Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

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

Easy does it! Brother Max review.

20120502-195547.jpg

When you have a little one, there are certain items that just – make sense. I’ve bought a whole range of things over the past 8 months or so (and some before he was born) that, quite frankly, have been a complete and utter waste of money. He HATED being swaddled after a while, wasn’t particularly impressed with one range of bottles that we tried out and really made one hell of a fuss (in an ezcema-related way) to various baby products.

So when it came to weaning, I was a little hesitant about buying things as I didn’t want to get stuff that just didn’t work for him or me. I came across the Brother Max Easy-Hold bowls pretty early on and I’m just so glad I got them, as they’re brilliant. I find them incredibly easy to hold, they have a little dent in them that makes loading up a spoon a doddle (no chasing around food in these babies!) and they have a suction cup that actually works! Monkey finds it almost impossible to get this one off and wave it around, victoriously, over his head – unlike some of the others that we have.

They also have lots of items in the range that make the bowls work in different ways. I got hold of their travel system, which has a little dividing section that sits inside the main bowl and a lid that holds two spoons. Simple but ingenious and has been pretty much everywhere with us. It doesn’t leak, has been thrown around all over the place and is utterly brilliant.

So – when I saw that Brother Max were launching some new products I kind of, um, pestered them in a very nice I LOVE YOUR STUFF kind of way to let me do a review of them! And those lovely people let me!

They sent me over one of their new Easy-Hold 2-in-1 snack pot bowls. This is such a sensible addition to their range and I’m really impressed with it. Quite simply, it’s an Easy-Hold bowl with a special, flexible, spill-proof lid that enables you to put snack items inside and stops them falling out all over the place when your little cutie waves the bowl around, or throws it across the floor in a little rage.

It works with the other items in the Easy-Hold range so you can take off the lid and use it as a bowl, put in the insert from the travel set or plonk it down onto the suction cup, which is great if you already have some of the Brother Max things!

Monkey is a little young at the moment for using this on his own and I’ve found that it’s just very handy for me as I can carry snacks around for him and I’m not faffing around with getting lids off things (and then having to put them back on again) whenever he wants something to eat. I’ve even clipped it onto the pram with a climbing caribiner clip, which has worked really well! I let Monkey have a play with it and it got generally waved around all over the place, babbled at, chewed and then thrown across the kitchen floor. Good news is that none of the contents spilled out, so it does it’s job perfectly! In time he’ll get the idea that you can put your hand inside it, but that kind of freaked him out when I tried to show him so I think that will be a wondrous discovery that he makes one day. Then I’m sure he’ll show me on countless occasions just how easy it is to use!

Daisytheclothbummum was not paid for this review and gave my time freely to do so. An Easy-Hold 2-in-1 snack pot was sent to me for review but all thoughts and opinions stated here are my own.

Advertisements
1 Comment »

My, how things change! My altered parenting views

20120430-230049.jpg

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 can be 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 for me, or Monkey and that I have a happy, healthy little boy. I count my blessings for that every single day.

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. I absolutely (obviously!) LOVE using my cloth nappies and get a real kick out of seeing his cute, fluffy bum. There’s something so nice about seeing a baby with a padded cloth bum and I thoroughly enjoy my ‘nappy stuffing’ time in front of the TV. I find it very relaxing (aren’t repetitive things like that quite soothing!) and I get a sense of satisfaction when I see the nappies all looking rather funky and ready to be used. Yes, I know that they’re poo-catchers – but at least they’re nice, soft, breathable and well, ok – pretty – ones!

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. The nursery I’m sending Monkey to have been very supportive in my decision to send in frozen breast milk for them to defrost and use as required and the whole system that I’ve put in place is working really well so far, along with pumping at work (which is something that initially concerned me).

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. The only downside is that I’d love to be able to sleep in a position that’s actually (properly) more comfortable for me, but when Monkey is with us, that’s not something that is achievable. Mummy just sleeps in which ever position she’s allowed to lie in!

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 Jewish person. I personally wouldn’t circumcise unless there were medical grounds, but I’m not religious and 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! Right now, there’s probably someone reading this who’s making umming and ahhing noises about me making virtual rods for my own back. Yes, I probably am! But I’m going to have amazing posture as a result!

