Category Archives: Motherhood

What They Don’t Tell You About Breastfeeding, Jamie Oliver

Breastfeeding has become less about the feeding. It’s lost sight of what it actually is: a way to feed your child. It is a physiological event that occurs in the mother.  For the child.

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Obviously it’s the natural way to feed your child.  But that doesn’t mean there is an innate inbuilt switch in all of us that suddenly starts to work the moment you have a baby.

Antenatally,  your midwife will tell you about breastfeeding; hands you a bunch of leaflets about how good it is.

They don’t tell you HOW you do it, though. 

I remember being in the antenatal “breastfeeding” class. Being given a doll to put at my breast. Thats it.

No talk of how latch is important; how skin to skin is VITAL as soon as the baby has been born; how if you have pethidine or have to have forceps or a venteuse, this can mean it is more difficult to start feeding. 

They didn’t mention hand expressing, or how to collect precious colostrum in a tiny syringe when you’ve been awake for 48 hours already. 

They forgot to mention  how it can really, really hurt. That your boobs are sore and your nipples red raw. No amount of Lanishoh is going to help.

They don’t explain that once you’ve had the baby, no matter what time or how tired you are, you are expected to know what you’re doing. You’re given more leaflets and an A4 feeding chart to complete that you can barely read as you’ve been awake so long that you’re delirious.

You see other women pressing the call bell, asking for help so you do the same. A health care assistant opens your curtain, and looks unimpressed as you ask for help. What do I do. The answer is for the health care assistant to yank the baby’s head and grab your breast and roughly attempt a latch.

When this fails more syringes; health care assistant now hand expressing your breast; milking you like a cow. And you let them because you’re starting to lose the plot. Is this a dream.

No one tells you, antenatally, that your baby will be weighed every few days; and if your baby loses too much weight, then you stay in hospital. Or go back in.

That even though you may be trying to get the perfect latch, constantly attaching baby to breast, thinking you’re doing well, that when they tell you your baby has lost an ounce, how crushing that can be. How worthless you feel. How you feel you’re letting down your child. 

How very shit you feel every time you press that call bell. How people’s looks and tone of voice can make you feel so small.

When people ask if your milk has come in, you don’t know. Because antenatally,  they told you your boobs would swell; how they would leak milk and you would ‘feel’ it. But you don’t feel any of this. Milk is there, but it’s not pouring out of your breasts as they told you.

They ask if you can feel the  “let down” when feeding.  You feel nothing.  Your boobs don’t ache. You wake up with wet patches on your tops but there just isn’t enough milk. Maybe it will happen in time they say.

Is it day 4 baby blues, or are you actually depressed?  You don’t know. You’re in a nightmare you can’t get out of.

No one tells you, how at 3am after a baby has been screaming for hours, how a well meaning midwife will causally mention that not everyone can breastfeed; why don’t you let us give your baby a cup of formula; maybe you can express on the machine. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t.  How if you gave a little formula, baby would gain weight and you could go home. 

And how your resolve starts to crush; you’re tired and low, so low.  And this person is being nice to you. And you so desperately want to go home.

How the relief in the midwifes eyes as you tell them to cup feed formula. How your heart breaks at how thirstily your baby gulps this foreign liquid down. 

How once you’ve done this, how they can’t get you out of hospital quick enough. 

They don’t tell you how, postnatally,  as you’re leaving, you ask for breastfeeding group information; breastfeeding counsellors; people who can help you. As you haven’t given up.

And they don’t tell you that these people, these people who haven’t helped you at all, they don’t know. Ask your health visitor,  they will tell you.

They look at you as if to say, “but why bother???”

Why didn’t I know this all before?  You will ask.  No-one tells you this antenatally.

You will go home and read about Breastfeeding and realise where you went wrong. Where they went wrong. Right at the very beginning. At 2.10am on your child’s birth day.

That even when you are home, the nightmare continues. Every day is a struggle but you do it. But this is anything but a nice experience.  How your first weeks with your newborn child will forever feel like the worst weeks of your life.

