The hotMaMa Diaries Blog - Breastfeeding blog and parenting blog

Breastfeeding and parenting blog

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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  1. BLOG-TITLE-11-Lessons-ALL-2“I am proud of many things in life, but nothing beats being a mother.”
    Unknown

    1. You don’t care about being naked, seriously! Before I had E, I used to have an anxiety attack before each and every PAP appointment. I actually had an “after school special” at work deciding on whether I should get a Brazilian for birth, such trivial things but those were my absolute concerns, now HA, the number of times I’ve had to strip down during the pregnancy/birth process, I could care less!
    1. No one and I mean NO ONE’S OPINION MATTERS. This is something you will learn once you’re visibly pregnant. The amount of “out of left field” advice I got was mind-boggling. I remember being told everything from my clothes were too tight to I’m starving myself because I’m vain.

    What many people didn’t know is, I was sick the entire 41 weeks of my pregnancy. So I only gained about 5 pounds (my mother had the same kind of pregnancy), so people were always commenting that I wasn’t eating or I was starving my baby to be skinny, when it was the total opposite, I was eating like crazy, but nothing would stay down (if you can imagine I was actually sick while making a left turn at a busy intersection, FML). Just like the unsolicited advice I got while pregnant it only snowballed after birth. What I didn’t realize back then is sometimes it’s better just to smile and nod than to fight the advice.

    Everyone is going to have an opinion on how you should raise your child and what you should be doing, DO YOU! You know your baby the best, and you’ll have to deal with the repercussions of the advice so only do what makes you feel comfortable.

    1. Breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone. I’ve had people shame me (to my face) for not breastfeeding my daughter, and all I’ve got to say is, do what works for you and your family. I believe that FED IS BEST.
    1. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. I used to say I’ll never co-sleep. My baby will be in her crib from day one. Well, it wasn’t until she was 4.5 months that we started sleep training her, so before that, she was in our bed, every night, sleeping on top of me. So go with the flow and never say never. Diverse-group-of-ten-babies-playing-157429705_13946x3585
    2. Do not compare your pregnancy or your child to anyone else. No two pregnancies (even from the same mother) are the same so how can you expect your baby to develop the same as another? Trust me, all you’re going to do is set yourself up for disappointment. Enjoy your baby’s milestones, they’re their own perfect human and should never be compared

    3. Sleep when the baby sleeps is shit advice. I’m sorry. If I slept when E slept, nothing would get done.

    4. Mom groups are a godsend. My #octoberpumpkins are the reason I’m still sane. We have meet ups and subgroups; they’re always there when I need them, and a couple of them live close by, so maternity leave hasn’t been too lonely.

    5. You’re stronger (mentality and physically) than you think. I’ve never gone on 3 hours of sleep and still functioned enough to clean the entire house and host a dinner party, but this mom is tougher than she used to be!

    6. Make sure you’re looking after yourself. I always use this example; you know how on a plane they say put your mask on first and then help your family? Makes sense right? If you’re not okay how will you look after your little miracle? Obviously, baby’s needs are important but make sure you’re looked after as well.

    7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While you are tougher than ever, sometimes you’ll need some help, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask family or a close friend.

    8. You’re doing great! I know sometimes it may seem like you’re failing, but baby doesn’t know. Don’t sweat the small things – you’re trying, and that’s all that matters.

     

    DEE HAIDER is a mother, blogger and wannabe farm girl living in a suburban city in Ontario, Canada. While on maternity leave her days are filled chasing her extremely loud daughter and two cats that have an insane amount of personality. She blogs to keep herself somewhat sane, writing about her personal style, life as a busy mum, and interior design. Check out her fun-loving and honest lifestyle blog at theHaiderHouse or find her on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook. 

  2. JulyI am still breastfeeding my daughter well into toddlerhood and the experience has been so rewarding watching my child thrive and grow.

     

    I always knew I wanted to breastfeed even before falling pregnant. While I was pregnant the thought did seem daunting to me. I came from a small family and was the first of my cousins to fall pregnant, and the first in my friendship circle too. I had not really seen anyone breastfeed their baby in front of me. 

     

    Although breastfeeding is natural, it doesn't always come easily and is a learned art. Like any new skill, you will get better with practice.

