The Breastfeeding Chronicles: Feeding in the Winter: The Breastvest: Review

Now that the winter is well and truly here, I need to think about extra layers when it comes to feeding T out and about. Annoyingly, I can’t just take myself off to a cafe anymore for warmth as T gets easily distracted with the sounds around him.

Apart from when T was teeny, and I stayed indoors for a while, I’ve always been a one-up-one-down kinda gal when it came to feeding. I did try nursing tops, but they either didn’t suit me or they were a bit fiddly. This one-up-one-down method meant I could wear my favourite t-shirts again, didn’t flash my postpartum gut, and didn’t have to whop my boob out of my shirt.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that women clearly still breastfeed, there aren’t many options when it comes to under tops. You’re very much limited to plain vests. These vests are often a quick (and cheap) pick up from the local supermarket but they don’t always fit well and they have a habit of rising up regardless of whether you tuck it in.

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The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Recipes: Banana Oat Bites

In addition to what’s in my cupboard, I decided to give making my own snacks a go last week. I’m no Mary Berry, but it’s likely to be a hell of a lot cheaper, and probably healthier too!
Here’s my (not so much of a) recipe for banana oat bites:-

What you’ll need:

3 bananas
75g porridge oats (25g per banana if you wish to make smaller batches). You can add more oats if you don’t want the bites to be so spongy.
2tsp cinnamon.
1tsp honey (any other moist, sweet stuff will do. I’ve seen apple sauce used as well as coconut oil).

Method:

Break up and mash the banana.


Add the porridge oats, cinnamon, and honey. You could probably add other bits such as nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips at this stage. 

 

Mix to an even colour.

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Spoon out into even dollops.

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Cook for 15-20 minutes at 200oC (25-30 minutes if you don’t want them as spongy)

When they come out of the oven, they will continue to cook, so even if you bring them out at 30 minutes, you’ll still notice a little spring in them still just not as wobbly as cooking for 20.

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And that’s it! They’re my banana oat bites. I really like them as they use up any brown bananas (I HATE brown bananas) and they’re a nice treat any time of the day. I’m hoping to make some more but make them into bars as apposed to bites by spreading out the mixture as a slab. 

K

5 Month Update

T is now 5 months old!

Movement and coordination has been a huge factor this month in comparison to last month.

Between 19 and 21 weeks was when things changed rapidly. For example, T used to lay on his back or front and play with things given to him or nearby. This week, however, he quite confidently goes to grab things at a distance, reaching out his arms. Before, he used to limit himself to things that were at an easier arms length. Everything is a target; my mug, our faces, even a passing cat gets a grab.

Movement wise, T has found his feet. Feet that are, more often than not, in the air and then on their way into T’s mouth, or grabbed so that when T’s in his back he ends up rolling onto his side.

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This is huge. Not only does this keep him occupied but it means he’s nicely on the way to rolling over from his back to front. Sadly, though, he’s also quickly understanding that the things he sometimes chomps on are attached to him. A bitten toe = displeased baby.

Even with all this new movement, T’s nighttime sleep is still no better than before. We are well and truly experiencing sleep regression. We now have completely random bouts of waking between 1am and 5am, although once he’s changed and fed he’s back to sleep until 7am. I wouldn’t mind this so much if it was every night and/or the same time every night so I could get used to it, but because his timing as to when he’ll wake (or at all) is completely random I find I’m more tired now than I was when T was a newborn. During the day, however, he’s still sticking to the nap schedule he set months ago.

Now that T’s 5 months, I’m also now starting to think about weaning (weeps)! I don’t intend on actually starting until 6 months, but since T’s started to get distracted easily whilst feeding it’s something I think I’ll have to start looking into. I’m hoping to introduce a mixture of baby led weaning and mushed food that I’ll prepare.

