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

Breastfeeding success second time around <br>(and what I did differently)<br/>

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.

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Theraline Mamma Pads {Review}

Theraline Mamma Pads {Review}

Theraline Mamma Pads Review:

There were a few things that took me by surprise when it came to breastfeeding. In particular, just how messy it could be. My boobs have leaked milk since I was about 22 weeks pregnant and now that I’m a little over 3 months into our breastfeeding journey, it’s still something I have to deal with daily.

In the early days, before my milk supply had regulated (I’m talking the first 8-9 weeks or so postpartum), I would often wake up in a puddle of my own breast milk. I wore a bra and breast pads at night but they’d quickly become saturated and soggy. If I’m honest, after a while it started to get me down. I often thought ‘there must be another way’. I couldn’t believe, in this day and age, this should still be a problem for breastfeeding mamas. As it turns out, there is indeed, another way…

I recently heard about Theraline’s Mamma Pads – ‘smart’ nursing pads that don’t collect leaking breast milk, but instead stop the leakage from happening in the first place. Hallelujah! The slim and discrete silicone pads temporarily shut off your milk ducts by gently pressing in the nipples.

Once the pads are removed the milk ducts open again and your milk can flow normally for the next feed. Mamma Pads will adapt to every breast shape.

These clever little pads sounded far too good to be true so I was very pleased when Theraline kindly offered to send me a pair to review. Here’s what I thought:

What I loved about the Theraline Mamma Pads:

I think it’s great that these pads don’t collect leaking milk, but instead stop your breasts from leaking in the first place. It’s so, so clever. It means I feel cleaner and there’s no milky wet patches on my clothes (which I personally find quite embarrassing when out in public).

They are so easy to put on and once they’re on I didn’t notice them. They don’t crease up or fall out of your bra like regular breast pads do. (You would not believe the amount of times I’ve had to scoop up my regular breast pads off the floor of a coffee shop!)

They’re more discrete than regular breast pads. (This means on those rare occasions that you get to go ‘out, out’ you won’t be limited as to what you can wear!)

Theraline Mamma Pads Review

I don’t have to wear a bra to use them. (Great if, like me, you prefer to sleep without a bra on.)

They’re easy to clean – just rinse them with soapy water and leave to dry.

… And that leads me on to my next point – they’re reusable (for around 150+ uses) so they’re cost efficient and better for the environment. :)

What I wasn’t so keen on:

The fact that they are ‘virtually invisible’ is both a blessing an a curse. After removing one of the pads during the night to feed Elowen, I’d end up losing it somewhere in the bed covers. Being half asleep at 3am and in the dark made it impossible to find it again until the morning. (I had the same problem with nipple shields in the early weeks of breastfeeding.)

The ‘sticky’ adhesive side of the pad often ends up collecting hair and fluff which, whilst it doesn’t affect their use, is quite annoying.

The pads (and ultimately my boobs) end up a little smelly if I’ve worn them all day.

You have to leave them to air dry after washing (by using a towel or similar to dry them you’d end up wiping off the thin layer of adhesive). This means that during that drying time you’d either have to go sans pads (risky), use regular nursing pads or invest in a second set of Mamma Pads. To be fair. at around £15 a set, they’re very good value. I’m planning to buy a second set for myself.

Final thoughts:

These are such clever, little pads and I only wish I had known about them sooner. Whilst they’re not perfect, I certainly prefer them to conventional breast pads for the reasons I’ve listed above. If you’re a pregnant or breastfeeding/expressing mama then I certainly recommend giving these pads a try. Best of all, if you’re not completely happy with them, Theraline will give you a full refund. You’ve nothing to lose! :)

You can buy them here*:

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5 Ways to give up the old baby clothes
(even if you really don’t want to!)

5 Ways to give up the old baby clothes <br>(even if you really don’t want to!)<br/>

When Jasmine was just 4 months old I wrote this post about how I was finding it hard to get rid of her outgrown baby clothes. As we had always planned to have two children I was able to justify hanging on to them for our next baby. Well, now our ‘next’ (and last) baby is here and is growing out of those clothes just as rapidly as Jasmine did. Despite the girls being born in different seasons (damn it) we’ve still managed to re-use lots of vests and sleepsuits for Elowen. Trouble with that is, now it’s doubly hard for this sentimental mama to get rid of them! We’re done having babies so I can’t use that excuse to keep them anymore.

In the next few months we’re going to be moving to our new home and with that in mind I’ve slowly been working my way through the house to declutter each room. I don’t want to take all of our old junk with us to our new house so I’m binning stuff, recycling it or giving it away to charity and so far I’m doing really well. But those teeny, tiny baby clothes? Well they’ve been a little harder to ditch.

That said, I am still getting rid of the old baby clothes (even though I really don’t want to).

Here’s 5 ways you can do it too…

1) Choose just one item as a momento.

Babies grow quickly and before you know it they’ll be at school, college, moving out, getting married… having babies of their own. It will be hard to believe they were ever tiny enough to hold in your my arms. So, let’s allow ourselves one little keepsake, yes? I’ve picked one item of clothing for each of the girls (the sleepsuits they first wore when they were born) and I’ve put them into their keepsake boxes. That way I can still get them out every now and again, when I’m feeling sentimental, and marvel at how small my girls once were. Keeping a couple items of clothing made it much easier for me to get rid of the rest.

2) Turn them into something useful

If you can’t pick just one item of clothing to keep then why not turn that bundle of old baby clothing into something useful? A quilt, for example. Don’t worry if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body (although, props to ya if you can make one yourself) there’s lots of talented people out there who can make a quilt for you and it won’t cost you as much as you might think.

