Some of you may laugh, but I am writing this full of tears that are now dripping down my face. The salty taste leaking into my mouth that makes this so hard to write.

When Fleur became ill and went into Hospital at 13 weeks over night, when she came out, she started to refuse to feed from me. The initial heartbreak I thought would be short lived and she would return to bf, but with the increasing stress in my life (cannot explain that in detail at the moment) and my body going into exhaustion from coping with it, I feared my supply was not as strong as it used to be. That, with Fleur sensing my ‘stress’ she completely refused to feed from me. To say I was gutted wouldn’t even come close. After weeks of battling the pain, the tiredness and finally being strong enough to feed anywhere in public, I strongly believe that my little lady sensed my levels of stress just topple over with her going into hospital. I tried to feed her, hold her, cuddle her and express (she would take expressed milk) but she would not latch onto me for a feed at all. Already on the edge and pushing back the feelings of depression, it came tumbling on top of me like a tonne of bricks.  After consulting a Lactation specialist, Doctor, Friends and Family to try and get back to breast feeding, she will not feed off me at all.

That was now nearly 4 weeks ago. She is thriving on bottles and with the help of the wonderful team at Nuby, we have transitioned easily onto bottles and formula. How do I feel? It has taken me 4 weeks to write this post. I feel like a failure. Like I’ve lost something I wasn’t ready to give up and I believe this has happened due to the stress put on my body by external factors. I feel alone. I feel angry and I feel like I could scream and cry all at the same time. No words have made me feel better and no words will. My journey has ended and I wasn’t ready at all.

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We were very lucky and send a pack of 6 Nuby Bottles to use for mums that are breast and bottle feeding (or just bottle feeding). At the time, we were combination feeding and now we are exclusively on bottle feeding (will explain more about that in another post).

The Nuby Natural Touch™ decorated feeding bottle set includes 6 x 270ml bottles and 6 Slow Flow Easy Latch teats.  They are available in Boots stores and the Nuby UK website, RRP £14.99 which is cheaper than most set of 6 bottles by other brands and also the Nuby bottles have a couple of great features that I have really noticed made a difference to feeding Fleur and helped hugely with her Colic.

  • The Nuby bottles do not collapse at the teat with vigerous sucking – this means they cannot ‘suck’ all the air out of the bottle and get frustrated by the lack of milk coming through – this is due to the advanced valves that allow air flow back into the bottle so baby can have a continuous feed
  • They look (yes odd I know) like breasts – with the natural bumps and the shape of the teat, Fleur took straight to them when we made the transition from breast to bottle
  • The teats do not get powder stuck in them easily (and therefore do not block the hole they need to feed from) where other bottles we have been using seem to get the powder constantly stuck in them

I really love the Nuby bottles and have the pink ones – I have now switched all my bottles to Nuby and believe that they really have made a difference to feeding Fleur. She took to them straight away and they are easy to clean and fit in a standard steriliser.

I brought my next set out of my boots advantage card points and they also sell the next stage teats up for 4-6+ months feeding.

I love Nuby and would recommend them to any newbie mum that is unsure about what to use – I also found that for colic/wind they massively reduced the wind intake and this resulted in an easy feed, a simple burp (not a 45 minute walk round the house exercise) and Fleur seemed to take the whole feed rather than 1/2 and be full of wind!

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breastcare_bag_jpgIt has been a little while since I have updated you all and I wanted to once again talk about breast feeding and some of the little things I learnt along the way that could help other mums!

  1. Invest in some flannels – make sure these go in the fridge and after a feed, place the cold flannels on your boobs (this helps with the heat and the soreness that comes after each and every feed for the first few weeks)
  2. Head on over to Medela and join in with the breast feeding question sessions, a great resource where all questions and concerns can be asked and you don’t feel like a complete ‘div’ asking them. Also invest in a Medela Breast Care Pack – superb little back in a beautiful case that contains everything to soothe, cover and love your boobs!
  3. Think about breast creamLanolin was the best I found (little purple tube!) and whilst it was expensive, it was brilliant! It helped in-between each feed take the raw soreness away and it could be left on (so it didn’t need to be removed after every single feed)
  4. Relax – breastfeeding actually isn’t as easy as some people make out. Everyone’s journey is different, but mine was actually very hard. We are still breastfeeding but struggling daily with supply and madam deciding if she fancies breast or bottle. Keep calm, relax and be proud you fed for as long as you did
  5. Periods – sometimes when you breast feed you do not re-start your periods! No one told me this, it wasn’t until month 3 that I wondered where they had gone! This doesn’t however mean you are ‘protected’ so use precautions when having naughtiness with the partner (unless you are aiming for another baby asap!)
  6. Let Down – when your breast is full and you baby feeds, sometimes you will get that ‘ahhhhh’ feeling – that is called let down and means you breast has literally been ‘let down.’ It is also okay if you do not get these feeling (I didn’t) and it has nothing to do with your supply or if they are working!
  7. Food – a huge myth! Your diet does not affect your supply! A breast feeding specialist told me that milk is produced from your blood, not your diet, therefore pizza and chips or salads and fruit, it doesn’t matter, you can and will still produce healthy milk! (pass the cake)
  8. Breast is Best – calm down, I am not advocating this at all. I am saying that whatever you feed your baby is your choice. It is your body, your baby and your decision. Breast may be best in your case, and not in others. Surely, as long as your baby is FED should be all that matters.

