All Posts By

Jenna

Baby, Elowen's Updates

Elowen’s 8 month update

I’m a few (OK, five) days late with this update but there was no way I could let the last month pass by without mention because unlike last month, there has been lots of milestones for my little lady. We’ll start with those…

Milestones:

She can sit up independently…

This happened a day or so after I wrote E’s last update. It goes to show how remarkable babies are. One day she couldn’t sit up for more than a few seconds before falling over, and the next she could sit up with ease, like it ain’t no thing!

She can crawl… in her own special way…

OK, it’s more of a dragging method than a out and out crawl. But let’s not nitpick, the girl can get around and pretty speedily too. Watch out, Jasmine – you’re toys aren’t safe anymore! Or anything else for that matter.

She has more teeth…

Not 1, or 2 but 4 more teeth popped through in the last week or so making that a grand total of 6 toothypegs! We had a couple of rough nights of teething leading up to the new teeth making an appearance but she’s been relatively unbothered by them other than that. (Spell check tells me that ‘unbothered’ isn’t a word but I’m using it anyway!)

She’s moved into her big girl cot! Waaah.

With the ability to sit up and new found mobility it was time to say farewell to the Chicco Next to Me crib (I put it in the loft before Stephen made me sell it – I’m so not ready for that!) E now sleeps in a bigger cot, but still in our room with us. I plan to keep her in with us until she’s at least a year old.

Weekends away…

As I’m still exclusively breastfeeding E, if I go away for the weekend, she has to come with me so she’s been away to Wales and Cornwall in the last month. She was a complete joy to travel with and she did so well with the car journeys.

Feeding:

Not much to say on feeding really other than she’s still very much enjoying new foods. We’ve introduced more meat to her diet over the last couple of weeks instead of just fruit and vegetables. Cottage pie and Moroccan chicken are faves!

Sleeping:

E seems to have settled into a bit more of a routine this month.

Our usual day goes as follows:

6am: Woken up by Jasmine

8/9am: Breakfast – cereal, porridge or puree

10am: Breastfeed followed by the longest and sometimes only nap of the day!

12/1pm: Lunch followed by another breastfeed – sometimes another short nap (especially if she’s in the pushchair when I pick Jasmine up from nursery)

3pm: Breastfeed

4/5pm: Dinner

6pm: Breastfeed and bed

9pm: Wakes up for a ‘top up’ feed – it’s spooky how often she’ll wake at 9 on the dot!

10/11pm: I’ll dream feed her when I get into bed and then put her back into the cot

3am: feed (ugh!)

5am: Sometimes another feed, other times she won’t wake up again until Jasmine comes into our room at 6ish.

Likes: Eating grass, crawling, watching her sister, paper, tickles and kisses, going on the swings.

Dislikes: Being put in her carseat – she’s usually fine once she’s in it but always grumbles when we first strap her in.

 

Jenna xxx

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

 

 

Green Living, Lifestyle

Life in plastic, it’s (NOT) fantastic

Social media campaigns have kind of taken over my life just lately. Last month I took part in The Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild initiative and this month I’m trying to reduce my plastic usage for #plasticfreejuly. Both campaigns have blown my mind.

Being ‘wild’ for 30 days made me fall in love with our planet. My surroundings. My home. My children’s home. I’m ashamed to say that up until recently this big rock we call Earth was merely just a place I inhabited. This planet is where I was born, where I would live and where I would die. I lived without thinking too much about my impact on it. I also lived without thinking too much about the other creatures who we share the planet with and how my actions does/and will affect them.

I feel like I’ve had a wake up call. A sudden slap across the face from the hand of reality. What I do makes a difference. My actions count. And so does yours.

I want to do better. I want to be greener. I’m desperate to make positive changes in the way that I live.

But I’m also overwhelmed.

I’m overcome with guilt and frustration.

I feel so guilty for every time I’ve bought my kids some plastic tat they’ve played with for all of two minutes. Because let’s face it, kids AREN’T as interested in toys as we like to think.

I feel guilty for the God-knows-how-many toothbrushes I’ve sent to landfill in my 30 years.

I feel guilty for all the times I’ve used plastic carrier bags because I couldn’t be bothered to carry around a reusable bag.

I feel guilty for every time I’ve bought a bottle of water when I could have just drank water from a tap.

