Extended breastfeeding:
Who is it benefiting anyway?

Extended breastfeeding: <br> Who is it benefiting anyway?<br/>

I’m in the 0.5% of mothers in the UK who is breastfeeding their baby beyond a year. I didn’t plan to be in that group, I didn’t aim to breastfeed for this long. I wanted to breastfeed, sure. I put the effort in. I sacrificed some of my ‘freedom’. I got jealous when my formula-feeding mama friends could seemingly come and go as they pleased. I got frustrated. I got sick of the sight of nursing bras. I shared and am still sharing my body and I’m not in any hurry to ‘get it back’.

After an initial tough start, breastfeeding became second nature. I think back to those long nights and days that we struggled with it and they seem a very distant memory.

Being totally honest, I’ve wanted to give up breastfeeding many, many times. But just as soon as I felt sure I wanted to stop, I’d change my mind again. What me and my toddler have is precious and it felt silly to give it up because she was pulling on my hair too much (which let’s face it, she’d do anyway) or because my pre-period hormones would make my let down reflex so frustratingly slow that feeding became arduous for about a week, each and every month.

I kept telling myself that this wouldn’t be forever. In the grand scheme of things, even if I fed her until she was two-years-old (or beyond!), it’s not a very long time. One day, it too, would seem a distant memory. And I’d miss it, I’m sure.

How long one should breastfeed their child for is a highly debated topic. (What isn’t when it comes to mothering?) There is no definitive answer. The WHO recommends “exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.”

I’ve heard people say that it becomes ‘wrong’ to breastfeed as soon as a child can ‘ask for it’. Which seems odd, to me. I mean, when you think about it, a child would have been ‘asking for it’ one way or another since the day they were born. Lip smacking/boob nuzzling/crying – that’s all OK… but as soon as a child can verbally ask to be breastfed, that would be deemed as ‘wrong’? *shrugs*

Another phrase I hear often, in regards to extended breastfeeding is ‘it’s probably more for the mum’s benefit’. Insinuating that the toddler is an unwilling participant, being force-fed boob to satisfy a mother’s selfish desire to prolong their breastfeeding journey. Which, let me tell you, is bloody ludicrous. You absolutely can not force a child to breastfeed! A breastfeeding relationship has to be mutual in order for it to work, especially long-term. I often giggle when I think of the ‘more for the mum’ type comments, usually because I’m feeding E, whilst she’s pulling my hair or scratching my neck. Much in the same way a kitten kneads at a lap with it’s sharp claws whilst being stroked because it feels utterly content. ‘More for the mum’, my arse!

Does that mean I’m not benefiting from breastfeeding my 1.5 year old? Of course not. Like I said, it’s a mutual relationship. When I’ve had a stressful day, feeding E is sometimes the best way to calm me down. As I feed her, before bed, I can physically feel the surge of oxytocin flowing through my body. I feel completely relaxed and content. I wonder how I ever managed without this daily 5 minute mood booster. It can turn the toughest of days on it’s head – suddenly all is well with the world again.

And you know who else is benefiting from mine and E’s extended breastfeeding journey? My 4-year-old, Jasmine. Even though she didn’t get any breast milk from me beyond six weeks. I still feel my positive experience with her younger sister will benefit her too. How? She is growing up in a home which normalizes breastfeeding. The longer I feed E, the more likely she is to grow up remembering that is how her mama fed a baby. She knows breasts produce milk to feed babies – that is their main purpose. And all of this is giving her a great advantage, if one day, she has her own babies and decides, she too, would like to breastfeed.

I don’t know how much longer I will breastfeed E – we’re just doing as we’ve always done and are taking it a feed at a time. But for as long as we continue our feeding journey, the relationship will be mutual and it will benefit us both.

Jenna xx

NB. Here’s a fab link to more information on breastfeeding beyond a year and the benefits to both mother and child.

