Thursday, 31 July 2014

Mummy Time #4: Emma Frye

The wonderful Emma is one of my best friends. She's caring, thoughtful, considerate, a fantastic mother and a talented photographer. I've already told Joseph that he's marrying Emma's beautiful daughter; he's been playing it cool so far, but I expect the tables will turn in years to come!


Mummy:

Who are you?

I'm Emma, 25 years old and recently married to Jason! We've been together just over 5 years and own a 4 bedroom Victorian house in Margate; it's very much a work in progress right now! Our daughter, Matilda Isabelle, was born on the 30th January 2014 and we also have a 2 year old, very cheeky, Miniature Schnauzer called Buckley. I started a new full-time job as an assistant market planner for a model and hobby company after three months of maternity leave.



How are you?

Today I am very tired!! I went away for work on Thursday morning and came back yesterday evening, worked a 12 hour day on Saturday and a 14 hour day on Sunday! Arriving home last night to see Matilda's chubby smiling face was the best! Lately I've been second guessing a career decision I recently made, but being close to home so I get to spend more time with Matilda is what's important to me right now, especially as I started back at work so soon after having her. 

How does a typical day go?

A typical day involves waking up at 7am, boiling the kettle for Matilda's bottle, getting ready for work and having breakfast if there is time! I don't really have a 'typical' day routine. Jason is home during the day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so things are a little more relaxed on these days. When I get home from work we quickly have dinner before Jason goes to work for the evening (he has a recording studio and rehearsal rooms for bands to practice in). This means I get to have Matilda to myself for a couple of hours before I put her to bed. Recently she's been a bit grouchy in the evenings due to her teething, but it's not too bad at the moment!

What do to relax?

I'll have a cup of tea, put Modern Family on and have a cuddle with Buckley. If the weather is good I'll do some gardening or go for a walk with Matilda to the beach if it's not too late. I also like to run, it takes a lot of energy to drag myself out the front door but I find it a great way to clear my mind and I always feel like I can tackle anything afterwards. 

What do you do in your free time?

Next year I am taking part in and co-curating an exhibition, so if I have any free time I try to spend it planning for that. I love analogue photography and I'm currently working on some polaroid transfers for my exhibition. I also love to read, currently I am between Caitlin Moran's 'How To Be a Woman' and Oliver Sacks 'The Mind's Eye'.


Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?

The first 12 weeks for me weren't so great, I had really bad morning sickness. At 21 weeks I was in hospital with what felt like the worst pain ever in my back, but the hospital staff couldn't figure out what was wrong and sent me on my way. After that I took it fairly easy for the rest of my pregnancy. I really miss having a baby bump, and I used to love feeling Matilda wriggling about. 

Any cravings?

I didn't have any cravings as such but really loved salty food for a few months!

How was your labour?

I feel like I was very lucky with my labour. I started getting very faint contractions throughout the day on Weds 29th Jan, then got stronger through the night. I was worried I'd get sent home if we went to the hospital too soon, especially as my contractions were between 5-10 minutes apart. We finally left for the hospital at 2.45am, I was examined at 3.30am and was told I was 6cm dilated!! I couldn't believe it!! I got in the birthing pool shortly after for a couple of hours, got out and got back in again at around 8am. At 9.27am Matilda was born in the birthing pool. It was a very surreal experience, I barely knew what was happening, I'd had so much gas and air it had to be taken away from me. I'd do it all again tomorrow. It was just lots of things afterwards that were really horrible! 


How did you decide on your baby’s name?

I've always loved the name Matilda, before I knew if I was having a girl or a boy, I knew that if I was having a girl she would be named Matilda! 

Baby:

Does your baby have a feeding routine?

Matilda doesn't have a strict feeding routine as such. She has 5 bottles of 7oz a day at approx 3 hourly intervals. She'll get fed whenever she is hungry which just so happens to be every 3 hours. One of the most frustrating things I have found are the comments I get from people whenever Matilda cries. 'Ohhh, she must be starving!' I know my baby and I certainly would never let her starve! I've also been told on several occasions (when she was less than 4 months old) that she needed to begin having solids. No way was that happening! I've learnt to just do what feels right and you know your baby better than anyone else. 


How have you approached weaning?

