Breastfeeding isn’t the same for everyone

Breastfeeding isn’t the same for everyone

Today I have a guest post from my good friend, I will call her ‘2 Kids No Formula‘ on how her decision to Breastfeed affected her as a new mum.  Her 2 sprogs are now 7 and 4. Over to you 2KNF: *Hands over imaginary microphone*

“I found myself in that camp… where you eat moss and breastfeed…..

Did you ever realise that by having a baby you were going to make huge statements about your parenting orientation? No, me neither. I thought you’d whip this baby out and watch on lovingly while it grew up. Oh boy, how wrong I was. I fall into a very elite camp!

I am a hypnobirthing, breastfeeding, baby led weaning, front sleeping goddess who laboured for three days on no drugs. When I walk along the street my children glow full of my antibodies, a huge sign in neon lights above my head lights the moonlit after bedtime sky ‘hippy mother’. For miles around I am called upon to give my opinion on nipples and flow and whether your darling baby is getting enough milk, because I made it to that golden 1 year mark. But do you know… still no fucking medal in the post 7 years down the line!!!! I initially lap up the glory when we hit that emotive subject in the soft play, in-between shifting my darling child from one knee to the other so I can strain my teabag with one hand without shooting it across the table and scalding all the babies crawling around my feet; all because my sodding child wont actually venture into the soft child size boot camp.

Three other lovely mummies who I have found on my circuit of the baby classes sit round the table eagerly awaiting my input – how the hell did I make it to a year breastfeeding without my nipples dropping off??? Errr I don’t know… I basically persevered because I would rather my nipples dropped off in bed than actually crawl out of bed and venture downstairs waiting for bottles to ping in the microwave then spend 5 minutes cooling them under a freezing tap (this is pre Perfect Prep machine – like what the hell, has the inventor of this only just left school? All the inventors before him need to be sacked I think).

My story doesn’t have a very earth mother ring to it, and the three other mums smell weakness and pull rank on me, stating how unhappy their kids were until they shoved a bottle in their mouths. I am left feeling like a hippy again, one that starved my kids of thick yummy milk. But here’s the mental bit…. No matter your feeding orientation they still bloody alive, go figure!!!!

The problem with me is, I will do what I want, no health visitor pushing me to breast feed or lactation specialist being my best mate for the first month of my life will sway me, if my nipples had dropped off, that bottle would have been in my baby’s mush in a shot, but they didn’t.

My boobs however look like death, but I am planning to have enough children to save the money on formula to get them perked up a bit by a nice doctor….. and In that case I will take the drugs!!!”

 

For me, it was very different: I started by breastfeeding all 3 of my babies, but only for 3, 2 and 6 weeks respectively. I honestly found breastfeeding the worst part of having a baby. The pain from feeding was FAR worse than the pain of late pregnancy, childbirth, and recovering from third degree tears and infections afterwards (that’s a whole other post!)

With my first I had mastitis early on from a bad latch, really sore nipples because I didn’t know how to prevent it or help it, and I was too young/shy/scared to ask for help. Second baby had oral thrush and we passed it back and forth until I was so sore I couldn’t do it anymore. Third baby I probably had really bad vasospasm/raynaulds (so my breastfeeding guru friend told me!) and pain when feeding, he had minor tongue tie but with MAJOR pain. It was all over Christmas time and I didn’t want to ask for help, I thought he was my third baby I should bloody know better by now. I really enjoyed breastfeeding, the closeness the bond… but I just sucked at it. By 8 weeks all 3 of my babies were solely formula fed. I felt awful at first, but then I saw them thrive and develop and I’m happy with that. I still feel passionately about breastfeeding, but I just think every mum and baby experience it totally differently, no 2 babies or mums are the same. So I just say, feed your baby however you feed it, as long as it’s not Greggs sausage rolls (yet).

Breastfeeding.png

What are your experiences of the big Breast vs Formula?  Did you find judgement from the way you fed your baby?

The best things in life are free!

The best things in life are free!

I am the first one to moan about the downsides to being a mum. It’s bloody hard work and it can downright stink sometimes. However, I also realise that sometimes, when things are good, my kids are very easily pleased.  The simple, easy, and free of cost things really do make them happy – and help keep me somewhat sane.

At the grand ages of (almost) 2, 6 and 7 years old, they still enjoy the simple things in life….

