Saturday, 30 June 2012

NBW - My Breastfeeding Journey

This is the last in a series of posts for National Breastfeeding Week. Apologies for the mammoth post, this is why this one is last!

When I was pregnant with Big Muddle, we attended NCT antenatal classes. I still wasn't sure that I would breastfeed. I would give it a go, sure, but I wasn't sure it was for me. I had this idea of being restricted by it, unable to go out, have a drink, be 'free' from my baby. I remember one of the other pregnant women telling me how her mother in law breastfed both her children until they were 2. Not for me, I thought. If they're old enough to ask for it they're too old to have it, I reasoned. Little did I know I'd break her record! I set myself a target of six weeks.

Big Muddle didn't do well to start with. Mucuosy from an assisted delivery she preferred being cup fed the expressed top ups I was encouraged to offer it took us several days to really get going. Once she had got the hang though, there was no stopping her and she gained weight brilliantly, only dropping 500g post birth! The six week 'deadline' came and went.

When she was nearly five months old, I returned to work full time. Keen to keep her on breastmilk until six months, I expressed once a day. When we reached six months, she had only had one bottle of formula milk so we carried on as we were.

I stopped expressing when Big Muddle was about 11 months old, and from then she went straight onto cow's milk during the day. She was still having breastfeeds in the evening and at night.

At a year old she went into her own bedroom, which facilitated night weaning. It was also at this point that I dropped to part time hours at work, so we carried on feeding in the daytime as and when she chose.

This continued until she was about 2 1/4. It was then that I found I was pregnant again. As I felt we were reaching the end of our feeding journey anyway, when the hormones slowed my milk I explained that 'Mummy's milk is all gone now' and she adapted with no problems.

Baby Muddle was a totally different start. I had less painkillers at her birth and it was an unassisted arrival. I think both of these factors meant that she was feeding well before she had even been weighed.

She is a completely different feeder to Big Muddle, which I wasn't really expecting. Big Muddle was very focussed, and would take boob whenever offered, until totally full. Baby Muddle has to be in the mood, and even then will latch briefly, to stop and 'chat', then latch on again!

Second time around I have been less focussed on her having exclusively breastmilk. Lack of time for expressing has meant that when I've gone to the gym etc she has had formula. Also, I have decided I'm not returning to work now, so I'm sure that will have an effect on how breastfeeding progresses. It will be interesting to see how different this journey is as it progresses!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

NBW - Breastfeeding bookmarks!

This is post four in a series for National Breastfeeding Week. All of the links here are recommendations from my own personal experience and I have no affiliations to any of them :-)

National Childbirth Trust - for great breastfeeding advice ante- and postnatal.

Kellymom - amazing source of breastfeeding info, especially good for advice on drug safety.

Natural Mamas - a fab community forum with a breastfeeding section.

Mama Feels Good - for great quality, non-frumpy nursing tops and dresses.

My Brest Friend Nursing Cushion - I never had one of these first time around and boy, did I wish I had! Amazingly supportive.

Would love to hear of anyone else's breastfeeding weblinks!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

NBW - My Breastfeeding Tips

This is number three of my posts for National Breastfeeding Week. These tips come from my own experience. I am a mother of two, but I am not a lactation consultant. If in doubt please discuss your issues with a professional.

Firstly, my advice would be to take your time and relax. Rome wasn't built in a day and you have to learn a new skill. As natural as breastfeeding is, the ability is not innate, and it will take you - and your body - time to learn.

newborn latching
, try gently squeezing the nipple into a 'sandwich' shape. This may make it easier for your baby to manage in those early days if you're struggling.

If you're worried about breastfeeding in public then nurse in front of a mirror at home. You'll be able to see how little actually is on show. Investing in some good nursing clothes may help you feel more confident.

Be aware of the symptoms of a growth spurt. These occur regularly while baby is little (notably around 6 weeks) and involve feeding more frequently and fussing at the breast. This is baby's way of telling your body it requires more milk and does not mean your milk is running out. It WILL pass in a few days.

To help boost supply oats are good, including in flapjacks! Or if you really need a boost, especially if expressing while back at work, try fenugreek capsules, available from health food stores.

