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Hitting the bottle (again)

Hitting the bottle (again)


Screenshot 2014-08-27 10.21.54Well I have finally done it. This week, I bit the bullet, and have moved Hudson to bottles. Who would have thought that it would have been so hard to do, but yes, it’s been an emotional battle that has had me in tears time and time and again. I’ve felt a wave of emotions, guilt, frustration and finally a sense of relief as I do know in my head that this is better for him. My heart however still needs a little time to catch up, but I know it will.

I was thinking about what to call this post, when I remembered that I wrote a very similar one, when we moved Ella to bottles just before I went back to work. Ella was breast fed until 8 months, and with return to work looming, I knew that it was the right time. I did however, feel a similar range of emotions, and found myself nodding at my own thoughts, as I read this post this second time around. I wrote:

‘It’s funny that the transition from breast feeding, to bottle feeding, or in our case both has been something that I have found really hard. Not so much from the physical side, but the emotional one. I know that at heart I am a very emotional person, but whilst my obstacles have not been greatly physical in terms of soreness etc. , the challenge of taking the step towards moving my baby away from something that I now love has been really hard. I know there are so many Mums who struggle with so many different facets of feeding, its endless. I know in the end that I am doing the right thing for my baby ‘

Wise words Kate. Why can’t I be my own counsellor?

This time around, the reason for transition has been a little different. Hudson simply feeds much better on bottles and this strategy helped him to settle more at night. This in turn meant that he started to fuss and turn away from breast feeding, and so another challenge reared it’s head. I’ve had so many lovely messages from readers and friends who have eased my anxiety and helped me come to the conclusion that mixed feeding is indeed best. Whilst it is virtually impossible with a toddler to continue to express so that he still receives breast milk, I’m doing my best and expressing when I can so that he still gets the benefit of breast milk as he grows. I’ll maintain that for as long as I can.

So onward and upward…hopefully my little man continues to grow big and strong, and his little tummy gets more resilient.

kate

Should I stop breast feeding my baby?

Should I stop breast feeding my baby?

photoI need to start this post by saying that I am not in any way, a medical expert, nor am I writing this to bestow advice. I’m writing this post because I am a Mum with a problem, and I want to find the solution. I actually know the answer, but I feel that writing about my fears, concerns and hopes will help me to come to a better resolution. I find that the advice of my readers often helps me to put problems in perspective, and this is what I’m hoping to get out of this post.

My husband and I were talking last night about whether or not I should continue to breast feed Hudson. Medical experts and most Mums would agree, that if you can breast feed, it is best for your baby. Each Mum is different however and should feel supported with what ever means of feeding they choose for the health of their baby. I have been lucky with both of my children, that I have found breast feeding relatively smooth and easy. Sure, I’ve suffered from sore, cracked nipples, engorgement and painful lumps and blocked ducts, but I have never suffered through Mastitis, or the pain that comes from not being able to breast feed. The problem here, does not lie with me. It lies with my son.

Hudson has, in his short life so far, suffered from shocking colic. In the day he is currently coping ok, but at night never seems to settle after 2am. Nearly three months in, we are almost at our whits end, and are desperate for an answer. We have tried everything….Reflux medication, Dairy free, raising the crib, Infacol, Infants Friend, Gripe water..the list goes on. What does seem to help him is the one bottle of breast milk we give him before ‘bed time’. He sleeps from approx 9pm – 2am fairly soundly. This bottle contains a thickener in it, however I believe in my heart that it is the bottle, not the thickened that is helping him.

The reason I believe this, is Hudson has become increasingly fussy whilst breast feeding. He is on and off, thrashing around and I’m constantly confused as to how much milk he has taken in.  I guess I am feeling confused as to what is best for him right now, Is he taking in too much air whilst feeding, and thus suffers shocking gas pain? He certainly takes the milk from the bottle very well, and is settled afterwards.

However in my heart, I do not want to give up breast feeding yet. I feel he is still too little. I would express after each bottle feed, however given the fact that I have a toddler this is not practical. I don’t want to dry up. I breast fed Ella until 8 months, when I went back to work and naturally dried up. It would break my heart if this happened at such an early stage. Bottle feeding also has its draw backs. Night feeding with bottles is time consuming. He also hates the car, and if he ends up screaming, it’s not like I can easily get a bottle ready.

I want to do what is best for him, and I know that breast milk is best if I can. The problem is, he is getting such little sleep in the night, and so are we, that it is starting to take it’s toll. I feel for my Husband who has to get up and go to work every day. We are all doing ok, and have moments where his beautiful smile makes it all worthwhile. I just want him to be a little more comfortable, so that both he and we can all sleep a bit better.

