Tag Archives: boobs

Put a Sock On It

I don't care if they're not mine!

I don’t care if they’re not mine!

I’ve noticed that most of the recent posts have been about Motormouth with the occasional cameo appearance from young Mini.

This week, I thought I’d put that right.

The question is what to talk about?

Her plate envy? (She has the worst plate envy of anyone I have EVER met and is quite blatant about demanding her portion of the food in front of you.)

Her obsession with cleaning her teeth? (We have to do this at least 6 times a day at the moment, more if she walks past the bathroom more often than that.)

Her lack of compunction about shoving her big brother out of the way if he’s where she wants to be? (This can be a little disconcerting, especially as a parent cuddling a small boy who suddenly finds the small boy is on the floor and she is being scaled by a tiny toddler mountaineer.)

No.

I thought I’d talk about feeding.

And socks.

Are they related you ask?

Yep. Apparently they are.

Closely related.

I’m pleased to be able to say that I’m still feeding Mini, having taken the choice to feed her until she weans herself. She’s approaching 21 months now and shows no sign of giving up.

We have settled into a little ritual for the first feed of the day though.

Her little ritual that is.

First of all she climbs onto the bed, with her aah. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this is her big, fluffy blanket. By big, I mean it’s about 3′ by 5′. And by fluffy it’s sort of a fleecy, polyester blend courtesy of Ikea.)

By the way, those Ikea blankets are brilliant – they can go through anything including washing machines, tumble dryers, muddy puddles, pushchair wheels, upset stomachs (both ends), big brothers, being used to make forts, drag toys around and whatever else Mini and Motormouth’s minds can devise, and still come out looking almost brand new. And they are cheap. (No, I’m not paid by Ikea, just in case you were wondering.)

Sorry. Back to the point and apologies for the diversion.

She climbs onto the bed with her aah and snuggles under my right arm for a bit of a lounge and a thumb suck.

Then I get the look.

The “time to get your boobs out now Mum” look.

Of course, I do. I’m nothing if not baby-led when it comes to this feeding thing.

So my boobs come out.

Both of them, since, apparently, it’s the law that they both have to be out for the entire feed.

Then she’ll settle back for a bit longer, maybe taking in a show (Motormouth is usually practicing his star jumps on the end of the bed by this point, either that or trying to persuade Mini to sit on his tummy, a request she generally ignores).

When she’s judged the time is right (a bit like a wine connoisseur who opens the bottle to let it breathe a while) she’ll make her move.

Or rather moves.

First of all, she will shove me back until I am leaning at exactly the right angle.

Then she’ll position my arms so they are in just the right place.

She’ll spend a few moments tweaking the position of my hands and fingers.

Then she’ll sit back on her haunches and regard me for a few seconds before making sure I’m looking in the right direction (by virtue of placing her hands firmly on my jaw and shoving my head round. She’d make a good chiropractor one day. I’m sure I heard my spine crack this morning.)

Finally, she’ll take a few slurps from the right side.

If I dare move my head, she’ll give me “the look” and push it back round again.

She then stretches, stands up and belly flops on top of me to take a few slurps from the left side (just to make sure it doesn’t feel left out, you understand.)

It’s at this point that I think, hopefully, that we’ve settled down and can get on with it. (Usually with one eye on the clock calculating the time left before we absolutely have to get out of the door and sadly watching my shower time dripping away.)

Then she stops.

She’ll give me a “don’t you dare move!” look and wriggle backwards off the bed, walking out of the bedroom in that drunken toddler lurch that she has.

Only to return a few minutes later with….

can you guess?

…. no, not a fluffy toy, or even another aah….

she always comes back with …..

a pair of socks.

Yep. Socks.

Mini has an obsession with socks.

So there we are, mid feed, me trying not to move out of today’s approved position too much and her waving a pair of socks and a foot in my face.

So, we have to put our socks on.

Then, finally, we can get back to the business of feeding.

And feeding.

And feeding.

As the minutes tick by I console myself with the thought of how much good this will be doing her.

And how many calories I’m using doing this.

And I wave a sad mental goodbye to a nice hot shower.

And Motormouth (it’s his turn for a cameo), well, he’s still bouncing on the bed.

And me.

Just in case you thought mornings might be peaceful in our house.

 

B is for Boredom

 

B is fo Boredom

B is fo Boredom

Oops, sorry. Was that a naughty word?