I started Matilda on baby rice at around 5 months, giving her a couple of spoonfuls every few days just so she would get used to a different texture. She is now having Organix baby rice daily and we are starting to give her some Hipp Organic baby food. I did, and still do intend to try baby led weaning but working full time, getting home sorting dinner out before Jason has to go out to work doesn't leave me much time when it comes to food prep. I'm going to try foods like avocado, mango, cooked carrot etc. I am going to also puree broccoli, sweet potato, butternut squash and put in ice cube trays to try and be more organised and to have portions ready for meal times. 

Does your baby have a sleep routine?

Matilda usually goes to bed around 7.30pm, after her last bottle of the day, and sleeps through the night until 7.30 - 8 the following morning. We are very fortunate that she has slept through the night from 4 weeks old. I don't know what we have done for this to happen, and I still think it's too good to be true, so I don't like to talk about it too much as I feel I am tempting fate!! 
During the day she will have two naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, usually for an hour or so each time. 

How do you keep your baby entertained?

Every morning Matilda is taken out for a walk in her pushchair with Buckley and again in the evening, usually to the beach or by some fields a short walk away from our house. She seems to love anything green. Every time we walk past trees, through woodland, fields etc she is mesmerised! I love that she loves nature already! (That's what I'm telling myself, even though I'm sure it's just the bright colours!) For the rest of the day we alternate between, bouncy chair, bumbo, play mat, depending on the mood Matilda is in. One thing that everybody seems to comment on is how much she moves her legs, nobody what we are doing together she is ALWAYS kicking her legs, even when it's 'quiet' time reading in the evenings.


When your baby is freaking out, how do you calm them down?

A couple of days after Matilda was born I discovered the Rain, Rain app. It works miracles!! So many different types of rain. When Matilda is a little grouchy and tired I put this on and she calms down and goes to sleep within a matter of minutes. I can't recommend it enough!

Does your baby seem to suffer with anything and what do you do to help it?

We are very fortunate that Matilda doesn't cry a lot, in the early days she had a bit of colic and would cry for a couple of hours every afternoon/evening but after about 3 months that passed. Now when she gets upset it's usually a process of elimination to find out what the problem is! If nothing seems to work then a walk around the garden usually does the trick. Either that, or I stick a record on and dance crazily around her bouncy that usually seems to cheer her up!


Paraphernalia:

Does your baby have a favourite toy?

Sophie the Giraffe! Matilda also loves her Manhattan Toy Company 'Colour Burst Winkel Rattle'! (which seems inappropriately named?!)


What was your most recent baby related purchase?

Some squidgy bath sea creatures. Matilda loves having a bath, she looks a bit anxious as she is lowered into her baby bath seat, but after that she has a great time splashing around! Another recent baby purchase I made was a Mamas & Papas Christmas tree baby grow, I couldn't resist! I can't wait to see her toddling around in it at Christmas time!

What are your essentials when you go out?

What I bring with me depends on where I am going but, obviously, all the essentials; bottles, formula, nappies, spare clothes, etc. I take Sophie the Giraffe with me everywhere, along with some teething gel. Soft colourful building blocks are a recent favourite and so these often come with us too. 

What has been the most useful thing you’ve bought or been given?

It has to be my maternity leaving present from work, a Baby EinsteinOcean Adventure play gym. Lots of sea creatures, a dangly octopus, mirror, music, it has occupied Matilda for many hours! I'm a bit sad that soon she will be too big for it!

What is your baby’s mode of transport?

I'm currently using a fox print Cosatto Supa Stroller, which I love! I also have a Chicco stroller which is slightly more light weight and a 'heavy weight' Mothercare travel system that we used when Matilda was teeny tiny. 


Advice:

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

'You instinctively know what's best for your baby'. It sounds so pathetic but it really is true! Shortly after Matilda was born I was quite poorly with a womb infection and having a really hard time breastfeeding. I felt a lot of pressure at the time to breastfeed. Each time Matilda would start crying from hunger I'd dread having to try and move (as I was in a lot of pain) and whip out a boob for her. I decided after 5 days (some people may think 5 days isn't really trying, but I really did) that it was best for both Matilda and I that she would have a bottle. I've always thought that a happy mum equals a happy baby, and in this situation it was true! No more getting up every two hours each night to feed for up to an hour each time, whilst feeling like crap. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm pleased I made the decision to switch to a bottle so early on. I really admire any mum that can breastfeed, but it just wasn't for me with Matilda. 

