I’m celebrating a huge milestone in my journey of motherhood….6 months exclusively breastfeeding my baby. It’s a target I always hoped I would reach. My breastfeeding experiences with Violet and Ezra were not easy at all. So for my third child to take to it as easily as Felix did has been such a gift.

 I’ve been thinking about some tips I’ve learnt in my varied experiences of breastfeeding my children, so here goes….
1) At the beginning you need gel for those nips while they toughen up! Felix was born at home as planned but we were then transferred to hospital. I had a basic hospital bag packed but hadn’t put in my Lansinoh gel. By the time he was 12 hours old my nipples were raw and blistered. Joe brought in a tube of gel for me and I religiously applied it after every feed. Thank goodness! I think I addressed it just in time for me to be able to carry on feeding. I think I used the gel for the first 2-3 weeks before it was no longer necessary.

2) Breastfeeding groups are worth their weight in gold. In the first 2 months I went about 4 or 5 times. I had some specific questions and wanted help with positioning. I also went along when we were feeling ready to introduce a bottle of expressed milk. The ladies who ran the groups were so welcoming, informative, helpful and encouraging. They supported me at the beginning of my successful breastfeeding journey and I’m enormously grateful.

3) Drink. Always have a drink on the go, even better, have 2 on the go! I have a sports bottle which I take to bed to see me through nightfeeds. If I’m about to feed him I make sure I get myself a drink first. Even if Felix is getting upset waiting for a feed I know how important it is for me to stay hydrated. Dddrrriiinnnkkkkk!

4) I have an electric pump which is good, but a total faff to clean and assemble. There are so many small parts! So when I came across a silicon suction pump from Nature Bond with rave reviews I decided to give it a go. I cannot even begin to say how much I love this thing! I find I get best results when Felix feeds from the other breast. It’s perfect…super easy to clean, small and works so well. I easily get 4oz from this in less than 5 minutes whereas the electric pump would take me far longer. I also don’t need to hold the cup as it stays on with the suction.

 

5) Teeth doesn’t have to spell the end of breastfeeding. I had never previously breastfed a baby with teeth so just the thought of having to go through this sent shudders down my spine! Trust my only exclusively breastfed baby to get his first teeth before he was 3 months old! Today he sprouted his 7th!! I have noticed that he tends to bite more often when he is just about to pop another tooth through. I am also reading his signs and know that when he is coming to the end of a feed he is more likely to bite, or when he is bobbing on and off in a playful way. If he does bite I swiftly unlatch him (which in itself is enough to grab his attention) and then firmly say “ouch! No biting”.

I’ve experienced the heartache and joy of breastfeeding. When it’s not working it’s just soul destroying. But when it goes right it’s one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

I have reached 6 months now. Bring on the next 6!

I’m often asked by friends what our top baby purchases have been.  Some things are total tat and gimmicks but there are a few things which I wouldn’t be without.

  1. Ewan the Dream Sheep

This has been an absolute vital sleep aid for my kids.  Ewan plays 3 white noise sounds and 1 gentle tune which last 15 minutes long.  Each sound has a heart beat playing in the background.  Both my children have really responded well to Ewan and we take it with us if we stay away from home.  Once we got through the early weeks of the white noise helping resettle to sleep the sheep became more important as part of our bedtime routine.  Once we settle down for milk and a final cuddle we play the tune from Ewan.  Playing this at every bedtime sends signals to the brain that this is bedtime and therefore sleep time.  Violet only stopped using the sheep when she was 3 years old so who knows when Ezra will decide he doesn’t want Ewan any longer.  But overall I give this little sheep 10/10.  We love him!

