Tag Archives: breast feeding

Survival tactics

The Buggyboard, the electric pump and the tumble dryer.

If you took those things away from me right now, I really would fall into the abyss. You know, the one whose edge you dance around as a new mum? Yesterday morning I was clinging onto the edge by two fingernails, with sore boobs, red eyes and a pickled brain, having had three broken hours sleep. I’d also STUPIDLY had a curry the night before so every feed was making KD crankier and crankier. I didn’t get near the shower until midday – and even then he was in the bouncer seat by the toilet wailing.

THANK GOD for the electric breastpump. I had only found the window to use it three nights previously, having finally pried off the limpet that is my second son, so three bottles of that white gold were sitting in the fridge. And they were non-curry flavoured. A bottle of that, as my hair dripped all over him, was the magic cure, so that he actually lay quietly in his pram while I whipped up scrambled eggs and ate them. Hot! AND put the dishes in the dishwasher afterwards.

Of course I then realised I had nothing to wear. I’d been so busy washing baby clothes in non-bio, towels and sheets for visitors and the Wee Man’s soiled clothes separately (the potty training has reversed since KD came along, though it is improving every day) that all my laundry was still heaped in the basket. I pulled on a pair of joggers that bit into my 6 week post natal belly – a cruel reminder that ‘getting fit’ was yet another thing to add to my endless list. I pulled all the leggings out the basket and chucked them in a quick wash, then tumble dried them, delighted to be able to breathe properly again.

The final trial of the day was collecting the Wee Man from nursery. The rain had eventually stopped so, mindful of the Jogger Incident, I walked up to collect him. I had dreaded this task throughout my pregnancy. He is always knackered after nursery and likely to scream, throw a tantrum or just plain run off into the sunset. I’d tried every bribery tactic and restraining gadget in the book (and often just driven the 500 yards) when turns out all I’d needed was a Buggyboard. Now he kisses KD, jumps on the board and yells “BRRRRRROOOOOOOM” all the way home. I bought it for £25 from a woman on Gumtree who’d never used it and it even came with a little lead to clip it up and out the way. Amazing invention. I’m grateful for it every day.

Oh yeah – and there is one more thing you couldn’t ever take away from me. I mean I suppose I could manage without those three things, if there was a power cut or something, but this thing must always be in my cupboard. There must also always be the two things that go with it, otherwise I’d just end up sitting in the corner rocking and mumbling “twinkle twinkle”.


Diet Pepsi.

Golden Rum.

Best buds

Best buds

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Filed under Aberdeen, baby kit, health, Newborn

How far I’ve come…

Last night I sat breast feeding my four week old and watching The Devil Wears Prada.

I had been feeling pretty good – I’d managed a shower that morning and was wearing my Hollister trackies and hoodie, smug that they fit again. Yeah. That smugness was short-lived.

I trained and worked as a journalist, and while I never worked on a fashion mag, this movie had always struck a chord. The deadlines, the networking, the desire to exceed everyone’s expectations and try to look glamorous while doing it. Now here I was, mum of two, off work, looking forward to getting back into my exercise plan and shifting a stone of baby weight. “Andy”, the main character, was a sharp reminder of how far I had to go.

But as she had to bend further and further backwards to please her cruel boss, I found myself smiling. I was so far past that eager-to-please stage. I’d been there aged 26. I’d made myself ill over it. Eventually I’d snapped. handed in my notice and scared the shit out of my boss, who was left with two magazines editor-less. I’d set up my own business, gone on to have two beautiful children and was now a much wiser 32 year old. I may be a bit squishy round the middle but, in the words of Cheryl, “I don’t care”.

Coincidentally, I had also just popped in to the office to show off KD to my co-workers. They had been lovely; excited to meet him, complimentary and genuinely interested. The conversation had turned to when I was coming back and the projects that were waiting. They were nothing but supportive, so I didn’t have any guilt about taking the time away from work or feel any pressure to rush back. I know the time will come when I’ll want to get back to work – but for now I’m happy to relax into motherhood which, by the way, is a much harder job.