     

    Here are my 6 tips for success:

     

    1. Get educated BEFORE the baby arrives

    I can't stress this enough. Let me tell you when that baby comes you won't have time to shower let alone read up on breastfeeding. Most babies breastfeed within an hour of being born, so it pays to learn what to do well before your baby is due. Please guys if you do any online research, make sure you are seeking good quality information from reliable sources. I would recommend reading some good books instead though. Learn about all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding, and all the facts and myths. Mentally preparing yourself is so important. 

     

    2. Sign up to a breastfeeding course

    During your second trimester you may attend a breastfeeding course. The NHS and breastfeeding support groups such as La Leche League UK offer some amazing courses.  Run by a qualified educator they will cover important content like: the first feed, skin-to-skin contact, positioning, attachment, milk supply, partner roles and common concerns. They will allow plenty of time for questions and will give you information to take home with you.

     

    3. Stock up on the necessities

    Look, lets me real here, you don’t really need anything to breastfeed other than a comfortable chair. But if you want to be super prepared here is a list of some items which you may want to purchase: a few nursing tops (or button ups) that are easy to pull down, a few good supportive nursing bras, nursing pads, cream for sore nipples and frozen gel packs. Some mums also find it helpful to have a rocker, a sling, a pump, breast milk storage bottles or bags, or a nursing pillow, but you can do fine without these.

     

    4. Be educated about how labour can affect breastfeeding

    You can improve your odds for successful breastfeeding if you can reduce or limit interventions during labour. Attend the labour course run by your hospital to get more information and ask plenty of questions.

     

    5. Know your body

    Check to see whether you have inverted nipples. Do not worry if you have inverted nipples, just know that there are devices which you may need to use to help you.

     

    6. Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after you deliver.

    Babies who are breastfed within the first hour generally have more successful breastfeeding experiences than those who aren’t. Give plenty of skin-to-skin contact with your baby.

    July2

    Nina Belle (aka Judgy Mummy), is a 30-year-old Australian blogger, wife and mother. A breastfeeding advocate, Nina is successfully breastfeeding her 20-month-old daughter. Passionate about breastfeeding she aims to inspire and encourage other women to breastfeed their children well into toddlerhood. Nina also writes about pregnancy, baby topics, parenting and fun DIY activities. Her blog is www.judgymummy.com

     

  3. In a world where millions of people can be reached in the time it takes to post an emoji, these are meant to be the most connected, the most engaged of our history. And yet despite all of these advances, these opportunities and methods of communication, people, including new mothers, are still suffering in silence from something that you would think no longer exists in the 21st century: loneliness. Myself, as a first-time mother, included.

    According to the Office for National Statistics this year: "In the UK, 5% of people aged 15 and over reported feeling lonely most or almost all of the time in the week (...)"

    I'm a happily married 31 year old who had her daughter 'R' fifteen months ago. For context, I live with my husband in a lovely small town in Cheshire but sadly, our closest family live 120 miles away. My friends consist of a mix of ex and current colleagues, university friends, and a new social group of local mums who had babies around the same time I had mine. Little R is my only child and I have felt repeatedly lonely since she was born.

    A few hours after my daughter was born, she was taken away from me and admitted into Special Care with suspected meningitis. Even writing this, I can't stop the tears smarting my eyes. It should have been the most joyful, love-filled memory and yet I can still picture myself sitting in a side room of the hospital, with an empty chair where my husband should have been (he was sent home), and an empty cot where my baby should have been. That was the first, but not the last, moment I felt truly lonely.

    Loneliness should not be confused with being alone. You can easily be alone, or be just you and baby, and not feel one iota lonely - in the same way you can be in a room full of friends or other new mothers and feel so desperately isolated from everyone in that space that you hide in the toilet with your baby and cry (she says from experience.)

    An article by the Daily Mail said: "In a new survey, commissioned by AXA PPP healthcare and Netmums, more than a quarter of first-time mums admit to feeling lonely, with 24 per cent also admitting they had no family nearby to help with the workload of caring for a young child."

    Yep, that'll be me then! But at the time, I didn't realise I felt this way as I was trying to overcome separation anxiety from my baby (you can read my blog post on this here) and I hadn't really thought about loneliness as a first-time mother. After all, how can you be lonely when you have another human being with you 24/7I had a rough start with Little R being in Special Care, and also with a multitude of breastfeeding complications (tongue-tie, mastitis, low milk supply, bleeding that caused R to vomit  blood...) but the love I felt for my daughter meant my every waking (and often sleeping) moments were about her, what she needs and wants above my own needs and wants. Feeling lonely was just 'one of those things' - and that it wouldn't stop me doing the activities I felt I *had* to do with Little R.

