Monday, October 7, 2013

A Dozen Discoveries About Breastfeeding

Don't know if you're capable of breastfeeding? Here are a dozen things I discovered about breastfeeding during my days of boobie feeding my babies. I hope it convinces you to try, because every breastfeed matters. This post is part of a National Breastfeeding Week BlogMarch by the Irish Parenting Bloggers group.

1. You will feel self-conscious at first and feel that everyone is watching you and might get a glimpse of your nipple or judge you, but you have to learn to rise above that. This is difficult in a society that has historically bottle-fed and sees this as the norm.

2. You might feel embarrassed that your baby is feeding all the time. Please don’t, they’re doing so much growing that they need to take in loads of milk to grow their tiny brains and bodies.

3. You might question whether you can do this, but once you get into a regular rhythm it becomes so normal that you don’t realise you’re doing it after a while.

4. Your body will change – your boobs will get bigger when full of milk (and sometimes sore and leaky if baby has missed a feed) and your nipples will hurt (and possibly crack) at first but soon go away with a little TLC. Keep repeating the mantra: "This soon will pass".

5. You will want to have time off from the baby, who seems to need you incessantly, so why not? You can express some milk for someone to give in a bottle to give you a few hours away making peace with your soul.

6. You will pine for your baby when you’re not with her/him – and should you hear another baby cry during this time, your boobs will start to leak! The best trick to stop you entering the wet Tshirt competition is by pressing your nipple in (you can do this discreetly if necessary) to stop the flow.

7. You’ll be amazed by how little people notice when you become skilled at feeding you baby. Unless of course, you advertise the fact you’re feeding with a blatent nipple hat like this:
Boobie Beanie

8. You’ll find ways of giving you and the baby privacy when you need to: a changing room in a shop was a particular favourite of mine, because I could feed sitting down and enjoy a quiet private moment in a bubble with my baby, then put baby into pram and start trying on clothes. Doubleplusgood.

9. You can find ways of breastfeeding on the move – I used to walk down the street with my baby in a carrier feeding away while we were shopping or chasing after my other kids.

10. The irony is some people say breastfeeding means a bad night’s sleep, but if you get a co-sleeper and have baby within arm’s reach, you pull baby to you as soon as they cry and feed half asleep, both falling back into slumber and cuddling up in a symphony of dancing through the night, feeding and dreaming. Believe me you get used to this and it’s the only way to get a night’s sleep in the early days.

11. You’ll meet other like-minded mums who quickly become friends as you journey through breastfeeding together.

12. You’ll soon discover you CAN do it – and be very proud of yourself for giving your baby an amazing healthy start in life. Go mummy, you rock!

This post was written as part of a National Breastfeeding Week BlogMarch by the Irish Parenting Bloggers group who are running a competition giving away breast pumps from NUK as part of the celebration. Check out the Irish Parenting Bloggers Facebook page for the giveaway.



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Thursday, October 3, 2013

10 Things I have learnt as a mother

During the last six years as a mother I've experienced thousands of ups and downs that have shaken me, battered me, delighted me and filled me with pride and happiness. It's been a gloriously multifarious journey. Here's a few random thoughts on what I've learnt. Please leave your comments at the end to share what motherhood has taught you....

1. I have learnt how to bake a cake and make meals in superquick time involving minimal mess and minimal cleaning up afterwards. I know that the long, fancy meals I cook occasionally, hoping to expand my little ones taste buds, will be rejected in favour of cereal (namely Weetabix) again for dinner.

2. I’ve learnt to relax about what my kids do, say, wear or eat – they are individual people who decided to define themselves far earlier in life than I ever expected (or hoped). I’ve discovered that even if they eat nothing but ice cream for a whole summer, they will still grow and not get sick. 

3. I have learnt that it's okay if I can’t do EVERYTHING because whoever created the 24-hour day didn’t put enough hours in it. No one notices the mess and unclean floors around the house like I do. A messy house is a necessary evil of children – and that bedsheets really only have to be changed once a month unless a child has peed/been sick in them. 

4. I’ve discovered that multivitamins can be part of my 5-a-day.

5. I have been shocked to learn the expression “sleeping like a baby” was coined by a man with a sick sense of humour who has clearly never spent any time with a real baby.  

Screaming like a baby!

6. I have NOT learnt how NOT to feel guilty for spending time away from the kids, doing training courses all weekend, rare treats away, and working to pay the mortgage when they ask me to stay home and be with them. I still feel guilty about this despite knowing how important "me time” is for my sanity.

7. I have learnt that babies are hard work – it's been the hardest and most stressful work I’ve ever done in my life (especially my number 3 super high-need, silent reflux screamy baby!). I have learnt that I hate the baby stage; I love it when they’re older and we can hang out together, go shopping or to the cinema, have interesting and fun conversations and they can show me amazing things they’ve done at school.

8. I have learnt that the best things in life are free: quality time in the outdoors with a healthy and happy family. And that you have to be spontaneous and flexible as a parent or die - because they never do what you ask them.

Larking and loving!

9. I've learnt that it’s ok to make mistakes – so long as I try to learn from them. And that it’s ok to be angry – as long as I don’t channel it at my kids or husband.

10. And I have learnt that no matter how exhausted, frustrated or stressed I am, a cuddle from a child and a spontaneous, unsolicited “I love you mummy” makes it all seem worthwhile.


What did you learn?

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