Hi I'm Rachael and im a 25 year old gal living in Manchester with my fiance, our little boy Teddy who arrived May 2017 and our two fur babies! I run a parenting and lifestyle blog, from Rachael Claire where I share the ups and downs of being a first time mummy. Along with more personal posts, blogging tips and updates. Thank you so much for letting me share this post here, it's one of my favourites...
you have read my blog for a while or follow me on social media, you will know that I exclusively breastfeed Teddy and have done since he was born four months ago. I have always been really open and honest about breastfeeding, sharing my Breastfeeding Journey and although it is possibly one of the hardest things I have ever had to do (a close second to building his fucking cot bed) I wouldn't change it for the world. I thought I would share all the things that breastfeeding has taught me, aside from needing nipples made of steel...
Trust Your Body..
Whenever I read parenting books, they always talk about baby feeding on a schedule, how many oz's they should have at what age so when you are breastfeeding & feeding on demand like I do, it's hard to know what's right & wrong. It's also hard to trust your body to make exactly what your baby needs! When you can't physically see how much your baby is drinking it's hard to know for definite that your baby is getting enough & you constantly second guess yourself. If they are being fussy or feeding all the time, you worry that you aren't making enough milk. If you decide to express some milk but only manage to pump an oz or two, you worry that that is all your baby is getting (which I can't stress enough is NOT the case!). The first time we got Teddy weighed, I was shitting my pants. He had fed like hangry wildebeest and was constantly attached to my boob but I still worried that he hadn't gained weight or wouldn't have gained much. I needn't have worried though as at his first weigh in when he was 5 days old, he had only lost 4% of his weight, whereas a lot of babies lose up to 10%. He has gained weight rapidly ever since and now I have complete faith that my body is making the exact right amount and I've learnt to just let it & Teddy do it's thing.
Take it from me, there is nothing worse than settling down for a mammoth feeding session (especially in the early days where you constantly have a small human attached to you) & realising you haven't got the TV remote, your phone is on the other side of the room & you've only got a spiteful of your drink left. Preparation is KEY! Before you sit your ass down and whip the bad-boys out, grab your phone & the remote. Go into the kitchen and make yourself a large drink, I always have mine in a large sports bottle so I can have it right next to me on the sofa & won't need to worry about it spilling. Have a large variety of snacks on hand; some in the living room in a drawer and MOST importantly, a large selection in your bedside drawer ready for the night feeds! Night feeds are a right ball ache but knowing that you have a Galaxy cake bar or a Crunchie waiting for you to devour, makes the three hourly wake ups that little bit easier. Also be prepared for the moment that your baby decides to rip their mouth off your boob and have a fountain of milk spurting in all damn directions!
Savour The Moment..
I know it's hard when you feel like you've been up all night or when you actually HAVE been up all night, but try to enjoy the moments. I've learnt that time really does fly by when you have a baby and although it feels like it at the time, this won't last forever. Before we know it they'll be grown up and whipping your boob out to comfort them & nourish them will no longer be acceptable. Or wanted. I can't see Teddy being happy at me chasing around after him with my boob out when he's ten...
If you follow me on Twitter (@Rchi_B) you will know that recently Teddy hasn't been sleeping the best and spends the night almost constantly feeding & as much as I have been complaining, there are some nights when feeding him is my favourite. We're all snuggled up in bed, he gives me his sleepy smile and I know he is perfectly safe, milk-drunk and content. Savour the moments. They'll be over before you know it. It's so hard to get caught up in the whirlwind of motherhood that you forget to just sit and cherish the moments. Cherish our babies being babies. We are constantly waiting for the next milestone, the next month or year that we forget to sit & just be.
It Will Get Easier..
As I said, breastfeeding is one of the hardest thing in the world. You are solely responsible for nurturing your child. You have the heavy burden, particularly in the newborn days of; hormones that are going haywire, engorged boobs, up all night for the feeds all whilst recovering from giving birth! Your other half just sits there with their useless ass nipples, loving life. Fuckers....
I promise it will get easier, all of it. Soon your hormones will calm down and although you may still have moments where you want to cry at the slightest thing, your boobs will calm down & not feel like they are going to erupt if your baby goes longer than two hours between feeds..
