What I’ve learnt about breastfeeding so far

I haven’t posted since April 29th, in those 8 weeks things have been pretty busy. I’ve had some major realigning to do as I get to grips with raising a toddler and a new born but I’ll save the in’s and out’s of that for another post! What I wanted to talk about today is breastfeeding as its something I had always thought came naturally to every woman without any required effort on my part which isn’t really the case. So here goes my list, I’d like to say before starting that the breastfeeding experience is completely different for everyone and how your baby is fed has no baring on the type of mother you are.

1. If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again. Yes in the famous words of Aaliyah if you don’t quite get the hang of it try again. My first attempt to breastfeed my first born was a long tale of tears, sore nipples, frustration and basically not really getting the hang of it. By the time I did get the hang of it, it was too late. May daughter by then had developed a preference to formula milk and I only fed her breastmilk in the mornings and evenings for about 10 months before stopping completely. Second time around? A totally different story, I had milk from the very beginning and have had no issues whatsoever with feeding.

2. Be prepared for an increase in appetite. No one told me about this and I was surprised to find how ravenous I became when feeding the little one. I have noticed that the hunger levels are increased when I haven’t had sufficient sleep. It makes sense as the body is making milk plus breastfeeding itself takes up about 500 calories too so the body needs a lot of fuel.

3. I’ve found it harder to loose weight. Breastfeeding has increased my appetite coupled with looking after two young kids and interrupted sleep the motivation to work out has been pretty low. My midwife says the body sometimes actually reserves some fat during breastfeeding which can also make weight loss pretty difficult, so I guess it’s time to embrace these love handles a little longer lol!

4. My let-down responds to baby’s nap times. I found it interesting that around the time that my baby is about to wake up I feel my let down. It feels like a heavy prickling moving from my chest down towards the nipples and can feel a little uncomfortable until he begins to feed.

5. Breastfeeding tea has been a big help in keeping my supply up. The main ingredient in the tea is fennel which you can also buy as seeds and pop into some hot water and drink just the fluid.

6. 3 litres of water a day keeps me hydrated. I feel so dehydrated after a feed and as breast milk is almost 80% water I need to keep my body topped up. I keep a 1.6litre bottle of water with me at all times to ensure my body is getting what it needs.

7. My body makes more milk when I get some rest. As hard as it can be to fit in having a mini nap or a little rest helps me to produce more milk. I find that when I am stressed or rushing around I still make milk but it’s less than usual.

I really did feel that breastfeeding the first time around was a minefield. Even after all the help I had at the hospital from breastfeeding consultants I couldn’t quite get it right. After navigating sore nipples, working out my water and food intake I’m pleased to have mastered it second time around. If you’re on your breastfeeding journey some of these tips might be familiar to you too. Either way I hope it’s been an interesting read.

Until next time, have a lovely weekend xx

My birth story

Having had a planned c-section with my first child the entire experience of having braxton hicks let alone contractions was totally new to me. To prepare myself for what was to come I watched videos (some rather graphic 🙈) and read up as much as I could. Little did I know that this wouldn’t really do much for preparing me for the pain lol.

In the latter stages of my pregnancy and during the birth I was aware that there was a pandemic going on but chose not to dwell on it. I only stepped out for my compulsory walks and appointments and focused on preparing for the baby’s arrival. I felt like either way the baby was still going to come and I was at peace trusting in God’s protection during this season.

Anyway fast forward to 21st April, my due date was the 22nd and my hospital bag was packed. I was ready for the arrival of our baby boy. We had an appointment for me to be assessed at 10:15 in the morning and a decision would be made whether I’d be induced or not. I had a nervous excited feeling in my stomach that I probably wouldn’t make that appointment. I had been having pretty strong braxton hicks for about 2 weeks prior to this day and were always really regular in the evening.

Air balloons in the room to keep me calm during delivery

I prepped my clothes the night before and went to bed. At exactly 2:45 am on Wednesday 22nd April I had a contraction that woke me up out of my sleep. I’d never had one before but at that moment I just knew. The pain went from my back reached around my waist and hardened my bump in a way I’d never felt before. I grabbed my phone and started timing the duration and frequency. After an hour of contractions I woke up my husband and told him to get ready, it was time.

