The hotMaMa Diaries Blog - Breastfeeding blog and parenting blog

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Everyone has a different experience of parenting and motherhood and there is no right or wrong path. The hotMaMa diaries is a place to read stories from other mothers and even share your own!

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    The mum tum is wobbly and wrinkled with rolls.

    The mum tum is saggy and stretched with folds.

     

    The mum tum can make you feel more self aware.

    “If I wear that tight top will anyone stare?”

     

    The mum tum can make us feel shame of our size.

    We squeeze into control pants what we want to hide.

     

    We are jealous of others who are only too happy to say

    They used to have a mum tum but then it went away!

     

    “Why is she so slim?”

    “What am I doing wrong?”

    All too often woman are singing this song.

     

    Stretch marks or tiger stripes, call them what you choose

    Either way scars are souvenirs that you never lose.

     

    A reminder of the unspeakable gift that you grew inside.

    A gift that is denied to so many who have tried and tried.

     

    A gift that you nourished, kept safe and warm.

    This gift never felt pain, shame, sadness or scorn.

     

    A gift that once in this world to them you became

    The most perfect being who could ever be named!

     

    Your mum tum was soft where they laid their head

    Comforted by your smell and the words that you said.

     

    The very fact that this miracle was born alive

    Is a blessing that to many is tragically denied.

     

    I hope you can see how special you are.

    How blessed you have been to have come this far.

     

    To have flourished new life in the depths of your being.

    To have been blessed with the growing reminder that you are daily seeing.

     

    It is an emotional journey becoming a mum.

    And the wonder of it all is so much more than your tum!

     

    So take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.

    When your child hugs your tum remember that was their first home.

     

    When you look in the mirror smile and feel proud

    For you have grown brand new humans for crying out loud!

     

    My body reminds me of joy and of loss.

    And how my arms ached for a baby I wanted whatever the cost.

     

    If the cost of a baby is a sag here and there

    I will take it and own it and see beauty there

     

    Your tum is a reminder of how far you have come

    On this miraculous journey of becoming a mum.

    xx

    ************

    Read more from Jo at https://freshbreadandfaith.wordpress.com/

  2. No one told me that one of the side effects of having a new baby was stiffness like all get out in the upper body and shoulders! It's chronic in the first few years. I remember being 5 or 6 months postpartum and catching sight of myself in the mirror: my shoulders were rounded and hunched forward, and I seemed to be working on a pretty impressive Dowager's hump for someone in their thirties. *grimace face*

    When we teach our regular postnatal workshops, this is a common complaint. The many hours we spend holding, rocking, cuddling, and milking our babes in the front plane of the body result in tiredness, tightness, and shoulder-rounding of epic proportions. One very useful pose to help iron out the shoulder space is downward-facing dog. But that pose alone isn't enough. And Lauren and I know how hard it is to roll your mat out in the early months of new motherhood (mine collected dust in the corner for a goooood while.)  That's why I LOVE these 3 moves, explained below: they take all of 10 minutes to do (at most), you can do them at the wall with no mat or other props, you don't need to be in yoga clothes, and they will honestly, truly, actually help your shoulders feel better / stronger / looser in all the best ways.

    STANDING WALL SHOULDER PULLS

    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding tops

    This may look deceptively easy, but it requires some muscular engagement. Stand facing a wall, close enough that you can let your head drop onto the wall. Bring your hands up, a little wider than shoulder width apart. Take a breath in, and as you exhale, contract the muscles in your arms and shoulders by pressing in with your hands and pulling DOWN, as if you were *trying* to slide your hands down the wall, but they don't actually move. You could contract and release with your breath a few times (inhale, soften; exhale, contract) or you could simply hold the contraction for a few rounds of breath.

    WALL CHEST STRETCH

    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding tops

    Stand next to the wall, feet parallel. Standing closer to the wall will result in more sensation, so if you need to go slower here, step a little farther from the wall. Reach your arm closes to the wall back and press it into the wall, palm facing in, thumb up. You can bring your other hand to the wall, in front of you (as I'm doing in the photo) or your can wrap your hand around your ribcage closest to the wall and gently pull your ribcage forward. That feels pretty nice. Stay here for anywhere between 5 rounds of breath to 2-3 minutes. Repeat on the other side. BONUS: tip your chin slightly up and away from the wall as you hold to get a sweet little neck stretch.

    DOWNWARD-FACING WALL PRESS

    Breastfeeding Blog, breastfeeding clothes, breastfeeding dress, breastfeeding topsypga 4

    Stand facing the wall and fold forward at the waist, making your body into an L-shape. Walk your hands down the wall until they are parallel to your shoulders. (If your hands are higher up than your shoulders, there is more pressure on your rotator cuff which may feel a little pinchy.) Find softness in your knees or even bend them a bit, as I'm doing in the photos. In the starting position, keep your arms straight. You might squirm a bit here and do cat-cow movements with your spine or rock your hips side to side.