If you could give your pregnant self some advice, what would it be?

Enjoy it! 

Thank you for being so honest, Em! x

You can find Emma on Instagram and read her blog, Oh Home Sweet Home.
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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Home, Sweet Home

Ruari and I have lived in the, rather large, village of Chartham for the last three and-a-bit years. I always tell people we live in 'the sticks', although Ruari resents me calling it that as he doesn't think our location is rural enough. But, being a girl who grew up in a seaside town on the British South Coast, to me it's pretty stick-like. And recently I've been really missing living by the sea.

Our humble abode.

We've been considering recently whether Chartham, and our current house (a small two-bedroom, 1950s, bungalow), is where we want to bring up Joseph and any other children we may have in the future. We'd both like one more baby, perhaps in a couple of years time but, as twins are in both of our genes, we're mentally preparing ourselves for the possibility that twins could happen. And if that were to happen, our house would not be big enough. In fact, it'd be a squeeze even if we just had just one more, but I find it comforting that our next door neighbours have managed to make it work with two young children so far.

We're lucky to live just a minute's walk away from the start of the Great Stour Way



We've been considering building an extension, as affordable housing around here is pretty much non-existent, but I've had my doubts as to whether Chartham is where I want to stay, whether it's worth investing in our house (particularly as we're attached) or if we'd be better off just starting afresh somewhere else. And I'm not really one for design or interior design, especially as mine and Ruari's tastes differ quite vastly (although we both like Scandinavian style), so I've found it really hard envisage or really get excited about the prospect of, literally, raising our roof.


So, anyway, I went to the village shop today to buy some washing up liquid - oh how I wish those bottles could wash themselves - and, as Joseph was content/half asleep, I decided to walk along the Great Stour Way... and it got me thinking about the positives about Chartham;
  • Our house is in short walking distance to a (sometimes inconvenient and pricey) convenience store, a post box, the village hall, the village green, a pub that serves large portions of food, the doctors surgery and the train station (which I wish was a main train station, and is probably the only downside of living here). 
  • It's an unpleasant uphill walk to a primary school and post office. (I'd blatantly end up driving Joseph to school if he went there.)
  • It's a fairly long, but scenic and pleasant, walk to Canterbury along The Great Stour Way... and a lovely bike ride. 
  • It's a 5 minute drive to Ruari's workplace; a 10 minute drive to a supermarket; a 15 minute drive to Canterbury and my mum's house; a 20 minute drive to my work; and a 25 minute drive to Ruari's parents' house.
  • Our house backs onto fields, which the cats love. My main worry is that the farmer will sell his land to developers, but that hasn't happened so far.
  • The cats have loads of cat friends on our road.
  • Our road is actually a close, so there isn't any through traffic.
  • And there are loads of ducks to feed nearby as the River Stour runs through Chartham, and the end of our road in fact.

So, overall, I was reminded of all the great things about Chartham and convinced myself that it is pretty perfect for us, and I actually got excited about the possibility of extending our house and raising our kids here.

Tell me about where you live!
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Sunday, 27 July 2014

#WIDN... Kinda

Lauren, Belle Du Brighton, answered this on her blog and, I agree, it's kind of like a blogger version of the #WIDN tag*. She and tagged anyone who read it that fancied filling it in, so I’m filling it in and doing the same. In fact I might fill these out kinda regularly as a thing I can look back on in the future. (*On a side note, no one ever asks what I'm doing, I just tag stuff with that anyway because I'm a loser).

Currently I Am: Sitting, rather uncomfortably, expressing milk for Joseph's breakfast tomorrow. It's taking ages.

Reading: Danielle from Sometimes Sweet's latest post about kids' sleepovers. I am yet to decide how I feel on the matter. If Joseph's friends with my friends' kids when he's older, then I totally trust them and wouldn't have a problem. But when he starts making his own friends and wants to stay over at theirs, well, I don't know.

Listening to: The (annoying) sound of my breast pump. Ruari's napping and Joseph's in bed so the telly's on mute, and I just don't seem to listen to any music any more. This needs to change pronto.