2 Comments »

Eco-wipes

Now, I know I’ve been blogging all about how amazing cloth wipes are, but there are always times when a pack of disposable wipes is very handy indeed. Cloth wipes are brilliant and they save you an absolute fortune, but I always have a pack of ‘normal’ wipes in my changing bag just in case.

They’re great for mopping up dirty faces and hands – things that I wouldn’t use my everyday cloth nappy wipes for (as they’re for his bottom!) At home I have a box downstairs that’s got cloth wipes in for using after meals, but I don’t take face cloth wipes out with me at the moment. That’s mainly because I only have one little wetbag – so once I treat myself to another one, then things may change.

However, for now – I do use a few disposable wipes, but one packet really does last me ages! I usually use the Nature Babies eco wipes (although some other brands have snuck in there every now and then) but I was quite excited when I got hold of a few packets of the Jackson Reece wipes. http://www.jacksonreece.com/ I’d been reading all about these for a while, so I have to say I was eager to give them a go.

20120326-083710.jpg

I like the ethos behind the company and as my baby has such sensitive skin, I’m very impressed with the lack of ‘nasties’ that they have in them. They have organic aloe vera, tea tree oil, lavender oil and purified water in the herbal wipes, and there’s also the simple unscented ones. That’s basically what I use in my own wipes solution, so that ticked all the right boxes for me.

Then, from an eco-mum point of view, they’re made in Britain, aren’t tested on animals and are biodegradable/ compostable amongst many other things (have a good nosy around their website to find out more details – it’s pretty impressive stuff!) That ticks even more of my boxes! At the end of the day, if I am going to use some disposable wipes, then it’s surely better for me to try and stick to my guns and use eco-friendly ones.

So, they are all-singing and dancing as far as the eco-side is concerned, but – the question that I’m sure you’re asking is – are they actually any good? Yep! Yes, they are! They are really moist and really strong, which is fantastic. They are very good at doing their job and I didn’t need to use a lot of wipes for dealing with his messy meal face/ hands, which is always a good thing as you’re then saving money! These wipes didn’t make his ezcema flare up, which often happens if I use ‘normal’ disposable wipes and he actually let me use one to wipe his face. I think that might be because they don’t smell strange to him, which others that are full of chemicals must do. I was very pleased with this!

We also have a pack of the Nose Nuzzles, which are natural saline wipes. These have come in incredibly handy as Monkey has had cold after cold, so using these has been much kinder to that delicate skin around his little nose.

So, would I recommend these? I think you’ve probably gathered by now that I do! I know I got given some packs free to try, so I could hopefully write nice things about the products, but I promise that I only write nice stuff if I actually LIKE what I’m testing. These wipes are brilliant and just what I’m looking for when I do buy disposable wipes. Cloth wipes are obviously my preferred choice, but there’s always going to be times when I need disposable wipes and the Jackson Reece wipes are now on my shopping list!

Daisytheclothbummum was given the Jackson Reece products to review but has not received any monetary payment or compensation for writing this review. All thoughts & opinions above are my own.

3 Comments »

From the archives: My first blog post!

As my blog is ever growing, I thought I should look back at my first few posts and reshare them. I thought they’d be useful to have again, higher up on my blog roll for any mums who are thinking of using cloth.

So, here’s the first, explaining all about my naive, clothy beginnings!

When I found out that I was pregnant I was stupidly happy. I hyperventilated, I danced around the house, I got rather terrified and then I got excited. Very very excited. For all the obvious “I’m having a baby” reasons, of course. But, to be honest, also because I was going to get to do all the things that I’d had planned in my head for a very, very long time.

You see – I’ve wanted to be a mummy for ages. Sat by watching everyone get hitched, have a zillion children and then get the snip or those pesky tubes tied whilst I was trying, and failing miserably, to get pregnant. There was no reason. Our little swimmers and eggs just weren’t having the party that we were. They weren’t behaving.

But then – they did! Finally! After almost completely giving up. And so the plans that I’d had running around my head for well over a decade were finally able to come to fruition in an exciting whirlwind of shopping and crafty making things.

Cloth nappies were a major part of this plan.

