The end of the (boob) line

The little man turned 9 months last week. I’m not sure why, but this felt like such a big milestone to me. I think it’s something to do with him being out as long (well almost, if he had of arrived on time) as he was inside cooking.

Over the last month or so he’s really lost interest in milk and basically dropped all of his day time breast feeds. Night time of course was a different matter. I was down to one bf every 24 hours after we got home from holiday and we made the decision that it was the right time for all of us to stop. I’d told myself that the last night feed before he turned 9 months would be the last to make me stick to it. I gave him an extra long cuddle before I put him back down into his cot and silly as it seems had a bit of a cry about it. He’s growing up so fast.

It’s been a roller coaster of a journey. I can just about laugh at those crazy first few (well 6) months now. I’m still not sure how I managed to keep going with it. A friend recently asked me if I would do it again? I didn’t hesitate to say 100% yes. It’s not been easy, especially as he refused the bottle so it meant for the first 6 months feeding was entirely my responsibility. But, as tough as it has been, on the whole, I’ve loved it and I’ll miss it.

So now we’re in a brave new world. One where Mr B can help with the feeding overnight (to be fair he always got up with me when I was bf, although as I keep saying to him it’s not quite the same!) and one where I can have a little bit of freedom (what’s that?!) to go out without having to stress about getting back for a feed. I’m pretty sure my friends will be glad to not have to see my boobs any more and be able to have a conversation with me without a little person hanging off them.

I’m still waiting for my milk to fully dry up, but thankfully it seems to have been pretty easy to stop. My friends are really enjoying the pictures I’m sending them of me with cabbage leaves stuffed down my bra. That really made for a romantic Saturday night in last week. “Seriously, what’s that smell?” Mr B asked, “It’s me darling, you’re going to have to just deal with it”. But they seem to be helping. Stopping has made me a tad emotional, something to do with the change in hormones I guess and it’s made me reflect on a few things as well as wonder where the hell all that time has gone. I swear some days I can’t even remember what happened in the first 4 months of his life. It’ll be two years this weekend since we had our first miscarriage, sitting in A&E that day I never imagined we’d be where we are today. I’m very thankful for what we’ve got, even if he is a little monster at night and hasn’t wanted me to leave his side for the last 9 months. I can’t imagine life without him and I wouldn’t change a thing, well if I’m honest a little more sleep perhaps…. but he’s worth every bag under my eye and stretch mark on my boobs.img_8752

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Boob juice

I’ll be honest with you (and no doubt many will be appalled) but before I fell pregnant, actually even through pregnancy, I wasn’t sure I wanted to breastfeed, truth be told the whole idea of it freaked me out. But my mantra in life is that you should always give something a go, so off I totted to the hospitals breastfeeding workshop. I spared my hubby from this one as I honestly thought there’d be no other men on it, how wrong I was. Ten minutes in and we’ve been asked to draw a baby on a piece of paper (mine showed a strong resemblance to a melon, how ironic…) then show the teacher with the piece of paper how we’d feed. I’m still none the wiser as to how that’s meant to help people.

Luckily I have a lot of friends who bf so I’ve seen a lot of baby on boob action so I got off to a reasonably good start with the teacher. Saying that by the end of it I was less than impressed. Their main selling point (which I do now realise is true) was about how it helps you quickly loose the ‘baby weight’. Personally, I felt this was a bit wrong – there’s already so much pressure on young girls to be slim and new mums to ping back into shape (thanks celeb magazines for that one, I swear if I see one more picture of Coleen Rooney in her bikini this week after recently giving birth I’ll scream, and then eat some more chocolate of course), I just didn’t feel that it should be used as a selling tool. It’s personal choice how you want to feed your baby, bf isn’t for everyone, and not everyone finds it that easy to do, even if they want to. What’s important is that whether it’s by boob or bottle your baby is fed, full stop.

I’ve been doing it exclusively for 14 weeks now and I honestly never thought I’d get this far with it. It’s TOUGH, and I mean that sincerely.

What’s kept me going has definitely been seeing how the little man is piling on the pounds and developing into such a little character. I’m not one of these super pro breastfeeding earth mothery sorts who ram it down every other mums throats but it is a lovely feeling knowing that’s all down to me.

