Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

Cloth nappies, dairy-free living, reviews and parental ramblings!

Nightweaning a toddler: Nursies when the sun shines

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As a full-term breastfeeding mum, I’ve found that getting advice as to how to help to support my son during the ending stages of our breastfeeding journey quite hard.

Most family and friends haven’t had experience with feeding an older child. Most doctors don’t have a clue (although one lovely one told me all the benefits regarding protecting the mother from certain cancers and the obvious benefits to the child’s immune system.)

So, when I heard about this wonderful book, I thought I’d give it a go to help us with gentle night weaning.

‘Nursies when the sun shines’ is a wonderful, beautifully-drawn book that helps support and reinforce the idea that the breastfeeding child doesn’t need a feed at night. It has gorgeous pictures and repetitive phrases to help your little one understand that night is just for sleeping.

We started reading the book at bedtime back in about June and it took about three months for the message to completely sink in to my very stubborn but utterly gorgeous little man’s head.

But! Once he’d processed it – he stopped feeding at night.

He settles more quickly and had more unbroken nights of sleep. It was brilliant! I think we timed the reading of this book well as he was ready for that stage and we didn’t force him or rush him before he was either biologically or emotionally ready.

I got this fab book from Amazon and would recommend it wholeheartedly to all natural-term breastfeeding mothers.

daisytheclothbummum was not paid for the content of this post. These are all my own thoughts and opinions and I paid for the book myself

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The Family Bed: Helping a toddler recover

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Sleeping arrangements in the house are always something that differ greatly from family to family. Everyone does it differently.

Do you snuggle your child to sleep in your arms?
Do you shush them gently, patting their back and then edge away?
Do you sit by their door, shushing and reassuring them that you are there?
Do you do a cry it out method (CIO) and maybe do some form of rapid return until your little one is settled?
Do you put them in a hut at the bottom of your garden and hope they eventually quieten down…

Ok – so the last one isn’t a good option, but I know people that do versions of each of the above (excluding the hut one!!) and they all talk about their individual pros and cons.

We’ve gone mainly down the co-sleeping route in our household. It suited us best as our little man has been breastfed and snuggling next to Mummy, curled in the natural C-shape that a co-sleeping Mum seems to do, has been wonderful.

Gradually, over time, we’ve managed to get him to move more into his own room and were really starting to break ground with him. He was enjoying his own bed. Relishing in the independence that he was developing but safe in the knowledge that he could snuggle up with us if he needed or wanted to and wouldn’t be told ‘No’.

And then he went and broke his leg ten days ago.

Everything went backwards and our little increasingly-independent lad has now become quite needy and desperate for cuddles and companionship.

I don’t blame him. He’s sore, he’s having some horrible dreams and he just wants his Mummy and Daddy.

So, for the past week I’ve been sleeping with him in the double bed in his room. Whilst that’s been great for giving us all space, it’s not been exactly ideal as I’ve missed hubby and our bed, so I started looking at various options.

Would a single bed fit alongside ours? Nope
How about a small single? Yes – but the cost of good mattresses and finding one that was a similar height to our bed was proving to be quite difficult.

Then I had a brainwave. One that, quite frankly, should have occurred to me ages ago as we’ve all been snuggled up in a double (which has been rather snug…)

I’ve adapted his existing cotbed and managed to lash it with bungee cords to our bed. It’s THE perfect height and the mattress fits safely and snugly against ours thanks to some rolled up towels shoved down the side (going to be replaced with a wedge of nursery-grade foam soon).

He loves it and it means that if he does need to come through to us in the night, we’ve all got space. He’s still got the double in his room, which also means that if people come to stay then we have somewhere for them to sleep that isn’t taken over by a star-fish toddler. Fantastic!

What does your family bed look like? I’d love to see how creative some of you have got!

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Toddler Tastic!

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Wow. I’ve been looking back at the blog and over the past few weeks I’ve noticed something – I’m doing an awful lot of reviews and not a lot of rambling posts! That’s not like me at all… Those who know me are probably laughing and nodding their heads in agreement, but it’s quite unusual for me to pass up on the opportunity to waffle on and on – but that’s what I’ve been doing.

So, there’s a good reason (or a hundred) as to why I’ve not been regaling you with snippets of my life recently. The main one is work. Work, work, work! I’ve been (and still am) very busy and just haven’t really had the time. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job, but it’s been quite hard to step back and take the time to do things like this. Like, right now – I know there’s a million things that I should/could be doing but I’ve given myself five minutes grace! Cup of coffee and a biscuit at my side and a computer to type away on and ramble – job’s a good ‘un!

Then there’s been all the amazing donations that I’ve been receiving (and still am receiving) for the nappy library/ demo kit that I’ve been setting up. People have been fantastic and I really can’t thank them enough, but with all donations (especially from companies) I obviously am doing reviews for them. That’s only fair and a great way to show people who read this blog just how many wonderful different types and brands of nappies there are.

So, I’ve got a whole host of reviews already written, a fair few in the pipeline and quite a lot more still to come. Phew!

But, nappies aside for a moment – back to blogging about life.
Life is good!
Life is busy!
Life with a toddler is hectic!
Life with a CLIMBING toddler is quite frankly a pain in the backside!!!

Oh dear god, he doesn’t stop! He’s up on everything, almost falling off everything and generally being a little monster. I think it might be time for a renaming of Master Monkey Clothbum to little Master Monster.