At this point my contractions were not too strong, I was able to have a warm shower and get ready to go to the hospital. I was smiling and laughing with hubby and thinking about how I’d finally be seeing my baby after 40 weeks! As I waddled to the car it crossed my mind that we still hadn’t decided on a name and I started to run through the shortlist we had picked in my mind.

Upon arrival at the hospital we were taken into one of the assessment rooms where the baby’s heart rate was monitored for an hour or so. My contractions continued but were okay enough for me to not need the medicine they were offering for the pain. As the contractions weren’t getting closer together we chose to go home. By this time it was 7am and I was feeling both hungry and tired having been up since almost 3am.

We got home and I had a lovely breakfast (this was a bad idea) the breakfast actually made me nauseated as I was in the early stages of labour. At around 7:30am that morning I had a contraction that caused me to loose my mucus plug but my contractions were still not getting closer together but they were getting more painful.

By 7pm the contractions were so painful that I couldn’t speak whilst they were happening. I’d get on all fours and breath in as deeply as I could till the minute had passed. As the contractions grew stronger it became harder to practice these breathing techniques and I just wanted to scream to be honest lol. My daughter kept looking at me and saying “mummy is sooo tired” ha ha! She was right, I was exhausted and I thought to myself if this baby comes tonight will I even have the energy to push?

We left for the hospital that evening around 8 and I was given some painkillers via transfusion which helped me to sleep a little and numb the pain of the contractions. This soon however wore off and I was left to remember my breathing techniques again. As soon as I woke up from my nap my waters broke and I felt a small sense of relief that my labour was progressing and these painful contractions would soon be a distant memory.

Looking at how my stomach made all of these distorted shapes during contractions and marvelled at how the body was doing all it could to get the baby out. I was still feeling very nauseated so was given another medication via infusion for this and it went almost immediately.

At this point it had been 13 hours since my contractions had started and I was 5cm dilated. I decided to get into the water bath and see if that bought any relief. It did for about 30 minutes but I then began to feel so hot and uncomfortable.

The water bath in the delivery room

As time progressed my contractions finally began to be closer together and were so intense I wanted to cry. I was checked to see how dilated I was and the midwife told me I was still 5cm! I felt so deflated. After all this time I didn’t get why my labour wasn’t progressing and there was now talk of having a c-section. I was fed up and felt as though I had come so far only to now go through a c-section.

When the midwife left the room hubby and I prayed. We prayed that the Lords will would be done and that He would be with us. As soon as we had finished praying our midwife came back into the room with her colleague. She told us that she wanted to get a second opinion on how far along I was. The second midwife checked me and said “no, you are actually 9cm dilated!” I was in shock and thanked God for the second opinion of this midwife.

I couldn’t believe it, if this midwife had gone with her first opinion I would have had a c-section when I didn’t need to! God is so faithful and I’m so glad he turned this situation around within minutes and completely changed the outcome of this birth.

By now it was around 9am and I had had an epidural but could still feel each contraction. I started to feel the need to push at this point. I was advised to breath in deeply through my mouth and hold my breath, lower my chin deep into my chest and push as hard as I could as though doing a number 2.

It was so encouraging to have hubby and a well informed midwife in the room, they both motivated me all along the way. At just before midday )and after much pushing) our baby boy was born and I felt so many emotions, relief being the biggest of all. I was also excited, tired, proud and just so so happy. All tiredness seemed to leave my body as I had this precious boy in my arms.

As always thank you for reading xx

Third trimester fashion

So as my pregnancy develops and my baby bump becomes bigger I’m having to adjust my wardrobe quite a bit. Finding what is comfortable and also looks nice can be a bit of a challenge.

They say everyone carries differently in pregnancy which is indeed true even for one person your bump can be different from one pregnancy to another.

Top – Zara, Skirt – H&M

The biggest change I’ve noticed is how soon I was showing with this pregnancy. Having an elongated bump means opting for longer tops that cover my bump in its entirety. This also meant going for over the bump maternity jeans and midi-length dresses.