3) Give the clothes to those who need them more.

I always find it’s easier to give things away that I have a sentimental attachment to if they’re going to people who really need them. It’s hard to justify keeping bags full of unused baby clothes in the loft when they could be passed onto families who have nothing. Perhaps you could find out if your local Women’s Refuge are accepting donations of children’s clothes. Or give them to a charity shop which supports a cause close to your heart. Either way, giving your beloved baby clothes to those who need them will give you that feel-good factor. Hopefully it will dampen any sadness you have about getting rid of them in the first place.

4) Sell them… and then put the money towards making memories with your babies.

Part of the reason I find it hard to get rid of the girls’ clothes is because of the memories attached to them. But what about using them to help you make more memories? I’ve sold some of the ‘fancier’ items of clothing using my local Facebook selling page. With the money I’ve got from that I started a ‘holiday fund’. OK so we’re not going to be jetting off to Disney World any time soon but it’ll be spending money we can use on our holiday to Butlins later this year. So yeah, that few quid for an old dress might not seem like much but it’ll pay for us to have fish and chips on the beach or a couple of goes on a fairground ride.

5) Swap them!

As I mentioned earlier, my girls were born in two very different seasons so a lot of Jasmine’s old clothes aren’t appropriate for us to reuse for Elowen. But there’s gonna be plenty of mamas out there who kept their firstborn’s clothes for baby no.2 and also had their second baby in a different season. So scout them out! Ask around your baby groups or your local Facebook selling pages and find yourself a mama to swap baby clothes with. You might even be able to swap them for other items such as age appropriate toys for your little ones. Everyone’s a winner. :)

I really hope you’ve found this post useful. 

If there’s another way of parting with my little ladies’ threads that I haven’t thought of, I’d love to hear it? 

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Elowen’s 3 month update

Elowen’s 3 month update

It’s really hard not to open these update posts with a line about how fast the time is going but it really is flying by. My little Smoosh is 3 months old and she’s growing like a weed. I want her to stay tiny forever, damn it!

General: 

OK, first up, I think she has teeth coming through. ACTUAL BLUMMIN’ TEETHY PEGS! If she’s awake then she’s usually gnawing on her fists and dribbling lots. She’s been doing that for a good week or so. Today I noticed, what looks like, her bottom two teeth coming through. She’s been struggling with the pain and this evening she cried for a solid hour whilst biting her hands. I feel so sad for her. As much as I’m not ready for my 3 month old to have teeth, I do hope they cut through soon and give her some relief.

E still has mild cradle cap and I still haven’t done anything about it, partly because I think I’ll just end up making it worse.

In the last update I mentioned that I was trying to introduce a dummy. That lasted all of two days before I gave up on that idea. Elowen wasn’t interested at all and just ended up spitting them out. Ho hum. One less thing I have to get rid of later on I suppose.

We had her second set of immunisations yesterday. She was majorly peeved that the nurse she had been giving her best smiles to suddenly jabbed her in the leg with a needle. The cheek of it! She screamed bloody murder but settled after a few minutes and slept all the way home.

This photo cracks me up every time.

Weight: 

I haven’t had Elowen weighed since last month (bad mama). She’s now into her 3-6 month clothes and still in size 2 nappies.

Milestones:

Giggle! We’ve had a giggle. One solitary giggle. I was changing her nappy at the library last Friday (17th Feb) when she randomly started giggling. It was the sweetest sound EVER. Hasn’t done it since though!

Feeding:

I’m still exclusively breastfeeding Elowen and I’m really chuffed about that. I have had a bit of a wobble this week as I’ve been finding it hard not having any freedom and being solely responsible for feeding her. The most time I’ve had to myself out of the house since E was born was a 20 minute walk with the dog. My best friends are all planning weekend trips for birthdays (we all turn 30 this year) and I’m gutted that I may miss out because I’m breastfeeding. On the other hand, I know that this won’t be forever and I will probably miss it when E decides to wean off the breast.

Sleeping: 

We’re all getting a bit more sleep (most nights anyway) than we were last month. Elowen tends to wake up twice a night, sometimes three times, for a feed. The longest she’s slept in one solid chunk is 6 hours. Boy, were my boobs big that morning! She sleeps well in her next-to-me crib but is outgrowing her purflo nest, I don’t think it’ll before long before I have to take it out. :(

That’s it for this month – I’m hoping to report more giggles in my next Elowen Update! C’mon girl, quit holding out on me!

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I’m linking this post up to Real Mum Review’s #LittleLeaps Linky. :)

My eBay Wishlist #2

My eBay Wishlist #2

I really enjoyed putting together my eBay wishlist last month… so I’m back with another one! Again, it’s relatively baby-focused, although now that I’m starting to think about decorating the girls’ bedrooms in our new house, there’s a few lovely decor pieces in there too.

I hope you like my February eBay picks… 

1) A set of 4 baby bandana bibs – £3.90 incl. P&P

2) Sass & Belle embroidered message flag “Go your own way” – £6.85 incl. P&P

3) Sleepy Eyes wall decal (various sizes and colours available) – from £3.00

4) ‘Powered By Milk’ Baby Romper – £3.84 incl P&P

5) Cloud shelf – £19.41 and free shipping (from China)

6) Handmade dinosaur pinafore dress (age 2-3)  – £20.oo plus £2.50 P&P

Have you snapped up any eBay bargains recently?
If so I’d love to know what you bought.

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