Tag Archives: family

709 days

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Not long til short stuff is two!

The last few months have heralded a little improvement in sleep (3 wake ups is better than 7!) and more recently a desperate attempt to drop his only nap. A quick google says that by age 2 most children drop their morning nap and by 4 they tend to drop their afternoon one too. But apparently this depends on how much night time sleep they get as they may be getting “enough” at night.

I can’t even remember when the regular morning nap stopped but it was a good while ago. I think we’ve had about 6 days over the last three or so weeks in which there has been no nap. We’ve had to time bed time very carefully and there have been more wake ups on those nights but overall it seems to have coincided with the better general sleep.

Most words are coming out in full sentences (whether we can understand it or not is a different matter entirely) and his patience and ability to sit still to achieve small tasks is growing by the day.

We’ll be due our 2 year health visitor check at some point soon. I’m just hoping that the appointment doesn’t echo the stories I hear about from other women about admonishments for breastfeeding and co-sleeping. Luckily as long as I’m prepared for potential conflict I can handle myself, so we’ll see what happens. The Health Visitor and MidWife team have changed around here recently apparently so I might not see someone I know.

We achieved an even more successful family holiday than the last one- partially due to the above developments but also some good and lucky accomodation choices (enclosed garden!), locality of steam railways and making great use of the lovely Mumsnet friends that I made way back in Jan 2013 to break up the journey and give small stuff some time to play.

I can highly recommend Norfolk with a toddler- it was only part of our trip but lots to do and luckily beautiful weather to do it in.

More thoughts on feeding a toddler

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I have another urge to write something about what I’ve learnt about breastfeeding a toddler.

In a way I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this yet somehow it needs to be said.  I’m learning slowly how to communicate the way I feel in a positive way rather than being typically British and apologetic. I am now trying to ensure that I always say “R is breastfed” rather than the usual “R is still breastfed”. Don’t forget that the WHO recommend breastfeeding to two and beyond so I’m not some crazy boobmatyrhippy I’m just following World Health guidelines.

I’m lucky that both my mother and mother in law breastfed, although in a different day and age and with very different guidelines and advice. This means that straight off no one in my immediate family found  “natural term” breastfeeding odd or gave me a hard time about it. That’s another phrase-refusing to say “extended”breastfeeding any more to mean feeding past six months,  but to say “natural term” to reflect the nature of feeding a child until an extend nursing strike or self-initiated weaning.

It would be a lie to say that I don’t care what other people think or what they think of me. Obviously I care little about what strangers think of me as their opinion is irrelevant whilst it matters more what my friends and family think.  There is a huge disappointment when I hear phrases from friends and acquaintances like “I’m all for breastfeeding but. ..” which is the breastfeeding-in-public version of “I’m not a racist but”. Whatever is going to come after that “but” is almost certainly going to be misinformed, incorrect and offensive.

  I talk passionately about breastfeeding because I think it’s important that we change the way our society  views it. I’m not saying that everyone should breastfeed no matter what but just that we accept it as a normal part of every day public life.  This in turn will improve rates of breastfeeding as it becomes a more normalised and publically discussed activity. It will make it more accessible to more people, giving women the choice and the power back in the relationship rather than giving over to the misinformation rife when women are having a physical or emotional wobble about breastfeeding

So whilst I  “don’t care” what strangers think of me breastfeeding a toddler in public (probably not discreetly as he won’t stay still for 5 seconds), I do care about why people would find this entirely natural act offensive. I worry about the state of the country I live in where people think that feeding a baby from the breast is disgusting or wrong. I want to change the way people feel about it and the way they view it.

There are (to my honest knowledge) many people who think that women that breastfed past a certain age (usually a number picked out of the air) are “only doing it for themselves”. If you’ve ever watched a toddler breastfeed you’d have something else to say. With blocked ducts and mastitis,  nipple and skin pinching, Gymnastics, teeth etc it’s not really a relaxing cuddle with your small person. But then on the back of that, another huge swathe of people think that women who breastfeed to natural term are ridiculous martyrs who like to Lord over everyone else about how hard their lives are but who won’t help themselves to make life easier. By help themselves I mean employ tactics they are not comfortable with/ dont believe in that someone else thinks it will help them.

I promise you that the majority of us are neither of the above.  When you make a parenting decision, you often feel like the decision has been made for you and there was actually no choice at all.

There are very few circumstances under which a woman cannot breastfeed. This is not to undermine those who genuinely can’t , but they are in a very small minority. There was absolutely no decision to be made for me,  if I could, I would. I didn’t feel like this was a decision that I made and it certainly wasn’t in silo. It was about my whole outlook on the point of procreation- and it was just always going to be that way. Luckily once he worked it out, R felt the same and his complete bottle refusal showed me that he wanted to be breastfed. Even if for any reason I wanted to wean now, I wouldn’t have the first idea about how to go about it and R would be none too pleased about it all. It’s an even better reason to keep feeding him.

