Monday, 13 August 2018

My breastfeeding journey

My children

You might say my breastfeeding journey started with Squidge was born, in October 2014. It'd never entered my head that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed, I honestly never realised that could be a thing. I'd bought a bottle and a steraliser, but that was for expressed milk, although stupidly I'd bought 12 bottles (why on earth did I buy so many?!).

When Squidge was born we had skin to skin about 10 mins after, he had to be resuscitated first as he didn't breathe on his own, and he remained very blue. But after a few mins he was absolutely perfect and ready for his first cuddles, and I was ready for my first cuddle as a mummy. After maybe 30-60 mins (I honestly can't really remember how long) the nurse told me he needed to feed (especially as I had gestational diabetes), I said I wanted to breastfeed, she tried to get him to latch but couldn't, so she expressed some milk from me and gave him that in a syringe.

Off I was wheeled to the ward, where we had another couple attempts to feed, again unsuccessful. They handed me a load of syringes, and off I went, spending every waking moment through the night frantically expressing and making my nipples super sore, so he could have my colostrum. They checked his blood sugars, and they were frighteningly low. They said I had two hours to get his sugars up, or he was going to be taken to the special care baby unit (SCBU). They brought down a heat lamp and put that over him. He had my colostrum, but it was deemed not enough to bring his sugars up, and the midwives gave him formula via a cup. Up his sugars went, and SCBU was avoided. Fantastic. 

Breastfeeding Dot in the woods, black and white

A day or two later we were sent home, having never had a successful breastfeed, despite that being my chosen feeding method. I wasn't given any details of support groups, or anything like that. After getting home, hubby rushes out to buy a load of ready made formula. Despite my best intentions, I wasn't going to let Squidge starve. It's not like I didn't have any milk (that came in on day 4), but he wouldn't latch, every time I brought him to the breast he screamed and screamed and screamed and it didn't stop until he was fed a bottle. I tried for weeks, and we never had so much as one full successful feed.

A breastfeeding support worker did randomly turn up at our house the day after we got back, which was great, she got him to latch, with the use of a nipple shield, but it was only for a minute or two. That was it. I felt so awful. I was expressing every 2-3 hours, but not getting much milk each time, so whereas I wanted him to be fed my breastmilk and only topped up with formula, the opposite was the reality. After 6 weeks, my milk completely dried up, I sobbed my heart out. I felt like I'd failed him, and in all honesty, I still feel like that. I know I could have tried harder, and I should have, but I didn't, I gave up.

Fast forward 2 years and 10 months, and lovely little Dot arrives. This time I'm adamant I'm going to make it work. Dot is born, and plonked straight on my chest for skin to skin, and after 2 mins whisked away for some suction, and brought right back (we sadly didn't get the delayed clamping I wanted, but that's ok). He stayed cwtched up to me on my chest for what felt like hours, it was wonderful, I drank in every second of it (even while I was being stitched up). I expected a midwife to come and weigh him, but I think they were busy. About 3+ hrs after he was born, I buzz a midwife and ask for him to be weight so we can feed him. They weigh him (8lb 10.5 oz) and with that my inlaws arrive. A support worker walks in with a bottle of formula, and before I knew what was going on, he was being given his first feed. Formula. 

Dot breastfeeding, close up

The next day or so are a bit of a haze. I can't even remember how long I was in hospital for. I do remember being given a private room, and really struggling to get Dot to latch on. I had midwife after midwife come in and tell me he had to be in the rugby ball hold because I had big boobs, but it didn't work, he hated it. I tried lying down, that didn't work either. Eventually while there we had a couple successful small feeds, but I wasn't confident I was leaving hospital as a breastfeeding mum. He'd had a lot of formula top ups, but I was still determined to make breast work. Every feed I tried, and each time it got a little easier than the last, and slowly over the course of the next few weeks, we dropped the formula top ups from just being around midnight and 3am(ish) or if we were out and about, to none at all, he was now an exclusively breastfed baby. But it wasn't without it's trials.