Speaking of food, things are still going well with breastfeeding. We’ve had a few “incidents” but all in all, it’s not been too bad. Feeds are now ranging from 20-60 minutes at a time, but he goes longer without needing a feed. T still also takes the bottle, which was lucky as S had to give him one after he almost bit something clean off. The only difference with feeds now is that he doesn’t always fall asleep at the boob (sobs) which means I’m having to learn how to put him to sleep at nap time! I feel like I’m a new parent at times because I’ve previously been blessed with the magic dust of a boob.

Finally, we’re going on our first family holiday to Cornwall at the end of the month. We can’t wait. It couldn’t have come at a better time. T will just be turning 6 months when we return so we’re hoping to go on lots of days out and trips that’ll excite him. For me and S, it’ll be a well deserved break (although do you really relax on holiday with a baby?).

Before we go in at the deep end, any tips on weaning? Any good foods to start with? How was your first holiday with a baby?

K

Dear My Teething Terror. 

My Dearest,

We’ve had a rough week. Admit it. We’re not friends. I can tell as you’ve barely smiled at me, let alone chuckled. Smiles seem to be reserved for mumma, and giggles for nana.

You’re suffering from teething pain, I know, and nothing seems to be quite hitting the spot. We have everything from a silicone hammer to a rubber giraffe, even a good old fashioned dummy. My fingers seem to work well, but it’s not so cute anymore when you chomp down. You’re often hitting bone! Not literally, but you may as well for the pain it creates. I love you, but I can’t quite take that.

What’s more is that you’ve now started chomping down at the end of a feed when you’ve had enough. That’s fun (!). What’s wrong with just coming off? Why the biting? What did I do to deserve that? You put so much effort into it that I’m starting to take it personally!

I really hope you learn to stop biting me soon, I’m not ready to stop nursing you. It’s our one moment of calm where it’s just you and me. Our special time. Just us. It’s bliss.

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At the moment, however, it’s not so calm. My heart races at every feed and I’m sure you can feel me tense. I’m sorry, but it’s like dipping my nipple into a shark tank.

To top everything off, you’ve now started to grind your beautiful front teeth. Why? Who knows. The face you make is so very cute, but that’s the only pleasant feature – the sound is like nails to a chalkboard. Please stop.

Things can only get better, I hope, and next week is a brand new week. So pinky swear we’ll be friends next week, yeah? And no biting!

Love you.

Mum.

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Things I Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding Before Breastfeeding. 

“I didn’t know it/they could do that!” is a phrase we hear quite often in our house. I’m also forever hearing alternative ways to use breastmilk; whether it’s in the freezer for ice lollies, or in the bath for soft skin. It really is magic stuff.

Here’s a few of the things I didn’t know about breastfeeding/breastmilk before I started breastfeeding.

It’s hard work. I thought that once a baby latched on it’ll just be a case of feeding them whenever. No. The first few weeks are a constant battle what with sore nipples, mastitis, and engorgement. You also have cluster feeds to contend with (no one told me about cluster feeds!) and the night feeds. Baby also has to learn, and each feed can be different. Baby will often time feeds just when the food shop arrives or when the postman knocks on the door

Milk doesn’t just come out of your nipple area. The areolas join in as well. I genuinely thought T had cut holes into my nipples when he once accidentally bit down. I also thought that those holes would eventually join up and my nipple would fall off (I may have also been sleep deprived). Either way, I didn’t know milk came out of other holes.

It comes out blue when expressed! (S) The amount of times K expressed and the first few ounces were as blue as the ocean (okay, I’m exaggerating – but it was blue!).

You will burn calories. I knew breastfeeding worked your body, but I didn’t think it would physically burn calories, which explained why I woke up ravenous and often very thirsty during feeds. Apparently you can burn a good 500 calories per feed! Pass the cake!

It has healing properties (S) Whenever T cut his head or face with his nails, K would squirt or wipe a bit of breastmilk onto the affected area. Within a few hours it would be fully scabbed over if not barely visible. It’s magic!

