Our week in pictures #11

Last weekend was another busy one. We started it off with a quick trip to the park, as it wasn’t raining for a bit. Dry weather is such a novelty around here at the moment! Iris was grumpy and didn’t want to walk or play. Luckily the swings cheered her up! Then later at home we made mince pies (yes we know it’s January, but they were a present for grandma who already misses mince pies!) and the girls had a load of homework to do. Iris tore about and got upset that the girls were doing homework instead of playing with her. Me and Astrid managed a nap. 

On Sunday we had Sunday lunch in a pub in Abergavenny to celebrate Grandma’s birthday. It was nicer than our usual pub with much better veggie food, and I really enjoyed it. Of course Astrid slept and only woke when I was about to eat! 

On Monday my mum drove over the bridge to spend the day with us, which was great. Iris adores her now, since their night together  while I was in labour, and was so pleased to see her. We had lunch in a supermarket cafe, then headed to soft play to avoid the rain. Iris had a fantastic time going on the ‘big wee’ (the slide) and amazed me with how well she can climb. She’s not a baby anymore. When did that happen? 

On Tuesday we had a day at home. Trevor worked from home and it was nice to have him around. Iris and I made Peppa Pig cakes (from a packet mix – cheaters!) and did some arts and crafts stuff. We took a quick walk to the shop in the pouring rain with the trike, while Trev cuddled Astrid, but otherwise stayed in the warm and dry. 

Wednesday was a good day. Trev was out before we woke and home after bedtime. And we all survived! More about that here! 

Yesterday we were all awake before 5am! I’m not sure why Iris thought that was a good idea. I’ve been trying to figure her routine out so she sleeps better at night and doesn’t need a long lie in. Maybe she’s gone a bit too far the other way now! After a long morning nap, the three of us headed to breastfeeding support group. We grabbed lunch in Greggs on the way because we hadn’t had time to eat! We also spotted a Peppa Pig backpack in a charity shop window, and Iris is very pleased with her new nappy bag! 

Today is another day at home. The health visitor and midwife are both coming to see us, but as usual they could only give a vague idea of when they might arrive. I’m so glad it’s Friday! I can’t wait to have Trevor home for two days. We’ve got another very busy one planned though, which is unfortunate as I could do with a rest!   
    
    
    

    
    

    
    
   

    
     

    
   

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Boobbix lactation cookies review 

   I was so excited when I was asked to review Boobbix lactation cookies. I’m not new to using galactagogues (foods or ingredients that can help to maintain or increase your breastmilk supply). With Iris I started using a breast pump to leave a bottle and some milk with Trevor so I could go out for a bit, but it took my boobs a little while to catch up. So I tried a tea that promised an increase in breastmilk. It certainly worked, but wasn’t very tasty! Next I tried some fenugreek tablets, which also worked but made me smell a bit funny! The best thing I found to work was good old wholesome porridge. While oats may have been the tastiest way I could find, porridge wasn’t particularly convenient on the go!

The flavours on offer got me excited too. There were just too many to choose from! I knew immediately that I needed the peanut butter chocolate chip. How could I resist that? I went for a box of the oatmeal and raisin too. All of the flavours contain several galactagogues, oats, flaxseed, brewer’s yeast and fenugreek. They also contain lots of vitamins and minerals and are made using free range and organic ingredients. They taste so good! I got addicted to the peanut butter ones a bit, and ate the whole box in a matter of days! I didn’t actually have any supply issues, so I wasn’t sure how they’d affect me. They definitely did though! I had to slow down on the cookie eating as I was soaking my breast pads and waking up drowning in milk. I decided to go through the oatmeal and raisin box slightly more slowly.
 For me, the individual packaging was a big deal. This is what I needed last time around, something portable and easy to just chuck in my bag. I munched through several on our little trips out. Breastfeeding is making me constantly peckish! 

The cookies are available to buy at http://www.boobbix.co.uk for £10.50 per box. Boobbix is a small business set up by mum Katie, and is born of her own worries about breastmilk supply and her unsuccessful search for tasty lactation cookies for sale in the UK. There are 5 different flavours available and it’s difficult to choose (go for the peanut butter!!).  I will definitely be ordering more boxes if I ever have any concerns about my milk supply or need to boost it so that I can express for bottles. They’re a far tastier option than tea or pills, and they go fantastic with a big mug of hot chocolate! 

*I was gifted two boxes of Boobbix cookies for the purpose of this review, but all words, pictures and opinions are my own.* 

We're going on an adventure

Coughs, sneezes, tantrums and very little sleep

Ok, that’s a pretty negative title. This isn’t a negative post. I promise. 

It’s been a long day. 

It’s the first day when I have parented solo from start to finish with both children. No big deal, I suppose. I’m well aware that some people do that every day. 

