My Five Breastfeeding Mistakes

29 January 2018

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All throughout my pregnancy with Little A I knew that I wanted to breastfeed not because of what is fuelled down our throats 'Breast is best' but because everyone around me had successfully breastfed their children and I wanted to give it a go, I myself was breastfed for three years.

I liked the idea of mother's milk containing anti bodies and the fact that it changed overtime to suit your baby, baby has a cold, the milk would change to help her, it's summer so the milk would turn watery to accommodate baby's thirst and so much more - what more could I want for my baby! I won't go into more details of the benefits of breastfeeding as we hear it all the time.

Nevertheless, na├»ve old me prodded along the pregnancy without doing any research into breastfeeding. It never crossed my mind that I should because breastfeeding is a wonderful and natural experience, you just pop the baby on and that's it! This is a mistake or what I prefer to call a  sin that I committed which I regret till this day and I know I probably will till the end of time.

By the end of this post, you probably think I am the most stupid person in the world but regardless of what you think I want to share my experience with you all because if any of you or anyone around you intend to breastfeed the little ones, you don't make the same mistakes that I did.

So here goes... this is long so go and grab a cup of tea and a biscuit first!

Little A and I didn’t have the best of beginnings, she had a 4 day neonatal stay and I was left disabled unable to visit (you can read the details here). Due to her Jaundice even when I was at the hospital with her I was told by the Doctors that she needed formula to help her otherwise such and such can happen. With her being my Rainbow baby and being already poked with needles and drips, my mind took a u-turn for the negative and I just said ‘you obviously know better than me, just help her get better please,’.

Even though, I now know that some breastfed babies who end up with Jaundice don’t need formula at all, they just need time - I still don’t regret my decision on agreeing to give her formula at NICU because I just wanted to avoid the worst case scenario.

I still had the intention to breastfeed.

When I had been at the hospital I thought I was doing well because feeding her did help get her sugar levels up but I guess the jaundice and me being ordered to go home hindered our journey from the very beginning.

Little A came home on 28th February and I fed her all night, she wouldn’t settle and I thought my milk wasn’t enough, it was only day 4 so maybe it hadn’t come properly so ended up giving 30ml of formula that the hospital had given.

MISTAKE No1!


The baby needs to suck, suck and suck to send a message to your body to make milk! It didn’t matter if my milk hadn’t come in or not, this is somewhat how most new breastfeeding mums feel in the first few days as it’s difficult but you need to persevere.

The next day Little A was weighed and she had dropped weight slightly which is expected of all babies and I made the decision to ditch the formula and exclusively breastfeed regardless of whatever the situation.

One of the signs that your baby is getting milk is baby having regular wet and dirty nappies which she was so we had a nothing to worry about. Come Monday, 6th March, day 10, I had a visit from the Health Visitor and I happily gloated that I had been exclusively breastfeeding for the past few days. Little A was then weighed and the Health Visitor was not happy - Little A had not lost weight but her weight had stagnated. I was advised that I had to give her 20ml top ups of formula after breastfeeding her. So that's what we did.

MISTAKE No2!

Little A was only 10 days old! Most babies do not regain their birth weight in this time, especially breastfed babies.

I was then visited by the Midwife and was told to continue with the Health Visitor's advice, I was also told that Little A's weight would be checked again on a certain date and if she hadn't regained her birth weight then she would be referred to the hospital. Hearing this, alarm bells began ringing in my ears at the thought of Little A being hospitalised again, being separated from her again, her getting poked and prodded again - so in order to avoid this we continued with the advice.

MISTAKE No3!

We were not just helping her to regain weight by topping up with formula after feeds, we were stretching her little stomach.

Little A regained her weight and I again expressed my wish to exclusively breastfeed. I was told to stop all the top ups straightaway and just breastfeed and her weight would be checked again in three days.

MISTAKE No4!


Stopping all the top ups straightaway was not the right advice, this should have been done gradually to get Little A used to it. In those three days, I breastfed and she went through a growth spurt and was feeding all the time. I kept hearing, 'maybe she wants the formula,' ' she's still hungry' ' she's not getting enough milk,' to the extent that I began to resent feeding her but I still persevered.

Along came the Midwife and weighed Little A - again, her weight stagnated. She was nor gaining or losing weight, it was just stuck. Little A was checked for tongue tie and her latch that I thought should have been better was said to be absolutely fine.

By this time, I had lost all confidence in myself, I was given leaflets of times and places of breastfeeding cafes that I could attend. The health professionals, GP, Midwife and Health Visitor all knew that I could not walk, I was not offered a home visit by a breastfeeding counsellor which I now know could have happened. It was not investigated why she wasn't gaining weight, I was asked if I had a breast pump and when I said that I didn't I was told that it didn't matter.

MISTAKE No5!

I should have been told that it did matter! I now know that women in my situation who might be effected with low supply pump after each feed to help increase it. The formula top ups could have been top ups of expressed milk. Instead I was told that babies are clever and manipulating human beings and that Little A was craving formula.

I then made the difficult decision to combine feed, for weeks this was all over the place but eventually turned into three bottles a day so Little A was still getting majority of breast milk. Her weight gain was brilliant but of course that wasn't just down those three bottles because babies cannot survive on just three feeds a day, it was my milk that was helping her.

But I still had a lack in confidence, low self esteem, began to feel like a complete failure because I couldn't exclusively breastfeed when things could have been really different for us and it is sad that feeding has overshadowed our first year.