Cute, fluffy cloth!

I always wanted to use them but now that I was finally pregnant, I started to wonder. Would they be too much work? As I was now at the ripe old age of 35, would the ‘extra work’ that I’d heard about cloth nappies be just too much for me. After all, I’d been used to doing exactly whatever I wanted. When I wanted. Whenever I wanted.
Would extra washing, stuffing and all the things that I just hadn’t thought about be a pain? Would my hubby be ok with it all or would he hate them? There was a lot to consider.

And then there was the question about clothing from birth. Both my mum and mother-in-law had used the old terries and whilst they were very supportive of my idea to use cloth nappies, they both thought that I would find it easier to use sposies for a little while after the birth. It’d ‘make it easier at first for me’,I was reassured.

So I set about getting some disposable nappies. I used all those coupons that you get with the various packs that well-meaning companies that want you to spend loads of money with them in the future give out to impressionable mothers-to-be. I built up quite a stash of size 1’s and 2’s.
But I really didn’t like them. They felt horrid, to me. And the more I read into them, the more it didn’t quite sit right with me. I didn’t like the idea of nappies lying there in the ground in many years to come, stinking away and not decomposing properly – and then there was the issue of all those chemical compounds so close to a little baby’s skin. So, then I got some eco-disposables. Better – but still, they felt so papery. Why would I make a baby wear those when I wore nice comfy cotton knickers? It all seemed rather wrong.

So I started to build up a stash of cloth nappies. Slowly, stumbling through a world that exists on the fringes of babydom. You see – you just can’t buy them easily in shops. There are a few places where you can buy them but they are just so dull and plain that it’s understandable why people would be put off. In fact, if that’s all that was out there I just wouldn’t have bothered.

This is going to be my blog of my experiences. Of my mistakes (which there were countless), of my discoveries and of my successes. I really hope this little rambling area of the net might be of some use to a mummy who’s thinking of taking the plunge and opting for this fun, cute and comfy way of nappying a child.

Leave a comment »

Fear and Clothing!

As it’s nearly the weekend, I thought I’d do my Quick Weekend Catchup early for a very good reason. Monkey and I are off on a little holiday to see our family, leaving behind Mr Clothbum (awwwwww…) Don’t worry, though, I’ll be popping in and out courtesy of Wi-fi!

Going away with cloth – I’ve blogged about it before, but this holiday is going to be a little bit different. Whenever we’ve been since Monkey has been born, we’ve stayed at my parent’s house. The great thing about that (as far as cloth nappies are concerned) is that they have the same washer and dryer that we do. That makes my whole laundry routine pretty simple as it’s just the same as being at home.

Whilst I’m really looking forward to staying with my lovely in-laws, I have to be honest that I’m a little nervous. I’ve never washed my nappies in another washing machine and I’ve not used a different machine for about eight years. I think it’s the slight control freak in me coming out, but eeeeek – I don’t want to ruin my lovely nappies.

Soooo – I have a confession. I’ve mostly packed nappies that I don’t care about so much. Ooops. Is that wrong of me? There’s another reason behind that – they’re a stash of Flip inserts that I bought secondhand for taking away on holidays. They pack down so small that they’re perfect for taking away and I won’t be quite so heartbroken if something happens to them. On the other hand, if I managed to ruin one of my lovely Itti’s by messing up the washing then I’d be really annoyed.

Have any of you been on holiday with cloth and used a machine that you weren’t sure about? Anyone had any disastrous moments? Let’s all share – I’ll let you know if I manage to keep my Flips in one piece…

Leave a comment »

Making the move to cups.

As Monkey is getting that little bit older, we’ve started to make the transition from just using boobs/bottles to other types of drinking vessels. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m finding it a tad annoying trying to find one that suits him – he’s being really fussy, or just doesn’t seem to have a clue how to use them!

So what I thought I’d do today, just partly to get it off my chest, and partly to go through my experiences, is to share with you the ones that we’ve got (so far…I’m sure that there will be more) and what Monkey does with them. There’s ones that I like more than others at the moment, but I’m sure that in time that’ll change – just like I now prefer very different cloth nappies to the ones that I started with. Before I go any further, I’m going to be very transparent and let you know that I’ve been given two of these cups to review. The first one is the Oxo sippy cup set from VUP baby and the second is the Nuby cup. Whilst I haven’t paid for these, my opinions are my own and I’m being brutally honest!