About two weeks into our journey, I developed horrendous pain in my nipples. I felt like I was passing shards of glass every time he fed. My left nipple was cracked and infected, and my left breast was in agony, it was red and very hot to touch, and so so so tender. After getting home from the hospital, a local breastfeeding support group text me with their number. I called them as I was in so much pain, and within an hour someone was out to help. I had blocked ducts on top of the other issues, but when I expressed off the left breast, no milk came out at all, not even one drop. I went to the Drs and was diagnosed with mastitis and given antibiotics. It cleared up pretty quickly, but as the pain had been so bad, and my ducts blocked, Dot wouldn't feed on the left, and as such, my supply in that breast dropped (and has never recovered).

It's now a year on (give or take a day or two), and we're still going strong. It's been a tough journey, even recently I'm battling pain in the right nipple as his latch is still shallow (lazy) and his top teeth are grazing my nipple, but we persevere. He doesn't sleep through the night, he wakes to feed every couple hours, and you know what, I couldn't care less. I love the bond we have, I love feeding him, I love knowing the nourishment he gets from it and the comfort. I don't plan on stopping any time soon, I'm happy to take his lead, he'll know when he's ready and when that time comes, we'll stop.

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Saturday, 4 August 2018

Why saying 'Fed is Best' is dangerous | World Breastfeeding Week

As a disclaimer before we get into this, I am NOT bashing formula feeding. I formula fed Squidge after failing to breastfeed, I own that I did that, and I’m not ashamed. How a mother decides to feed her baby is her choice, and shouldn’t be made to feel bad for her choices, whether that’s formula or breastfeeding, and believe me, both get made to feel bad by others.

Me breastfeeding Dot in the woods

It’s no secret that Britain has some of the worst breastfeeding rates in the entire world, not just the developed world, but the whole world. Just let that sink in for a moment. A country that is wealthy, well educated, with a free health service, most things we could ever want, yet we have some of the worst rates for breastfeeding.

Fed is best


Ok, so I used to totally agree that what’s most important for a baby is to be fed, and I still don’t really disagree with that. But the whole ‘fed is best’ movement or approach is damaging to breastfeeding. Lets face is, fed is required, babies have to be fed. What is best, scientifically is breastmilk. Again, not bashing formula, I’m just stating facts. If you look at the list of ingredients on a carton of formula, you’ll see lots of vitamins and minerals, it’s a synthetic mix of dried milk with added nutrition, it will meet your babies needs.

The breast is best movement isn’t about shaming bottle feeding mums, it’s about promoting breastfeeding as the norm, quite simply it IS what is best for baby. 

What a lot of people don’t seem to realise, is all the super amazing things that are in breastmilk, naturally. As well as amazing things like stem cells, they are also full of antibodies which help your baby to battle illnesses. 

"Breast milk contains more than 200 known beneficial elements, with more being discovered all the time. For example, researchers believe that a recently discovered fatty acid in breast milk promotes the growth of a baby's brain and retina and may even enhance cognitive development. Many of these elements, including infection-fighting white cells, can't be manufactured." - Babycentre

Me breastfeeding Dot

'Fed is best' encourages switching to formula

I’ll give you a scenario. Imagine a mum who’s struggling to breastfeed, her baby is 6 weeks old and cluster feeding (absolutely normal). Mum feels like because the baby is on her breast all the time, that she’s not making enough milk. Baby is being fussy when coming off as baby is also getting comfort from the breast, and going through a developmental growth spurt (leap), making them extra fussy too. Feeling like her milk isn’t enough, in desperation she reaches for some formula, gives baby a huge feed (at this age the formula box recommends a 4-5oz feed, whereas on the breast baby would be getting about 1.5oz per hour), knocking the baby into a deep sleep. This affirms her fears that her milk isn’t enough (which wasn’t actually the case), and slowly starts to transition to formula, her milk starts to dry up. Mum feels like she’s doing the right thing for her baby as baby is now less fussy and filling up more, and getting more sleep. But all along, it was just a growth spurt and baby wanting to be close to mum.