5 things that helped my toddler to sleep better

5 things that helped my toddler to sleep better

It was only a month ago that I wrote a blog post about how I was considering hiring a sleep trainer for E. I was at my wit’s end. She was waking up almost hourly, breastfeeding like a newborn and refusing to go back to sleep. Instead, she would throw herself around our bed, like a fish out of water, screaming her head off. Quite frankly, I’m surprised our neighbours haven’t yet called the police because anybody would think a murder was being committed in our house.

But I am pleased to report that things have changed dramatically over the last few weeks and we’re all getting considerably more sleep. I feel happier and brighter and able to parent better. And as for E, she is like a different child. She’s well rested and happier too.

So what changed?

1. We stopped co-sleeping.

E slept in our bed and had done pretty much since birth. She woke for feeds throughout the night and I just found it easier to have her in our bed for that reason. But even the little sleep I did get was rubbish because I had so little space, usually finding myself squeezed in-between a bed-hogging toddler and my 6ft something husband. (We had a bed guard on the side of the bed that E slept so she didn’t fall out.)

Putting E in her own room was the only thing we hadn’t tried and after several nights of having barely any sleep, I lost my sh*t and dragged E’s (at the time, unused) cot into the office (she’ll share a room with J eventually). That night, I stayed next to her cot until she fell asleep… and the next night and the night after that. There were tears from E (I never left her to cry, that’s not my style) and I was sad too, I missed her snuggles but after the third night, she got it. I can now feed her, put her down in her cot and she will wave at me and blow me a kiss as I leave the room. I genuinely can’t believe it.

2. We cut down nighttime breastfeeds.

Once E was in a separate room, she straight away began waking less often for night feeds. I guess not sleeping in a bed with my breasts inches from her face meant it was rather less convenient for her to wake up and have a sup on mama’s milk, so she stopped bothering (as much). I now feed E just before bed and again at around 10.30 but other than that one feed in the night, she sleeps through! I am planning to wean E completely later this month but that’s a blog post for another time. Watch this space!

3. We incorporated a nightlight into our bedtime routine.

On hearing all about my sleep woes, the folks at Lumie very kindly offered to send me a Bedbug Light Sleep Aid. “It won’t be the entire solution, of course – but it might help?” I had nothing to lose so decided we’d give it a go.

The Bedbug (which is endorsed by gentle-parenting expert Sarah Ockwell-Smith) offers fully adjustable bedside lighting to change, feed and settle your child ready for bed. I use the gradual sunset mode when putting E to bed, it takes about 15 minutes for the room to go from being brightly lit to dark. This is enough time for me to feed E and place her in her cot and exit the room whilst she finishes settling herself to sleep. If I need to pop in at any point during the night to feed or comfort her, I can turn on Bedbug’s orange nightime glow. This gives me enough light to see what I’m doing but doesn’t trigger wakefulness.

I really do believe it’s been instrumental in setting up a good bedtime routine with E and now we wouldn’t be without our Bedbug. In fact, I think I’m going to have to get one for J as she sleeps with her main light on because she’s scared of the dark!

4. We re-introduced white noise.

I bought Ewan the Dream Sheep when I was pregnant with E. We never bothered with any kind of white noise comforters when J was a baby but I’d heard good things about Ewan and so he ended up being one of only a handful ‘second baby purchases’ (everything else we’d kept from J). We used Ewan a fair bit when E was a newborn and he was relatively effective, but his batteries ran out and he ended up being forgotten about, hidden in a basket full of other soft toys.

But after moving E into the new room, I’d get her settled and asleep in her cot each night and as I’d go to walk out of the door, the floorboards would squeak and I’d be rumbled! I bought some new batteries for Ewan and started using him alongside the nightlight when settling E in her cot, the white noise seemed to help send her off to sleep quicker and if nothing else, it certainly helped to mask the noise of my steps across the creaky floorboards!

