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

Purpose Beyond Motherhood

I knew once I got the hang of what I was doing that I was going to absolutely love motherhood and I honestly believe that (by Gods grace) I am doing a good job. The rewards that come with nurturing a little one are absolutely priceless but this doesn’t take away from wanting to achieve more and to be more. Besides the fact that children grow up incredibly quickly, there was a purpose and a drive inside of me long before children, meaning that there are still things that I am passionate about and projects and ideas that God has laid on my heart to (by His grace) bring to fruition.

This of course doesn’t take away from those who are solely stay-at-home mums, its not an easy job and is one that takes up all day and some! Especially if you have more than one child.

I know that first time around I definitely became swallowed up by all that motherhood required of me and delved into this role with everything leaving very little time for any of my own interests. Finding the balance can be hard especially when each stage of your babies growth requires you to adapt just when you feel as though you’re getting the hang of things.

If you’re like me and believe that actually the passions, interests, desires you had pre-children are still very much there I encourage you to dedicate a little time to it everyday. Whatever it may be. It could be 10 minutes of research or a good 40 minutes of brainstorming/planning a few times a week. I believe there is more fulfilment to be found in nurturing the gifts that we have and balancing home, family and personal interests.

As always thank you for reading, please share this with someone that you think will enjoy reading this too.

 

Have a great week! xx

Am I making the most of my time as a mum?

Being a stay at home mum means that I sometimes feel as though I’m not being productive, even though I’m maintaining a home and raising a child my efforts can sometimes feel as though they aren’t really bring forth any tangible benefits.

This is when I must remind myself that I am investing in my children’s future and what I am doing now will put them in good steed for the future.

I must also remember that this is just a season and one that I must embrace and enjoy because it will pass and it will be before I know it, my daughter will be much older and independent not needing my help in many day to day things.

Remembering this also helps me to relax and doesn’t give me the feeling that I’m in some way ‘missing out’ by not being at work. I must say that after you’ve cleaned up food off the floor for what feels like the 55th time in one day, being in an office does sound very very appealing 🙂

Having worked since my teenage years this new season has taken some adjusting to but watching my little grow and blossom has been so so rewarding, it’s such a honour. I’ve gained a new perspective on life and I’m thankful for that.

Thank you for reading x

My 5 top tips for new parents

I truly believe that becoming a parent makes you an expert in YOUR  OWN child. If you pay enough attention and spend enough time with them, you and your partner get to know them better than anyone else. There are some things that I have realised in my 8 and a bit months of parenting that I would like to share. Here they are:

  1. Observe your child and watch for any patterns that develop with their feeding, nappy changes and baths. This may not be possible within the first 8 or so weeks but you will eventually recognise when they respond well to nappy changes and baths. You’ll be able to spot signs for hunger, tiredness or even trapped wind.
  2. Help your baby to feel secure in your arms. You are doing an amazing job and are the best person to be your child’s parent. Babies can sense insecurity, uncertainty and fear. Speak to them in a loving and assuring way, even if they are crying, try your best to remain calm and not get worked up.
  3. Take lots of pictures of your baby as they grow and change because its true what they say- time does really fly and they’ll be a toddler before you know it.
  4. Staying organised will help you to spend more quality time talking to and engaging with your baby. Simply putting a few things in place during the evening for the following day will help you start the day in a more relaxed way. This could be setting up for the morning bath, running a wash through the night or making sure bottles are cleaned/sterilised will all help.
  5. SELF-CARE – this is so so important mums. Take some time out for you! It could be a work-out, going on a short walk alone, having your nails done, a bubble bath. Whatever it may be try and get some time to look after yourself. You need to be in a good place to give your child your best. Agree with your partner a set day or a little time each week to do something yourself, you’ll feel refreshed.

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

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