The issue here is education. Lack of knowledge. When I had my first, I had no idea about any of this, I had no support, wasn’t a member of breastfeeding support groups to help me learn about all this. I expressed for 6 weeks until my milk dried up, Squidge never had a successful breastfeed, despite trying. If knew then, what I know now, I’m almost certain I could have made it work.

We need to be supporting mothers who choose to breastfeed and not encourage them to switch to formula because it’s ‘easier’ or more convenient, or because others have an issue with it. Breastfeeding should be the NORM, but instead it’s socially frowned upon and whenever us mums do talk about it, or show pride in it, formula feeding mums tell us it makes them feel bad, or that we’re shaming them, when in actual fact, we’re just trying to promote breastfeeding (and not shame bottle feeders).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to talk about this without fear of a massive backlash. I’m already bracing myself for the backlash this might get, but I feel so strongly that we need to talk about it in a non-confrontational way, so I’m talking about it anyway.

What experiences have you had with breastfeeding?

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The Gruffalo's Child | New Theatre Cardiff

Today has been a rare treat, a mummy & Squidge day out together. Seeing as he's nearly 4, he feels the right sort of age to start to enjoy the theatre. We've taken him to a couple productions before (Goldilocks ballet & Ben & Holly) but that was a year ago and he was really too young to enjoy it.

So when The New Theatre got in touch to invite us along to review The Gruffalo's Child, we jumped at the change! As Dot is only 11 months old he is totally the wrong age to go - if he was younger, he could have just lay in our arms, or older, he could enjoy it, but he'd have just wanted to get down and walk/crawl. So just Squidge and I went, and made a proper little trip of it.

We started off heading out at 9:30am, with my fresh driving independence (passed 7th June), I drove us to the park & ride that's 20 mins away (to save us parking and driving into the city centre), and we had a fun little bus ride into town. From there we went straight to the Theatre, picked up a little stuffed Gruffalo's Child (£12!), some sweets and headed to our seats.


The stage looked fantastic, simple, but practical and enchanting. The woods backdrop reversed to reveal the Gruffalo's cave, and the tree's you can see moved about the stage as well. We waited patiently for the show to begin.

Up until this point we'd been big fans of The Gruffalo, having read it to Squidge as a bedtime story for years, but we hadn't read The Gruffalo's Child. I'd headed over to Asda on Friday and picked up a copy, we read it lots before the play so it felt familiar.

The show kicked off with three actors who play all the characters (I wish I had photo's here to show you!), and their costumes were great! What I really liked is that through story of the Gruffalo explaining to The Gruffalo's Child how he'd met the mouse, it was like a recap of The Gruffalo story.

There were lots of songs and audience participation (which Squidge tells me was his favourite part (clapping slow, then faster!)) which help keep the kids engaged. I loved the bit with the fox as the music went all ska-like.

The show itself lasted an hour with no intermission. Personally, we'd have preferred it to either be shorter, or have an intermission as Squidge really struggled when we got to about half hour in.

The show was great, well produced and entertaining. The only thing that would have improved it for us, would have been it being a little shorter.

Once that was over, we headed to St Davids 2 to get Squidge some ice cream, we were heading to the Gelato place, but as we got there it had gone, and in it's place was a Thai-style ice cream place, I gave him the choice of that or a Krispy Kreme donut, he wanted ice cream.


After that I took him for another surprise, to the Build-a-bear workshop for his first bear. I told him he could pick any bear he liked, and he went straight for Skye :) We accessorised her with some clothes and her jet pack, and carried her home, Squidge absolutely adores her :) 


After that, we headed straight home on the park & ridge bus, absolutely shattered, but happy :) 
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*The tickets to the Gruffalo's Child were gifted for an honest review
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Friday, 22 June 2018

DRIVING? THEN GET OFF YOUR PHONE!

A Hyundai i30 in Grey

While walking Dot home from dropping Squidge off at School this morning, the traffic next to me was moving slowly, as usual. I glanced over as I saw a car had a huge gap in front of it (the car in front had moved off, but this one hadn't) and I could see the driver (middle aged woman) staring down at her phone, she'd not noticed the traffic move. Then the car behind her, young guy, busy texting and not looking at the road, and the same went on for the 5 cars behind them. 