5. We started using Gro sleeping bags.

Gro bags aren’t new to us, we used them when J was a baby and they were fantastic. But because E shared our bed, I was reluctant to put her in any more layers other than her PJs and a cellular blanket, in case she overheated. Being the wriggly worm that she is, she’d often end up kicking her blanket off in the night and then waking up cold. As soon as we put her in the cot, we dug out the old Gro sleep bags and now we know she’s snuggly and warm all night long. One less reason for her to wake up at night! ;)

I don’t think that any one of these things would’ve made such a big difference on it’s own but the combination of all 5 has certainly helped us to get E into a better nighttime routine. We still haven’t mastered daytime naps (but you can’t have it all, right?), but for now, I am very pleased to be getting a lot more sleep. Fingers crossed, it continues…

Our bedtime faves*: 

Jenna xx

Related posts that you may also like to read:

Is it time to bring in a sleep trainer?
Bedtime Routines: The first baby vs. the second baby
10 things nobody told me about breastfeeding
A co-sleeping dilemma

 

{YouTube} {Twitter} {Bloglovin’}  {Instagram} {Pinterest} {Google+}

* This post contains affiliate links.

 

Celebrating World Book Day with Tidy Books®
(and sharing some of our favourite reads)

Celebrating World Book Day with Tidy Books® <br>(and sharing some of our favourite reads)<br/>

It’s World Book Day today and Jasmine has bounced into pre-school dressed as Lily Bobtail looking utterly adorable (and a little too grown up for my liking!) She loves the Peter Rabbit books and TV show so I wasn’t remotely surprised when she asked to be Lily for WBD.

Over the last few years, Jasmine has acquired a large amount of children’s books and until recently they were stored inside a disintegrating cardboard box. It wasn’t the home that those well-loved books deserved so we were super thankful when Kiddies Kingdom got in touch with us to see if we would like to review the Tidy Books box.

The Tidy Books box is beautifully crafted with the Montessori learning style in mind. The low level design of the storage box allows children to take out their books independently (and in theory, put them back away again after!) ;)

We’ve been using the Tidy Books Box for about a month now and here’s my thoughts on it:

What we love about the Tidy Books Box:

✶ It was easy to assemble (it comes flat-packed but took me a mere 10 minutes to put together).

✶ The clock face is a great addition.  It’s a handy little tool for helping to teach Jasmine about time – which is something she seems fascinated with at the moment.

✶ It can store up to 40 books of all shapes and sizes.

✶ Jasmine enjoys being able to select her bedtime stories herself from the book box.

✶ The white (water-lacquer) finish means the book box fits in well with the rest of the furniture and decor in Jasmine’s bedroom. The book box is also available with a ‘natural wood finish’.

Elowen proving you’re never too young to enjoy a book!

What we weren’t so keen on:

✶ The box is designed to be ‘portable’ and has a handle at the top of it but I found, once the books were inside it, the box was a bit too big and bulky to carry around. I don’t intend to move it around the house so it’s not a huge issue.

✶ The Tidy Books Box is rather large (H35cm  x W55cm x D31cm) and therefore takes up a lot of floor space (as opposed to a traditional bookcase/shelf).

And that’s honestly the only faults I can find – we love our book box!

Do check out the Tidy Books box as well lots of other gorgeous children’s room decor and nursery furniture sets from Kiddies Kingdom.

Whilst we’re on the subject of books, I couldn’t not share some of our current faves:

1. Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth by Jarvis

Jasmine received this book in her 3-4 years Bookstart pack some months ago and it’s been a firm favourite ever since. Alan the alligator loves scaring the other jungle animals using his fearsome set of gnashers. Unfortunately for Alan, Barry the beaver discovers that those ‘fearsome gnashers’ are in fact, a set of false teeth. After that, poor Alan becomes a laughing stock! This book is a “goofy comedy of self-discovery, witty, warm-hearted storytelling and bright graphic art will make this (and Alan!) a firm children’s book favourite.” We highly recommended it!