Jumper – Weekday, Skirt – H&M

As I don’t have much longer to go I won’t be adding any new pieces to my wardrobe but I have started thinking about my wardrobe post baby. Especially the weeks/months following the birth which I remember were filled with lots of breastfeeding! Being a nursing mum means ensuring that I’m wearing items I can easily feed in whether I’m at home or out and about. For me tops that button up are the most convenient. I’m not a fan of having to hoist up my t-shirt in order to feed my child so having to just undo a couple of buttons to allow baby to quickly latch on worked best for me.

Here are some ‘breastfeeding friendly’ dresses that I quite like:

Zara
Zara
And Other Stories
Hugo
Espirit
Isabel Marant

As always thank you for reading and I hope you found this useful if you’re an expecting mum x

Holiday Maternity fashion

I had to plan my outfits for our holiday quite strategically as I knew that my bump would grow during that time and I had to be mindful that we were going to a hot country and that above all I would need to be comfortable in what I was wearing too. For this pregnancy I wanted to avoid buying maternity wear specifically but instead go for things that I could still wear in the summer after the baby was born. So my criteria was trousers would need to be beneath the bump or elasticated in the waist. I also opted for stretchy dresses and skirts and loose fitting dresses.

Here are some of the outfits I wore whilst away…

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Dress made in Ghana. Shoes – ASOS

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Top – Massimo Dutti. Skirt and Bag – Zara. Shoes – Topshop

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Dress and Sunglasses – Mango. Bag – Michael Kors. Sandals – Mint Velvet

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Shirt and Bandeau – ASOS. Skirt – H&M. Shoes – Zara

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Top, Vest, Trousers, Heels and Earrings – Zara

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Dress – And Other Stories

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Dress and Fascinator both made in Ghana

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Blouse, Trousers and Mules – Zara. Bag – Michael Kors

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Shirt and Sandals – Zara. Cycling Shorts – ASOS

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Headband and T-shirt – Zara. Jeans – ASOS Maternity. Shoes – Topshop

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Dress – H&M. Mules – Zara

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Dress and Fascinator both made in Ghana

Birth and beyond – the first few weeks

I had many conversations about the birth itself with others going into real detail about what takes place. My birthing class had also prepared me for what would happen when our baby was ready to make her appearance.

I didn’t however have many discussions about the days/weeks immediately following the birth and what would take place. It was all added experience. How your stomach feels after pregnancy. My appetite increased rather rapidly after birth. Hormones were leaving my body at a rapid rate making me sweat profusely, it was really quite something!

After the delivery I felt exhausted and the pain set in in a big way once the spinal anaesthesia had worn off. I felt the cut with every single move but in the same breath was overcome with joy and relief that my daughter was finally here and she was just so perfect.

Being just over an hour old my daughter latched on for the first time and drew her first few sips. I was so amazed that a baby who was yet to open her eyes and really see her mother was able to make her way to my chest and feed. I felt a proud sense of responsibility to be her source of food, comfort and security.

I didn’t immediately have enough breast milk to meet her demands and had to supplement with formula milk. It took around 2 weeks for my supply to be adequate for a feed and for me and even longer to feed comfortably without pain and discomfort.

Statistics say that only 1% of mothers exclusively breastfeed after 6 months and I totally understand why. I’ll never dispute that breast milk is an amazing source of food and nutrition for babies and is 100% sterile you cannot beat that. However for me I did find feeding in this way incredibly strenuous and painful for some time.

I made the decision to feed my baby both breast and formula milk and that decision worked best. I knew that she was getting all that she needed from me, all the goodness and nutrients that my milk had to offer.

In the beginning I put a lot of pressure on myself to get enough milk and sometimes didn’t even trust that my milk was enough. I took fenugreek tablets and ate lactation cookies to increase my supply. The pain of the initial latch made me often not look forward to feed times but I equally also felt this responsibility to feed her.

