Today, you are one

Dear Zack

Today you are one year old! Where did the time go? It just feels like yesterday that we were in hospital, waiting to bring you home.

You are a very special little boy. I don’t want to call you my miracle baby, because I don’t believe you are a miracle but I do want you to know how much we ached for you. You see, mummy was very poorly before you were even a twinkle in our eyes, and we didn’t know if we would be able to have any more babies. The day I found out I was pregnant was such a happy one.

Having you meant I could finally move on and start to put the past behind me. Towards the end of my pregnancy with you, the doctors were worried that I was poorly again, and I had to have lots of appointments and tests, and scans to see what was going on. I was heartbroken. If I was poorly again, it would mean that I wouldn’t have been around for the few few months of your life because I would be needing more treatment to make me better, and you would have to be born early, and someone else would be doing the bonding with you that I should have been. I cried when I found out it was all a false alarm and I was fine.

You arrived a week early on April 1st 2012. You share a birthday with your Aunty Cary, which she is very happy about.

You are so, so loved. Mummy, Daddy and your big brother Jake love you so much. You are such a gorgeous boy, so smiley, with so much dark hair. Everyone says you look like me, sorry about that! You are growing up fast, and it won’t be long before you are walking, and then we will be in trouble!

I promise, to both you and your brother, that I will always love you, I will always be there for you, and I will always put you first. I will be there for every big event (and even the not so big ones) and I will love you until my dying breath. All of this, I promise you.

I am so lucky to have you. Thank you for bringing sunshine and smiles into every day.

Brandon

You brought a ray of sunshine

When all around was grey

I don’t know what would have happened

If you hadn’t come our way.

You put a spark of love and hope

In our hearts filled with grief and pain

You made us laugh, where once we cried

Made us want to live again.

Now you fill our days with love

And happy dreams at night

You came, a gift from up above

Our special guiding light.

K.L. Murray

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There is no pause button

On Monday, Zack will be one. In May, Jake will be four. He starts school in September. It’s going far too quickly.

Sometimes, I wish there was a pause button. To soak up these times. To enjoy them being small for longer.

My boys are my world. I love them with all that I am. And I know that they are MY boys, and I am supposed to love them with all that I am, and treasure the time I spend with them. But I struggle to understand why other people can’t make time for them. Not when they have time for everyone else.

Jake, he understands things. He understands broken promises. He remembers that we are going to Thomas Land soon. He understands we are going on holiday to a farm. He understands that soon, Daddy is going to take him camping. He understands these things because I talk to him about them, so he remembers.

But just as easily, he forgets. If he doesn’t see someone for a long time, he forgets them.

Zack, he’s nearly one. He’s crawling, he’s walking around the furniture, he has a personality. He throws a strop if he doesn’t get his own way. But he’s so smiley, and happy. And he’s growing, so fast.

And I can’t pause it. There is nothing I can do to slow it down. But I’m here, I’m watching, I’m drinking it all in. I’m not missing out.

There is no pause button. They grow. They change. There is nothing I can do.

There is no pause button.

Proud

I am a proud mum. I think my boys are brilliant and I am always proud of them.

Today, Jake made me even more proud than usual.

As you know  we have recently moved house. Jake was settled into a nursery about 30 minutes from where we are now, and we really didn’t want to move him. He loved it there, and even had a little romance going on with a little girl.  We tried it for a few weeks, but with the rush hour traffic, it was taking 45 minutes to get him there, and so we decided to start looking for another nursery.

We decided on one next door to the school we are hoping he will get into. Before Christmas, he spent an hour there on two separate occasions and seemed to get on well enough.

I’m been telling him that he will be going to a new school, so I think it had sunk in. Today is his first day. I woke him up this morning and said “Do you know what day it is today?” He said “Is it school time?” I told him it was and he was really excited. I have to admit, I was worried for him. I thought I would take him there and he would flip out because it wasn’t the place he was used to.

I was wrong. He waltzed in, found a peg (albeit the wrong one) and put his bag on it. Turned to me and said “Bye Mommy, see you later” as if he’d been there a hundred times before.