I knew that when babies began solid foods they gradually and slowly dropped milk feeds. So I decided that if she did drop a feed it'd be a bottle if it were a breastfeed I'd swap it the other way around. I can confirm that now at 11 months and 5 days old, Little A no longer has any bottles it is just breastmilk and solids. I do feel proud of us both that we managed to make this big change when all along I was getting told that babies who are combine fed end up rejecting mother's milk and prefer the bottle as that is much easier. However, Little A, always preferred me compared to the formula.

I just want to make a few things clear, I have nothing against formula feeding because I have experience of both I actually salute those mothers who do formula feed their babies because it is such hard work! Sterilising, making up the bottles especially in those first few weeks when babies are very unpredictable and have no routine whereas now that I just breastfeed I don't have to make Little A wait, I don't have to worry about having all the right feeding equipment in my bag when we go out. I don't have to get out of bed when she wakes up for a feed in the middle of the night!

A month or so ago, it was on the news that new mothers in certain areas would be getting incentives such as vouchers to encourage them to breastfeed their children - I just wanted to say that I find that very shameful because the low breastfeeding rates in this country is only because the support is lacking. Health professionals complain about the low rates but are the ones to quickly suggest formula to mothers like me.

According to the NHS website, breastfeeding is quite popular in this country - around 75% of mothers begin breastfeeding and at around three months old 17% are still exclusively breastfed. What happened to the rest of 58% of mothers who began breastfeeding? Something to think about!

*~*~*

Before I say goodbye I just wanted to add that I am not a medical professional, I have only just put forward my experience, if you do find yourself in a similar situation as me - do your research and ask for help and make the decision that is right for you and your baby because at the end of the day, a happy mummy equals to a happy baby.




Rhyming with Wine
Letters to my Daughter

The Sunshine Blogger Award

26 January 2018

Credit: Not me!
I felt so overwhelmed with emotions when I came home from work yesterday and found out that the lovely Malorie had nominated me for this award! It has not even been a month since I joined the blogging world so I was really not expecting this at all!

Thank you so much Malorie! Do go check out her wonderful blog Maloreads - from lifestyle to books to challenges, she's got it all!

You can connect with Malorie here:
Twitter,
Instagram,
Goodreads,
Bloglovin,
Pinterest.

Before I dive into answering the questions, here are the rules!

1. Thank the awesome blogger who nominated you!
2. Answer all of the 11 questions you were asked by the blogger.
3. Nominate further 11 bloggers and ask them your own 11 questions!
4. List the rules in your post as well the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or blog.

So without further ado, let's answer!
(Just be warned I do get carried away with my answers)

*~*~*

1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
I have always found myself wanting to say something especially since becoming a mother. Being the only one out of all my friends to have a baby, I'd think twice whether my friends want to hear about Little A's random poop explosion or how I ended up going out and not realising that I have baby puke all over me or being very sleep deprived I wore my clothes the wrong way round and only realised in the evening - these are just a few examples.

So coming across parenting blogs I realised that this is what I want! I didn't know that the blogging community was so big, I first came across vloggers on YouTube then bloggers. Since I have always had a passion for writing I thought why not combine being a Mum and writing!

2. What's been your favourite post from your blog so far?
My favourite so far is the one that was the most difficult to write emotionally, 'Birth and Beyond: How I Really Feel' Little A's birth story. I have put this as my favourite because when I read it, I can feel proud of myself that I actually managed to write that and share such a personal and to an extent a traumatic experience with the world. I wrote this with the hope that someone may read it and it encourages them to open up their feelings as well one way or another because from my own experience I know that keeping such feelings bottled up can only do damage not good.

3. What's your favourite social media platform?
Twitter! I am actually only active on Twitter although I have made Facebook and Instagram accounts but I find twitter so simple and easy to use and communicate with fellow bloggers.

4. What's your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
At first I was confused as to what I can write here but thinking about it, there are two which are connected, it is actually that I achieved a Merit in my Masters of Laws which I did whilst I was pregnant with my first born, my Angel baby, an eventful and emotional pregnancy. Coinciding with this, managing to attend my graduation ceremony a little over a month after my son grew his angel wings. I remember to not wanting to be there, not wanting to face the happy crowds but I just told myself that my son would be so proud of me today. So I walked onto the stage, keeping my son in my mind and smiled an actual genuine smile.

5. What's a short-term goal you wish to accomplish before the end of the year?
I have a couple of goals for this year that I wish to achieve by the end of the year which are listed here but if I had to choose one between them all then it would have to be moving to a bigger home. With Little A growing up so quickly she needs more space, everyday is like a reminder that we need to move. Although, some people do manage with the space that we have and I feel grateful for what we have but I'd like her to have the freedom that I had when I was a child. This goal, I am confident, will be achieved by the summer.

6. What's your ideal of day?
An ideal day would be a day where I'd manage to get everything done. Whether that's going to work, cooking, cleaning, blogging, keeping Little A happy and entertained, eating (I sometimes forget).

7. What's your favourite book?
If you had asked me this question 10 years ago I would have instantly wrote either the Twilight or the Harry Potter books but now I really don't have a favourite. Anything that I may come across and read and end up liking will become my favourite for the time being.

8. Who's your celebrity crush?
If I was younger I probably would have written Johnny Depp or Gareth Barry (footballer) but now I actually don't have one! I'm so boring, right?

9. Who would you most like to sit next to on a 10-hour flight and why?
My Mum! This is because we both would always have something to talk about and she would take good care of Little A when I'd want to rest my eyes..

10. If you could go back in time to witness a historical event, and only witness it, which event would you pick?
There are many historical events that I would like to witness and change but the one event that I would happily witness and not want to change would be in 1918 when British women first got to vote. It really would have been impeccable and surreal to witness this great achievement.