    For part II of this movement, inhale and begin to bend your elbows outward, pressing your hands into the wall. As you exhale, straighten your arms again, squeezing your shoulder blades toward one another as you do. (These are essentially down-dog wall push-ups!) Repeat between 5-20 times.

     

    When your shoulders need some love, opening, and attention, try this little sequence. Do you have another favorite move or pose for shoulder relief? (Aside from Netflix and wine; we already know about that one.) We'd love to hear your tricks, tips, and favorite poses for shoulder opening. And if you try this sequence and love it, let us know that, too!

     

    ****************

    Read more from Alexandra at Lifelong Yoga | Whole Mama Yoga | Facebook | Instagram 

  3. She made an effort.  She got the kids dressed and fed.  She even dressed herself which was no small feat, considering the walls felt like they were closing in on her this morning.  If she had been able to she would have stayed in bed.  But the kids were lively and restless, she knew they needed to get out even if she didn’t feel like it, they needed company even if she didn’t want it.  So she made an effort.

    She thought she would try that toddler group around the corner.  She pushed open the door and tentatively peeked inside.  Playgroup was in full swing, kids screaming with delight tearing around the room, toys flying left to right, parents and carers deep in conversation, sat on a line of chairs encircling this chaos.

    Her son took off straight away loudly tearing around the room with a headless doll in one hand and a plastic saw in the other.  She flinched as she saw a group of mums look at her child, she could almost hear them thinking “Who is this loud crazy child?” The mums and carers looked at her briefly then looked away and carried on talking.

    She swallowed hard as she looked desperately for an empty chair, while dragging her second child along the floor who was wrapped around her leg, stuck to her like a limpet.  She glanced up and felt a few more stares.  She felt a little bit like those strangers in the old western movies who walk into a bar, she almost expected a mum to come up to her with a western drawl and say “Yer not from around these parts are ye?” but at least that would mean someone would actually be talking to her.  She turned her attention to her daughter/limpet and tried to encourage her to pick up some nearby dolls. She glanced up again and then she saw it, a lady was looking at her and smiled!  In the midst of backs of head or quick glances a smile is like a lighthouse shining in the dark, standing out like a beacon.  “How old is she?” the lady kindly asked.  She replied and entered into a very short polite dialogue but a dialogue nevertheless.  Between that and the snacks/songs and home time there were a couple more smiles and the owner of the playgroup who had been previously talking to someone else came over to introduce herself.  All these things made a huge difference between her feeling even more alone than when she was at home, and feeling like this was somewhere she could come again.

    You may not have experienced the example above.  Maybe you have.  I can certainly say you have been in the same room as someone who has experienced the above at some point.   Don’t underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word.  It doesn’t have to be much.  We can all think of a time when a kind smile lifted us but may not always be aware when we need to be the one aware of who needs a smile from us today.

    Amazingly it is absolutely possible to feel alone in a crowd.  To feel isolated in a lively buzzing building filled with noise chatting and laughter.  Connection is more than just being in the same room as other mums and children.  Sometimes you can arrive and leave feeling just the same as if you had never left your sofa.

    Other times loneliness comes from not hearing from other mums in the week.  Feeling like if you never made the effort to contact people you would never hear from them.  Surprisingly though very many people feel like this, it’s not just you, and the people you never hear from they often feel the same way.  More often than not you are the one required to take that first step hard as it may be. How refreshing it is when someone takes that first step for you, and that can be as simple as a smile.

    We have many things in place to help you if you are feeling like this.  To provide a safe space to socialise, where those in charge are trained to be observant and discerning and signpost you to different organisations if you need help.  There are also groups that are set up for PND counselling and countless others.  Wherever you live as you read this article please do search for similar organisations local to you.  Many also have found support within a church that they are comfortable in.

    Nurturing birth and beyond and local NCT groups are active and passionate about empowering mothers and being a friend and providing invaluable information, networking and support.  Pregnancy yoga classes and mother and baby yoga are built on the foundations of peer support in mind, passionately making sure mums don’t feel left out.

    Home Start provides a proactive home visiting programme for families under stress to offer practical support, help and friendship.  This in turn will reduce the family isolation and encourage the building of social networks and many more.  Home Start also run playgroups. Dragonflies meets every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  There is also a dads group, story time and lots more.  Please see their website or Facebook page for updates and more information.

    Bright Beginnings at the edge of Delancey Park and The Kindred Centre at Les Genats offer a welcoming Community Centre where there are varied activities during the week. Their highly trained staff are on hand to help or offer support or signpost you to other helpful organisations.  Please see Facebook pages or websites for more information.

