We made it!

I can’t believe it but he’s 6 months old this week! Where has half a year gone? It seems it has gone in a flash but at the same time I feel like I’ve known him forever. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster and a massive learning curve but also the most amazing adventure of my life. I have had down days when it has been so hard I’ve sobbed ( I mean proper crying, like a child) and there have been days where I have thought I might combust with happiness. I’m not often proud of myself but during the past 6 months… actually during the past 15 months (including preganancy) I have indulged in a little self respect and pride. I have been amazed at what the human body can achieve and how much we can endure. Here is a list of reasons why I am proud and why other mothers should be too:

1. I grew a human! And it was really difficult at times. Nausea, exhaustion, pain. Pregnancy throws a lot of challenges at you but we overcome them knowing that our babies are growing happily inside. In the third trimester I also suffered from symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), swelling and high blood pressure but everything was always forgotten when I felt him wriggle and kick.

2. I went through labour and surgery. I surprised myself during labour. I handled the pain better than I expected. Although it was tough…really tough…. the strongest thing I felt was excitement. I was finally going to meet my baby! I was doing OK and managing the pain with gas and air but was really disappointed that everything came to a standstill at 9cm dilated and my (rather large) baby was back to back. By this point it was going so slow I needed some extra pain relief and I went on a drip to help me fully dilate but after another wait there was no progress. When I was told I needed a caesarian I felt like I’d failed. All that hard work, so close to the finish line and I couldn’t quite make it… not on my own anyway. I’ve got nothing against having a c-section. I think whatever is the safest way for mother and baby is best but going all the way is something I really wanted to achieve and after all that contracting I felt it was my right as a woman to birth my child. It wasn’t to be. Turns out having a spinal block when your contracting is pretty tough ‘keep still’ they said ‘lean forward’ they said. I can’t! I’m in pain and have a massive bump in the way!! Recovering from surgery with a newborn is pretty tricky too. So I just want to say ‘well done body, you tried and we got our baby here in the end!’

3. I’ve fed my child myself. Breastfeeding is exhausting, its frustrating and its awkward but somehow, amazingly I’ve managed to do it for 6 months. I know not everyone is able to breastfeed so I am truly grateful that I can. I wouldn’t have managed without the support of midwives and my husband but mostly I was just really determined. Arlo’s tongue tie resulting in poor latch, oversupply, fast letdown, too much fore-milk, reflux/allergy- whatever breastfeeding threw at us we did what we could to overcome it. There have been a lot of tears but we have really tried. It turns out that Arlo’s reflux could possibly be an allergy (most likely to cows protein). It explains a lot. It explains why feeding has been even more of a challenge than it should have been for us both but we have made it this far and I hope some goodness has got into him even if it has upset his system too! I want to continue for as long as I can before returning to work and I am in the process of cutting foods out of my diet in order to find the allergen. I had already tried eliminating things but chose lactose free products or soya which apparently are not good enough so sticking to oat/ rice/ oil based products instead. I hope I can find out whats causing the problem. I really want my baby to be comfortable and I’m not ready to give up breastfeeding just yet, although even if I did there’s the issue of him not taking bottles- read my ‘Battle of the bottle’ post, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it!

4. I am alive! My baby is alive and we are happy :). I am ssoooooooo tired but I have survived 6 months of motherhood and although there have been a few issues with feeding/ sleep/ illness along the way for the most part Arlo is happy and thriving. Don’t get me wrong there are times when you miss the freedom and  feel like you are going crazy but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Becoming a mother is all I’ve ever wanted. This is just the beginning, there is so much more to come. I can’t wait for all the next milestones and all the exciting things we will be able to do as a family. It’s going to be so fun!

If you are a mother or a father there is a lot you should be proud of too. You are raising a little person and that it amazing. Go you!

peace2

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Battle of the bottle – Doidy Cup Review 

One of the biggest battles we have had  since having Arlo is getting him to drink anything from something other than a breast!! I’m sure I am not alone in trying to get my baby to take milk/ water from a cup or bottle. Problem is I really need him to do this so that someone else can care for him while I go out to…..well….. anywhere. Don’t get me wrong I love being with Arlo and breastfeeding him is a lovely time to bond and have cuddles (well saying that breastfeeding has become enjoyable now– it was pretty tricky to begin with but thats another story). But there are times when I need to go out without him for example to an exercise class, out with friends (a few hen dos coming up) and to work. Wherever I go I won’t be able to concentrate and enjoy myself as I will be panicking that he will spend the whole time screaming and the poor person looking after him will be desperately trying to comfort him/ feed him. I’m sure my husband/mum/mother-in-law are more than capable of dealing with it but its not nice for then or for Arlo to be upset.