We’re supposed to love every second of motherhood, cradling this precious new bundle that we’ve introduced to the world aren’t we?

And we do. Quite often.

Even so, boredom with certain aspects of being a mother can set in surprisingly early, slipping in sneakily between the moments of bliss and happiness and the minutes of panic.

So what could possibly bore us about being a new mother?

Hmm, let’s think.

How about cleaning?

Oh I know that cleaning for most people (like me) is not high up in the top ten list of exciting things to do today but it takes on a new meaning when you have small baby that can cause a mess out of all proportion to their size.

It’s the new stuff that’s suddenly been added to the list. Nappies. Bottles. Their clothes. Your clothes. Changing surfaces. Cooking surfaces. Floors. Furniture. Family pets (You’ll know what I mean if you have had a feeding baby suddenly disengage. Cue one very surprised cat who was hit by a stream of milk from across the room.)

The list goes on and, whilst it’s not always boring, sometimes we wish it could be just a little more exciting (but not in a “how high up the wall can I spit this milk” kind of way).

Then there’s the feeding. Most of the time it’s the best feeling in the world whether we’re using boobs or bottle (I use boobs but there’s nothing wrong with the bottle route). But sometimes, only sometimes, we (or at least I) wish they could be a little quicker about it.

Those of you who know me know that I like lists and, like any other neurotic new mother, I kept meticulous records of feeding times (this was necessary since, in the haze of new mother exhaustion, I could barely remember when I last ate let alone when I fed the baby). This enabled me to work out how much time I spent feeding this noisy little thing that was not backwards about coming forwards to let me know he was hungry.

Guess how much time it was.

60%

Yes, that’s right. At one point it was 60% of my waking time just plugged into my new master, and, since I wasn’t getting too much sleep, that was an awful lot of up time.

Getting back to the issue of boredom? How could I possibly find it boring?

Well, I didn’t all the time, but there is only so much TV I can watch (and thank heaven for e-readers), so around hour 6 or 7 of the day’s feeding I would get a little twitchy, wanting to do something else for a change.

Like have a pee.

There’s one thing being a mother has taught me – to share – and I’m still learning it (even if it is with gritted teeth sometimes).

I have got used to sharing basic things like my food, my trips to the loo, my Sunday morning lie-ins (wait, I can’t share what I don’t have, but I would if I could… honest). Mini, at the grand old age of 18 months has even taken to putting my socks on if she can get hold of them. At least they go on her feet, unlike my knickers (clean, I hasten to add). They go on her head.

We also share information with others, whether they are interested or not, to the point that we even bore ourselves (see the clever link back to the topic there?).

And it’s amazing what we can find to talk about – how much milk she takes and how often, the frequency, colour and consistency of her poo, the funny little expression she pulled last Thursday.

Sometimes it’s a toss up as to who gets the glazed expression on their face first – me or the person I’m talking to. Despite that, I stand by my belief that we are rightfully proud of the achievements of our children and that it’s our duty to spread the word of their achievements. Within moderation of course.

Do you think blogging about it is in moderation?

Oh yeah, the sharing thing? It only goes so far, which means that yes, I am one of those mothers who stands behind the kitchen door to eat chocolate. It’s not that I don’t want to share, I just don’t want to upset them by getting their hopes up since they’re too young for chocolate. Honest.

Changeling

I'm not a happy bunny.

I’m not a happy bunny.

We have a changeling in the family.

No, Motormouth has not stopped talking (not for the last 18 months anyway) and the Other Half is still as grumpy as ever. And I’m still just as confused by life, the universe and everything.

The changeling is Mini.

She is no longer smiley. It’s official, she is now scowly. (Yes, I know that’s not a word but it describes this new child to a T.)

Why has this happened?

I honestly have no idea.

I could take a guess and say she is at that stage in her development where she is more cautious or critical about the world around her. Or I could say that, now she is with a child minder for a couple of days a week and seeing more of the world she’s become a little more wary. Or that she understands enough of what is going on around her to feel comfortable expressing her views in the only way she knows how. (She reserves the screaming for when she wants us to know she does not want to be strapped in her car seat, she’s finished her brother’s dinner and wants more, you know, little things like that.)

She is almost an equal opportunity scowler so you have to admire her lack of discrimination.

Almost.

And who gets the benefit of the rare smiles? Is it the Other Half who patiently lets her climb him and pull whatever hair she can get hold of, wherever she can get hold of it (yes, it makes me wince as well). No.

Is it her loving mother who feeds her, bathes her, comforts her when she doesn’t quite manage to stay upright after deciding to climb the settee? The one who seems to be a combination of chew toy (those feeds get interesting when she gets distracted) and musical instrument (when there’s nothing else to distract her she’ll send the message far and wide on the boobydrums)?

No.

It’s Motormouth.

The one who regularly decides she needs to be moved and hauls her around by her clothes, feet or armpits. The one who shouts at her when he thinks she needs to be awake, his lips barely centimetres from her face. The one who feels he is better qualified to decide what she should play with? The one who demonstrates unerring aim with his squirty animals when they are in the bath? (I suppose it’s good her face at least gets a good wash.)

Of course he is also the one who gives her a kiss and a cuddle in the morning, feeds her titbits of food (including his treats), strokes her hair when she is crying and absently mindedly gives her a helping hand when she is trying to climb on the settee next to him. The one who insists she share his bedroom and sleeps on the floor next to her. (Why did we bother getting him a bed again?) The one who is uncharacteristically shy when it comes to singing but will still sing her nursery rhymes when she’s having problems getting to sleep (which is most nights since she has inherited her tendency to be a night owl from me).

He is the only one who can reliably get her to smile by pulling a face or acting the clown. (Why doesn’t it make her smile when the Other Half or I do it? Even when we do it in public?)

So why is this? Why is the special treatment reserved for Motormouth? Do they share a special bond because they are brother and sister? Because they are closer in age? Do we get excluded because we are the grown ups who make her do things she doesn’t want to do? Because we are slow in working out what she wants?

You know what?

I don’t really care. They get on now and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Baby’s Guide to… Breastfeeding

 

Aah, full tummy now.

Aah, full tummy now.

Welcome to the second in a series of survival guides. Today we are talking about breastfeeding, in honour of World Breastfeeding month.

Latching On – Hmm. Let’s start with what can be the trickiest part of the operation. It seems simple enough, open your mouth and suck, but it is more subtle than that. Here are a few tips to improve your enjoyment of the experience. Don’t stick your tongue in the way. Not much happens then. Get a good seal. Loud sucking sounds are embarrassing when you produce them (they are funny, however, when it is a sibling creating them). Practice will make you better. Your mother might accidentally making it harder for you. Please don’t be hard on her. She has to learn how to do it too.

Targetting – This part is deceptively difficult. Yes, you have quite a big target and you need to get as much of it in your mouth as you can. There are technical terms to describe it but all you need to know is you need to cram it in. This will stand you in good stead for eating solids later.

Positions – Your mother may have set ideas about what position you should be in when you are feeding. Don’t forget it is your choice. You don’t have to settle for the traditional ‘laid across the lap’ look. You can pretend to be a rugby ball and refuse to feed until you are settled on the hip. You can play Tarzan and climb across your mother until you are clinging on to her front before you start feeding (this is only for the more advanced feeders). You can take the lady or lad of leisure approach and recline alongside your mother in bed. The options are there. Make the most of it. The standard tears will encourage your mother to offer all options to you.
Teasing – Who says feeding has to be boring? This is a good opportunity to tease your mother. Do you want some? Don’t you want some? Do you want left or right? Do you want to feed for 4 seconds or 6? Do want to be held across the lap or on the hip? Have some fun with this.

Occupying Yourself – This is a little different to playing. Once you are getting your milk there isn’t really an awful lot to do since since your tongue is doing most of the work. So, how do you pass the time? How about practising your pincer grip? How about the fun game of ‘pinch the mole or tattoo’? Or you could see how far things will stretch? The latter will give you additional enjoyment from the expression on your mother’s face. She won’t want to pull away quickly for fear of hurting you, so it will all show in her face.

Then you have the value of toys. This word is used in the loosest sense and can be something your mother is holding (mobile phones are good) or, well, anything you can reach. Once you have lost interest in it, all you need to do is drop it. Ensure you drop it at arms length. This will increase your chances of a direct hit on your mother’s foot and give you some more interesting expressions to experience.

Milk-play – The fun you can have here. You don’t really need to know the mechanics of it, just that once the milk starts coming, if your mother’s boobs are full enough and there is enough momentum, there isn’t much effort involved. The side benefit of this can be seen when you unlatch without warning. If you time it just right you can get multiple streams shooting out in different directions. Legitimate targets include the family cat (particularly entertaining if they thought they were out of range on the other side of the room); the dog (less entertaining since they are not as sensitive to this type of attack); siblings or the Other Parent. Inanimate objects are also good but you don’t get as much of a show, so only aim for them if you are really bored.

Timing – So, we’ve been through most of what you need to know. The next question is when to do it. You choose when you ask for it, not just the length of any feed, but the commencement times. Good times to choose are when your mother is about to take you out of the house; before any important event that involves your mother; just as your mother’s bladder has informed her that it has reached full capacity; just before your mother realises she is actually very thirsty; in the middle of something important and quiet; or twenty minutes after your mother has finally fallen asleep. The options are endless.

So, there is your guide to breastfeeding. I hope you find it useful.

 

Boob Bonanza

 

Not boobs for dinner again!

Not boobs for dinner again!

We’re heading towards the middle of World Breastfeeding Week, which for some unknown reason started on a Thursday.

It sort of sneaked up on me as well, since I didn’t really know it was happening, then, when I found out, it was like buying a new car, suddenly, you see the same model everywhere. (Hence the extra post this week).

Not that I’m seeing boobs everywhere, well, I suppose I am, but you know what I mean.

It’s just that there are these serious discussions about boob versus bottle, should you feed in public and so on and, for once, it is not because someone, somewhere has organised a feed in.

So, what is it really like, being a breastfeeding mother?

It’s different for everyone, in fact, it has been different for both mine. So this is just my take on it.

It’s got a lot of jargon attached to it. Extended breastfeeding, combination or mixed feeding, fore milk, hind milk, latching, tongue tie, colostrum…

Then there are the debates; how long should you do it; where you do it; how often should you do it; what should you wear; should you feel guilty if you go the bottle route instead.

Put simply; baby gets hungry or thirsty, you plug them in. They then stop crying. You hope.

Despite what they all say, it does bloody hurt sometimes. I had pain for the first eight weeks with Mini, and most of the time with Motormouth. And that was before they had teeth.

It doesn’t come naturally; both Mini and Motormouth had to learn (Mini had to learn not to put her tongue in the way, daft girl). I also had to learn two different techniques. It was a good two months before it became natural with both kids.

Just because you have experienced it all before, doesn’t mean you know it all, have the answers or feel confident. See above.

It is undignified at times, just ask Asbo who was more than slightly startled when he was hit with a stream of milk when Motormouth decided to unlatch without warning. Poor cat, he thought he was safe on the other side of the room.

It can hurt in so many ways you didn’t think; when they turn their head before they let go; when they haven’t learnt how to keep those pesky teeth uninvolved; when they are keeping themselves occupied by practising their pincer grip on whatever comes within reach (which, let’s face it, includes an awful lot of tender parts). It goes on, but I don’t want to scare you too much.

Other people’s reactions can vary from the coffee shop manager who invited me to feed Mini in their toilet (yes, we did point out that was illegal in England); to the people who tell you they support feeding in public; to the majority who don’t even realise you’re doing it.

I went to a Christmas meal once and the person sitting opposite me didn’t realise I was feeding Mini until she noticed a little hand waving between me and the table.

It can become more difficult as they get older and nosier. Mini has just started to get to the meerkat stage, where every so often she will stop and pop her head up to see what’s going on.

And of course there is the impartial sibling observer who has been known to make the odd comment. “Mummy, you need to put your booby away now!” and “Mummy, why is your boob dangling and swinging like that?” Fortunately he was satisfied with the explanation that it was because it was empty and I didn’t have to explain the effects of age, childbearing and gravity on the female body. His lucky partner can explain that to him when the time comes later. A lot later. I do wish he had a volume control though, since his questions are invariably asked in public places. Apparently we have to wait another year or so for that.

Once you have the technicalities sorted out, it is so much easier not to have to worry about sterilisation, carrying loads of stuff around or even getting out of bed to do the night feeds. Just pass her to me. I’ll lie on my side and when she’s finished she can go straight back to sleep. Sometimes I even go to sleep before she does.

There is a theory that it is a good opportunity for fathers to bond over the bottle and I know that The Other Half can’t bond over the feeding, but I tell him not to worry – he gets better eye contact and interaction with the nappy changes anyway.

Then there is not having to worry about bottles; do you have enough; are you using the right teats; are they still sterile; is there enough space in the kitchen; are you going to run out of sterilising fluid. As you have probably guessed I am slightly less than organised with a hint of ‘if it can save me work’ thrown in. I struggle enough with which day of the week it is sometimes, so one less complication is great by me. The biggest thing I have to worry about is which side I fed from last, and you can get an app for that.

Would I recommend breastfeeding to any other mother? Of course I would, warning her that she needs a good measure of persistence and stubbornness and a sense of humour but it is all worth it in the end.

It’s also pretty good for weight loss and helping everything get back to it’s previous position (you use between 200 and 500 calories per day). Unfortunately it doesn’t work so well if you eat more than that in snacks whilst you’re feeding. I learnt that lesson after Motormouth.

So, do I think less of someone who tried and couldn’t manage it for whatever reason so switched to bottle? Of course not. That sort of decision is rarely made without a lot of thought and always with the baby’s interests in mind. Sometimes it just doesn’t work for whatever reason. And the mother will be making herself feel quite guilty enough without any help from me.

Would I look down on someone who chose bottle first. Of course not. It’s her choice and who am I to judge why she made that choice? I don’t know what factors she had to take into consideration.

Do I think I’ve made the right choice for me and my children?

Yes.

Do I think that I’m the only person I can make that decision for?

Yes.

 

B is for Breastfeeding

bisforbreastfeedingBreast is best.

That’s the message that comes across loud and clear but it is very much a personal choice as to whether you breast feed or use formula.

I chose to breastfeed both times taking the approach that I would let them decide when they wanted to stop. My little boy tailed off and finally stopped two days after his second birthday. We’ll have to wait for the little girl since she is only a few months old.

What they don’t make too clear is that you both need to learn the technique. It can be messy and painful. (in my experience learning to feed flipping hurts, especially if you have a hungry baby with all the table manners of a piranha). I found it worth sticking with, it is so much easier not having to worry about bottles and sterilisation and timing and on and on. With my little boy we did combination feeding, using bottles in public, since he was so nosy he would not settle down when we were out. Fortunately my little girl has more manners. So far.

There are a few things you do need to prepare yourself for with breastfeeding though. Such as wet patches that you develop down your leg where milk has gone in the mouth and come straight back out again. Luckily this is usually in a place that does not mean you look as if you have wet yourself.

Plus (you may laugh at this) I have noticed whenever I sit down to feed I develop an uncontrollable urge to either have a cup of tea or a wee. I am always pleased that I did the few pelvic floor exercises that I remembered to do when the latter occurs.

You also have to deal with the issue of exploding boobs. Not just metaphorically exploding boobs but actual exploding boobs. This is when the ‘hold your baby at arm’s length and aim for the mouth’ style of feeding comes into play. Sometimes even then your arms aren’t long enough.

We had a very surprised cat once. (The poor thing was just sitting there, having a wash, when she had whole new  sections of her coat that needed washing again.)

This tends to happen when you haven’t fed the baby for a while so there can be a downside to being able to sleep through the night.

Different babies prefer different feeding positions. My son was the rugby type. He fed better when he was cradled at my side like a rugby ball. My little girl is much more ladylike and tends to lie on her side with one arm waving in the air. This can be a little disconcerting for others, for example when we are out for a meal and the first time other diners realise you are feeding a baby is when they see a little arm waving between you and the table edge. She’s a friendly soul and likes to wave.

She also likes to smile and check I am happy. I just wish she would learn to let go of my nipple before she did that sometimes. I really don’t need to know how far that particular part of the human body can stretch before it pings back into place. Again.

She is cute when she stops (and lets go) and looks at me and smiles. It makes it all worth it. That and the fact that you really can lose loads of baby weight through feeding. (Provided you don’t do what I did with number one and working on the basis that you lose between 200 and 500 calories per day feed those hunger cravings you get whilst feeding with chocolate. And biscuits. And… well, you get the idea. I think my fuddled brain had difficulty coping with the maths.) My little girl is 11 months old and I haven’t been this size for decades (I’ve just realised how old that makes me sound).

All in all, my decision to feed is not one I have regretted but then I do have a fair degree of stubbornness that got me through the 6 weeks or so of pain and tears and stress it took to crack the feeding thing.

Both times.