11. Is there a country you have always wanted to visit, and if so, where?
This is a difficult one! It would have to be a tie between Turkey and Canada! Turkey because of its history and culture and Canada because I have no idea why but I have this strange obsession with Canada, I think Canada is the only other country in the world that I can see myself living in other than the UK.

*~*~*

I now nominate..

Kerry from The Mummy Thomas blog
Hannah from Hannah The Mad Dog.
Rebecca from Rebecca Reviews.
Lucy from Lucy at Home.
Millie Berman
Wendy from the Nap Time Natter.

My questions are:

1. Who or what is your blogging inspiration?
2. What are your hobbies other than blogging?
3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
4. If you could travel into the future which year would go to and why?
5. What's your favourite quote?
6. What was the last thing you ate?
7. What's the first thing you notice about people?
8. Cookies, cakes or doughnuts?
9. Do you bulk write your posts or write as you go along?
10. When is your birthday?
11. Any advice for the younger you?

*~*~*

Thank you everyone for stopping by and don't forget to leave your lovely thoughts below!

Back to Work Blues

22 January 2018


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The last time I worked was before I knew I was pregnant with Little A all the way back in 2016. I had applied here and there during the pregnancy but wasn’t getting anywhere so I took that as a sign to just put up my feet and truthfully speaking it just didn’t begin to sit right with me to start a new role, having to then leave.

Now 1.5 years later, I am back at work! I am ever so excited to get out there and do my best but my heart felt a ping when I left the door for the first time for work last week and not because of the dramatic fashion that it all occurred in, I will go into detail later, but because I was leaving my 11 month old baby girl behind.

Although, I was only going to be away for just half of the day and have been away for that amount of time from her before, this just felt completely different. Perhaps because I knew this was going to be a regular occurrence from now on, whatever the reason, I did end up questioning myself on the journey there as to whether or not I was doing the right thing - a dilemma, I guess all parents go through when hitting this milestone.

I reminded myself that I am doing this for her and to work towards a better future for her and this is the one thing that is keeping me motivated.

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The day began at 4:30am and I aimed to leave home by 6am. Little A normally is up for the day at 6am but today she was up half an hour early, she knew I was going out as she has cleverly made the association of wearing a coat and going out. I remember walking into our room to say goodbye, gave her a kiss and a cuddle and left as she held onto the cot bars and watched me like a prisoner.

I missed a few steps and fell down the stairs causing me to think ‘is this a sign?’ Of course not! After a dizzy spell, I got back up on my feet, after considering calling work and saying I can’t make it today as was in pain but I work as a Supply and knew if I didn’t go, it would cause a huge chain of problems, it was also my first assignment so I didn’t want to make a bad first impression!

So off I went limping into the freezing cold, I can’t remember when was the last time I had leave home this early and forgot how cold it can be so early on! I managed to get to the school on time after ending up on the wrong bus (seriously a great start for me, right?). The next couple of hours was spent standing and walking around keeping the students in check.

I will be honest, I just love the feeling of having authority!

The journey home was exciting, the feeling of walking in through the door and seeing Little A, I just could not wait. Her face instantly lit up when she saw me but still stared at me quizzingly, as if trying to ask me where had I been, why didn’t I make her breakfast today, why didn’t I feed her today - so many questions she probably wanted to ask but couldn’t.

Unfortunately, for the both of us, I had to leave again for the hospital as my foot was in a really bad condition, I am a bit better now as I write this, I am able to walk without my crutches thankfully. But this is an experience I don’t think I will ever forget! Lots of hurdles came in the way, trying to stop me in my tracks but I didn’t give in.

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I think every time I will leave home for work, my heart is going to feel that same ping as I am leaving a part of me, Little A, behind. This is something that will require a lot of time to get used too but I know I’ll get there eventually, at least I will be able to look forward to the end of the day where I’ll be able to go home to her.

*~*~*

Are you a working parent, have any tips? How did you feel?
Or are you someone whose gone back to work after a long time, your thoughts and  tips will be useful too!
Thank you for stopping by and please leave your thoughts below.


Rhyming with Wine
Letters to my Daughter

What I Want From 2018

19 January 2018

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January is nearly coming to a close and I've done a lot of thinking as to what I want from this year. I will not call these resolutions but instead these are what I believe realistic achievable goals. I guess it'd be nice or rather depressing, depending if I succeed or not, to look back at this.

So what do I hope for this year?


Job



I work in education and have a job but at the moment I am hoping something long term and permanent will come along. I work as a Supply and not knowing whether I would be working tomorrow is difficult, especially with a baby. I have to consider the timings, distance, whether it is feasible around Little A, if I knew I would have work I would not be calling my Mum last minute, 'Can you come over and take care of Little A?' which she happily does but you cannot really make plans and be well organised!


Home 



We live in a one bedroom flat, it is the perfect home for couples. I was happy here until Little A arrived and more so became mobile and I realised that it is unsuitable for her, she needs space. Some may argue that a one bedroom flat is fine for a child but only having the front room to roam around in, I find that it is certainly not fair, she needs freedom, she needs a nice garden where she can run around and enjoy the weather. We do have a garden but it is not child friendly and is inaccessible at most times. Moreover, when she grows older she will be needing her own room (I am already imagining her bedroom!) so the search is on and I am hopeful that we will be making a move this year.


