeks photos. It was Easter after all so Noah's photo is with the egg we got him. We all got a pretty amazing Easter egg haul to be honest! Then I felt a bit daft for buying him one as well! He was pretty pleased though, as you can see!

Judah is just a bundle of smiles! He loves to interact with people and it's so easy to get him smiling and giggling! I know once he's better at keeping his eyes focused he will find Noah hilarious. In fact just saying Noah's name makes him giggle. For now though, Noah doesn't have the patience to get Judah looking at him to make him laugh!

So onto another week. Tomorrow being a working day sucks. We will miss Mr Green greatly. Four whole days has been a real treat. I think maybe it's time he booked some holiday.....

16 Apr 2014

Project 52 - 15/52

Both photos this week were taken on Sunday, on a very brief but enjoyable visit to Brockhill Park. I had never been there before and now I have no idea why! It is beautiful and has lots of fun paths and a great little play park. It was brief for two reasons; firstly we completely misjudged how warm it was (or wasn't) and had nowhere near enough clothes on, secondly Thomas packed the bag. Never. Again! Ok, maybe that's a bit harsh, but he left out everything I asked for! I know, I know, first world problems and all that. Going without tissues, my own water bottle and a book isn't the end of the world, it just put me in a grump. An easy thing to do with my current lack of sleep!

So anyway, we shall go again. For much longer next time! I did get a lot of pictures in that time, and I'm hoping enough that I can consider unit 2 of my photography course finished!

This picture of Noah looks so funny! He did me lots of goofy smiles as well, but here he looks like the king of the castle and it made me laugh. He certainly thinks he's in charge!

Look how smooshy Judah is here! Of course he is in his favourite place, the wrap! 

Judah does have eyes! And smiles. Hundreds and hundreds of smiles! 

12 Apr 2014

Project 52 - 14/52

Oh man! I can't believe it's nearly next week and I haven't done this post yet. I also haven't taken any photos for this week! Still a day and a half to go so there is time!

Slight disclaimer....Noah's photo was taken by Thomas. I had to admit it, but it was so much better than any photo I took. He just frowns at me most of the time! This picture shows much better the happy kid he is!

To get Judah's pictures I took about 250 photos! It also shows what a happy boy he is. We can really make him giggle now. Just fill his belly with milk. poke your tongue out at him and he will giggle and chat away for ages!

Ok, off I go to take some more photos!