    Breaking free is a course run by Health and Social Services Department for mums suffering with post natal depression.  This eight week course gives support and coping strategies as well as sessions where you can explore relaxation techniques too.  Please ask your Health Visitor or Doctor if you would like a referral.

    The incredible years programme aims to prevent and reduce behavioural and emotional problems in young children whilst supporting and educating parents.  You can contact your Health Visitor or Doctor for more information.

    The above support and more are available locally.  Don’t be afraid to ask.

    We all suffer loneliness at times.  Being a mum can be very isolating it can also be very rewarding.  Let us be aware of those around us who may be needing support, even just a smile is something we can all do.

    If you are feeling lonely to the point of feeling regularly low please do take steps to attend one of these friendly playgroups who are geared up to helping mums in this situation. Do ask your Doctor or Health Visitor for a referral where you can learn coping strategies for day to day life, and benefit from the care and support you will also receive

    **********

    Read more from Jo at https://freshbreadandfaith.wordpress.com/

  4. Social media is awash at the minute with mothers celebrating their post birth body. They are embracing their lumps, bumps and imperfections because their body created amazing little people. They grew humans inside of them and then brought them into the world to breath new life. It’s wonderful to see such an outpouring of love and pride for a realistic image of a woman’s body. It’s left me feeling a bit left out though.

    You see, my body didn’t create my little human. Another woman did that. She grew and nurtured our daughter in her tummy. She felt her first kick and watched her bump grow as our daughter developed in her womb. I can’t begin to imagine how she must have felt when her waters broke. She had already decided then she wasn’t going to be able to look after the baby she was about to bring into the world. She endured a no doubt excruciating labour knowing she wasn’t going to be taking home the little human she’d grown inside her for 9 months.

    For a long time, I fell out of love with my body. Since time began, women have become pregnant and given birth. I felt such a failure that I didn’t and incredibly let down by my body. It was the complete opposite to the way that the social media mums are loving their bodies because they created a life. I was loathing mine because it didn’t. Every month I’d get a punch in the face, as regular as clockwork, reminding me that my body COULD get pregnant, it just wasn’t.

    Infertility is one of those things that unless you’ve experienced it, you really can’t understand how someone who is going through it is feeling. Month after month, I’d be on a rollercoaster of hope at the start of my cycle, followed very quickly with crushing disappointment. Every twinge during the “2 week wait” would be analysed, googled, cherished and then quickly thrown away in despair.

    Why couldn’t I get pregnant? Everyone else seemed to be. I was reasonably fit and healthy, as was my husband. He went along with the endless attempts at new positions / baggy underwear / bath ban / vitamin overkill I forced on him as I desperately clung on to the hope that it would happen. During that time, my best friends had produced 10 kids between them and my sister had 2. There had been crushing miscarriages too, but 12 babies gave me hope that it would happen for us.

    But it didn’t. I felt completely inadequate. A failure as a woman. It wasn’t that I was getting pregnant and then my body rejected it. I just didn’t get pregnant. I have never experienced the thrill of a positive pregnancy test of my own. I’ve seen the line change for someone else which was a feeling I will never forget. It’s never happened to me though.

    If I’m being completely honest with myself, I think I knew that it never would. That thought didn’t help with the hurt and the pain and the all consuming disappointment I felt for a long time. My body had let me down, big time. I felt like I wasn’t a real woman because I couldn’t grow a human inside me. My lumps and bumps weren’t badges of honour. They were stark reminders every single day that my body hadn’t done what it was meant to.

    I was so desperate to become a mum. As the months went by I was terrified it was never going to happen. At times, I didn’t know if I could cope with that. I felt a physical ache as I contemplated a future not being a mum.

    I’m a great believer that things happen for a reason. The reason may not always be as clear as it could be, but it’s there, somewhere. The reason I didn’t get pregnant is because I wasn’t meant to. I wasn’t meant to be a tummy mummy. I was meant to grow my child in my heart. She grew there for a very long time, but once we met her, everything made sense.

    Mother nature decided that my route to motherhood was via adoption. I was always meant to be our daughter’s mum and if I’d got pregnant and had a birth child, that would never have happened. The thought of our daughter not being part of our lives utterly terrifies me.

    We waited such a long time to meet her. I get now though that I had to go through all of the pain, heartache and despair so that I could be her mum. And also so that I could appreciate how hard it must have been for her tummy mummy to walk away.

    So my body didn’t let me down at all. It took me on a journey and kept me going until our daughter was ready for us. My jelly belly may not have been created by our daughter growing inside me. It was created while she grew in my heart.

    ***************

    Read more from Suzy at www.wemadeawish.co.uk 

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  5. 10 weeks post partum and feeling grumpy and frumpy. Time to do something about it so did abit of research and found a class where you can take your baby! Great. Watched videos about the class on YouTube and signed up. Gulp.

