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The Baby Feeding Series with Mumatron

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Hello and welcome back to another instalment of The Baby Feeding Series, that features real stories from real parents who have experienced how hard and baffling feeding your baby can be. I want this series to be a place where parents can share their own experiences in the hopes that other parents who are struggling can feel less alone. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but it's one of the most rewarding jobs too and so I want to share their stories.


Last week we had the lovely Sherene from Mama's Doody who kindly offered to share her breastfeeding experience, which wasn't the easiest journey. But it was so lovely to see that it became the experience that she wanted in the end. This week I would like to introduce Helen who blogs over at The Mumatron Blog. I was so happy when Helen got in touch about taking part in our series and I was very interested in getting to know about her feeding journey with her son. Helen used a combination of breast and bottle for her son before exclusively bottle feeding, but having a reflux was by far not the easiest for Helen and so without further ado, I'd like to hand it over to the lovely Helen...
Our Feeding Story


When I think about those early days it seems so long ago. Within minutes of getting into our room at the hospital, Chops was latched on. He was feeding well. I remember that overwhelming feeling of relief. There's definitely a worry surrounding breast feeding. A lot of the conversations I had with the midwife started with 'If I can'. Knowing both my sisters had decided to bottle feed I was determined not to.

The first few hours were fine. He fed, slept, pooped then did it all again. When the night came something changed. Up to that point I'd felt empowered and in complete control. Over night it became apparent that I was not going to be able to feed this baby as much as he needed. I sat on the edge of the bed in the hospital. My body was sore all over from my emergency c-section. My back ached as I tried to stay sat up. He cried, and cried and cried.
Failing

Eventually a midwife came in and saw the state of me. They could hear him crying from outside and she came to check on me. I burst into tears. As she said 'Do you want me to give him some formula? He's hungry love.' I felt like a failure. That initial rush of providing for my baby disappeared . At that moment I no longer cared. He was hungry, she had food and I didn't. No sooner had he taken 20 ml of formula out of a cup, he slept. I slept. For the first time in over 36 hours.

I didn't give over to the formula straight away. In hind sight the midwife who talked to me the next day and said that now he'd felt full for the first time I'd find it harder was right. Explaining that in a few days my supply would be there and he'd feel full she wanted me to succeed. I kept going. This blind perseverance would lead to blistered bleeding nipples and painful feeding. Expressing colostrum into a syringe is possibly the most desperate thing I've done. Knowing these syringes were filling up with vital nutrients kept me believing it was the best thing I could do. Seeing that they were only 1ml each in volume continued to leave me disheartened. Over and over I asked for advice of his latch because it hurt. His latch was fine, the strength of his suction was causing the pain and blisters.
Coming home

Finally allowed to come home, I thought everything would get better. I agreed to cup feeding so as not to cause confusion. Cup feeding was soul destroying. Using a little cup with a lip, we poured the milk into his mouth incredibly slowly. At times he lapped it up like a cat. He would drink it and throw it back up. I almost felt like we were force feeding him. It was horrible. With each cup that went down more and more tears flowed. The cries got louder. It felt impossible, more milk came back than went down. That was the final straw.

In order to feel sane we decided to go forward with the formula. We purchased bottles and power . Sterilizing and setting up took no time at all. Feeding became calmer and an enjoyable experience for all of us.
Combi feeding

There were times when he would root for milk. It's a natural reflex for babies so I wasn't surprised. I knew that I was producing more milk now. With nothing to lose I tried again. This time around I had far more success. There was more milk to satisfy his hunger and my blisters were healing. I continued to combi feed for about 6 weeks. While buying the bottles we bought a prep machine, an breast pump and storage lids. Expressing felt like a fruitless ritual. I'd sit pumping for half an hour for 20 ml. Appointments with the midwife came and went. Each time I'd tell her I was still combi feeding, she'd tell me to up the boob feeds. I felt exhausted keeping track of feeds alone. 15 minutes breast. 40ml formula. But that was a small price to pay for knowing I hadn't given up. It broke my heart

Eventually it became apparent that Chops knew he could get his milk quicker from a bottle and he started to fuss about latching. Stopping breast feeding I felt like total failure. I couldn't see that in fact, it wasn't what was best for him. It was satisfying my needs more than his.

From around 6 weeks he was exclusively bottle fed. I struggled with feeling like I had given up. Soon enough it was like second nature.

Today he's a happy, healthy one year old. I feel judged for bottle feeding him but I'm sure if it wasn't that, it would be something else. In the future I want to exclusively breast feed. I'll try again. I feel more prepared having had this experience. A girl I know recently let on that she wasn't even going to try, I think attitudes like that tar all bottle feeders with the same brush. Although as long as baby's fed it doesn't matter does it? When you see the mother with the bottle, remember that it might be breaking her heart.
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About Helen

A mother to one year old Hugo, nicknamed Chops. Helen first embarked in the wonderful world of blogging when she was disgusted with the state of some of the changing facilities and so she began to review them. From that moment on she has enjoyed writing so much that she expanded into other parts in her life and so The Mumatron Blog was born.
Remember you can find Helen over at The Mumatron Blog
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#MOTHERHOODMONDAYS FEATURING MY NAME IS NOT MOMMY

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Hello you lovely lot and welcome back to another instalment of the #MotherhoodMondays guest post series; a weekly feature for mothers to share their stories about their incredible journeys of motherhood in all kinds of forms. Don't forget to get in touch if you want out get involved, we're always looking for some more mamas to guest post for us. 





For this weeks feature we have the Laneic from My Name is not Mommy. I was so glad that Laneic got into contact to take part in the series and has provided a very interesting post all about the dangers of self care and one that was very intriguing to say the least. I love how she writes about the importance of self-care to help us avoid “survival mode” and experience life, giving us the ability to fully enjoy the good moments, and bravely take on and recover from the bad ones too. So with this I shall hand you over to Laneic...