  1. Bubbles, chasing, blowing you know the drill
  2. Walking in the woods, collecting sticks/leaves etc
  3. Painting and drawing
  4. Watching a film together under a big blanket
  5. Chasing each other around the park
  6. Singing, dancing and acting silly
  7. Having a ‘sleepover’ together (sleeping on the floor!)
  8. Feeding ducks
  9. Playing ball games
  10. Reading books
  11. Hide a small item in the house and all hunt for it…
  12. Being ‘animals’ – get on all fours and do your best roar/growl/meow!

Playing in leaves.jpg

I feel like kids these days are so bothered about their gadgets and an iPad serves more interest than anything else, but actually, they do love all the above and more. I need to remember that when they are older, it will be a lot harder to entertain them with the simple things, and I will long for the days when they were this age. Time goes so fast, in the blink of an eye your baby develops into a child. I need to stop and slow down every day to watch them and embrace their innocence and everything that makes them brilliant.

Fresh air is the best medicine for feeling low, having a bad day, or just the usual crap that comes with being a mum. Getting outside, letting them run around a burn off some energy and take in the beautiful colours of this lovely season… it really does help.*

*Just mind the dog poo. Oh and brace yourself for the toddler face planting the floor over and over.

**When you return home, a nice hot cuppa tea is always in order. Or wine. Up to you 🙂

”chasingnature”/

Shouty Mum loses her shit & her voice

Shouty Mum loses her shit & her voice

Everyone hates the sound of their own voice…. right? I’ve yet to meet anyone who enjoys listening to themselves. Well one of the utterly shit things about being a mum is you have to listen to your own voice. ALL BLOODY DAY LONG. It’s gross. I feel like I want to rip out my voicebox and put it in the blender.

I hate that I am a shouty mum. If you had asked me before having kids would I ever shout at them, I would have laughed at you and thought you were mad. Shout at your darling children, the people who mean more to you than anything in the world????! Of course not.

Then, the little honey’s grow up. They ignore you, they test you, they push your buttons, they don’t get dressed when asked, or do much when asked at all. So you end up raising your voice just a little, to be heard. Add 2 more kids into the mix, and the next thing you know, you’re barking at them like Miss Trunchbull. Shit, I’m a shouty mum. I hate it.

I try every day to not shout, or to shout less. But the little fuckers people don’t listen every day. It drives me insane.

Then, a couple of days ago, I called to one of the kids and felt a funny pain in my neck/throat. Like a sharp pain.  All of a sudden, every time I spoke, moved my head etc, I got a searing pain in my neck. Lovely. After consulting Dr Google I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve strained my vocal chords from mis-using my voice. No shit, Sherlock.  As much as this is painful, and embarrassing, I realise just how much I bloody shout, even my vocal chords have had enough. So from here on in, I’m going to stop myself raising my voice even more than usual, and hopefully they will listen because they feel sorry for me and my sore neck.  What will actually happen is, they will take the piss because woopiedoo, mummy can’t shout at us.

If anyone has any tips on remaining calm and not shouting to be heard, I would seriously LOVE to hear them. I’ve tried lowering my voice to get across my seriousness, but they can’t hear me over the racket. I want to be calm, cool mum. Please help me!

Having a child at Primary School – expectations vs reality!

Having a child at Primary School – expectations vs reality!

When your little angel starts school there’s SO many emotions running wild on your part. You worry that they will need help, no-one will help them, they won’t have friends, they will be lonely, they will piss their pants, or worse, shit themselves. You think they might wonder where you are and why have you left them with all these strangers. You want them to be happy, liked and to enjoy it. On that first day you feel your heart has been stamped on when you walk away from the gate and leave your most precious thing in the world with total strangers. In most cases they love school, they come bounding from the gate at home time and all your worries are gone! You now have a child at the school! Welcome to the club!

school

Expectations of having a child at school:

1. Mornings spent eating breakfast together, chatting about their day ahead, everyone is ready and out the door clutching their book bags and lunch boxes… leisurely walks to school admiring the clouds and trees.

2. Your child brings home beautiful artwork / maths sheets for you to look over and display proudly on the fridge, your child is a genius!

3. You engage with lovely chat with other parents at the school about your children’s new schooling, perhaps having a coffee with a few of them after drop off. Like minded people all brought together by their children’s education.

4. Your child speaks fondly of their day, regaling you with tales of what Johnny did at break time that was so funny or a hilarious joke the teacher made during Phonics. Along with their new understanding of times tables.

5. Homework. You sit with your child whilst they complete their homework, perhaps giving guidance and advice whilst occasionally stirring the delicious home-made dinner that’s cooking on the stove.