I cannot say this strongly enough, GET OFF YOUR FUCKING PHONE IF YOU'RE DRIVING! What Facebook/Snapchat/Twitter/Instagram update is so fucking important, it's worth risking your life, and more to the point, the lives of innocent bystanders, just so you can tweet/post whatever? NONE, that's the answer, nothing is that important. It can wait until you reach your destination and turn the engine off. 

We all know using your phone while driving is dangerous, if you take a call, you're distracted - that goes for Bluetooth headsets too - the act of a phone call is a big distraction. But then we have people who are texting or posting updates and as such are driving while NOT LOOKING AT THE ROAD. Lets just let that sink in for a second shall we. Driving, in charge of a vehicle capable of killing people, and you're not even looking at the goddam road. And bear in mind, where I saw this today was by a bloody School!!!!!

Currently if you get caught using a handheld device while driving, you get a £200 fine and 6 points on your license (CU80). If you're a new driver (first 2 years of driving) that'll be enough to get your licence REVOKED. If that happens, you'll have to re-do your theory and practical test, reapply for a provisional license too, once your ban has ended. And you have to ask yourself too, could you actually live with yourself if you killed someone with your car, because you were distracted on your phone? Just take a moment to think about that. Someone actually losing their life, someone's son or daughter, husband or wife, mother or father, because you were texting. It's not worth it. Do yourself a favour and keep your phone out of reach. Put it in the boot before you get in the car and you won't be tempted to check it.

Please, just put your phone away when you're driving. 
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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Back to work

Squidge running towards the camera
You might be wondering where I've been these past couple months. It's all been a bit crazy to be honest! So about 2.5 months ago, I went for my return to work meeting. At that meeting it became apparent my old job no longer existed, so it was time for me to brush up my CV, and HR were going to try and find me a new job that matched my skills in the business (it's a big company, so this shouldn't be a stretch).

A couple weeks went by, and eventually they created a role for me, one that matched my skills well, and one there was a need for. After a couple weeks on gardening leave, I returned to work (like, 5 weeks ago now, where has that time gone?!). 

For the first 3-4 weeks, each week we had a different routine, which was unsettling for Squidge. First week I was taking him to School and heading into work late, second and third week he spent at Nanny & Grandad's and not in School (so he was at theirs early), and 4th week he started at a childminders for the first 2 hrs of the day (she gives him breakfast and takes him to School). It's taking him a while to adapt as he struggles with change, but we'll get there.

Then last week I had my driving test (OMG scariest thing I've done!) and I passed, first time! Whoop! And with only 3 minors :D That's all well and good, but OMG I'm terrified driving the family car! I've had some bad drives in it too, I'll be glad when I'm a better and more comfortable driver.

Dot has been great, he's handled the change really well. I was so worried as he's exclusively breastfed and feeds on demand (usually every 2 hrs), but he's adapted to having 4 x 2oz bottles a day really well (with sippy cups of water and/or hemp milk at food times too). If you have a formula fed baby you might find is shocking he only has 2oz, but breastfed babies only typically have 1.5oz per hour. Dot has always fed little and often. And as he's practically 10 months old now, he's losing his reliance on it too. He still feeds from me at 6am, 5:30pm, 7:30, 11:00, 2am, 4am and back to 6am, but as is typical, only for about 5 mins at a time.

I've found juggling work and home life quite challenging, hubby and I find that we don't get to sit down until about 10pm most nights. That's when I express and he plays the Xbox (every couple nights I play). What I've struggled the most with is my tiredness, I'm feeling pretty wiped out most days as I'm doing a full (hectic) day of work, driving (which is exhausting at this stage) and then I'm up half the night feeding Dot (my Fitbit tells me I'm getting an average of 4-5 hrs (interrupted) sleep a night. Not enough :/ To try and combat this I've bought myself a few nice pampering bits and bobs from The Body Shop (via Groupon to save some pennies!) - I've ordered a mango exfoliating body scrub (sounds amazing!), a pink grapefruit shower gel (I love this!) and my favourite blueberry body butter, I cannot wait to have a little relax and pamper :) 

So there you have it, life has been busy, but I'm still here :) I'm trying to vlog regularly too (although I'm failing at that too... but if you do want to watch our vlogs, you can visit my channel here).

