Everyday “Exercises”. 

I probably haven’t seen the inside of a gym since I fell pregnant and, in all honesty, I do miss it (I really do) as it gave me time between work and home to wind down. It also gave me a clean and energised feeling despite getting sweaty. I really enjoyed it.

Since having T I’ve recently realised that I actually do several “exercises” on a daily basis – or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m on my second piece of cake.

The (dash-to-the-kitchen-for-tea-during-nap-time) Interval Run. Complete this 2-4 times a day for an all over body workout.

The (desperate-full-bladder) Stair Climb. Likely to also strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, this exercise will also work your thighs, bum, and tum.

The (up-hill-buggy) Bicep Extension. For an added workout , add a bag of shopping to the load as well as a full bladder.

The (quick!-grab-a-muslin) Tricep Extension.  For extra tone, add a cat refusing to move off the other end of the muslin.

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The (other-end-of-the-sofa-forgotten-item) Leg Extension.  Adding a baby to your chest will add tone to your core muscles.

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The (pick-up-washing-with-baby) Squat. Wet towels, and winter jumpers ready for storage will add an extra upper body workout.

The (washing-machine-load-with-baby) Lunge. With a phone, pair of socks, and back door keys in your pocket, it’ll add some extra bruising toning to your thighs.

After the work out, cool down is vital – so I make sure I grab my nearest desert-based product from the fridge.

What are your daily “exercises”?

K

Lifesavers

Several blogging award ceremonies are now upon us. Every year, we nominate and then vote for our favourite bloggers – sometimes spending hours on one category because the category has three of your favourite blogs in it.

But where would we be without the little parenting lifesavers that have got us through the day so we could carry on blogging?

So without further ado, I present my Top 10 parenting lifesavers.

Breakfast biscuits – For when a proper breakfast is not going to happen. Without them, I would likely go hungry thanks to a mis-timed feed.

Bottle of water – ‘Nuff said.

Coffee creamer / whitener – For when a hot, milky coffee is not going to happen as soon as you’d like it. This stuff keeps hot drinks warmer for longer.

Nipple cream – In the early days, this stuff was liquid gold, especially the ones that didn’t need to be washed off before a feed.

Twitter – I’ve kept my sanity chatting to the lovely ladies and gents of Twitter. There’s either someone having the same day as you, or someone who just fancies a chat. I’ve spent many feeds stuck in the sofa with just the company of Twitter. It’s great.

Frozen meals – During the first few weeks we saved up left over portions of dinners so that if I was having a hectic day, I could just whack a meal in the oven. This has been a huge help with zero effort as all it took was cooking a larger lasagne, for example. This also saved our wallets (and waistlines) from buying takeaways!

Vanish – For those white to yellow vest days. I need to take out shares in this stuff.

Nursing Pillow – Apart from it’s obvious use, it’s also good for being a neck pillow for a last minute nap after a feed and T is on my chest. No more cricks in your neck.

Baby TV – Not my proudest life-saver, and when I caught myself letting him watch the TV I cried a little bit, but within the ten minutes I let him watch the telly during a challenging day I got to go the toilet and prepare some (decent) food. Although it is only ten minutes I still feel guilty about doing it, trust me.

My stretchy wrap – Probably my biggest life-saver. For when T doesn’t want to be put down, and I want to cook dinner. It also means I can nip to the shops without packing up the pram.

What are your parenting life savers?

K

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Bronze Boobs

It seems like only yesterday that T took his first latch in the hospital, and here I am; celebrating my bronze boobs. I couldn’t be prouder.


The last 3 months have probably been the most challenging 3 months of my life, not to mention the most unattractive.

Breastfeeding is hard. There’s no doubt about it. On top of the usual stuff like cluster feeding and night feeds, you get sore nipples at the start and if you’re lucky they’ll remain just “sore” until they get better (or at least used to the leech that’s constantly attached to them – hard as nails nipples, anyone?) as apposed to cracked and/or bleeding. On top of this there’s the pain from when your milk comes in, waking up with engorged boobs, or when you get a lazy latch.

I’ve dealt with blocked ducts, had two cases of mastitis, and last week I dealt with my first bleb which had caused the last blocked duct. Your boobies really do go through the wars.

There have been a few occasions where I’ve just wanted to stop, but then I look at how much T is thriving and I continue. Onto the next feed.

Of course, when it comes to the soreness and cracking you can tape yourself back together somewhat, or continue to practise a decent latch, but nothing really prepares you for the way you also lose control of your boobies – which is something you can’t stop. There have been times when another baby has cried near me and all of a sudden I’m soaked. I’ve sprayed across rooms. I’ve even had times when one boob is significantly bigger than the other. It’s crazy what happens to you.