6. Friends. Your child will make so many new friends, after school play dates are a-plenty. Heartwarming.

7. Uniform. They look so cute in their smart uniform. Always so polished and grown up.

Reality of having a child at school:

1. Mornings are spent telling everyone to “HURRY UP OR WE WILL BE LATE!” or “PUT YOUR SOCKS ON FOR THE 10TH TIME!” Children do not want to eat breakfast / get dressed or leave the house for school. Getting small people dressed every day within a time limit is one of the most underestimated tasks of motherhood. I’m crazy shouty mummy in the mornings. Otherwise we would all be late. Every day. They forget shit. Book bags? What book bag? “THE ONE YOU TAKE TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY DIPSHIT DARLING!”

2. Your child brings home approximately 57 pieces of paper per week. Some of them are indeed lovely artwork that I treasure and put on the fridge. Most of it is random scribbles, notes from other kids, someone else’s work, and screwed up bits of crap. The kid then cries when they find said screwed up paper in the bin! “Mummy I brought that home for you!!” they say with a look like you’ve just shat in their cornflakes. I’ve been guilted into keeping lots of crap.

3. You enter into School Mum hell. It’s a bloody minefield. Don’t get me wrong, you can and will make friends with a few nice normal mums. I have made some lovely friends at the school. However, you will find more drama with the mums than with the kids. Mums in cliques, mums falling out, mums who look at you like your from another planet. The odd dad and nan of course. Smile and say good morning, and get in and out as quick as you can. Unless of course, you have a toddler that wants to run laps of the field on the way in and out every day. Then smile and scream internally. Someone should definitely invent a drop off toddler crèche place at the school gate, so those blessed with under 5’s can leave them at the gate each morning with trusted carers and not have to round the child up like a sheep twice a day.

4. Your child has no idea what they did all day. At all. “How was your day today?” you ask them wanting to hear all about it. “Good” they answer…. hmmm “What did you do today?” you ask. “Nothing” NOTHING????? NOTHING? YOU SPENT 6 HOURS AT SCHOOL GETTING AN EDUCATION AND YOU DID NOTHING! “Can’t remember” is another common answer. They can never remember what they did. Sometimes they will shock you by saying “Oh today, guess what…” and proceed to tell you a story about how someone was sick on the carpet and had to go home. Lovely.

5. Homework. Oh lord. Your child may be enthusiastic about homework, but eventually, they don’t want to do it. Boring. They want to do it tomorrow, they don’t understand it. As they progress through school, sometimes even YOU don’t understand it. Google is your friend here. Also helping children with homework sounds easy enough. The screaming toddler swinging from the light shade makes it harder. Do not be defeated.

6. Friends. Your child will of course make friends. However, they will also make enemies! Arch enemies. Girls are terrible for this. This one isn’t speaking to them anymore, they aren’t friends with another one. Jenny is now their best friend. “But I thought Jenny was mean to you yesterday?” you will ask. Don’t be silly mother! Friendships at school are cut throat and fickle. Just roll with it and hope they aren’t being violent to any of these people. Unless someone hits them first, of course.

7. Uniform will be the bane of your life. You have to wash and iron it and have it ready for them to wear EVERY SINGLE WEEK DAY. They walk into class all neat and tidy in the mornings and come home looking like they’ve been dragged through a hedge, backwards. Their jumpers will have paint / yogurt / snot down in. Boys have their trousers put on backwards, you know after P.E. Hair looks a mess. Collars sticking up. They lose uniform. “Go and look on your peg again dear” you will say with gritted teeth for the 100th time this week. JUST KEEP YOUR BLOODY CLOTHES ON!!!

8. I have to add this one, even though there’s no expectation no 8. School may bring some nasties to your house that you never even dreamed of. Some kids may have already experienced this stuff in nursery etc. But school is a lovely breeding ground for:
– Nits. Head lice. Lovely creepy crawlies running around in your child’s hair. Gag.
– Worms. Little tiny white thread worms that make your kids bum itch in the night. Boil wash everything, clean everything in sight, cry into a cup of tea and wonder why on Earth no-one warned you about this sort of stuff when your baby was newborn.
– Chickenpox. Stay indoors for all eternity and go insane.
– Hand foot and mouth. Goody.
– Stomach bugs. There’s nothing that raises fear in a parent than to hear of a nasty bug going round the school.

Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best
Mother knows best… doesn’t she?

Mother knows best… doesn’t she?