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Saturday, 31 March 2018

Dot's cows milk protein allergy story

Dot crawling on the floor

When Dot was a few weeks old, I grew concerned. I noticed that he had a rash over him, he was screaming and arching his back when feeding, especially if it was after I'd had chocolate or something milky, his poops were very explosive and stank of vinegar and he had silent reflux.

I did a bit of digging on the internet and became increasingly concerned he might have a cows milk protein allergy (CMPA). So off we went to the Drs. He prescribed infant Gaviscon to address the silent reflux - now giving a breastfed baby Gaviscon is no picnic, you have to make it up with 15ml water (or breastmilk) and spoon feed it to them before each breastfeed (bloody impossible if you ask me!). I did this once, and decided there and then I wasn't going to do it again, instead I was going to cut out dairy (and soya) from my diet to see if that helped.

A few days later I'd bought all the dairy-free (DF) alternatives I needed and was ready to cut it out. About 3 days later I saw a pretty big improvement in Dot. His rash had pretty much gone, he was calmer and the nappies were improving. Then about 2 weeks later, he was transformed to a totally normal baby, proof that he had an issue with cows milk. But I wasn't sure about soya. I'd excluded that as the protein strand for soya is very similar to cows milk, and if they are allergic to one, they're most likely unable to easily digest the other. About a month after being dairy free, I decided to test with soya - I had some vanilla custard donuts from Sainsburys that were so so amazing, they had soya flour in them.

Within hours Dot was reacting - back to screaming and arching his back on the breast, bad nappies and a very unhappy baby. I now knew I had to exclude soya too, just as I had been, not a big deal.

So far in 6+ months I've only had 2 slip-ups, first one was about a 4-6 weeks ago and it was a bad one. I'd bought some sweet potato falafals from Waitrose (I'd had them before and they'd been dairy free). For what must be the first time since going DF, I forgot to check the label. After 2 days of grazing on them, I thought to check... low and behold, milk was the 2nd ingredient on the list. Dot reacted and was bad for 6-7 days, I felt awful :( I should do better. Then a couple weeks ago, hubby bought some sausages with the weekly shop, I'd always checked them and they'd always been fine, but he'd bought a different brand to normal (Richmond). I saw a FB post in the CMPA group I'm in about how sausages all have soya in... I quickly went online to check the ingredients as we'd had Richmond sausages the night before, and 4 days before that - yep, SOYA, goddam soya, WHY? I'd done it again, failed my baby and he was paying the price :( 4 days of bad nappies, unhappy and lots of tears.

For the most part, it's been pretty easy changing my diet to dairy free, I've even filmed a YT video talking about the swaps you can make, you really do just have to be really vigilant and check every label every single time just in case the ingredients have changed (which happens...).


If you suspect a dairy allergy in your baby, please do go and speak to your GP. It can be really hard to diagnose, but be persistent if you believe that's what's wrong. And if you're breastfeeding, cut out dairy and soya and see if that helps, that should help you whittle it down :) If you're interested in following our journey, I've started a YouTube series called 'Dairy Free Friday's' where I talk about different aspects of a dairy allergy, if you want to keep an eye, our playlist is here.
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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Attack on Titan 2

Attack on Titan 2

If you're a long term reader of my blog, you'll know I have a fairly deep love of anime, as does the hubby. Our tastes differ quite a bit, I adore the more cutesy films, pretty much all Studio Ghibli and other random films like The Girl that Lept Through Time (great film!), whereas the hubby prefers anime series like Steins; Gate, Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan. So when the opportunity arose for us him to get our his mitts on a review copy of the latest series of Attack on Titan 2, he jumped at the chance. Here's what he thought.