Hello my name is Laneic Lavalle and I am a self-care and wellness coast for busy mommas at My Name is not Mommy and a blogger at Make It 218. After spending my first yea trying to do everything under the sun, I was forced to take a step back and start making self-care a priority. Now my mission is to help other mothers who are burned out, or well on their way to that point. To help these women make self-care a regular part of their lives, reconnecting with who the are separately from their children and help them to pursue happiness without guilt. 





The Dangers of Self-care. 








I’m a huge advocate for self-care… it’s kinda my thing. Not only because I know how absolutely awful it feels to be burned out and still trying to be a perfect mommy, but because as a teacher I’ve seen way too many mommies come drop their kids off or pick them up in auto pilot. Just utterly exhausted and even more exhausted knowing it’ll repeat.




I figured there had to be a better way of living. I’m positive that we’re designed to experience life to the fullest and I didn’t see how becoming a mother would change that. And in the end, I know my child would benefit from me not feeling so…defeated by the work of motherhood. So, began the journey of self-care and my overwhelming urge to take other moms along with me.




That all being said…. There is something that I’ve come to be wary of when it comes to self-care. A dangerous trap I suppose that’s all too easy to fall into.




That my friends, is using self-care as a form of distraction from life’s hardships.




Don’t get me wrong, distractions are sometimes needed. When something is overwhelming it’s often a good idea to take a step back to regroup and refocus.




However, self-care shouldn’t be used as a tool to avoid all things unpleasant. Don’t use self-care to hide. Quite the contrary, self-care should be used as a tool to help you better confront those hard times if used effectively and routinely, not high tail away from them.




If you find yourself opting to spend time staring at the sunset or avoiding someone for “me time” every time an unpleasant conversation is lurking in your future, you’re probably in truth, looking for a way to not have to deal with whatever the situation is. In the end that’s doing yourself a disservice. No amount of bubble baths will shield you from life’s curve balls.




So how can you make sure you’re not using self-care as a tool to hide behind? The best way by far, is to extend your idea of what self-care actually looks like. It’s not just spa days and mini runaway trips for moms. It’s a deep exploration of who you are and what you need, a constant journey of catering to the beautiful woman who’s taken on the title of mom.




When we limit self-care to superficial tasks only we allow for more opportunity to hide behind it. By thinking self-care is only pedicures and using sugar scrubs (which I LOVE btw) then it’s much easier to hide behind these things. After all, a sugar scrub can help you relax but it isn’t going to force you to come to terms with the fact that a relationship with a friend is sucking the life out of you. A bubble bath can help you ease into more restful sleep, but won’t necessarily bring to the light your negative self-talk. However, when you venture into other facets of self-care, like reflection, journaling, meditation, and prayer, you might come face-to-face with some of these issues. That’s a good thing, because once you identify it, you can take steps to tackle it. This is the courageous part of self-care, getting to know who you are.






It's important to get clear on what things we need to be adding in our self-care routine so we can be sure that we’re not just adding in tasks to hide behind, but things that truly help us be our authentic selves. Our self-care routine should help us avoid “survival mode” and experience life, giving us the ability to fully enjoy the good moments, and bravely take on and recover from the bad ones too.






Thank you very much for sharing you lovely post with us Laneic and taking part in #MotherhoodMondays and don't forget those of you who enjoyed Laneic's post to share, share and share so more. You can find Laneic over at My Name is Not Mommy and I'll link her social media links below. 






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The Baby Feeding Series with Mamas Doody

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Hello and welcome back to another instalment of The Baby Feeding Series, that features real stories from real parents who have experienced how hard and baffling feeding your baby can be. I want this series to be a place where parents can share their own experiences in the hopes that other parents who are struggling can feel less alone. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but it's one of the most rewarding jobs too and so I want to share their stories.


Last week we had the lovely Emily from Fresh Milk Mama who kindly offered to share her weaning journey with her son. So much of her post resonated with me, but we soon found our feet and now she's a wonderful eater, with the odd days where she wants to be fussy. This week I would like to introduce the lovely Sherene from Mama's Doody who shares her beautiful breastfeeding journey with her children so without further ado, I'd like to hand it over to the lovely Sherene...

 
My Breastfeeding Journey


When I was pregnant with my first-born I knew I would breastfeed. I took a breastfeeding class put on by the hospital and the will that no formula would touch my baby’s lips. I had looked at the ingredients on a can of formula once and could barely pronounce some of the words. I was very leery of formula and the unknown ingredients it was made of.

My first-born latched on perfectly, I was very lucky. She instinctively knew what to do. As a first time mother, right after you deliver your precious little baby, the very first thing the baby wants is mama – and milk! I remember she nursed for what seemed like a while after she was born. She had always been very vocal about her needs and it started from infancy.

I breastfed her for 10 months solid with no hiccups. But then, around the 10-month mark I noticed I wasn’t pumping but an ounce of milk when at work. My body somehow just stopped producing the 3 – 4 ounces I was accustomed to at each pumping session. A baby always gets more when nursing versus when a mother is pumping, or so I was told. And I truly believe it. A machine cannot completely mimic that of your baby. Your body knows.

So with the decline in my milk supply, I was forced to turn to formula since I worked outside of the home. Any paediatrician will tell you that babies need milk – whether breast milk or formula up to the age of one. And so I started her on formula. And she was completely fine and I got a bit of relief from the pumping and nursing sessions each day.