When you have a baby, usually it’s because you are in love with someone and want to produce little mini humans to share your life, hopes, dreams and family with. Sometimes you find yourself pregnant by surprise, and you aren’t sure you want a baby, but you decide to go ahead with the pregnancy and have a baby. Some people try for years to get their bundle of love in their arms, experiencing heartache, loss and many tears. Some fall pregnant easily. Some people adopt. Some have a baby via surrogate. Whatever your situation, however you found yourself here – you now have a new role that you’ve never had any training in (even if you think you have!), being a ‘mum’ means all of a sudden you are the whole world to a tiny person, who needs you, every inch of you. Being a mum isn’t a job you can quit from, you can’t call in sick, and lunch breaks are few and far between.


Babies are hard work, we all know this. They need feeding, comfort, love, changing, cleaning and constant care. When you have a baby you think this stage lasts forever, it feels like sleepless nights and nappies never end. Oh the crying! You are trapped in a cycle that means you put someone else’s needs before your own. You’re exhausted. It’s gotta get easier right? WRONG!
Then your baby grows, becomes a toddler (see here for my views on them at the moment:My Toddler is an asshole!) and the hard work continues, just in a different way. The toddler grows again, into a child, and all of a sudden, there’s a LOT of questions. The child questions you about the big wide world, how did we get here, why does this and that happen, and you start to realise you might not actually have all the answers. You in turn question yourself. Why don’t I know the answer to this? Should I? Where’s the mum manual? I don’t know all the answers! Help! Am I cut out for this?

 

There’s so much pressure to do things one way or the other. Are you a gentle parent? A routine based parent? Strict?  Rewards/naughty step? Attached, comfort, love, no punishments? Breastfeeding/bottle feeding? Weaning early/BLW? Is your child allowed screen time? Are you an outdoorsy mum? A craft mum? Football mum? How are you going to shape this child into being a decent, loving, happy, rounded, emotionally stable human being…. when you’re not even sure that’s what YOU are at the moment?

 

Well the point of this post (I’m getting there slowly!) is that yes you are the mum and you do know best for your own child. Trust your instincts. Of course ask for advice if you need it (we all need it!), but you are the BEST person to care for your child because no-one else loves your child like you do. No-one else has their interests at the forefront of their priorities like you do.  You are absolutely the best mum for your child/ren. You know best. Doubting yourself is part and parcel with being a mum. That mummy guilt that niggles at the back of your mind with every decision you make is only there because you care. Do your research, ask people but ultimately YOU know what to do. Even if you think you don’t!

 

Also, with this in mind, and on the flip side. You are allowed to not have all the answers. You are the mum but you are not the information central of the world. You may have to sneakily Google stuff, we all do (thank you Google!) How did my mum survive without Google? But it’s OK for you to not know everything. I’ve found my Big Boy doing stuff in first year Junior school that I didn’t do til Secondary. I can’t remember some of this stuff! But that’s okay. *

 

So this is sort of a shoutout to mums (and dads of course, but I’m a mum!) everywhere. You are amazing, you are exactly what your child needs and you are the best parent for your children. If you have the awful guilt or the constant worry about things then it just means you care and you want the best for them. Don’t beat yourself up for the little things, no parent is perfect. Even the ones that seem to be. Just be yourself, try to do your best every day. Some days you’ll shout, cry or want to run away. That’s okay, everyone feels this way at some time. Some more than others, but everyone is different, no two children or families are the same.

 

Trust yourself, give yourself the credit you deserve, and try to keep a positive attitude. Motherhood will be the hardest thing you ever have to do. But it also will be the best thing.

 

Please share this post with a mum who you think needs to hear those magic words:

 YOU ARE A FANTASTIC MUM!!!!

Disclaimer – I need to remember all of the above myself, as I am the worst for thinking I suck at this job. But today I’m giving myself a pat on the back. I am a mum and I am the best mum to my three demons darlings.

*Please note I have no idea on the trials that come with having teenage or older children – my biggest is 7 and this is hard enough! Here’s a nod to the mums of teenagers, you did it this long! Keep going! xx
My Toddler is an asshole

My Toddler is an asshole

The Toddler is nearly 2. I think he must have recently received a memo from The King Toddler to tell him to start being an asshole.

DEAR TODDLER, AS YOU NEAR YOUR SECOND BIRTHDAY, IT’S TIME TO NOW ACT LIKE A DICK IN ORDER TO MAKE YOUR MOTHER’S LIFE HARDER. SHE’S HAD IT EASY LATELY. SO STEP UP YOUR GAME, SIR, OR ELSE YOU’LL BE CAST OUT OF TODDLER WORLD FOREVER, LOVE, THE KING ASSHOLE TODDLER XX

He doesn’t want to sit in the pram, when he’s out of the pram he wants to run away/run into roads/pick up dog poo etc. I’ve tried reins, he hates them. Doesn’t want to hold hands. Just wants to run far away from me. Which would be fine if it wasn’t my job in life to keep him alive.