And don’t get me started on the nappies…

There’s. so. much. guilt.

I get frustrated when I stand in the park, pushing my daughter on the swings, and see litter all over the floor. How can I make a difference when other people seemingly don’t care at all? And am I really any better just because I put my rubbish in the bin? It still ends up in a hole in the ground. What difference does it make?

I get frustrated because when I go to the supermarket almost every single friggin’ thing is covered in plastic. My online food shop came the other day and I kid you not, my bananas were bubble wrapped. Bubble wrapped?! If only bananas came in their own protective layer… oh wait.

I get frustrated because I want to be better. Do better. But I don’t know where to start.

I look around my home and the mere sight of plastic sets my teeth on edge.

I can’t live like this anymore.

I need to set aside the guilt (I can’t undo what’s been done) and the frustration (it’s only getting in my way) and take small steps in the direction of a greener, more eco-friendly lifestyle.

I want to be better. I want to do better.

*Life in plastic. It’s (not) fantastic.

Jenna xx

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

*Never thought I’d paraphrase the song ‘Barbie Girl’ in a blog post but hey!

 

 

Family, Lifestyle

45 things we did during #30dayswild

Throughout June we took part in The Wildlife Trust’s #30wilddays initiative. The idea being that you do one ‘random act of wildness’ each day for the whole month. It wasn’t until I started writing down this list that I realised how many things we did. Nothing complicated, just quick and simple acts that helped us to enjoy nature and explore our surroundings. It’s been such a fun month and it’s really changed my outlook on life. (Yes, really.)

I thought I’d share what we got up to inspire anyone reading who would also like to incorporate a bit more ‘wild’ into their lives. Why wait until next year?!

1. Enjoyed the grass between our toes.

2. Listened to bird song.

3. Planted wild flowers.

4. Downloaded The Great British Bee Count app and logged some bees.

5. Had a mini beast hunt in the garden.

6. Went on a woodland walk.

7. Visited Westonbirt Arboretum.

8. Watched Spring Watch on the BBC.

9. Paddled in a stream.

10. Made a nature collage

11. Collected feathers

12. Went to the beach and played with sand and seaweed as well as paddling in the sea! (Brean)

13. Made a painting using feathers as paintbrushes.

14. Blew dandelions.

15. Went puddle jumping.

16. Photographed a bee (much trickier than I thought it would be!)

17. Climbed a tree.

18. Made daisy chain necklaces.

19. Went to Bristol’s Festival of Nature.

20. Got up, close and personal with an owl.

21. Had a BBQ/ate alfresco.

22. Hugged a tree!

23. Explored things that had fallen from trees.

24. Did a litter pick at the park.

25. Fed the ducks.

26. Drew and painted a picture of a gold finch.

27. Looked at spider webs.

28. Became a member of my local Wildlife Trust.

29. Watched the sunset.

30. Put a bug hotel in the garden.

31. Made a nature dreamcatcher (using sticks and feathers that we found).

32. Stacked stones on the beach.

33. Explored sea caves in Wales.

34. Did nature-inspired yoga poses in the garden.

35. Made a bee drinking station.

36. Looked at Jellyfish that had washed up on the beach. (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

37. Watched a diver bird try to catch lunch! (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

38. Played Pooh Sticks.

39. Watched the clouds.

40. Followed a Bee.

41. Went steam dipping.

42. Went butterfly spotting.

43. Discovered local nature reserves.

44. Climbed on boulders and shouted into the distance.

45. Got to know lots of other ‘wild’ enthusiasts through Instagram and Twitter.

If you took part in #30dayswild, I’d love to hear what you got up to?

 

Jenna xx

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

 

 

 

 

Baby, Breastfeeding, Elowen's Updates

Elowen’s 7 month update

Happy 7 months, my baby girl.

Here’s what’s new this month…

Milestones:

It’s been a quieter month in terms of milestones (although I’m sure there’s plenty I’m forgetting).

E is definitely more mobile and whilst she’s not crawling (yet!) she can move across a room very quickly when she wants to, using a combination of rolling, planking and stretching. She’s like a wee wiggly worm!

She spends a lot of time lifting her body up onto all fours and ‘planking’. She rocks side to side and back and forth and she is oh so close to crawling. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s crawling before the end of the month.