As time went on I let go of this pressure I’d put on myself which made me more relaxed about feed times and allowed me to enjoy this precious time with my baby. What mattered was that she was fed, healthy and happy.

Thank you for reading x

Third trimester

Ahh finally!! Third trimester arrived! The excitement had really reached its pinnacle lol. The waddle was in full effect, the nursery was ready and we had even filled our daughters wardrobe with some lovely gifted items as well as things we had bought for her. Each day felt like a week as I waited and I felt as though every little twitch could potentially be a contraction lol

During the last few months I had pelvic pain as the weight of the baby pressed down, which also caused lower back pain. I still had increased melanin on my neck and chest see pic below

Swollen ankles meant that slippers and more precisely single strap sandals or flip flops became my footwear of choice for the last 2 months before birth. It’s a good thing the weather was nice. I experienced braxton hicks from about 36 weeks and they were often pretty intense.

The simple tasks I once did swiftly and easily I now needed help with – putting on shoes, picking items off the floor, basically any action that required me to bend down towards my feet lol.

Interestingly I had even more energy in my last trimester and felt motivated to really tidy and clean up, I had read that this was common during the last trimester, this sudden urgency to have your home ready to receive your baby.

I had always wanted to find out the gender of our baby beforehand so you can imagine how I felt not finding out until almost 5.5 months! Each time we had gone for a scan our baby’s legs were either crossed or the position wasn’t clear enough to make out the gender. As my pregnancy progressed it became even harder to see as the bones became more dense. We finally did however get a scan which could give us a definite answer 🙂 it’s a girl!

From around week 35 our baby had gotten into the breech position and we were told there was a possibility that I would have to go through a c-section. Her head was tucked right up in my womb towards my chest, with her bottom facing down towards my cervix and her legs folded in towards her chest. I wasn’t worried, I still had enough amniotic fluid for her to have some shuffle room and turn around.

Of course I had heard a lot of stories about how other people’s births had been and it did make me dream about my own. Was it going to be quick? Was it going to be as painful as everyone said it was?

I would have absolutely loved to have had a natural birth but as I reached closer to the 40 weeks mark it was becoming clear that our dear little princess wasn’t going to get into position. For one reason or another she simply couldn’t turn. Having done everything I could (in the safest way possible) the decision was made to deliver via c-section.

As the delivery via this method had been planned I had just over a week to prepare mentally for what would take place and to be totally relaxed throughout. I knew that I was in safe hands and that I’d soon be meeting our precious gift.

Thank you for reading xx

Second trimester

This I have to say was the trimester I enjoyed the most, I had energy (way more than in my first trimester) and I had begun working out. My morning sickness subsided around week 17 and I just felt so much better. As my body began to change I felt the effects if I stood for too long, I become thirsty incredibly quickly, needed the loo frequently, tiredness, chapped lips, peeling skin, a cold and increased melanin made the skin around my mouth and on my chest very dark. All of these changes were signals of what was happening inside of me.

I had to also give in and got myself some maternity jeans as the weather grew colder and I needed to make room for my expanding bump. ASOS came to the rescue and I was able to get some fairly nice over the bump jeans to see me through this season. Maternity fashion isn’t great, with many of the styles lacking in creativity and style. I stumbled across many a bootleg jean and unflattering top that made me want to squeeze into my pre-pregnancy clothes lol

30 weeks pregnant

Being creative with my wardrobe helped, for example buying 2 sizes up or baggy fit items from some of my favourite high street brands meant that I could still maintain my style even with my baby bump.

The shape of my bump as the pregnancy progressed did make it hard for me to fit even the maternity jeans as my belly grew outwards giving me a long melon shaped bump. I was even more excited though and couldn’t wait to meet my baby. Time seemed to drag on and i just wanted her to be here already. Quite a lot of people had been telling me to get lots of rest because when the baby came it would be tiring but I now realise that there is no way that you can ‘store up sleep’ and nothing actually prepares you for this unique experience.

 

Thank you for reading! xx

First trimester

I had so many pre-conceived ideas about what my pregnancy would be like and as my husband and I had begun planning about starting our own family I developed all of these ideas about how my body would change and what the birth would be like. For the most part my pregnancy was a smooth one for which I am grateful but there were so many other factors that did take me by complete surprise.