Here’s a snap of all the cups we have. I’ve written about them in order, starting from the bottom right and working round in an anticlockwise arc!

20120313-175930.jpg

Monkey is mainly, almost exclusively now (yay) breastfed but we have always given some milk in bottles. At first it was because I had an utterly pitiful milk supply, he had tongue tie, and we had to top up a little with prescription formula. As time has gone on, he’s getting pretty much what he needs daily from me and we are trying to make sure that we do give him a bottle every now and then so that he’s able to take milk from others (something that’s going to be incredibly important as he’s off to nursery next month).

I started off trying to use Doidy cups from the NCT shop http://www.nctshop.co.uk/, as I’d been told that they were great for breastfed babies and avoided any nipple confusion. For those of you that don’t know what they are, they’re an angled open sippy cup that the baby uses by almost lapping at the contents. Monkey LOVES these – he gets incredibly excited when he sees them, but then he quite often tips a lot of the contents all over himself! You have to be very, very careful when using a Doidy cup with a baby, but if you get the hang of them then they are great.

However, for him using out and about, they’re definitely not leakproof and now that he’s a little bit older I’ve started to look at other options. The first cup I got for him was the Dr Brown’s training cup, which has handles that can be removed http://www.drbrowns.co.uk/index.php. It’s very good in that it doesn’t leak at all but the sippy bit is quite thin and he doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. He moves it around his mouth, chews on it a bit and generally looks confused. It’s probably not ‘nipple-shaped’ enough for him and I think I might need to revisit this one when he’s a little bigger. It’s nice and small for fitting into a bag when you go out and I just wish that he could get the hang of it!

The next cup I got was the Nuby No-Spill cup. http://www.nuby-uk.com/ This doesn’t have any handles, but that doesn’t seem to phase Monkey at all. He loves the bright colour of this cup and tries to grab onto it as soon as I give it to him. The spout is more rounded and this seems to work better for him as he can get liquid out of it. However, at the moment, he’s not quite got the hang of how to hold it up enough to get a good flow out of it, so I have to help him (which usually results in some frustrated noises as he wants to do it himself!) I think that this cup will be a ‘grower’ that he’ll get more adept at using in a month or so. It doesn’t leak, is nice and robust and the spout suits his mouth much more.

But the Nuby cup seemed a little hard for him to hold up at the moment, so I had another look around and came across the Brother Max cup www.brothermax.com. This one is a training cup that changes and grows as the baby does, turning from a starter sippy cup into a full cup by the end. It has removable handles, a teat that is more like a bottle/nipple teat and is angled, which makes it really easy to drink out of. The handles utterly flummoxed Monkey at first as he just couldn’t figure out how to hold them properly, but once he’d got his head around it, he’s been very happily using this cup. This is my current favourite as the mixture of the handles and the more rounded teat are really working for him at this stage in his development.

The final cup that I’ve got is the Oxo Tot training cup from VUP baby. www.vupbaby.co.uk This one is different to all the others that I have as it has a hard spout. It comes with an extra training cup lid for later on that has little holes in it, all around the top, which helps to control the flow of liquid. Monkey found this cup a little confusing at first, as he’s never had a hard spout in his mouth. He had a good old chew on it at first, looked slightly bemused by it, then eventually – after Mummy showing him a fair few times how it worked, he had a suck. All of a sudden, this seems to be HIS favourite (even if I do prefer the softer spouts). He loves grabbing onto the handles and is actually getting a good amount of liquid out of the cup. I can also safely say that it handles being dropped pretty well as this is the only one that I’ve not managed to catch!

Maybe my baby is ready for a hard spout? Maybe I need to rethink the softer options? Hmmm. Lots of food for thought. Have any of you been trying out different cups? Is it just me who’s finding it rather tricky or is this pretty normal?

2 Comments »

Sharing time: Timeline of a breastfed baby

http://www.thealphaparent.com/2011/12/timeline-of-breastfed-baby.html?m=1

I just found this online and it’s brilliant! Thought I should share.