Enjoy your little lump for as long as you can, you soon blink and they are huge and wanting to grow up so quickly. I am still in shock little Fleur is now teething and 13 weeks old….yes, 13 weeks! Enjoy your little baby and do whatever is best for you both. Growing up is your journey together and however you do it is fine!

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Learning New Techniques from Booby Tuesday!

Baby-Gooroo-Breastfeeding-Postitions-PosterToday I attended Breast Feeding Group and it was so nice being surrounded by others that wanted help and support. Not only did I feel at ease, I felt calm – which was nice, as it’s the first time I wasn’t thinking about work, deadlines, pressures, stepchild arriving and more! I just relaxed and calmed into the group, I even made a friend (cheers!). Most of you will know I have real issues with trust and therefore keep people at a massive distance from me. I have 3-4 people I talk to and can be truly honest with in my life, everyone else, kept at arms length.

So, I am going through the motions this week and trying to check the latch, the hold and that she is okay with feeding from me. I have learnt the following already:-

  • Bring the baby to the breast, not the other way round
  • Hold the back of the neck, not the head and allow movement
  • The chin should be on the breast, not the nose (a problem I had!)
  • Place the nipple on the nose and allow baby to tilt head and latch on
  • It is okay to feed from both breasts in one sitting
  • Most breastfeeding stories are myths – like not being able to have a glass of wine if breastfeeding or not being able to take anti-biotics or painkillers
  • The most important – breast feeding does NOT come naturally to everyone, but it is natural and designed to work for you and the baby, so keep going and praise yourself for trying and sticking with it

I really enjoyed my group and will be going back next week and as many weeks as I can, so I can be helped and supported along my journey.

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As with every summer holiday, my stepson from America has now arrived for the summer. This means we have a 11.5 year old, a 3.5 year old and a 7 week old baby all together…surviving on no sleep & literally no patience. Perfect!

So, whilst attempting to work ad-hoc throughout the summer, I have also started attending Breast Feeding Group. I am hoping this will help me continue my journey of breast feeding and enable me to start to enjoy it a bit more. Well, I will report back on that soon.

Being a step mum always scared me and I sometimes feel like my summer, every single year, is a bit hijacked. But, families come in all shapes and sizes and with children, step children and siblings in each household being so varied, its a bit of a ‘pick and mix’ but one that needs to be done to keep everything ticking along. How do I feel this year? Worried. Worried as I am currently on the edge, nervous, tired, and feeling a bit let down, and defeated by everything happening at the moment – the perfect time to add another child in the mix I hear you say.

I guess I will be fine, I muddle through every year, but this year, I am much calmer – almost knowing that I am slowly dropping down into a spiral of feeling worthless and defeated. A spiral that I all too remember clearly when having Jasper, although this time, I feel worse. I feel sad, actually sad.

Anyway, do you have step children? Do you have children arrive for summer/winter? How do you cope/adapt?

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So, I have now been breast feeding for approx 5.5 weeks and am also having to give piglet (yes, that is her new name) a bottle of SMA every now and then too. The reason for this is she tends to get so comfy breast feeding, she comes off, cries, goes back on…repeat and then is still hungry! I worry that I am not producing enough, and can only seem to express around 60-80ml, but then when I stop my machine, I can squeeze the end and lots more comes out! I think I have un-co-operative breasts.

The thing is, I am not sure if I even enjoy it. Sure, its easy and easier than making bottles, and allows me to carry her milk supply around with me, but I feel like all I ever do is feed, feed oh and feed some more. I would love to be able to put her down, without her going ‘nuts’ or ‘needing to me on me’ all the time. Its exhausting for someone who is usually very busy, active and has a lot of things to do (work, home, personal stuff!) So sitting, feeding, non stop for hours on end really un-nerves me. I know I need to ‘relax’ but I just cannot. All I can think about is stress! Stress of paying the mortgage, paying the bills, step son arriving from the USA, keeping up to date with the world, loosing weight (I’ve just started slimming world)….I wish someone would just take 1 thing off me. Never mind, I suppose what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger….let’s hope nothing kills me in the mean time!

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My little lady is now 3 weeks old and it has been an interesting 3 weeks to say the least. I remember all of this being much easier, but then again, we were younger, had more energy and didn’t have a 3 year old running around full of beans and excitement!

To say breast feeding is coming naturally to me is an understatement, and admitting that makes me feel like a failure. I am struggling daily with breast feeding, and the constant demand on me, every 15 minutes some days is really making me resent doing it. After getting through the engorgement and the pain, I am finding it hard that the freedom I had with Jasper (as I didn’t produce any milk with him due to the traumatic birth) is non existent with Fleur. I cannot seem to move without her needing a feed, I can’t even do a wee and wash my face in the morning without her needing to be near me, on me, smell me, feed from me.

I am currently typing this with her in my arms (so I might be able to keep blogging!) and am just exhausted. I have a fantastic friend (one of my best) who is a breast feeding queen and has told me even she cried through these times (this has helped, showing me even she struggled!). I love my gang, and love my little flower, but this is really hard – harder than I ever thought. It would be so easy to give up now and switch to full time bottles, but I know for her, I need to keep going.

Wish me luck, I feel totally overwhelmed and useless, so kisses and cuddles most appreciated.

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