Laughing At: Ruari reminded me today of when our friends came over with their kids, and their five year old daughter asked whether Joseph was a girl. After telling her, 'no, Joseph is a boy', she replied 'then why do you have so much Hello Kitty stuff in your house?!' 
Can I just say, it's mostly Liberty x Hello Kitty stuff these days (much more grown up, ahem). Saying that, I was heartbroken when Boots didn't do that range last Christmas.

Swooning Over: My son. He's just so darn beautiful. I know I'm biased.

Planning: What to write about on my blog next. I have lots of half cooked ideas, but nothing solid. Although I do have my next 'Mummy Time' mummy Q&A ready for Thursday.

Eating Lots Of: Porridge. Even in this heat. (For my milk supply, which is still a bit rubbish, but I'm trying not to worry too much.) Although to counter that, I've recently discovered Salted Caramel Haagen Dazs... Oh.My.GOD. Half price in Morrisons at the moment, too, #justsaying

Feeling: A bit tired. I took Joseph to a new baby group followed by swimming on Friday then in the night, instead of sleeping well after a busy day, he woke up three times crying and screaming in pain. He seemed to be snotty, congested and nasal so, yesterday, I stayed indoors with him and let him sleep as much as he wanted (he seemed more comfortable sleeping on his front, so I watched him like a hawk all day to make sure he could breathe.) I kept him warm (vest and full pyjamas even though it was a hot day), gave him loads of cuddles, had a bath with him, rubbed vapour rub on his feet (as suggested by folk on Instagram), and gave him as much boob milk as possible. Last night he slept much better, only waking up once for food as he (very weirdly) flat out refused his usual 11pm dreamfeed. Aside from his general routine being a bit out of sync from all of yesterday's sleep, and feeding times all over the place, he seemed pretty much back to normal today. 

Discovering: Blogs again. I took about an 18 month hiatus from blogging and generally being a part of the 'community' - not that I was at all prolific. It's funny to pick up on old reads all this time later to see how people have changed and moved on with their lives, and how blogging has changed. In fact, I read a couple of posts about that this evening too by Gem and Ayden.

Looking At: Purchasing this teething soother that a friend recommended I buy, based on their experience of using it, my (purely aesthetic) love of watermelons, and my fear of teething.


Wearing: A bright orange leopard print summer dress that I bought last year. Sounds gross, and it probably is to most, but I like it. The light is too rubbish to take a good photo, so here is a picture from last year of me in it as it seems to be the only photo I have of it.
Emmi, me & Sammi. Last year. Before Sammi & I got up the duff.
Cooking: If bunging a bean burger with chips into the oven counts as cooking, then that.

Wondering: Whether Joseph will fit in his Bumbo. I bought it from a local seller on Ebay and collected it last night. It looks small.

Trying Out: Being a bit tidier. I’ve started putting most of Joseph’s stuff away in his room at night, aside from his octopus playgym, changing mat and ‘day box’.  Hmm, ok, so I’ve only really been putting away his bouncy chair at night. I suck at being tidy.

If anyone fills this out after seeing this, let me know! 
Twitter: @nickohlaa
Instagram: @onthechangingmat

N'night x
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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Mummy Time #3: Sammi Jefcoate

The beautiful Sammi is one of the most positive people I know, and encouraged me to go for it with this, here, blog when my confidence was waning. Her impeccable style is admired by thousands on Instagram and now I know where she finds the time to look so good despite having a new baby!
Sammi and Casey Holden Jefcoate.

Mummy:

Who are you?

​I'm Sammi Jefcoate (hey!). 26​, married to a certain Anton Jefcoate​ and we’ve been together for coming up 8 years. We have one son, Casey, born on the 12th of May, and two cats called Biscuit & Coco - who are basically our children too. We live in Surrey in our Victorian casa and have done so for the past 5 years. We love it here - we're just outside of London so we get the best of the countryside and village life and can nip up to the big L anytime we like. ​It's a winning combo for us. I'm a full time mum currently - I used commute to London where I worked in fashion ​(wholesale side of the business) dealing with e-commerce,​ meeting with buyers, international trade shows etc. It was a busy time! I ​now​ have an Etsy shop where I sell vintage goods I love, so that keeps ​me occupied, alongside CJ: www.underthismoon.com

Casey, chillin' with his pops.
How are you?