Leave a comment »

Sling-tastic!

I know that I own a pram, plus a couple of buggies/strollers, but I have to say that I really do prefer babywearing. There’s something so wonderful about wrapping your baby up against you in a sling and carrying them. I used to carry Monkey all the time when he was smaller, but now that he’s turning into quite a hefty little chappy, it’s getting a tad more difficult.

My hunt is now on for a sling that will support both him and me, which is going to be fun. I had a look in my local newspaper/ baby information magazines and there appeared to be a local slingmeet group. Brilliant, I thought! Then – after a little bit of fruitless phoning, searching around for where this group met, I came to a bit of a screeching halt. It doesn’t actually exist anymore. I was so fed up! I wanted to join it because they had a sling library, which would have been wonderful for me.

For those of you who aren’t aware of what a sling library is, it’s a very simple concept. You pay a deposit (and then, often a small hire charge) and you can try out a range of slings before you buy. Slings aren’t cheap – they can’t be, really, because they’ve got to be very well made to support your precious little bundle. So, you can imagine that I felt very despondent at the fact that my local one had vanished into the ether.

I have three slings at the moment, and although all of them are meant to be able to hold Monkey from being very tiny to toddlerhood, two of them are starting to pull on my back a little. I have a very bad back as a result of a car crash years ago, so finding the right sling is very important.

The first sling that we used was a Babasling http://www.thebabasling.com/ . It’s a simple, almost hammock-type sling that you can easily put your newborn in. There’s nothing to tie and for the first few months I absolutely loved it. It was incredibly easy to use, but I’ve heard that it’s very much a Marmite sling! We got on with it brilliantly, but I’ve found that as Monkey has got bigger it just doesn’t have the support for me as it simply goes over my shoulder and it’s now tugging quite a fair bit on my upper body and neck.

The next sling that I used/ still use with Monkey is a Close Parent Caboo. http://www.closeparent.com/Default.aspx?tabid=147 This is a fab, stretchy wrap sling that has a strong panel at the back which does give me a bit more support. It adjusts really well via rings at the hips and both of us can wear it easily. I love the fact that it has stretchy fabric that I can put right across his back to support him, and it’s very easy to breastfeed in it (which is a massive bonus). This sling feels very soft to the touch and he’s carried in the ‘frog’ position against my chest (which we both love). Unfortunately, he’s starting to want to see more of the world and I can’t adapt it easily to let him move to nearer my hip. In the early days when Monkey was incredibly colicky and refluxy, this sling was an absolute godsend as it kept him more upright and just an awful lot happier.

So, I’ve recently got hold of a new sling that allows me to hip carry Monkey. It’s a Cot2Tot http://www.cot2tot.co.uk/ stretchy wrap sling that will hopefully tick more boxes. I think this one would have been great for him when he was tiny as you can wrap baby up against you and there’s ways that you can put the sling so that you can breastfeed discretely in it. It would also be fab for helping to reduce colic/reflux symptoms (just like my Close Caboo was) Monkey and I have had a bit of a play with it and he seems really happy with the hip carry position. I’ve only been on a short walk around the block with it, as the weather hasn’t exactly been fantastic, but it didn’t pull on my back at all. For very long walks where I might need more structured support, I might have to look for a carrier with a support panel in the back, but he seems really relaxed in it. This one is going to be (I think) wonderful for popping out to the shops and meeting my friends.

I’m heading up to a local-ish slingmeet group in a few weeks to (fingers crossed) get to play with a whole range of slings, which I’m really looking forward to. If you’re in the same boat as me, then I’m sure you’ll find a group locally to you that might be able to help. I looked at Slingmeet on Facebook and they’ve been very helpful indeed!

Anyway – just to finish, here’s a photo of Monkey in my new sling. It’s not the best, I’m sorry, but it’s tough to get photos of us that way! I’m going to instruct Mr Clothbum to help me out so I can show you some more.