These “awards” are just a bit of fun, but to a lot of women they’re a little milestone on their breastfeeding road. Looking back, I can now see what I’ve been through and I’m proud to have earned my bronze boob award.


K

Why I Breastfeed…

As part of national breastfeeding week; a campaign dedicated to raising awareness, increasing acceptance, and promoting support, the lovely Vivienne from Another Bun invited me to join in on her #whyibreastfeed campaign as part of the week long campaign by UNICEF.

Although I already actively write about my breastfeeding journey, I couldn’t not get involved. Breastfeeding is such a huge part of my life, and something I take very seriously. Here’s why I do it:-

Free food. I’d be surprised if this doesn’t go through your mind when you’re having a bad day, have you seen price of formula? It certainly drives me to continue.

It’s convenient. Although definately not easy at first, once you get the hang of it; whether at home or out – it’s easy just to whip your boob out to comfort or feed your baby.

No washing up. A more comical reason, and not necessarily something that drives me – but it’s true!

It’s full of the good stuff. Probably the most important reason. Antibodies, nutrients, fat. There’s a reason T is now 14Ib9oz at only 10 weeks old.

Bonding. It’s something you can’t replicate elsewhere. Whether it’s the way T grabs my thumb as he feeds, or the way he doesn’t stop looking at me – it’s our special time. Just us.

Because I want to.

Why do you breastfeed? Join in with the hashtag #whyibreastfeed.

K

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – My Feeding Station

My day starts between 6am and 8am depending on whether T goes back to sleep after his 6am feed.

Once awake, I then get him dressed (topping and tailing him beforehand every other day). I then come downstairs, put him on his play mat or in his travel cot, grab some breakfast, and then spend the majority of my day here… At the feeding station.


I’m learning very quickly the needs must whilst breastfeeding and the stuff you’ll miss once they’re out of reach. Here are my needs must:-

1) TV Remote
2) Hot Drink (when you remember to bring it with you from the kitchen or have someone to make one for you)
3) Water!!
4) Pregnancy/Nursing Pillow
5) Burp Cloth
6) Blanket
7) Muslin (sometimes works as a light blanket if T gets too hot but you still want him covered up and cozy).
8) CUSHIONS!!
9) Mobile Phone.

I’ve had many occasions where I’ve left the TV remote in the drawer and I’ve been stuck watching some god awful chat show, or left my pillow upstairs and my forearms have taken the brunt during a feed. It only takes a minute, but it’s well worth taking up a space in your lounge – you’re going to be spending a lot of time there!

On top of this, always remember to do the following BEFORE a feed:-

1) Go. To. The. Toilet. I’m suprised I haven’t hurt myself with the amount of times I’ve forgotten to have a courtesy wee and then I’m suddenly bursting during a feed.

2) Eat. It’s understandable when baby is starting to get crabby because they’re hungry, or they haven’t stopped eating, that you forget to eat. It’s so important, not just for you but for your supply that you eat – even something small to begin with like a banana or breakfast/cereal bar.

3) Try and not start something important you can’t finish. It shouldn’t take long to learn your LO’s (rough) feeding schedule, but if they’re going through a cluster feeding stage then it’s easy to all of a sudden have a demand for food sprung on you whilst you’re cooking dinner, for example. I’m slowly accepting the fact that if T is cluster feeding, S is on dinner duty (unless she wants burnt pasta).

4) Charge devices. Probably not essential, but when I’ve been sat in the same spot for hours my poor device’s battery life really do take the brunt and it’s not long before they’re dead, and your wife can’t call you and gives you an earful when they get in.

What are your feeding station tips?

K

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Mastitis

Mastitis is where a build up of milk has occurred in your breast, often leaking into the breast tissue. Early stages of mastitis is not an infection, but your body reacts to it as if it is an infection. Later stages of mastitis can apparently turn into a real infection or worse, an abscess. Your milk ducts can get blocked and it can get quite painful.

Apparently, it’s quite a common occurrence when breastfeeding so when I saw a red patch on my left breast and that it started to feel warm and tender I knew what it was. On top of this, I also started to feel like I had flu.

The main causes of mastitis are a poor latch (Yep! Thanks to our recent tongue tie), problems sucking (Yep!), and/or infrequent feeds. Mastitis is also more likely to occur if you’re tired (You betcha) or stressed anyway. 

To deal with the issue, I started expressing after feeds so I could empty the duct. I also regularly applied a hot flannel to the affected area as well as regularly massaged it. T also helped by being placed into different feeding positions – apparently certain positions work on different ducts within the breast.

After a few days the redness and tenderness eventually went down, but I still went to the doctors to get myself checked out just to make sure everything was ok however everything was fine. 

Since having mastitis I still express (especially as T is now 6 weeks old) and I still regularly change the position I feed T in – it’s just good boob maintenence!

K