Make Do & Mend Parenting

My mother-in-law recently described my parenting as ‘free-spirited’…I’m pretty sure that’s not a world away from ‘your children are feral’…

Anyway I’ve been considering this and reminiscing about the last three years with my son while looking back at photos (lots of which were stored on here, so if you are a regular reader apologies for the pictorial recycling!).

Despite coming across as pretty organised in most other aspects of my life, these images have reminded me how much and how often we’ve muddled through in the last three years in a ‘make do and mend’ sort of fashion – my son makes do with his mother and I hope he doesn’t need any mending when he’s older… Continue reading

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Breastfeeding Bites #4. Oversupply in the Early Weeks

Last time I wrote about what it’s like when the milk comes in and how to handle that process. It involved a lot of leaking and a lot of milk not ending up in my baby (who had PLENTY already).

I’m very conscious that having this surplus, while challenging, is mostly a lot less stressful than feeling like you have low supply. Like I’ve said previously this series is very much only charting my personal breastfeeding story so consequently this edition features lots of excess milk. If you are reading this and struggling with thinking you have low supply do be kind to yourself –  firstly you may not have low supply (weight gain and nappies are the indicator, not leakage/ability to express/frequency of feeds) and if you do then the reasons for some women needing to increase supply while others could do with decreasing it are various and mysterious. KellyMom, La Leche League, Australian Breastfeeding Association and Global Health Media to name just a few support organisations all have information relating to low supply.

So milk…I wasn’t really prepared for catching it to begin with and sadly a lot of milk ended up in the sink, down my tops, soaking through muslins, accidentally squirted in passerby’s eyes… I’m joking obviously, no chance of a passerby in my living room and leaving the house with a large supply at this stage is practically impossible for me – feeding is currently indiscreet and potentially drenching. Continue reading

Breastfeeding Bites #3. My Engorgement Management Plan

When your milk comes in the chances are you will know about it – and it may come as quite a shock. There you are calmly enjoying (or surviving at least) colostrum feeding then whoosh…the colostrum calm is well and truly over and a rapid and quite alarming breast inflation takes place.

With my first child I was a mere passenger to the experience..watching with terrified fascination as my breasts, like the giant peach, grew bigger and bigger reaching and surpassing the limits of believability to become uncontrollable balls of pain.

I am a large producer of milk and first time was clueless as to the implications of that and how to manage this process of milk arrival. The result was engorgement so severe  I was a whisker away from mastitis. Excellent postnatal care saved me with a well-timed visit from my midwife who took one look at the hot spots on my breasts and leapt into action. Her electric pump was immediately deployed and as the first few gallons of milk came off the relief was instant. I then had to follow a regime for a few days whereby I expressed surplus milk until the amounts pouring out puttered down from a tsunami to a trickle.

This time the fear was real…I did not want to get to that place again. Being a much more savvy breastfeeder this time round meant that while engorgement happened we were able to keep on top of it with the following techniques, or as I like to call it: The Engorgement Management Plan (EMP for short, entirely made up by me, please consult the disclaimer in the first edition regarding ANYTHING I say!). So here’s the EMP that worked for me: Continue reading

Breastfeeding Bites #2. Colostrum: The Calm Before the Storm

Welcome back to my breastfeeeding meanderings – if you missed the first instalment, The First Feed, you can find it here.

So you may be wondering what I’m talking about with my assertion of calmness. The first few days after your baby is born will perhaps feel anything but calming…yes, you have just given birth and, yes, you’re knackered and, oh yes, you’re feeding your baby every hour or two to keep their little marble-sized tummy full. But stick with me….I really think that colostrum feeding can be a moment of relative calm in the breastfeeding timeline and we should try to utilise it. Continue reading

Breastfeeding Bites #1. The First Feed

Hello I’m back in the blogosphere! Well perhaps. I’m back for a bit anyway, probably sporadically and unreliably…so no real change there. The big news is that I wasn’t waiting long and I gave birth to my second child a few weeks ago.

The result is that breastfeeding is fairly high up on my activity list at the moment and I thought I would keep a little record of this final breastfeeding adventure with Breastfeeding Bites, a pleasingly alliterative but otherwise really rather unpleasant title. Continue reading