He doesn’t want to eat. When he does want to eat its when I have NO BLOODY BANANAS left because you threw them all on the floor and stamped on them!!! Ooops, went off on a tangent there. Anyway where was I, oh yes, bananas. When I do have bananas they are too yellow, or too small, or big. Unless we are at someone else’s house, then he eats everything and makes me look like a liar. Meals get thrown on the floor, or ignored. But CHOC CHOC is requested all day every day. Sometimes I just give him the bloody choc choc. There, mummy’s broken today, go eat the fricking Twix and give me 5 mins peace. Thank you please.

He doesn’t want to sleep. Unless I am just about to pull up to a nice country park for a walk in the fresh air. Now he sleeps…. So I have to wake him and take him for a ‘I’ve just been woken up’ toddler walk which basically means he falls over into mud 800 times. Moans about being dirty. Doesn’t want to walk. Wants to sleep. Joy.  Normally you want to run but right now, lets sit in mud and cry.

He doesn’t want to share. I know this is developmental, and nearly 2 year old’s don’t understand sharing. But it’s annoying when you’re at a playgroup and sharing is THE THING to do. Especially when Diane’s little boy is sharing SO NICELY over there and makes my child look like even more of an a-hole!

He doesn’t want me to play with him. Until it’s time for me to cook dinner that no-one will eat. THEN he wants me to play. Usually ends up with him clinging onto my legs and crying whilst I try to cook something that everyone will like (this never happens by the way!)  I used to let him play on the floor with pots and pans etc… He doesn’t want to do that anymore. Get with the programme mummy!

legs

He doesn’t want his nappy changed. Apart from when HE decides to strip his clothes and nappy off, just after doing a mammoth poo. He chooses to do this whilst I have happened to visit the toilet and leave the room for a whole 2 minutes. Silly mummy. No, worries, I’ll clean up the poop from every surface in the room. *cries*

It seems like he’s out to break me. He may already have done, actually.

Disclaimer – I know all of the above is normal toddler behaviour. I’ve had 2 toddlers before…. a year apart. I’ve been here before. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that this age is SUCH hard work. It’s constant, battling of wills, fast paced and difficult to try to reason with a little person who HAS no reason. I love him to bits, but he stresses me out so much! 🙂

In fairness to toddlers, he’s very cute. Getting really clever learning colours and numbers. Likes animals. I know he won’t be an asshole toddler forever. I will long for these crazy toddler days when all he wants from me is wifi, food and money.

Please share your toddler stories so I know I’m not alone here!

www.theunsungmum.com
Family Film Night… expectation vs reality!

Family Film Night… expectation vs reality!

Family Film Night… expectation vs reality! 

How should Family Film Night go down?

1. Children agree on a wonderful film to watch together “This film looks great, let’s watch this one!”  “Yay!”

2. Parents and children prepare comfy area of blankets and pillows to rest upon whist watching said film

3. Wholesome snacks and drinks are provided to lovingly share and consume during film “Mum, this fruit medley is delicious, please may I have some more?”

4. Family relaxes upon comfy area, gazing at television, enjoying each other’s company and a good film. Happy and contented sighs all round.

5. Toddler falls asleep in loving arms of siblings/parents.

How DOES a Family Film Night go down?

1. Children argue over what film to watch “you picked last time!” “I hate that film its babyish!!!!” “I hate you!”

2. Children argue over where to sit during film “I want to sit next to dad, he loves me more!” “You always sit there!” “He’s touching my foot!” etc…

3. Kids want to eat every chocolate/biscuit/sugary snack in the house. Noisily. Whilst rustling the packet for an hour before opening the wrapper. Toddler runs around screaming.

4. Toddler thrashes about, kicks mum in the face, gets up and down to play a thousand times. Children bicker during the film over who ate who’s KitKat and who isn’t sharing their pillow and who likes this film the most. Mum huffs and wonders who thought Family Film Night would be a good idea. Isn’t it past their bedtime????  Children pick this time to ask mum and dad important questions like “what happens when we die?” and “why are you so old?”

5. No-one watches the film. Everyone is in a bad mood. Film lasts 4 hours. Or it seems that way. Mum wishes she had put the little angels to bed at their normal time and watched Sex and the City on her own!

Is is just my kiddos that do this? I’d love to know if normal families can sit and watch a film together in peace! 🙂