Friday, 22 April 2016

Breastfeeding second time around

I didn't give breastfeeding Beatrix a second thought during pregnancy - I'd done it before, with not much trouble - so I just assumed it would play out much the same. I was wrong.

I'd completely forgotten what the early months of BFing were like, especially with a tongue-tied baby.

Ernie's tongue-tie was corrected just days after his birth, and although I still had latch issues, I didn't suffer any damage to my nipples, and he had no problem emptying my breast of milk at each feed. So despite a bad week of gripe or two, we got on just fine.

This time was different from the get go. I spotted her tongue-tie immediately though no one believed me because i was 'feeding her', but as soon as my milk came it this became increasingly difficult.

This time around baby Beatrix was born with an even more extreme tongue-tie than Ernie had, and it wasn't corrected until a week after birth. Even after having the snip I struggled endlessly to get her to latch on at the beginning of feeds, and in turn I suffered for weeks with terribly cracked nipples.

I experienced way more engorment, and I was proved right (about her not emptying the breast effectively) when I got mastitis.

Both times now I've realised that I have an overactive letdown - to the point where I leak constantly, and if I don't express off the excess at the beginning - I basically just choke my babies for the first five minuets!

Which leads to even more issues - the worst for me being excessive gas. Something we're still dealing with. Thank God for Infacol!

I've hit the wall with breastfeeding a few times recently (it takes A LOT to feed a baby with cracked nipples), doubting our ability, and worrying that she'll never get good at it, but I just think, or I'm hoping that it's just a matter of time.

I learnt that tongue-tied babies need to re-learn how to suck as they've developed the wrong skills in utero.

Whenever I'm worried that she isn't getting enough, I just look at her little chubby body and convince myself otherwise. It's definitely not easy to begin with, but it does, and is, getting better. Touch wood.

Whether bottle or breastfeeding I believe we all experience a lot of the same issues. Breastfeeding is harder, but neither should be thought of as easy. We all deal with our baby's immature digestive issues, learning to latch (bottle or breast), or how hard it is for them to learn to poo!

From what I can see both ways of feeding require learning whole new skills sets.

Getting your baby positioned and attached comfortably at the breast is an art - it's true that it takes a little while for breastfeeding to feel entirely comfortable and natural, even if you’ve breastfed before.

What I've now learnt is that no two children are alike. My pregnancies were different, breastfeeding is different.

Even when it’s not your first baby, we quickly forget what those newborn days are like until we do it again. It can be a shock to the system even the second and probably third time around!

There's a lot of help and support out there, but if like me, you're a bit shy or don't know where to begin, online resources like this La Leche League post on Postioning & attachment, including youtube 'how to' videos - is a great place for help.

Here's some more good advice if you think you're suffering from an overactive letdown like me, and it's worth scouting out your local breastfeeding cafe/community - or any breastfeeding friends you may have.

The best advice I could give to any new mother, including myself is the phrase “the days are long and the years are short” and "this too shall pass."

Some days fly by and I feel like I'm floating on cloud 9, and other days feel impossibly long.

It felt like a lifetime when I was breastfeeding Ernie, and looking back it feels like no time at all. I'm keeping this in mind this time.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Becoming a parent all over again

Finding time to blog with two children is possible, but fighting the urge to watch my baby sleeping peacefully is near impossible!

It's funny, before I had my first, I used to admire Gina Ford style parenting - but as soon as I had my baby in arms it all went out the window, and my instinct to keep him as close to me at all times kicked in, and I soon found myself firmly in the attachment parenting camp - seeking solace in Dr Sears books.

So you'd think that I wouldn't have given it a second thought when Beatrix came along, but I've found myself angsting over all the same stuff again.

I've spent many a night feed googling sleep routines, and trawling the forums to see how other mothers do it (like I haven't done it all before?!), and it's taken me almost six weeks to start feeling at peace again with the way I instinctively parent.

The truth is I feel absolutely addicted to her! Just like I did, and still do, to my son.

Forgive me if this is all the ramblings of a mad woman, my hormones are running wild right now, and this is where my thoughts are firmly stuck, at 5 weeks postpartum.

So far I've survived all the feeding issues that come with an extremely tongue tied baby - a crappy latch, combined with an overactive letdown, which has lead to impossibly hard to soothe gripe, and mastitis... Ouch.

Ernie's in love with baby Bea, and showers her in kisses on a daily basis, which is wonderful, but it's resulted in him sharing his eye infection, and now cold with her too - so that's not been much fun either.

Despite all of this, I couldn't be happier, there's thankfully been no blue moments for me, well nothing I haven't been able to shake off.

I'm basically going through (all over again) the normal mental gymnastics of motherhood!

Wish me luck...

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Munchkin Muffin Sandwiches

Tom and Ernie made these yesterday, and they're way too good not to share!

They're mini sized  carrot muffins - perfect for little hands, with a yummy cream cheese and pineapple filling.

2 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup of milk
2/3 Cup of corn oil
1/2 Cup of firmly packed brown sugar
2 Cups of shredded carrots
1/2 Cup of golden raisins
2 1/2 Cups of all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 Pound of Cream cheese
8 1/4 Ounces of Crushed pineapple
3 Tablespoons of honey
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Ground cinnamon

Preparation method

1. Preheat oven to 200C. In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil, brown sugar, carrots, and raisins.

2. In a larger bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. 

3. Grease miniature muffin tins and fill with batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and unfold.

4. To make filling, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer or spoon until smooth. Stir in three remaining ingredients. To make muffin sandwiches, cut muffins in half lengthwise and fill with a heaping teaspoonful of cream cheese filling. Replace muffin tops.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen Muffins.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

It's a Girl!