​I'm generally pretty good to be honest; but I definitely have my bad days where all I want is an hour totally on my own to just...sit. And maybe have a brew. Or three. I'm a positive person ​(​albeit a bit of a thinker) so I always try to stay chill even when Casey is having a bad day. It doesn't always work but I try... I'm insanely grateful for how I have things and I feel fortunate to be a full time mama.

What is a typical day like?

​As a general rule, something like this:
Casey wakes between 5 - 6:30 am. ​
 ​
​We're in the middle of weaning him off the night feed which was always at around 2am, so today for example he woke at 3:30am but I managed to get him back off to sleep eventually till 5am.​ I feed him and he goes back down at 6am (around an hour later from the start of feed) until around 8am. 

​In that gap I get myself ready. Today I went for a short run at 6am, got back at 6:20, had a shower, got ready (make-up, hair) and sterilized bottles for the day. Even when I'm planning on hibernating in the house all day, I always get changed and do my make-up. For me, it's something that makes me feel human and good about myself. I love my pjs, but pj days are sacred and reserved for those baby Armageddon days. Anton heads off to work at 7:30am and (sometimes with a heavy breath) I ​prepare myself for 12 hours solo​. Casey wakes around 8am and will either have a bit of happy awake time or want feeding pretty sharpish. After that feed, things vary - he either falls asleep, wants lots of smiles and attention, or can be a bit grizzly.
 ​​
The day basically continues like that - a feed every 3/4 hours based on his needs.​ His longest nap time is usually early afternoon until 4ish. He tends to be awake from around 4/5pm every day until bedtime and I entertain him then and make 57033898 stupid faces to try and get a smile.

Anton gets home around 7pm and gives CJ loads of attention and smiles whilst I get on with dinner. We always sit down and have dinner together and have a chat about our days - his about world domination and mine generally about how many times Casey has pooed and how many clothes I had to change out of due to milk being thrown up on me (did no one tell you being a mum was crazy glamourous?) We then give Casey a bath, which he loves. Totally zones him out!​

We all go into his nursery for his 8pm bedtime and sit together. Anton & I chat in whispers and draw the curtains - we're adamant that Casey knows the difference between day and night so we all get some sleep around here! ​Anton pretty much always does this feed ​unless there's major work stress for him or he just 'needed' a pint after work...;). ​

CJ then goes into his crib at 8:45ish - sometimes super easily and other times we're back up the stairs ten minutes later because he's realised we've gone and he's lonely...staring at his cactus mobile and wants us in on the action.

Once he's settled, Anton and I get the kettle on and generally put something like Curb Your Enthusiasm on for half an hour, or check Vice and YouTube for cool videos (the latest being The Art Of Punk: Black Flag. So awesome...go check it). 

I basically then go into a coma at 10pm and need bed. 

Casey loving his cactus mobile. I want one for myself!

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

​As it's summer, at the moment I chill in our garden and hope for friend visits to stop me talking to leaves. Ha. Only joking, that's only happened twice.

What do you do to relax?

​Not to sound like a soppy git but I love my friends so seeing them is something I find super relaxing and ​it makes me happy...and then in turn​ I feel relaxed. I'm a big fan of days out. 

Other things I love that chill me out: reading, pointless walks,​ gigs, a long bath, running, roller-coasters, longboarding, painting my nails (to be fair this can also stress me out) and going out for ice cream. 

Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?

​I actually loved being pregnant until around week 32. By that point I felt like a grumpy, MASSIVE whale. I was very fortunate not to suffer much with morning sickness​ and my main problem was random emotional mood swings and missing things I could do before being pregnant (like spin class and generally working out properly without the fear of hurting the little bean).

How was your labour?

​I had a 'planned emergency' caesarean. To cut a long story short, there were a number of complications (such as my placenta not working, not enough fluid around him, CJ measuring small, etc) come week 35 and it was decided that Casey was better out than in. ​It was a bloody scary thing to be told.

I was booked in for a c-section ​very quickly. C​ue freak out and a premature baby.

​My biggest fear during pregnancy was needing a c-section, so I was quite bummed out. I don't think it would have been that bad... but sadly my spinal stopped working 10 minutes in and it was all pretty intense​ - and PAINFUL -​ after that. The op was also longer than normal as they found even more issues when I was being operated on. 

Any cravings?

​I didn't have specific cravings as such, but I bloody knew what I didn't want to eat!​ I generally wanted savoury over sweet.

