Self-care with a new baby

Self-care with a new baby

My ‘baby’ is almost two now and I’m still very unsure if a baby number three will ever be on the cards so this is really a reflective post on self-care I wish I had implemented with a new baby. My daughter is now almost five and son was two a few weeks ago and my experiences were completely different, with my first I took to it easily and was back up in no time, whilst with my son I had terrible postnatal depression which I think was contributed to my lack of self-care in the early days post delivery.

If I do ever become a mother again this is how I would self-care better.

  1. I’m a pretty determined person if I put my mind to it and I was desperate to get out and about with the new baby and prove that again I was this perfect earth mother second time around. I was naive to think that two children wouldn’t be much harder and that I would heal in the same way. I was emotional and physically drained and I should have slowed down.
  2. I was pretty strict with my first with visitors and my second I let things slip. It was overwhelming not just for me but for my oldest. Miss J needed time to adjust to a new baby and we didn’t give her the chance.
  3. I wish I had treated my body better. I was so focused on keeping everybody else happy that I neglected myself. I had very low iron in pregnancy and required an iron transfusion after giving birth second time. I wish I had taken Spatone Iron earlier to help with my iron levels. If a third ever does happen I will be taking it throughout my pregnancy.
  4. My first labour was a real struggle and required a fair amount of stitches. The time it took to heal was long and using the toilet was a very scary experience. When Mr T came along I luckily only grazed, but second time I was clued up and had a jug of warm water ready for toilet trips and I took many salt baths which I really think helped make me recover so quickly.
  5. Breastfeeding first time was tough and I spent a fair amount of time crying through the pain.  With my first child I remember desperately waiting for our local shop to open on a Sunday morning so I could send hubby to buy some formula, whilst I was waiting for my milk to come in. I know some people are really against it, but it helped me carry on breastfeeding when I was struggling so much. With my second I had a carton just in case and never had to use it.
  6. Do your reasearch on a good breast pump. First time I went for a brand I knew and it was rubbish, second time I really looked into it and found a great Medela Swing pump which enabled me to pump and store milk.
  7. Close the curtains and air your breasts if they hurt and stock up on lanolin cream, Lansinoh seemed to work best for me.
  8. First time around I was desperate to get back into my clothes and I was ‘fortunate’ enough that I actually lost 20 Ibs in the first five months of pregnancy, so after delivery I was skinnier than before. Second time around I wasn’t so lucky and still haven’t lost it two years on. If there is a next time I will not got hung up on this and will embrace the leggings post delivery.
  9. Accept help if offered and ask for help when needed. I really wish I would have asked for help and accepted in more in the early days with baby number two. Miss J probably would have benefited from some time away from the new baby and I needed time to bond with my new baby.
  10. Make the most of box sets. I loved box sets with my first child, but with my second it was mostly spent watching kids TV. I wish instead of going insane watching Paw Patrol whilst I had a baby stuck to my boob that I had got out my tablet. There is no harm in watching TV and just staying awake.
  11. For some reason with my second I felt that I shouldn’t nap and as soon as my hands were free I would attempt to clean, I wish I had just laid my head down on the sofa and just rested my eyes for five minutes whilst my oldest watched some TV.
  12. With both children as I breastfed I felt like I had to be with them every moment of the day. I wish I had taken the time when hubby was home to pop out for an hour on my own between feeds or even go for a walk. Having a baby is all-consuming and sometimes you just alone time.
  13. I wish I would have expressed how I really felt. I bottled it up and I wish I would have been honest with myself and say how it really was. I didn’t feel confident enough to really start expressing my thoughts until Mr T was 16 months old and I started to write it down in this blog. Once I started to express how I felt, I then could make sense of it and let go of guilt.
  14. I really wish I had known about mindfulness earlier and took time out to mediate, relax and be present in the moment. It’s done wonders for my mental wellbeing and it really is one of the best self-care tools you can use.
  15. Own your parenting decisions and don’t let people make you feel guilt. Do what works for you and your baby and don’t let anyone else try to make you feel guilty. We are all trying to do the best by our children so don’t let someone limited perspective make you feel bad.

Having a new baby whether it’s your first or fifth is difficult and a big transition for you all. Be kind to yourself and remember unless you look after yourself first you can’t look after your baby to the best of you abilities. If anyone has any other self-care tips to add please let me know in the comments.