And this, Jamie Oliver, is the issue.  Not women making choices.  Not being brainwashed by formula companies. It is women not having the right preperation, the right support. To do what they have chosen to do.

Because for some women out there, it is not that easy.

Pregnancy Perks and Pitfalls

There’s got to be some perks to this pregnancy lark….right?

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Pregnancy Perks

Not having to pay for the dentist

Being able to get out of anything by saying you’re pregnant

Being able to sit down on buses or stare at people intently rubbing your belly until they let you have their seat. Or give you a sandwich.

Having naps at work

Free prescriptions!

Being able to swim whatever time of the month

Not having to buy any tampons or sanitary towels! Take that VAT loving government!

Not having periods! For 9 months!

Just letting it all hang out. The freedom of not having to suck your stomach in.

If you’re a bit fat (like me) then you will get no annoying “are you pregnant” type questions as people are too afraid to ask

Wearing pyjamas all the time and no one telling you it’s wrong

Bring able to eat whatever you like! No Worrying about dieting….

Being able to fart whenever you like and that’s OK because you’re pregnant

Suddenly getting the energy to plan house redecoration, crafts, spring cleaning the house and pinteresting like a mo’fo

Crying at anything and everything but people don’t mind because you’re pregnant

Being able to get out of any kind of physical labour such as hoovering or lifting 3 year olds

Pregnancy pitfalls

Not being able to have any actual treatment at the dentist because you’re pregnant

Not being able to take Lemsip

Not actually being able to take some medication you can get for free

Not being able to reach and therefore manage your bikini line

uncontrollable flatulence

Forgetting to wake up after a nap

Not being able to eat all the nice cheese. And paté.

Not having any alcohol.

Discovering how you dance sober.

Knowing the mother of all periods will await you in 9 months time

Feeling so sick you can’t do anything you’ve planned

Getting stuck in the car, wedged between the steering wheel. And always beeping the horn when you try and get out.

People assuming you can’t do anything because you’re pregnant. Like run. Or have a bath.

As soon as you get pregnant, you suddenly get invites to parties, weddings, hen dos, holidays and every social event on the calender. Which you then have to attend. Sober.

Bearing in mind the last 12 months your social calender looked pretty empty….

Being the designated driver.

Thoughts on Pregnancy: Second Time Round

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I had just come to the conclusion that one child was plenty enough thank you,  when I found out I was pregnant.

My first thought was: oh shit.

My second thought was: oh shit, I can’t drink anything now.  HOW AM I GOING TO COPE?!

My third thought was: oh god, I’m not going to sleep until 2020.

Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased that we are having another baby. It’s taken long enough. But this time things are just a bit different.

When people ask me “is this pregnancy different to the first?” I immediately think: of course this pregnancy is different.

For a start, I’ve been sleep deprived for most of the last 3 years. So, you know, that adds a little edge to things. Also, this time I can’t just lie on the sofa and do nothing all evening when I feel ill. This time, I have a three year old who still wants you to hold them as you walk along the pavement and who wants me to be the fairy godmother when she’s playing Cinderella.

This time around, I have no time (or energy for that matter) for yoga or swimming. I am drinking too much caffiene and I accidentally ate a cheese board the day after I found out I was pregnant because I forgot about the whole “don’t eat cheese” thing.

This time, I hardly have any time to actually think I am pregnant at all.

I also have the benefit/disadvantage of knowing exactly what I’ve let myself in for. I can learn from my previous experience and I know for sure what I want and don’t want to happen this time. But I know one thing I can’t avoid and that is I’ll still have to push this Bubba out of my Va-Jay-Jay. And I know it fricking hurts.

This time, I pay a fleeting glance to emails telling me my baby weighs the same as an avocado. I don’t have the 26 apps I had last time, all telling me the same information that I poured over night after night. I bought actual books last time to read and studied like I was a student midwife.