2.  Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor

There are monitors and then there’s the Angelcare Monitor!  When Ezra was a newborn he made it very clear that he did not like sleeping on his back.  I tried to prop him onto his side with a blanket behind his back but he was still uncomfortable.  And then I popped him on his front and he settled beautifully!  All advice these days says that babies must sleep on their backs until they are able to roll over unaided.  I was so worried about him tummy sleeping as he was still only a couple of weeks old.  A friend suggested the Angelcare Movement and Sound monitor.  Not only does it pick up on sounds in the room but there is a sensor mat which is placed underneath the mattress and will detect even the slightest movement of baby breathing.  I’m still completely amazed that it is so sensitive but I can tell you it definitely works!  Thankfully the alarm has only sounded when we have taken Ezra out of the cot and forgotten to turn the sensor pad off.  I wouldn’t be without this product, it works fantastically as a sound monitor but also gives me an enormous peace of mind that my baby is safe.

3. Lansinoh Breast Pads

These are the best breast pads I have tried.  I chose to go down the reusable route however the pads soaked through within minutes and left embarrassing patches on my tops.  Not to mention that it’s just miserable wearing wet clothes.  I was recommended these pads as they are super absorbent and also stick onto the bra so no fear of them moving around and popping up out of your top (is it just me that this has happened to??).  I was absolutely amazed at how well these worked.  I leaked a lot, even when my supply was established I still leaked so knowing I wouldn’t end up uncomfortable was so reassuring.

4. Sock-ons

These are just a simple piece of elastic but they are absolute genius!!  No more lost socks!!  They come in various sizes and colours and keep the socks on the baby’s feet.  My children didn’t figure out how to remove them so I am a complete believer in this product.

5. Dr Brown’s bottles

Ezra suffered with colic much more than Violet.  Whenever we gave him a bottle of milk we could actually hear him swallowing air and it bubbling in his tummy.  He would then squirm and cry in pain.  One morning when I was bleary-eyed from another bad night I bought these bottles.  There is a funnel and valve inside the bottle which reduce how much air the baby swallows.  This really did transform things for us.  Ezra drank his milk peacefully and didn’t need much burping afterwards.  They are a bit of a pain to clean, there are several parts which need to be washed.  But the bottles come with a tiny bristle brush which can be poked into all the little holes to clear out the milk residue.  The only frustrating thing is that they can’t really be shaken as I always seem to end up with milk spraying from somewhere.  But instead I just stir the milk with a fork!  So overall there is a bit more care and work involved with these bottles but they vastly help ease colic in small babies.

 

There we go – my top 5 products for newborns.  Each one has been essential for us and I would use them all again if we were to have more children.

What are your newborn must-haves?

 

Declaration: This post contains product reviews and links.  I was not asked to review these products, I just think they are really great!  If you click on a link and buy any then I earn a few extra pennies at no extra cost to you.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

1) Boys have willies.  Yeh ok that’s obvious. But it’s like a personal little fountain. And you don’t think it’ll go very far but when the air hits the willy, it triggers a full on sprinkler which has a remarkably long range! I discovered this on day 1 when I was in my post-birth haze, hobbling around like John Wayne and trying to remember how on earth I change a newborn nappy. There’s the umbilical cord stump to think about and then with boys there’s the willy. Well Ezra got the wall that day, high up like he was aiming for an invisible target. And when it starts it brings out a strange reaction in people, generally you will do one of the following;

a) “Aahhhhhhh” followed by shoving something on the fountain. If you’re lucky you’ll still have the old nappy to hand. But newborns have a habit of pooing in every nappy and there’s no way you want to revisit those! For a split second you may think about the cost of wasting a new nappy on a bit of pee but usually that will be a fleeting thought and hopefully you haven’t spent too long dithering before you halt the spray.
b) Put your hand on it. Oh yes, I’ve done this! And I just keep telling myself, “it’s my son, that makes this less disgusting!” And repeat.
c) Just let it happen. It’s already soaked into his clothes/your clothes/hit you in the eye/coated the carpet/redecorated the wall. What’s a bit more matter? Yep, after Ezra becoming quite a regular at peeing as soon as the nappy came off and me just not learning to anticipate it, I became one of these mums.  Once in the early days when Violet still loved to ‘help’, Ezra took aim and got her right on the knee.  She jumped up and laughed that “baby brother done a wee on my leg”. The whole thing was so funny it totally took my mind off the latest puddle soaking into the carpet.