    Then one day I had spent a whole day at home because R's sleep was so erratic and I didn't want to disrupt her routine (are you nodding along there?) Out of the blue a friend dropped in for a cuppa on her way home from work to see how I was and I preceded to sob my heart out and utter four life-changing words: "I feel so alone." That was the breakthrough.

    After finally admitting it to myself (and my poor friend), I was then able to identify what triggered those feeling, and know when I needed to ask for help. My triggers were trying to fit in all the chores during baby's very short nap times, often crying in the sink and desperately wishing I wasn't doing this on my own. I was also worst in the period between my husband leaving work (which is erratic, as he works away a lot) and waiting for him to come home; that countdown was my nemesis as I felt chained to the house due to feeding/nap time routines but was very ready for someone (anyone) to be there, talk to me, make me a cup of tea or simply provide enough of a distraction that I could 'let go' whatever was overwhelming me at the time. Once I had established a pattern, I was able to put things in place that made me feel supported when I suspected I may need that the most, with the love and support of my husband, friends and family.

    If you're reading this and feel the same then I urge you to do what I did and speak out. Whether it's to your partner, a friend, your GP, your health visitor, or even a neighbour, everyone deserves to feel like they have someone to turn to in a moment of need. You'll be surprised just how many people will be there for you, so long as you are brave enough to speak out. I urge you to be brave. After all, becoming a mother is the bravest thing you will ever do and you've already done that bit.

    Laura Tweedale
    Styles by nature (no longer by name)
    https://stylesbynature.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. Birth
     
    Nine days ago I gave birth. 
     
    Well there's a sentence I never thought I'd say. After the trials and tribulations of IVF we finally had a little buglet growing inside of me and for nine months I waited until I would get to meet my longed for daughter. Then, nine days ago I gave birth. I did not only give birth to  a child, I gave birth to motherhood and fatherhood and a family was born. 
     
    Right from the start I was determined to breastfeed, after all breast is best and how hard can it be when it's something so natural? What a naive woman I was! In the hospital colostrum feeding for me was a doddle and seemed to still give me a good few hours to have dinner, get dressed and shower. But, then my milk came flooding in and oh my goodness it was everywhere. I felt like every time I fed, little girl would be choking and coughing in my body's overwhelming desire to satiate this gift that I had always yearned for. My nipples were raw mounds of blistering stumps and getting a good latch seemed my one purpose in life. My Scarlett was amazing, I felt like my baby was teaching me, her natural instinct so innate and gorgeous that I needed to trust that she would feed when she needed. So, with the help of a team of incredibly dedicated midwives I learnt the little tips to look out for when latching and positioning and Little Miss Scarlett and I began to work as a proper team. The best advice I was given about the nipple pain? Well ladies if you buy a pair of Louboutins and they give you blisters do you give them back? Hell, to the no, you shove your blistered toes in time and time again until that shoe becomes as supple as a double-jointed gymnast. 
     
    So week one down, breastfeeding in full swing I thought I would give you my top ten tips on getting this shizzle prepped:
     
    1. Learn how to do everything one handed: opening drinks, eating dinner, carrying shopping, opening cupboards ... everything. In fact, practice now, try using chopsticks with everything and that's about the level of manual dexterity you can look forward to from now on.
     
    2. MUSLIN the hell out of life... these indispensable floaty tea towels can literally make or break a breastfeeding day. Without one on hand, all kinds of vom, milk floods, and boobage exposure can occur. Don't be fooled by the cute designs and colours these cloths do the business.
     
    3. A continuation of the MUSLIN theme: don't be afraid to go large. The bigger the better. Don't be modest about it, the larger it is the more uses it can have, a breast feeding cover, com collector, nappy changer, swaddle cover, sun protector...
     
    4. Be flexible, let's face it baby is going to inevitably pretend to die of hunger when you are in the middle of a packed city centre at closing time in the pouring rain. It's a given. But super mum just needs a pavement, umbrella, muslin and boob and the famine victim baby can be duly soothed.
     