2. The Bumblebear by Nadia Shireen

We currently have this book on loan from the library and I’ve had to renew it several times. I’m now on the lookout for a secondhand copy that we can keep! Norman, like most bears, loves honey. But getting honey is a litttle bit tricky if you’re a bear so Norman cleverly disguises himself as a bee! Norman attends ‘Bee School’ and, it turns out, is a very convincing bee. Despite that, it’s not long until his true identity is discovered and Norman is kicked out of bee school. How will he ever be able to redeem himself?! You’ll have to read it yourself to find out! ;)

3. When’s my birthday? By Julie Fogliano and Christian Robinson

We were lucky enough to be sent this book to review and it’s clearly a hit with my three-year-old as Jasmine asks for it to be read to her every. single. night. The book’s pages are beautifully illustrated and the dialogue perfectly reflects that of an excited child who is approaching their birthday (Jasmine turns 4 in early April so we’re allll about birthday chat at the moment).

Has your little one dressed up for World Book Day?

Jenna xx

I was sent the Tidy Books Box for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own. :)

This blog post also contains affiliate links. 

Things we’ve been loving lately… #1

Things we’ve been loving lately… #1

This year I want to share more of the things I love on my blog. Whether it be the products that make parenting that little bit easier, something I’ve treated myself to, or even just what I’m lovin’ on the telly box! And of course, my blog is as much about my girls as it is me so I’ll be sharing the things they love too. (Although it might be a while yet before Little E loves anything more than milk and sleep!)

Here’s some of mine and Jasmine’s recent faves…

Things that Jasmine (aged 2) has been loving lately…

1. Tickly Octopus by Ruth Galloway (Book)

Jasmine often goes through phases of being obsessed with a particular book. She’ll ask us to read the same book every night for several weeks at a time. Lately, her favourite book is Tickly Octopus by Ruth Galloway. I bought this at a book sale at our local library for about 50p ages ago but she’s only recently gotten into it. It’s about an Octopus who enjoys tickling his fellow sea creatures, however, they aren’t quite so keen on it! This leads Octopus to find out what other things he’s good at besides tickling.

2. Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike from Kiddies Kingdom

Jasmine received this balance bike for Christmas and initially wasn’t bothered by it at all. “It’s too wobbly!” she’d say as she tried to ride it, she’d get frustrated and give up. With plenty of gentle encouragement she’s now starting to gain confidence in herself when riding it and is really starting to get the hang of it now. She’ll ride it around the house and announce “I like my bike!” I’m now on the hunt for a helmet for Jasmine so we can venture outdoors with it.

3. Hallmark Itty Bittys

I’ve mentioned a few times on the blog and social media that Jasmine is obsessed with superheroes. She spends a good 90% of her waking hours pretending to be Spiderman. On the run up to Christmas I was looking around for superhero toys but annoyingly I found that many were a bit too old for her. They were made up of lots of small plastic parts or they had toy weapons. They didn’t really seem suitable for a two-year-old in my eyes. But then I discovered Itty Bittys – small plush collectible toys and immediately knew Jasmine would adore them. She now has Spiderman (obvs), Bat Girl, Batman and Super Girl! I can’t wait to add some more to our collection as they are so blummin’ cute. There is a HUGE range of itty bittys available – not just superheroes either. From Star Wars to Snoopy, there’s an Itty Bitty collection for everyone!

4. PJ Masks (TV show)

Staying with the Superhero theme – we have both been loving PJ Masks. A children’s animated series about 3 six-year-olds who become superheros (Owlette, Gekko and Catboy!) at night. It’s available to watch on the Disney Jnr channel. Check out the trailer here to see what all the fuss is about!

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

And now on to Mama’s recent faves…

 

Things that I’ve been loving lately…

1. Tangle Angel

I have such incredibly knotty hair. So much so, that brushing it with a ‘normal’ hairbrush makes my eyes water. Not only that, I can hear my hair snapping with each stroke – NOT good! Enter stage left: The Tangle Angel. This brush has been my absolute saviour – it glides through my wet or dry hair easily and doesn’t yank on my locks! Appaz, even Kim Kardashian uses these brushes!