2) Girls will not need to be taken to a&e as many times as boys. As the radiator drama post will testify at 9 months old Ezra notched up his first hospital visit. Great. Whilst Violet would sit still, or play nicely with the toys I gave her or just do as I bloody well say (this is a thing of the past now!) Ezra has a whole other take on safety. He has all the toys I can stuff into the house yet the most interesting things are cables, wires or anything that is plugged into a live socket which he can chew. He seeks them out like a homing beacon. And then there are the plug points, those holes are the perfect size for a little finger. Incredibly he hasn’t been zapped yet.

3) Girls love to chat. Violet has always been very vocal, she would babble all day long. Then the babble turned into words and she hasn’t stopped since. Whereas Ezra hardly made any sounds until about 7 months when he learnt the sweetest daa-daa-daa. Violet’s first words were “anna” which means “give me” in Finnish and “pallo” (“ball” in Finnish). The words just kept stumbling out of her mouth and formed little sentences and then big sentences and then her first ever “f*ckng hell”. Really no idea where she got that from but after the lecture I gave her she hasn’t dared say it again! Something tells me Ezra will take a little longer to talk. He is so engrossed in watching his big sister (and ducking out of her latest sit-on-baby-brother attempts) that speech may take a back seat for a while.

4) Boys eat. And eat and eat. I’m yet to find anything Ezra doesn’t like. What a blessing! Violet on the other hand is so fussy. I asked her today what food she does like and her answer was “pasta, sausages, mash and peas”, and in all honestly they really are the only foods that she will eat without some form of persuasion. At the moment I’m in a bit of a lul with her eating. She is so limited but hopefully it’s a phase and at some point she’ll accept some more variety.

5) Boys are grubby. Reeeaaaalllllyyyy grubby. In every beautiful crease of his body I will find a stash of unidentifiable grime. What is this phenomenon!?? For the first 4 months when all he did was lay down or be held he would have a permanent handful of yucky, greasy, SMELLY fluff. I would wipe it away and a few hours later, upon inspection it, was back again!!!!!! It’s a good job he loves the bath because he’s in it every day!

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1)      The number of times I say ‘no’ a day has probably decreased by about 95%.  I really try not to say ‘no’ all the time. It’s such a non-descript word and probably doesn’t achieve much. When I notice it tripping out of my mouth every other word then I do try and re-set my mind and get back to explaining why something is probably not such a good idea. But basically with Violet on the loose and Ezra rampaging around the house, ‘no’ is a frequent fall-back. At 9 months Ezra knows exactly what it means with his love of wires, cables and plug sockets!

2.       I get to go to the toilet all by myself. Nobody asking me where I am going, what I am doing, do I need any help. And the best one of all “can I watch it come out?” Without labouring on this point for too long (because I am sure the image of me sat on the toilet isn’t something you want to dwell on) the ability to go to the toilet in peace feels like a little bit of luxury!

3.       Not having to share my food and drink. Violet has really taken the concept of sharing by the horns and is running away with her own interpretation. Her version goes something like this:

Mummy – sat eating her lunch
Violet – oohhh that looks far better than the slop I have got… “mummy can I try some of your lunch please?”
Mummy – hmm I know where this is going
Violet – wah, this is delicious, I must get more of that, I know, I will pull out the sharing card… “mummy, I would like to SHARE your lunch please. You have some and I have some”.

And before I know it she’s telling me not to eat all of my food because we are SHARING.

4.       Much less poo, wee and vomit to deal with. And overall this is very true. Apart from the fact that my darling baby son has reset his poo clock to 5am. EVERY. MORNING. In a desperate attempt to fool him into thinking it is still night time I don’t turn the light on and clean him up in the dark. Lets just say it’s a messy job. How do I help him poo at a more acceptable hour???

5.       Time apart makes time together even better. It’s true.

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