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My breastfeeding journey


Breastfeeding causes such controversy. Some people agree and others don’t, it gets caught up in the headlines and as usual you have the odd incident which causes uproar. I feel very level headed about feeding, I have fed both my children, I am fortune enough to have done so, it wasn’t easy but I persevered. Nonetheless, I am by no means a breastfeeding ‘promoter’. How you feed your baby is your choice, like it was mine. I disagree with women being made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding and thankfully I haven’t been subjected to this negativity. 


I was quite a young Mum, having Jenson before I turned 24. I never really knew that I wanted to breastfeed, I knew I would try but I hadn’t made my mind up with Jenson. I wasn’t really sure what to expect either and I was very laid back about the whole feeding thing. Emeline’s journey was different, I loved feeding Jenson by the end and knew that I wanted to feed baby two.

Jenson’s feeding journey

Once I had delivered Jenson in the pool, he was whisked off for some oxygen. I laid on the bed and waited for him to be handed to me for my first cuddle, it was a whirlwind and I remember feeling so overwhelmed. We cuddled and cuddled. It was a good few hours before a midwife suggested that I tried to feed him. I had no idea, I didn’t even think and actually he was 4/5 hours old at that point and he should have been fed before. He had a little feed and then slept for the majority of the night. He didn’t make a peep. I spent most of the night watching him and weeping after the ridiculously amount of water I drank! The next morning, I fed him again around 11am, so in 14 hours he only had two tiny feeds. I had no idea what to do or how to do it. I don’t think there is enough midwife support with breastfeeding and still to this day, I feel the advice is inconsistent and not always accurate. 

Our journey with Jenson was a slow one. Two days after his birth he was still slow at feeding and I wasn’t sure on what I should be doing, we were admitted to stay at our local hospital for some jaundice treatment and Jenson had time on the sun bed! I could not fault the support we had there, Jenson needed food and we had a two hour plan, every two hours a midwife came in to support me and help Jenson latch. From there on, things started to work out. As expected my boobs became so painful, something that creeps up on you. I used some different techniques to help me manage the pain:

  • Breast shields
  • Nipple lotion – in my opinion there is no other cream that does it better than than Lansinoh.
  • Cold drinks – my husband would always have a really cold drink ready with a straw for me to drink as Jenson latched on.
  • Stress balls to squeeze


I finally felt like I was getting the hang of feeding. My boobs were still sore and incredibly full, they looked amazing, however, the constant weighing of Jenson brought the negatives. Jenson lost more than the 10% during his first 10 days. He was on the 9th centile, he stayed there but was slower at putting weight on, I was therefore hounded by health visitors telling me to top up with formula, pump breastmilk and see how much he is taking. I was unbelievably strong for a first time Mum and trusted my body and my own instincts and decided to ignore their advice, I knew he was putting on weight and he was such a happy baby that I didn’t feel I needed to give him formula. I had pumped but he wasn’t particularly interested in a bottle, in fact, he didn’t take a bottle until much later on and I wasn’t fussed by this. When I returned to work, I tried to express but I couldn’t really and he began to go off milk and opted for his food over milk. He would have follow on formula when he fancied it and I would feed him when I was off and morning and night. 

We got there.

After a year of breastfeeding, with his little teeth, he bit me. It bloody hurt. It also bled! At that point, I decided to call it a day. Jenson had his last nighttime feed and he didn’t bat an eyelid. I also felt relieved to be free again too a little. As time went on, I felt sad, I missed the closeness and the cuddles and I saw others feeding and looked on with gratitude to have experience that moment. 

Emeline’s feeding journey. 


The two of them could not be any further from the same. Same Mumma so same milk! Proves how every baby is different! I fed Emeline when she was just an hour old, mainly to get the placenta moving as I wanted a natural delivery. She latched on perfectly almost every immediately and suckled away. From there on, she fed every 2-3 hours and she was an incredibly efficient feeder so she fed for 10 – 15 minutes a time. 

Emeline loves her milk. Even now, she still loves to be fed and nursed. Her weight loss was minimal in the beginning and therefore her weight gain was on track and we were left alone. I felt more in control of feeding this time and I knew where I was going, however, I needn’t had worried as Emeline was a bigger baby who enjoyed her food more than Jenson. 

