New Day, New Page

After the resounding success that was birth stories, a very good friend has asked if I would feature stories about feeding after birth. Not just breastfeeding, but bottle and combi as well. Everyone who has followed my blog already knows that I’m a 100% supporter of breastfeeding, but that I chose not to and Sophie is a formula baby.

However, my best friend had such a tough time with breastfeeding after birth and a severe lack of support, despite all the ‘breast is best’ propaganda. It seems the general consensus is to tell mothers what to do, but not teach them how or support when things get difficult, which just isn’t right. Midwives should not only be a support, but they should be patient and understand that breastfeeding, though the most natural thing in the whole world, is not easy and not automatic for some mothers.

So feeding stories has been launched! I want to hear from mothers everywhere about their feeding journeys regardless of method. Women need to hear the good and bad and know that while they’re cluster feeding at 2am, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that they are NOT failures because they cannot produce more than a few oz of breast milk at a time and that they are doing a fantastic job, whatever method they choose!

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

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The Other Great Debate

Truth
Truth

Crunchy Mothers. This is a new phrase to me, but apparently, it means

Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foodscrunchymama

There are extremes – where the ladies don’t shave, use deodorant or ever go to the doctor for medicine if they have an herbal remedy. There are also the mild versions, where mums cloth-bum and breastfeed but won’t give up their pram.

Then there are Creamy Mothers

Mother who practices crib sleeping, pro vaxing, pram pushing, disposable diapering, formula feeding etc.

I have no idea where this phrase comes from, but it came up today that those that label themselves as ‘crunchy’ or practice ‘attachment parenting’ view those of us who are more creamy than crunchy as ‘detached’ from our kids…

Crock. Of. Shit

Everyone parents differently. There are women who cross both borders and booby feed but use a pram. There are women who babywear, breastfeed but have sposie bum babies. Grouping people into categories is harsh and unnecessary. Some women I (used) to know, were brilliant when they were pregnant but then turned into bitches who feel they have superiority over you because they do things naturally. Well…exCUSE me if I don’t mind my baby getting a little grimy every now and then, I personally believe it’s the best way to get her acclimatised to the world if I actually let her live in a non sterile environment.

Whether I wear Sophie or not doesn’t mean I’m less attached to her. The fact I don’t want her taking over my bed doesn’t mean I’m less attached to her. Just because I don’t have her latched doesn’t mean she feels detached from me either. I hate the idea that I am not close to my baby just because I don’t do those things. Sophie and I have an incredible bond. She knows who I am, laughs and smiles with me, heck she’s even trying to eat my hair most of the time!

So the eff what if I choose to use a pram than a baby carrier? So the eff what if I choose to use sposie nappies and not a cloth one? I’ve said it before a million times, but who is anyone to judge? Of course everyone has their opinions. I know people who disagree with how I use formula or how I don’t baby wear…but they don’t judge me for it. There’s a difference between thinking ‘that’s not for me’ and saying ‘YOU’RE DAMAGING YOUR CHILD WITH POISONOUS, POISONOUS CHOICES!’.

Are the babies going to remember whether you breastfed? No. Co-slept? No. Used a pram? No. All babies care about is that they are fed, warm, clean and loved. How anyone chooses to go about that is no one else’s God damn business.

I am a firm believer in doing what works for Sophie. I also believe that as she gets older, I will not be letting her set her own Time-Cover-Illustrates-Attachment-Parenting-Featuring-Mother-Breastfeeding-3-Year-Old-Son-01boundaries. As the adult, I won’t be allowing her to run my house and dictate what happens when via a tantrum. I also won’t be pandering to tantrums (as mentioned in previous posts). I plan to be strict. I plan to let her be as free and as creative as possible within reason.

There was a magazine cover not long ago titled ‘Are You Mom Enough?’ and this was to underline extended breastfeeding, one of the ideas of attachment parenting. Whatever works for this mother is fine by me…but this seems to be something that screams in peoples faces, daring them to argue with her and if they do then they are in the wrong and HOW DARE THEY! I support every woman in breastfeeding in public however I’m not a fan of extended breastfeeding. This is my opinion but it’ not something I would practice. I also believe that when a child is using cutlery and holding their own cups, at school etc then breastfeeding has run its course. HOWEVER if this is what is right for her and for other mothers then kudos to her for not giving a shit what anyone thinks.

I am not a ‘crunchy’ mother. I am not even a ‘creamy’ mother. I parent the Sophie Way. 

Heading South?

WARNING: THIS POST SHOWS NAKED PHOTOS OF PREGNANT WOMEN, STRETCH MARKS AND C-SECTION SCARS. BEST TO TURN AWAY NOW IF THIS ISN’T YOUR CUP OF TEA!

Pregnancy and birth. Beautiful images right? Of course! The female form is magic – it grows people and can feed people (to a certain age). Unfortunately a lot of women discover that after the magic of pregnancy comes the bit after.

After the pee dries on that stick, every woman gets SO excited about how their body will bloom. Myself? I barely bloomed in pregnancy.

17 weeks/37 weeks
17 weeks/37 weeks

Sophie hid in my ribs and along my spine the whole time I reckon!  Hardly popping out, am I? Pregnancy is a beautiful thing…but…not many people really explain the way your body looks after birth. I loved my pregnancy body – I didn’t feel self conscious at all. Now? Now is so different!

Tummy

Hours after Sophie was born, I felt SO weird. My tummy, which had not long before been hard and rounded, was saggy and had a decidedly ’empty’ feeling. It felt like someone had deflated a large balloon under my skin and it felt saggy and just plain odd. Of course, this is down to the fact the uterus has to shrink right back down from watermelon size to pear size behind the pubic bone. This can take anything up to six weeks – for me it took 12 days according to my health visitor. My tummy skin was quite loose feeling but I didn’t exercise my tummy until I was 12 weeks PP. Not only because I was waiting for the PP bleeding to stop, but the exhaustion from having a newborn put paid to that! I begun the 30 day shred and had to stop after falling ill, so that will start again tonight.

Yup!
Yup!

Stretch marks are also another big factor in pregnancy. Loads of women swear by BioOil and Cocoa Butter but I tell you something…if your mother has them, or your sister, or any other woman in your family, you’re predisposed to getting them. Plus the fact your skin stretches to accommodate a whole other person stretch marks are VERY likely. If you are one of those people who never get them,

Line a line a line!
Line a line a line!

well, I hate you. No really, I do. I have had stretchies on my body since puberty. My skin is ridiculously pale, so any growth gives me horrid red lines criss-crossing everywhere. They fade damn quick for me, but of course in pregnancy, Sophie added more for me. Here is a photo of me today, 24 weeks post partum. Stretch marks galore, hey?! However I am not ashamed of them. Firstly, I couldn’t prevent them even if I tried, and secondly they are the evidence of the fact I successfully carried Sophie. Husband doesn’t give a monkeys either, which is a bonus! ‘Scuse the knicker line, I wanted to show the world my tiger stripes.

Another issue with some tummies are those after a c-section. Being sliced and diced is never fun especially when it’s a section as the recovery after can be hellish. I can’t talk from experience here, so I will show you a photo of section scars instead. Some women have a hard time post surgery and adding the pregnancy weight to the tummy can sometimes cause an overhang over the scar. It isn’t nice but as you can see, can be managed and toned.

798

Boobs

They come in all shapes and sizes, but boobs are something that go through mega changes. For some women, they go from fried eggs to Jordan-like. For me, I didn’t have any difference except right after pregnancy! For three days, nothing, then BAM, milk came in and I looked like I had undergone plastic surgery for free. I gotta say, I loved them – I would have happily kept them. The pain however is

Deflation
Deflation

not worth it! After the engorgement had gone, my boobs happily went back to their perkiness with no problem. I chose to not breastfeed, which I spoke about in earlier posts. When you have a baby, your body naturally produces breast milk, which engorges your boobs till they feel like hot cement filled bombs and one touch is enough to make you scream. Cold cabbage leaves in the bra soothes the pain, and breast pads catch the flow of excess leakage that is inevitable when you hear your baby crying.

If you are breastfeeding, some women (not all, mind) experience deflation. If you blow up a balloon, then let the air out, change is bound to happen. For a few, their boobs go back to normal, for others…not so much.

A lot of people have problems with their boobs when feeding; mastitis being one of them. Blocked milk ducts are never funny and any changes that you’re not comfy with should be checked by a doctor. Wearing a good, supportive bra and getting measured regularly does help for sure!

 

Post Partum Bleeding

Sooo you thought that 9 months of no periods was brilliant? Nope. When that little sucker is pushed from you, 9 months of saved up periods is what you get. Maternity pads are a Godsend because some girls keep bleeding for up to 3 months. I was lucky. 2 weeks of bleeding and I was done.

Being pregnant is pretty much the only time in life a woman will feel happy about having a large tummy. Moon faces, monster feet, sausage fingers, thunder thighs and big bums are part and parcel of pregnancy. They’re the outward signs of the miracle that’s taking place inside. Accept these changes can happen, but remember, it’s only temporary.

I’ve read awful things about women who crash diet to lose weight, or have surgery. Especially if their other halves have left them because their post pregnancy bodies weren’t what they signed up for or expected. IF that happens to you, then thank your lucky stars that the shallow prick wasn’t who you thought he was. Any man who would willingly put a woman’s body through carrying and nurturing their child, should appreciate that it takes some time to get back to normal afterwards. You don’t see them trying to force something the size of a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon, do you? A man who leaves you because he isn’t keen on how you look now your tummy is saggy and lined, or your boobs don’t quite point up is a knob. He is not a man he is a child.

Lose any baby weight safely with slow and gentle diet and exercise and don’t rush your body.

Physically, women go through loads of changes than the above (kegels, girls! Work that pelvic floor!). Emotionally we go through a lot as well. I won’t write about that here…that’s another post.

Your body is a testament to the amazing job you’ve done of growing a baby. It took nine months for your body to change, so give it just as long to get back to normal.

Damn right!
Damn right!

The Great Debate…Part Deux

Apparently not!
Apparently not!

 

Earlier in my lovely blog here I wrote about the big debate between booby feeding and bottle feeding. Something I have come to notice lately are TV adverts about this issue.

Do you ever wonder why you don’t see adverts about infant first milk? Only ever follow on milk? The World Health Organization has done intensive investigation into the advertising practices of formula companies, the health risks of the use of breast milk substitutes, the associations between advertising practices and breastfeeding rates across a multitude of cultures, and the impact of advertising on consumption and cultural beliefs. After several years of research analyses and committees and publications, they produced the

International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.

Yep you read that correctly. It sounds like a covert mission doesn’t it? Here are some of the things that the ICOBMS says:

There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public

of products within the scope of this Code.

So – they actually are not allowed to advertise infant formula.

 

Manufacturers and distributors should not distribute to pregnant women or

mothers or infants and young children any gifts of articles or utensils which may

promote the use of breast-milk substitutes or bottle-feeding.

This basically tells us formula is wrong and breast should be the only milk

The World Health organization recommends that an infant be fed its mothers own breastmilk from the breast. If that is not possible, expressed breast milk from that infant’s mother is the next choice. After that, breast milk from a wet nurse or donor milk. After that, banked, pasturized breast milk. Finally, if all of the above options are not possible, a breast milk substitute (such as infant formula) is recommended. Wow – Cow and Gate is apparently the very last option for  choice.

I also heard another line this week by that idiot I spoke about earlier. She says “If you don’t choose to breastfeed, don’t open your legs”. Ridiculous! Some people believe teenagers shouldn’t open their legs either but no one was judging her…another topic this one!

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has banned the advertising of infant formula but allows follow on formula to be advertised as it’s post breastfeeding or when you choose to move on from it. The original guidelines were written down in 1981 and get reviewed every year as research change but it still stands that we don’t see anything advertised for first milk for babies. I have never ever seen a formula tub that states formula is the best option – which is correct – breastmilk is the best option of course but it is important to realise it is not the only option out there and I really don’t think that the WHO should be stopping the advertising of formula.

People are not stupid. TV does not dictate to us what we should or shouldn’t do and if it does that for you go and get yourself checked over. Fast.

I don’t go out and buy a Moben kitchen just because it pops up on the screen. Nor do I go and buy Freederm….because I don’t need it. Mothers who see formula on the telly will buy it if they need it not because TV says so

 

Jeez I wish people would stop treating us like morons and allow us to think for ourselves. This banning of adverts is pathetic!

tv-addict

Judgey McJudgeyson – Yes, THAT is YOUR Name!

I am all for a good debate/heated conversation/argument/downright bitching session. Of course I am, I am a woman and by nature we are fiercely overprotective of our own opinions and naturally think we are right. Put up your dukes! I am right and you are wrong and I will argue you into the netherworld’s until I am proven so!

Damn skippy

Not really – while I have very strong viewpoints I do try to see another opinion. Lately though, I have been getting increasingly irate at all the judgmental and not to mention, BITCHY women I know. I went to an all girls secondary school and I hated it. Growing up with so many brothers I learned to fight like a boy. Basically, this means calling someone out and hashing out an argument. As quoted in Mean Girls, all the fighting in girl world is sneaky. Its horrendous and they judge you and sneer at your opinion and quietly make you feel like shit when we all know all girls want to be accepted by their equals.

However this post is specific to Mums.

During pregnancy we are all very much banded together and going through the same or similar feelings and issues and changes. When we doubt things like sex in pregnancy or stretchmarks etc, we are issued with a rallying cry of ‘it’s your body, your choice, ignore the haters, do what you like! SCARY WOMAN POWER!’ There’s unity and support and outrage at the nasty menfolk who made us SO pregnant we are sick, with sore boobies and hormones and weight gain. IT’S THE MENFOLK WITH THE PENISES – THEIR FAULT!

And then we become mummies. Some women, like myself and my Bestie, stay supportive of others choices even when we don’t agree. Then there are the others. I should probably whisper the next bit just in case they can hear me… the Supermums.

Oh good, they didn’t hear me! Phew! You know the ones I mean right? I’ll do you a list –

SuperMum read ALL the manuals on parenting. Ever. And now has a specialist degree on babies.

SuperMum disapproves of women who poison their poor defenseless babies with disgusting formula *spit*

SuperMum disapproves of all things that non-SuperMums do

SuperMum disinfects all things in case baby gets yucky germs. Including visitors. And the oxygen outside.

Scratch that, SuperMum would never dare bring baby outside. There are more yucky germs!

SuperMum never EVER EVER puts the baby down and therefore have superior iron bladders

SuperMum does not get anything wrong. IT WAS IN THE BOOK IT MUST BE RIGHT!

These are the women who have a baby and automatically become judgmental beasts who start their sentences with BUT WHAT DO YOU MEAAAAAN YOU ARE NOT BREASTFEEDING??? DIDN’T YOU KNOW YOUR BODY IS A SACRED VESSEL FOR YOUR CHILDS USE ONLY??? YOU MUST LATCH YOUR DARLINGS, NO I DO NOT CARE IF YOUR NIPPLES ARE HANGING OFF, YOU GAVE UP YOUR RIGHTS AS A WOMAN WHEN YOU BECAME A MOTHER!

That was an extreme except for the bits in pink. Not every breastfeeding mother is a scary beast at all – I know a lot of boobiefeeding mothers who are brilliant and lovely including Bestie. I’m just referring to the ones who one moment support you as a woman then believe as soon as you become a mother you are a 24/7 baby-led junkie who must do nothing else but see to baby! Mid pee and the baby cries? Don’t finish – run and grab the baby because if you leave him cry for longer than a second Cortisol will flood into their system and they will stop trusting you!!!! Don’t pierce/circumcise your child – you are making bad choices for them and they shall forever hate you and spit on you.

I may seem like I am exaggerating, but there are honest to God women in this world who are so determined to follow all the books and be so perfect that they think anything less than what the books tell them is incorrect. Well you know what? When I spent 8.5 hours in labour and 2 of those pushing Sophie into the world, I did not see a book hanging at the end of her cord. All these so called ‘experts’ have got a big problem – the babies we had DID NOT GET THE MANUAL! No baby is born with one.

The majority of experts out there write books on babies and their milestones and most of them don’t even have kids!

In a nutshell – why can’t mothers just support each other regardless of whether they agree with opinions? I mean, do I have to feel looked down on just because I use formula? No I bloody well shouldn’t.

And if you run into a scary SuperMum, do me a favour and tell her that you left your baby in a pile of glass once to play. She doesn’t have to know you mean sand.

Lols

The Great Debate

And no, I’m not talking politics. I’m talking BOOBYMILK and FORMULA. There is always a huge argument about whether breast is really best or is formula the best. Every mother has breastfeeding advice given to them by hospitals now and sometimes formula feeding is put second by midwives. I am not talking about every midwife or every hospital, this is just a generalisation. 

Sophie being formula fed

This wikipedia page has all the info you will ever require about breastfeeding, and this wikipedia page is all about formula feeding. Do you see the significant difference in the amount of information about breastfeeding and the benefits and the lack of the benefits of formula feeding? Now, there are so many benefits of both boobymilk and formula milk, and my opinion is what is expressed in this blog. *Disclaimer* – MY OPINION IS NOT LAW, IT WORKS FOR ME AND FOR MY DAUGHTER AND DOESN’T HAVE TO GET UP YOUR NOSE. Moving on…

I admire every woman out there who has the guts to breastfeed. However, it just wasn’t for me and yes it was for a very selfish reason. Are you ready for it? No, really, are you ready??

I did not WANT to.

Ooo let’s all give that a moment to sink in. Has it done so? Good. Now, let’s take a moment to judge me as a terrible mother who blah blah blah blah… Zzzz… oops sorry were you busy judging me? I took a nap instead of choosing to listen.

My daughter is guzzling up to 24 ounces of Chateau Cow & Gate 2012. It has a light and creamy nose, disgusting to an adult but the way she holds her bottle when she’s chowing down makes me happy. She is just over 12lbs in weight, is laughing, chattering, holding her head up when on her front. In short, all the milestones she should have hit already, she has hit.

I think ladies who get up the guts to breastfeed through the utter pain of the hot, cement filled bombs that used to be boobs after birth are flipping amazing! When I was done having Sophie, I for the first few days wondered WHY people always complained about sore boobs after. Then Oh…My…God. The PAIN. My boobs swelled up like balloons and leaked milk night and day. Of course, Husband thought this was a great adjustment in our lives, but the rule was most definitely to look but not touch! My nipples were sore, huge and throbbing with heat. Having seen how hard my daughter would suck on a bottle teat, I was thanking the BoobyGods that I hadn’t allowed her to latch. I could barely lift my arms above my head.

My midwife (ah the wonderful, patient Lorna) at the hospital saw us at 34 weeks and asked outright whether we would be breastfeeding or not. I was expecting a fight or disapproval at my choice but when I said ‘bottle’ she actually accepted my decision with a smile. All too often friends and family have told me that they have had to argue with midwives or other staff because their decision to bottle feed and honestly, I find this ridiculous! Hospital staff are in a position of care and should support the hormonal ticking timebombs that are most pregnant women.

Boobyfeeding

Yes, breastmilk is the best thing a baby can have – the nutrients and the room temperature and the ease of access are all good reasons. Live bacteria, it’s completely natural. Kinda like Yakult in a tit. But what about the babies who refuse to latch? Or the mothers who suffer from cracked and bleeding nipples to the point the pain of it makes them cry, then the baby gets agitated and screams the place down? Or the thrush/mastitis? What about the babies who are allergic to breastmilk no matter how many times you change your diet? What about the feeling of utter desperation and failure when your baby is screaming with starvation because you don’t actually produce enough milk?

See, all these reasons can be fought through after the first couple months/weeks, but sleep deprivation, insane hormones and the shock of just pushing a person out of your body can really make all the above reasons a right turn off. I know that babies can be allergic to formula, which is why you can switch formulas. But you can only change your diet so many times before you have nothing left to change if a baby is allergic to your milk.

Then we get onto the bonding. I kind of take offence at the idea that bottle fed babies don’t bond as much with their parents. Yeah ok, breastfeeding allows a different kind of physical skin to skin, but I’ve fed Sophie while topless. Sophie rests her hands on my hands while I feed her and we maintain eye contact throughout most of a feed. The only difference is that she doesn’t feed from my body. She and her Daddy also have a fantastic bond. And to be honest the utter relief of having Husband taking over and assisting with bottles in the night (and day!) was one of the biggest reasons I didn’t succumb to postnatal depression. That’s not to say that Daddies of boobyfed babies don’t bond at all.

Then there’s the issue of babies that ‘are prone to allergies and sickness’ when formula fed. Well, I don’t know about that. Husband was boobyfed, I was bottle fed. He’s sickly, I get sick maybe once every two years. SHRUG

Unfortunately as a new mother, I have been ganged up on by ‘lactivists’ who believe breast is the ONLY way to go. Balls to that I say! The way to go is what is both best for mother, for baby and for family, whether that be booby, bottle or straight up sticking the baby on a cow (no, not really)

Too effing right!

As long as every baby is fed, warm & happy, then you Mother’s out there are doing a FANTASTIC job.