If you do struggle, please make use of the help available. La Leche League and National Childbirth Trust both offer a lot of assistance to breastfeeding women and are well worth contacting.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

NBW - Reasons I Heart Breastfeeding

This is second of a series of posts for National Breastfeeding Week.

I guess most people's primary reasons for breastfeeding are health ones. Studies regarding IQ levels and immunity to disease fill most NHS breastfeeding literature. But these aren't my reasons. Like most things in my life my reasoning is split between the practical and the emotional.

First the practicalities. It makes my life that much easier. I don't have to worry about considering how long I'll be out and how many feeds baby will have. I don't have to get up in the night to mix up a bottle. I can travel superlight. And I got my figure back super-fast after both pregnancies. Bonus.

There are of course emotional reasons. It really helped me to reconnect with Big Muddle after my return to work. It, especially first time around, made me feel Very Important and totally in awe of my body. I love the fact that women's bodies are so clever. With both girls the connection breastfeeding has given has been immense.

Nothing suits all people or all families. But I breastfeed. And I love it.

Monday, 25 June 2012

National Breastfeeding Week

This week (24th-30th June) is National Breastfeeding Week. I breastfed both of my girls, still do in Baby Muddle's case. Big Muddle was fed until she was over 2, when I got pregnant again. I'm not someone who that thinks that formula is a terrible thing, or that its a particularly big decision in the scheme of a person's life what milk they were given for the first year of their life (unless its Nesquik, I guess that would have a decent impact!) But I do, really and truly, love breastfeeding.

So, this week I'm going to (attempt!) to do a breastfeeding related post each day....if I get enough time off nursing to do so that is!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

What a Weekend!

Well, all my fears were unfounded and we survived! Quite a bit sleepier than we were beforehand, but we had a wonderful time. We stayed at Rutland Camping & Caravan Park and were very impressed. Good playground and excellent toilet/shower block. Games room was a little limited, with only table football and air hockey, but at least there was one! 

Yesterday we walked around the village of Greetham which is very pretty, if perhaps a little over stocked with barn conversions! Lots of quirky features and thatch cottages.

We had lunch in the very fabulous Wheatsheaf at Greetham. A pretty pub with beer garden, great drinks selection including cask ales and an amazing menu, including an array on the 'specials' board and a children's menu. Highchairs were no problem, staff friendly and the food some of the best I have tasted. Ever. I seriously recommend this place!

All of the children were so great all weekend, even when the weather wasn't behaving, and really did us proud. All in all a fabulous time, but what I didn't need is an England quarter final tonight, when I'm so ready for my bed!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Hi ho, hi ho...

So we're off camping for the weekend this afternoon. The weather is a minor niggle, but generally my worries are:

1. Big Muddle will be disturbed by the new situation, and the light evenings, and not sleep.
2. Baby Muddle will be disturbed by all events, hate the air mattress and sleeping bag, and not sleep.
3. Mr Muddle will drink all the beer on the first night then sleep soundly and snoringly until noon (just kidding babe!)

Overall though I'm sure it will all work out fine! Will be back, knackered and muddied, on Sunday to report.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

There was a Princess long ago...

...and she really liked her new castle!

Gorgeous, isn't it? Both the castle and the figures are from Melissa & Doug, via Amazon.

Gonna be ages before I'll get that song out of my head though. And she lived in a big high tower, a big high tower, a big high tower...

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

What an apt end to the day...

I've had a stinker of a day, one of those where nothing goes right. So tonight, being the lovely husband he is, Mr Muddle ran me a wonderful candlelit bath. Lovely. And what did I do? Set my hair on fire.

Oh yes, that's right. I leant back to relax and caught my locks on one of the lovingly placed tealights and wooosh! Luckily it only caught a little, so I didn't get burnt or anything, but I'm not drying my hair to assess the damage, it can wait for the morning. After all, tomorrow must be a better day, right??