    5. Master resting bitch face... people will stare, yes it's 2017 but, still the world seems to struggle with the fact that sometimes a baby needs a boob. If you can convey in a look the following (without having to articulate it) -"yes I'm breastfeeding and I don't give a fig what your opinion is on the matter, so jog on and go ruin someone else's view" - then you're saving yourself a lot of wasted energy and milk calories on speech.


    6. Lanosil is the nectar of the nipple Gods. This vastly overpriced (but I would pay the Earth if I had to) cream is the one thing that are going to save and toughen up those nipples ready for the next onslaught. You CANNOT have enough of the stuff. Take it with you everywhere like it's your new best friend... because it is. Baby can also breastfeed without the need to rub it off, which is an added timesaver bonus.

    7. Wear a watch. It doesn't have to be a fancy all singing, all dancing, jazz hands contraption. You just need to know how long you've been feeding for to see if they might need more if they come off for a small milk break and wind. Also... handy to see those booked appointments slip away into oblivion as mummy time takes over!

    8. Hydrate. Feeding makes you as parched as a flower in the Sahara desert, you are literally being drained women and those fluids need to be replaced. Pack those bottles like it's a military operation, because let's face it breastfeeding is!

    9. Snack attack. As well as thirst, breastfeeding turns you into a ravenous wolf, I have been raiding cupboards at 3am in the morning for sustenance, but plan a snack and you're be less likely to resort to half defrosted food (a sad but true occurrence).

    10. Entertainment. As entertaining and exciting as a newborn is, frankly staring at their mouth sucking your boobage after half an hour isn't really the most dynamic of activities. Try to have a magazine or plan a phone call to make sure you're relaxed and/or that baby can hear the soothing tone of your voice as you have a good old gossip with the girls.

    But in the end, never forget that what you are doing is incredible. Mothers I salute you, you are literally keeping a life alive and that my lovelies is a true miracle. 

     

    Article from the brilliant Lottie at www.justthegirlfitness.com.

    Lottie lives in the heart of the Cotswolds in beautiful Cheltenham and is a health and fitness professional teaching Baby Barre, Mat & Reformer Pilates, Dance & PT (both classes and one to one.) She is also available for Skype sessions so don't worry if you're not nearby, just drop an email and get in touch to get booked. When not chasing after baby Scarlett and buying excessive amounts of Lanolin, Lottie sets up Fitness and Food Events with food bloggers, fitness experts, and baby groups, as well as Fitness retreats for both mummy's and non mummy's. She is also a Wellness Columnist for Cotswold Living and Cotswold Allure. Essentially, Lottie is dedicated to empowering women and telling life as is it, so if you would like to get in touch about her services she would love to hear from you. Check out her website www.justthegirlfitness.com and give her an add on Instagram @just_the_girl_fitness
     
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  5. I have two boys, H is 3 in June and A is 6 months. I try and parent them both the same, although I am definitely more relaxed second time round (I haven't had him weighed since he was 6 weeks old..oops!) But there will always be one niggle of guilt there..I formula fed H. Before I start explaining, please let me say that I don't have a problem with formula and I'm not formula bashing. It kept my baby boy alive for the first year of his life, he's rarely ill and he's pretty smart too! The thing I do have a problem with though is the lack of support I had surrounding breastfeeding and that ultimately led to me formula feeding.

    I had a pretty difficult birth. It was an induction at 41+1, he was stuck in my pelvis and I ended up with an emergency section. I was 19 and a first time mum. I thought I had all the knowledge and I was ready to breastfeed. And I did, for 24 hours. Then on my second night, when H was building my supply, the midwives asked if I wanted them to take him and give him formula so I could sleep. I was exhausted and in pain so I agreed. I think this was the beginning of the end. From then on, I combination fed. I did see a breastfeeding support worker in hospital and she was amazing but once I was discharged, there was no help. A woman from the LLL (LaLeche League) came twice but she offered nipple shields and then refused to come again because he was over 6 weeks old. With no support, the breast milk feeds became less and less. I don't even remember the last time he fed from me. I feel so guilty about this because I should have been able to feed and sustain him. I am so angry that the support I needed wasn't there.