My Body Is Fucking Amazing..
If I do say so myself. Not only have I carried a baby & birthed a baby, all be it with a little help, I am now 100% feeding my baby. Any Mama, whether her breastfeeding journey be short or long lived should feel this way. There are fleeting moments where I will sit and just be in awe of my body. Especially on the days where I have had Teddy weighed and see he's piling on the pounds. I did that. Me. All by myself. It's crazy thinking that we can actually make, just with our bodies, milk. One that our babies can solely use to survive. Aaron may sit there happy as a pig in shit with his worthless nipples, but mate..who is really winning? My body grew, birthed and nurtures our baby, What does yours do? Fuck all!
I am in no way saying that if you formula/bottle feed, that you are any less of a good mother. At the end of the day, who cares how your baby is fed, as long as they are! I salute every single woman on this planet who is raising a child. It's fucking hard work.
People only post things online that they want others to see, you need to remember this when scrolling through your news feeds. You see the ‘perfect insta mums’ who have their sh#t together, but in reality.. is that the truth? Spotless houses with not a random toy or a pack of wetwipes in site, but really they are only showing you what they want you to see. You don’t see the toddler tantrums, you see smiley happy faces. You don’t see messy houses, you see tidy living rooms. You don’t always see the whole truth.
I have always been envious of Instagram accounts that have those perfect themes, white backgrounds, everything matching & nothing is out of place but then I remember that they are only showing you what they want you to see. You don’t see the mess in the room next door..So when you’re desperate to be ‘one of them’ please remember this.
There are so many things that we ‘fake’ online, perfection being just one of them. Clothing & Appearance being another, we are all guilty of it. With Instagram filters & different editing tools a lot of us have come experts at making us look nothing like ourselves, I for sure do not have bunny ears or funky glasses but on Instagram stories I do. I understand the reasoning behind editing your photo’s, I went through a stage when I was about 13 of editing my face on picmonkey so much that I looked like an oompa loompa with a blurry face. I guess we think “Well if I can make myself look better, why wouldn’t I?” Umm, because its not you.. Its not real. When you see the meme’s saying “Stop editing your photo’s, what if you go missing? How can we find you if you look like beyonce online and chewbacca in person” while this is quite a harsh way of putting it, its true.
Recently I have seen quite a lot of hate on one particular Instagram account, where a mum is posting her everyday life as a stay at home parent. This mum is like every other mum on Instagram, the only difference being that she is posting her bad days as well as her good days. This does not mean that she is seeking attention or that she is a bad parent, this is because she is real. Parenting is hard work at times, my little girl is my absolute world, but my god she drives me batty at times and I think its important that we all know that which is why I for one will not sugarcoat my experiences as a young mum.
Post what you want, but stop sugarcoating sh#t. We’re all just winging it really, lets be honest..
A little Bit About Mummy & Liss:
I'm Zoe, 19 years old and a young mama to Alyssia Grace. I run a parenting & lifestyle blog over at www.mummyandlissblog.com where I talk about all things mummy, toddler & baby related and love sharing my experiences as a young mum. I run my own guest post series called the #YoungMumsProject and you can find me on facebook, twitter & instagram.
It’s not all doom and gloom when you become a Mum, you know. People will bang on about how little sleep you’ll be getting and how you’re always spending money on the kids instead of yourself... Well, I guess they’re somewhat true but, they’re only negative things if you let them be negative things.
Since having Millie, I’ve probably taken it upon myself to do more things for myself than what I did before I had her. I started blogging properly when I was pregnant with Millie, documenting my pregnancy and sharing her birth story too. Since then, I’ve dabbled in many things to try and give me something else to focus on and something that is just for me! I even did a degree with the Open university and I graduated last year!!
Some may call me crazy and I’ve always got people asking me ‘How do you do it!?’ and the simple answer is, I do it because I want to.
I have a few hobbies that have stuck with me over the years, and since having Mylo, have taken up a few more too. As mentioned, I have had my blog, www.notyouraverage.co.uk for nearly 5 years now - it’s my place to zone out, my way to be creative and talk about things I want to talk about, being with a 4 year old and a 7 month old all day is draining and it’s my escape sometimes. Knowing I can tap tap away or sit with a coffee and read through posts is relaxing to me and I really enjoy it.