Self care



This is something I have always neglected, if I did not join the blogging world I guess I would have still ignored it. I have come across so many posts that talk about self care and routines on taking care of yourself that I have actually been quite surprised and motivated. It has been like a knock on the door for me from a person inside me who is trying to come out and let themselves known. I have realised I really do not care about myself, I just get on with it. By the end of the day, I am so exhausted I just want to go to sleep but maybe ten minutes of self care would be great. I use to have lovely long thick hair which I chopped off because I did not have time to take care of it but maybe I could have taken the time out because now that I have short hair, I am still the same! 


However, the most important reason for self care is Little A, if I do not care about myself then she will be effected as she is reaching such an age in which she takes everything in. I have noticed that when I dress up for an occasion she gets excited, so that shows me she understands.  Furthermore, she will look up at me as a role model so I need to set a good example for her.


Blogging



The newest member of our family who is here to stay! I have always loved writing and thought why not combine being a Mum and the love for writing. I had no idea about the big blogging community on Twitter (I'm working on getting the hang of other social media) until I joined Twitter and posted my first blogpost '2017 - The Year of the Rainbow' on 1st January. Honestly, I really did not think I would get any readers who I personally don't know in real life but the response I got on the first day and keep getting is absolutely amazing, so thank you!


All I want with regards to blogging this year is to being able to post regularly, Mondays and Fridays (so far so good). I’m not going to be focusing on numbers as I think one goal (posting regularly) is enough for me especially with a baby and anyways posting regularly has its benefits which are automatically linked to an increase in audience.





*~*~*





So now that you know of my intentions of this year, what about you?
What do you want from 2018?

Lucy At Home

The Dummy Dilemma

15 January 2018


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When buying for your baby, one of the most important things that a parent has to decide is whether or not they want to give their baby a dummy. All throughout my pregnancy, I had made up my mind that I was not going to give Little A a dummy especially since I knew that I wanted to try breastfeeding, as it is not recommended for breastfed babies before at least six weeks. This is because it can effect the mother's milk supply as the baby needs to suckle as much as possible to establish the supply whereas if the baby cries and you have already fed the baby, you would be inclined towards giving baby the dummy.

Bearing this in mind, I did not even bother adding dummies to the list especially hearing from my Mum what a nightmare I had been when she tried to wean me off my dummy, I didn't want that with Little A.

When Little A was born, I had suggestions from all corners to give her a dummy, adamant as ever - I refused. I remember taking her to the hospital at nearly a month old for her heart scan and the first thing the Sonographer asked me, 'where's her dummy?' alarm bells began ringing in my ears, we were here for her scan - what was the need for a dummy? But then I understood it was to help keep Little A remain calm and still as the scan was going to be long. Dummyless, I proceeded to hold Little A's hand and she displayed her best behaviour, giving me an ego boost that my child didn't need one.

Again, at her first immunisations, we were asked about her dummy. Everyone just assumes babies will have dummies but that is not the case for all babies!

A few weeks went by, we remained dummyless.  Little A began using me as her human dummy which she did quite often and sometimes made me feel utmost aw but at times I'd have to wince in pain but I still persevered and stayed away from the dummy, reading up on google the cons of a dummy and convincing myself that it was not the right option.

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Until...

She learn to screech when crying, she would literally let out an unexplainable scream! I still thought to myself, that's absolutely normal, no need for the dummy - babies cry, it’s their way of communicating.. sure...

And then I’d get, ‘I told you so’ from those around me who insisted I should have given Little A a dummy from birth. She’d have a clean nappy, wasn’t hungry - there was just no explanation for the random cries other than Colic which is hard to diagnose, it could be that, it could be nothing. My health visitor suggested that I should give the dummy a go - she might not even take it. There’s me sat thinking ‘she might not even take it? Why what’s not to take? Put it in her mouth and she’ll suck, simple!’ Well... it really wasn’t that straightforward, it never was and deep down I’m glad!

No matter what shape or brand the dummies were, Little A was not having it. If you wanted to make her cry then give her the dummy! The complete opposite to what the dummy is actually intended for! It was as if though she was screaming at us ‘how dare you put this thing in my mouth that has no milk!’ Either she'd cry or just push it out of her mouth.

On the bright side, I don’t have to go through the difficult phase of weaning her from the dummy as I have come to know that this can be difficult emotionally for both parent and child. But being brutally honest, every time she rejected the dummy, I couldn’t have been more happier inside - I was so proud of her! I just never wanted her to take one but perhaps the attempts were because of what one might call ‘peer pressure’. Also, as a parent you always end up questioning your decisions, I had started to wonder whether or not my decision to not give her the dummy from the beginning was right or not.

However, now when I look back, I don’t regret not giving her the dummy at birth, I think it’s wonderful that I had the ‘magic’ touch that calmed her down, she only used me as her dummy for maybe three months, now Little A is more independent and doesn’t need me as her dummy so that also proves the comments ‘you’re creating a bad habit’ that I received wrong.

I guess all things pass with time, you just have to be patient! Patience - this word becomes your best friend in no time when you step into parenthood but this is another topic for another post on another day!

*~*~*

Did you experience a dummy dilemma? 
What did you do and how do you feel about your decision?
Leave your thoughts below and thank you for reading!

Babies and Technology

12 January 2018

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This is something that nearly always ends up becoming a controversial topic between parents amongst themselves and even those who have yet to step into the parenting world. As a member of the BabyCentre UK community, I always come across conversations of worried mothers questioning their own actions in relation to screen time, technology and their babies. Sometimes, the poor mother in question might have things hurled at her for being an irresponsible parent but most of the time I've seen a supportive response.