That boy makes me proud to be his Mum  🙂

Tommee Tippee – Closer to Nature Bottle Review

Zack and I were sent some bottles from Tommee Tippee to review. As you may remember from a previous post, Zack is now combine fed due to poor weight gain, so I was more than happy to receive these.

As Zack is on 4oz feeds at the moment, the size of these bottles (150ml) are ideal and fit nicely in the bottle pocket of his changing bag.

The shape of them makes them feel comfortable to hold and you can hold them in three different ways: cradled comfortably in the hand, gripped in the same way as a traditional wide neck bottle, or held from the base.

The bottles have been designed in conjunction with breastfeeding experts to mimic the natural flex, movement and softness of a mum’s breast, to make switching between breast and bottle easier. Now, obviously, I don’t know if it does, not being able to remember back to when I was a baby, but I do know that Zack has taken really well to the bottles and hasn’t ever refused, and he also still latches on well to me, so there hasn’t been any confusion.

There is an anti-colic valve in the teat which lets air in from the outside, so that he doesn’t have to keep stopping to let air back in, which is great, because he REALLY doesn’t like his bottle being taken away from him!

I was sent the slow flow teats, but have also bought the new Variflow teat which is brilliant. It has been designed to let babies control the flow of their milk just by using their own sucking strength. It has a cross cut into the tip as well as a hole.The stronger the baby’s sucking action the wider the cross opens and the faster the milk flows. That means you can just buy one set of teats at the beginning and shouldn’t need any more.

I really like the Tommee Tippee products, and will continue to use them as Zack gets older (sippy cups etc.) as we did with Jake.

*I was sent two bottles and slow flow teats to review. I was not sent the Variflow teats, I purchased them myself. I have received no other compensation and all view are my own*

 

Our Hospital Stay

Zack and I had a stay in hospital last week. It’s only now, almost a week later that I can talk/write about it without crying.

I took him for his 12 week immunisations on the Tuesday and went to the baby clinic while I was there to get him weighed. He’s been gaining weight slowly. I know that. Jake was the same. I just assumed he’d catch up in his own time. At 8 weeks, he was 9lb exactly. I expected him to be at least 10lbs at 12 weeks, especially considering how often he feeds.

He was 9lb 6oz. He’s dropped two lines on the centile chart (and below the 0.4th), so we had to see the GP. As soon as they said he had only put on 6oz, I knew the discussion of formula would be on the agenda. It’s not that I’m against formula. It’s that I wanted to breastfeed. I had no concerns previous to him being weighed. He’s smiley, he is alert, he sleeps through the night. There was nothing to make me worry.

The doctor sent us up to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. We ended up in A&E as that’s where the RMO’s were (Registered Medical Officer). We were taken to cubicle and Zack was asleep in his pushchair, so the RMO was talking to me, asking me questions about Zack, about me, about Jake, about my pregnancy. Then he woke up and needed a feed, so she left me to it for half an hour or so. Then a different doctor came round to see us and examined him. Said that she didn’t think there was anything wrong with his tummy or anything and that we should top him up with formula. I said that I didn’t really want to and that I wanted to fix breastfeeding first. So she admitted us and arranged to Zack to have a blood test, in which I cried more than he did and was reduced to a snotty mess. So much so that even the nurse took pity on me and wiped my nose as I had no hands free.

I’m a bit angry, because I feel like if I’d agreed to the formula, she would have just sent us home, but because I refused, we had to endure a horrible 24 hours in hospital. He looked so small in the huge cot in his room, and I had the delight of sleeping on a faux leather recliner for the night.

The doctors came round in the morning and again, had a poke and a prod. Then a dietician came in and spoke to me.

I have had to compromise. We have agreed that he has two 3oz feeds a day of a high calorie formula that promotes catch up growth, and that I breastfeed as well. I have been prescribed Domperidone to try and increase my milk supply. Zack has to be weighed every week and I am to call the dietician with his weights so we can plan the next course of action, which will hopefully at some point be to drop the formula altogether and go back to exclusive breastfeeding.