When my second daughter was born, I thought I knew everything there was to know about breastfeeding. After all, I was a pro the second time around, you know – been there, done that. My little one, just like her sister, latched on no problem. But my little one was a much better sleeper as a new born than her sister was, and not so vocal when she was hungry. And when we got home from the hospital her latched had changed. She started to prefer one breast over the other and nursing started to hurt. Code red!

Enter Mastitis territory. If you are a nursing mother (in the early days) and your baby doesn’t wake to feed every 2 – 3 hours – wake your baby! If nursing is hurting more than a week – get help! Do what you have to do, but wake the baby or call a lactation consultant. This could save you big time! My little one went one day when she didn’t nurse for almost 5 hours and my body went a little berserk. I also at the time was applying lanolin cream day and night. Any article of clothing I wore hurt my breasts.

I remember waking in the middle of the night one night covered in sweat as if I had just dipped in a pool. The next day I thought I had the flu, but not only did I have flu like symptoms, I also had sore boobs.

After I met with my OB, she confirmed what I had already suspected – a breast infection. Also known as Mastitis. She put me on an antibiotic and shortly thereafter I was better. It is important to note you can continue to breastfeed when you have Mastitis.

While breastfeeding the second time around wasn’t a piece of cake, I continued to do so, and it did get easier. It was around the 11-month mark, just like what happened with my oldest, my milk started to decrease. It was at that time I stopped nursing and switched to organic formula. And my daughter stayed on that till about 14-months of age. And she was totally fine. I did feel better giving her organic formula versus non organic but it is pricier.

My little one will be 2-years-old this May and I think back to when I breastfed her. I had a lot more downs than ups with her during the beginning but, since she is becoming more vocal now, and more opinionated on what she eats, I long for those days I could simply give her breast milk.

She is a full blown toddler now and often says, “Eat, eat!” Repeatedly. Of course, she takes a few bites of something then wants something else, as toddlers do. It is in these moments when I thoroughly miss being able to give her a boob or bottle to fill her hungry belly.

For any woman reading this that is unsure of breastfeeding or scared to, don’t be. It might take work in the beginning, but if you know that going in, you’re less likely to fail. And remember, if you simply cannot breastfeed – formula will keep your baby alive. And in the end, that’s all that really matters. A healthy, happy baby.
 

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About Sherene
 
A mother of two adventurous little girls that has oodles of patience whilst craving a balance with her children that's almost impossible.  Sherene works part-time for the federal government in HR and most days she can keep it together but for the days that she can't, wine helps her stay in the zone. Sherene created Mama's Doody during her maternity leave with her second daughter, something that she never imagined. But, motherhood is something that you must rant about and even though Sherene cherishes being a mother to her little girls, motherhood is not for the fainthearted and so Mama's Doody was born.


Remember you can Sherene over at Mama's Doody

 

5 Recipes For Left Over Pork

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Like most, we love a Sunday roast. This week we had some gorgeous pork and there's nothing better than making enough for the next day. So if you've got some left over pork from your Sunday Roast, don't bin it. Use it to make another scrumptious meal, we have rounded up some of my favourite left over pork recipes.


When it comes to re-heating your cooked pork, make sure it's piping hot before serving. Cooked pork can be wrapped and stored in the fridge up to three days, or if you want to freeze for another day, then it's best to use within three months. As you've already cooked the pork, some of these recipes are ideal if you want to whip up a simple and easy dinner in next to no time.

1. Roast Pork Sandwich

The pork joint for our roast this week was bigger than normal and as there was so much left over, it's perfect for using for some roast pork sandwiches. We like to use left over pork, with apple sauce and way to much stuffing in between two thick slices of fresh bread. But we've have been inspired by the wonderful world of pinterest and found some amazing recipes for Roast Pork Sandwiches, so why not try these tasty Barbeque Pulled Pork Buns


Serves 1-4

Ingredients:

325g of cooked pork, roughly
1 can of tomato sauce, or Passata equivalent
1/4 cup of Barbeque Sauce
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Small sweet bell pepper, diced
2 cups baby spinach, chopped


You can find out how to combine this all together to make tasty easy pulled pork over at Green Light Bites

2. Pork Curry

Pork curry is so simple. All you have to do use is a few spices, homemade or a jar of sauce and a some vegetables. BOOM! Cook through and serve with some rice or noodles.
Serves 1-4
Ingredients:
Any left over pork, chopped.
1 tbsp. sunflower oil
1 large white onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. curry paste
400g can chopped tomatoes,
150ml vegetable or pork stock
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced.  
You can also simply use a jar of curry sauce to whip up a curry in less than 15 minutes. You can find out how to make this amazing tasting curry over at Good To Know.

3. Pork Noodles

This recipe is another great one to try if you want to create a recipe in minutes. Toss your cooked pork into the bundles of egg noodles and stir-fry veg for a speedy meal.




Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
 

2 nests medium egg noodles
2 tsp corn flour
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. sunflower oil
250g/9oz pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces
thumb-sized piece ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
100g mange tout
1 tsp sesame seed


You can this recipe over on BBC Good Food
4. Pork Kebabs
One of the easiest ways to use up your leftover pork is by turning your leftover cuts into kebabs. As long as they're all of a similar size, they should warm at the same rate. Add spices and fresh herbs to  flavour of your pork kebabs. We love these Smoky Paprika Pork Kebabs.


Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

1tsp smoked sweet paprika
Juice of 1 lemon plus lemon wedges, to serve
2tbsp tomato puree
1 garlic clove, crushed
1tbsp olive oil
600g pork, cut into bite-sized cubes
Flat-leaf parsley and a few salt flakes, to garnish

You can fid how to make these kebabs over on Yummly

5. Pork Stew

Our go to recipe for leftover pork and gravy is super easy to put together. I love using our slow cooker, but this recipe can be easily cooked on the stove or in the oven. You chop your veg, add your left over pork, add some stock and let your slow cooker do the magic. However if you want to tingle your taste buds then you must try this Spanish Pork and Chorizo Stew.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1tbsp olive oil
500g diced pork
1tsp chopped garlic
2 onions, diced
2 green peppers, roughly chopped
2 red peppers, roughly chopped
200g cooking chorizo, sliced
500g box of passata
2tbsp tomato puree
250ml veg stock
400g new potatoes, halved
Salt and black pepper, to season

Find how to make these stew over here...

#MOTHERHOOD MONDAY FEATURING FRESH MILK MAMA

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Hello and welcome back to Motherhood Mondays, it's been a while since we had have has someone guest post for us.  So we are back with another incredible journey into motherhood and today I would love to introduce Emily from Fresh Milk Mama. Emily had kindly offered to share some funny anecdotes with being a mum, I can very much resonate with some these. I'm always finding some forms of Paw Patrol figure in my shoe. Children hide things in all types of places. I hope you enjoy reading these anecdotes as much as I did.




You Know You’re a Mom When…

The other day, I was rushing to meet a friend for lunch. I reached into my coat pocket for my chap stick, and found a crayon instead. I laughed and realized I was definitely a mom, rushing off for adult-time with a pocket full of crayons.

They crayons got me thinking about the silly little things that happen now that my husband and I are parents. These are tiny incidents that I couldn’t have imagined before I had kids, and never would have found entertaining. Now, a crayon in my pocket warms my heart, and if I’m feeling sentimental, brings tears of happiness to my eyes.

Here are some of the moments when I realize I’m definitely and irreversibly a mother. They are silly and simple, but somehow so important to me…

1. I searched all over the house for my computer mouse, and eventually found it wedged inside a shoe (I’ll give you one guess about who put it there…)

2. After breastfeeding my son, he tried to get me to breastfeed his stuffed doggy, and I immediately messaged both my husband and my sister about how cute it was

3. I made my husband a sandwich and without thinking cut off the crust and then cut it into four pieces before serving it to him

4. Carrying my purse instead of a diaper bag is a treat I look forward to each time I go out alone

5. A simple game of peek-a-boo is guaranteed to entertain my son

6. I always point dogs out to my son. I’ve caught myself pointing to dogs while out on my own more times than I care to admit. The same happens with passing helicopters.

7. Loudly exclaiming ‘yum yum yum’ when tasting food is totally normal for me now

8. My son learned to brush his hair - but thinks any brush is for his head. It was so cute the time he brushed his hair with the dish scrubbing brush!

9. Long before he said his first word, my son learned to make a ‘moo’ sound like a cow. My husband and I sometimes ‘moo’ with him for ten minutes straight… and feel happier than we ever could have imagined.

So, there are a few seemingly insignificant moments that I think are burned into my memory forever. I didn’t realize how important these tiny memories would be before I became a mother!



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About Emily

A mother to a very active 1.5 year old boy, Emily is a regular at the neighbourhood playground. She and her husband are from the USA, but currently live in Hong Kong for work. Struggling through the early days of motherhood while trying to breastfeed spurred her to launch her website, Fresh Milk Mama, in hopes of supporting other women who find breastfeeding a challenge. Follow her journey and find breastfeeding and postpartum health tips, as well as great lactation recipes, on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.

Remember you can find Beth over at Fresh Milk Mama.

If you'd like to be part of the series then please feel free to send me an email to mimiroseandme@gmail.com  and I'd be thrilled to get back to you with more information! Please get in touch even if you don't have a blog and you would simply like to share your story.

Isn't she so lovely? Look at her cheeky smile, what a darling?

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Do not let this photo fool you...

Isn't she so lovely? Look at her cheeky smile, what a darling?

I'm here to tell you all something. As much as I love this little lady, pretty much more than anything in the world. This little lady was far from darling this evening, she did something that I would never had imagined she would do. 'My child would never do that!'. Well this darling did, and so I thought I would share...

We gave each other kisses and cuddles before tucking this 'little darling' into her bed, read her a story and sang her a lullaby. She then drifted off into slumber. Finally, she's asleep. It's now time to chill and relax, so I go downstairs into the kitchen to make myself cup of tea. I snuggled up with the husband to drink my tea and watch a bit of Netflix. Anyway back to why you're here, my 'little darling'.
About and hour or so later I go back upstairs to go and check on our daughter. I try to ninja into the room, with the use of the torch on my phone to see her sleeping, like most nights. Oh crap, she's awake! What?! She's naked! WTF! I then turn on her bedroom light and my daughter begins to jump on the bed, very excited whilst singing 5 Little Monkey's. But then, something rolled onto my foot, WT...Is that poop? The 'little darling' continued to jump on the bed along with drops of poop, can you imagine? FML!

But it gets better...

'I feed Milo', 'I feed Milo'! What?!
Just so you know, Milo is her special sheep dog that she has for bed time. As she is jumping and shouting 'I feed Milo', she then shows me!  I'm sure that I don't need to tell you what she was feeding that poor dog!. I was disgusted! Eurgh! But I now had to clean this sh*t up. Be a mum, they said, it will be fun, they said!