However, I’m very very tired. Astrid is just 17 days old, and I have not recovered quickly from giving birth 17 days ago. Every part of my body aches with weariness and my stitches are tight and painful. 

We haven’t slept, Astrid and I, the last few nights. She’s still got a cold. The cold now includes a nasty cough that wakes her up regularly and makes her cry. It’s heartbreaking. It’s also exhausting. 

All possibly caused by Iris coughing and sneezing all over her, but what can I do? The very last thing I want to do is make this transiston harder for Iris by pushing her out. If she wants to get close to her new baby sister then I have to let her. It’s only fair. She has to share us with this tiny person, the least we can do is let her get to know her. 

Thankfully Iris is on the mend. She never lets a cold hold her back for long, and she’s plenty old enough for the occasional dose of Calpol if she needs it. 

Astrid isn’t so lucky, and she’s really suffering. 

I’m so very proud of how we’ve done today. 

In late pregnancy I was sitting up late at night unable to sleep and then sleeping half the morning. This is the preferred sleep pattern of Iris too. She’d gradually turn nocturnal if I followed her lead, I think. Now though, I’m working on changing it. We miss the best toddler groups if we stay in bed, and they’re essential to me surviving this. I need conversations with other grown ups. Iris needs to tear about and let off steam with other kids too. So we’ve been gradually and gently moving her around the clock a bit, by waking her up earlier, getting her to nap earlier in the day, and putting her to bed earlier. It’s working pretty well. 

By 9am this morning I’d showered and all three of us were dressed and had breakfast. A few weeks ago we wouldn’t even have been out of bed. Had we planned to go to playgroup we would actually have made it on time. I can’t quite believe it! It was just a practice run, but it turns out that if I make sure bags are packed and clothes are out ready the night before we can actually leave the house at a reasonable hour. Go me! 

We didn’t actually have to be anywhere until 12:30 though, so I even got some housework done. There is no longer any dust or dog hair under our sofas. The laundry basket is empty and the dishes are all done. 

As it came up to 11 it was clear Iris was ready to nap. But Astrid needed a feed and we needed to go soon. 

I averted disaster by getting Iris ready and strapped into her stroller. With a beaker of milk, I put her in front of CBeebies while I fed Astrid quickly and put her in the sling. We were off. On the bus just after 11. Success! Iris fell asleep as soon as the bus moved, and Astrid nodded off soon after. 

This obviously meant I was in town ridiculously early, but I needed to ask the optician to mend my glasses and I had a few bits to buy too. This filled the time, and I got to the cafe just slightly early. 

After crochet club we returned home in the pouring rain. Astrid cried much of the way to the bus station and I feared I may be about to experience a disaster. But she stopped and fell asleep. Phew. 

Back home I entertained Iris with some glue, pompoms and feathers while I drank a cup of tea in peace. Well half of it anyway, because Astrid woke up screaming the place down and I had to feed her. Meanwhile Iris wanted to get out of her high chair, of course. 

Anyway, we got through it. 

Until dinner time. Astrid just wouldn’t calm down. I fed her and burped her over and over but she wouldn’t settle for a moment. By the time she did, dinner was late and Iris was cross. Iris likes food. I had to find a distraction for her to free me up for cooking. 

Pipe cleaners and the cutlery drainer! I’m a genius. 

She poked pipe cleaners through the holes for the whole time it took me to make her some pasta. And then she ate the lot. 

Somehow I managed to bath Iris and wash her hair, get her pyjamas on and play dolls house with her all in the time Astrid slept. With her teeth brushed and milk drank, we woke Astrid to change her and all headed up to bed. 

This is where it went a bit wrong. 

Halfway up the stairs, I noticed that Iris was crawling up in front of me wearing soaking wet pyjamas. I can only assume she sat in the dog’s water bowl while I changed Astrid. I grabbed a clean nappy and pyjamas, while Astrid screamed the house down, and stripped Iris off. Before I knew it, I had a stark naked toddler lying in Astrid’s cosleeping crib laughing while Astrid screamed and went red in the face. Bed time was not going well. 

Somehow though, twenty minutes later they were both fast asleep. At 8:15. Which is the earliest Iris has gone to sleep in months and months. And she only had one tantrum. 

All by myself. 

Poor Trevor is still somewhere on the M4. 

I did it! 

Astrid at two weeks 

  

I’m two days late posting this – Astrid is now 16 days old – because it’s just so busy in my world now. There’s no way of preparing for looking after a toddler and a newborn. It’s a total whirlwind. The days go by in the blink of an eye, thanks to not stopping to rest for a second. Then the sleepless nights stretch on forever and I’m relieved when morning comes. 