I can look forward to the time when fashion will matter again, when I’ll get a buzz from networking and hitting deadlines and exceeding expectations – but I know it will be on my terms. Just figuring that out has given me confidence. I can appreciate how much I’ve learned since those miserable days just before I handed in my notice. The challenge is to remember all this when I’m sleep-deprived, frizzy, trying to keep my patience with a truculent three year old while the baby cries and wondering how the hell I’m going to organise dinner…

Maybe I’ll just read this blog.

Figuring out what's really important...

Figuring out what’s really important…

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I have never trolled in my life, but if ever a picture has inspired my ire, this is it:

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 20.48.56


She made some comment about multitasking when supermodel Gisele Bundchen posted this picture on Instagram.

She is not multitasking.

She is doing one, admittedly admirable, thing, while being spoiled from all angles.

This picture does not represent breast-feeding mothers. This picture will no doubt sicken breast-feeding mothers. I’m no longer feeding, but when I was, I felt anything but glamorous. I felt fulfilled and maternal and loving and uncomfortable and tender and tired and always thirsty, but never glamorous. My relationship with my body at that time was not ever focused on how I looked. It was on how it functioned. What mattered at that time was button-down shirts and nursing bras and eating enough healthy food and keeping water nearby and tying my hair out of my face.

For Gisele to call this multitasking is insulting. Most mothers I know, including myself, would kill to have this much help around us. To feel pampered and beautiful and glamorous. I understand that this is her job. But does she understand how this picture makes hard working mothers feel? Multi-tasking is filling the juice cup with water from the bathroom tap while he brushes his teeth and you shove your feet into your shoes as you hold the phone with your shoulder and ask daddy when he’ll be home tonight. And you certainly don’t have a manicure, flawless face and bouncy blow-dry while doing it.

So screw you Gisele, in all your unattainable gorgeousness.


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2012 and the Turning Point

I was on my first walk with the pram joyously uncovered by plastic today, when I passed the beautician, stopped, reversed and made an appointment for a Saturday morning pedicure.

I can’t remember the last time I did something so impulsive for myself – I’ve been my own lowest priority for a year now. That sounds pathetic – I don’t mean it like that – I just wondered why I was so excited about booking a pedi, and that’s what occurred to me. I’ve realised that 2011 really was the year when my body and I took a break from each other.

January to March were the last – and most uncomfortable- months of my pregnancy. I just rotated the same seven outfits and accepted I couldn’t rush around as usual. The wee man’s appearance on March 28 was actually a wonderful experience and gave me real respect for my body,  but for the next five months I was breast feeding – and all the kerfuffle that entails.

Then it was September, I was back to work and trying to figure out how the hell to balance it all. Buggy Bootcamp began at the end of October and then, mid-December, I had The Weigh-In.

I suppose it wasn’t until January 3rd, the day of the Great Wardrobe Clearout, that I realised my body and I were reunited. The defining moment was slipping into my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans. I say slipping because the zipper actually fastened easier than it had in June 2010. I’m not ashamed to tell you I jumped on the bed then bounced down the stairs to squeak at Rod that I was back! I have managed to hold off the Christmas/New Year poundage and I can begin the new year with the beautiful cliché of a new me.




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Endings and beginnings

Summer cheated on me – it abruptly ended our brief love affair in a fortnight of gray skies and relentless rain.

At the same time, the wee man ended his love affair with breast milk. A few days of fussiness led to a day of complete rejection. I tried one more time and he bit me. My mother-in-law grabbed her own boobs in horror, I gasped like a landed trout and that was the end of that. To top it all off, he had a rare sleepless night and, as I was sharing a room with him at my parents’ house because Rod was in Aberdeen overnight, so did I.

As I trudged downstairs at 7am to make his bottle, I was grumpy as hell – and then I opened the curtains.

Glorious sunshine greeted me, beaming from fresh blue skies. Delighted, I packed him into the pram and headed for the park. It was like summer had to be properly washed away before autumn could assert itself.

The trees are just beginning to turn, there are still colourful wildflowers hiding in amongst the foliage and the ducks seem optimistic. So I will take my cue from them.

I identify with swans - gliding across the water while paddling furiously underneath

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Weaning: Going with his gut

Baby muesli is his favourite, closely followed by strawberry & banana porridge

The NHS guidelines on weaning are absolute rubbish.