So this...'little darling' is very far from darling this evening.
This, however is not the only time that I have been greeted by a naked and free baby. My husband and I had some friends over for some dinner and we took our daughter to bed, she was very reluctant to go. As toddlers do. After a couple of hours, I go to check on our daughter and she's completely naked with a pair of tights on her head. Our daughter had somehow managed to get to her tight draw, unravel every pair, throw them everywhere before trying out a pair on her head. She clearly had way too much fun because she was in a very deep sleep. I managed to get a nappy and a gro on her, mama got some skills.
I really don't want this whole naked thing to become too much of a regular thing and so I asked other parents for advice and googled. I found that a surprising number of toddlers do this whole 'lets get naked thing'. It's perfectly normal and usually for a bit of attention, but it can also be due to boredom or the sheer excitement of being' free'! I think we all would if we could. Even though as parents we want to encourage independence, it can however be an irritating habit and so with a little help I have come up with a few ways to prevent any nakedness at night time...
1. Look at your schedule. If your child is taking off their nappy at naptime every day, maybe they are not as tired as you think. Perhaps it's time to ditch nap time or make an earlier nap time.
2. Toddlers love naked time, it gives them a sense of freedom. Make a point of letting them have some time everyday where they can practice taking their clothes and nappy off and on. When it comes to nap time or bed time remind them that these are not times for nakedness.
3. What's your reaction? Do you make a big deal out of finding them naked? Do you smile and laugh about it? I know the first time I found my daughter naked and bouncing along with her poop, I was completely shocked, disgusted and then laughed at it. Attention is attention and perhaps it's more than enough to encourage that type of behaviour. If it happens again, I think I will try and stay calm and not feel completely grossed out when poop falls on my foot!!!! 
4. If all else fails, try using clothes or a Gro Bag until they understand that nap time and bed time are not naked time. For us, we used her Gro Bag one night, but she escaped from the Gro Bag and got naked! Onto plan B, underwear. I would put her in a nappy, put some underwear on and then a baby gro. But she yet to escape from this one.
Remember that this, like all phases of a child's development, won't last forever. After a while your toddler will lose interest in their new game and find something new that will sure frustrate you!

The Baby Feeding Series with Pickle and Poppet

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Hello and welcome back to another instalment of The Baby Feeding Series, that features real stories from real parents who have experienced how hard and baffling feeding your baby can be. I want this series to be a place where parents can share their own experiences in the hopes that other parents who are struggling can feel less alone. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but it's one of the most rewarding jobs too and so I want to share their stories.


Last week we had the lovely Emily from Fresh Milk Mama who kindly shared her weaning journey with her little boy. Weaning can be such a daunting thing for a parent. I remember being feeling so anxious when we started to wean and I would panic at the slightest noise my daughter made, which is completely normal for a new parent. We tried weaning our daughter at 6 months because she was showing the signs, but she actually wasn't ready, which baffled us a little bit. We left it for a while and went back to weaning and for us it seemed as if a combination of soft foods and baby-led snacking seemed to be the best way. If you have a weaning story to share then please get in touch, we would love for you to guest post for us. 
This week we shall be talking about breastfeeding because it's such a great topic to talk about and one that gets parents talking. Breastfeeding is beautiful, it's natural and we all know that it's the best thing you can do for your baby. But breastfeeding is not for everyone and that's OK. The whole reason I started a feeding series was so parents could have a place to share their stories in the hopes to help and encourage other parents that could be facing similar situations to feel like they are not alone. Parenting is baffling. There are moments where we feel elated, there are moments where all we feel is sadness and not forgetting moments where we feel as if we are never going to be good enough. Despite all these feelings we have to be thankful and grateful for them, treasure them almost. In a round about way because of these moments we have become better parents, parents that our children will be proud of, so it's important to not see them as a failure but the making of you.


I think I've rambled on enough already and so I would like to introduce my lovely friend Jo, from Pickle and Poppet who has written a lovely post about how different it was to breastfeed her two children and in ways that you wouldn't imagine.


My Breastfeeding Journeys with my two children

When I was younger, before I even thought of babies, I always associated feeding babies with formula milk and bottles. I can vaguely remember one of my mum's friends breastfeeding. I remember being asked to leave the room and the curtains were closed. Other than that I had never seen mothers breastfeed.

That was until my sister done it. I think that she inspired me into trying it when and if I had babies. So, when I became pregnant I was adamant that I was going to breastfeed.

I am one of the lucky ones, I managed to breastfeed both my babies.
I had two very different experiences and would you believe it if I told you that my youngest was the hardest?
Feeding my First Born.

Reuben took to the breast immediately. There was no problem what so ever. Every single feed he latched on perfectly. The nurses at the hospital helped me with different positions so that I was comfortable with him whilst feeding, they suggested using the rugby ball hold sometimes as he was a heavy baby (9lb).

He was such a natural that he didn't lose any birth weight, he gained from the start.

I did everything I was supposed to do. Timed each feed and noted them down. Noted down which side he fed from so that I could happily switch between breasts. It was a grade A effort!
Feeding my Second.
Jessica was harder. She didn't seem to be able to open her mouth wide enough to latch on. I assumed I would be able to feed her as easily as I did Reuben and so left the hospital without getting them to check she was latching properly, after all I knew what I was doing.

It only took a couple of days before the pain started. Not the pain of initially breastfeeding (it does hurt even if you get the latch right) but a pain so intense I knew it was an incorrect latch. The midwife tried to help me but she struggled, I don't think she was confident with it anyway. Jessica lost some of her birth weight which is completely normal but I blamed myself for it. I resorted to YouTube videos and said if she gained weight at her next weigh in in a few days then fine, if she hadn't I was switching to bottle.

I was so worried with the latch, I concentrated on that so much that I would forget which side I needed to feed from and for a while I had one breast considerably bigger than the other and it took a while to balance them back out.

She did eventually get the latch right and gain weight. But it was so much harder than the first time round.

If I had to give myself advice on breastfeeding I would say:

Don't put yourself under too much pressure.

It does hurt, buy a good nipple cream.