    So when I fell pregnant with A, I was so determined to succeed. The perfect prep stayed in the garage, I didn't buy formula and we only bought one box of bottles (for expressing). He fed perfectly off me and I got over the first painful few days and those awful after pains! But after a month, it was still painful. I saw my doctor who told me there was nothing wrong. Confused, I rang my health visitor out of desperation. I described the pain as though broken glass was being dragged through my nipple. Straight away, they said it sounded like thrush. Getting another appointment at my doctors was really difficult so I went to the pharmacy. They gave me oral gel and said it was ok to use on my nipples too. It isn't as it can't be absorbed properly to treat the thrush. In tears, I gathered up both boys and went back to the doctors. I cried and begged the receptionist to find me an appointment with a doctor that evening. By now, it was 5pm on a Friday and I knew if I didn't get help then, I'd give up over the weekend. Luckily, a wonderful doctor saw me and gave me the correct cream. I could have hugged him! Once the thrush had cleared up, it's been pretty smooth and we're still breastfeeding at 6 months!

    I've found wonderful support in online mummy friends (one is a trained breastfeeding support worker so she was invaluable to my success!) and a Facebook group too, especially in the early days. My mum and fiancé are amazing too, not letting me give up, letting me cry and moan whenever it's bad. There's also a breastfeeding support café 5 mins away, I haven't been but I know it's there if I need it.

    Breastfeeding isn't easy. It's painful, hard work and sometimes feels never ending. But it's so, so worth it. Feeding A is the time I have with him. Just me and him. These are moments I'll cherish forever.

    Read more from wonderful mama at her main blog over at https://peanutandsprout.wordpress.com/

  6. Breastfeeding definitely didn’t come naturally to me. I never imagined that I would enjoy it and the whole idea of it really freaked me out.
    The fact that I would be producing milk from these two fatty lumps that had been almost completely useless, other than to give my clothing shape, was absurd to me.
    Also, shape was a strong word, as I had the breasts of a prepubescent, slightly chubby boy. I mean honestly, I was pushing it to fill a B cup. I tended to wear bralettes, because why not? I enjoyed my flat chest, but to be the only source of food and drink for a baby? Absolutely ludicrous.
    So then it happened, I gave birth. So, on Day 1 the baby drinks around 1mL of colostrum, it’s nothing to write home about. The biggest news was that the entire hospital staff had touched my ever expanding nipples.
    I left the hospital after three days and nothing much had changed, my nipples were now sore from this little pipsqueak’s hoover suction cups, aka lips, tearing my poor delicate areolas. Then, Day 4 something magical happened… I awoke to the sight of the breast implants I’d never wanted! Huge, augmented breasts filled with what seemed like gallons of milk!
    Without the prying eyes of the midwives and nurses we found our flow and with no more discussion of ‘latching’ and ‘attachment’ she eased into feeding, positioning herself without too much guidance.
    I held my daughter close to feed and as she stared up at me with her shiny, happy blue eyes I was grateful that these once useless fatty lumps had found their purpose. With a full tummy she fell asleep on my lap, tiny hands curled around my arm, my heart filled with joy.
    I found myself enjoying, so much, the time that we spent together feeding. Her little face looking up at me, often smiling and spilling sticky milk on my clothing. We cuddled a lot and I felt a sense of security strengthening within her, it was a safe place for her to be. At times she would just want to drink to be close and cuddle, overwhelmed in a world that was so big, new and strange.
    Feeding in public in Northern Australia, in the summer, was a challenge for me. I felt uncomfortable exposing myself and I felt a sense of judgement. Thankfully over the next two months we travelled to Italy, where I felt the freedom of feeding in the most beautiful piazzas in the world, under the safety of winter’s loose shirts and scarves.
    Sitting under the Duomo in Florence, with my hungry baby being fed was a great experience. At first it was daunting, but after walking for hours and offering only chamomile tea I knew that it was necessary. One of the busiest places in Italy, definitely the busiest in Tuscany, perched on an old stone bench I fed her… and nobody cared. The feeling of anonymity and acceptance at the same time was freeing.
    From that point on I felt empowered to feed wherever I needed to. Once, in a restaurant after lunch, once at the beach, but everywhere without fear and with pride of doing what was best for my little love.
    Now, almost six months later, I feel so content that I can be free from any feeling of shame or guilt, knowing that if she is hungry she should eat, as everyone else would. I feel so overwhelmed with the bond that we have created through feeding and so grateful that I can be both her source of nourishment and security, by doing just what nature intended.
    So, to those B-cup, useless lumps: I applaud you. You were so useful after all!

    Post submitted by Candice at A Pocket Full of Stars Blog.  Click here to read more of her blog.

    Breastfeeding blog, mama blog