It’s been a tough week, in a good way. With Trevor back at work but mostly working at home, I’ve had to deal with him being right there but too busy to help me. I find myself fighting the urge to ask him for help constantly, but I have to get the hang of this without his help. He will work away from home soon enough, and then he’ll work away overnight. And I will be the only adult responsible for these two tiny girls. 

Anyway, back to Astrid. 

Wow, she’s amazing. She’s dealing with a rotten cold and a nasty cough and she’s way too small. It just seems so cruel. She’s coughing herself awake and coughing until she’s sick. It’s horrible. I find it painful to see her struggling. Iris has it too, but can have the cough syrup and the Calpol. Astrid is not so lucky. She’s relying on breastmilk alone. 

On Friday the midwife and the health visitor turned up at the same time. Astrid was about an ounce away from her birth weight, which seems amazing to me as Iris took so very long to get back to hers. She’s feeding like a champ though. Constantly, actually. It no longer hurts like hell, and I’m starting to enjoy it. She’s alert during some feeds now and stares up into my eyes. It’s magical. I’d forgotten how that felt.  

 Iris used to fill her nappy just once a week, whereas Astrid goes after almost every single feed. It’s quite amazing how different they are while also being so very alike. 

She sleeps a lot. They’re very short periods of sleep, waking frequently day and night for a feed, but she always seems to be asleep. I’d forgotten quite how sleepy newborns are. I don’t remember the point when Iris stopped being so sleepy. It must be pretty early on. They nap together now, all cuddled up. It’s so very very cute.  

 
We’re getting into the swing of things and getting back to normal a bit. I’m actually enjoying this mum of two business a lot more than I thought I would. I was quite stressed out about how I would cope. I now know that I will, even when it gets really really hard. I know that it will get really really hard! 

  

Our week in pictures #10

An incredibly busy Friday of visiting each member of Trevor’s family in turn followed by picking the big girls up from school, gymnastics, a supermarket trip and dinner in Pizza Hut, turned into the laziest weekend at home. We spent lots of time watching Star Wars, playing with Christmas toys and just adjusting to being a family of 6. One of my highlights of the weekend was Iris breastfeeding her doll! I almost melted from how cute she is. I love that she’s watching me with Astrid and mimicking what I do. She’s so gentle and loving. I’m so very proud! 

Unfortunately on Saturday evening Iris came down with a cold. By bedtime she had a high temperature and a cough, and couldn’t sleep. Astrid slept fairly well, thankfully, but we were up much of the night with Iris. I was absolutely shattered by Sunday afternoon. 

Sunday night was worse, with Astrid coming down with the cold too. We were all a mess by Monday, and poor Trevor had to work. Thankfully he was working from home, but he was still really busy when he would much rather have been sleeping! Me and the girls had a very sleepy sort of day. We didn’t even get dressed. 

By Tuesday I’d had enough. I had to get out of the house. Of course just getting ready and out of the door took up most of the day. We had fun once we were out though. You can read about our first trip out without Trevor here.

On Wednesday morning we all struggled to get out of bed. It was almost 10 before we got up! We’d missed the start of playgroup, but did make it to the cafe for crochet club. I did very little crochet as Astrid wanted cuddles, but Iris had loads of fun with her friends. Trevor picked us up and we all fell asleep on the sofa while he took the dog for a walk. 

On Thursday morning we had to force ourselves out of bed at a reasonable time as Astrid had her newborn hearing test at the hospital. She got the all clear, and Trevor dropped the three of us off at the cafe for a quick lunch before breastfeeding group. We had a lovely afternoon with all of the booby mums and their children. Once Iris was in bed I settled down in the bath to get through a big chunk of my current book. I’m loving ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by SJ Watson. I only wish I didn’t know that Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth play the main characters in the movie. I can’t imagine them in my own way, as I just see the famous actors. I wonder how I would have seen them in my mind if the actors weren’t on the front of the book. 

Today we’ve got both the midwife and the health visitor coming to see us, and I’ve woken up with a headache and very sore throat. It’ll be a calm day at home catching up with housework for us today. Well up until tea time when Trevor needs to pick up the big girls for the weekend. 

Have a good one! 