***** WARNING, CONTAINS SPOILERS *****

Series 2 picks up where series 1 left off, focussing on the main character Eren Jeager. In the first season, you see Eren become a titan and go on to help fight off other titans, but there's distrust in the military for him as he's a titan, whereas the military is trying to fight them and stop them (think Avatar).

The military suspect that there are other soldiers that can turn themselves into titans but they're torn - as much as Eren wants all the titans dead (thanks to them destroying his mother in season 1) they also want to learn more about them (again, think Avatar).

Eren

During the season they discover a new type of abnormal titan, a beast titan (a bigger and more fierce titan that's seriously strong) and they find a big horde of titans have breached the wall. The scout regiment set out to take down the titans and find the breach in the wall, but despite searching they can't find the breach. 

They do however find villages that appear to have been attacked by titans. The villagers appear to have escaped, but they've left all their horses, and there's no sign of blood or bodies. The plot thickens!

After the scout regiment survives a siege of titans at an abandoned castle, two titans (an armoured one and a colossal one) kidnap Eren. Does he escape? Does he destroy his captors? You'll have to watch to find that bit out :)
beast titan

I really liked how the series is very un-typical of the usual anime tropes - so in this most of the women don't have giant boobs and are actually well covered, so it doesn't play to the typical young teenager target audience. 

The continuity between both seasons is great - continuation of story line and fantastic animation. It's easy to pick up where it left off and be re-absorbed back into their post-apocalyptic world, fighting to save humanity from the Titans.

If you're looking to dip your toe into the world of anime series, Attack on Titan is a great window in to the anime world (obviously start with season 1), but be warned, it can be very dark. It doesn't have the cheery upbeat of a Miyazaki film, but it is absorbing and engrossing. I'm really looking forward to seeing more.


You can pick up the DVD/Bluray from good stockists from around £19.99 upwards.

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*Bluray copy supplied for review purposes
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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

I have this thing for...

A picture of my front door, a floor I like and my bedding

You know how you see these hashtags on Instagram #IHaveThisThingForFloors and #IHaveThisThingForDoors? Well, that's me. I massively have a thing for doors, so much so when we bought our house nearly 2 years ago I spent quite a bit of money getting rid of the horrid mahogany uPVC door that was there (with the tiniest window) and updated it to a lovely light green composite door that looks very beautiful.

A picture of my front door

I also have this thing for bedding. Yep, sounds boring, but OMG I love a good duvet cover! Sad I know, but for me, I see it as a way to really dress up and refresh a room, regularly, and much more easily than painting the walls or wall papering. Most days I venture over to the supermarket opposite my house to browse their bedding (and cushions), or filling my virtual basket over on Groupon and TK Maxx with fine linens that behold a high thread count that I know will feel like the best hotel linen when I get into bed. Lets face it, the day you change your bedding over is pretty awesome, everything feels so soft and crisp. And over the years my tastes have really changed - I used to like plain colours for bedding, but now I'm really floral (getting older tastes I think!).

A picture of my bedding

Lastly, I also have this thing for floors, beautiful tiled floors, oh how I wish I could have a beautiful tiled floor in my hallway! I've had quotes for up over £2,000 to do it, and it's not exactly a big hall way - maybe one day I'll save up and get it done, I know it'd be beautiful and add value to the house. Ok maybe not 2k's worth, but it would still look fantastic :) 

A picture of some floor tiles I really like

I also have a bit of a penchant for taking pictures of floors and putting them on Instagram when I find them. In fact, you might say I have a thing for tiles more than floors. I'm already planning on having our downstairs bathroom re-done, and with pretty extravagant tiles - a nice plain white suite and of course, a beautiful floor.

What do you have a thing for?
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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

2018 Goals

Dot on his tummy

Initially I wasn't going to set any goals for this year, but as time went by I kept thinking of things I wanted to achieve this year, so thought it made sense to actually make and set some goals for myself. Not so much new years resolutions, but things to work towards to achieve.