A special moment with both my children
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17 Top tips for a happier life with a new baby

17 Top tips for a happier life with a new baby

A new baby is something really special, they smell gorgeous, are tiny and cute and they completely over haul your lives for a while. It takes some to time to adjust to a new baby in your home, as you get to know them and they get to know you. It’s hard work, exhausting and emotionally draining. I’ve written some tips I would have given myself as a new baby arrived.

 

  1. Trust your instinct it’s usually right.
  2. If in doubt ask for a second opinion. Always feel strong enough to ask for a second opinion about your baby, see another doctor or see a health visitor and make sure you feel comfortable with the advice you’ve given.
  3. Sleep when the baby sleeps and don’t feel guilty about it. A tired mummy is no good to anyone.
  4. Breastfeed your baby and if that isn’t what you want to do or it doesn’t work out, then bottle feed your baby.
  5. Own your parenting decisions and don’t be made to feel guilty. We all have to make difficult decisions around are parenting choices and we need to be confident in them.
  6. Let the other stuff slide. cooking, cleaning friends can all take a bit of a backseat whilst you adjust to motherhood.
  7. Make sure you still do stuff you enjoy. If that’s getting out with some friends then so be it or if you’re a home bird and not ready to leave the baby then have a nice bath or read a book whilst someone watches the baby.
  8. If you don’t already have them, make mum friends. Join a group on Facebook or go to a local mum’s group, these women need you as much as you need them.
  9. Your baby probably wont sleep for a long time and that’s normal. Try and ignore anyone who says that their 2 week old sleeps through for 12 hours as the chances are when that baby is teething, sleep will once again be a distant memory.
  10. Hold your baby, let time pass by, breath in that smell and remember the perfect moments.
  11. Every mum 1st, 2nd, or 6th time will make a mistake so don’t let it upset you. Your baby won’t remember and guilt is every mum’s worst enemy.
  12. Take everyone’s opinions with a pinch of salt. Take your time to make up your own mind.
  13. Don’t compare your baby to another baby.
  14. Sometimes are own mother’s and grandmother’s want to pass on their words of wisdom, but please remember advice has changed hugely over the last 20+ years. I’m sure the advice is meant to be helpful, but please make sure the advice you are given meets current guidelines. No babies sleeping on tummy or thickened formula please.
  15. Muslins clothes are amazing and you can never have enough. Great for all sorts of spit up and mess and also double as handy breastfeeding cover tucked into your bra strap.
  16. Ask for help. You don’t need to be a hero and you won’t get an award. If you need help, please ask for it.
  17. Always have baby wipes around. I honestly don’t know how mum’s managed before baby wipes, as they really are amazing for cleaning anything! If you don’t fancy shop bought ones you can always make your own.

Little babies don’t stay little for long so try to remember those special moments as when you look back this is what matters. The night-time feeds, screaming, baby sick and tears from you and baby will fade much quicker over time, but those little moments of happiness will last a lifetime,

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Why I love breastfeeding

I’m not writing this blog post to get anyone’s backs up or to debate which way of feeding is better. Both breastfeeding and formula have their places in society and we are lucky enough that we can make an informed choice on which way we plan to nourish our babies. For me I had planned to breastfeed before I had even got pregnant. My own mother had breastfed me and she always described it such a wonderful thing to do, that I knew I wanted to at least try it and hope that I could do it.

I understand many woman cannot breastfeed through inadequate milk supply, medication, latch problems, lack of support or wrong advice given. Some ladies decide they don’t want to do it and again that is completely your choice to make and not something anyone should ever make you feel guilty about. What upsets me most is so many people I know who have tried to breastfed have not been given the right advice and have been told something different every time they have seen a different midwife. Lots of people fall into the top up trap and find milk supply dwindles further and late diagnosis of tongue and lip tie are stopping ladies from being able to sustain a good breastfeeding relationship that will subsequently end too soon. In the UK we have one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world and I think us ladies are being let down with support that we need.

A special moment with both my children
A special moment with both my children

Like many other new mums I struggled at first to breastfeed my daughter Miss J, she latched fine but I was in agony with cracked and bleeding nipples and spent a few days pumping on one side and even did the occasional top-up of formula until my milk had properly come in. I spent a lot of time crying and unsure how long our journey would last. I was lucky to have done the NCT antenatal course and had been given great advice on breastfeeding. I phoned up the helpline when I needed support and was lucky enough to be helped out and encouraged.