My advice

Not that I am really in any place to offer advice, but here goes, this is what worked for me. Some things that I found helped me with feeding, both my confidence and just my ability to feed too:

  1. Take your time – feed when and where you need to, don’t feel rushed or rush the baby. Everything can wait, even if that does include parking tickets.
  2. Feel confident – babies can be a nightmare. The amount of times Jenson would display my boob to a coffee shop was ridiculous. I wore a cape to keep my ‘dignity’ and also had a necklace for him to play with. 
  3. Don’t spend a fortune or nursing clothes – I used a lot of nursing vests and bras, these would be the two essentials but nursing tops are not necessary nor are they particularly comfortable. You can feed comfortable using a nursing best and wearing a normal lose top, also half the price. The tops where you open to pop your boob out did not work for me.
  4. Always carry breast pads – I particularly like reusable pads that I can wash, they need a few washes so they aren’t too fluffy and stick but you never run out, the sticky part doesn’t hurt your boob and they don’t make the papery noise. They also stay in place better throughout the day when you feed and turn your bra and top down.
  5. Wear a comfortable feeding bra – I love Marks and Spencer’s. They offer a good fitting service too and it’s generally advisable to get your nursing bras from 37 weeks onwards. 
  6. Use a high quality nipple cream – do this in advance to toughen up your nipples and continue to do so to keep yourself comfortable. You will still suffer some discomfort but it takes the edge off.
  7. Eat and drink plenty – breastfeeding takes lots of goodness, keep your fluid and food intake up. Keep snacks and bottles of water beside your bed, in your changing bag and at the bottom of the pram. Looking after Mum is the most important.
  8. Use shields – when my boobs were so sore and bleeding, I would use a shield to give them time to heal. I would cover my nipple in cream and continue to feed alternatively using a shield for a feed, then a break, then the shield again. 
  9. Get a good quality breast pump – definitely an electric one. Manuals need to have a good rhythm and take longer, time is not something you don’t have as a parent.
  10. Enjoy it! You have to dedicate your time, you will be the exclusive feeder for your baby, snuggle down, find the perfect feeding positions for you and your baby and enjoy it! Successful feeders are lucky, not every mum has a good journey and this can really upset and unsettle some mummies.

Finally, when Emeline was born, we had some photos taken at home. Our photographer was amazing and mentioned some women having feeding photos, I asked her to take some whilst I fed Emeline and I was delighted with the outcome. It really made me treasure these early days and I’ll look back on them with warmth. 

I feel so lucky to have been able to feed both my babies but also how much I enjoy it. I hope to feed any more we have. 

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I love my Mum

There has been many times, throughout my life, where my mum has driven me potty. Most days, she drives me mad at some point and she can be a bit of a fruit loop at times too but she has the biggest heart too and we are very lucky to have her. There is something special about a mother and daughter relationship and I hope I get that with Emeline. My Mum, would do anything to help us and both my children and I think the world of her. 


I remember the first time I saw her after giving birth to Jenson, I was so pleased to ‘see’ her, our relationship changed in that moment. I knew the love she felt, I knew how proud she felt and I felt proud to have given her a grandson. She knew how I felt having my first child, how excited and exhausted in the same breath. I cried and she cried with me. I immediately understood her reasons, her worry, her love, her battles and her feelings towards me and my sister. As the years have gone by, I have understood her neurotic crazy moments when you totally lose your shit over the smallest thing but in actual fact, it’s a build up of events, or a stress you parent moment you’re protecting little people from that bubbles over. I know how she feels and my respect for her has changed so much since having my own children as well as my love and my patience. On top of that, I am so grateful for her, her endless love and support and sometimes, advice. Often, I don’t want it! 


Whenever we need anything, she will almost always come running, unless the sewing bee is on. No joke. My children idolise her, they have a truly wonderful relationship and I am so reassured that they have such trust in her and adore her as much as she does them. My parents taught me some wonderful lessons, they were always fair, although at the time, it felt like they weren’t. My sister and I were brought up well and have good morals, something I want Jenson and Emeline to have, I want their parenting to filter through mine, although of course I want it to be different and do it my own way with my own style too, it’s a learning journey and one I want to discover but I learnt so many skills from them. Sometimes, it amazes me that my sister and I survived with some things my Mum and Dad say and do… There is a huge generation gap between parenting and grandparenting!

 
I don’t think I say thank you enough, I always say it as I have good manners but I don’t spontaneously thank her. I used to take her for dinner but maternity leave and busy lives has put a stop to that recently. I want her to know I am grateful for what she does for us. 

Today, both children are unwell, and like before, she came over to help with my sanity. Mum went to Lidl to collect bread rolls for Jenson’s soup and biscuits as requested by Jenson in a lovely, long voice message. She then San and cuddled him, then Emeline, then played, then watched a film before leaving for her Sainsburys food shop. We had a nice time chatting and sympathising with Jenson and Emeline and it was such a nice afternoon. 