He constantly has a massive cheeky grin on his face, is babbling away non-stop and I know when he’s being naughty as he goes very quiet and looks around all the time to see if he’s being watched, which is rather amusing. One of my brothers used to whistle whenever he was doing something he shouldn’t, which was always hilarious, and I think that Monster is going to end up with a similar tell as he’s also started making this funny whistling sound when he’s focusing on things that he knows are not allowed. It’s hilarious!

With this new found sense of self developing, he’s also becoming more determined which is leading to some interesting little stand offs. We’ve had a few tempers where he throws himself backwards onto the floor, quite a few sittings in the corner and howling and general determined attempts to stamp his mark on things and do it his way. It’s actually very interesting to observe but quite tough, at times, to remain cool and gently but firmly stand our ground or distract him (whichever happens to be the most appropriate at the time).

I’m also finding that he’s now nursing more like a newborn again at night, which is a bit sore at times. I’m sure it’s because he’s teething but part of me is wondering whether it’s because he likes the comfort and as he’s pretty much self-weaned during the day, that he wants it at night.

If any of you have carried on breastfeeding a toddler, did you find they upped their nursing at all? What tips could you give to others like myself who are newbies to nursing a toddler?
They’d be very much appreciated!

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Twists and turns.

As a first time Mum, I had all these grand ideas in my head of what kind of Mum I’d be. What I’d do and what I wouldn’t. I had a very specific birth plan that I really hoped would work out (waterbirth, TENS, Gas & Air and, god forbid, no other drugs). My baby was going to wear cloth nappies, I was going to just breastfeed, I would only feed him/her homemade organic food, I’d never allow him to get into a routine of falling asleep on me and of course he’d sleep in his lovely moses basket/ crib/ cotbed. I’d try to use a sling but I’d have a pram as well, I’d never even vaguely consider elimination communication and I did think that attachment parents were making rods for their own backs. Whilst I wanted to be close to my baby and nuture him/her as much as possible, I wanted him to ‘learn to self settle’.

Oh god. Things have changed. My perspective on many things, including the above has altered HUGELY. It’s amazing how utterly unprepared you are for such a little, teeny person invading your life, albeit in an amazing way that you wouldn’t change for the world.

Luckily, for me, a lot of things I wanted to do have worked out. I got the birth I wanted, even though (apparently) I did yell that I wanted a ******* epidural at the time when my son’s head was crowning. Yup…that was obviously not going to happen! I was very lucky – there’s only one waterbirthing pool in our local hospital, and I got it. Lots of other ladies aren’t so lucky. I was also incredibly fortunate that there were no other complications at birth, although Monkey will have to have a little operation when he’s older.

Yes, I got to (so far) use cloth nappies on my little one, although I have had to use some disposables at night due to the thicker night nappies making his reflux much worse. I wasn’t a happy bunny when that happened, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

Breastfeeding has been a huge struggle for me and I’m now in the amazing position where not only is Monkey pretty much exclusively breastfed, I’m actually managing to pump and freeze a good amount for sending to nursery with him. I still have some prescription lactose free formula just in case, but thanks to the amazing support that I’ve had from my local breastfeeding specialists, I’ve managed to achieve that goal.

As far as food is concerned, yes I do actually mainly manage to give Monkey homemade stuff. But a few (organic) pouches of food have crept into his diet and I’m fine with that. I was originally going to do just Baby Led Weaning, and I was very passionate about it – but after the specialists told us that he needed some purees/ porridge to help with his reflux, I did relent and there was a massive improvement. He loves his food and is really starting to enjoy playing with finger foods now, which is great. Seeing him shove a stem of broccoli into his face is hilarious and he adores sucking on French toast! Sometimes being a bit more relaxed about things is better and I’m happy with the balance that I now have. I did beat myself up about not doing pure BLW, but he’s happy – so I am!

Attachment parenting is a whole other issue! After Monkey was born, Mr Clothbum and I went with what felt right after struggling with a baby that just would not settle, no matter what we did. We soon discovered that he had very bad colic and reflux and that cosleeping, with him in a more upright position, was the way forward. And we haven’t really looked back. Monkey does go into his cot at night but in the early hours of the morning he’s usually in with us, cluster feeding on Mummy. It works – brilliantly – and we both love having our baby so close. He’s gradually learning to settle himself but it’s a slow process and we’re fine with that too. He’ll get there – when he’s ready.

I know that it means that he won’t go easily to others overnight at the moment, but that’s really not an issue for us. We have no family that live near us, so there’s no one that Monkey will be going to stay with on his own, really. Also, as a breastfed baby – its easier to keep him near me anyway. Then I don’t have the hassle of expressing more than I need to.

Since having him I’ve started to read more on the subject and found that a lot of the things that we’re doing (that I had no name for) are linked to the work of Dr Sears (and attachment parenting – yes, I really had no concept of it before!) His way of thinking, in my book, is well worth a read and I also absolutely love Mayim Bialik (she used to play Blossom). Her approach to parenting is a very refreshing one and one that sits very well with me. There’s a bit of a debate about her decision to circumcise her sons, but in my opinion, that’s her choice as a Jew. I personally wouldn’t circumcise unless there were medical grounds, but I’m not a religious person so I don’t want to judge others and their beliefs.

Elimination communication is another area that I’ve been reading into with a degree of fascination. I’m nowhere brave enough to attempt this, but I am going to start putting Monkey on a potty after his meals once he is stronger and more secure at sitting up. That’s the method that my mother-in-law, and other people of her generation, used with their children and lots of us potty trained much earlier than children do nowadays. But if Monkey does PT early – I’ll have to stop using my lovely nappies!

Food for thought!

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