It’s taken me a long time to be OK with this. Not because I don’t want him to gain weight, not because I don’t want him to have formula, but because I feel like I’ve failed him.

One of the most natural things in the world is to breastfeed your baby, to nurture them, and I couldn’t do it alone. Whether it’s because of everything my body has been through over the last two and a half years, I don’t know, but I wanted to be able to do this so much and the fact that I couldn’t upsets me more than I can put into words.

I know he’s put weight on. I can see his cheeks are chubbier, and he feels heavier. I’ll know for sure tomorrow when I take him to be weighed. I hope it’s positive. I certainly don’t want another night in hospital with him any time soon.

Breastfeeding Beyond…#keepbritainbf

Breastfeeding beyond what? The first month? The first six months? The first year?

With Jake, I managed exclusive breastfeeding for 4 months, then I went into have a knee operation and it seemed that after the anaesthetic and not being able to feed to 24 hours and not ever being able to express much, my supply dwindled, so I combined fed. Then when Jake was 7 months old i had to go in for more surgery, and in turn had to have chemotherapy so had no choice but to stop.

I would have probably carried on until he was one had I been able to, but I am a firm believer that some, is better than none, no matter how long the “some” is. Am I disappointed that I had to stop? Yes. Do I feel guilty about it? No.

Yesterday, I was asked how long I intend to breastfeed for. I said at least six months, then I might combine formula and breast along with solids, or I might just stick with breast. I don’t know, I’ll decide when the time arrives.

What I do know is that I will carry on for as long as it feels right,as long as he is happy and healthy, that is what is the most important thing. I have had some wonderful advice from other mums about feeding and I think that these days it’s not the automatic response to just switch straight to formula if baby isn’t gaining as quickly as you might like.

Jake was a small baby for a long time and then all of a sudden, he caught up, and now he’s taller than most of his friends the same age. I think Zack is going the same way. When I raised my concerns with the GP at his 8 week check, she said I had nothing to worry about, and actually wrote in his red book that she had told me to carry on feeding.

He’s happy, I’m happy. He’s healthy, that also makes me happy. For now, that’s more than enough.

Thank you for reading.  Please complete the following to enter the competition for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize:

Leave a comment on this blog telling me how long you fed/are intending to feed for.

For extra entries:

Go to the Life, Love and Lollipops Facebook page and “like” and  ”share” the hunt with your Facebook friends.

Tweet the following: I’m taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger hunt via @rozzibee http://wp.me/p1Fanz-5Y #keepbritainbf

Leave a separate comment for each thing you have done.

Happy Hunting!

If you have enjoyed reading, you can find other bloggers taking part in the scavenger hunt here:

Where Roots Flourish

Breast4babies

Ponderings of a Doula

Twinkle Mummy

Fi Peacock’s Blog

Things Not to Say to a Breastfeeding Mother #keepbritainbf

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I have never have anyone say anything negative to me whilst feeding in public. That’s not to say I’ve never had anything negative said to me at all. Just the other day, someone was feeding Zack a bottle of expressed milk and said “Oh this milk looks quite weak”, as well as the comment from someone else “Oh when can he have a bottle? I’d give him a bottle if it was me”.

And that got me thinking. There are lots of posts this week about breastfeeding support and where to get it, so I didn’t want to duplicate that. I thought I would look at things from a different angle, and took to Facebook to ask friends what negative things have been said to them in a bid to educate people what NOT to say to a breastfeeding mum. I was actually quite shocked by some of the things I was told.

“My mother-in-law (who never breastfed) told me I was being cruel to my daughter by breastfeeding her and not giving her water (which she wouldn’t take at all) because she was always thirsty. I tried to explain she was crying because of colic not because she was thirsty and wouldn’t take water and that the foremilk is designed to quench their thirst and the hindmilk to satisfy their hunger but it was like talking to…well a moron really.”