I might try and do some pelvic floor excersizes on the way to work if I sneeze and start to panic, unlike the military set schedule I had 3 years ago. (Seriously I bet I could’ve cracked nuts with my pelvic floor).

I don’t have to buy anything this time round; I have everything going moldy in the garage. I just need to have a day sometime to go and bleach it all down. But I have plenty of time for that.

I am not sure if I can be described as “glowing” second time round. I frequently forget to brush my hair and put make up on, meaning I look more like a character out of The Walking Dead each day. Hell, I haven’t even shaved my legs this year yet. I used to pour over maternity sections in shops choosing jeans and dresses that accentuated my bump. This time I’m just wearing leggings and baggy dresses. Looking like a pregnant bag lady is quite a skill you know.

Oh, and symptoms: if you’re any different to last time (which, in fairness was 3 years ago so how could you even remember) then you must be having a boy. Or a girl. Or a hairy baby.

I know I am lucky to experience this again. I am grateful for this experience, no matter how tired I am or messy looking I become. Once August is here, we will have our little family complete and that will be a great feeling. I am looking forward to baby snuggles and seeing Nancy’s face when she sees her brother or sister.

And also, I’ll never have to be pregnant again.

Answers to the question Why?

Answers to children’s most irritating questions….

WHY?

Well, because it is.

Because that’s what someone named them.

Who knows?

I’m not sure really.

What made you think of that?

I don’t know why daddy always leaves the loo seat up. Beats me.

Why are you asking me that?

Because we have to share a birthday cake. You can’t eat it all.

Because it wouldn’t be nice!

Well I don’t shout actually I just talk a bit loudly at times.

It’s just the way it is.

Because the Police told me so.

Because if you don’t sleep you won’t grow and if you don’t grow you won’t be able to reach anything yourself one day.

Well that’s what I eat.
No you don’t eat meat because you don’t.
Because you don’t.

Ask your Daddy.

Let’s think about that overnight shall we?

Everyone eats their dinner first.

Well babies can’t talk because they’re too small.

Something to do with clouds which go Grey and then there’s hot and cold air and….erm…well the sky just makes a big noise.

It’s one of life’s mysteries.
It’s something that we don’t know about.
It’s a secret.

I’m not sure why.

I’m not sure why I don’t know why.

Do you want some sweets?

Depression

There are many posts that I have written over the past few months, that I never published. Since October, life got pretty shit. I was diagnosed with depression, my Dad died and well, it was awful. This post was written in October 2015. These were my thoughts when I was diagnosed with depression. 

Depression

I can laugh. I can smile. 
I’m not a zombie.

I’m not suicidal. 

I am, apparently, depressed. 

Anxious. 

I had to take time out.

Time out from what?

Everything.

There’s just not enough time for anything 

Not enough time for me.

Time is probably the reason. 

Time is running out and I have no way of stopping it. 

It’s a summer and autumn of lasts, not firsts.

So many endings. 

Saying goodbye all the time is very hard. 

I can forget, for a while.

I have made the most of the time we have left.

But I am so tired, and strained.

Restless.

I am not how I thought someone depressed is. Should be. 

If I don’t think, I am OK.

Depression is hard.

Many days, I am OK. if I don’t have to do anything, I’m OK.

but pressure,expectation, appointments, or a comment, or a look

Can have my stomach churn and the panic sets in and I am back to square one.

I probably don’t look that unwell on the outside.

But it’s all on the inside.

I’m not hyperventilating, but I am panicking. 

I can’t think of anything else. Round and round and round my head.

Small, insignificant things like a comment on a birthday card. 

I am tired. I am wired. I can’t rest. I can’t stop.

No I’m not pregnant….

I’m just not drinking alcohol 

I’m the designated driver 

I’m not that fond of shellfish

I just ate too much at lunchtime 

I’ve given up Diet Coke

I’m just wearing leggings because of my hairy legs

I got so used to using my stomach as a tea cup holder I never stopped 

Just because two people at work are, doesn’t mean I am

I’m just cutting out caffeine because I am a sadist 

I don’t fancy that rollercoaster, ok?