Go out! Feed in public. Don't worry about other people, they will not be staring at you. To be honest they won't notice you, you are feeding your baby really

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About Jo

Hi there, my name is Jo and I am a parenting and lifestyle blogger over at Pickle and Poppet. I’m a 30-something year old mummy of two and wife from East Anglia. I work part-time in insurance but I am currently on maternity leave, enjoying the madness of a new baby whilst juggling the busy life of a 3 year old. I have recently found a love in baking and love trying out new toddler friendly recipes.
Some of my favourite things to do include family walks (especially in autumn when the colours are so beautiful), reading, and knitting (although I’m still practising this one).


Remember you can find Jo over at Pickle and Poppet.

If you'd like to be a part of the series then please feel free to send me an email to mimiroseandme@gmail.com  and I'd be thrilled to get back to you with more information! Please get in touch even if you don't have a blog and you would simply like to share your story.

To My Husband On Our Fourth Anniversary

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 Four years ago today we stood at the altar, and made our promises to one another. We were filled with so many hopes, dreams and looking forward to all the memories we were yet to create. Before getting married we knew that our life would be different, our marriage would be different. We would always put one another first, say I love you every day....

But life happened....

In the throes our creating our life together I began to realise that I didn't tell you how much you actually mean to me. Of course we say I love you to one another but I soon realised that I forgot to express how important you are to me and so here on our fourth anniversary I want to tell you...


Four years ago today I remember taking the longest walk in my life. The most important walk that I will probably ever make. I remember those feelings as if it was yesterday, walking to you trying to hold back the tears...Finally what seemed like forever I made it to you. You gave me that cheeky wink, you always give me and then told me that I am beautiful. I knew that you were the one for me pretty much as soon as I met you. As corny as it sounds. It was love at first sight. Not having the courage to actually tell you was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and with the help of others I made it you. I'm so grateful and thankful for you.


In these four years as husband and wife we have learned so many valuable lessons, ones that are more important than we had ever imagined. We have had career changes, a flat, building our forever home, two towns, a beautiful little girl and so many more magical memories. Not forgetting the harder moments. The family disputes, separations, deaths, the hospital stays, troubling times with conceiving and our own issues as a couple.


There have been moments of elation, moments where all we feel is sadness and not forgetting moments where we feel as if we are never going to be good enough. Despite it all my love, we have to be thankful and grateful for these moments, treasure them almost. In a way by going through these moments as husband and wife has made us better people, they have most definitely made us better parents to our daughter. It's so important to see the dark moments not as failure, but actually the making of us.


Being a parent has most definitely changed our marriage and us. All that I know is that our daughter adores you and I honestly couldn't have wished for a better father for our daughter. From the day we found out we were expecting you was with me every step of the way. You were so encouraging and always hands on with her with changing nappies, giving her a bath, reading a bed time story and soothing her when she cries. Every step of the way! I think that your presence and your effort at the beginning has helped so much with your bond with our daughter.  There really is nothing more beautiful than a love between father and his daughter. There's just something about those moments when you just take her in your arms, put her on your shoulders, tuck her in at night, or just taking her hand. It makes my heart melt every time.


With that I just want to wish you a very happy fourth anniversary and to thank you. Thank you for working so hard to provide us, your hard work is always appreciated. Thank you for loving me, I know it's not always easy, thank you for our daughter and most importantly thank you for being you.

Love you always and forever...

OH MY BLOG: The Mum Edition with Lisa Cowan

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Oh My Blog is a monthly interview series, where fellow bloggers come together to answer a series of questions on a specific theme. This is a chance to get acquainted with a whole range of bloggers, some of whom you may not have heard of before, and learn a little more about them!



This month, the theme is Mums (because it’s Mother’s Day soon!) and we’re hosting Lisa from Lisa Cowan

Introduce us to your mum. What’s her name? What does she do? Reveal her age if you dare!
Hey! My mum is Sue, or as I like to call her, Suzie poo’s or Nana Sue. She’s a single mama that’s had it rough but always makes the best out of a bad bunch. She’s a support worker for clients with learning disabilities. She’s 54 and has no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

What’s the one thing your mum always used to say to you?
‘Well, it’s your own fault’. My mum’s not one for wise words, but comes from a family of tough love.

Someone’s playing your mum in a film. Who is it and why?
Honestly, I couldn’t pick an actress to play my mum in a film, no one would be able to act like her.

She’s won the lottery. What’s the first thing your mum buys for herself?
A washing machine. No joke. The woman is a stubborn mule and fails to treat herself, and only buys what she needs. As of now, her washer is on it’s way out and that’s probably what she would buy. Or maybe a new car!

What embarrassing story about you does she always tell when you meet new people?
Not really any stories but she always tells them she calls me Mona Lisa or Kevin from Kevin and Perry because ‘it’s so unfair’.

What are your plans for Mother’s Day this year?
This year is my first Mother’s Day, and my mum’s first Nana’s day too. I’m unsure of our plans as my partner is working and we’re not sure if my mum is. I know that me and my brothers will spoil my mum whether she’s home on the day, or before.

What’s her favourite TV show at the moment?
Her favourite TV show at the moment is The Voice, it’s the only thing we agree on watching together.

What’s the biggest or most important thing that your mum inspired you to do?
My mum inspired me to cook. She used to cook a lot when I was a young child and it stopped, but it always made me want to become a better cook.

Your round at the bar! What’s your mum drinking?
A coke haha! She used to drink half of Carling, but over the past few years has stopped drinking and you wouldn’t catch her at the bar!

What’s the biggest different between you and your mum?
The biggest difference between me and my mum is our personalities. She’s a clean freak, where as I like creative mess. She’s a person who wants to do everything in one minute, where as I plan for an entire day. I’m a softie and she’s a tough nut. We’re both extremely stubborn though.