2. Tesco Stawberry Flavour Mineral Water

OK, I know this is random but bear with me a minute! I’ve been trying desperately to cut down on my sugar intake lately. I’ve been looking for an alternative to juices, squash and fizzy drinks (because let’s face it, plain ol’ water is dull after a while!) It’s then that I came across these sugar free flavoured mineral waters in my local Tesco. And well, I’m hooked!

3. The Rightmove mobile app (available on iPhone and Android)

We’ve recently accepted an offer on our house (yay!) which means we are now desperately looking for a new one (eek!) This means my go-to mobile app has been Rightmove – it’s been a great tool for searching for new properties on the market in our chosen location and shortlisting ones we want to view. Exciting times!

4. Fortitude – Series 2 (TV Show)

Fortitude is a British psychological thriller television series which is available to watch on Sky Atlantic. It’s creepy, intriguing, well written and well acted. I was a huge fan of the first series which aired in 2015 and I’ve been looking forward to the second series ever since. The basic premise of the show is that a quiet and ‘safe’ town, Fortitude, which is located on the edge of the Arctic Circle becomes plagued by a prehistoric parasite. I’m 3 episodes into the second series and it, so far, has been well worth the wait.

What have you been loving lately?

Jenna xxx

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }

An interview with my 2-year-old

An interview with my 2-year-old

One of the best things about having a 2-year-old is the conversations. My little girl has become so incredibly chatty over the last few months or so. In fact, if she’s awake, she’s probably talking. I thought it would be fun to interview her. Although it wasn’t the easiest of conversations (like most toddlers, she has the attention span of a gnat) I loved listening to her answers.

On with the interview…

1) How old are you, Jasmine?

*She counts on her fingers… “One… two… three…”

“I’m not three. I’m just one.”

Me: I think you’re two.

“Nooo, I just one.”

 

2) What’s your favourite bedtime story?

“Ticky Octonaut”

{She’s a referring to a book called ‘Tickly Octopus’. She requests that we read it to her every night before bed, followed by We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.}

 

3) What does Daddy do for work?

“Ummm, Dadsy goes shopping.”

{Daddy works in Web Development!}

 

4) And what does mummy do?

“Mummy does baby.”

{Arrrghh! #mumguilt – Jasmine has definitely been feeling a little pushed out lately as Elowen is very clingy.}

 

5) What’s your favourite colour?

“I like Orange.”

 

6) What’s Your favourite animal?

“I like pink.”

Me: No, your favourite animal?

“I like turtle. Lots of turtles are grumpy.”

{OK then.}

 

7) What makes you happy?

“Tortoise makes me happy.”

{She’s really diggin’ on reptiles today.}

“And baby makes me happy.”

{She’s talking about Elowen. ❤}

 

8) What makes you sad?

“Dinosaurs make me sad. I like dinosaurs!”

Me: But they make you sad?

“Yeah, they scare me!”

 

9) What’s your favourite song?

She completely ignores me. She’s taken the belt from my dressing gown and is spinning it around in the air like a lasso.

“Yeeeehaaaa!!”

{Moving on…}

 

10) Who is your favourite superhero?

I like Spiderman. He is super strong.”

 

11) Who is your best friend?

“Ryan!”

{This is the first I’ve heard of ‘Ryan’ – I’m assuming it’s a boy from her nursery class.}

 

12) Where do you live?

“In our house. It keeps us warm.”

 

13) Where is your favourite place?

“I like my home!”

Me: Not the park?

“No, too wet park.”

{We walked passed the park earlier today and I told her the park was too wet for us to go in.}

 

14) What is your favourite food?

“I like pineapple.”

 

15) What are you good at?

“I got 4 wheels that spin around. It’s very bumpy. I fall off. I hurt my knee.”

*She points to the muddy stain on her knee.*

{She fell off her scooter earlier.}

 

16) What’s your favourite toy?

“I like all toys.”

Me: But which toy is your favourite?

*She runs over to her box of sticklebricks.*

“Let’s build an aeroplane!”

And so we build aeroplanes with sticklebricks and that concludes our interview! :)

Has your toddler said anything funny lately?
Share it with me in the comments!

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagramTwitter & YouTube }