I’m waddling because I seem to have injured my hip picking up a 2 stone toddler 

I like water 

I’m just wearing a dress which accentuates my stomach 

I just caught my daughters sickness bug

This pair of maternity trousers were the only clean ones I had 

They only had decaff at the shop, and I was desperate 

I just like trying new things! So what if I’ve never eaten prawns before…

I accidentally bought this top from the maternity section 

It’s perfectly normal to cry at The Great British Bake Off

I’m just fat!

My daughter is just 2 years old, I didn’t realise that meant I should be pregnant by now 

Mum Fog: Things you forget when you’re a Mum

You give birth, you don’t sleep for months, brain cells dissipate..you think you’ve got through it, but then the Mum Fog descends and you start to forget to do everything…..

1. Shave

You get to the swimming pool, you get into your costume and you just remember you didn’t sort out your lady garden which is growing down your legs.

2. Nail painting

Paint one lot of nails, and then  get distracted and forget to do the other hand until you only remember when you sit down at your desk at work.

3. Where you’re going

Get in the car, turn the key, set off down the road….end up anywhere because you either

a) zone out completely and don’t remember how you got there

b) panic that you’re going the wrong way because you suddenly don’t recognise anything on the route your going on (even though it is the right route and one you have done for years…)

c) whatever the day or time, you start driving to work. Or even get there, before you realise.

d) start driving and actually forget where or why you left the house

4. Names

a) Before I gave birth, people’s names easily rolled off my tongue. I knew who people were. I knew their goddanm names. Now? Well, nowadays, my brain seems to paralyse when I have to start mentioning people’s names, so now most people are referred to as: Lydia-Eleanor-Linda-Dan-John-Mary-Jane-Sarah-Sophie-Nancy.

b) Same goes for the TV. Shows I have watched for years, suddenly I don’t know anyone’s names, reducing characters to ‘Thingymebob’ ‘Whatsisname’ and ‘Him/Her/That one from The Bill’ thus making people think I don’t actually watch said programme and am making the whole thing up.

5. Reply to text messages

You send me a text, I may even read it. But then I sort of answer it in my head, or think about answering, and then Nancy starts throwing Yoghurt at the TV, and then suddenly it’s 11pm and I’ve fallen asleep dribbling on the sofa. Soz.

6. Shampoo

I’ve washed my hair once, twice,  heck sometimes I can’t remember how many times I’ve put shampoo on. But then did I use conditioner? Maybe just do it once more, just in case….

7. Wee

a) I spend my whole day asking a two year old if she needs the loo and in the process forget to actually go have a wee myself. My bladder is now made of steel, and I shall probably become incontinent very soon.

b) When I do finally open the floodgates and have a wee, I can’t do it in peace, there always being a small child wanting to share this moment with me.

8. Listening to nursery rhymes or watching Cbeebies when there’s no children

Yes, I have driven most of the way to work before I realise I’m listening to nursery rhymes, or been sat in front of the TV watching Tweenies before I realise there’s no children around. I’ve even sat staring at the blue screen after 7pm on cebeebies. For like, ages.

9. What to do with no kids around

You’ve got a baby-free night! hurrah! You go to a restaurant and sit in silence looking at each other. Or you might be in the car, and you see a postman, and you just want to shout “Oh, Look! Postman Pat!” but there’s no-one in the car who appreciates that comment.

10.  Er, I’ve forgotten what I was going to write here.

forget-mum-parenting

 

Potty: No Training

I find it odd that we are supposed to be training our children in the art of life-long continence when in reality, I don’t have a frigging clue how to teach someone how to manage their bowels and bladders. Is there a potty training, training course for clueless parents? If so, I missed the boat.

