Letter to breastfeeding mums

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Whenever first time, breastfeeding mums come to my massage classes, many have experienced the same things I did when I had my first baby. They worry that everything they are doing is wrong, they worry about how much milk their baby is getting, if their baby’s behaviour around feeding is normal. They worry if their baby is on the breast too often or not enough, if they want to feed all night or sleep too long. They worry about everything because that’s what we do as new mums. We care so much about this miracle WE created; we want to do everything we can to protect and look after them.

I wrote this because I don’t want new mums to feel like they are alone, you are NOT alone. This is to all the new mums who are starting out on their breastfeeding experience. It is HARD WORK at first, but it is sooo worth it! This is in no way a critique of mums who have chosen formula. In fact, if I knew enough about it I would write something for those mummies too. I hear time and again how bad they have been made to feel, or how they were just left alone to ‘get on with it’ without having any idea about formula and how to feed their little ones. However, this is for those breastfeeding mums because I have been there, and I have experienced many of the same worries and anxieties you may be going through. I am not a breastfeeding expert, but a mum who has breastfed 2 babies (and is still feeding my 1-year-old)

Here are my main things I want to share and things I wish someone had told me:

         Breastfeeding is painful at the beginning for many of us. It just is. It’s not because the latch is wrong, or anything you are doing. It just hurts to have someone suck on your nipple as if their life depended on it (which I guess it does). Of course you ought to check it out and make sure there are no issues like tongue tie or milk supply issues, but its normal to struggle. Please don’t feel upset or disappointed and, if you can, push through. It WILL get easier, just give it time. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t panic that this is how it will be for months, it won’t, but you need to have someone by your side telling you how well you are doing. Because you are doing well, so keep it up. Join La Leche league, call the breastfeeding NCT number, see your Health Visitor, find a lactation consultant, check out FB pages about breastfeeding. Get support and the correct information.

          You may not need to top up. Well-meaning friends and relatives will tell you to top up on formula if you are worried, or tired in those early days. This can be very unhelpful as topping up on formula will tell your body that you don’t need to produce as much milk. Breastfeeding is supply and demand. It takes a few days for your milk to come in but the more baby is on the breast the more it will stimulate this. if you are concerned do check with a health professional who will be able to help you do what is best for you and baby.

          When your baby is very little (or maybe not so little) they will want to feed all the time. This is normal. They are establishing feeding and they are getting comfort too. Breastfeeding is so much more then feeding. Try not to worry about ‘how much’ they are getting. Babies get what they need and if you are worried their weight is a good indication of how they are doing.

          Don’t let people tell you that your baby is using you like a dummy. So what? That is exactly what the breast is for, to feed and comfort. It is natures ‘dummy’ and therefore normal and natural for your baby to want this.

          Finding clothes isn’t as tricky as you might think. When I had my first child I wore the same 3 feeding tops on rotation. It turns out I could have worn any top I wanted. You just do the 2 top trick, pull the top one up and the bottom one down. No one told me about this until much later, but it’s worth remembering if you don’t want to buy all new clothes . Just using 2 of your existing tops in tandem works a treat.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to connect with your baby and to remember what a fabulous job you are doing. You are literally keeping your baby alive with your body! How amazing is that. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. I used to worry so much about feeing in public. But what should we? I wouldn’t feel ashamed if I was giving a child solid food in public. Your baby is eating. End of, don’t let others make you feel embarrassed about that.

*If you enjoyed reading this please do share it with your friends, and check out my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/rootsandwingsparenting/ I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so pop by and say hi 🙂

 

3 Little Buttons

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

 

 

 

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Don’t tell me what to do!

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Following on from last weeks toddler tantrum post, I thought I would look at this issue from my children’s point of view; and you know what, I get it!  I too would tantrum (or at least want to throw a tantrum) if I was faced with some regular situations that our little ones are.

1. Expected to share your stuff

I hate sharing, there I said it. I have never been very good at it. Turn taking I get (although I would prefer it to be my turn always i.e. having control over the TV remote every night) but to expect children to share is nearly impossible. Imagine if your friends come over and you had to give them a turn with your laptop, or mobile? It’s mine!! Use your own one! Sharing is hard for adults let alone toddlers.

2. Expected to share food

One thing about toddlers is that they always want the food other have (lets face it they want anything anyone else has) but we always encourage them to share their food. In this respect my children are a lot better at this then me. Whilst I hide with my head in the cupboard to scoff chocolate before they notice, they happily hand bits of food to each other, me and their friends. This is a hard thing to do. Imagine going for dinner and to be expected to give half away because your friend fancies it to. Well actually this is probably not so hard to imagine, come to think of it this is what my husband always has to put up with as we all want whatever he orders. However I would be really frustrated, yet I always find myself saying ‘make sure you give some of that to your friend/ your brother’ etc.

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3. Being told when you have to go home.

If I was having a good time with my friends and we were enjoying each others company I cant imagine I would just decide to leave. If someone then told me I had to go home mid fun, I would be really annoyed. Don’t tell me when I have to leave! I’m having a good time!! I completely understand why this is infuriating for toddlers.

4. Told What to wear

We have mega battles over this every single day in my house! I give my daughter 2 choices, but she has her own ideas. I tell her she can’t wear this or that because its doesn’t go, or its not weather appropriate or just because. Yet if anyone dared tell me I could wear something I would be livid. I will choose what I wear and it has nothing to do with anyone else.

