Friday, 29 June 2012

As long as we are all happy

I am taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt. The Goal of the hunt is to add a little bit of fun and to raise awareness of breastfeeding

Read my first three blogs of the series Hold me close , Sharing and hugs required to hear all about why I chose to breastfeed, how it is great for mums to support each other and the love and support of family and friends. 

My last post is all about breastfeeding beyond the first few weeks. As I have talked about in my earlier posts, breastfeeding was not really a choice for me it was just the most natural thing for me to do. Originally I had planned to breastfeed up until 9 months, when I was originally planning on going back to work but I did say that I would not beat myself up about it if things turned out differently and I had to switch to formula. Sofia is coming up to 9 months and my outlook has now changed due to both work circumstances and the overwhelming emotional attachment I have made with my daughter. As an expectant mum you can prepare as much as you like for the birth of your baby but you are still blown away by the rush of feelings you get running through your body the first time you hold your baby and every time you hold her after that. Breastfeeding has given me and Sofia a bond that I am just not ready to change yet, so I have not intention of giving up at 9 months as originally planned.  A part of me would like to get rid of the word ' plan ' altogether and just let nature take it's full course until Sofia is fully self weaned but I am not 100% sure that is what I want to do. 

I have recently been made redundant whilst on maternity leave and now have a little bit more freedom to stay off work a little bit longer, extending the amount of time I have with Sofia. Realistically I do need to go back to work once Sofia has turned one, so I am looking to either stop breastfeeding or reduce to evening feeds when I go back to work. I do know that going back to work does not mean I have to stop breastfeeding but this along with a host of other factors, such as wanting a little bit more independence, having more time for me, wanting to buy some nice bras,  letting my husband have my boobs back for a bit and hoping to have another baby reasonably soon all make me think it is the right decision for me to stop then. I know that each of these issues can be tacked but as a whole they do lead me to wanting to stop at some point in the near future. I can see that some of the reasons I have mentioned above are a little selfish on my part but as a family I think that I have to take all of our needs in to consideration and make the choices that will make us all happy. I have done a fantastic job with breastfeeding my daughter and she has loved very minute; making it to one will a great achievement for both of us. Of course Sofia's needs are a priority and things may change over the next few months and knowing me I will probably still feeding her until she is ten!

Ultimately the best thing I can do is have my plan of when to end in mind and take things as they come. Sofia is already starting to show big changes in her feeding patterns, as she is now on solids and starting to eat more and more each day. We have taken the BLW weaning route and we are both loving every minute but still loving the breastfeeding too.

BLW has meant that at times Sofia eats little food and breastfeeds lots and at other times she eats more solids and wants fewer feeds from me. For me, that is not a problem as I have always fed on demand and I really want Sofia to enjoy the whole weaning experience without being rushed. The biggest challenges for me now are teeth and clinginess. Sofia already has 9 teeth, the first 4 coming all at once at 5 months, so I have been bitten a few times. With the first bite I panicked as it flipping hurt and was worried that I wouldn't know how to stop it but after a few firm 'NO's ' and a more relaxed attitude biting is few and far between. I can see when Sofia is teething, tired or cranky so I am more careful when feeding and always have my little finger at hand for when she is about to start pulling. The clinginess is a bit more difficult at times, I often worry that I comfort Sofia too much; whipping out a boob at any sign of distress. I tell myself that it is silly to think this and that my comfort cannot do anything but good for her but when she just will not settle without me and won't even go to daddy I do get a little stressed; it's only natural I suppose. This is something I really do need to be patient with as she will find her independence in her own time, above all she is a truly happy and beautiful breastfed baby, what more could we ask for.

I have loved writing these posts for the breastfeeding scavenger hunt and plan on writing a few more as have got lots of thoughts and ideas as a result of writing and reading other blogs, so watch this space.

If you have enjoyed reading my breastfeeding series, then take a look at some of the other bloggers taking part in the scavenger hunt. 

Where Roots and Wings Entwine (Bumps 2 Babies)           Life, Love & Lollipops             Petra
                                        My Thoughts on Things    Tales from a Cornish Blonde

Before you go why not add a comment and enter into the grand scavenger hunt prize below, which includes a great prize from Snugglebundl

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Friday, 22 June 2012

Hugs required

I am taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt. The Goal of the hunt is to add a little bit of fun and to raise awareness of breastfeeding

Read my first two blogs of the series Hold me close and Sharing to hear all about why I chose  breastfeeding and how it is great for mums to support each other. 