Most important question of the lot. What is your mum’s stance on 50 Shades of Grey? Does she love it? Hate it? Not even know what it is?
Oh goodness me. She brought it up at the dinner table and started talking about it so yeah, she loves it. However, she will always say that it’s naff, even after reading all three books.

What’s your favourite memory of your mum?
My favourite memory of my mum is my mum on holiday. Carefree lady away from home dancing the night away.

What do you think your mum was like as a kid?
I’ve been told many stories, apparently my mum took on the motherly role to her younger siblings, but apparently she was a crazy kid always up to mischief.

Cast your mind back a bit; what was the thing you did as a child or teenager that made your mum the angriest she has ever been with you?
I think what made my mum the angriest was finding out I was at a party, but my friends thought it was funny to joke that they were all taking drugs while I was on the phone to her. That did not go down well.

Finally, what’s the BEST piece of advice your mum ever gave to you?
Is it bad to say I can’t remember my mum ever giving me a piece of advice? She just tells me ‘Don’t lose it’ or ‘Have you got’. I never really thought about it before, but it’s just not the type of person my mama is!

To hear more from Lisa Cowan, head over to her blog and make sure to follow her on social media!




Oh My Blog!

#MOTHERHOODMONDAYS FEATURING HAPPILY AVERAGE MOM

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Hello you lovely lot and welcome back to another instalment of the #MotherhoodMondays guest post series; a weekly feature for mothers to share their stories about their incredible journeys of motherhood in all kinds of forms. Don't forget to get in touch if you want out get involved, we're always looking for some more mamas to guest post for us.

For this weeks feature we have the lovely Kaylee from Happily Average Mom. I was so happy when KayLee appeared in my mail inbox with this lovely post about preparing her little girl for her baby brother. I have been so eager to share Kaylee's post on my blog and I am sure that many people who may be considering baby #2 or already blessed with another baby would definitely get something from this post. So with this I shall hand you over to Kaylee...
Hi, my name is KayLee I'm a very average 23 year old Mother of 2, living in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. I'm a public library worker that stays up way too late reading on a daily basis, an avid consumer of way too much coffee, and way too deep of a thinker for how jovial I generally am. Nice to meet you

Preparing baby #1 for baby #2



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Whether or not its planned , bringing another small creature home to your first born can be a trying proposition. Your little one is used to having all of your attention, all of the time. When you are doing anything, even the day to day basics their feelings are your first priority. Until they are swept under the rug in favor of this new kid. Parents may not think of it this way of course, in your mind you would never purposely choose to disappoint your child, but you will.

Since you have already had a baby I don't need to tell you how much work they are. The definition of “labor of love” is taking care of a tiny human created in your image. Now imagine for a second that another less-tiny human needs you to get them juice in their special pink Paw Patrol cup that has been missing for two weeks, while you're breastfeeding. Good luck with that.
Looking past disappointing your already born kid, think of the jealousy. When I decided to have baby number two I started reading other people's first hand accounts of making their child into a sibling. Every other article was a horror story, “my son bit the baby when I was in the other room”, “My little girl ran and jumped on top of me while I was feeding the baby”, and my personal favourite mini-heart attack starter “My kid put a blanket on top of the baby and tried to squish them”. HORROR STORIES. I was so afraid of my daughter hurting her brother when he got here it actually kept me awake at night , thinking of horrible scenarios and how to prevent them. Get rid of all the sharp objects in the house?, maybe throw away all the blankets?, put the baby in a plastic hamster wheel like bubble. As my concern became border line insanity I came to the conclusion the best option was to take action right then and there.

That's when I started trying to find ways to create a bond between them before he came into the world and make sure not to diminish our mother daughter bond in the process. I took in so much information from so many sources it became a jumble of dos and don'ts floating around my already unravelling preggo brain. I want to share what worked for us with other parents out here getting ready to take the plunge into dual parenthood.

These are 10 tips for successful dual parenting. Keep in mind nothing works the same for everyone. Every child as well as every circumstance is  different and requires different planning and execution. We did things  you might not do. Like got a puppy, made a special big girl bedroom , and assigned chores. I encourage you, dear reader, to take what works for you from this list and toss the rest. That's just how parenting works.
 
#1 Know your child. (the one you already have)


You need to start being very aware of your child's personality. Are they sensitive, independent, cuddly, or maybe distant? Knowing these traits are going to help you find the best ways to bring your kids together. My daughter is soft hearted , cuddly, but very short tempered. Knowing these things was extremely helpful in the second baby process. I knew that cuddling my son without giver her some time on the couch during or immediately after would really hurt her ,where as borrowing her blanket for him while I did laundry wouldn’t matter to her at all. It’s these little things that are a window into which emotional crises can be averted and which ones are just going to have to be suffered through.  You're not always going to sail smoothly, even when you know your child as well as possible, but taking an extra look into the specifics of their personality is going to help you to navigate the waters.

  
 #2 Find a way to graduate your child to “Big Kid”
Is being a grown-up fun? Compared to childhood ,no not really but does it have its perks? Yes. Think of this in mini version for your mini me. Start throwing around the term “Big Kid” in daily conversations like “oh, you put your shoes on all by yourself, just like a big girl!”. Use it in positive interactions with an excited tone, the goal is for your child to want to be this big kid you speak of.

When I was in early pregnancy with my son we moved my daughter Lilah into her “big girl” room. This room used to be her play room. We had to really make it into an exciting thing so that she didn't feel that her bedroom was being taken away and her play room was becoming just a bedroom (bummer). So after a new coat of paint , a new big girl bed and some posters, that room was her BIG GIRL ROOM!<<<(excited voice)

I know not everyone can make a new room exactly, but think along the lines of big kid stuff. This transition from “mommys baby” to “big kid” is going to help foster independence in your child. It's also going to help with jealousy because being a big kid means they have a kind of possession over the baby, like you do.
Its their baby, not just another baby. Which brings me to the next point.

