Breastfeeding

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I’m on my second breastfeeding journey both fairly similar but this one is going on a little longer than the last. Josh decided himself one day after me being away when he was 8.5 months that he was done with the boob. Max is a big boob man so seeing how that will play out. 
As it’s International Breastfeeding Week, I thought I’d put together a post about all things related. 
B-is for bye bye perky boobs. If pregnancy and one bout of feeding didn’t have them touching my toes this feeding spell definitely has. Having said that, perky pre babies might have been a stretch!
R-is for right breast, still 9.5 months later I can get a bit of pain on this side. Max is tongue tied so his latch probably has its part to play.
E-is for easy, or not as the case may be… breastfeeding at the beginning certainly is not easy but for me on a day to day basis it is which is why I continue to do it.
A-is for ask for help, this is so important, especially in the early days.
S-is for sore, yes it’s sore-cracked nipples and those first few days of latching on can be painful and are common ground but that will pass, promise.
T-is for timing, whether you do it for 1 week, 1 month or 1 year-that is up to you and your choices. 
F-is for friends, I made some great mama pals in my breastfeeding group with Josh and having a friendly ear can be just what you need on the days where exhaustion is kicking in.
E-is for eating, you are definitely hungrier when feeding baby so eat well but treat yourself too.
E-is for expressing, getting a good pump is a really handy tool if you want to get baby onto a bottle at some stage but want to continue with mamas milk. 
D-is for daddy, whether you decide to feed exclusively or combo feed make sure dads have their part to play.
I-is for information, ask for information pre baby, in the early days or even when you are established.
N-is for nipple, nipple care at the beginning is key to avoid cracking or infection so lots of lanolin and compresses while you adjust.
G-is for great, despite some of what might sound negative above, it is great for baby and mum too so with the right support and if you have decided this is the route for you then enjoy it, embrace it and encourage it too!

Feeding Tops & Tips

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I feed Max myself and at 6 months there are no signs of him stopping. Breastfeeding has worked for me and I am thankful for that. However your choice of attire changes somewhat when you have to have quick access to the boob 24/7.

It’s not so bad at the beginning, when losing the baby weight and tops are big but as the months roll on and you want to get your style back it can be tricky to find nice pieces to fit into your wardrobe and not make you look to ‘mumsy’. 

3 bits of essential kit I’d suggest before hunting for tops that work are:

1. Really good feeding bras-get measured and buy well!

2. Clip down vests-really handy for going under things, I get mine in H&M

3. Breast pads-if needed, those tops won’t be as lovely if you have leaked all over them! 
So here is some of what I picked up in recent weeks… It is to give you some ideas.

 I did the bulk of my purchases in Zara but find H&M, Pull & Bear and of course Penny’s good too. It means you don’t spend too much but get to freshen up your wardrobe too for this feeing period in your life. 
I have also included some other pics of bits I’ve seen in the shops and some current stock for handy tops that are in store now so if you are at the start of your journey or in the middle I hope some of these ideas inspire and happy shopping! * all tops below were under 20 euro. 

My Style:


Spotted Out & About…


Some current stock-in Zara!



Reason for blogging?!?

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I sometimes wonder where this blog is going or what the reason for it all is.. it started as a private diary and now it is published for all to see. I sometimes think, is it just a way of me ‘oversharing’ my boys through my social media channels or can it be put to good use and can I grow it into the future, I certainly hope the latter and have plans in place to try and do that a little more. 

However I do get contacted by my followers on occasion for advice or get encouraging words posted and this makes it feel all worth while. This exact thing happened recently.. I have written a few posts about breastfeeding and my journey to date however just the other day I got contacted by a follower asking for my advice.. She has been struggling for a number of reasons in feeding her 6 week old and asked my opinion. I am no expert but I tried to give an informed answer and honest opinion in return. In summary, I felt that it was important for me to encourage her to keep feeding if she could find the right support but she felt like a ‘bad mum’ because she currently had to top up with formula. She felt ashamed and uncomfortable feeding her child in public with a bottle and this can also be the case for breastfeeding mums too. This made me both sad and angry. Society, social media and lack of support and information were making her feel that way. My breastfeeding journey on both boys has not been painless but has certainly been relatively straightforward however for many this is not the case. One thing I firmly believe is a happy mum is a happy baby and you need to do what feels right for you and your child. I have a introduced a bottle to both boys from 4 weeks to give us all a bit of flexibility and Max has one bottle most days as his evening feed. I really felt I needed to share this message. I wanted another side of the story so I asked a fellow blogger her permission to share hers Both mums feeling like failures which should not be the case.. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for very valid reasons, some people choose not to and that’s ok too and a lot of the time this is down to lack of support and information. Feeding your child, loving your child and keeping them safe and warm is what is important and for new mums this message should be the strong one shining through! 

Read the other side of the story here: http://oneyummymummy.com/2016/09/01/breast-isnt-best/

Breastfeeding Welcome… Will remain to be seen!

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The second question/assumption after my due date enquiry by my gp was ‘I assume you are breastfeeding again this time’ This made me a little mad the first time and a litter madder this time. Don’t get me wrong, I like my gp I had a good breastfeeding experience but that may not have been the case and I can tell you one thing whilst it might be the best route of possible it most certainly ain’t the easiest but more on that later. I find this question funny because the assumption is that you will, but the support and facilities are not there to support women who actually do choose this path. 