Thoughts?

kate

The bags are packed!

The bags are packed!

It may be a little early, but this weekend I packed my bags, just incase baby Korber no. 2 decides to make an early entrance. Given the fact that a very close friend gave birth yesterday, three weeks early, I’m glad that I’ve done it. It’s really the only thing that I have formally done to get ready for the baby’s arrival, and given the fact that our belongings are packed away in dozens of boxes, I think that it was the right choice…just in case (literally)!

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When I packed for Ella’s arrival, I scoured the internet for list after list of key items needed for the myself and the baby. I asked all my friends who had given birth for their advice to make sure that I had everything. From baby clothes to creams, maternity pads to massage oils. I had everything and anything that I could possibly need ‘just incase’. This included magazines to read (hmmm yeah right), my favourite lollies (Dan enjoyed those) and some coloured ‘stress balls’ that I could ‘tap together’ to distract me from the pain. Needless to say, packing my bag a second time round has been a little easier, and quicker, as I included more of the simple things, and left out others (yep, the coloured balls didn’t make the cut). A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to my former pregnant self with some advice about how to tackle the challenges that a new Mum faces. This week, as I packed my bag for both myself and my baby to be, I thought I’d share some tips and advice for my maternity bag essentials….

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  1. Maternity pads and dark coloured undies – the bigger the better, and the more packets the better. Most ‘lists’ include these staple items, and my only advice is to triple the quantities. Believe me, you will both need and appreciate them.

  2. Feeding singlets – I found that the Bonds feeding singlets were both really comfortable and practical. If you choose to breast feed you will need to access your ‘ladies’ over and over, and singlets that have a practical clip for easy access is key. They include a built in bra which also means that you don’t feel like you are wearing fifty thousand layers. I have packed three in basic black, white and blue.

  3. Hoodies – adding to the above, wearing a hoodie means that you can both keep warm and give your baby instant access to food as they need it. Big W has some fantastic hoodies on sale at the moment for $15.

  4. Breast Pads – yes, you feel as though you are padded at both ends, but this little item makes a big difference. What no one tells you is how much you leak, especially when your milk comes in. Furthermore, no one tells you that the brands of breast pads vary greatly in feel and comfort. My favourite are the Johnson and Johnson or Advent brand that have a sculpted pad that covers the natural shape of your breast. Once you use the other types, you will see what I mean. They are a little more expensive, but a lot more comfortable. If you breast feed you will wear these for the longevity of your feeding period, so the investment is well worth it.

  5. Lanisoh cream – This baby is my no.1 essential if you are breast feeding. Rub a tiny amount on your nipples after each feed (yes, each and every feed), and this amazing clear cream will protect your nipples for cracking and soreness. The cream may not solve everything, but it sure does help. Read about it here.

  6. Baby singlets with fasteners at the bottom – My single piece of advice about baby singlets is throw out any that do not fasten at the bottom. As your little bundle of joy wriggles and snuggles singlets ride up and end up around their chest. Singlets that fasten at the bottom keep your little one covered from head to toe. I swear by Next direct who sell basic packs in short and long sleeve in all sizes. You can find them here.

7. Baby onzies with built in mittens – mittens do help in the early stages by keeping a newborn’s nails away from their face. However they too come off. You can purchase heaps of different onezies that have built in mittens where you simple fold over the end of the sleeve. Bonds have a great range of wondersuits and onezies that include this great feature.

8. iBabyfeed app – When I started this blog I did a review about this fantastic app. You don’t need to ‘pack this’ in your bag, but rather download it to your phone. If you decided to breast feed, this little app will become your best friend. It helps you track how often you feed, what breast you finished on, average length of feeds and even reminds you when your baby is due to feed. Some people prefer pen and paper, but knowing how clumsy and foggy I was in those early days, I know that I will be hopeless at remembering anything, let alone where I left the paper. My phone is generally at arm’s length and so this app came in handy. You can read my previous post including instructions on downloading it here.

9.Birthing outfit – I know this one may seem a little OTT, but when I got to my hospital last time I was asked to get into my ‘birthing’ gear. I assumed that I would wear a gown right from the start, and ended up having to put on a lovely nightie that I, let’s say, didn’t want to get ruined. Include in your bag a nightie or slip that you would be happy to say goodbye to at the end of the process. If you have an epidural or Caesarean you will eventually be given a gown to wear, but you may also need something else before hand.

10. Baby’s 1st outfit – similar to the above, we were asked to give the nurses our baby’s 1st outfit as soon as we were admitted to the hospital. They stored it away in a warm cupboard and then dressed Ella in it once she was born. Again, some hospital’s may not ask you, but having it ready and easily accessible in your bag is something that you might want to think about when packing.