Introducing Beatrix Anne Connoley, born Monday 22nd February, 5 11oz.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

BumpDate - 40 Weeks

Well here we are at 40 weeks! It all feels very bitter sweet now. 
Yeah it's not been the 'easiest' pregnancy, but I am really going to miss my bump. 

I've had 2 sweeps this weeks - the plan is to induce me on my due date (because the baby's supposedly small) and these were meant to be the first stage of that.

I don't really believe that sweeps works, well they don't for me - I had two last time that did didley squat - but I guess they're worth a shot.

I had the first one last Wednesday, and it was the most uncomfortable I've ever experienced!
I felt violated!

The one I had last night wasn't bad at all. Thanks to the first one, I lost my plug the following morning, I've been experiencing lots of mild contractions, Braxton Hicks I guess, and according to the midwife who performed the second one last night, my cervix is 2cm dilated, very stretchy, and a 1cm long. It doesn't mean much though, as that's quite common for anyone who's delivered a baby vaginally before.

So, unless I go into labour naturally in the next 12 hours, I'll be making my way to the hospital tomorrow for the next stage of induction.

I've actually found it really interesting experience a high risk pregnancy (so to speak) I didn't have any extra monitoring last time, so I've tried to just enjoy all the extra fuss being made of my little baby.

How far along: 39+6

Total weight gain: 22lb

Cravings: I'm eating very regularly, I'm really trying to go into this labour as nourished and hydrated as possible - two things I think I failed at last time, which may go some way to making this time a little less hellish.

Symptoms: As I mentioned, I've lost my plug, the baby's head is right where it should be, and when I walk around the pressure is immense. Loads of Braxton Hicks, random sharp pains up the front of my bump, and thank heavens, finally lots of going to the loo - no one wants to give birth constipated!

Mood: I'm feeling OK, the odd moment of doubt over all this induction bollocks, but I'm determined to stay positive, keep the adrenaline at bay, and do whatever I can to build up some lovely oxytocin - which is apparently the key to a less painful labour.

On My Mind: I guess this is my last Pregnancy update, so fingers crossed the next post I'll have a baby to show.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Raising a Toddler While Pregnant

I'm not going to sugar coat this, it's my reality of the situation, and probably largely due to coping with morning sickness that continued way beyond the first three months, but I found caring for a toddler whilst carrying another baby in my womb very challenging!

At 39 weeks pregnant, firstly I'm thinking, how did I survive this, without losing my marbles, and secondly I better make a record of all of this before mother nature wipes my memory of it - and I'll forget the horror and be tricked into procreating again.

I planned for a second child, it happened a little quicker than I imagined it would, I always knew caring for two would be difficult, but I guess I assumed that challenge wouldn't start until I gave birth again - wrong!

Raising children is a pretty physically - and mentally - demanding job. Feeding, changing, carrying, playing, and disciplining a toddler, whilst attempting to deal with high/lows (and the sheer exhaustion) of pregnancy is bloody draining.

You obviously have good days, bad days.. weeks ... months maybe, but generally I found it pretty tough. My mum guilt has been massive.

There's been way too much TV, days spent indoors, hell in the early days entirely in bed!

It hasn't helped that it's been winter, or maybe that's just been a way to excuse myself, but my midwife has kept assuring me that this is normal "he won't remember any of it," and you've just got to do what you gotta do to survive.

So I felt that a little survival advice was worth putting together...

First up, You've got to let go of your expectations...

Keeping an immaculate home, is going to be harder now than it's ever been. You have to allow yourself some days to slack off a bit, and try not to feel too guilty when, after a long day at work, your husband walks into a shit tip. If like me, this is easier said than done, I found that little and often is the way forward, try to get your toddler involved, and if you're really struggling - pack the worst offending toys away (Lego, Play Doh etc) until you've got the stamina to deal with the fallout.

Baby proof you're house like there's no tomorrow...

On really bad days, where I truly felt like I was suffering from narcolepsy, and would suddenly wake up, and not know how long I had just fallen asleep for - whilst in sole charge of a small mischievous child - it helped to know that I had, to the best of my knowledge - eliminated all of the really obvious death traps. My husband said that those first few months were terrifying, he never knew what was going to greet him when he walked through the door, in those days he likened me to crack-den mum! Nice.

Try not to beat yourself up...

Mum guilt is a really real thing, there's so much to beat yourself up over. I've struggled with things like potty training, and not ditching the daytime bottles - which is so much worse when all the other mums you know are excelling at these adjustments. Feeling like you're responsible for your child not reaching certain milestones during this time sucks, but when you've got dealing with nausea whilst changing shitty nappies, just making it to the end of the day with a clean, (relatively) cared for child is a great success. You're NOT just lazy. The struggle is REAL!

Take the help...

Ha! I'm not very good at this - asking for it, or accepting it, but it's probably the best bit of advice I could offer anyone.

Hang in there...

It feels like forever, but your 9/10 months (whatever pregnancy really is) will be up at some point, and it will all be a distant memory... you'll only both be a little scarred for life, and anyway it's character building, isn't it?

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