The video highlights my main goals, but there's a couple extra I've thought of since I filmed that. So in addition, I'd also like to:

7. Continue to be healthy. A little while ago I decided to cut a lot of the crap out of my diet. I was having syrup in all my coffee's at home, I was having a packet of cashew nuts each day (honey roasted) which was also expensive! and I wasn't getting any exercise, oh and I was having hairbo fairly often. I've cut syrup out, no longer order cashews or haribo, and I'm out walking every day, if not multiple times a day. As a result, and also thanks to breastfeeding, I've lost about a stone in the last few weeks (half a stone in the last 2 weeks!). I've not cut everything out, I still have sugar in and on my porridge and don't measure the olive oil I use to cook with. I'll have the odd bag of haribo, but they're treats, not the norm. I'm now nearly 2 stone lighter than when I fell pregnant with Dot.

8. Commit myself to my YouTube channel. In the video above, I talk about wanting to grow my channel, but my journey has been frought with issues recently. From my MacBook not being up to the task of editing video's any more (so slow), to not being able to find the charger for my video camera, and losing the memory card for my DSLR (no auto focus though). I felt like I was being knocked down at every turn. So yesterday I've made a big investment in my channel, I've ordered a new and good vlogging camera, and an iMac for my video editing. I've also had a long chat with my hubby who is fully supporting me and will be looking after the baby more in the evenings so I can film/edit, so expect a lot more video content from me coming up and appreciate your support :) 

What goals have you set for yourself this year?
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Friday, 26 January 2018

Getting it right the second time around

Squidge and Dot on their newborn photoshoots

Regarding children, a friend once said to us "You make all your mistakes with your first", we didn't think much of it and carried on our merry way.

Well, now that we have Dot we really understand what he meant, and more to the point, I feel filled up with guilt that I didn't do better by Squidge. There's so many things I could have and should have done better with Squidge, but I just didn't know.

Early weaning

This pretty much makes me feel sick to my stomach... Squidge was slowly weaned onto solids at 18 weeks, 1.5 - 2 months earlier than recommended. I thought he was ready, and I was impatient. I'd give him a couple spoons of baby rice each day for a couple weeks, then moved on to puree's. I had no idea what I was doing, but I thought it was right, even my health visitor said it was fine to do (and shouldn't have really). I'm not making that mistake this time. I'd mistaken Squidge watching us eat as him being ready to wean and hungry - not the case at all, it's not an indication that they're ready, they're just interested in everything we do, and around that time they become interested in our mouths, so naturally they'll be interested in us eating.

Formula fed

Dot is breastfed exclusively and I'm really proud of that. With Squidge, I always said that he couldn't breastfeed - he'd scream and scream when he went near the breast. But I had no support and no knowledge... if I knew then what I know now, I'm pretty sure I could have made it work. I had no idea about breastfeeding support groups on Facebook - they have been an incredible source of knowledge to me and have helped so much. I wish I could say that Dot hasn't had any formula, but sadly it was his first feed :( Despite telling them that my wish was to breastfeed, after he was born the midwife or healthcare support worker, literally walked in the room and fed him formula - I was overwhelmed by the birth and had a room full of visitors. He then had formula top ups for the first couple weeks until I decided to ditch it and go EBF.

Naps away from me...

When Squidge was a small baby, I was advised to get him to nap in his cot and not the poddle pod, to get him into a routine - at the time he was about 4 months old. I had no idea what was right or wrong so I went ahead and did it. But I've since been informed that babies should have their naps in the same room as their parents until they're at least 6 months old. I seemed so keen to get Squidge through each stage so fast, I didn't stop and think whether what I was doing was actually best for him. This time I'm making sure all day naps with Dot are in the same room as me, and typically on me, gotta drink up all those cuddles while I can :)

What would you do differently second time around?

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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Dot 5 month update

Dot smiling and 5 months old

It's hard to believe Dot is now 5 months old, 5 whole months he's been in our lives filling us with joy. He's such a different baby to Squidge... Squidge definitely cried more, but slept better. Squidge was quieter, didn't babble as much and didn't move as much, whereas Dot doesn't stop moving! He's so chatty too, it's just lovely hearing him. I'm filled with such a mix of emotions with Dot, I'm making sure I'm savouring every last second of him being a baby, as he's our last planned child. I really can see how people end up having massive families!

Weaning

We're holding out for him to be 6 months, I'm making sure I'm doing it right this time (I started gently weaning Squidge when he was 18 weeks... feel awful about that now, I really thought I was doing right by him). And we're doing baby led weaning - I've been reading up about it, and love that you skip doing puree's (that's meant for babies who are being weaned early). So as long as he can sit up unaided by 18th Feb (when he's 6 months old), and doesn't automatically push food out of his mouth, we'll be beginning our weaning adventure then, exciting!

Clothes

Dot living in babygrows
This boy... he costs me a ruddy fortune in clothes :P He's such a big boy! So, at 5 months old he's in size 6-9 months currently - doesn't sound extreme, but he's been in that size for about 4-6 weeks, and now some of those baby grows he's growing out of already! He has a drawer full of proper clothes (from nice places like Next) and he's not worn half of them as I tend to keep him in baby grows (keeps him looking more like a baby) :) 

Sleep, ha!

Dot asleep in the pram
Well, given that he's a breastfed baby, I don't expect him to sleep through the night, but oh my goodness, a stretch longer than 2 hrs would be very welcome! Because he feeds so regularly (every 2 hrs) we've started bed sharing with him as when he was sleeping in his cot I'd physically be up every 2 hrs, then it'd take me a while to get him back to sleep in his cot - so I'd be getting a lot less sleep every night. This way when he stirs, I offer the breast, he has a feed and goes right back to sleep, as do I. We make sure we follow the safety guidelines for safe bed sharing, and so far it's working for us, it's particularly lovely waking up to his little face just inches from mine each morning :) Funnily enough, while I'm writing this he's putting in a really long day nap (sods law!), currently at 3hrs 40 mins... if only he could do that at night eh?

Development

He's doing well, I think he's probably doing things around the time he should. He can roll over and over to get around the room, although he can't roll in both directions yet, just right and right and right :) He can do a couple/few seconds of sitting unaided, but I think that's more accidental than anything. He also loves standing, he has really strong little legs. He'll do brief periods in the Mamas & Papas Snug I bought for him, and still goes on his Fisher Price keyboard play mat, but as he rolls so much he's never on it for long. He's also loving his Disney Finding Nemo jumperoo and has started using it properly (bouncing).

He's also teething at the moment - I can see some bumps where the teeth are right under the gums, but I don't feel like any teeth will be poking out soon. Sadly, because of his dairy allergy he can't have Nelsons teething powders (the ones we used to give to Squidge) as they have lactose in them, so we're sticking to teething gel when he seems to need it. His gums are definitely getting rougher!

He's also said 'Mama' a couple times, usually when he's distressed (aww).

Anyway, I think that's about it :) I'll be back next month with his 6 month update and hopefully a pic of his first taste of food - now to decide what that should be for my little dairy-free boy :)

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Monday, 22 January 2018

I'm back!

time for a fresh start banner

Ahoi! You may remember a sunny May in 2016, when I said farewell on this blog and started up a new blog www.pixiedoes.com? Well I gave it my best, but it dawned on me the other day that this blog, without being updated still gets more views each day/month than my other blog, and it has better credentials, so I'm bringing it all back to here.  If you didn't follow me over to pixiedoes.com you're in for a bit of a surprise! I've had another baby! Nickname is Dot, he's 5 months old and just perfect :) I'll do a little 5 month update on here this week as he's only just turned 5 months. I've also started up my YouTube channel again - we've all been struck down with awful horrible colds this last couple weeks so I'm a bit behind, but I have lots of videos planned.

I'm currently on maternity leave until May and I really want to start getting blog posts up regularly and YouTube videos, so watch this space :) I'm so excited to be back here, it feels right. I'll miss blogging over on pixiedoes.com, but it doesn't make any sense to carry it on.  So for now, I'll leave you with some pics of us as a family of four, welcome to the blog Dot :)

Dot in the jumperoo
Me and dot smiling
Dot newborn photo shoot

Squidge portrait

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