Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Breastfeeding... Is the end nigh?

Staring down at the one year milestone and we're still breastfeeding. It's been a journey and like many breastfeeding stories mine had a very rocky start. I had to fight to get it established. Then after 4 weeks we hit our stride and since then it's all been a very natural process. She's reduced feed on her own since weaning at 6 months. I gave her some gentle encouragement to settle at night without feeding...

And here we are. 3 (ish) feeds a day. Morning, mid-morning and bedtime. Looking at that schedule and knowing she gets very hungry for dinner I am attempting to introduce a cows milk feed and snack mid afternoon. I have made the decision to make the feed cows milk as opposed to formula to get her used it ready for when we decide to bring breastfeeding to an end...


Oh what a question.

I have every reaction you can imagine. I have heard it exclaimed "ER! BITTY!" I have been congratulated. I have been told world health organisations recommend until two years old. I have been told there is no benefit after a year. I have been pre-warned that people (even family) will not be comfortable with it after a year.

The interesting part is with all these strong views flying around, none of them are my own! I feel strongly neither way. All I know is without much thought or fuss or (after the 4 week establishment) real effort here we are. I didn't really plan to get here. I don't have a plan moving forward. Though in the mean time she's trying some new things out...
And our tested bottle is the Nuby Girl Decorated Feeding Bottles (pack of 2)... Pretty design, soft flexible nipple that's clearly trying to resemble the breast. Lid fits on easily and doesn't need to be screwed on hard not to leak, it simply screws to a soft close and doesn't leak a drip! 

What does Euna think? She's really getting there with it. Much more impressed with the whole thing when she's allowed to feed herself or if someone else other than me is trying to feed her. She also seems to get a good "latch" on to these, much like when she is on the breast. She has tried other bottles that she looks less comfortable on than these. She doesn't get windy with them and when she has to take one at bedtime from Steve she hasn't once been sick or even uncomfortable when going straight down after a feed.
Only slight negative is air does not come back in to the bottle as quickly as she sucks it out sometimes, so occasionally she has to break her latch on the bottle and allow air in to the bottle before continuing.

Overall these are great bottles. Really nice to get a great product that's work well, is intelligently thought out and you can get it in a lovely pattern! And who isn't totally swayed with a pretty design?! 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Newborn Nostalgia...

So despite my mega positive post about embracing her growing up and developing and finding the positives ("Imma OWN Seconds")... I never promised this milestone wouldn't pass without a nostalgic post or five.

I took these when Euna was 6 days old. I completely lost my temper with the visitors, ordered Steve to banish them all because I want to do two things; take pictures of my baby and go for a walk with the buggy. I had a blissful morning with my baby. No distractions. No cups of tea to offer. No one's work to ask after, even though I don't care, right now I just want to talk about which of her eyelashes is the longest and prettiest.

Unedited. Taken with the kit lens. Total fluke I found good light. I knew nothing of good light back then (there are 3846352729129879946 other photographs to prove it). I love these. Not just because they're cute, but because they represent a couple of precious hours I got to drink in the bliss that is mothering a newborn. She slept the whole time... I love her.

Next time I will make time for these moments/hours every single day.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Imma OWN the Seconds...

Just like that March is approaching. The March after her first March. 

Just like that there's a very pretty birthday party dress hanging in her wardrobe. Laying in wait with the tags attached. 

Her first birthday. Promptly afterwards will commence her first seconds. Her second spring. Her second Easter. Gone are so many of her firsts. So many of my firsts. We lived them together. Her first bath was the first time I bathed one of my babies. Her first smile was the first time one of my babies smiled.

I am working through the sadness and wonderment of "where did my baby go?" I find myself arriving at an easiness with it all and happy for it. I don't feel like a new mum anymore so I am happy to shed some of that title. The last year and 9 months have been a journey. A powerful one I am proud and privileged to have taken. If the first birthday milestone on this journey earns me some kind of "experience stripe" I'll happily take it and proudly wear it. It's too easy and opportunities are too frequent to feel guilt when parenting not to treat yourself to a proud moment!

Do I miss newborn "mip" noises? Endless hours of bleary eyed, dozy feeds and cuddles? Yes. But I wouldn't swap it for knowing what I know about her now. What I get from her now. Being surprised by random, uncalled for, crawl-by, sloppy kisses. She doesn't get older, she gets better. And how much I am able to absorb it now so much of that new mum nervy fog has lifted. 

I feel sure. I feel present. I feel confident and let no one wonder who's family this is... This is MY family. 

Bring on the seconds. Imma own the seconds. Not before a few sentimental tears on the 7th though... Obviously.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Wordless Wednesday... Wings

Staying at home Mummying...

I'm seeing a new side to my stay at home mum status recently. I think the closing in of her first birthday has drawn an official close to the honeymoon period and I can start to see this reality for what it is.

Now overall it's still great for us. It works. It's preferable for our situation. Although I still can't help but overtly justify myself to other people, I no longer rehash the reasons why I'm doing this as justification to myself. I know this is where I should be right now.

This isn't a post about why I stay at home. I need to be in a far more literary elegant place to write that post. Suffice to say we're happy with this choice for our family for now.

In this new light what do I see? I see that it's all about reaping what you sow. You get out of this gig what you put in. It's ridiculously easy to allow a lack of sleep to keep you in the house and demotivate you against housework, making plans and interacting with baby. A little demotivation can seamlessly spiral to a lot of demotivation. The metamorphosis from dynamic, glowing domestic goddess and engaged mother to bored, couch potato slob and lazy parent can creep up on you.

Basically if you feel good it's great, you're great. If you feel rested, positive and inspired you get up, make plans, play hard, cook, clean, socialise, go outside, get creative, teach... If you don't; you don't, you're not.