She still can’t sit up independently (for more than 10 seconds without falling over)! I think she’ll be crawling before she’s sitting! It doesn’t seem to be a problem though. She has very strong neck muscles and head control so she’s happy enough when she’s sitting in her snug, highchair and pushchair. (Which reminds me, we ditched the carrycot this month).

There hasn’t been anymore teeth so she still just has her bottom two.

Feeding:

Weaning is going really well and she’s now been enjoying solid food for a month. We’re still taking it pretty relaxed. She generally joins in with us for two meals a day with some snacks in between. In an ideal world I’d love to full on BLW but I don’t always have time to clear up the mess during the day, especially if we’re heading out to a toddler group.  This means E has a mixture of purees and finger food. She’s very easy-going when it comes to food and happy either way. :)

Her fave foods so far have been: broccoli, mushed banana on toast, strawberries, loaded potato skins and cucumber slices!

I’m still breastfeeding on demand – almost constantly at the moment (Thank you, heatwave!)

Sleep:

E does not like going to sleep, ever. I’ve spent many an evening lately pushing her around the block in her pushchair (sometimes for well over an hour) to get her to sleep! She naps during the day – maybe 2 or 3 times – but again, she usually has to be in the pushchair. She get very overtired and screams a lot. This girl has some serious FOMO issues!

Moving on…

Size and weight: 

I still haven’t had her weighed. Not enough hours in the day! But she’s definitely getting chunkier.

She’s in size 3 nappies and 6-9 month clothes.

Likes: Playing with her feet, cuddles and kisses from her big sister, Moosey, shouting, food, baths, belly tickles.

Dislikes: going to sleep, having her nappy changed.

I’m right in the middle of packing for a weekend away in Wales with my friends (a belated 30th birthday trip) and as E is still being breastfed she’s tagging along with us. Her first weekend away with the girls! :D I’ll let you know how it goes in her next update.

Jenna xxx

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

 

Antenatal depression, Motherhood

Is it too soon to come off the drugs?

Around the midway point of my pregnancy with Elowen, I walked into my doctors office and announced I was depressed. I’d been here before, depression wasn’t new to me. And there was no doubt in my mind that I was suffering with depression again. I also knew that the cause of my depression was largely situational. I was a pregnant, stay-at-home to a mum to a toddler, who for 8 hours a day, most days of the week didn’t speak to another adult. I was living 100+ miles away from my friends and family and I was incredibly lonely.

When the doctor asked me what I wanted to do about my situation I knew I wanted drugs. I believe my exact words were “I know why I’m depressed, I know what I’ve got to do to fix it (relocate back to Bristol) but right now, I need something to get me through the day.” I left that appointment with a prescription for Sertraline. An anti-depressant which I would take every day “for a year or so”.

Sure enough, after the side effects of dizziness and sweating died down, Sertraline got me through the day. I stopped crying all the time. I enjoyed being a mum again. I looked forward to having two children instead of dreading it. I felt like I could cope. But also, aside from the meds, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We were going to be moving back to my hometown.

We put our house on the market over Christmas and by April this year we were in our new home, located a short drive away from my closest friends. I’ve had more of a social life in the last 3 months than I have the 3 years that preceded our move back home. I feel better connected and supported. Not just as a mother, but as a person.

Which beggars the question, is it time to come off the drugs?

I don’t think anybody plans to take medication for mental health long term. And in my mind, it was only ever meant to be a temporary measure until our situation changed. I want to be able to feel happy without my little box of pills.

And yet, I still feel reluctant to stop taking them.

Whilst it’s now been well over 6 months since I truly felt like I was in the depths of depression. Those thoughts and feelings are still fresh in my memory. How sad I felt. How useless I deemed myself to be. How sore my face felt was from all of the crying I did. I don’t want to go back to that. Ever.

For me, it’s just easier for my prescription to keep dropping through my letterbox every couple of weeks and to keep taking the pills daily. Safe in the knowledge that they will keep those awful thoughts and feelings at bay. The drugs have become a psychological crutch, which is precisely what didn’t want to happen.

I’ve yet to register with a doctor here but I know my medication is something I will need to talk about when I do, which is probably why I’ve been putting it off.

I don’t want to stay on anti-depressants forever. But is it too soon to stop?