Before I could even say ‘potty’, my girl was stripping off and weeing in the plastic thing. It was like a game of cat and mouse: Dare I talk about this phenomenon, shatter this spell which she appeared to be under?

One day turned into one week. We clung onto Pull-ups like our lives depended on it. I think we found it harder than she did. Mind you, she found wearing knickers a slight problem initially, but we seem to have gotten over that now, some 6 weeks after she threw her last nappy aside.

There are a few things I have encountered during this transition process, and I thought you’d like to hear my words of wisdom, or, er learn from my experience:

1. Kitchen Roll is your best friend

Never before had I loved some paper so much. I take it everywhere with me; it mops up accidental wees on restaurant floors, other people’s carpets and you can fashion a makeshift Pull-up pants from the really strong stuff.

2. 2.5 year olds speak loudly in toilets

My girl can’t help herself but comment on everything and everyone in the public toilets.

“She smells!”

“Is that a lady?”

“You’ve got a YUCKY BUM Mummy!!!”

Have all been uttered from her mouth.

Nothing, however, NOTHING beats the time we went into a loo in a Pub, right after an older lady, who for reasons I can’t fathom, left the toilet in a less than cleanly state.

“ARGH! POO! MUMMY! SMELLY POOOO! THE LADY DID A POO!” she screams as we walk into the toilet stall, the only one currently available. She’s hopping from foot to foot, desperate for a wee.

“Just get on the toilet!” I hiss, trying to wrench her onto the seat whilst holding my breath and trying not to breath in through my nose.

“NOOOO! MUMMY! CLEAN IT!!!!!” She cries, and in my desperation to avoid her 5th pair of knickers in a day, I do what I never thought I ever, ever would.

I grabbed the loo brush and I cleaned that old woman’s poop from the toilet. For my girl.

“HOORAY!” She shouts and jumps on the toilet, only to do the smallest wee in the history of wees.

I silently cry inside and order a large glass of red as I walk back to the table…

3. Your hands will never be cleaner

See example above. Also wiping moving bums means wee and poo ON YOUR HANDS. I scrub and scrub. Antibacterial soap is a must. As is alcohol gel. Maybe some washing up gloves…

4. Trousers are OUT

Skirts, dresses = yes. Easy access to potty and toilet, no fussing, and when you’re out in public, you can whip off the wet stuff pretty easily. I feel sorry for those who have to wear trousers for any reason. In fact, when we are indoors, I aim for the heating on and minimal clothing, in an attempt to reduce the washing pile that I only just got under control from when she was born….

5. Repetitive Speech Strain

All I do every minute of every day is ask her if she needs a wee or a poo. It takes over your life. We have come full circle, from talking to each other about her wee and poo, when she was a newborn, to talking to her about her wee and poo. You ask and ask, and the time you forget to ask, is the time that they do need one and pee all over the floor….

6. Getting excited about wee and poo

You have to be mega interested in wee and poo, OK? When your child uses the potty, you have to summon up the enthusiasm and the energy to really WHOOP WHOOP and Holla! about the amazing feat they have performed. Even when it really smells and poo is hanging from their bum and they are running around your living room. Way to go!

 

My go-to toddler white lies

Sometimes, a little teeny weeny white lie just makes life so much easier…..

1. If all vegetables have ‘crisps’ or ‘chips’ at the end of their name it makes them irresistible

2. Peas and sweetcorn are “sweets”. If you hand them to your child in a conspiratorial manner, sort of hesitate and say “I’m not sure you should be eating these but go on then”……it makes them even nicer 

3. Is there butter on that? Well,  that’s an interesting question. That’s just how the bread is, OK?

4. If you run out of orange juice, just tell them apple juice is like orange juice just a bit more applier

5. When they ask if everyone is asleep, you always say yes.

6. The TV shuts down at 6pm, doesn’t it?

7. You can only have one glass of water from the water dispenser at the Dentists, it’s the law. 

8.. The Peppa Pig Car Ride machine is sadly broken but you can sit in it for a minute. 