Along with writing my blog, I also have my own handmade earring business, Pixel Stones. I make and sell these earrings to friends and family and it’s just something to give me a little bit of pocket money and I actually find it really relaxing! Make sure you take a look at the website.
I also am a Younique rep - Younique is a makeup brand which specifically is sold by reps all over the world. I joined Younique 2 years ago now because I just really liked the makeup and thought it’d be a nice way to get some extra cash in. 2 years later, I still love it and all of the products and it’s actually paid for a lot of Christmas presents! I also love the meaning behind why Younique was founded and it’s to help and support, including raising money, for victims of sexual violence. You can read more about it on their website if you like.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m super busy but that’s how I like it. I like knowing I have things to do during the day and the sense of achievement is fab. There’s nothing better than knowing there are some things out there just for you - no kids involved, but just a chance for you to be yourself. Having children was always something I knew I wanted but perhaps it just happened a little quicker than expected and is why I like to try and stay true to myself and ensure not everything is about the kids (even though it probably is!).
Do you have any hobbies or would you rather lap up parenthood whilst you can?”
Christmas is coming and this means one thing, more toys to litter my home!
My little boy doesn’t have massive amounts of toys but still, my house is being invaded by the large ride on toys, diggers, cars, Duplo and various tools (can you guess I have a boy?! My attempts to infiltrate gender-neutral toys has not worked!). My little boy would love more toys and far be it for me to deprive him of these but I do find myself shuddering as my dream of an ‘all wooden, picture-perfect, grand designs living room’ fades off into the distant abyss, as more and more VTech trash enters my world. (Like the dream living room could have been a reality anyway!)
So whilst I cant control what he receives, I may be able to influence Father Christmas and reduce the number of ‘treadable- swearables’ that will litter the floor of my house and eventually end up in the bin!
So here are some ideas for your little lodger‘s stocking this Christmas.
Stockings for me are one of the things that truly sums up Christmas for me. As a child, I have vivid memories of waking up in the morning with pure excitement to a bursting stocking, sometimes because my mother had decided to give us a box of tissues that year and it was literally bursting out! All of the gifts inside were cleverly chosen to capture our attention, stop is in our tracks and ensure we didn’t leave our beds for at least another hour, so Father and MotherChristmass could get an extra minute in bed!
So my little boy has recently turned two years old, so alongside some dramatic tantrums, and the rather annoying repetitive phase of” I do it” that haunts my getting out of the house in the morning, I also have a little monkey who likes to wake up early, 5:30am in fact! So my thinking this year is to get him to sit in bed for just one minute longer and let me and his dad have an extra minute in bed and this is my attempt to take on the role of Mumma Christmas and begin the tradition again.
A recipe for a toddler stocking:
1# The token tangerine. Those aware of traditional Victorian traditions will know that an orange was a treasured thing and even nowadays a stashed tangerine in the change bag can be a godsend! So that goes in first.
2# Chocolate coins. Now, these are optional, I know the that Christmas is full of chocolate for kids so feel free to change these for other things, even raisins or apricots. I, however, am a gluten for punishment and will include these. Who wants to negotiate with a sugar-induced toddler having a tantrum? I do!
Stockist: Fairtrade Chocolate Coins (These are fancy pants ones but cheaper ones can be found in the supermarkets and pound shops, as I’m sure you know already!)
3# Socks. Now these may sound boring, and they are, but my boy always needs socks! Wrap them up several times will keep them occupied for at least a few minutes.
4# Buttons. My little man loves treasures so I shall be including a selection jar of buttons, found treasures and a few stones (of course) which I will wrap up and he can enjoy pouring them out, never to be found again, probably in his bed, or better yet our bed.