Did you find out what you were having?

​Yes. There was no way Anton could survive months of waiting and the smile he got when he found out he were having a boy choked me up! 
  
How did you decide on your baby name?

​I always loved the name Casey, and it was as simple as saying to Anton 'I love them name Casey for a boy, do you?' and him saying 'Done'. Ha! So it worked pretty well. Holden (Casey's middle name) is the name of the main character from The Catcher in The Rye, my favourite book (and such a dude) and again - I mentioned it to Anton and he loved it.

Oddly, we had absolutely no idea what we'd have called a girl!


Baby:

What is your baby's feeding routine?

​Generally every 3/4 hours apart. It works pretty well, but because some feeds take an hour or so (sometimes he can be bloody fussy for feeds) in the morning it can feel like there isn't much of a break. ​

How do you entertain your baby?

​Casey loves laying on this massive pillow we have and being smiled at and given loads of attention in general! We have this Stokke rocker (Steps) and he loves chilling in that, too.

When you're baby's having a freak out, what seems to calm them down? 

​I go between rocking (his rocker has been a godsend) hugs, soothing noises, dummy. 


Does your baby seem to suffer with anything and what do you do to help it?

​Wind! I had no idea how much babies can cry over wind. We've given into Infacol in the past week and it seems to be really helping relieve the pain. ​ 

Paraphernalia:

Does you baby have a favourite toy?

Not yet. Faces are his number one! ​And kisses. He loves kisses. ​
What was your most recent baby or baby-related purchase and why did you buy it? 

​Couple of cute clothes in the sale at Gap...I'm a sucker for baby clothes now that he's big enough to wear stuff!​

What have been the most useful things you've bought or been given?

StokkeSteps, for sure. ​

What travel system do you use?

​We have the Stokke Xplory.​ We got it second hand (have you seen how much one of those bad boys costs new?!) and I love it. It's super easy and comfortable to push around and I actually find it pretty attractive and prams go. 

What are your baby essentials when you go out?

​I do not leave the house without a muslin!! It is a sin to do so. I am totally one of those parents now. ​

Advice:

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting? 

​No matter how bad your day/week/month is going, your baby will never be this small again so do your bloody best to enjoy it.​

What do you wish you knew before you had a baby?

​That they might really wail over things like going for a poo and wind. I totally didn't know this! ​

Any tips you'd like to share with other mothers or expectant mothers?

​Take it easy, listen to your instincts, and not all advice is good advice. ​Oh, and babies cry. 

Hey, I recognise that changing mat!

Thanks, Sammi!

Find Sammi on Instagram & and go check out her awesome Etsy shop, Under This Moon!
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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Teething tool kit

I'm terrified of teething. Probably more so than I was of giving birth. Ok, maybe not that scared. But some of my friends' kids started showing teething signs around the three-month mark and, as Joseph turned three months on Saturday, I'm mentally preparing myself for it to start any day now.
Joseph, in town today, armed with Sophie and his Neckerchew.
He had an 'accident' so the spare set of PJs I had in my changing bag were put to use!
Sometimes I think he's already showing signs of gum pain (grumpy, a bit fussy with his bottle and doing that sucky-lip thing they do when they're hungry, but he's definitely not hungry). I don't know if I'm just imagining symptoms, or willing it on in order to get it over with sooner. Although, saying that, I read that it goes on 'til they're around two and a half years old and, I'm certainly not wishing his life away, I just want to know what I'm in for in terms of seeing your baby in pain and sleepless nights.

So, I've started preparing a teething tool kit:


  • Teething ring - this came with my 'baby care kit' by Summer. I plan to bung it in the fridge from time to time. 
  • Sophie the Giraffe -  Apparently she's, like, the teething toy to get and all the cool kids have got one. I bought this about a month ago and Joseph seems to enjoy her so far, (her squeak is a good distraction when he's grizzly) but her teething-soothing skills have yet to be tested. I had to resist buying Fanfan the Fawn when I saw him in a sale.
  • Neckerchew by Cheeky Chompers - I thought this bib seemed pretty cool, as I've recently learnt from my friends that teething babies get super dribbly and like nomming on their bibs. It was reduced from £12 to £4 in Mothercare so I thought I'd give it a shot. I encouraged Joseph to try the chewy bit yesterday but he seemed more confused than anything.
  • Bonjela teething gel - I bought this before Joseph was even born. That's how anxious I am about teething.
  • Calpol - obvs. It has already come in handy after both sets of Joseph's jabs. 
So that's my kit so far... Please let me know if you have any teething tips or suggestions for other bits n' bobs that might help us through the worst!