And this is what makes things hard. R is not a sleeper. And some breastfed babies are, some aren’t. Babies are made to wake every 90 minutes or so. Some can settle themselves back to sleep and some can’t. Sometimes this is beyond challenging. During my week of solo parenting R decided on the last night that he didn’t fancy going to sleep. I was exhausted having been up and out to buggy fit in the morning then out to a friends in the afternoon and it was day five of solo parenting. It took me two hours and two different beds to get him down. He woke after fifteen minutes. He then took another hour to settle again and that time slept for just thirty minutes. After about 2 1/2 hours I started to slowly crumble. This isn’t related to breastfeeding specifically but the style of more natural /attachment parenting that we have fallen into through our beliefs and Outlook.

Toddler refusingto sleep, Husband about to board a plane hundreds of miles away and all I felt was that I was trapped and unable to express honestly how I was feeling to anyone. When it feels (from comments made like “you spoil him” or “you need to put him in his own bed otherwise you’ll never get him out” etc) everyone seems to view you as a soft idiot who should be shutting the door on your screaming baby to try to”fix” him, it’s hard to find solidarity. Luckily someone posted about a similar problem on the Facebook breastfeeding group that I’m on and I felt able to share there and the lovely comments and support I received there was invaluable that night, another night feeling in a pit of despair.

What to say? Never assume you know how someone else is thinking or that you know what you’d do in their shoes. Women who have had around 4hrs sleep a night for a year plus don’t tend to handle thoughtless comments well. Don’t underestimate how far a nice comment can go when it’s needed.

4 weeks

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I feel very remiss, it’s hard to keep up with blogs! It does’t help that I have a number of blogs- personal, photography, cycling, charity and this one! Keeps me busy.

So baby is 4 weeks old today!

What is there to say?
Weight
He gets weighed on Thursday for the first time since he was 15 days old. Birth weight was 3.7kg (8lb 3oz), he only lost a very small amount and was back up to 3.5kg (8lb), and then by 15 days was up to 4.1kg (9lb). So it should be interesting! I think he is feeding well, he feels heavier each day and looks like he’s getting longer if not fatter!

Feeding
Baby has totally got the hang of breast feeding and is doing brilliantly. He hasn’t had any formula at all since….. week one(?) and he’s had one expressed bottle in the last couple of weeks when I needed to get some sleep and he wasn’t latching on well. I’m really pleased that we persevered through sleepless screaming sessions and got him feeding properly, makes me tear up with excitement to think about it!

Had our first proper public feed in a coffee shop very discreetly in town on Saturday and that felt great. I felt sorry for the poor teenage boy serving our drinks who didn’t know where to look, but I am very much of the opinion (or should I say “safe in the knowledge” that it’s an entirely normal and natural thing to be doing, and I have no embarassment around it.

Sleep
Sleep patterns are not discernable yet (no surprises). We have good and bad nights and good and bad days, which is no surprise at all to me. I have no urge to make him have a routine just let- I’m happy to let him be a baby.

On a good night he feeds about 10pm, 1am, 4am and 7:30am ish for about 15-40 minutes at a time. He doesn’t like to sleep in his moses basket straight away so he needs to be cuddled or lie on the bed next to me for a while before he’s ready to be put down to sleep. This means I get 4-5 hours sleep if I’m lucky in slots of 90 mins or so. This is ok! I can do that!

On a bad night- who knows?! We had a few colic (?) nights where he refused to sleep until about 4am, and then has had at least one other night where he woke at 1am and didn’t go back to sleep until 5:30 am with lots of crying and screaming inbetween.

Me
I’m doing ok. I really am. This surprises me a little but then I’d like to think that:
a) We came into this with realistic expectations about parenthood
and
b) I have a generally quite positive attitude which helps me through

It helps having a wonderful hands-on husband who helps me out, praises my (small) accomplishments and understands when I’m a bit craggy.

Us
I think we’re pretty ok too. The above helps. A lot. We are communicating well, even when tired and grumpy. We are taking our fair share where we can, and doing what we can when we can. We’re trying not to stretch ourselves too thin and to share things where possible.

Typical week
Although there’s little pattern or routine, now Mr Bumpy has gone back to work, there’s certain things I make sure I do. I always:
shower and get dressed (which is funny as I didn’t used to worry about this when I worked from home, had a day off or at weekends)
sort the kitchen out to some presentable standard sometime during the day
leave the house– just for fresh air. Any kind. Trip to the shops or whatever.
meet someone/ have a guest every week day. Anyone!

It’s definitely helping keep me sane!

Weekends are a little free-forming still- we are yet to organise those, but they’ve been ok!

He’s brilliant, even with the lows, the highs are just amazing. People forget to tell you that 🙂

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A more serious topic

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(copied from my personal journal)

Apart from the kitchen, the other thing I’m feeling stressed about is the discussion about new vs secondhand mattresses for baby stuff. I’ve never really thought too hard about these things- as I’m generally happy with second hand things for… everything really. If things are clean and smell nice and are in good condition, I’m happy about them.