It's always easy to judge someone else's parenting style, especially if you are not a parent yourself. Before I go into further detail, I have a confession to make, I was judgemental of other parents when I saw their little children with an iPad or a phone in their hands. I was that woman who sat opposite a mother and child thinking, 'How irresponsible of her, so unhealthy, can't she entertain her child with something else,'  but this was before I became a parent myself.

Now when I look back at myself, I laugh with pity at my ignorance. Back then I had no idea how controlling babies truly can be. No matter how many toys and books you shower your child with they will always be interested and want something dangerous or rather whatever they are not allowed. Let's take my 11 month old as an example, she has a good amount of toys and books (prefers books over toys if given the choice) but what is she obsessed with? The sky remote control! So I bought her a toy remote, she wasn't happy. Then I came up with what I thought was a very intelligent solution and dug out an old identical sky remote which didn't work - she was not one bit interested as she wanted the remote in mummy's hands!

Why? Because of two reasons; babies are interested in what you are interested in, whether that's your phone, laptop or the TV remote and she somehow has figured out when she presses a button the TV dances. I always try and limit the time I'm on my phone in front of her as she would go after it and tell me off if I didn't give it to her. Now she has discovered that there's such thing as a laptop ever since I've begun blogging, although I only write posts during her naps, it is always out in sight - so I do let her explore it, switched off.

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The main debate surrounding babies and technology is screen time - the recommended screen time for children under 2 is zero and for over 2 years - 2 hours a day, it'd be a miracle if parents adhered to these guidelines strictly. According to this, I'm already breaking the rules, guess that makes me an irresponsible bad parent because my child watches maybe 15 or 20 minutes in several intervals of PJ Masks (forget cBeebies it's all about the PJ Masks in this household!) a day? When I have to work in the kitchen, I normally bring her with me and tell her what I am doing, keeping her interested as she's at the stage whenever I walk out of the room, the screaming begins.

However, I refuse to bring her in the kitchen when I'm making a spicy curry and chopping onions. She is allowed to freely roam the front room with her toys and books scattered around, with the TV on in the background to which she might pay attention, might not. Lately, I've found myself switching the TV off when I have noticed that her eyes her fixated and she seems mesmerised by it. However, if the TV would not be on in the background I guess this home would be absolutely filthy and we'd all be unhealthy with just eating take aways everyday - so, in my opinion, this little compromise is acceptable.

Parents are always being criticized for their decisions but what bewilders (love that word!) me is that on the news we constantly hear how children should have less screen time and parents should do more. In this day and age, no matter how hard parents may try they end up taking a step back because of schools 'modernising'.

A couple of years ago, when I went to collect my then three-year-old nephew from the nursery, I was shocked to find that he was being taught how to use a laptop! I questioned this and was told that this is how it is going to be from now on. There is absolutely no need for laptops and tablets at the nursery for toddlers! His older brother in primary school was sent home with an iPad to use and now whenever I ask for their homework, I find that it's online so it is done on the laptop and even submitted online.


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Some may argue, this is to save the environment, to use less paper but then why point fingers at parents? Children spend most of their time awake in schools where they are sat in front of screens in most if not all classes. Then they come home whether in the evenings or at the weekend and sit in front of screens in order to complete their homework.

You might be thinking why is she complaining, her baby watches PJ Masks and probably will have her own mobile phone when she's a bit older - I'll make my position clear, yes my child has teeny bit of screen time in order for me to things done around the house, this is not always the case, some days I don't need to switch the TV on at all. No, I am not going to buy her a mobile phone when she's older because I still believe children under 12 do not need their own tablet or mobiles (my brother thinks I'll be biting my tongue when the time comes but we'll see) but if your child does have his or her own devices, that's your choice, who am I to judge, my decision is for my child.

Yes, I do sometimes give Little A my mobile to hold whilst I'm changing her nappy but as a last resort and even though I have been told that this is creating bad habits, I would rather her hold a phone for two minutes than have her roll away and smudge poop all over the place.

*~*~*

This post ended up becoming a bit of a ramble but I really couldn't help myself.
What are your thoughts on technology and its role in your children's everyday life?
Leave your thoughts below!
Thank you for reading!

EDIT: We spent the entire afternoon without having to switch the TV on yesterday but that was because I didn’t have any chores to do!

Birth and Beyond - How I Really Feel

8 January 2018



Just a little a disclaimer that this post talks about trauma and loss.

*~*~*

I thought a thousand times over whether I should press the publish button or not. I started, deleted, restarted this post many times - it was actually supposed to be the first post up on my blog but this topic is something that I have difficulty talking about let alone writing it down and remembering each detail. However, when I started this blog I promised myself that I would be real and honest with my readers so here I am.

Little A was due on March 22nd 2017 and I was due to be induced on March 6th because of my Gestational Diabetes (GD). I had always wanted a natural birth because from my first experience with my first born, I was actually looking forward to it, so everyday I'd wish for her to come on her own as I was honestly petrified of the drip and having artificial hormones given to me in order to kick start labour. I had set myself a milestone of reaching at least 37 weeks which is considered full term as my first had been premature at 32 weeks but things geared up as I got to 36 weeks.

I remember attending my hospital appointment and finalising the details of what was going to happen on the day of my induction, I felt optimistic as the days crept closer and closer but that night my waters broke and off we went to hospital at 2am on 23rd February. I had my examination and it was confirmed that my waters had broken, they decided to keep me in even though I was not contracting as my first labour was fast and the fact that they wanted to monitor my GD. I didn't make it to the 37 week mark and I was absolutely gutted to have been caught out by just one week but kept reminding myself that I was going to meet my baby girl soon and that was all that mattered.