Earlier in the year stats were released that stated only 55% of women choose to breastfeed and that is the lowest uptake in 27 high income countries, reported The Irish Times.  I would also say this statistic is one that is written on a form when baby is born and when mum and baby leave the hospital and the reality of breastfeeding kicks in with the massive changes that have just occurred in your life this percentage easily drops. 

You regularly see articles about women being shamed when breastfeeding publicly and this is most certainly a hurdle you have to overcome on your first. Again it must be back to our culture but you certainly feel a little uncomfortable ‘whipping them out’ in a cafe, albeit subtly on those first few occasions. When you think of it, it’s a little ridiculous and such a shame as when it works breastfeeding is such a miraculous thing really and should be applauded not hidden behind big shawls and uncomfortable facades. 

I write this piece due to the recent talk of ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’ signs being introduced as reported by The Journal and with the initiative coming from The First 1000 days, if you haven’t heard about them until now you should definitely check them out. 

The First 1000 Days 

I think this would be welcome but what does it say about the establishments that choose not to display this sign or take this approach. Hmmm is all I have to say to that. 

I have always thought that there should be no divide between breast feeding mamas and bottle feeding mamas. I met some wonderful women at my breastfeeding group who still remain great friends but in the early days all mamas need support and there wasn’t one bottle feeder at our group. Having said that establishing feeding yourself definitely merits more support that may not always be there. The hospitals are overrun and don’t have the time to dedicate the time needed for those crucial first few days. Support groups are hit and miss depending on your location and you may also find that family may not be as supportive as you hope having come from a different generation and perhaps taken a different method themselves. 
I was very lucky, I was with the Domino scheme so whilst I left hospital very quickly I had midwives call to me every day for 6-7 days after Josh was born. They had the time to answer questions, listen to your concerns and give tips on how to get it established. I got engorgement, cracked nipples and felt for those first few days and weeks extremely overwhelmed by being one little precious persons primary food source. My own mum struggled seeing me suffer in pain and suggested bottles early on but one thing I really believe is if you want to give it the best shot you need to push through those first few tricky weeks. Your supply and your baby needs to settle and then once this happens it does become a lot easier. We chose to give Josh a bottle for his last feed at about 4 weeks for a number of reasons and this again worked well for us. It gave mama a little freedom and some extra rest too. It gave Ian a chance to feel like he was helping as dads can feel a bit unnecessarily useless those first few weeks and finally it got Josh used to a bottle early which was helpful later on. I avoided the dreaded mastitis and went on to feed Josh for almost 10 months. 

Just for the record I do plan to feed number 2 myself but I will be returning to work earlier so weaning will have to happen earlier too. Josh just naturally stopped which also made this transition seamless for all. Yes the statistics also show that if you can, especially in those early days if you can feed your baby breast milk that is is hugely beneficial to both you and them but as the saying goes.. Happy mama means happy baba and if things don’t work out for you, you don’t have the support network you need then a feeding method that works for the whole family is the best one to choose. 

Weeks 2-4-Reality Bites

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So people had told us that the first 2 weeks were a ‘nightmare’ which I don’t like anyway as it truly is not a nightmare, it is challenging for sure but certainly not a nightmare. But that had now past and it’s was onwards and mostly upwards..

By this stage the reality of getting back to your new normality sets in, a partner potentially has gone back to work and the more helpful of the visitors have dwindled away.. It can be a daunting time so taking every day as it comes.

These weeks are about finding your new routine, getting to grips with feeding and enjoying the new person in your life.

So to feeding-
Painful, Not Easy but Rewarding!
I always said I’d give it a go and luckily baby boy took to it quite well and the nurses told me I had a great supply which didn’t feel so great when your breasts turn the size of watermelons about day 4 {or a little later if you’ve had a c section} when your milk comes in.
Then just as that passes the cracked nipples arrive, when baby boy sucks it’s toe curling so lots of nipple cream/compresses and persevere. Go to a class, get advise from mummy friends, try feeding in public and eventually I promise you will find your groove.
We decided to introduce a bottle just before 4 weeks along with a dodie/soother. Our baby took to both with not too much resistance because we introduced it early. We started with express bottles but at this stage my supply was still very strong and for fear of oversupply and possible mastitis we decided to introduce a night formula bottle. We chose aptimel as it’s one of the lighter milks and he was on the advent newborn bottle, we found the the teet on that a little slow {he is a guzzler} and it was taking my husband over an hour to do the last feed so changed it to 0-3 months medium flow which was in the pack we bought pretty fast. Another point is get your partner to do this feed if possible, and GO TO BED! However when they get their first weight check and you hopefully see a weight gain, you feel so proud-you did that, yes you and you should give yourself and big pat on the back-I went and got my nails painted as a treat.😉💅

Just when it sometimes feels like its relentless and you wonder in moments of shame when is anyone coming to collect this space invader that has suddenly arrived in your life, time passes and things do start falling into place!

{Advice}:
•Have meals in the freezer for this time, buy them, make them but it makes life much easier.
•Have easy snacks to hand as you could forget to eat and you need to.
Join a breastfeeding or mum group, it really helps to chat to others.
•Meet friends for coffee but don’t over do it.
•Be kind to yourself.