So, Mum, thank you. For everything over the past 28+ years. More specifically, the recent 4+ where you have shown your value as a Mum as well as a Nana. 

Love you. 

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Emeline’s Christening 

On Sunday, we celebrated our beautiful daughter and her Christening. Emeline was christened at the church Scott and I got married in, and the church that Jenson was also christened in. It holds very fond memories for me. 


I was so excited for this day, having my children christened is important to me. I want them to belong to a community and have comfort and safety in a faith, similar to what I do. Scott is atheist but understands why it is important and supports that for our children. We are always well looked after and we have been very lucky in life, I feel that someone is out their looking out for me and my family and protecting us, I want that for my children.  


Religion can sometimes really confuse me, when bad things happen. That isn’t fair and never seems it, but I guess that’s also the circle of life. I also feel safe and secure that there are reasons and answers to some things too, it’s a mind field. I should and could probably invest more time and understanding in it but I know what I need to and I am happy with that. 


Jenson talks about God and I answer the best way I can. He will attend a Church of England school in September and I am sure that will be give him his own understanding. 


We had an amazing day on Sunday, surrounded by our closest family and friends. We were not traditional and like Jenson, Emeline had 5 wonderful Godparents. Our children did us so proud, they also had a lovely day celebrating and behaved beautifully. I was a very proud Mummy, wife and friend. 

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Talent 

Well, let’s start by saying, I don’t have one. I am ‘good’ at lots of different things but I definitely don’t have a specific talent, or a hobby really. I am so easily distracted too that I rarely complete things. 


My mum and sister on the other hand and brilliant bakers, and cake decorators. I am so lucky, we often have brilliant desert treats after dinner or my sister will do ridiculous amounts of baking. Her flapjacks are amazing! 
Since Jenson has been born, Mum has made and decorated every cake he has needed. Each year, Jenson’s demands get bigger and she never disappoints! 

  • 1st birthday – The Gruffalo
  • 2nd birthday – a farm
  • 3rd birthday – digger cake 
  • 4th birthday – Paw Patrol! 


She also made his christening cake and this weekend, she has made Emeline’s. I find my ideas on Pinterest and send them to her and she makes something spectacular. Everyone always comments on how special they are, especially as Nana made them but also how lovely they are. Recently, mum has been diagnosed with arthritis so she struggles with the finer details a bit more, I hope it never stops her form baking as I know she loves it. I used an eBay shop to buy the sugar craft bits, they arrived in perfect condition and they’re so reasonable for the resources, time and effort that go in. I also bought her bunting stencils – at the time this was ridiculous apparently but after making all the bunting, she got her money’s worth apparently!

So here it is, the beautiful cake for Emeline Charlotte’s christening day! She even sent me a 360 tour!

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Rye Harbour

Last week, we had our second caravan holiday of the year. This one wasn’t with Haven, and the park or caravan wasn’t as nice as our prestige one at Littleseas but it was clean, modern and we had central heating, and two bathrooms to Jenson’s delight. This holiday, I went away with my parents and both Jenson and Emeline. My parents had the double room, Jenson had his own room with the beds pushed together and Emeline and I shared a room. Park Holidays were far more accommodating to having Emeline in with me, they removed a bed so she could come in the single room with me.


We stayed at Rye Harbour, a beautiful location near a nature reserve. The sound of the birds first thing was mesmerising. Most days, we took a stroll past the harbour and listened to the birds. Across the harbour was Camber Sands, the beach looked clean, bright and just beautiful. We were so lucky with the weather, it was foggy most mornings but that lifted to sunny days. We even came home with a suntan! Over the week, we visited Rye, Hastings and Camber Sands. 


Rye was nice, a quaint little town that was hard to work out how to drive around! Hastings was an extra special treat, Jenson rode the miniature railway, we wandered around and looked around the small museums. We then had fish and chips on the beach and watched the Lifeboat training, Jenson was in his element. On Thursday, the sun beamed as soon as it came up. Of course, on the journey to Camber Sands, it started to rain. We arrived and searched for a reasonable car park, but they were all ridiculously expensive. £10 for 3-6 hours!  The beach was stunning, the sea was out and there was a lovely breeze. We set up our new Lidl beach tent, a bargain at £12.99, Jenson has has his diggers and bucket and spade and we were set for the day. We enjoyed our picnic on the blanket and ran in and out of the sea all day, finishing with an ice-cream. 