A couple of hours later, I was still not contracting, despite going for long walks, climbing up and down the hospital stairs, bouncing up and down on the birthing ball. Nothing. The doctor decided that they will give my body until 10pm to start labour naturally and if still nothing had happened then they would give me the pill because as the hours swept by the risk of infection increased. Come 10pm, my body just did not want to cooperate, again I felt distraught that I was needing intervention, even if it was just a pill that I had to put under my tongue.

The pill helped to kick start my contractions but they were not intense, I was sent for a walk as apparently that was supposed to help but exercising would stop them, I was only contracting when lying down strapped to a monitor, not your ideal scenario! Another few hours went by and I asked the midwife for an examination and she suggested to give me a sweep thinking it may help - upon doing this she realised something very shocking - only one set of my waters had broken! I had a water bag still intact and that was the reason why I was not contracting properly and the pill wasn't working.

We were both bewildered at the thought of that doctor missing something so obvious when I was first examined. Nevertheless, she proceeded to break my waters for me, contractions came in full swing as I bounced on the birthing ball whilst my husband crunched on crisps and offered me some, no thank you! Another two or three hours went by and I was still not in what they call 'active labour' it was taking absolutely forever. I had written in my birth plan that I didn't want any pain relief, I wanted to do this with just breathing techniques although many a times I'd forget to breathe and would need reminding by the midwife, my husband and sister in law (SIL). I did try and failed at Gas and Air and still don't understand how women manage with that - utterly disgusting!

Up came the morning sun and we had to bid goodbye to the midwife as her shift ended - I was literally begging her not to leave me as she was reassuring me that the new midwife was lovely but I guess I had gained some sort of connection with her and was in the belief that if she'd be there then everything was going to be alright. I will fast forward now to when I had to start to push - this was a breeze with my first born so I wasn't scared but Little A was adamant on staying put.

Every now and then, I'd hear a voice at the door 'Is the baby here yet?' from a member of staff - not helpful! The women who had come after me had their babies and were long gone and I wasn't getting anywhere. Little A reached a point causing the midwife to be concerned, I was absolutely exhausted and there was no progress. SIL would pretend to go to the loo (so I couldn't see her cry) and the husband would keep pacing up and down, walking out of the room and coming back with tears smudged on his cheeks.

We honestly thought we were going to lose Little A too but no one was saying it out loud. A Consultant decided to intervene and told me that they would have to now vacuum her out, I saw the plastic cap being prepared which was going to go on my baby's head, I wasn't having it, I don't know what got into me but I decided that I was not going to let this happen, probably a rush of adrenaline and out came Little A screaming and kicking.

I thought that we had gotten our happy ending and that was it - it wasn't.

Due to my GD her blood sugar levels were really low so they had to take her away, I only had brief moments with her. They took her away like they took my son away from me, my husband had to do the same walk to the NICU that he did with our son in 2015. Yes, the difference was that our son didn't have great chances of survival and she was perfectly healthy but it all brought those memories back.

All throughout my pregnancy with Little A the only thing that got me going was the fact that I would get those precious moments with my baby, what is called 'the golden hour' that I didn't get with my son. I had planned to take several photographs of her moments after her birth but couldn't, we did manage two or three but that wasn't enough, this might sound petty but these little things mattered to me the most.

The husband returned and we just sat there crying, when we were supposed to be smiling and laughing, we were crying.

I was then given the icing on the cake and whisked off to the postnatal ward full of new mothers and their crying newborn babies.

My arms were aching for my baby and I could not hold her. I would look around at the mothers and babies and would think 'it's not fair,'. The only thing I could do now was just exclude myself by drawing the curtains around me and that's what I did. The midwives at the hospital were lovely and understanding but no matter what they said to make me feel better, I couldn't because I just wanted my baby, that's it.

I finally got to meet and hold Little A 10 hours after her birth and I can't put it into words how I was feeling - even though there was sheer happiness inside me, I had this feeling of dread about what was going to happen next. I was adamant on not leaving the hospital without her so when the next day I got the news that only I was being discharged, I was completely broken. I remember leaving the hospital when her brother briefly entered our lives, empty handed and I didn't want that. I didn't want what happened in 2015 to repeat again.

Her blood sugar levels started to get better as I started to feed her, raising my hopes that we would be able to go home together. However, the doctors were not satisfied and decided that she needed to stay and they gave me a bed in the NICU because I wanted to attempt breastfeeding. I couldn't have been more happier thinking that I was going to stay with her.

Unfortunatley that night things took a turn for the unexpected, during the pregnancy I suffered from PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain) and my physiotherapist had measured the amount of cm I was allowed to have my legs open without stressing my pelvis so much. But during Little A's birth I had them planked on those blue things I don't even know what they're called - how else was I supposed to give birth? Due to this, after 15 hours of feeling absolutely fine my body gave up, I couldn't make it to her room for her 4am feed and waited till morning until the husband was allowed in - I was in tears, had lost all control over my body, the husband had to pick me up like a baby and wheelchair me towards A&E.

The Doctors at first thought I suffered spinal injury but then came to the conclusion that it was my pelvis that was in so much stress. It was so bad that when they'd touch me I'd scream in excruciating pain. I was ordered to go home - my worst nightmare was coming true, leaving the hospital without my baby again.

Little A stayed in hospital for a further 3 days because she had ended up with jaundice and in those 3 days I could not even visit her due to my state. When she finally came home, I still could not take care of her as I needed taking care of myself, I was left disabled for over a month. It use to take me more than hour to reach the bathroom from my bedroom and I live in a small flat, I couldn't even raise my feet to go up or down a step, I couldn't turn to my sides whilst in bed and had to stay on my back because if I dared to move even an inch, I'd be in tears from the pain.