Hello, I'm Maya, a first time mum to a beautiful baby girl who is now 4 months old. I hadn't expected to become a mummy so soon but I have fallen in love with motherhood and my baby girl takes my breath away every time I look at her- I feel so lucky. I am now sharing my experiences and stories with you, so if you would like to read more feel free to check out my blog over at allthingspinkuk.com
For some reason being a young mum seems to give everyone the right to
pass judgment on you. Announcing a pregnancy often does cause a big
reaction and you would hope for it to be a positive one, but for most young
mums this is not the case. I guess I can't speak for everyone, but it seems as
though 9 times out of 10 a young female is faced with a mixed reception
when she shares her news. The negative comments received often take over
the initial excitement of it all, and to me it just doesn't seem fair. I mean,
would you turn round to an older woman who just announced she was
expecting and respond with, 'was it planned?'. Or 'are you going to keep it?'
Having a baby is a blessing and whether it's a surprise or if you've been
trying for months, what has that got to do with anyone else.
In my case those were the most common questions that were thrown at me,
but I also had the pleasure of receiving sly digs from those who felt I'd like
to hear their opinion, (I didn't!). They would say things like, 'it's a shame
you won’t get to do the things you'd hope to', and 'don't you wish you had
experienced life a little?'. Well first of all, for that individual to insinuate
that I won't be getting the opportunity to do everything I wished is
completely wrong. I am just as motivated, if not more, and in as good a
position as any to still go out their and achieve every single dream I have on
my bucket list. This idea people seem to have stewed in their minds about
younger mums being restricted to living a life of changing nappies, and
wiping noses are completely ludicrous. My daughter is the driving force
behind everything I do now, and she will always come first but she hasn't
taken over my individual identity. As much as I am a mother, I am also a
writer, a friend, a girlfriend, an actress, a business woman and all the other
things I choose to be.
So I would love to know where these ideas stem from; and why people
think that at a younger age you are less adequate to raise a child. Being a
new mother already puts you under the spotlight as it is. All the health
checks and midwife appointments after baby is born aren't set up as tests,
but I can't help but feel nervous, as they sit there watching me handle my
new born. Before they pull out their scales, weighing her to make sure she's
put on enough weight, and checking her body for any marks. I wait with
anticipation, almost to get the all clear that I'm doing things right. Then of
course there are the visitors that come round after the birth to see you, and
silently judge whether or not they think you're a good mum. It soundspretty cynical of me I know, but I don't think it's a conscious decision to
witness a situation, and not create an opinion in your own head. I have
huge amounts of admiration for younger mothers, because they have to
deal with all of that, as well as the judgments people pass on their age. It's a
lot. One of the inspirations I had for writing this post came from a
collection of comments my health visitor made during our 3 week check up.
After seeing my daughter was a healthy weight, that I was managing to
breastfeed, and that everything else was okay, she light-heartedly said, 'I
have to say I'm impressed with how well you're doing'. Before adding, 'you
would put some of the older mums to shame'. I know she intended for these
comments to be complimentary, but it came across in a condescending
way. Her words subtly communicated her opinion that she was surprised
by the positive example I had made of a new mother; having expected me
to be struggling a lot more in comparison to those who are older. Well I'm
glad I was able to "impress"! but you shouldn't have had such little faith in
me in the first place.
So in conclusion here's what kind of "young mum" I am... I'm kind,
thoughtful and loving. I'm a little bit silly and have a playful nature. I get
worried about little things, so am constantly checking in with Google. I'm
completely besotted with my baby, my boyfriend and our little family. I'm
excitable, and get giddy about the future, and watching my baby grow. I'm
imperfect, but I learn from my mistakes. I'm super organised, and obsessed
with items having their own place. I love the company of friends, but also
the company of social media! I'm squeamish but have a high tolerance for
pain. I love putting together outfits for my daughter every morning. I still
hold my breath when I change her pooey nappies. I try and take her out
every day, mostly to keep my own sanity. I am learning on the job, but I'm
motherhood's most keen student.
...Is that so different to every other mum? Do those qualities show that I am
young in age? And if they do are they bad qualities to have in Mum?
Throughout my first pregnancy I did absolutely no research or preparation for breast feeding. It was one of those things I just assumed was going to be easy. I did attend one of the free NHS classes on breast feeding where they make you hold a doll and a knitted titty for practise, which I'm sure we'd all agree is pretty useless. There was no mention of difficulties you may come across and it was all made to sound very dreamy and beautiful.