How’s that for a controversial opener? Who do I think I am making such a bold statement? I’m doing this for the first time, I need to do it by the book, right?

If only there was a bloody book. Instead there is a constant flow of conflicting advice which depends on your era, your midwife, your health visitor, your beliefs, your lifestyle, your country and – lest they forget – your baby. The wee man is five months old now and I’ve decided I am absolutely sick fed up of the pressure masquerading as information.

I have worried myself sick over breast feeding and bottle feeding – you know how I feel about the EBF6. I still believe it is a near-impossible goal even for women with tiny babies and massive boobies. So I went with my gut – and against my health visitor – and introduced a bottle at bedtime and then, at 12 weeks, another at lunchtime. When he was 16 weeks I decided to introduce a tiny amount of baby rice. The official advice is to wait til 17 weeks, but the wee man was ten days over so technically I did. He LOVED it and had the best night’s sleep for weeks. A week ago, as he was scoffing the lot and then waking up in the night for a full feed from me and a 7 ounce bottle and wanting to play for hours, I decided maybe he needed a second small bowl after his lunchtime feed. Again, he slept brilliantly. So this direct quote is b*llocks:

Starting solid foods won’t make them any more likely to sleep through.

It also says you should wait until they “stay in a sitting position” before feeding them. My nephew is ten months old and can’t stay in a sitting position. So, again, b*llocks.

I’m coming over all defiant but I have honestly agonised over this decision as much as any other where the single most precious thing in my life is concerned. (Sorry Rod). So I mentioned to a neurologist that I had started him on “just a tiny spoonful” of baby rice at 16 weeks. He smiled at me, shook his head, rolled his eyes slightly and said, “That’s more than fine”. And he has more letters after his name than in it.

So to any mother reading this who has a hungry baby eating way more than the recommended 25 ounces a day, who’s doing her best to still feed him a couple of times a day herself and who believes that sleep is the key to a happy motherhood… I say do it. You know best what your baby needs. Don’t let yourself be bullied by health professionals who are more worried about their next audit than you. Don’t apply health advice to your baby if it feels inherently wrong. Enjoy the joy on his face as you feed him baby muesli and strawberry and banana porridge and hear him go “mmmmmm” and “ooooooh” like a proper adult. Notice how content he is when you are content because you’ve slept a good few hours in a row instead of singing “Twinkle twinkle” 45 times at 3am.

Ah well, it’s just food for thought.

What do you think?


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Bottling it

There is a marathon called the EBF6 – you may be familiar with it.

It stands for Exclusive Breast Feeding for 6 Months and it seems a hell of a lot of mums have been roped into it. Some know they’re not runners and don’t get involved; others find circumstances beyond their control prevent them from competing. A certain number suffer an early injury, and a good few decide a half marathon is more than enough of a challenge. I’m convinced the ones who make it to the finish line arrive limping and exhausted.

Why do we do it to ourselves?

I’m not sure where I fit into the metaphor – I introduced one formula bottle before bedtime at 3 weeks and I have just decided, at 11 and a half weeks, to introduce a second. He’s hungry and I’m sore. But I agonised over the decision. I wondered if I should wait until 12 weeks. Why? Because it sounded better? Because I was worried people would judge me for pulling out a bottle at lunchtime? Because I wanted to keep running until we reached the solids stage? It’s ridiculous.

The honest truth is that, once I made the decision I felt a huge sense of relief. I knew he’d be getting more nourishment (my boobs are on the small side and I’ve always been concerned I wasn’t producing enough) and it freed me. I have my own business and I really need to start easing myself back in. A bottle at lunchtime means my mum can look after him for longer than two hours, or at the weekend Rod can take him away for some daddy time. I’ve never managed to get the wee man to go three hours between feeds with any regularity, so I’ve always had to hover nearby whenever anyone else is helping out. Expressing, before you ask, is a pain in the ass- it took me two weeks to store enough to be able to leave him with my mum overnight!

So I’m trying to make my peace with a compromise. I still give him five feeds a day, so he’s getting all the benefits of breast milk, with the crutch of two formula bottles. Do I still get a medal?

He seems happy enough with the arrangement


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