The end of a(n) (boob) era

I decided to stop breastfeeding the other day…for about a month now Fred’s only been having a bedtime breastfeed and I really treasured the milk cuddles at the end of the day especially as I have to leave him 3 days a week. On those 3 days I only see Fred for about 2 hours and in the mornings I have to rush about getting ready while he follows me about, crying. Then he cries when I leave.

Actually, on Tuesdays when my parents are there cos they stay over Monday nights, he really couldn’t give a shit about me and he follows them around crying instead.
But the point is, on those days I don’t get much quality time with him so I thought I’d carry on that bed time feed FOREVER.

However, the last week or so Fred’s been spending the whole feed sticking his fingers up my nose and yanking…or pushing my face side to side in a sort of elaborate comedy slapstick move..then laughing. He’s barely been doing any drinking and I thought..ok..this is it. Time to stop.

Now I give him a bottle of cow milk before bath time and it’s only been 3 days but he’s gong to sleep absolutely fine without me.

This is a bit of a difficult time for me…3 days a week I’m learning about my new role, trying to establish myself as a professional and also stay on top of meal plans and laundry and baby groups.

So far I reckon I’m not doing so great…meal planning and shopping has gone out the window..we’ve been just picking stuff up every day and getting by like that..Fred’s eating a lot of pasta with ricotta mixed in. I’m eating a lot of pret instead of carefully prepared quinoa bowls or the healthy leftovers I’d imagined.

And now I don’t have my milk cuddles.
I’m writing this post from a bit of a teary, emotional place.

I know from experience that giving up a feed throws me into emotional turmoil as my hormones cope with the change in my body..But it’s more than that. I’ve spent over a year nourishing my baby with my body..It’s what my boobs are for! Now they’re just boobs again.

Boring boobs.

And Fred doesn’t need me. That’s irrational..I know he still needs me and loves me..But as I deal with this shift where I’m not his main care giver anymore..and I don’t have all his meals taken care of and the fridge is bare…I also have this. And I’m taking a moment.

Ok…breath.

Here are some pics of my independent dude.

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To formula or not to formula

I’ve breastfed Fred since he was born..exclusively at first and then adding solid food to his diet from 5 months…If I couldn’t be there I pumped my boobs to replace the feeds I missed.

I’m really lucky because I always found breastfeeding easy and relatively painless. Fred latched well from the very beginning and I was on a high needs ward for the first few days after his birth, getting loads of one to one support from the midwives. There were moments when he latched wrong and it hurt but it was never that bad. There were other moments when I felt like a cow…enormous hard breasts that constantly leaked milk…And exhausted from constant feeds all day and all night…

But I love breastfeeding…I’ve never really been shy about doing it in public and don’t cover up when I do.
Basically I’m a real advocate for breastfeeding but I know a lot of mums make the decision to use formula milk..either from the beginning exclusively, or combi feeding or they breastfeed for as long as possible and then switch over. I know there are myriad reasons for using formula and none of them are any one’s business but the mums in question…

I’ve recently decided to give Fred a bit of formula..I can’t pump much milk any more and I’ve got a wedding coming up that Fred isn’t coming to..it’s a very close friend and so I either don’t go or I supplement Fred’s meals with some formula…

So I gave him a bit to see if he liked it and he chowed down on it like nobody’s business. I was a bit offended but also a bit like..ooo what is this magical elixir….
Coincidentally, a few days later, Fred really bit my nipple when feeding and every feed after that was agony so I fed him from just one boob for a day..I had to supplement with formula though, I just didn’t have enough milk..And in the subsequent days there seem to have been more and more reasons to “just give him one bottle”.

I feel guilty that I’m not feeding him from my own milk..then I think..but he eats solids too what’s the difference? It’s like a milk shake!
But I’d come so far!
Who cares?
But I don’t have a “good” reason!
What’s a “good” reason?
But I want to breast feed him till he’s at least one.
You still can!

And so on and so forth.

And actually I’m like this all day long about everything…naps, meals, walks, baby groups, bed time. EVERYTHING.

Am I particularly neurotic? Or is this motherhood?

Anyways..Every decision I make about Freddie has Freddie’s best interests at heart. I have to keep reminding myself of that. And when that’s the case, no decision is wrong..it’s just what you have to do.

Apart from today when I went bra shopping. That was for me. And he showed me what he thought about that.

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And here’s one of him in the bath.

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And here’s one of him playing with his Nanny Lin’s priceless record collection.

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Oh and here’s one of him when he was tiny and dressed like a ghost pirate.

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Let’s talk about bras!

Warning this blog post contains a lot of bra talk. Also pictures of bras.

Here’s the secret cost of getting pregnant and having a baby..it’s not nappies..(they’re cheap if you don’t want pampers…I spend about 8 quid every month on nappies, using aldi and Tesco ones)..it’s not baby clothes..it’s fucking bras.