 

Jenna xx

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

 

Baby, Elowen's Updates

Elowen’s 5 & 6 month update

Eek, I feel terrible – I haven’t blogged for two whole months. Two months?! I think that’s the longest time I’ve gone without blogging since I started 3 years ago. We moved back to Bristol last month and things have been kinda crazy since then (the good kind of crazy, I hasten to add). I keep meaning to write a ‘Life Lately’ post to catch up on everything but finding the time is a struggle right now.

But forget all that, because today, today my baby is 6. months. old. HALF A YEAR, people!! How the flip did that happen? I missed her 5 month update (Sorry, E!) so I’ll do a bit of a combined update about the last two months.

Milestones:  

We have toothy pegs –

A week before E turned 5 months old, her bottom two peggies both appeared within the space of about 48 hours! She’s dribbling and gnawing like crazy at the moment so I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple more make an appearance very soon!

They see her rollin’… –

E started to roll at around 5 months (from her back to front) – but now she can roll back to front or front to back. In fact, she can travel quite an impressive distance by doing so! One minute she’s laying on her playmat, the next she’s grinding up against the wall at the far side of the room. She’s desperate to move forward but any attempt at crawling results in a skydiving impression at the moment. No crawling for a while, please!

Ommm…. –

We’ve recently started going to mummy and me yoga classes and it’s lovely. I haven’t really bothered with baby groups this time as our days revolve around a certain big sister. BUT now that Jasmine’s at pre-school two mornings a week, I thought it would be nice for us to do something a bit more mummy and baby focused. It’s mostly an opportunity for me to have a good stretch (and do some much needed pelvic floor exercises, heh) whilst E makes eyes at a gorgeous baby boy called Tobias.

Making a splash –

Last week we took E swimming for the first time. She looked SO cute in her little polkadot swimming costume. She took to the pool really well (it helped that it was a lovely warm pool) and we were in there for a good half an hour or so! I can’t wait to go again soon.

Grub’s up… –

We’ve started our baby-led-weaning journey this week and so far (aside from the mess) it’s been really good fun. E has been staring daggers at us every meal time for the last month or so. She’s very happy to finally be joining in with the family meal times and it’s fair to say she is LOVING solid foods. So far she’s tried, amongst other things, banana pancakes, shreddies, broccoli, kale and cheese muffins and various berries. I can confirm that she has even digested some of that, too. Ahem….

I’ve dug out my cookbooks and I’m planning to batch cook lots of yummy baby bites over the weekend.

Weight:

No idea. I haven’t managed to find out where the baby weigh-in clinics are yet. E is still in size 3 nappies. She has also outgrown most of her 3-6 month clothes. This week I dug out all of J’s old 6-9 month clothes and washed them ready for E to use. It’s still surreal to see her in Jasmine’s old babygrows.

Feeding:

As I already mentioned we’re now weaning onto solids. As far as milk goes, I’m still breastfeeding on demand. She doesn’t really have much of a schedule but I guess she feeds every 4 hours or so during the day. She will have 1-2 feeds during the night.

Sleeping: 

E will nap 3 or 4 times throughout the day, again, there’s no real routine as yet. If we’re out and about then she tends to fall asleep in the puschair, if we’re at home she may just stay awake (due to the very loud 3-year-old). She tends to fall asleep around 7/7.30pm, having a real fussy period before doing so and fighting sleep. She’ll then wake around 10pm for a feed and go back to sleep until 3am for a feed. Then it’s back to sleep until the morning, when I get rudely awoken around 6.30/7am by either being batted around the head or having my hair pulled. Such a cheeky monkey.

Likes: Being tickled, her big sister’s singing, walks in the buggy, food, swimming, pulling mama’s hair,tummy time, baby yoga!

Dislikes: teething, missing out on food and going to sleep.

my-signature

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

 

Baby, Breastfeeding, Elowen's Updates

Elowen’s 4 month update

General:

My little Smoosh is a pretty happy and content little thing most of the time. Despite the fact she is currently going through the dreaded 4th leap *gulp*, aside from a few fussy evenings, she’s been pretty chilled out.

She always falls asleep if she’s in the pram and it’s the best way to get her to nap if she’s fighting sleep. If she’s not snoozing when out for our walks, she looks up at me from the carrycot and gives me beaming smiles.