There are some funny sides to it though. We can look back and laugh now at my pathetic attempts to express colostrum in hospital, Mr B dutifully stood over me with a teeny 1ml syringe in hand waiting to collect a drop of the stuff. Or the day my milk finally came in, I’ll try and paint the scene…a few days of constantly attaching the little man to my boobs I couldn’t even muster the energy to put them away, Mr B bought Joshua through to me on the sofa where I was drugged up on pain relief in a world of my own and all I hear is ‘oh babe I think your milks come in’ yup, it was dripping everywhere….who said romance is dead.

I followed all the health visitor advice and waited for 6 weeks before trying to introduce a bottle (*inserts some profanities aimed at that piece of advice*) and 8 weeks later we’re still bloody battling without making much progress. Everyone goes on about this magic window for introducing it, but no one told me that point blank refusal could happen. Don’t get me wrong I’m really proud of myself for bf but if I knew he would at least take one it would make my life a little easier as it would mean we could share the odd night time feed when I’m beyond exhausted. Though things are now starting to get easier and he has started to do longer stretches at night between feeds.

So, if anyone’s interested I thought I’d share some things I’ve learnt and I’d pass on to people…
1. Follow your instincts with when is the best time to introduce a bottle if you want to be able to express and have some help.

2. Buy lansinoh lanolin nipple cream and use it after every feed in the first couple of weeks. It’s expensive but I found it was worth every penny and touch wood, I’ve not had any problems.

3. Never quit on a bad day – still the best piece of advice I’ve been given.

4. Invest in decent bras and buy some pretty ones (completely pointless but they’ll make you feel better).

5. Keep your a sense of humour (it’s not glamourous and I’ve lost count of how many people have seen my huge boobs).

6. Enjoy it, it’s hard but it’s so rewarding. Before we know it they’ll be ready for weaning and I already know I’ll miss the lovecuddles we have when its feed time.

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Sleep deprived blogging

Well as I have nothing else to blog about at the moment (and I’m definitely not going to be able to even think about using my sewing machine any time soon) I thought I’d might as well give a little update/ramblings on my new role as a mummy now that we’re 11 weeks in.

I’m still winging it day by day and I’ve no idea whether I’m getting things right or wrong, the only markers being the little man is healthily gaining weight (13lb 14oz last Thursday) and is a happy smiley chappy through the day. We won’t talk about the nights, and I don’t want to hear about people who have babies who sleep through from 6 weeks old (for my own sanity I refuse to believe them in any case).

Looking after Joshua and being totally responsible for him truly is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. As my best pal keeps telling me (and she’s always bloody right!) those first 6 weeks (oh and once you get past those first 6 weeks the goalposts change and it also includes the next 6 weeks!) are like crawling through a long dark tunnel. It’s one hell of a journey and a steep learning curve. I’m lucky in that my mum doesn’t work so has been around to help me out (which has been an absolute god send).  The days at work dealing with what those of us in the comms world deem a sh*t sandwich seem like a doddle in comparison now. A ferocious journalist with a corker of a media enquiry at 3.30pm on a Friday pales in comparison to dealing with a small person at 3.30 am when you’ve already been up twice that night feeding, your eyes are stinging and you feel so tired you feel sick. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change it for the world and when you see him smile first thing in the morning, melting your heart it makes it all totally worth it.

I’ve found myself questioning everything I do and doing things I swore I’d never do as a parent (much to the amusement of my besties I’m sure). Take last week for example, I found myself sat in a circle with other sleep deprived mums, frantically bouncing our babies on our laps in a bid to not be the one with the grumpy baby, a large gold sequinned sheet of material in front of us with a lady fully immersing herself into a sing songy world of baby tunes and encouraging us to join in, judge me. I said I’d never go along to these things, but he loved it, (well up until the point he had to wear bunny ears, que a meltdown so I had to wear them) so much so I’m going back next week. I’ll leave my dignity at the door. (Those of you locally it’s called Hartbeeps and rather fittingly the session was called Baby Bells, it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a sensory based activity).

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