I honestly thought that I would never be able to walk properly again.

Nearly a year on, I have others asking me 'when's the next one popping out?' after reading all of the above, how do you think I feel when I get asked?

What's the guarantee that the above won't be repeated for the third time? I know two labours aren't the same and I've experienced that myself. But what about the events that took place after the birth - can you promise me that I won't have to relive those moments where I had my dying son taken away from me again?

I had always wanted two children and I have been pregnant twice and given birth twice - the difference is that people can only see one but that doesn't negate the fact that I do have two children. I had so many hopes about Little A's birth and beyond, I was so sure that things were going to be different this time round, that what happened with her brother being taken away from me, leaving the hospital empty handed was not going to happen. I may sound ungrateful but I guess you'd have to be in my shoes to understand and honestly I don't want you to wear my shoes, I don't want anyone to understand and go through the heartbreak that I have been through, I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.

I feel bitter, upset, angry and am in tears as I write this but I guess these feelings are what I have to live with now. I had one person say to me 'you're lucky you didn't have to deal with that black sticky poop,' are you serious? I wanted to deal with it. I wanted to change my baby's first nappy and you're calling me lucky?

*~*~*
I'm sorry if this post has upset anyone but there was just no other way to describe what happened and how it impacted me.
Have you had similar feelings?
If so, how did you deal with them?

Thank you for reading.




The Night Shift

5 January 2018

The moon glistens away in the dark night sky shining over the river that is slowly swishing and swaying whilst owls in a distance are hooting, singing the night away. In a neighbourhood just a few miles away is a home that is just about to wake up for the fifth time in just two hours.

'Please don't wake up, please don't wake up, please don't wake up' an exhausted mother chants to herself whilst very slowly turning in her bed trying her best to not make even the slightest of sounds. Letting out a sigh of relief, she is finally able to close her eyes and go to sleep snuggled under her warm cosy duvet.

'WAAHHHHH!'

Off shoots the mother out of the bed again to her baby's aid.

Welcome to my second musing of the year - The Night Shift; an honest account of a very sleep deprived yet weirdly optimistic mother.

Firstly, I’d like to replace the owls hooting away with the freaky fox shrieking what seems like right outside our bedroom window (I’m too scared to open the blinds and see) whenever there is a moment of peace in this bedroom at night, when I am able to finally let out a sigh of relief - the fox starts screaming! Anyone else with a fox issue?

I knew that having a baby meant less sleep for a while but I kept reading and was told that it’s the newborn stage which is difficult, as they grow older it gets better... lies! The newborn stage was bliss compared to now at nearly a year old, although back then due to Little A’s jaundice I had to keep waking her up for feeds otherwise she would have slept through the nights if there wasn’t any other issue. Even after the jaundice had gone she’d awake every three hours for a feed which was just perfect. 

I had no idea that there were such things as sleep regressions, separation anxiety or mental leaps that babies go through in the first year and beyond so it really hit us hard when we were in the middle of it all. We didn’t notice the four month regression which some parents claim to be a nightmare - I guess that was our lucky escape. However, the leaps especially leap five and starting solids (I’m glad I waited till 6 months as her sleep worsened when she started solids) incredibly changed our lives.

For those who don’t know what leaps are, I’ll try and explain in as simple words as possible. A mental leap is calculated from due date not birth date as conception is taken into consideration - it is a major brain development, in total babies go through 10 leaps from weeks 5 to about 75 of their lives in which they master new skills, maybe crawling, picking up and throwing things to being able to differentiate between a black and white cow and a cat (so random, I know) or putting things in order, these are just a few examples and one thing that is really effected is sleep as going through these leaps, in reality, is quite scary for them.

Here is a chart that I found on Pinterest that gives a good explanation.

Bearing this in mind, it does make sense that as a baby grows their sleep would get worse as the leaps become more aggressive in nature so whoever said that the newborn stage is the most difficult and it gets better, what were you thinking?! 

So Little A drifts off to sleep around 7:30pm and I just sit and wish we get a long stretch in the first half at least because once she unsettles for the first time, there is no way we will get a long stretch thereafter. We’ve had nights when it’s been 2 hourly or hourly even half hourly! When the leap would end, there wouldn’t be a difference because then we’d be teething hence more disturbed nights which happens to be the main culprit,  I’m not going to go into detail because then I’d be here forever (don’t worry there will be a dedicated post on just this topic I can assure you!). 

It got to a point where I thought I was going to go crazy because I just couldn't figure out what to do, she wouldn't be hungry, she had a fresh nappy on, she wasn't cold nor hot, I started to feel like a complete failure. I remember a night when she fell asleep after being unsettled and I just sat there silently crying because I couldn’t get to sleep! And then when I finally did.. the cycle began again. I started tracking her sleep using apps, at first that was okay until we started to have numerous disturbances, imagine pressing start and stop every half an hour to an hour - crazy, I know. Then one night I forgot about it and the next morning it said 'Little A slept for 11 hours' it was as if though the app was mocking me so it was time to delete it and honestly I feel so much better and in control ever since I've stopped obsessing over her sleep.

The husband and I now do shifts, he goes to sleep at midnight anyways so till then if she unsettles he takes care of her plus I know she doesn’t wake from hunger before 1am. After midnight it’s my turn but the thing is even when the husband is taking care of things, I still can’t sleep (kind of defeats the purpose of shifts, I know) as we are in the same room. My health visitor suggested that it is time to move Little A into her own room as I might be disturbing her, well, the husband's already on the sofa so shall I sleep in the hallway now? We live in a one bedroom flat so moving her into her own bedroom is not an option and quite frankly speaking even if I had ten extra bedrooms I wouldn't move her as I am not ready for such a big change.

It really did upset me though when there wouldn’t be an explanation to her waking up, (well I would be lying if I said she woke up because she doesn't wake up completely, just cries in her sleep) even after the leaps until Little A proved that she can sleep! We have had odd nights where she has had 7 or 8 hour stretches in the first half then it goes downhill but still such an improvement. I now know that she only wakes up because she is troubled otherwise she wouldn’t. 

I’ve been told to cut out her night feed and give her water instead to break the habit but I won’t because whenever I’ve offered her a feed at night and she’s not hungry, she rejects it and when she is actually hungry she actively drinks, so the wakings are not out of habit for her. 
Another debate that normally goes on in Mummy groups is that formula fed babies sleep better, well I have experience of both - Little A is combined fed due to a few reasons (another story for another day) and her last feed has always been formula and let me tell you - no difference! 

I know mums who full time formula feed their babies but their little ones are horrendous at sleep, I know mums who exclusively breastfeed and their babies sleep through the night and the other way round! There is no right equation to this no matter how much you try to convince yourself that making such and such change will make a difference.


I have had weeks where I've been surviving on just 2 hours of sleep in 24 hours but am still weirdly happy and active during the day (but I don't know any different though do I?) probably because I know that this too shall pass as she use to the worst at her naps and now she is has two good naps a day.

Despite all of this, I keep reminding myself that we have actually overcome a huge hurdle already which most parents fight and stress over for many months. Self settling at bedtime, not having a sleep association e.g feeding or being rocked to sleep because experts say that the way babies go to sleep dictates their night so if a baby goes to sleep by his or herself then when he or she will be entering the next phase of their sleep, they'll continue sleep as they don't expect to be a part of that association - well, Little A has been going down in her cot aware and goes to sleep by herself since she was three months old (did this herself, no training) then why doesn't she sleep well?



I honestly think that I gave birth to Little A only for her to prove the experts wrong as there are so many other things that she does which go onto prove these experts and their theories wrong. Personally, I think parents should do whatever gives them and their baby more sleep, so if you know that feeding to sleep when your child unsettles at night will mean more sleep for you and you are happy with it then just keep calm and carry on!

Even though, nowadays the second half of the night is mostly consisted of cuddles and a bad back for me, I'm okay. Why? Because not long till I'd want cuddles with her and she won't, after all, she's growing up. Although, I sometimes end up cranky and moody, I'll just enjoy these moments whilst they last seeing that I am so blessed to having been actually given this opportunity to take care of my child.








2017 - The Year of the Rainbow

1 January 2018




I write this with fireworks erupting in the background illuminating the night sky turning it into a spectacular display of colours, like a million rainbows dancing to their own melody.

2017 has been a year that not only brings tears to my eyes but smile to my lips too. It’s the year that I was blessed with my Rainbow baby, my beautiful little girl, my new best friend who entered my life to change it forever - sounds very cheesy, doesn’t  it?

But it’s true!

My life will never be the same again, I will never be the same woman I was a year ago and do you know what? I don’t want it to be. Some people are scared of change and to an extent I was too, I didn’t know the A to Z of babies and I still don't because no matter how many ‘handbooks’ and ‘guides’ you read or attend classes during your pregnancy or the days of ‘planning parenthood’ there is absolutely nothing out there that prepares you for what’s coming.

Just imagine jumping into an ocean and not knowing how to swim - I’m scaring you now aren’t I? You are flailing your arms about screaming for help and then finally a lifeguard comes to your rescue.

In the world of parents (I say parent instead of mummies, don’t want to offend the daddy bloggers out there!) and babies, the lifeguard that comes to our rescue is actually the little human being we’ve brought into this world.

I could not have gotten through each day of 2017 if it weren’t for my little girl, even before she was born she had become my motivation to carry on (despite the several trips to triage!). When I’d feel like a complete failure (many times!) she’d be the one to help me think differently, encouraging me to look forward.

2017 has definitely been a big learning curve in my life. Each day was no doubt a challenge, after all, there is this responsibility of a helpless human being on us who relies on us for everything - our responsibility to nurture this beautiful being and help him or her to grow and forever trying to be the perfect Mum or Dad, not realising that to these little humans we are absolutely perfect already.

As my now 10.5 month old was growing this year I was growing up too and I know that I’ll continue to grow with her because that’s what parenting truly is, you’re just trying to find your feet in this new world.

I had been wanting to start a blog for a long time, I have always had a passion for writing and finally thought why not combine the two loves of my life - being a Mum and writing!

Everything you read on this blog isn’t going to depict a meadow of flowers, it will be reality, mine, yours, our reality. There are ups and downs, some hiccups along the way, moments to cry over, moments to laugh and smile about but the thing is...I wouldn’t change it for the world even if you said you'd give me a million pounds, I wouldn't.

Now I better stop writing and get to sleep whilst I can! Yes, I am not staying up to watch the Big Ben go dong at midnight because if there is one thing that this year has taught me - sleep is very precious!

Happy New Year everyone!

Rainbow Baby:- a baby born following the loss of another.


Edit: I was awake at midnight but too tired to get out of bed or open my eyes, preparing for the night shift,  whilst the husband stood over our little ones cot with his hand on her so she isn’t startled by the fireworks - that’s how your world changes.


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