Dreamy and beautiful it was...for perhaps the first couple of weeks. Junior was born with an infection which meant he was rushed to the hospital’s neonatal unit for special care. Despite the tubes in his mouth and nose to help regulate his breathing, I was able to breast feed him with ease. After a week, he had responded well to antibiotics and gained enough weight for us to take him home, where the feeding continued to be a success. After week two however, his appetite increased to the point where he was feeding constantly, probably around 90% of the day he was latched on. This obviously took its toll on my nipples and I was in absolute agony. I found the Community Midwives and Health Visitors quite unsympathetic and unhelpful, simply telling me it was normal and to persevere, rather than recommending any helpful solutions. As a new mum, I knew nothing about products available that might help like nipple shields and lanolin cream, and there was no mention of these from the medical staff.
By this time, I was really struggling with the pain and Junior was clearly starving. My husband suggested trying some formula, which I really didn’t want to do but seeing how distressed both me and Junior were, he insisted. So off he went to buy all the kit we needed and after just 2 ½ weeks old, Junior had his first taste of formula milk. He gulped it down in seconds and fell asleep for hours. After this we never looked back. Obviously I had the guilt almost every day, and I have to say, I know a lot of people talk about public breast feeding shamers but I found the amount of criticism I got when formula feeding in public far outweighed when I breast fed. Seeing how much more content Junior was made it worth it though. For the following 4 to 5 months, I persisted with a small amount of breast feeding alongside the formula. I still feel regret sometimes that I should have tried harder, but I look at Junior today and he is a happy, healthy boy with good eating habits so we must have done something right.
Following this challenging experience with Junior, I have felt super determined and motivated to make it more of a success with my twins. During the pregnancy I focussed a lot of my time on preparation for breast feeding, making sure I had all the right kit and getting myself well informed by reading loads of books and info online. I bought a brilliant twin feeding cushion made by Peanut & Piglet, something I genuinely don't think I could have tandem fed without! Other things on my shopping list included a decent supply of nipple cream, nipple shields, washable breast pads and a double electrix breast pump. I began hand expressing colostrum during the final couple of weeks before the birth and froze it; this meant I had a small stash for those first few days, which just took the pressure off me a little at a time when milk production and supply can be unpredictable and often insufficient. I wish someone had told me about colostrum harvesting first time around! It was also so nice to later see my husband feed them in the hospital with the colostrum I'd expressed.
The twins are now more than a month old and as I write this I'm sat on the sofa breast feeding them. I'll be honest, it's not been easy (particularly during the hot weather!) but I think I have a better attitude this time around and have not put any pressure on myself which has ultimately made me relax into it better. I think it's also helped that the girls are nowhere near as hungry as Junior was. The key thing about the twins has been feeding them in tandem; if I didn't stick to feeding them together I would literally be feeding every hour of the day. I've also discovered some great tips about "lactogenic" foods from Hilary Jacobson's book 'Mother Food." I've been amazed at how much diet can affect my supply and fenugreek supplements have been my saviour. We've introduced a bottle of formula at bedtime every night and unlike last time, I feel absolutely no guilt about this. The girls love their bottles and it's nice to share the work with my husband, not to mention the extra sleep they get when they've had it! It's a welcomed moment of peace and calm that the whole household appreciates. I'm now focussing on expressing more so I can build up a supply in the freezer. This will give me more freedom both at home but also when I go out. As I'm trying to keep the girls fed together, I'm forced to use bottles when out and about as tandem nursing in public is pretty impossible, so that supply of expressed milk is really important for my sanity!
I'm still on the journey and I know there will be highs and lows ahead, particularly as the girls go through growth spurts, but I'm proud of what I've achieved so far. If you'd told me during my son's first couple of months when I was a hormonal and emotional new mum with no idea what I was doing, that in 4 years time I'd be successfully breast feeding twins, I would have laughed in your face. My biggest advice to anyone about to embark on a similar journey is just to prepare as much as you possibly can...read read read, learn as much as you can about what to expect, talk to others who've been through it and absolutely 100% do not put any pressure on yourself; that way you'll actually be able to enjoy the experience.
Post submitted by Amy, a thirtysomething brit mum of three (including twins!)