Love x
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Monday, 21 July 2014

Diary of an expressing mum: #1

I've been feeling a bit anxious for the last few days. I must admit that my heart wasn't in my last blog post. I really wanted to write a fun post about bath time but, when I actually came to it, my head was too busy thinking about whether I should express or whether I should give my body longer to make more milk.
Joseph was grumpy today. Hopefully my anxiety hasn't rubbed off on him.
I literally can't explain how or why giving Joseph breast milk is so important to me but, for some reason, it is and I can't help but think about it every day. So when I notice a dip in my supply, it really bothers me and it seems to affect everything... which then probably affects it more.

Yet I'm also a bit worried about whether I'm overfeeding Joseph. I've not had him weighed recently, but he seemed to be a really similar size to his girl-friend who is six months old, and that seems a bit wrong to me. I don't know if his size is a legitimate worry or if it'll just mean he's not on the 25th centile anymore and will now be right up the top, but the possible issue of overfeeding is real, right?

I've heard you can't overfeed a breastfed baby, but I've read that the same is not true for expressed breast milk. If Joseph were exclusively breastfed (by way of the pump) then according to Kellymom he should be eating around 25 ounces per day, and if he were exclusively formula fed, according to the side of his formula box for his current age, he should be having 30 ounces per day. But he's neither. Joseph has consistently eaten around 29-32 ounces of food per day since he was four weeks old; and the amount he eats now hasn't changed since he dropped his night feed because I increased the amounts he eats per feed during the day because he seemed to want it. It was totally just something I did without looking into whether it was the 'right' thing to do and I figured that those extra ounces makes up for the 'lost' night feed that he doesn't wake up for any more, so I guess I wonder whether other babies just 'go without' that night feed, i.e. those ounces are just no longer needed, or if it's 'normal' to have increased the amounts served during the day.

Going back to the milk supply worry... Amazingly, my body has managed to produce enough milk, despite having increased the amount he has per feed without having to increase the number of pump sessions per day. But in the last week I've been starting to struggle to keep up since I've stopped waking myself up in the night to express (I carried on for about a week after he slept through for the first time). I now just pump when I wake up at around 6-7am, then again at 9-10am and keep my other pump sessions at roughly the same times as I used to.

I don't know whether I'm due a period (I'm pretty sure the last one I had was just pill-induced), or if I've been affected because I skipped my porridge over the recent hottest days of the year (in England), or whether my supply is genuinely dipping meaning that unless I start waking myself up at 4.30am then he will need to have more formula per day. So, the dilemma I wrote about a few posts back is at the forefront of my mind again.

I feel I must reiterate how much I cannot explain the desire I seem to have for Joseph to have as much breast milk as possible. I don't really know where it has come from and why it's so important to me, yet how much I totally do not judge anyone who chooses formula for their kids. In fact, most of my friends feed their kids formula and I almost feel bad about talking about expressing in case they think that I'm undermining their choice, or if they think I'm taking expressing too seriously.

Maybe I do take it too seriously, but I'm just so aware that once you lose your supply, it's really hard to get back and that once you 'dry up' there isn't really any going back so I just want to make sure that I'm ok with any choices I make regarding breastfeeding and ensure I've done everything I can.

On the sort-of flip side, perhaps my perspective should be that he is having the same overall amount of food that he used to, and over the last couple of weeks or so I've managed to make a larger proportion of it breast milk. So, really, if 4-5 ounces of that was formula, then it's no more than it used to be prior to his sleeping through so it's not really 'lost' supply.

Whilst I'm sure this post is of no interest to anyone, it has actually been quite therapeutic for me to write this. I think I just need to chill out and go to the Health Visitor clinic to get him weighed and to ask about expressed feeding.

It has also just dawned on me that Joseph was really ratty today and it might be because I was beating myself up all day about my, sort of, dwindling milk supply yet also worrying about whether I'm overfeeding him. Gah!!

N'night x
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