I found out that I was expecting at 4 weeks and for the first 3 weeks or so I was absolutely fine. No sickness. I felt so relieved that I had escaped morning sickness, the nausea and vomiting and couldn’t be happier to be honest.

Then week 8 came…and morning sickness hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt like I was living on a ship on rocky seas. It’s the only way that I can describe it really lol. It was just awful. Keeping anything down including water was a triumph and I lost weight. I’m so thankful that I had some medication which massively helped me to eat and drink normally.

Tiredness was also another symptom I experienced, feeling low on energy mostly in the mornings before breakfast and feeling tired by about 7pm!

This lasted well into my 2nd trimester. I remember whilst experiencing this it felt like forever!! Yet when it passed eventually it felt like a distant memory.

At a wedding during my first trimester

My first trimester also meant everything I ate made me feel incredibly bloated but that also went away in the 2nd trimester and was replaced by what felt like an insatiable appetite, this lasted very much up until our baby was born.

I started to adjust my wardrobe in anticipation of my growing bump although I didn’t start to really show until much later on. I downloaded a ton of apps, reading each week what was happening and how our precious baby was developing. It was amazing to think that even in the weeks when big changes were happening, I wouldn’t feel a thing, my body functioned as normal while this human was being perfectly created inside of me. It’s truly amazing.

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My husband and I decided to wait until the 12 week scan to tell our family and friends which was tough because we were attending 2 weddings in that time and I was so sure that news would slip out some point. I’m glad we waited, it was so lovely to finally share and to see everyones excitement!

Thank you for reading x

Return from Sabbatical

I guess I should call it a sabbatical as it has been an incredibly long time since I last posted on my blog. There have been various reasons why I haven’t been posting, one of them being that I’ve been thinking about the direction that I wanted to take the blog in and whether it was something that I wanted to continue doing. Having seen that I’ve had visitors to the site throughout my absence has been encouraging and has motivated me to get typing again. Also, Ive had friends encourage me to get back into it, so thank you to all of you xx

If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen that I recently had a baby (well its been a whole 8 months now! Gosh 8 months already?!!) and becoming a mother has taught me so much about myself, what I’m capable of and how much actually goes into raising another human. It is an incredible journey which is completely different for everyone.

So, over the next few weeks I’m going to share my pregnancy journey and motherhood so far, I hope you enjoy reading!

Have a great remainder of the week x

If I had a penny for…

The internet is already a maze when it comes to pregnancy advice as well as a wealth of apps that you can use to track your pregnancy. Many of them advice you on how your baby may be progressing and compare the size/weight of your child to strange fruits that you may have never heard of! lol!

As well as having all of these online resources, there are also lots of people who will give you advice, many of which has been invaluable to me, especially as a first time mum, your a sponge in this new experience and want to naturally take everything in and do the very best for both yourself and your baby.

Every pregnancy is very different as I have found mine has been. What has worked for me hasn’t been always what others have suggested but what feels right for me at the right time. If I had a penny for every time I was given ‘expert’ advice, I’d be a rich girl lol.

The suggestion of keeping fit was one that I had read online but I had no energy or desire to until my third trimester and that was the point that I needed it the most to help me overcome lower back pain. This is the workout routine I have been doing consistently 3 times a week and its made me feel great, I have had so much more energy. Anna Saccone has workouts for each trimester as well as lots of other videos on other baby related topics too- check her out! There are lots of pregnancy workout videos online so have a look and pick the ones you enjoy doing.

As I’m now at the very end of my pregnancy I have learned so much about my body and all of the amazing things it can do when incubating and growing another human! I’m now preparing my mind and body for labour as well as ensuring that our home is ready for a third person! To be honest we were ready about 2 months ago but being super organised I cant help but double check everything! help!

What has been some of the advice that you’ve been given that you have found really really useful and some that you’ve found not so useful? I’d love to know 🙂 Email me fuschiasequins@gmail.com

xx