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).
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?


Mum IS The Word

Women have been having babies for thousands of years. It’s a fact. But when you have your baby, you naturally feel like everything you’re feeling is new and different, and that no other woman could have felt like this, or done that. You think it’s just you.

You worry about your baby and whether you’re doing everything right, and you doubt yourself constantly. You worry it’s just you.

But it’s not.

When a mum asks me the question “How is everything?” or “How are you?”, I often verbally spew my guts everywhere (I apologise if I’ve done this to you) – mainly because they’re the first human I’ve seen outside of my family and S! When chatting, I’m secretly hoping to see the nod of understanding and more often than not, I do see it. I soon then realise that what I’m feeling is completely normal. My worries… Normal. My anxieties… Normal.

Hearing stories from friends and family about what crazy stuff they got up to during the first few weeks of motherhood, as well as how they coped with being a new mum, is the best medicine at the moment. It feels great! I laugh, I cry, I understand. It makes me realise that others have felt the same.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m now looking forward to regularly meeting with mums at my post-natal group every week. We may not have anything in common personally, but what we do have in common are our experiences and our babies.

If you’ve recently joined or will soon be joining the mum club I highly recommend speaking out as early as possible. You are certainly not alone and you will find that everyone has felt the same as you at least once during motherhood. Knowing that will feel great.

If you don’t have any post-natal groups around or other mums nearby, go online! We are so lucky to be living in an age where we can find someone to talk to any time of the day. Whether it’s one-to-one on Twitter, or a Facebook group, you will find the help you need.

So don’t go to Dr. Google – speak to another mum!


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!


Learning New Skills

I’ll be honest. When I thought about what it would be like with a newborn I thought it would be slightly easier than when you have a toddler, for example. Not easy by any means. Easier. I thought my day would consist of three main things; changing, feeding, sleeping. Everything in between would be a bonus. I thought I’d be able to whip up a gourmet meal whilst he slept and have it ready for when S came home AND eat it. Newborn babies sleep loads, especially after eating, right? Wrong.

Over the past 5 weeks, because of T’s love of being awake for longer, I’ve learnt tons of new skills, a very special set of new skills…

• I’ve learnt when projectile urine is imminent.

• I’ve learnt how to cook a Thai Curry/Chilli Con Carne/Lasange/Stir-Fry in under 20 minutes.

• I’ve learnt what mess T has made by the smell of his crotch.

• I’ve learnt how to make a cup of tea with one hand.

• I’ve learnt what type of day it’s going to be going on how T has woken up.

• I’ve learnt how to pull a pram up stairs.

• I’ve learnt what T wants going on his cry.

• I’ve learnt to play fetch with the dog whilst feeding.

• I’ve learnt T prefers setting 4 on his play mat.

• I’ve learnt how precious and valuable time is looking at how quickly T is changing already.

These skills will no doubt be regular life savers over the next few weeks, if not months, and on top of this I’ll hopefully acquire a few more.

What skills did you/have you learnt?

When Being Mum is Not Enough. 

We’ve had a rough few days, recently. T has been having issues with trapped wind, resulting in restless evenings and constant feeding after every new burp.

T looks to be in so much pain and it kills me that nothing I can do as mum, or what S can do as mumma, can help. His little belly feels so hard at times and it can often take what feels like hours before the wind passes – I wish I could take the pain for him. No amount of singing, swinging, or cuddling can sometimes help – we just have to wait out the gas with the help of Infacol before every feed and lots of patting and rubbing. It is slowly getting better, though.

I always knew the day would come where being mum sometimes wouldn’t be enough to soothe or reassure T, I just didn’t think it would be this soon.


The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Intro. 

*Contains images of breastfeeding and dodgy hair*

Breastfeeding is currently a huge part of my life and it’s only right I give it it’s own space within the blog. I hope to write a few posts within these “chronicles” ranging from my experiences with feeding, to writing about other stuff such as nipple pads, and creams. If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll probably find me asking a lot of questions, not to mention rambling during my 3am feeds.

Before I get started, first and foremost, how you choose to feed your baby is completely your choice. If you choose to feed with formula then great, keep at it, ignore what anyone else has to say. Whatever works for you and baby is what’s important. I am choosing to breastfeed at the moment because I can. Simple. If I couldn’t, then I would have to deal with that.

In the not so distant future, I hope to express so that a) I can get a good supply stocked in the fridge/freezer and b) so S can share some of the feeding love. The only reason I’m not expressing at the moment is because I’ve been advised not to until at least 6 weeks. Apparently, T is the one who determines my flow and nothing/no-one else – apparently this takes 6 weeks. You would think that by expressing after feeds that my body would produce more milk due to increased demand, but when I started doing this after a week of breastfeeding it seemed to mess my supply up (I only know this because T’s poo changed a little – sorry TMI) so I stopped.

Breastfeeding for me started quickly after T arrived. He latched on well within an hour of being born and seemed to feed well. I was so proud.  

By day two, however, my nipples started hurting quite a bit which I believe was a mixture of something new going on with my nipples and a poor latch, although T was still able to get milk out despite having a poor latch. Weird? This was quite stressful as every time I fed I felt toe curling pain on said breast for at least a minute during feeding – I was in agony, but because feeding T was more important I just got on with it (DON’T DO THIS) and to be honest, I thought this was normal (IT ISN’T).

I quickly called the community midwife the next day and asked for some help as I was concerned not only for my poor nipples but in case my milk supply changed because of the stress. I also wanted some advice in regards to breastfeeding positions as I only really had the one. After her visit I was armed with different positions to assist with different scenarios (quick let down, slow let down, etc.).

I highly recommend speaking to professionals if you’re ever having trouble breastfeeding. You are not alone, and if anyone tells you they never had any worries, they’re lying – it’s almost expected for mums to worry about things such as supply and quality. In addition to professionals, there are also several Facebook groups and charities around these days, not to mention Twitter where there is always someone online no matter what time it is – so there is always help around the corner.

Although my nipples still hurt for a few days, after several applications of nipple cream and constant detaching and reattaching until T latched comfortably, my nipples went back to normal and breastfeeding is now completely pain free and actually enjoyable. Thanks to the positions I’ve now learned (I will share these in another post) I’m also pretty confident feeding him whilst out.

I really enjoy breastfeeding. It’s free food, so we’re not spending money on formula (although we do have an emergency tub in the cupboard), and it’s that piece of closeness that only T and I get to share.

It can be personally frustrating when all I do some days is feed and I haven’t been able to leave the sofa, let alone do anything else, but I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that this IS my job and it’s an important job.