  
    
    
  

    
  

    
    
    

    
  

 

My Nametags review 

   Part of being a complete disorganised mess (like me) and being a parent, is leaving your kid’s stuff everywhere you go. The amount of cardigans, bibs and drink beakers we’ve already left at various mum and baby groups is quite incredible. For ages I’ve been thinking that I should just label stuff. Everybody knows who Iris is. Maybe we’d get some of this stuff back if it was labelled. Yesterday we left Iris’s favourite doll in a cafe, and I’m kicking myself because I briefly considered sticking a label on it before we went out, but got distracted.  I jumped at the chance to review My Nametags. Not only are they available in stickers (they do the iron on ones too, but I hate ironing!), but you can personalise them to look exactly how you want them to. Iris likes ducks. A lot. So this part was dead easy for me to do. You can change the font, font colour, background design and picture, making them look exactly how you like. You can even add a phone number, and I may have to get some more with my number on. Even better chance of getting some stuff back then! The design bit is done on the the website at mynametags.com, and is incredibly easy. And fun! They arrived really quickly, and the prices are pretty good too. £11.95 for 56 labels.  I had a lot of fun labelling Iris’s stuff, and so did she. She followed me around pointing at the labels and quacking! I did a couple of her coats and jackets, some shoes, a drink cup, a bib, and at Iris’s request, her precious yellow wellies. We’ve had a few comments from friends when we’ve been out for lunch about how colourful and useful they are. They’d be so perfect for labelling school uniform!    I was curious about how they’d wash. I pictured them peeling off everything! However, the cup and bib have been washed up several times and the stickers haven’t budged. On a dog walk with Trevor the other day Iris decided to lie in the mud, so one of the coats has been through the wash and the tumble dryer. It hasn’t moved or peeled either. The colours haven’t even faded. I’m impressed! 

*We were gifted one sheet on sticky labels for the purpose of writing this review, however all words, opinions and pictures are my own.* 

Breastfeeding – a second time around 

I had hoped for a smoother ride, and in many ways I’m having one. I’m definitely more confident this time around. I trust my body. I know it can do this. It just grew a whole human, which makes producing a bit of milk seem like no big deal. 

My memory of the first week of feeding Iris isn’t clear. I know I was stressed. We were in hospital for the first two nights, but nobody seemed to want to help me. I realised, months and months later, that they probably assumed my two step daughters who came and went during visiting hours were mine. They just assumed I’d done this before. This doesn’t excuse the health visitors and midwives who came to my house in the weeks that followed though. I live in an area where nobody breastfeeds, apparently, and so the medical professionals have no need to show any interest in it. 

Trevor says I was angry and snappy. I’m sure I was. I felt let down. I couldn’t get Iris to latch well and I was very sore. By about day 5 I’d sent him out for nipple shields and given Iris a dummy so she’d just stop screaming at me for a bit. I was disappointed in myself and everybody who was supposed to be helping me. 

Formula feeding was never an option. During pregnancy I’d said that if I had to formula feed I would, and I’d accept it and not give myself a hard time about it. When the time came though, I felt strongly that I had to breastfeed. I had to. Every fibre of my being wanted to nurse the tiny baby and make her big and strong the way nature intended. Had I not done that I think my mild baby blues would have turned into a deep sadness. 

In the end she quit breastfeeding seventeen days before her first birthday and I was gutted. I wanted to feed her until she was one or two or whenever it came to a natural end. Instead she quit because I was eight weeks pregnant, and judging by Iris’s expression my hormones had done something to the taste. We used those fiddly shields the whole time, despite me trying every day to get her to feed without them. She just wouldn’t. 

It’s lucky that I didn’t care one bit about feeding in public. Don’t like it? Don’t look. Those shields made it so much trickier not to flash a boob, and I’m sure I gave lots of people an eyeful on many occasions. I got a few funny looks at times, and I once heard a woman tell her friend that I was disgusting. I just don’t care. You can’t argue with that kind of stupidity. 

This time around I may be more confident but I am no less sore. I’m having trouble with the latch, yet again. I’m pretty sure there’s no underlying issue, like a tongue tie. She just has a tiny mouth and therefore a very shallow latch. It’s only made worse by me being so engorged all of the time. Latching on seems so much harder for her when the boobs are hard. There’s no squishiness to get a hold of. That’ll ease too, I know. In the meantime I just keep putting more Lansinoh on and trying not to yelp when she clamps down with her gums. 

I had to express from one side for a whole day and avoid feeding because it was just so painful. This worked, and gave it some time to heal up. 

I have faith in my supply this time. I know now that when most women think they’ve got a low supply they haven’t. I know it’s a common fear but one that is largely unnecessary. It’s very rare for somebody to not be able to breastfeed, but very common to believe you can’t. The supply is definitely there for me. I’m waking up drowning in breastmilk, sleeping on soaking wet sheets. I have way too much of the stuff.  

I’ll keep going no matter what. It’s important. It means everything to me to be able to feed my baby with my body. Right now though, I’m in two minds about the whole thing. I’m dreading the next feed a little bit. I know it’s going to hurt, at least to begin with. Yet it feels wonderful too. The bond created by breastfeeding really is something else. When she looks up at me in the exact same way Iris did I just melt. I’m providing every nutrient this kid needs to grow and thrive, just like I did for the forty weeks before she was born. She needs me for everything. I am her whole world. 

There’s no feeling quite like it.