It’s frustrating as I tried really hard to do all the right things with feeding right from the beginning. Once breatfeeding was established at around 6 weeks we started to introduce the occasional bottle to get him used to it. We also made sure different people had a go at giving him the bottle in hope that he would not relate it to just one person. To start with he would take the bottle with fairly little fuss which was great. In fact Nana first babysat when he was 10 weeks old and he took a bottle & a half off her! But since then it has gone downhill and although he will sporadically take a few ounces here and there in general he will scream every time you get a bottle near him !

Trying to give him water is an even bigger battle! Breastmilk is his favourite thing so although he doesn’t like a teet as much as a boob at least the taste is familiar and like I said SOMETIMES he will take a few slurps. But then there’s water… plain boring water… water which he NEEDS if we want to get anywhere with this weaning! Weaning started off OK (as you may have read in one of my previous posts) but since starting solid food it seems Arlo’s gut has gone on strike and whatever goes in is NOT coming out … It’s not fair, just as the solids were sort of helping the reflux, along came constipation to ruin any progress we were making!

So we have been trying some different methods of getting water into him including different bottles, sippy cups, a syringe and a Doidy cup. The idea of a baby using cup without a lid seemed like a bad one but I thought it was worth a try as a few people had recommended it.

We bought ours from Amazon for £3.59 in a sparkly green colour. We have had a go at using it a few times now and so far Arlo is still working out what to do with it. He sort of laps the water at the edge but ends up dribbling most of it down his front. The slanted shape is good as he can see the liquid inside where as with his Tommy Tipee cup you have to learn to tilt and suck at the same time. Apparently when babies drink from a Doidy cup they use the same jaw movements as when they suck from a mothers breast so I guess it is more familiar to them. Arlo still needs some practice with this but we will persevere as its good training to use a proper cup. Also he seems calmer when I offer water in the Doidy cup. Even though most of it gets spilt at least he does not get as upset as when I put water in a bottle or syringe. 

I have also offered Arlo some expressed breastmilk in the Doidy cup. He responded it a similar way to the water (not much actually got drunk) but I think it might just take time and practise. I have also been struggling to express milk lately as my supply has slowed to match Arlo’s needs in the last month or so. If I want anything above what he normally takes it can be a struggle to produce it. This is so different to what it was like previously. I had an over supply and I had to pump before most feeds in order to not choke and gag my son!! I try to do a little bit of expressing here and there and i am slowing building up a stash in the freezer.

It would be brilliant if he took to the Doidy cup….or just any cup. It would definitely make things much easier. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Has anyone else had a battle with bottles? Perhaps you have a tip of what worked for your little one? I would love any advice!

Thanks for reading.

peace2

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Things I am grateful for #2

This fortnight I am grateful for many things but here are my top 6.

1. Calorific food! We have enjoyed lots of naughty but nice treats in the past two weeks including bacon, halloumi, pulled pork and chocolate. Of course it has also been pancake day which meant lots of tasty toppings. I don’t feel too bad as the health visitor has actually prescribed a high calorie diet in order to keep up my milk supply for my growing boy and help cope with the sleep deprivation by keeping my energy levels up!

2. Swimming. Arlo has been attending ‘water babes’ swimming lessons for a few weeks now. It started off really well but he then began getting very upset each time we went in the water. We have since started at a new pool with a much more calming instructor and he is beginning to enjoy it more. I have also found keeping him warm helps so we got him this star print wetsuit off Amazon. Its easy to get on and off as it has Velcro fastenings and was a bargain at £8. I’m looking into getting one with sleeves too for extra warmth! The Splashabout Baby Snug looks good.

3. Halfterm catch ups. Many of my friends are teachers as we met when we were studying education at uni. My sister-in-law is a deputy head and my mum is a preschool teacher plus I know lots of lovely teachers and TAs from work. So Arlo and I have had plenty of company this week catching up over tea and lunches with lots of gossip and cuddles!