The thing is we are all going to have a tired day, poorly day, emotional day or a day where everything out of our control goes wrong. The trick is stopping a spiral when we lose our rhythm. Part of that is about not punishing myself too hard for losing that rhythm. Yes she's the most important thing in the world to me, but it's unlikely she'll become a serial killer simply because her meals were samey and I zoned out on Pintrest all day.

So I put together some of my own personal survival tips for staying at home...

1) Make friends. Go out and hunt friends down. There's nothing wrong with you if friends haven't fallen in your lap since school, making friends is simply hard! Use services (NCT, LLL, Sure Start Centres). Attend coffee mornings. Take baby/toddle/kid and parent classes, arrive with an open mind and you struggle to think of things to say to people ask them questions about their children. There isn't a person alive who doesn't like talking about their offspring.

2) Make plans. Don't allow the week to just happen to you. Plan. Send out invites on a Sunday. Get a calendar, write things in and do them.

3) Keep a list of things to do. There are lots of things to do, you just can't think of them right now. Make a list and keep it close by, add to it whenever you see something worth doing.

4) "There is no bad weather, only the wrong clothes" Apparently it's a Swedish proverb. Buy wellies and a kag-in-a-bag and live by it.

5) Know that everyone is creative; you. me, kids, babies, even DADDIES! Arts and crafts will make you happy, give you stuff to do and save you money. Get on Pintrest and get ideas. (I'm formulating a board of activities to get myself started... have a look!)

6) Set yourself realistic, achievable to dos within your own personal parenting goals. I want Euna to be a good eater, so I need her to try new foods. Initially I killed myself getting home hours before dinner time to cook, spent a fortune on ingredients we couldn't get through and stressed out constantly about running out of meal ideas. Now I simply make sure she tries one new food a week. There are 52 weeks a year. That's a lot of food.

7) Get dressed every day. In real clothes. Not jogging bottoms. Be ready to pop out and you will.

8) Make your home a place you want to be. You will be there a lot. Declutter when you can.

9) Record your time at home. Take pictures. Mask scrapbooks. Craft keepsakes. I've never met an older Mummy yet who doesn't recall their babies baby days fondly. I really believe the snot, sleepless nights, sticky finger marks, sick, tantrums and toy clutter will all fade in my memory and I want to hang on to hang on to as much of these precious baby days as possible.

10) Develop good eating habits. This is on my to do. There's only so much magic breastfeeding can perform and I plateaued months ago.

11) Remember he/she/they love you. They're not out to get you. They don't want to wind you up. They love you dearly and even if it feels like you're taken for granted it is simply because you give and do so effortlessly. Make this your mantra. Try to limit the amount of times you plea with a screaming infant "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO MEEEEE??!!??"

12) The new mummy friends you got up at number 1 are not for you to compare yourself to. You would not suit being that kind of Mum. You're supposed to be your own kind of Mum. Learn from your friends, get ideas, challenge yourself with them but don't compare. Embrace difference in parenting styles.

And now... Some of my own advice at work... Getting out for her first swing!
This one's going on a wall in the new house. Something is truly wrong in the world the day I can't smile at this picture... :)
 NB: If you don't make plans and you don't get organised and you don't have any of those friends available... Go make a nuisance of yourself. You might just be able to drag a Nanny out of work for 15...

Monday, 18 February 2013

Stress Busting...

We took ourselves out of the house this Sunday. We took ourselves out of the four walls where the boxes and piles constantly remind we have tons to do and yet nothing to do whilst we wait around for obscure and frustrating pieces of administration to complete our house move. 

We took ourselves out to fresh, cold, February air. To space. To green and fury things at Jimmy's Farm. To surround ourselves by things that run on far simpler fuels than own lives do, reminding us; none of it really matters. Not really. We're fine. 

Euna sat merrily in the trike and we span her around the pens of goats, sheep, pigs and chickens. She kicked her feet and beamed. Here's the stuff that matters. She's becoming so interactive with the world now and it's getting more and more rewarding to show it to her. She feeds back in smiles, babbled sounds and pointing. Her speech is developing and it warrants hours of O-VER PRO-NOOOOOUNC-ING words with big rubbery lip movements in her face. She humours me with smiles then tries to gouge out eyes with her newly acquired pincer grip capabilities. 

Space, air and fury things were just the medicine. That and the opportunity to get creative with the camera for an afternoon. Creativity is my first rate stress remover. Making something. I'm lucky to have an outlet. 


Address stress dynamically. Don't let it take over. Keep it all in perspective, because you might be missing something...

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Home Unrest...

My house is a chaos of boxes and piles right now. Piles of rubbish. Piles due for the charity shop. Piles to be washed. Piles to be packed. Piles of football trophies and useless wires I am yet to convince Steve WE DO NOT NEED.

In a way it's fine. We move in a week or three and my house is supposed to look like this. However in most ways this is most certainly NOT fine. Living within the physical embodiment of my to do list is driving me insane. Piles of decluttering, packing and cleaning constantly stare at me expectantly.

I'll get to you... Eventually. Strange how your home environment being overturned can leave you quite acutely emotionally fidgety. I need to keep reminding myself nothing is wrong. I simply have to endure mess. It's purposeful, required chaos.

In the meantime we've enjoyed a few firsts. First pancake on pancake day. First Valentines Day. First of our NCT groups 1st birthday. First "HELLO!" And we get closer everyday to a first step. All at once time ticks too fast and too slow.

For my States side readers... We take them somewhere between Amercian pancake and crepe thickness with Lemon juice and sugar... Go on, try it!
 "I can't see what anyone can see in anyone else but you..." Kimya Dawson...
 The boxes... Not me... Honest...
 We've been buying shoes and highly recommending Next for pre-walkers that actually stay on....
First hair clip... Oh... I love having a daughter...
 Party time!


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