This was the first time Baby D has ventured off the rug and into the wilds of our garden. The grass hasn’t been dry enough to cut since we moved in so it’s overgrown by normal standards, but the children love it. Scrip keeps picking dandelions and daisies for ‘Mother’s Day’ (bit late!) and D is enjoying the feeling of the grass. A happy, sunny afternoon this week.
I almost called this post ‘my love/hate relationship’ with breastfeeding, but that would be too strong. I’m nursing an injury tonight from a teething Baby D who sneezed whilst feeding and bit down on my nipple. Ouch. I swore, he cried, and that was it for the evening.
I’m still breastfeeding him at a month short of a year, which has sort of crept up on me. Because I’m starting to work for myself there was no need to wean him earlier and I’ve generally found it a positive experience, convenient and useful – especially when he’s teething or under the weather. However, him not taking a bottle has meant there’s no let up and I’m not sure how weaning will eventually go.
I breastfed both of my little ones and I’m pleased I’ve done that – seven months first time around, 11 months and counting this time – but I was pretty sure I’d carry on come what may. We’ve been through thrush in my milk ducts (excruciating), tongue-tie and a shallow latch, and it’s pretty much never been pain-free with Baby D.
A family member recently said I’d inspired her when it came to breastfeeding her two, which was a lovely thing to say. For me it’s something I wanted to do, but haven’t necessarily felt the need to trumpet. I’m really happy to talk about it and give tips or advice or even have a bit of a moan after a nipple injury, but it wouldn’t be the first thing I bring up and I’d never comment on someone choosing or ending up with bottle over breast.
And the reality is, it can be hard. It can be painful and tough for both of you, particularly at an overwhelming and exhausting time. I credit a breastfeeding counsellor for helping me turn a corner with Scrip and continue when I was at a particularly low point. So I’ve been thinking about the good and the bad from my 18 months’ experience of breastfeeding two little ones:
- The closeness – particularly with Baby D as he’s a real wriggler and this is the only time he’ll be still in my arms
- I love the snuggles in the early, hazy days where feeding mingles with sleepy cuddling
- I love the contented look they have when feeding well. Baby D now catches my eye and sometimes gives me a cheeky grin (with his mouth full!)
- It’s good to feel you’re protecting them with natural immunity
- It’s helped me lose some of the weight, whilst eating cake or croissants
- It’s a good comforter and a great way to get them back to sleep (not that it should be at this age, probably…)
- It’s hassle-free – particularly in the middle of the night. No need for fussing with bottles
- It’s free
- I feel proud I’ve been able to stick with it
- It’s something just for mums – and as D’s not been taking a bottle until very recently, I haven’t been able to share this closeness
- It can be hard – it doesn’t always come naturally to you or the baby, so it often takes work. Baby D wouldn’t latch on one side for weeks and it could take literally half an hour and lots of tears for him to do it
- It takes a while to get used to doing it in public
- It can be painful and not just when you’re starting. After being tongue-tied Baby D has never had a very full latch and my nipples have suffered
- It’s easy to worry you’re not producing enough milk or it’s not the right quality
- You may get more green nappies!
- Your body’s still not your own, even after pregnancy – you have to watch what you eat and drink
- The early daily pumping can get exhausting
- You get big, painful boobs when they’ve gone too long without feeding
- Exclusive breastfeeding means they may not take a bottle, which might make it harder for you to have a break
- You need to plan what to wear and stock up on nursing bras
Part of me is looking forward to winding it down and hopefully shifting the last of my stubborn baby weight. But the other part will miss it – especially if we don’t have any more children. So we’ll carry on for a bit longer and see where we end up. My mumnesia means I’ll no doubt just remember the good parts.
Although he won’t understand as much as his older (and very excited) sister, this is still baby D’s first Christmas. He’s already intrigued about the tree, the twinkly lights and lots of sparkly decorations hanging tantilisingly close to where he rolls.
He’s not lacking in baby toys or hand-me-down clothes (even though there tends to be a pink bias) but we’re making sure he’ll have his fair share of things to tear open and bite on come Christmas day. And one thing he already has is his own brand new stocking, courtesy of The White Company.
Baby D has the Dotty Stocking. It’s a chunky, stretchy knit in a stylish Scando-style. It looks homemade, is unisex and is pretty big – on the verge of a sack, actually. And the very good news is it’s currently on sale with 30% off, so it’s £24.50 (as at 12th December 2015).
We’re stocking up on chewable, rattle-able toys to fit inside and I’m hoping he’ll love pulling them out. We’ll just have to make sure he doesn’t wriggle inside the stocking himself on Christmas day!
Thanks to The White Company for the Dotty Stocking.
I know strictly speaking we’re not new new parents, but having had a gap of three years, at tricky times and in the early hours it certainly feels like we’re doing all of this for the first time. Some things come flooding back (the only way to treat nappy rash is to reach for the Metanium, always make sure the frills at the side of the nappy are facing out or face the consequences, no room should be without a muslin) and some feel like we’ve never experienced them before.
Much of it is logistical, fuelled by sleep deprivation, and a lot is about making the most of small windows of time. So I’ve been mulling a few new parent challenges that could be worthy of including in next year’s Olympics:
The five minute supermarket dash. Contenders need to collect at least ten items, spanning both sides of the giant supermarket with a grizzly baby and/or whiny toddler before either fully melts down. Bonus points for not knocking anyone flying en route and not giving into pester power for cheap toys or cheap sweets.
The service station nappy change. Contenders need to change a nappy on a dubious surface (often wobbly, rarely spotless) whilst avoiding baby touching any part of the changing table. Bonus points for negotiating the (often broken) straps and managing to have a toilet break yourself.
The me-time challenge. Contenders need to make the most of a rare child-free hour, courtesy of partner/in-laws/fool-hardy friends, by fitting in as many household tasks as possible – aim for at least 15. Bonus points for anyone who actually manages to rest during this ‘rest time’.
The cup of tea challenge. Contenders need to finish at least one cup of tea (which could be classed as lukewarm or above) fully, within a 24 hour period. Sounds deceptively simple but not many have succeeded.
The getting ready alone challenge – baby vs shower. Contenders need to wash, brush teeth and dress without the baby crying. Bonus points for using a variety of apparatus such as baby bouncer, crib with mobile, moses basket and fluffy towel on the floor and for singing nursery rhymes/nonsense songs continuously.
And the New Parent Olympics gold medal? A lovely smile from your baby…and a hot cup of tea.
I’ve been practising all of these in the last few weeks and would rate my chances. Could you compete?