Since I got pregnant my boobs have changed size so often I’ve spent in total probably 200 quid on bras. Maybe more! I’m not exaggerating either.
And not on gorgeous sexy fancy bras that make me feel good..on rank ugly bras that make your boobs look floppy and frumpy..

Before I had Fred I read that I should have 5 nursing bras and to get measured and buy them before the baby came..so I did. And after the baby came my boobs swelled up to enormous hard fake looking things that no bra I had bought could even come close to fitting.

My mum had to go to Mothercare and buy a range of sizes that I could try on at home cos of course I wasn’t going to be able to get to a shop with a newborn.

Freddie was only a week old and I’d already bought 6 nursing bras, none of which fit me.
Oh and by the way most nursing bras come in packs of two..one black one white. Well I NEVER wear white bras I hate them. So I’ve got loads of doubly useless ugly things that look like they’re from the 30’s.

Nursing bras are always cotton, no wiring, no padding, usually 35 quid for two.
I think that’s expensive consisting how crappy they are.

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Since the early days I ended up going to Debenhams and getting measured and bought 2 of their ugly bras. At least they fit though. I’d been wearing a 38e and I was a 34g!

Then I found this site called hotmilk.com…lovely sexy nursing bras..so much nice but in the end still no padding, no under wire.

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Mm gorge but dumb cos when you're pregnant you don't need a nursing bra

I did get one and it saw me through some tough times but I recently decided enough was enough and I’ve dug out all my maternity bras. They fit again cos I guess Fred isn’t drinking as much milk now and my boobs have gone down a bit..

I’m wearing underwire! And lace!
I feel a bit more human and I’m au fair enough with breastfeeding now that I can pop by boobs out in a normal bra.

Ok bra chat over.

Oh by the way another secret expense of having a baby is lattes..I spent about 300 quid a week on lattes on the first 4 months of motherhood.

Express Yourself! (Or your milk)

So if there’s one piece of advice I can give a new mum, it’s to invest in a good breast pump and express some milk every day for your partner to feed the baby.  This is if you decide to breast feed exclusively of course. If you decide to use a mix of breast and formula, or if you end up needing to do whatever reason, this is completely irrevelent for you!

A girl at work told me she’d done this and when I was pregnant I went to a breastfeeding workshop where the midwife also recommended it. She was amazing! This crazy old Irish lady I loved her. Anyways she said, express milk and let your partner give the baby a bottle..do this no earlier than 3 weeks after birth and no later than 6 weeks after..and make it regular so the baby doesn’t forget he/she likes it.

This is what we did and Dan decided he’d like to give the first feed of the morning, round about 6am..which works out well because I have a lot of milk at that time so it’s easier to pump milk…also means he gets up at 6 with the baby and I sleep in till about half 7! In fact today I slept till 8.20…amazing lie in. All night when I’m getting up to feed Freddie, I know I only have to keep going till 6 when Dan’s shift starts..

It’s not for everyone; I know some mums would rather not do this so that’s for you to decide, but I’ve personally found it to be a life saver..not only do I get that extra hour and a half every day of sleep, but the baby is used to using a bottle and sometimes my mum can babysit..when Freddie was about a month she would come and stay the night and give him his feeds all night so Dan and I could have a proper night’s sleep..I still had to wake up to express but it still really helped.

I got mastitis at one point and went to bed with a terrible fever and my mum could give Freddie some of my expressed milk while I rested..that was when I was REALLY grateful.

On our anniversary, I saved up 3 feeds and we went out for brunch and bloody Mary’s..This week we’re going to a gig. I’m not out all the time, dumping my baby on a sitter, but I have a little bit of freedom and it’s lovely!

I’m pretty lucky in that I’ve always had a lot of milk to spare so I can stock up..I’m even going to start donating milk to Kings hospital for the premature babies..So this has always worked for me…

It does give me a bit of an obsession though…

DO I HAVE ENOUGH UNITS OF MILK IN THE FRIDGE???!!!!

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My current stash

I NEED TO PUMP MORE MILK!!!

I recently got a new pump..I was using a manual one before and now I’ve got the WHICH BEST BUY Mendela Swing electrical thing which has changed my life. I can’t believe the time I wasted with that retro thing! (Me and Dan are a bit obsessed with WHICH BEST BUY too. We don’t buy anything anymore without checking which first.)

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The new pump

The reason I got the electrical pump was the manual one stopped working and I was literally milking my boobs with my hands like a cow. And that hurts.

I remember actually in the first few weeks of having Freddie I felt a bit like a cow or a milk machine..I was feeding him so often, like every hour all day and night..I look quite fondly on that time now..things were so simple..change nappy, feed, cuddle..now it’s all..AM I READING ENOUGH STORIES? SLEEP TRAINING??? TUMMY TIME!! But back then you didn’t get rewarded with a beautiful smile..it was more like having a little pet.

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My pet

But anyways..that’s my advice even though you didn’t ask for it.

Bye!!!