    Thought about buying some new snazzy (yes, ‘snazzy’ because I’m THAT cool) active gear but then considered not only the cost but the fact they may not even get worn. I ended up at Tesco buying some Lycra bootcuts for £8. They’ll be comfy when I’m watching telly & feeding the baby at least!

    The morning of the class came. I got there early to psych myself up in the car. Practically sweating already from nerves and I’m not even in the class!

    I pretty much talked myself out of it but then remembered speaking to my 7 year old son, Max, that day while he ate his breakfast. “You got this Mum”. Gulp. Can’t let him down. Or Lily, who was in the car looking up at me expectedly.

    I took her out of the car and into her pram and walked in. Other mums around me were walking in and I judged how I’l thought I’d measure up. Was it too late to turn back?

    Finally I’m inside the studio, 10 yoga mats with weights are laid down in a semi circle with little baby play gyms in the middle for the babies.

    Lily stayed by my side in her car seat, she was the youngest there by a good few months so I wanted her close.

    The instructor welcomes me with a smile. I smile back hiding my fear!

    I can’t bring myself to look in the dance mirror which covers the entire wall so I focus on Lily.

    The beat starts. Not so much music. Beats. This isn’t a nice postnatal aerobics class. It’s HIT. High intensity Training. Bloody hell. 45minutes to go – 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off to breathe. Yes, you’re allowed 15 seconds. A whole 15 seconds to breathe.

    Gordon Bennett.

    I’m about 3 minutes in and we’ve already covered burpees and mountain climbers. Seriously. Google them if you don’t know what they are. Literally by the time it’s taken me to get down on the mat, the other mums are back up and on the next movement.

    7 minutes in and I am seriously considering walking out. But I don’t want to seem rude so I start thinking of other ways to get out asap.

    I could faint dramatically- I used to do drama, I’m sure I could make it believable. No, that’s not fair on Lily – they might call 999. They might call Social Services. I’d probably get arrested for wasting time. No. Can’t do that.

    By the time I’d come up with 3 alternative options I’d actually been in the class 30 minutes. Just do it, Hannah. 15 minutes left.

    And then It was over. I enjoyed the ‘cool down’ which was basically just stretching your arms. Sorted – I had that nailed.

    I made a quick exit after deciding I’m not quite ready for this level of intensity. I won’t be back. I’m proud at least for trying, but for now, I’m certainly more comfortable in a coffee house where my face is a relatively normal shade of pale and I can sit down. With no sweat patches.

    *******

    Read more from Hannah at https://mummyavecamour.wordpress.com/

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  6. dec 1

    This meme that Clare sent me on Facebook made me laugh so hard, for a few reasons.

    Firstly, because im actually 7 years old and i laugh at very simple things, and secondly because its so true. 

    I find that at this moment in my life with Sofia (Our 2 week old baby girl) im quite lucky, and why you may ask? well the answer is simple, boobs! Clare is breastfeeding Sofia so this means that i dont have to get up during the night and do the dreaded bottle feeding! 

    its not to say that i havent been up once or twice with a bottle of breastmilk, but Sofia just refuses to take the bottle full stop.

    Memes and more sleep aside, this made me sit down and think about breastfeeding in a little more depth. 

    We have flirted with breastfeeding our two boys before but them simply refused and preferred the formula, but this led to reflux, baby vomit, and trapped wind and so on, things that were just awful, and especially when its your first child, can be stressful.

    But this time, its different, its more relaxed, theres no vomit, theres no reflux, theres no standing in the kitchen making bottles at 3am and coating my arm with milk to make sure the temperature is right! 

    Sofia is calm, she lets out one or two small cries to indicate she is hungry, she feeds until she is full and content. She is getting more nutrients than she could ever possibly get from formula AND ITS NATURAL!

    Clare and I talked about breastfeeding all during this pregnancy and i fully support it, but initially, i was feeling weird, its almost like a stigma than some men have! but being fully on board with it, i do envy how close Clare and Sofia have become because of this, an important thing in the early weeks of both of their lives!

    But here in the UK there seems to be an issue surrounding public breastfeeding, and even social experiments have been carried out to highlight the issue! I even seen a facebook video where a lady feeding her baby was subjected to verbal abuse from two men, and another fella stood up for her and physically man handled the two abusers from the train at the next stop, unfortunately they got the guy arrested for assault i believe, but this was subsequently quashed in court.

    In an instance God forbid this happened to Clare i would certainly stand up for her, and if i wasnt there i would certainly hope someone else would step up.

    and ive taken some benefits from the NHS website which i have the link for you to look at:

    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/benefits-breastfeeding/

    So guys, if your partner is or wants to breastfeed, be supportive, be strong and help her! if she wants to change to formula, be assertive that she is doing a wonderful job, and encourage her to continue without being forceful! 

    Breast is Best!

    dec 2

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