5. Having little control over anything

Being a toddler is actually really frustrating. Not because they are being unreasonable (don’t get me wrong, this of course does also happen) but because its hard having someone else make all your decisions for you. This is made worse as they are just learning how to express themselves and may not yet have the language to explain why they are upset or cross. Of course they explode at times.

Its easy for us to get frustrated with our little ones or feel completely perplexed by their odd behaviour, but perhaps if we can sometimes take a step back and see it through their eyes we would get it. We would also perhaps learn from them and their responses. How liberating it would be to throw yourself down on the floor in protest when the world doesn’t go your way. Maybe they are on to something, throwing a wobbly at the time certainly ensures there are no grudges or tension later. Toddlers live in the moment, they get cross, tantrum, feel happy and forgive all in the moment. They express exactly how they feel when they feel it, not through words but actions. I would love to adopt some of these strategies. I think we would all feel frustrated if as adults we were expected to live within someone else’s ideas of what we should or shouldn’t do. Of course toddlers need structure and boundaries but it doesn’t mean its not annoying too.

 

 

 

 

The Hostage Negotiator

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Today I found myself escaping a rather tense hostage situation. I feel lucky to have come out unscathed! The demands being made were ludicrous and at one point I thought there was no way out of the situation. I feared for us both. I was sweating, nervous, worried. Other innocent civilians were caught in the crossfire and they too didn’t know where to look or what to do. My captor was shouting, demanding, crying, throwing themselves on the floor.… Sorry did I say hostage situation? I meant dealing with a 2 year-old in the middle of a public meltdown!

I actually googled ‘dealing with a hostage situation’ and a wiki link (academic friends excuse the source) gave an extensive guide, many of the points completely apply to dealing with a toddler…

 

Attempt to establish a rapport with your abductor….

Avoid insulting your abductor or talking about potentially sensitive subjects….

Be a good listener – wikihow

Having been in some tricky situations recently I thought a more robust guide may help me and others, should we find ourselves in either situation.

  • Stay calm. Never let them see our weakness or they will take full control. A chink in the armour can lead to certain defeat. I learnt this the hard way when I dithered at a demand. sensing weakness my daughter pounced and before I knew it I had lost the upper hand.
  • Don’t shout. Sudden movements or noise may send them over the edge and end in disaster. Arguing, shouting, reasoning will get you nowhere mid meltdown. As hard as it is stay calm. I often fall into the trap of thinking if I raise my voice this will show her who is in charge. It in fact leads to such high-pitched screaming and throwing herself around that I wish we had a sound proofing as I’m convinced the neighbours think I’m torturing her.
  • Don’t give in to the demands. In the height of the tension giving in to unreasonable demands may seem the easiest way to resolve the situation. It won’t, it will just escalate until one chocolate mini egg becomes a giant Easter egg. This includes asking for Daddy who may well give in to demands that mummy thinks are ridiculous.
  • Remember this won’t last forever. The fear that this meltdown will last for hours is usually unfounded and, thankfully, a situation that seems insurmountable one minute can unexpectedly resolve itself as quickly as it started. How? I have no idea; it just sometimes happens like that!
  • Stay strong! You can and will survive this. Even if you feel like taking cover under the nearest duvet, or if in public, into the nearest hole in the pavement. You can do this.

Here are some recent situations that warranted some of these tactics.

My toddler had an hour and half screaming fit at bedtime because her ‘big girl bed’ is too shiny.

She went into a frenzy because her sandwich had cheese, which she had asked for, when she actually wanted…cheese!?

She threw an epic wobbly in the street when she wanted to scoot home, however this was impossible seeing as her scooter was at home, where she has insisted we leave it when we went out.

Parenting a toddler is wonderful, funny and rewarding. Yet equally at times it is utterly bewildering, confusing and plain frustrating. You are doing a fab job. Just think, now you have parented a toddler you are more than equipped to become a hostage situation negotiator!

          This Mum’s Life

 

3 Little Buttons

 

New mum, the beginning….

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When I had my first daughter the world changed for me. Activities I thought were so simple suddenly became a source of worry and confusion; I saw danger in everything. The amount of luggage I used to take for a 4-day holiday suddenly became daily wear. Everything now took military planning.

Things I took for granted like getting petrol, what do you do? Take the baby out the car? What if they are sleeping? Do you carry the car seat in or risk walking with them across the forecourt with no protective casing? Driving, suddenly 30 miles per hour seems really fast. Driving home from hospital for the first time with my daughter took 45 minutes as we would not go above 20 miles an hour, which as you might imagine caused a tailback and a lot of unhappy motorists.

Popping in for a pint of milk on the way home, why don’t shops have drive through windows? I mean seriously, how on earth are new mothers supposed to shop?

Even going to the toilet in a public place – where do you put the baby? If the cubicle is too small to take the pushchair, do you ask a stranger to watch the baby? Do you, as a friend suggested, use blankets and coats to make a makeshift bed on the floor for baby? What if you are ‘wearing’ baby, how do you undo your trousers when it took half an hour to work out how to put on the wrap/ carrier?

The world is a minefield!? I don’t remember learning about that in the antenatal classes?

Diary of a new mum series. First published on Snot on my Jumper Blog. https://snotonmyjumper.wordpress.com/