4. A more content baby. Arlo’s reflux doesn’t look like it is shifting any time soon but as his body develops he appears to be able to cope with it better. I think feeding ‘little and often’ helps and trying to keep him as still as possible after feeds (which can prove to be tricky!) Over the last fortnight we have had more good days than bad where he appears to be more comfortable and has been able to get on with being his lovely, cute, smiley self!

5. Sunshine! We have had some glorious bursts of sunshine over the past couple of weeks and it’s been lovely. We went to Urban Reef cafe/bar on Boscombe seafront two Sunday’s ago and the weather was beautiful. We were sat outside in the sun and had to take our coats off, it was so warm. Scummy burgers too! We also currently only have one car now as the other is bust which has meant more walks with the pram for Arlo and I. But when the weather is so bright and cheerful its a pleasure to walk.

6.  Me time. I have managed (with the help of my husband) to sneak in some time for myself to achieve some simple pleasures such as doing my nails and enjoying bubble baths.

I hope you have had a great fortnight and have lots to be grateful for.

peace2

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Things I am grateful for

Life can be challenging and becoming a mother means a lot more challenges have been thrown my way! When you are stressed you find yourself concentrating on all the negative things which means you can miss out on some of life’s joys. Therefore, it was my New Years resolution to become a calmer, more positive person who (attempts to) look for the good in different situations and let go of everything else. This is definitely easier said than done (especially when sleep deprived). One thing I am trying is to think of at least three things I am grateful for each day. I was surprised to find that even on a bad day I could manage to find something. Even it was something small, if it made me feel happy, I was grateful for it. Gratitude is a wonderful thing as I believe part of being happy is being content with what we do have rather than what we don’t. I have kept a log of gratefulness in a diary but would like to share some of it on my blog in hope that it may inspire others to think about what they are grateful for. I don’t want to overload you therefore to begin with I will share just six things I am grateful for each fortnight.

This fortnight I am grateful for (in order of photos – left to right):

1. Naps with Arlo. Arlo has never been a great sleeper (as you might of read on my first post). Therefore I spend most of my time walking around like a zombie trying to function like a normal person. Usually he naps when I am out and about and he sleeps in the car seat or pram but a few times  over the past two weeks I have managed to snuggle with him on our bed and catch a few z’s. Just enough to make me feel human… for a short while anyway!

2. Lovely scenic walks. We are lucky enough to live in a beautiful place near the New Forest and beaches. I have tried to get use out of our slings (baby wearing- another new year resolution) and get Arlo out in the fresh air. Sometimes with friends and family and sometimes just the two of us.

3. Snow! It was only a sprinkling but I am so glad Arlo got to experience snow for the first time.

4. New toys. Arlo can be a bit of a fussy baby due to his wind / colic / reflux / possible teething and wants to be held most of the time for comfort and because he is more comfortable when upright. Aside from using slings I have been purchasing anything that he can sit up in/ stand in. So we have bought a Bumbo and a Fisher Price Jumperoo. The Bumbo is great for getting him to hold himself but I think he feels a bit restricted so won’t stay in there long. However, the Jumperoo he absolutely loves and can entertain him for a while. So at least I can grab some lunch or have a cuppa! It’s so funny watching his face as he bounces. He’s not quite got the hang of it yet but he’ll get there.

5. Yoga. This is my new yoga teacher – David. I have started a course with him for absolute beginners and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a bit of time each week just for me and I’m hoping it will help with my aches and pains developed through pregnancy and carrying Arlo around!

6. My lovely husband. To be honest I could write this down every day in my gratefulness diary (sorry for the cheesiness, ha). Since Arlo was born he has been a shoulder to cry on, the calm in my storm and he has supported every parenting decision I have made, not questioning me when things go wrong or if they don’t make sense. He has been amazing at comforting Arlo at night too even though he usually has work the next day! This week in particular he managed to get Arlo to take a bottle (he’s normally a boob guy and has been refusing bottles) and get him to sleep when I attended my yoga class. It was lovely to have the baby in bed and the dinner made when I got home. Although it didn’t last long as Arlo was up plenty that night!

So much to be grateful for, I am very blessed. What or who are you grateful for?  I’d love to hear about it.

peace2