This post is all about SUPPORT, something which is welcomed by most new parents and is vital for all breastfeeding mums, in one way or another. In my last post, I explained that overall my breastfeeding experience has been very positive and that I have not really required much support in a physical sense. It is great that I have been so lucky with my breastfeeding as I honestly haven't had any issues large enough for me to deem them a problem as such. However I am not naive and understand that I can run into difficult periods at any stage, which is why I took time to meet breastfeeding counsellors at the hospital and have met the support team at my local children's centre, something I would urge those thinking of breastfeeding to do, so that you are prepared when a challenge may arise. I am also very lucky that my mother in law is a midwife and she has been a great source of advice, that has not been overwhelming or intrusive. The support I have needed most is of the emotional variety, with the majority of that coming from my wonderful husband. My friends and family that are considerate towards my breastfeeding but not many of them have had first hand experience, so at times I feel they never fully understand what I may be going through, but that does not mean that they do not want to help. Sometimes just somebody bringing me a glass of water or holding Sofia whilst I read the paper is massive help after a marathon feeding session. For those I know who are breastfeeding, or who have breastfed in the past, it is great to share hints and tips and I get a real confidence boost when I can help others via my own experience.

As well as a little bit of luck, I think the fact that I am generally a (quietly) confident person has helped me along my breastfeeding journey. My confidence can let me down at times though as I can often hide my emotions when I am not in the mood for sharing and not a lot of people will notice when I am not myself. That is apart from my husband, Matthew, who is an unbelievable support and has really helped me through the past 8 months. Like I said, sometimes just bringing me food is enough help but at other times all I need is a hug and cuddle, whether I know it or not. Sofia is generally very good and only really gets upset when she is tired or teething, which means I tend to get as much as I can done in the house whilst Matthew is at work but there is never any pressure for things to be perfect and he will know if a takeaway is in order if it looks like I have had a rough day. These things can seem so silly to write about but it really is the simple things that I miss sometimes, when breastfeeding restricts the amount of freedom I have day to day. I absolutely love breastfeeding but I am human and I can feel down some days , especially during the clingy periods when I feel like all I have done is feed. Being able to talk openly with Matthew is a great way of keeping my emotions under control, which can include having a good cry at times! As a counsellor I know how important it is to have somebody to talk to and I am very lucky that I have a special somebody to talk to very day. 

Support within our relationship is a two way thing and I know that we need to work together and share our experiences of parenthood. Due to me breastfeeding and still on maternity leave I try as much as possible to see to Sofia when she wakes at night, which I know Matthew feels bad about sometimes. He will help if I asked or will instinctively help if I am looking like I need support but I get a bit stressed if I feel he is not getting enough sleep before a long day at work. So these are the types of things we really need to keep on top of so that he does not feel too guilty, or left out during the clingy periods, and I am not doing too much to try and keep everybody happy. I make sure that Matt and Sofia have quality time together when I am not feeding her (and I get a lovely soak in the bath) plus we all have family time together as much as possible. Understanding when you need to come together and when a break is needed vital and having somebody to help with that break is a godsend.

If you have enjoyed reading my breastfeeding series, then take a look at some of the other bloggers taking part in the scavenger hunt. 

Life Happens So Smile                                Pobbing Along                                          Smilernpb               

                Ponderings of a Doula                                                Tales from a Cornish Blonde

Before you go why not add a comment and enter into the grand scavenger hunt prize below, which includes a great prize from BoobieMilk.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 8 June 2012


I am taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt. The Goal of the hunt is to add a little bit go fun and to raise awareness of breastfeeding

This week is all about sharing. For me breastfeeding is a wonderful experience and it is great to share my journey with other breastfeeding mums and hopefully pass on some tips along the way. I have been extremely lucky in that, from the moment Sofia first latched on, I have had very few problems breastfeeding. Of course I have add the obligatory cracked and sore nipples but that it about it in terms of physical problems; I will talk about the emotional support in my next post. So it is great that I have had few little problems, which means that I have had very little occasion to visit breast feeding support groups etc. I do of course chat to friends and gamily about my feeding and it is good to share tips with other mums through blogs and social networking sites, which can be a great platform for support.  I love the fact that with breastfeeding there is no definite right or wrong way as everybody has different problems and experiences , whether new or old to breastfeeding. I am definitely a newcomer but it is great that I can text friends with advice at 3am when we are both up and it doesn't matter that I am not a professional as mum to mum sharing is probably what most people feel comfortable. 