Mr T had problems with reflux and was forever being sick and choking so I took him to the doctor at six weeks old and because he was gaining weight well they weren’t worried about him and the doctor advised me he was a piggy baby and I needed to limit his feed time and the space between feeds, which is appalling advice to give an exclusively breastfed baby. For one he would have been in distress and screaming, secondly it would have effected my milk supply and thirdly it wouldn’t have fixed the reflux. I had told the doctor I wouldn’t take his advice and was spoken to like a foolish idiot and reluctantly given a prescription of infant gaviscon. If anyone else has tried to give a breastfed baby gaviscon will know what a pain it is to do with each feed as you can’t just slip it into a bottle. I did my best and gave it a go but unfortunately it made things worse as he was now choking on his now thickened sick and I realised we needed to see another doctor quickly. Second time around I got to see a lovely lady doctor who prescribed us something that actually did work. He was still sick a lot, but it was little and often and he was no longer screaming in pain. Mr T’s reflux has only really now gone and he ended up in hospital at 12 months old after going blue from his reflux.

I exclusively breastfed Miss J until she was six months old and then went to combination feeding until she was a year old and I returned to work. I didn’t realise at the time that there were also so many amazing breastfeeding groups on Facebook, with mums who have gone through any kind of issue you can imagine and if I knew then what I know now I would have continued to breastfeed when I went back to work.

I felt insecure about feeding Miss J in public and would often sit in smelly changing rooms feeding her, sitting in my car or even go home so I didn’t have to. When Mr T came along and I already had a three-year old with me, everything had to change and I fed where ever and whenever I needed to. For me it was easier to feed than to make a bottle and I often fed one-handed whilst making Miss J’s lunch and out and about in the baby carrier. I wish I would have had the confidence to do the same with Miss J and not worry about someone else’s opinion. I have only had a couple of comments from people when feeding and have had a fair few stares, but have also had some lovely words of encouragement from strangers.

A few times I have thought my breastfeeding journey would have to come to an end after being prescribed antidepressants and then antipsychotics, but I have luckily been given information to show my doctors to show them that I can still breastfeed and take these drugs. Please check with the Breastfeeding Network if your doctor has told you that you need to stop feeding.

For me I have loved both my breastfeeding journeys and am still continuing to feed Mr T at morning and night at 19 months old. I have loved seeing Mr T’s rolls grow knowing that I had made them myself like some kind of super hero. I’m not a morning person and I don’t do well being woken in the night so for me being able to feed my baby with little interruption has been so perfect for us. I would scoop Mr T out of his cot and lay back on my side and feed him whilst my darling husband would be none the wiser. I didn’t have the worry of disturbing my husbands or daughters sleep and didn’t have to go downstairs to get a bottle in the night. I’ve found it great when they have been sick and wanted extra milk or when they have gone through a growth spurt after previously sleeping through the night. I love the fact I have it on tap whenever and wherever. I have still had nights out drinking and have even gone away overnight on hen parties, so I really haven’t found it constricting. I have pumped my boobs a few times when being a little worse for wear.

Mr T's amazing rolls
Mr T’s amazing rolls

One thing I didn’t enjoy with Miss J was finding nursing clothes that I liked, but when Mr T came along I found an amazing Facebook page for breastfeeding mums sharing their high street, breastfeeding friendly clothes ideas, they now have a fantastic website too. It really was a god send and I wish I had known about it earlier. Second time around I’ve also found having a decent breast pump so important. With Miss J I struggled to ever pump much and hated sitting there for up to an hour doing it, but with Mr T I invested in a medela swing pump and was pumping so much that I managed to donate over 100 oz’s of milk to Oxford hospital milk bank.

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For me breastfeeding has really been amazing and something I am so thankful I have been able to continue. I cherish mine and Mr T’s time every morning and night where I give him his milkies and he snuggles in close to me. One day he will no longer need me and I’ll accept that and let him go, but for now I still nourish him and he still needs me.

 

 

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Supporting mothers from mothers 

Why do strangers seem to want to give me their opinion on parenting when you never asked. Today whilst shopping in Boots and picking up some dummy clips to stop Tristan from launching them out his pushchair the lady serving told me I needed to break thay habbit soon as he’s too big for a dummy. Mr T is 17 months old and when hes tired or teething i am more than happy to let him have a dummy and until he stops napping in the day i will make no plans to take it away just like i did with my daughter. I’m sure the comment didnt come from a nasty place, but I get so fed up of always feeling judged and being made to feel I need to justify my parenting choices when my children are happy and healthy. Miss J happily had her dummy until she was three years old until she stopped napping in the day. I didnt want to risk her dropping her nap in the day for my own selfish needs because I was heavily pregnant with SPD and that hour rest is what kept me going through the day.