It was a lovely week, I really recommend a British holiday. We live in a beautiful country with lovely locations, the weather will often let us down but even in the rain and sun, it’s down to who you spend it with. Jenson and Emeline were so lucky to spend the week with Nana and Grandad, as was I and as were they. 

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Baby weight

An on going battle for almost everyone I know is their weight. Rightly or wrongly, what ever anyone else thinks, if you are not happy, you are not happy. It’s hard to take someone seriously when they appear to be size 8 and have a gorgeous figure but that’s how they feel and it is important to remember to be sensitive to that. Body image is so negative these days, everyone is under fire and criticised, celebrities for being too thin, or being airbrushed, celebrities who are trying to lose weight or who are overweight and celebrities who are totally in love with their body but apparently they couldn’t possibly be. It’s horrible pressure and impacts women and girls everywhere. 

My problem is my hate for exercise and my love of food! 

I tried really hard during my pregnancy to maintain my weight and keep healthy. I used Slimming World for my diet and exercised. As a result, once I had my daughter, I weighed less than what I did at the beginning of my pregnancy. I felt pretty amazing once I had Emie, once you’ve had a baby it is the slimmest you’ve been in months so naturally you feel like you’ve lost loads of weight, which you have by giving birth, ha! My weight has been pretty consistent since having Emeline but is slowly dropping off, I have a waist for the first time in years and my pre-pregnancy clothes are lose. I am trying to eat healthily and I walk everyday, I also have some exercise DVDs that have managed to escape their plastic, I am yet to use these but I will do soon! Emeline is feeding so well too and it is well known that breastfeeding helps with weight loss. 

I am not totally disgusted with my body, I’d like to lose weight and I hate myself in photos but I don’t mind it too much. I know I need to be more motivated to lose weight and get to my ‘wedding day’ figure which I worked hard for but that will take so long and I just don’t feel fully committed with Emeline’s feedings making me so hungry! 

My thighs and bum are my biggest, I’ve always been bigger with each of those and they are the parts I hate the most. I’d like my arms to lose weight too, but they will as my weight drops. I am gettin a waste back which I love, I’ve always been quite lucky and had a smaller waist! My face has lost weight which is nice, that’s what people see first! My tummy is relatively ‘flat’, I have my baby pouch which I am quite fond of but my weight goes to my bum so the tummy doesn’t have that many rolls. 

Most of my girlfriends are having the same problems. One of my friends is looking for a dress for Emeline’s christening and can’t seem to find anything other than mega expensive dresses which is standard when you’re looking. It my eyes, she always looks lovely, slim and happy and confident. Sometimes, it would be so much nicer to see yourself through other eyes. I was wary about wearing a dress today that I also wore when pregnant and she replied that I looked amazing. I wouldn’t go that far but it made me feel good! 

Top right with a 5 month baby

 

I’ll get there with my weight loss, one day. It is hard to describe how I feel, I am happy but I worry what other people think which is the worst thing, our negative society when at the moment I should be focusing on my baby and feeding.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to read and look at Boots Body Confidence boosting messages which I LOVE! Almost as much as I love cake!! 

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Weaning

Emeline is 4 months and quickly approaching that next stage ready for weaning, that alone scares me! Can’t believe how quick it is going. 

I really enjoyed weaning with Jenson and it was straight forward and simple, I did a combination of baby led weaning and puréed food. I just can’t remember how we did it or how to start! I do remember that his first meal was salmon en croute! Living the dream. 

I need to start researching and preparing for this next step, I vaguely remember introducing foods gradually, one at a time and having a breakfast for a week, then two meals the second and then 3 meals the third week. Although, I can’t guarantee that’s how I did it! I definitely didn’t do pure puréed foods, it almost always had lumps on it and that was down to the food processor I think. 


We have started the first step and Emeline has a new high chair, we sold Jenson’s as we really didn’t like it. It was clumpy and big, didn’t fold away properly and Jenson couldn’t sit at the table. This time, I really wanted a Stokke one but Scott put his foot down and said it was far too expensive, especially when you get all the adjustments. IKEA do a higher chair for children to use at the dinner table so he moved on to that once he came out of hig high chair. I researched a lot this time and found a few high chairs of choice, Scott selected a ‘final 3’ which were all Cosatto. We loved the 3sixti and Supa Noodel design. We settled on the 3Sixti in the apple design – it’s so bright and looks fab with our dark wood table and green curtains. 

I am now spending my time looking for recipes, advice and guidance for weaning. I have no idea where I got my information from last time but I hope Emeline weans as well as Jenson and we have a successful journey. I must remember to document how I decide to wean Emie as I couldn’t find weaning on Jenson’s blog.