I’ve noticed other mums-to-be being very obsessed with new things on the whole, so I’ve usually ignored it as they’re clearly just different people to me, but the discussion about new mattresses for cots and moses baskets is confusing me. Someone linked me to this study on BMJ about increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome with previously used matresses. Part of the problem is that this study shows increased risk of SIDS with a second hand mattress, but no cause and effect. This appears to be due to other factors i.e socio-economic. I guess that it’s likely that those more likely to be using second hand mattresses are from more deprived areas and will be more likely to be affected by a number of other factors (poor health/information/smoking etc) which are hard to seperate out in real life studies like this.

We’ve got a second hand cot and moses basket, with second hand mattresses. We’ve cleaned everything we can, but I don’t know what to do. I know the home they’ve come from. They’re clean and in great condition and I’m loathe to throw them away and buy new ones, seems so pointless. The worst thing about being a parent (or parent to be) is other people’s neurosis and fear and pressure that gets put onto you and with conflicting information that changes every 5 seconds, it’s hard to make your way through the information to make informed, sensible choices. Hard work 😦

Manx Bump

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The bump has been away!

This year (you may have noticed) is pretty full of weddings. And Hen Parties. And Christenings etc etc. Which is excellent and lovely, but doesn’t leave much space for a proper pre-baby holiday. So we had a trip to see family on the Isle of Man at the weekend for our gorgeous niece’s christening. It’s hard to make the most of time away whilst not doing “too much”. It also doesn’t help that it’s very hard to gauge what “too much” is until it’s over!

Friday our flight was delayed, and I found out how tiring it is to travel whilst pregnant. Even an easy journey like the one we take to the Island. Friday night was very relaxing with early bed, then Saturday the husband and I drove up to the Point of Ayre at the northern most point of the island to my favourite beach on the island. Luckily the weather was good (by Manx standards) and we saw some sunshine and a lot of wind.


Bump on the beach

We did a little shopping in Ramsey (including going into a lovely baby clothes shop where we restrained ourselves!) and then headed to Peel to watch some Viking boat races. They were actually time trials, which were done by over 80 teams getting ever drunker as they waited for their turn. Not much for spectators but we had an ice-cream (most of which was dropped down the bump) and then headed off to spend time with our niece before popping back to base camp for a shower and then out for dinner! Aunty S kindly lent me some maternity clothes, so I wore one lovely dress on our date! (Never mind dropping food all down it- thank you to the gods of Vanish spray as I’ve managed to get all the stains out!!)

(Here wearing a scarf so you couldn’t see the stains and looking absolutely nothing like me).

Sunday was the Christening, so we met my parents for a cuppa at their hotel and then headed to the church. Ceremony was relatively short and sweet, and we found out how easy it is to become godparents! The weather stayed nice and we sat outside all afternoon enjoying a nice buffet and chatting in the sun.

Niece was beautifully behaved all day and seemed to really enjoy all the fuss and cuddles!
Christening day

Now back home and back to work!

Busy days

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It’s been a busy two days in the Bumpytimes household. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to be in bed until 1pm both Monday and Tuesday- remember it’s all relative.

Monday was the long awaited dr appt to sadly cave in and get some medication for my sickness. I dragged myself the the doctors, resisted from crying my way through the visit (this time) and was prescribed promethazine hydrochloride which is an antihistamine that’s also used to cure nausea and vomiting. I take one tablet in the evening. I’m sure it will kick in soon. Right?

Monday evening we had father-in-law staying over, so took the opportunity to use skype and contact mother-in-law and my sister-in-law to tell them the news. Everyone very excited and supportive, luckily sister-in-law was also pretty ill so very understanding. (not lucky for her obviously).

Tuesday we went for our sneaky cheeky early scan at a lovely place called Berkshire Independent Scanning. There’s definitely a tiny blob-baby in there with a fiercely strong heartbeat and it’s looking perfect size etc as epxected for 7 weeks. It was a bit of a mission for me to get there, but I made it- trains and all. The place was lovely- discreet, friendly and (sorry to steal this phrase from a friend) all using their “spa” voices! It was quick and painless (except extreme pressure on a bladder full of water) and just very super exciting for us both. In the evening my parents came over and we blew them away with the news! First grandchild-to-be for them 🙂

I knew that mum had been quite sick when she was pregnant with me, and again the upside of that is she totally understands exactly how I feel and has been there. She was actually hospitalised with severe HG at 7 weeks (where I am now) so I am lucky that I’ve managed to keep some nutrients and liquid down! It’s so important to have people who really understand around you, though I am suspecting my mother is or at least was actually superwoman as she refused medication. I managed to avoid medication for a whole 2 weeks!

It’s amazing how it feels to tell people and let a little weight off- with the sickness the pressure was gettingg too much. People were worried about me (rightly so) and we’re just trying to fight fire slightly.

I will say though- my friends and my husband are utterly amazing and I’m a lucky little puppy!

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