This list isn’t exhaustive and there are indeed loads more to take along for both yourself and your baby. However the above items were key in getting me through labour and the first few days of being a Mum. It’s all about comfort and practicality. If only labour could be described in the same way!

Do you have any items that you would recommend a second time around? Hope the list helps any expectant Mums to be…..

kate

 

 

Hitting the Bottle

Hitting the Bottle

In four weeks I’m going back to work. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. It seriously feels like yesterday that I was finishing my last day of school and getting beautiful gifts off the children, parents and teachers. I was lucky enough to finish school at the end of last year (2011), and so it really felt as though I was just going on another set of summer holidays. It wasn’t really until school went back this year, that I found it really bizarre. Since then, time has flown. The first three months are a bit of shell shock, and it takes a while to find your feet and then you get to really enjoy everything that being a Mum has to offer.

I’ve discovered that being a Mum means getting used to change. Nothing ever stays the same for very long. You need to get used to being flexible and rolling with the punches. It’s funny because in the beginning, I found breast feeding overwhelming and challenging. Like most new Mums who decide to breast feed, getting used to a new function for these two things that have been a part of your body for 33 years is a little bizarre. It takes a lot of patience, persistence and sometimes, a lot of pain. I was lucky enough to work through my battles pretty quickly and came to love breast feeding after a few weeks. Although breast feeding means that you really are under the pump (excuse the pun) 24/7, breast feeding has its benefits: its free, its portable, its convenient, no sterilising needed, nor warming of any bottles. Before I had Ella, I was completely open minded about feeding. I thought I would give it a go, and if it worked…great. If not, then I new there were other options. So many mums feel such pressure to persist with breast feeding, even when they are going through hell with mastitis, blocked ducts (this was my vice), lack of supply, poor attachment etc. etc. It is so hard and can be made worse by the constant pressure by society. I personally believe that every mum just does their best. What ever they choose, it should be up to them. For me, I was lucky enough to achieve the ability to breast feed relatively quickly and whilst I found it exhausting, through the months I have developed a love of this time with my beautiful girl.

Like all things though as soon as you get used to it, something changes.  I had been thinking about my transition back to work and what we would do when I went back. It’s funny, before Ella was born I thought that she would be exclusively bottle fed by then, but now that I am six months in, things have changed. In the past few months I have been going into work to help out from time to time. Ella has had several bottles since she was born, for various reasons: medical appointments, hair appointments :-), date night etc. Most of these times Ella has taken to the bottle pretty well. However there was one day things changed. My Mum had been minding Ella and she would not take the bottle. Simply refused. After an hour of persisting, my Mum called me to come home. Let’s just say that for my Mum (a nurse) to call me, this was saying something. I arrived to find a sad little baby, slumped over my Mum’s shoulder and an equally distressed Nanna. It was heart breaking. She had almost passed out from crying so much. I felt like the worst Mother in the world. I didn’t want to give up breast feeding, but this just wasn’t helping Ella.

It was after this day that I committed to weaning Ella towards co-feeding. After speaking with my Mum and friends, my husband and I decided that it was kinder to Ella to gradually get her used to bottle feeding, so that when I returned to work, she would be fine. I guess my problem was that I knew I was never very good at expressing and the thought of trying to do this whilst working in a Primary School was not a very practical option. I knew that bottles for Ella meant formula and this was fine. I did lots of reading (probably too much) about the advantages of co-feeding for working mothers. I didn’t want to give up breast feeding both for Ella and myself and to be honest,  I hand’t realise that this process was possible. I found a great schedule to help me work towards breast feeding in the morning and evening, with bottles during the day. This schedule (BabyLove) was gradual and something that I thought I could do over a number of weeks, to get us both used to it. Currently I’m in the middle of starting two bottles a day, and Ella is doing fine. So am I.

It’s funny that the transition from breast feeding, to bottle feeding, or in our case both has been something that I have found really hard. Not so much from the physical side, but the emotional one. I know that at heart I am a very emotional person, but whilst my obstacles have not been greatly physical in terms of soreness etc. , the challenge of taking the step towards moving my baby away from something that I now love has been really hard. I know there are so many Mums who struggle with so many different facets of feeding, its endless. I know in the end that I am doing the right thing for my baby. Whilst I would love to stay with her each day, I’m also looking forward to working part time and returning to a job I love. She will be better for it and so will I. Include her Dad in that equation too. I’m sure that there are so many Mums and Dads in the same position. We all just need to stick together and do what’s best for our babies and our own sanity.

Wish us luck xxx