Monday, 18 June 2012

Camping pack list

How can we need so much stuff for two nights?? And we don't even have to bring our tent because we're sharing. But the list is still unimaginably long...Also I'm not really sure what I ever used to pack for myself pre-mummy days. Now I have minimal packing down to a fine art...although only for me! The girls are a different tale altogether.

Really am looking forward to it though, its my first camping trip with Mr Muddle even, not to mention the girls.

Big Muddle will be super-hyped by Friday. Not only are we going with one of her bestest friends, but she's actually learning about camping this week at school, including a camp-out tomorrow afternoon. So on Friday we'll have two hyped-up three-year-olds running around a campsite. And they're sharing a tent. Chances of getting to bed at a reasonable hour?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Print your own money!

Well, play money at least! I was desperately trying to find some play moneyt for Big Muddle's play shop but could only find dollars or euros so I played around on publisher and made my own!
They're not perfect, but laminated they'll last quite well. If you'd like them, here are the files. Right click the picture, choose 'save image as' then print the file as normal. They are set up that if you print on the back the notes will line up...or ought to!

Some days are not so good...

...and yesterday was one of those. Luckily Mr Muddle is very lovely and gifted me a day of (relative) leisure! Yes, there are bad days, but then there are moments like this:

Truly gorgeous, isn't she? xx

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Cadbury World

Exhausted is not the word! After a rough night with a still sorry-for-herself Baby Muddle we were off on an adventure to Cadbury World!

The idea started because Big Muddle and her friend had been learning about trains at school, so her mother and I decided we'd take the girls on a train day out. Because its only about an hour and a half from us, we decided on Cadbury World.

Was an absolutely cracking day, we all had a great time and lots of chocolate was consumed!
If you go I'd really recommend having a look around the surrounding village, which was built for the workers. There are some really beautiful buildings.
Altogether very worthwhile day out, and one very tired Mummy hoping for a more restful night tonight!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Abandon hope all ye who enter here...

We're well and truly lurgy-ridden. Baby Muddle has been asleep in the sling all day, waking only to look very sorry for herself, and Mr Muddle has returned from work covered in red spots and ready for an early night. Looks like we're in for a fun weekend! Anything exciting planned?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Jubilee Party

This morning we went to a Jubilee Party organised by a group of local childminders (one of which Big Muddle used to go to). Had an amazing time. They had crafts, an entertainer and lots of games and tables beautifully laid out like a true street party. The head organiser had even written to the Queen and each child got a copy of the letter and card she received in their goodie bag. 

I've really enjoyed all the Jubilee fever, its been great. Hoping the patriotism carries on through the Euros and the Olympics!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Home project - Reading Nook

Projects...I have what feels like gazillions at the moment. Our house is rented, but unless we win the lottery (which is tricky, with us not buying tickets...) we'll be here for a good long while hopefully so I'm slowly making it the home I want.

But hurrah, I finally got a project completed at the weekend! I've been furiously pinning pictures of reading nooks ever since I heard of them and now the girl's one is finished! I used an old magazine holder from a charity shop as a tiered mini bookcase:

And my old maternity pillow curled as a cosy seat:

And topped with an Ikea leaf bed canopy:

I'm quite pleased with it overall! What's on your home 'to do' list?

And so we begin...

Finally I've got around to putting virtual pen to paper as it were! I'm beginning this blog as an online diary, to document what my girls and I get up to day to day, as much as an aide to memory as they grow and grow as anything!

I'm a new stay at home Mummy to my two beautiful girls, Big Muddle who is 3 (going on 13!) and Baby Muddle who is 7 months. I'd describe my parenting style as 'natural parenting'. I breastfeed, babywear and follow baby led weaning, but overall we just follow our instincts.

I also try to do crafting as much as possible, mainly sewing but I'm trying crochet at the moment. And we have a half plot allotment that we're trying to tame!

This weekend we had our Jubilee celebrations. Big Muddle had her 'red, white and blue day' at preschool on the Friday, then we had a Jubilee BBQ on the Monday, and I attempted a Union Jack cake, which I'm actually pretty proud of!

Cake is always better when its patriotic! ;-)
Hope all of you out there enjoyed the long weekend, even if the lovely British weather insisted on misbehaving!