9. Peaches look a bit like pumpkins, and pumpkins are in Cinderella……so there’s a tenuous link to use

10. The police will always be called in utter crisis situations. And for emergencies there is Father Christmas. 

A lovely relaxing Sunday at the Pub

It’s a sunny day, it’s a Sunday…….better go off to the pub for a lovely Roast Dinner

Ah, Sundays. I must admit, it isn’t my favourite day of the week, mainly because I always remember I’ve run out of milk at approximately 5.13pm when most supermarkets are shut. Sundays, especially if it’s raining and I’m the only adult in the house, can be very long. There’s only so much Bing I can take, you know?  

It wasn’t always this way. I used to love a Sunday. Hungover, lounging around in my PJ’s, watching Hollyoaks omnibus and eating potato waffles. Those were the days. Anyway, I digress. One of the all time best things about Sundays are ROAST DINNERS. 

There’s nothing like your Mums roast dinner. Or your Nans.  Just thinking about them now and I start to salivate. Roast chicken, crispy roast potatoes, fluffy Yorkshire puddings, gravy oozing from the jug….heaven. 

Being a family that is two thirds vegetarian, our Sunday dinners are not the same. Sometimes they’re not even a roast. I’ve had to adapt to cooking lasagne or macaroni cheese for my Sunday dinner. We even sometimes have PIZZA, for crying out loud. We do sometimes have roast potatoes but it’s not the same. I couldn’t roast a chicken if I tried and I have no idea what to do with its giblets. It would take me 3 weeks to eat the said chicken and I’d probably have fallen over with salmonella poisoning by then.

So, where am I going with this? Ah yes. The compromise. When I am feeling at roast crisis point, my lovely partner agrees we can go for a Pub Sunday Roast. It’ll be a lovely, relaxing trip to the pub…..

We always choose a child friendly pub with a mahoosive play area outside. That’s like, rule number one. Then we play Rock Paper Scissors to see who gets to have an alcoholic drink whilst we are there. I tell my other half to book a table as it’ll be busy. He scoffs and says, nah, it’ll be alright, and we get into the car. 

Now, we always get there and the place is rammed. I say, we should’ve booked! I told you! And my other half just rolls his eyes and nervously scouts around for a table. This time, there’s loads of tables outside. Great, it’s a sunny day, kiddo can play in the play area whilst I sip my wine and watch her enjoying herself. Perfect. 
We get outside, get a table and we pick our meals. Straight away Nancy is in the thick of the action. There is a slide/climbing frame combo and it looks like one of those buses in India where people are holding on, on the outside. Except, with children. They are hanging off every available piece of toughened plastic. Except, Nancy is not on the climbing frame,nor the slide. No. She wants to play with the gate to the play area.

“NO! You can’t come in!” She shouts at the children trying to negotiate entry. I have to get up and open the gates and try to get her interested in what she should be doing. As I sit down again she starts to climb up kid mountain. It’s not long before there is another drama, a bigger kid won’t let her on the slide, and I’m up and down like a yoyo, my rosè wine warming in the blazing sunshine. 

After a quick run around the pub garden to see the pet rabbits, throwing crayons on the floor, picking up sticks and a failed escape mission, dinner is ready.

“I don’t want FISH FINGERS!” she shouts.

“But you chose fish fingers” I say. 

There starts a ten minute conversation about eating our dinner, bribing with YouTube, ice cream and saying she can go back on the slide once she has eaten her fish/chips/peas. It is a long and agonising process, as she takes a bit of precious fish we take turns to stuff our faces as quickly as we can before negotiations start again. 

Once the stress levels have returned, I can finish my drink and Nancy goes off to terrorise the other children for a bit. The sun is so hot that I am sure I’ve burnt my shoulders. As she starts to climb on TOP of the climbing frame, about 5 feet off the floor, we talk her down and make a run for it, telling her she can have a lollipop from the shop if she gets in the car.

And there we have it, a perfect relaxing Sunday…….