#3 Its “Our” baby
Kids of any age like to have stuff, stuff they can tell other people is “mine!”. Little people love the word mine. So let the baby be theirs too. “ You're going to have a new baby brother or sister!” sounds so much more inclusive than “we are having another baby!”. It's a simple change in wording that makes all the difference to little ears. Your child wants to be included in this choice, they want to get something out of it too.

#4 Take them to at least one ultrasound

I know, I know... small room, soft lighting, special chance to see your growing baby and a small noisy child bouncing around the room. Living the dream right? Though sometimes not ideal for you it's important to let your child see the grainy black and white amoeba that is your baby. They need to understand that it's real, it's happening, this is not a drill. Think about if someone came up and told you they bought you a new car, you would say “OG! thank you! where is it?” And they would say “well we're building it, but you'll definitely have it in almost a year”. You would then say” Yeah right “.
You are your kid and the baby is that new car. You can't just wait nine months, leave for a couple days and come home with this tiny person they are supposed to automatically love. They need to see, hear and feel the baby. Just one appointment with some child induced inconvenience won't kill you or your ultrasound technician.
Hey maybe they will be super sweet and well behaved and you can take them to all of them (in a perfect world).

#5 Make it special
I have seen so many great ideas on this topic. Big sibling parties and gifts to kiddo from baby are my favorites. When my son was born we gave Lilah a gift from her new brother, just a little teddy bear and coloring stuff but it meant the world to her. It's a good icebreaker for the new siblings. I always feel good about meeting people if they give me stuff. Who doesn’t? I didn't throw Lilah a party. I do love the idea of a “Big Sibling” party but it depends on how your household is running around baby arrival time. If you are stressed don't do it, it won't be fun. If all is floating along peacefully I think it's a great idea.

#6 Bring them with you
You and your spouse are gonna go buy cute baby things and it would just be so much more convenient if kiddo stayed with grandma this time. WRONG. Yes it will be more convenient today but not in the long run. Bring them along, let them pick out things for baby, let them be as included in decision making as possible. Without being ridiculous of course. Shopping, room decorating, or onesie folding let them help.
Don't get me wrong, the grown-ups need date night. I love date night, for goodness sakes go on date night! Just don't come back with stacks of stuff for baby. Reasoning behind this is as I mentioned earlier it's our baby (remember that part?) our baby, not your baby. Imagine if your life partner went out and got all the babies stuff without even consulting you on it. How would you feel? The answer is some form of left out. You can definitely buy stuff for the baby on your own, but if you're planning the big baby shopping trip take your little one for counsel on your purchases.
 
#7 Don't forget about them
I know someone is reading this thinking “ I could never forget my child”. I don't mean it in the literal sense of forgetting them, I don't mean leaving them somewhere or forgetting you have a child. What I'm trying to say with this is don't look at them as something old and baby as something new. In all of the hustle and bustle of this trimester and that crib set it's easy to forget “how was school today?” and “I love that picture you drew”. Don't forget them. Stay in the moment. Baby will be here soon enough, but your little one needs you to still be as interested (if not more) in their day to day lives. Just like usual.

#8 Make them your partner (if they want to be)
One of the best things we did with Lilah to help her adjust to her brother was give her chores. At almost four years old Lilah became responsible for taking her laundry to the laundry room. Then shortly after she became my diaper pit-crew (handing me diapers and wipes). Now at five she picks up the living room once a week, takes her laundry to the laundry room, helps with diapers and picks up her own room. I'm not trying to be dishonest here, so let me tell you sometimes it's a battle. We follow through with rewards and praise for completing chores and consequences for failure to comply. I believe having these things that are hers, and only hers to do has helped foster both independence and responsibility. The only amendment i have to this tip is to never force your child to help with the baby chores. If you make them help with diapers or clean up after baby it has the potential to create a quiet resentment between them and that could be lasting. Only volunteers aloud on diaper pit-crew.

#9 Prepare yourself, as much as you prepare them
I don't think anyone is ever “ready” for parenthood. The first time or the second time around. Preparation doesn't mean readiness. If you take the time to think out how you are going to handle situations between little number 1 and little number 2, and research what works for other multiple child families, you might have a better grip on what to do when difficulty arises. When I was pregnant the second time around I spent so much time reading about integrating the new baby into my daughter's life, but not a lot of time reading about ways I should be preparing. You need to decide how you're going to handle sippy cup squabbles, bedtime fights, plushy property wars, and more. You obviously won't have a plan for everything. Let's just face it , that's not a thing. What you can do is look at ideas to implement in your household. Time out chairs , calming glitter hourglass bottles, sticker charts, and quiet time places are all great options to consider.

#10 It's okay for your child to have mixed feelings
Imagine your spouse brought home a new husband or wife. Moved in all of their things , told you they were staying and you had to deal with it. What would you do? In most cases the response is “Not happening buddy”.

That's how your child feels about this.
You are asking your kid to share you. People in general do not like to share loved ones. If your little one feels sad, unsure, or even angry about new baby it's okay. You of course need to monitor the situation to make sure they are expressing those feelings in safe acceptable ways. My daughter who is now five recently told her dad that she liked it better before her brother and didn't want a sibling. This is almost two years after Kasey was born. That's okay. Sharing space and attention is hard. All you can do is listen to their concerns and complaints, support them, and move forward with life. 
Thank you very much for sharing you lovely post with us KayLee and taking part in #MotherhoodMondays and don't forget those of you who enjoyed KayLee's post to share, share and share so more. You can find KayLee over at Happily Average Mom and I'll link her social media links below.
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