With my little experience in problems I cannot offer great advice on a lot of things but I am sure that some of the other blogs will help those who are looking for something in particular. What I can share is my breastfeeding essentials, ranging from the all important nipple cream and the life saving treats that get me through the day when all Sofia wants to do is feed, I'm sure a couple of these are on your list too.

Mississipi mud pie slab from Hotel Chocolat ( the only thing to get me through the day sometimes)

Lansinoh from any chemist (a god send in the early days)

Large muslin cloths from Ikea ( I love these as they are thick so provide good cover and are very cheap)

Water from the tap! ( I cannot stress enough how much drinking lots of water has helped our feeding, drink, drink, drink)

Black vest from Dorothy Perkins ( put on under any top and will hide your flabby bits when you pull top up to feed)

Neal's Yard mothers bath oil from Neal's Yard ( Kind on skin and no nasties for when baby feeds, a great treat for a relaxing bath whist you have a well deserved rest)

It's been fun sharing, if you have enjoyed reading then take a look at some other mums who want to share their love of breastfeeding but before you go why not enter the great scavenger hunt competition at the bottom of the page. Leave a comment to be in with an extra chance of winning.

Really Rachel    Circus Queen   Smiling Like Sunshine   My Thoughts on Things   My Gorgeous Boys

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Breastvest have very kindly donated a prize to the grand scavenger hunt competition. Breastvest s a great little addition to your breastfeeding wardrobe; to help when breastfeeding in public

Friday, 1 June 2012

Hold me close

I am taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt. The Goal of the hunt is to add a little bit go fun and to raise awareness of breastfeeding

For me, Breastfeeding was the first and only choice once I found out that I was pregnant. Although formula feeding is not for me I fully believe in parents choosing what is best them and their child,  whether that be breast or bottle. I must admit though; since I have started breastfeeding I have become more pro breastfeeding than ever and like to think that I can offer support to those who are considering breastfeeding. I have a very large family and lots of friends who have had or are expecting children but those who have chosen to breastfeed are few and far between, which does pose the question as to why so many favour formula feeding. I understand the various reasons why so many people feel that formula feeding is best for them but I often wonder if all are aware of the all benefits breastfeeding has to offer.

In my experience, through midwives, breastfeeding support workers, magazines etc I was aware of various research based benefits such less infections for baby, reduced risk of SIDS, financial benefits and less chance of constipation but I think that there are far more benefits that we don't necessarily shout about. There obviously is a very fine line that professionals have to take in not preaching that we all must breastfeed and that all decisions must be supported but I wonder if this holds people back when talking about the emotional and bonding elements that breastfeeding can enhance; as they do not want to risk the implication that if you will bond less if you bottle feed. I have heard a lot of people brush off some of the health and financial benefits as for them formula feeding is a suitable alternative and it does not harm the baby in any way but maybe if we enhanced the emotional benefits some mums to be would choose differently. I am certainly not saying that breastfeeding mothers have a better bond those who don't but I personally I can't help but think that are relationship would be slightly different if I chose to bottle feed. Along with the freedom of not having to make up bottles and worry about sterilising/prepping/running downstairs at night etc, the amazing bonding is without doubt the ultimate benefit for me.

The first skin to skin contact I had with Sofia was probably the most wonderful experience of my life and through breastfeeding I  get a little bit of that feeling every day. There is a lot of inconclusive research into the long term effects that breastfeeding has on a child emotional and behavioural development and I cannot help but feel that breastfeeding is giving Sofia a special bond of love, trust and confidence. The fact that at any time I can just lift up my top and instantly feed Sofia when she is hungry means that there is less crying and a definite sense of calm for all three of us.  At the moment we are co-sleeping; not necessarily to of choice at first but we are loving it now. For me this enhances the whole breastfeeding experience and only the other morning I we both had a lazy lie in with the sun shining through the window, both relaxed, content and in tune with each other; bliss.

To read more about the Breastfeeding scavenger hunt, check out he main site and help Keep Britain Breastfeeding.  There are lots of great articles from some great bloggers, here are just a few to get you started.

Thank you for reading.  Please comment and  complete the following Rafflecopter to enter the competition for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize, including a great prize from big book little book cardboard

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