20120310-155219.jpg

1 Comment »

Breastfeeding: My journey so far and looking to the future…

20120308-100136.jpg

Breast is Best, so the saying goes. And as a mummy who now is almost exclusively breastfeeding my baby, I definitely agree. There’s no doubting that breastmilk is better for your own baby, considering that it tailors itself to suit your baby’s needs – adapting to aid the immune system and adjusting as the baby grows. I’m no expert in this matter, and I’m not claiming to be, so here’s a link to the wonderful Dr Sears to explain what I’m talking about in more detail

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfeeding/why-breast-best/nutrient-nutrient-why-breast-best

However, breastfeeding (although obviously the most natural way of feeding your baby), is not always easy at first. I’d love to blog here that it is – that it’s just so simple, but that’s not always the case. Some mummies and babies just need a bit more help at the start, and that’s also totally normal. I think that if more mummies got proper, educated support from the start then the rates of continued breastfeeding (rather than what people do in the first couple of weeks) would rise.

I thought I’d share with you my experiences, as my breastfeeding journey really hasn’t been an easy one at all. But nearly seven months later, I’m still feeding Monkey myself and it’s just wonderful! I’m very proud of myself for persevering and I hope that by writing down what I’ve been through, it may be of use to others.

When Monkey was born, I had a waterbirth – so we had immediate skin-to-skin contact and he latched on straight away, which was fantastic. So when we left the hospital we were exclusively breastfeeding and I was one very happy mummy.

But, within about three weeks it started to become obvious that Monkey just wasn’t getting enough at each feed. Add to that the fact that breastfeeding was exceedingly painful (but his latch, according to the midwives, was fine) and he was screaming uncontrollably at every feed – I was getting very upset. I did everything that I could think of, read information on many websites (including the brilliant Kelly Mom website) and called my midwife and local breastfeeding support workers (a.k.a. The Pink Ladies). The midwife came around and, to be very honest with you, wasn’t very helpful at all. She suggested that I might need to top up with a formula and didn’t give me much more help than that. So we did…

Topping up with normal formula was an unmitigated disaster as it turned out that Monkey is lactose intolerant and instantly developed a horrendous rash all over him, was projectile vomiting and firing out the other end. He had ulcerated sores on his bottom and it was just miserable. A quick emergency dash to the doctors, plus a stool sample test confirmed the intolerance and he was put on a prescription hypoallergenic formula that I could use to top him up to aid my pitiful supply.

Then a lovely Pink Lady came along (breastfeeding support worker). She instantly diagnosed tongue tie (which I had suspected and had asked her about). This was confirmed by the doctor and we were referred to a local NHS specialist to have it divided, as it can really affect a baby’s ability to breastfeed properly and correctly stimulate the production of milk. This entails a really quick snip of the tightened skin under the tongue, which doesn’t hurt a younger baby much at all. It was done incredibly quickly and he was put on the breast immediately afterwards. The difference was astounding. There was no pain, at all, and he was suckling away very happily. However, my supply was still very low and the doctors (after much persuasion from the Pink Ladies) prescribed me Domperidone tablets to increase my supply. You can get these over the counter (they’re called Motillium), but they cost an absolute fortune and you should always go and see your doctor if you want to use them, rather than self prescribe.

I decided that there must be things that I could do to help me increase my milk supply further, so I started to read more and more via the net. Various groups online gave me ideas and I added in some pumping sessions in between feeds to trick my body into creating more milk. If I was feeding Monkey on one side, I’d pump on the other, which really did make a difference. I also made sure that I kept up my fluid levels, avoided too much caffeine, started to drink fennel tea and take fenugreek supplements (all of which are meant to help increase production).

Then I started to think more about my diet. Someone suggested that I eat oats as they help to increase milk supply, so I looked that up online. Then a whole new area opened up to me that I’d previously known nothing about. There are certain foods that can help a mum to increase her supply and are not difficult to get hold of, or cook with. The more I looked into it, the more I found out about lactogenic diets. Diets where you purposefully eat foods that help to promote prolactin and avoid foods that can restrict the amount of oxytocin (the two hormones that are key to creating milk).

There are some fantastic recipes online for lactation cookies, and that’s the first thing that I started to make and eat. My favourite recipe is this one

http://www.diaryofafirstchild.com/2010/06/20/just-have-to-share-lactation-cookies-breastmilk-smoothie/

but there are many others that you can get hold of online when you go searching.