She’s fascinated by her big sister and stares at Jasmine intently whenever she’s in the room.

She’s also ‘found her voice’ this month. Holy moly, that girl can shriek.

As well as finding her voice, she’s also found her thumb – she’s a thumb-sucker!

She had her third set of jabs this morning – they are never much fun and I hate hearing her cry. Luckily, I was able to get a smile out of her a few minutes afterwards. At least that’s them done and dusted for a while!

Weight: 

I last took Elowen to be weighed on the 8th March (15 weeks +3 days old) and she weighed 13lbs 13oz. The health worker pointed out that E had dropped percentiles on her chart. I came home feeling really negative and a bit like I was failing her. I did a bit of research online and found out that those charts are based on formula fed babies. The Health worker didn’t even bother to ask me how I was feeding Elowen! Anyway, I’m less bothered about it now – E is healthy, gaining weight and outgrowing her clothes. I think she’s doing just fine. (Here’s one of the articles I read about the difference in weight gain in BF and FF babies.)

E is in size 3 nappies and 3-6 month clothes.

Milestones: 

I said in Elowen’s 3 month update that she had giggled… once! Well, it took a couple more weeks since that happened but now she giggles lots. Especially if I tickle her or kiss her neck. She has the cheekiest little laugh ever. I am in love with it!

I also mentioned that I thought her bottom teeth were coming through. They haven’t yet but they’re certainly making progress. She’s had some awful teething episodes over the last few weeks. As she was still so young I was limited as to what I could give her. My friend Daisy suggested trying some breast milk ice lollies to help take away the teething pain and they were a massive hit.

Elowen can now grasp at her toys and quite enjoys short periods of time laying on her playmat. She will grab the toys that hang down over her and will either shake them or try to put them in her mouth.

Feeding: 

Despite my ‘wobble’ last month, I’m still exclusively breastfeeding Elowen. I’ve pretty much decided that I’m not going to introduce a bottle or formula for the time being. I could be cutting off my nose in spite of my face but I just cannot be bothered with expressing and sterilising bottles. I’m not even sure if E would take to a bottle now anyway, I suspect probably not.

Sleeping:

Sleep? What even is that? I’m not sure if Elowen is having a growth spurt or sleep regression but it feels like she is up every couple of hours for a feed at the moment. It is slaying me! I’ve been going to bed about 9pm most nights just so I’m not a complete zombie the next day. She will have several naps throughout the day, her longest one seems to be in the late morning.

She still ends up in our bed most nights but that’s usually because I end up falling asleep whilst feeding her more than a conscious decision to have her in bed with us.

I wrote a post earlier this month comparing the differences between Jasmine and Elowen’s bedtime routines – it’s here if you fancy a read.

Likes: Booby milk ice lollies, Lamaze Mortimer Moose (a Jasmine hand-me-down), mummy blowing raspberries, bathtime, watching her big sister.

Dislikes: teething pain and immunisation jabs!

my-signature

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

Bedtime Routines: The First Baby Vs. The Second Baby
Baby, Breastfeeding, Parenting

Bedtime Routines: The First Baby Vs. The Second Baby

I was recently chatting to some of my mummy friends about the bedtime routines we have in place for our babies. This particular group of friends (mostly) consists of first-time-mamas. There was talk of nightly baths and baby massages and it was then that I had a sudden pang of guilt. I realised that I don’t put half as much effort into E’s bedtime routine as I did with J’s when she was the same age. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two different bedtime routines that I had/have for my first and second child (at around the same age) and to see if they slept any differently because of them. Read on to find out…

The first baby’s bedtime routine:

Jasmine was doing 5-6 hour long stints of sleeping at night by 9 weeks old and it was around this time that I decided I would implement a ‘proper bedtime routine‘ which went as follows…

Bath:

Every. Single. Day.

Heaven forbid we missed her evening bath.

Baby Massage:

After her bath, Jasmine was then treated to a full body massage – she’d be smothered head to toe in baby oil whilst I used the techniques I’d learned at our baby massage classes.

Bottle:

Her massage was followed by a feed. Jasmine was fully formula fed from around 6 weeks old. At 9 weeks old she’d have 4-5oz of milk at each feed.

Bed:

Jasmine would often fall asleep whilst having her last bottle before bed. I’d then gently slip her into her bedside crib. If she was still awake at the end of the feed, I’d pop her into the Bednest and turn on her ‘Freddie the frog’ Slumber Buddy (she still uses this now sometimes). She’d then eventually settle down to sleep.

4am: Jasmine wakes for a feed. She guzzles down her milk and then falls back to sleep.

6.30am: Jasmine wake ups and is ready to start the day!

Bedtime Routines: The First Baby Vs. The Second Baby

I blogged a 7-day diary when I introduced this bedtime routine – if you want to read it, you can find it here.

The Second Baby’s Bedtime Routine (or lack thereof):

Bath? (Ha!)

I give Elowen a bath about once a fortnight with ‘top and tail’ washes in between to keep her fresh.

Baby Massage? (Double ha!)

Sorry, baby girl – but I’ve spent the best part of the evening fighting with your sister to get her PJs on and brush her damn teeth. She’s finally down for the night so I just wanna chill. Is that cool with you? Cool.

The Dinner Time Feed: Elowen will demand a feed as soon as my dinner is ready (around 6.30/7.00pm). I stick her on the boob and watch my dinner go cold. I then pop E into her NUNA Leaf chair and crank that bad boy up to maximum sway. She might fight sleep for a little while but then gradually drifts off (usually whilst sucking her thumb). That’s her out for the count until I go to bed myself. I veg out in front of the telly or catch up with some blogging.

Bedtime: 

I tend to go to bed anywhere between 10pm and 11.30pm. I grab Elowen out of her chair and take her up to bed with me. This usually wakes her up so I take the opportunity to put a fresh nappy on her and change her clothes ready for bed. I boob her back to sleep again and then pop her in the Chicco Next-to-me crib. She’s still using her Purflo Nest but has almost outgrown it – this saddens me greatly.

Bedtime Routines: The First Baby Vs. The Second Baby

4am: Night feed. I usually end up latching her on and falling back to sleep.

6/6.30am: I wake up (usually by my toddler alarm clock) with Elowen still cuddled up in my arms from the 4am feed.

Time to get up!

Conclusion:

It wasn’t until I read this post back that I realised how similar Elowen’s sleep pattern is to what Jasmine’s was at around the same age. And that’s despite Elowen forgoing nightly baths and baby massages (poor, poor second child). I’ve definitely been more relaxed about bed-sharing this time around (although, I still follow the safety guidelines). I would have Jasmine sleep in bed with us during the fourth trimester when she was still adjusting to being ‘earthside’. And to be honest, it scared me, but sometimes it was the only way we got any sleep. Elowen on the other hand, is almost 4 months old, and I’m happy to bring her into our bed. I’m breastfeeding this time around so I find I can get a bit more extra sleep whilst she feeds.

You can tell from reading these bedtime routines that we very much dedicated our evenings to Jasmine’s bedtime routine. It’s clearly true (in our case at least) that the second baby has to fit around us as a family, and not the other way around. So yeah, the littlest lady of the family might miss out on nightly baths (she has majorly dry skin anyways) and doesn’t get those full body massages (I feel a bit guilty about that) but ultimately, it’s made no difference. They sleep exactly the same!

Our favourite baby bedtime products*:

If you fancy reading more posts about baby sleep routines and co-sleeping, check out these posts by some of my fellow mama blogger friends: Lucie // Kirsty // Georgina // Rachel // Rebecca

I’d love to know how bedtime works in your house if you have more than one child?
Or if you just have the one, what does their bedtime routine involve?
How do you feel about co-sleeping?

my-signature

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

*Contains affiliate links.

 

Breastfeeding success second time around and what I did differently
Baby, Breastfeeding, Homebirth

Breastfeeding success second time around
(and what I did differently)

My breastfeeding experience with Jasmine was short lived. We got off to a bad start and when she lost a lot weight my anxiety got too much to handle. I switched to combination feeding her expressed breast milk and formula for 6 weeks before switching to formula completely.

As soon as I fell pregnant with Elowen, aside from my fears of suffering yet another miscarriage, I was also fraught with anxiety at the prospect trying to breastfeed another baby, to the point I was having dreams about it every night. I went back and forth throughout my pregnancy on whether or not I even wanted to try again. In the end, I decided to give breastfeeding another shot. Jasmine had thrived on formula milk, if breastfeeding didn’t work out second time around, I knew that I’d be OK with switching to formula with baby #2. I had nothing to lose by giving it another go.

I’m really pleased to say that Elowen is now 3 months old and I am still exclusively breastfeeding her. Trust me when I say that nobody is more surprised about that than I am. It just goes to show that every baby is different. And I do think that has a lot to do with it. As mums we often blame ourselves when breastfeeding doesn’t work out but breastfeeding is a two-way thing. Jasmine wasn’t interested in feeding from me and was such a sleepy little thing. Elowen, on the other hand, was alert from the get-go and took to breastfeeding fantastically.

That said, there were quite a few things I did differently this time around which I’m sure helped us along the way on our breastfeeding journey.

They are as follows:

Having a physiological third stage of labour (delivering the placenta naturally)

When I originally wrote my birth plan I said that I wanted drugs administered to help speed up the delivery of my placenta. Partly because that’s what I did last time and partly because I was having a home birth and I was worried that the placenta might not come out, meaning I’d have to be transferred to hospital. However, a few days before I went into labour with E, I came across this article about a study that found a link between the drug used to speed up placenta delivery and breastfeeding problems. The news article is a few years old (2014) and was based on a relatively small study but it was enough to convince me to at least try for a natural placenta delivery. It took a little while (probably longer than it did to push E out!) but it did come out of it’s own accord eventually. I’ve no idea if it helped me have a more successful breastfeeding experience or not, but I think it did, even if only psychologically.

I had skin-to-skin contact and breastfed E when she was minutes old

I went an entire night before attempting to breastfeed Jasmine for the first time after she was born. Which, when I think about it now, is pretty shocking. I was too scared to attempt the first feed without the guidance of a midwife. Unfortunately, once I’d been stitched up the midwives all disappeared until the morning. Jasmine was fast asleep and I was exhausted so I took the opportunity to rest.  When I did get help the next morning, a midwife literally shoved Jasmine at my boob. I gasped when she latched on because of how painful it felt and the midwife grunted “Oh it’ll hurt until your nipples toughen up.” Great.

Elowen’s first feed could not have been more different. She was minutes old. The midwife who attended my home birth told me to go ahead and feed her how I felt I should, but assured me she’d be right there to assist should I need it. E latched right away and began to suckle, I don’t remember it being painful at all. (The pain came later on!)

I used nipple shields when the pain got too much

I was under the impression, after having Jasmine, that nipple shields were the epitome of all evil. At least that’s how certain midwives portrayed them, as well as most of the Internet. ‘They’ll confuse baby!” was the overwhelming opinion on them and because of that I steered well clear.

Between then and becoming a mum for a second time I’d read numerous blog posts from fellow mummy bloggers who said they’d never have been able to continue breastfeeding had they not used nipple shields. (Hannah from Budding Smiles springs to mind, as an example.) So I bought nipple shields before I’d even given birth and I’d already decided that if I felt I needed to use them, then I would. And to Hell with any midwife or health visitor who cared to argue with me about that.

In the end, it was a midwife who suggested I try the nipple shields to feed Elowen. It was only my second day post-partum but my nipples were in agony. I told the midwife over the phone how sore I was and she said if I hadn’t tried using nipple shields yet, to give them a go. I found them quite fiddly to use but they were worth the hassle as it meant I could give my poor nipples a break. I genuinely don’t think I would’ve carried on feeding E had it not been for the shields. I will always encourage other breastfeeding mamas to try them if they’re struggling with nipple pain/damage.

By the end of week four I’d ditched the nipple shields completely.

I had formula on standby

When I was pregnant with Jasmine, I was very determined to breastfeed her. Being a first time mum, and the first in my friendship circle to have a baby, I took a lot of ‘advice’ from people on forums. I’d read, several times, that if I were to really give breastfeeding my best shot then I should avoid having formula in the house as it would be ‘too tempting’ to switch to using it on a bad day. The night I broke down and decided I could no longer keep trying to breastfeed Jasmine, Stephen had to drive out to find the nearest 24hr supermarket to buy formula and bottles. I sobbed the whole time whilst watching Jasmine scream in hunger. Never, ever would I go through that again.

Second time around, I stocked up on ready-made pre-sterlised formula bottles (even packing some in my ‘just in case’ hospital bags). It took the pressure off me knowing that I always had a back up to hand which, ultimately, helped me to establish breastfeeding.

I knew where to seek professional help… and then got it.

There was a real lack of breastfeeding support available to me when I had Jasmine. It’s something I’m still quite bitter about. Because of this, I did my homework whilst pregnant with E. I found out where all of the local breastfeeding support groups were, I joined Facebook groups and I had a name and number for a local lactation consultant. I felt armed with information on people who could help me with any problems I may come up against. Elowen had a really shallow latch, which was what was causing my nipple pain. I decided I would go and see a lactation consultant about it. She spent a good 45 minutes observing E feeding, giving me advice, reassuring me that using nipple shields was absolutely fine and that the supposed ‘nipple confusion’ they caused was a load of BS.

I had a better support network in place

I had discussed my fears about breastfeeding with a lot of my friends (mummy friends, non-mummy friends, blogging pals, Instagram chums… whoever cared to listen) and because of that they went above and beyond to support me in those early days. They’d send me messages to tell me how well I was doing, giving me a little boost when my morale was low. Those who had been through this before gave me hints, tips and gentle encouragement. It all made such a big difference and for that I will be forever grateful.

I was more relaxed about breastfeeding

Like most aspects of parenthood, second time around I felt more relaxed, particularly in my approach to breastfeeding. If it worked out, great – if it didn’t, I’d formula feed Elowen and that would be that. Either way, the world would keep on spinning.

I took each day as it came…

I didn’t have a specific target in mind – I had no goal to ‘breastfeed exclusively for 6 months’… or a year or two! I decided to take each day as it came. Again, it took the pressure off.

3 months on and I’m very much still in that mindset. I’m enjoying feeding Elowen but whether it ends tomorrow or in a year’s time – that’s fine. Today I’m feeding her and that’s all I’m going to concentrate on right now.

Breastfeeding success second time around

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post has ended up being a bit ‘wordy’ but I really hope it might help someone. Breastfeeding is bloody hard work and as I said at the start of this post, every baby is different. Whatever happens, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, please enjoy your baby and soak up those newborn snuggles. I spent far too long feeling guilty and miserable because I couldn’t breastfeed Jasmine. I will never get those early days back to just enjoy my brand new baby girl without the all consuming guilt and sadness.

my-signature

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

 

pancake day fun with robinsons
Family, Food, Lifestyle

Pancake Day Fun with Robinsons

The lovely folks at Robinsons recently got in contact with us to ask if we’d be up for the challenge of creating some Robinsons Squash inspired pancakes this pancake day. Never one to turn down a challenge, especially one that involves pancakes, I said ‘Yes, please!’

First things first, we selected a range of fresh fruit from the supermarket including; lemons, mangoes, strawberries, kiwis and oranges (all of which are fruits that are used in Robinsons Squashes).

Robinsons Fruit Squash contains no added sugar, and a 250ml serving contains 5 calories or less.

Jasmine holding her ‘dinosaur egg’. :)

Once we had our selection of fruits prepared and Robinsons squash ready to enjoy (pancake making is thirsty work) we set about making our tasty pancake creations.

This was the first year that Jasmine could really get stuck in with making the pancakes with us. She loved helping me weigh out our ingredients, prep the fruit and she quickly became Chief Whisker! We opted to make fluffy American-style pancakes using this recipe and they were THE best pancakes we’ve ever had.

 

Jasmine opted to load up her pancake with mango and strawberries.

Some of the strawberries never made it as far as the pancakes though! ;)

Stephen tucking into a strawberry pancake with added chocolate sauce (naughty!) and sprinkles. Or “sfinkles” as Jasmine calls them. Elowen looked quite jealous. You’ll have to wait a few more months yet, Baby Girl!

I enjoyed some Strawberry and Kiwi Robinsons squash – there’s real fruit in every drop!

Tucking in!

Oh so delicious!

We were kindly sent some bottles of Robinsons Fruit Squash in 3 different flavours – so here’s our 3 squash inspired pancake toppings:

Stawberry and Kiwi

Lemon – you can’t beat a good ol’ traditional lemon pancake!

Orange and Mango

What do you think of them? Which flavour do you think you’d like best?

my-signature

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }