Saturday, 28 November 2009


I always knew that I would be a breastfeeding mother. As little girls my sister and I shoved our dollies up our jumpers in a show of solidarity with the various aunties and friends who nursed their little ones at family get-togethers. Once over the plethora of problems which plagued the first days of feeding my son I adored the special bond our breastfeeding brought, and was emotionally torn when, already pregnant again, he self weaned.

There is something magical in watching a child grow before your eyes and knowing that you did that. C is now more than two pounds above her birthweight, and every single one of those ounces is down to me. The gluggy nightfeeds, frantic oft-interrupted by toddler day feeds and endless evening clusterfeeds are all more than worth it now I can no longer stuff her into a newborn babygro. I am a simple type, I work well on a reward basis (sticker chart anyone?) and I now have the ultimate visual reminder that the hard work is worth it. And it is hard work. No-one else can feed C. I'm still Leaky McLeakerton and getting through breastpads and matronly feeding bras at a rate of knots. Although I quite fancy my husband again, in a sad reversal of my teenage exploits any fumblings for the next few months will definitely have to be bottom half only. Until I can find the time and inclination to sterilise the breastpump and a bottle I have no hope of leaving her for more than a few minutes at a time, and she might, like her brother, reject anything but the good stuff straight from source anyway.

With reward also comes great responsibility of course, and I have always been a worrier. I scrutinise nappies, weighing up whether their wetness means C's getting enough. If she has a short feed I panic my supply will dip in response. If she has a long feed I worry my milk is drying up. As she flops drunkenly from my breast, the last drops dribbling from the corner of her mouth, I scrutinise them for evidence that it's creamy hindmilk goodness rather than grey, watery foremilk that's sent her into a warm fug. It's all OK of course. In reality C would make herself very well heard was I starving her. But much as I would love to be one of those laid-back breastfeeding mothers, I feel that despite the fantastic weight gain I will always be on the look out for extra reassurance that I am doing a good job. Imagine having sole responsibility for the most precious thing in the world. Surely that would keep anyone on their toes?

Sunday, 15 November 2009


There is no hunger quite like that which you experience when breastfeeding a newborn. It is of the 'bottomless pit' variety, only allieviated by throwing down a ridiculous amount of food which barely touches the sides.

For example, yesterday I ate ...

4 potato cakes with butter
A blue cheese toastie, crisps and a pear
A packet of Percy Pig sweets
12 M&S party food duck spring rolls with hoi sin sauce
A giant M&S readymeal, enough chicken and chorizo to serve two hungry adults
Almost an entire box of Celebrations chocolates

I also drank 15 pints of fruit squash in an attempt to remain hydrated.

Oh, and in the course of producing enough milk to grow my daughter from 8lb 4oz to 9lb 7oz in her first two weeks I've lost more of my pregnancy weight. Imagine, if I had a modicum of self-restraint and the urges could be quelled with fruit or (shudder) vegetables, I might even be (gasp) thin!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Getting ahead of myself

Our wonderful birth experience has meant I am rather ahead of myself. Following T's difficult delivery I spent five days on a postnatal ward at the Royal Blackburn Hospital. Breastfeeding was a challenge, delaying our departure, and once I came home and gingerly installed myself on the sofa, nipple shields and Lansinoh within easy reach, almost half of my husband's paternity leave had gone, spent driving to and from the hospital and feeding the pay and display machine.

This time has been very different. My husband was in the office two and a half hours before I gave birth, and of course I haven't been near the inside of a hospital. We were out and about the day after C was born, and being more relaxed about feeding this time around seems to be paying dividends. The midwife warned me not to be too disappointed at C's seven day weigh in, 'all babies lose some of their birthweight in the first week', but once on the scales (C, not the midwife!) she confounded expectations and had put on four ounces. My superwoman labour hormones still don't seem to have dissipated. I'm even (shhhhh!) coping well with the night feeds and odd five am exploding nappy.

This week I decided then that I needed a new wardrobe. My maternity stuff is all too big (not to mention almost entirely summery after two early autumn due dates) and opening the door on my non-mat clothes didn't fill me with joy. So off we trotted to the shops. Avoiding anywhere 'fashiony' (I'm not in denial about the fact I can't carry off jeggings) Next shone like a high street beacon, offering breastfeeding-friendly tunic tops and dresses that didn't cost the earth. C was starting to root for a feed so I loaded an arm up with hangers, paid and ran for the nearest bench.

It was only when I returned home and tried on my stash that reality bit. I had a baby only nine short days ago. I still have the appearance of a 20 week pregnant Weeble, but with a slightly bigger backside. Nothing fit. Nothing was anywhere near fitting. It's some sort of miracle that I didn't rip anything in the putting on and taking off. It all has to go back of course.

So I was guilty of getting ahead of myself. Clothes shopping is on ice for another month or so, and I've resolved to layer up some mat clothes to get me through the next few weeks, and hope for magic breastfeeding weightloss. But hey, I might not look it, but I feel good. And no number of size 14s could make me want it the other way around.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Brotherly love

I like to think it was brotherly love that caused T to tell everyone at nursery that his new baby sister was called Timon. I wondered why, when we took C in to visit, the staff gingerly asked us what her name was as they 'couldn't tell' what T had been saying. Couldn't believe that we'd be so cruel more like!

I'm pretty sure brotherly love was the reason I found C in her bouncy chair with a pile of M&S baby t-shirts (a present from a generous friend) on her head. T said he'd been 'showing' them to her.

I know however that it's brotherly love when C mumbles and peeps and T runs over, pats her hand ('s'OK C') and shouts for us ... 'C needs a mummy milk, C needs a daddy cuddle'.

I am so proud of my little (big?) boy and the way he's handled this massive adjustment. Whether it stays this way remains to be seen, but at the moment, four is very, very good.