Despite your boobs doubling in size during pregnancy, they will continue to grow whilst breastfeeding. It wasn’t long into my pregnancy that I had to up by bra size, so I bought 2 nursing bras to kill two birds with one stone, thinking that my new bra size would be the one I nurse with. Little did I know that once I started breastfeeding that I would have to up my bra size AGAIN. Epic fail.

 

Credit: Wikimedia

Credit: Wikimedia

Your boobs know when a feed is due before your baby does, and will continue to tell you until your baby is fed. I was out at dinner with my mum friends, a few miles away, when my boobs started tingling. I knew T was due a feed. I amusingly text S to see if he was feeding at the time and like magic, he was.

You can literally feel your milk coming in. When I’m feeding T I’ll often feel my other boob “filling up”. It’s not like the feeling of when you fill a bucket – it’s like a warm tingling sensation. But very quickly my boob is then a different size and shape.

I didn’t know milk came from the blood (S). I thought milk just happened. Never in my right mind did I think that K’s blood created it. This explains why you have to be careful when drinking, but things like food poisoning won’t effect T because the food bug sits in the digestive system. Very clever!

Not everyone wants to do it. I (nievely) thought that once you have a baby you would naturally want to breastfeed your baby if you were able to, but from speaking to other mums I very quickly realised that some mums actually don’t want to. Whether it’s because they wish to share the feeds with their partner early on or because they don’t want to lose their bodies to the baby, it’s interesting to know that not everyone wants to breastfeed.

What new things did you learn after they occurred?

K & S

4 Month Update. 

T is now 122 days old. 4 months!

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I say this every month, but I really don’t know where the time is going. What’s most upsetting is that I’m soon going to be reaching the half way point of my maternity leave! T being two weeks late really cut into a huge chunk of my leave so I go back before he’s one year (but we don’t discuss this much in fear of me blubbing)!

Since last month, T has come in leaps and bounds. This, by far, has been my favourite month so far.

His voice is well and truly established (often being the loudest in the room), and so is his coordination. Although he still gets frustrated when he wants something in front of him and can’t quite grasp it, he now has no trouble giving it a good go. He has no interest in rolling, but where he lacks in rolling he makes up for with interaction and teeth!

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He’s really interactive and we’re getting full blown giggles from him that melt me to the core. He seems to laugh harder with S which makes it all more special. I love how he looks at S, you can tell he absolutely adores her. His smiles are definitely the biggest when she comes home of an evening, even if he has been in pain through teething.

Teething wise, his bottom teeth are through and coming up rapidly. He now looks extra cute when he smiles.  His top two teeth have also broken through the gums – I can’t imagine what pain he’s going through right now. Thankfully, I haven’t felt the pain of teeth – I’ve had a few accidental nips towards the end of a feed but I’ve managed to take him off after a stern “no”. I think (hope) he’s learning that teeth equals no food.

Like me, he’s a stickler for routine. If we’re out even by 10/20 minutes, especially at bedtime, he grumbles. We have several routines but they’re routines to say the least. For example, some mornings he’s up at 6am, the next he’s up at 7:30am. I know that if he’s up at 6am, he’ll feed and go back to sleep until 8am. If he’s up at 7:30am, he’ll feed but stay awake until 9am where he’ll have another feed and then nap. I’m quite thankful he has these routines – it makes the day easier to manage!

Speaking of sleep, T is still sleeping through the night from 8:30; although I’ve had several warnings about the 4 month sleep regression! I’m not looking forward to that, especially as I’ve just started sleeping through!

It’s currently the school summer holidays here so I’ve been having trouble finding things to do with T. If he doesn’t do something different each day he can get quite cranky. So far, we do a lot of (cheap) soft play and walks with the dog whilst I wear him. Now that he’s more interactive he’s really enjoying the different view whilst being worn. Although he still often falls asleep, he usually spends a lot of time gawking at the sights he can clearly see before him. It really is a magical time.

K