“It winds me up something rotten the comments I get when I breastfeed in public and refuse to inconvenience myself by hiding away. The other week I breastfed on the bus and one guy shouted out ‘oh my god is she actually tit feeding her baby on the bus’ which was met by other mutterings of ‘ewww’ or ‘gross’ under their breaths. I won’t let people like them stop me but it does wind me up”

“Do you have to do that here?”

“My mother-in-law told me I was selfish for breastfeeding because apparently its a dads right to be able to feed his daughter and to decide if they should be bottle fed or not.”

  • “Are you sure he’s getting enough milk?
  • Are you sure your milk is nutritious enough?
  • I think he’s feeding too often / little / long / short.
  • You should top up with formula!
  • Do you want me to go buy some formula?
  • Why don’t you just top up with formula you’ll get more sleep / break / time
  • He/ she looks small. You should top up with formula.
  • You look tired. You should top up with formula.
  • Your nipples are sore? Top up with formula!
  • I don’t know why you bother when you could feed him formula.
  • What? He’s feeding again?? You should give him formula!
  • Formula fed babies sleep more!
  • I WANT to hold/ cuddle/ feed the baby but YOU’re breast feeding him all the time.
  • He’s crying because he’s not getting enough milk / it’s not nutritious enough.
  • Can’t you put something over the babies head?
  • There is no benefit in breastfeeding after 6 months.
  • After a certain age it’s more for the mother than for the child.
  • Can’t you go face a wall / sit in the bathroom / toilet / dark hidey hole / stuffy changing room …
  • Isn’t he/ she too old / big for that.
  • Mothers who breast feed after a certain age get enjoyment out of it ( hint pedophilia )
  • You’re preventing dad from having a relationship with his child because you’re breastfeeding
  • You’re fostering separation anxiety
  • He only wants you for your milk
  • It’s your fault he doesn’t want to come to me”

“My only negative experience was when I had my son and the nurse tried to force him to feed by grabbing my boob and his head forcing him to feed. He still refused to latch until he was ready but it made me feel like crap and since then I always follow my gut instinct and not what they say,they don’t know everything!”

“For me it was the pressure to do it, I really wanted to but struggled. I feel like focus should be put on the positives of breastfeeding rather than the negatives of formula as I felt like a failure when it didn’t work out as I hoped it would and have spoken to lots of friends who have felt the same”

“I really wanted to do it, I managed to express while she was in hospital and did a mix of breast, expressed and formula for about 3 or 4 weeks. I found the midwives and my health visitors were really supportive of me breastfeeding and when I gave up. I honestly don’t think I’d try to breastfeed next time round though. In my case I’m sure some of the problems were down to her being premature”

“I felt with my youngest that everyone telling me she would sleep better if I gave her formula was really really annoying especially as I was exhausted and irritable anyway! I’m not 100% I would breast feed our next baby even though I enjoyed feeding both of my girls purely because I struggled so much with not having more than 4 hours sleep in one go for about 7 months”

“I really wanted to breastfeed and really tried but she just wouldn’t latch on, I felt horrible giving her formula but really had no choice”

Some of the things that people have had said to them have really shocked me. It amazes me how people think they have the right to make that decision for you, or make you feel bad for the decision that you have made. Being a new mum is difficult enough without others trying to make you feel bad.

I would also like to say that there is plenty of support out there for you if you feel you need it.

Thank you for reading.  Please complete the following to enter the competition for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize:

Leave a comment on this blog telling me if you have ever had anything negative said to you.

For extra entries:

Go to the Life, Love and Lollipops Facebook page and “like” and  ”share” the hunt with your Facebook friends.

Tweet the following: I’m taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger hunt via @rozzibee http://wp.me/p1Fanz-5Y #keepbritainbf

Leave a separate comment for each thing you have done.

Happy Hunting!

If you have enjoyed reading, you can find other bloggers taking part in the scavenger hunt here:

Breastfeeding in England

mummyslittlepeeps

Diary of the Milkshake Mummy

Smiling Like Sunshine

Where Roots and Wings Entwine