Mr T is STILL breastfeeding at 17 months old, whilst showing no signs of stopping and i have felt I’ve had to justify this for many reasons as surely as ive gone this far I will probably have to move into his halls at university so he can have his ‘bitty’. It was my intention to feed until 12 months, but when I went back to work he adjusted so well to just feeding morning and night I’ve carried on. The world health organisations recommends breastfeeding until 2 years and if Mr T wants to then I’m fine with that. Am I selfish for wanting to go this far? Possibly i am, as when my baby wakes first thing in the morning I get an extra ten minutes cuddle time and at night or when he’s teething I can comfort him in a minute. It works for us and thats all I care about.

Parenting choices are personal and have reason. Whether you co-sleep, formula feed, or cry it out, who has the right to tell you that it’s wrong? No one should feel that they have the right to undermine a mothers role with critical opinions. We all need to support each other and respect other peoples choices. Parenting is hard so let’s try and do what we can to make it easier for everyone.

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the muddled mother

My favourite purchases with a second child.

One thing I really enjoyed when pregnant with a second child was buying the little special extras I couldn’t afford first time around and updating stuff that I didn’t like with Miss J. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite purchases and the reasons why.

Babymov Cosy dream

This product was amazing for a peaceful night sleep and especially for a baby with bad reflux like Mr T. I loved how he was cosy and his legs were raised upwards to help ease discomfort that reflux caused. One of the best bits about this is that its machine washable and dries pretty quickly and I can vouch that it last well after washing it most days and using it for six months.

Joie Mimzy Highchair

I wish I had bought this product sooner and not tried to manage with my old one which just wasn’t practical. This highchair is amazing and so comfortable. Not only can you adjust the height, you can take off the whole tray to clean, it folds down for storage and the plastic has an almost velvety texture so even cheese spread wipes straight off. I love how you can recline this so you can have baby up at the table before they are ready to start solids.

Medela Swing Breast Pump

If you do plan to breastfed I really do recommend this breast pump. I went for a cheaper one with my daughter and it was useless compared to this. Its easy to use, clean and transport. I used it everyday for six months and it became my breast friend.

Mam Bottles anti Colic

At first I had my reservations with these bottles but after I was sent one free and Mr T refused any other brand I tried these and he loved them. I was put off my all the bits, but they really do work well and didn’t seem to aggravate his reflux too much or cause nipple confusion. Its great that you can self sterilise the bottles in the microwave.

Breathablebaby Cot Mesh Liner

I know not everyone likes cot bumpers but after having a good look around I found these mesh liners that Velcro on. I didn’t use them when Mr T was newborn but I used them when he went in his own cot from six months and they are great at keeping his legs and dummies inside the cot at night.

Ergo Baby Carrier

I have no idea how I would have managed without this carrier. It was great for holding a reflux baby upright when I needed to do some jobs and so easy for doing the school run. Mr T is 16 months old and we are still using the carrier everyday for the school run.

Milton Travel Sterliser

This was so handy on holiday that I used it when I was home for doing his dummies, rather than having to put them all in the steam steriliser every 30 minuets.

Milton Mini Soother Steriliser

These make life so much easier when out and about. Easy to set up before you go out and also handy to take up to bed with you with a spare dummy.

Nursing Chair

I love my nursing chair and couldn’t be without it. I’m still using it 16 months on for good night feeds and a story.

Mamas and Papas Armadillo City

I bought this when Mr T was 10 months as I wanted a small pushchair that I could keep in my downstairs toilet. This pushchair is lovely to push, folds easily, look good and fully reclines. my only regret was not buying it sooner.

Please see links to Amazon to the side for current prices.

 

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11 Things I never imagined I would do as a mum.

11 Things I never imagined I would so as a mum

1. Shave my legs whilst sharing a bath with two other little people.

2. Milked myself whilst drunk on a night out to release the discomfort of engorged boobs.

3. Got a free drink by having giant engorged boobs on a night out.

4. Wiped shit off a toddlers bum whilst on the phone to the bank.

5. Put on a full face of make up in the dark so I didn’t wake the co-sleeping baby.

6. Used a breastpad as a bandage for child’s bloodied knee.

7. Used a breastpad as a sanitary pad before getting a chance to go to the shop.

8. Used lanolin cream as a lip balm.

9. Walked around shopping with one boob still out my top.

10. Wiped sick off a baby with my own clothes.

11. Had to dig cat shit out of my boys hand after he went for a rummage in the cat litter tray.

It’s all glamour in my house. Anyone else have any good ones?

Mums on tour a rare night out

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