However, the main problem with finding things for a lactogenic diet, I’ve found, is that most of the recipes are American (with ingredients weighed in cups) and being utterly exhausted with a colicky, refluxy baby that hardly sleeps, I just kind of gave up on finding other recipes that I could easily use, as they flummoxed me a bit!

Monkey has been obviously doing well on mainly my milk (with some occasional top-ups if needed) but I started to realise that if I wanted to keep him mainly on breastmilk when I go back to work then I needed to think about upping my supply a bit more, as I just don’t get much out when I pump. That’s apparently really common, but with a low milk supply anyway, trying to get a decent amount of frozen breastmilk is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

After a long search, I’ve finally found something that I think might prove to be very helpful for me. ‘The Contented Calf’ www.contentedcalf.com is a cookery book by two UK ladies, called Elena and Jassy, that has lots and lots of recipes that help to promote milk production. I’ve literally just got it yesterday morning and am going to have a good flick through it over the next few weeks to get some ideas. I plan to blog about them and let you know which ones work the best for me. There are some gorgeous-sounding ones, such as Fig and Fennel Scones (yum!) and Coconut Fairy Cakes, so I think I’ll be having a lot of fun making them.

I’ve recently talked to some paediatric nurses who were fascinated by the idea of a lactogenic diet and I also discussed with them the use of galactogogues (substances, usually herbal) that can increase milk production. Both these nurses hadn’t heard much about this approach to increasing supply and they have both since looked into it more detail (and are very impressed!) If there’s a more natural way of helping mummies to feed their babies themselves, then surely it should be something that more people should be trained in. I would have loved to be given some advice about how to alter my diet to help me when Monkey was tiny – it would have save an awful lot of heartache and problems. Hopefully this new approach to my diet will help me achieve my goal of feeding Monkey myself for longer.

20120308-100216.jpg

7 Comments »

Wonderful WAHM’s – Baby Dubois

20120307-145153.jpg

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that there are lots of lovely WAHM (work at home mums) who make the most beautiful creations. I love making things myself, I can kind of crotchet as long as it just involves going in straight lines (I make a mean blanket!) and I love creating things like decoupage boxes, but a skill that seems to elude me somewhat is sewing.

Don’t get me wrong. I can do the basic stuff like hemming, creating basic items like curtain tiebacks and dribble bibs, but I cannot – for the life of me – do anything more than that. I’m trying, I really am, but I just make a mess of things and can’t follow patterns to save my life. My Home Economics teacher would be so disappointed in me, especially as I was top of my class and made several stunning items (according to her report notes, I kid you not!) including a fetching blue cookery apron, flouncy nightgown (yep, in the 90’s they still thought that this was an appropriate thing for a teenager to make…) and a skirt. I can’t even remember what colour it was, but I’m sure it was lovely…

Anyway… the point is (after all my lovely, rambly wanderings down memory lane), is that I get rather impressed when I see WAHM creations and one landed on my doorstep the other day that I just had to share with you. It’s a sized nappy by Baby Dubois www.babydubois.co.uk in a lovely, funky stripy material. Baby Dubois make and stock slings, clothes and cute little baby gifts. Their cloth nappies are a new range and as the company is a local WAHM one to me, I thought that I should blog about the nappy as I really, really like it!

The nappy is a very simple, side snapped outer that you lie an insert and liner inside and then popper onto your baby. Being honest here, when I first saw the nappy I didn’t think that it would hold an insert, let alone hold in anything else, as it’s really thin in the crotch area. I was wrong! I put a Weenotions insert inside the nappy, poppered it onto Monkey (making sure that nothing was sticking out of the sides) and popped him into a babygrow.

For the next three hours he played on the floor, in his jumper and had a feed. I checked every now and then, convinced that the slimness in the crotch wasn’t going to hold everything in, but it did! When I went to change him, he had only done a small poo but had piddled loads (as usual) and his babygrow was dry. No leaks! Result!

Every time he’s worn the nappy since, it’s been very good and we’ve not had an accident/ leak yet. He hasn’t, however, done anything horrendously explosive in it so I can’t say for certain how it would hold up, but I’m quietly confident! New nappies are always a bit of a leap of faith, so I’m really pleased that mine paid off!!!

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: