Archives for June 2012

My breastfeeding journey

Breastfeeding saved my life. That was going to be the title of this post but I thought it might put people off, making me look like one of the ‘breast is best’ brigade who judge other Mums for their choices. That’s not me. I think everyone should feed their baby on the way that’s right for them. When I say breastfeeding save my life, I mean it literally.

I haven’t yet written about the birth, which in itself, wasn’t so bad (Yes of course it hurt. I’ll write about that another time. Maybe). Even the first couple of days after the birth were ok. I was on a high, and was very lucky in that mine and Mushroom’s breastfeeding journey started well. He latched on well the first time and I felt no pain. If anything, I found it very relaxing. Apparently that’s the release of prolactin. Well, it’s the prolactin that saved me.

I went home two days after the birth and all seemed well. However, within a matter of days I collapsed while changing Mushroom’s nappy in the middle of the night. I couldn’t move my arms or legs and was terrified I was going to die and leave this helpless little baby behind… Well, with his Dad, but still. An ambulance was called and they said I was suffering from exhaustion. My blood pressure was sky high but this was attributed to the scare I’d had and once it went down a little, I was told not to worry and just to let the midwife know when she came the next day.

Well, the next day the midwife came. She checked my blood pressure again and I was immediately readmitted to hospital with postnatal preeclampsia. Yes, you can get it after the birth and no, I didn’t know that either. As I was exclusively breastfeeding Mushroom at the time he came back with me. Just as well, as being parted from him so soon certainly wouldn’t have helped me to relax. I was kept in hospital for a further ten days while an appropriate course of medication was determined. During these ten days, my blood pressure reached dangerously high levels, almost landing me in resus on at least one occasion. There were times when I could feel the eclampsia itself coming on – they had told me the warning signs – and knew I needed my medication earlier than I would get it. Most of these times seemed to coincide with Mushroom crying for a feed. Perhaps it was a coincidence but maybe he sensed something was wrong and just wanted to be held. Either way, those times I nursed him saved me, the prolactin bringing my blood pressure down to safer levels until I could take my medication. The times I almost ended up in resus were when he was sleeping. But we got through it. By the end of the ten days in hospital the medication was working and I was more than ready to go home. In fact, in the last few days I am convinced it was staying in hospital that kept my blood pressure up. I managed to persuade a doctor of this and I was set free sent home. I weaned myself off the medication two weeks earlier than advised and felt much better for it.

So. That was the beginning of my breastfeeding story… Like I said, I was lucky. I wouldn’t go so far as to say breastfeeding was a breeze – the pain kicked in when Mushroom hit Wonder Week 5/his first growth spurt and recurred every ‘Wonder Week’/growth spurt without fail, but it always passed just as I was almost ready to give up. I also had the usual issues with leaking and engorgement (I recommend Johnsons baby or Asda breast pads. The plastic backed ones are always a bad idea) but in the end, 90% of Mushroom’s milk intake for the first nine months was my milk. Nothing against formula, he’d take it if I wasn’t around and there was no expressed milk for him but most of the time he was with me. In a way, it’s laziness/convenience that kept me breastfeeding. Bottles have to be made up, washed and sterlised, and transported around. Breasts are… Well, they’re just there aren’t they? It was just easier (most of the time).

I have talked before about weaning Mushroom in the daytime so won’t repeat that here. Since then, we have also got rid of his bedtime bottle and he doesn’t actually drink much milk anymore. He does still nurse once in the night. I don’t tell many people this as, unfortunately, it tends to get a negative reaction and I’m tired of having to justify myself. For the record – He’s still just a baby, yes I know it’s probably just for comfort, no its not different cause he’s a boy (this one really annoys me) and yes I will do something about it if he doesn’t grow out of it in the next six months.

So that’s my breastfeeding story. I’ve read a few over the past week and they have all been different but one common thread I’ve been happy to see is that there has been no judgement – everyone has been supportive of each mother’s individual journey whether it was breast or bottle, or both. I know that when I started, I never expected to still be on this journey now but here we are… and I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Dear Mushroom… Remembering your firsts

Dear Mushroom,

I thought it was about time I addressed you personally…

When I started this blog a few months ago, its main purpose was to record your milestones so that one day, when you ask  ‘What were my first words?’ or ‘how old was I when I took my first steps?’ I can actually give you an accurate answer. Also, it might be kind of cool to read a whole blog that’s basically dedicated to you. Or not. That’s why I have protected your privacy and will continue to do so, at least until you can tell me how you feel about it all.

This week, you started walking. I mean, you took your first, hesitant, extremely wobbly, steps a few weeks ago but yesterday you started walking confidently, without being prompted – as in ‘Walk to Mummy/Daddy/Auntie – go on! Just two steps! Yay *claps* well done!!’ – The first time you just stood up by the sofa and walked right across the whole to the kitchen. And back. You looked pretty pleased with yourself. Later the same day, you bravely took a walk outside the house, stopping to stroke the neighbours dogs on your travels. This was also a first – you’ve not had much contact with animals apart from the odd trip to the farm but you showed no fear, just a burning curiosity. It was as if you had to know what the fur felt like. I think, from your expression, you were pleasantly surprised. Without being told, you were incredibly gentle and I was proud of you.

This big first – the walking I mean, rather than the dog stroking – got me thinking. I had a baby book bought for me when you were born in which I recorded all your milestones up to a year – first smile, first attempts at crawling, etc.  I will be adding in your first steps of course but what about the first time you sleep through the night (I’m told this will happen at some point)? The first time you speak a full, comprehensible sentence? You already talk a lot – recognisable words so far apart from Mumum (Not ‘Mummy’ or ‘Mama.’ I like that it’s different) and Daddy are Woof, ‘nana (banana) and Uh Oh but the rest is still babble to me. You look so earnest though, I wish I could understand and relieve your increasing frustration and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. Well, all these things and more I will record here, for you to read at some point in the future.

For now, I just wanted to record your first steps and tell you how excited I am about all the growing you’ve done, and have yet to do. You bring so much joy into my life and I’m sure you will continue to do so.

Lots of Love,


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Silent Sunday




Sleep is overrated. Apparently.

Back in April, I wrote a post entitled ‘Sleep is for wimps,’ which was basically about the fact that Mushroom doesn’t sleep so well, and my inability to decision not to ‘train’ him to sleep better.

Well, last month I reviewed that decision and thought I would give one of the ‘no-cry’ sleep training methods a go. I was planning to post my progress here, and even kept a detailed sleep diary – for 21 days! – so that I could share my ‘success’ with you. Well. Here’s a synopsis:

It was promising to start with:

Day 1:

Ferber method. Didn’t work. Ended up cuddling him over the cot. Not great for my back. Didn’t pick him up! Still woke up three times…

Day 2: 

Tried patting him to sleep. Took just 15 mins. He woke up several times

Day 9:

Was asleep in 25 mins – by 7.15. Woke just once at 1.45am! Progress

We had ups and downs, but he was putting himself to sleep and waking up 3 times or less… Until:

Day 18:

Had a fever. Asleep at 5.45. Up. All. Night

So we went back back to cuddling to sleep, and I have just last night started over with the patting to sleep routine again.  Just because Mushroom is heavy and my back needs a break.

Anyway, last week someone showed me this article (which I somehow missed when it was published back in February), that dispels the myth that it is necessary to sleep for eight (or more) consecutive hours a night. Here’s an excerpt:

“For most of evolution we slept a certain way,” says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. “Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology.”

So… Perhaps the goal shouldn’t be to get Mushroom to sleep through the night, but rather, to wake up just the once, and – crucially – amuse himself until he’s ready to go back to sleep.

To be fair, even before I had Mushroom I never really slept through the night myself, I’d often get up – to go to the loo, or to go and read a book, just because trying to get back to sleep made it harder to do so. My Nan tells me my Mum was the same as a child – she would get up and play in her cot for at least an hour in the night, going back to sleep in the early hours of the morning. She was never ‘sleep trained’ but there came a point when she just stopped needing attention when she woke. Knowing this has helped me to relax a bit about the whole sleep issue, and just go with the flow.

What do you think? Should we all relax a bit about the whole sleep issue? If you wake up just once in the night, are you laid back about it or do you feel that a full eight hours (if you can get it!) is crucial? Do you have a child that sleeps well despite never having been ‘trained’? I would love to hear your stories, especially if you fall into that last category!


Nursery/Daycare keyworkers: You’re amazing

I had planned to write about something else today, but after this morning, I changed my mind. You see, this morning I had a reminder to stop being so bloody self involved – well, by the end of the day I had two reminders but its the first I want to share here.

If you follow me on twitter, you may recall last week that I posted a comment about Mushroom’s keyworker being ‘moody,’ and that it was ‘not good.’ Did I stop to ask why? No. All I cared about in that moment was that she didn’t seem as interested in Mushroom as she usually is. In fact, my actual words were:

‘When I  dropped Mushroom at nursery his keyworker had a face like thunder & barely looked at him. Not good.’

This morning, I was slightly more aware of the world beyond my own nose for a change, and noticed that Mushroom’s keyworker – let’s call her Lovely* (because she is), still wasn’t herself. So I took five minutes to ask if she was ok. Her answer threw me completely. Lovely told me that the week before last – just days before I wrote that tweet – her sister had died.

My heart went out to her. Her sister had died suddenly and unexpectedly, and yet she had come to work just days later. I had seen the raw grief in her face and called it ‘moody.’ I felt ashamed of myself. Some days, I conveniently ‘forget’ that these people, who care for our children for part – or for some, most – of the week, have lives of their own. In trying to ensure Mushroom has the best care possible when I’m not there, I haven’t taken in consideration what might be going on in the lives of these keyworkers, who look after our children because they want to, not because they have to, and enjoy doing it (most of the time. I’m sure they have bad days too).

So, this post is for all of you who work in childcare – the nursery/daycare workers, the childminders, the nannies, who suck up your ‘stuff’ to ensure our children do get the best care possible when we’re not there. Thank you. You’re amazing.

*Just to be clear, Lovely is not her real name.

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Annoying achievements

I recently read this post about not comparing your kid to others over at sleeping should be easy (yes, it should, I agree. More than that hot topic coming soon) and it really got me thinking.

You see, one of the things ‘Sleeping Mom’ mentions is that her toddler wasn’t able to remove his own shoes. So she taught him how. This was a revelation to me as Mushroom learned to remove his own shoes pretty much within days of acquiring them. Now, I never thought of this as a skill before – more of a petty annoyance. He has started to grow out of it now but for months, he would pretty much take off his shoes and socks all the time. In the supermarket, in the road. There came a point where I often just shoved the shoes in the buggy and left him barefoot until we got to where we were going or until he fell asleep. I lost count of the number of people who would stop me in the street asking ‘do you know your child has bare feet?’ as though I was some kind of idiot. Until I read Sleeping Mom’s blog, I never thought of this irritating act as a skill. So it got me to thinking – at the grand old age of 14 months, what else does Mushroom do that can make me lose patience with him, that could in fact be classed as a skill? It turned out there were a few things, so I wrote a list (I do like a good list). Here it is :

  1. Can remove his own shoes and socks.
  2. Can remove his pyjama bottoms/shorts (for this reason we mostly use sleepsuits if its cool enough.
  3. Can undo his nappy – if he can get to it (there’s a theme here – the boy likes to be naked!).
  4. Can open a bottle of cream and squeeze it everywhere. And then rub it in.
  5. Can use a pen/pencil/crayon to make marks on paper. And on the floor. And on the walls.
  6. Can open the washing machine even when it’s firmly shut. Puts all sorts of things in the drum that have to be removed before I can put a wash on.
  7. Can unlock my mobile can call random people (it’s a pattern lock. Must change it).

What annoying things does your child do…? Could you be persuaded to see them differently now?

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A week in tweets – #boring updates

This week I am once again taking part in Slummy Single Mummy’s ‘A week in tweets.’ Previously, I have tweeted as Mushroom (see here and here) but this week’s challenge was to share boring updates. You can read Jo’s (Slummy Mummy’s) boring updates here. Mushroom is far to witty and interesting for this assigment, so I am ‘tweeting’ – only two of these are actually from my twitter stream ’cause I didn’t tweet much this week – as myself.’ I can do boring pretty well:

In Greenwich park with Mushroom sharing some potato wedges & thinking we should move to the shade.But not doing anything about it. #lazydays

At work. Annoyed as I was planning to take a stroll round the park at lunchtime but am too busy. Boo. Got a tasty salad though #Godi’mboring

Mushroom overate & then vomited today. Nice. Pleased to say that baking soda worked on both the stain and the smell though #mustgetoutmore

Started (no cry) sleep training Mushroom again last night. He was asleep in 30 mins but still woke up 3 times. Will he ever sleep through?

Mushroom had his MMR today. He was very curious about the syringe and shouted a bit after each jab but didn’t really cry. #proudmummy

Had lunch with my sister and Mushroom at Westfield then went & got a new car seat from Argos – at half price! Bargain. Missed the sun today

Mushroom only woke up twice last night! So am using his #naptime to do writing. Well that’s the idea. Should really turn twitter off.

Not doing anything for the jubilee. Is it just me…? It’s just too wet. Don’t mind the rain but I find this half hearted drizzle annoying.

So that was my week… I would say I hope you enjoyed reading but I doubt you’re still awake after that! Hopefully my next post will be at least marginally more interesting. Why don’t you come back next week to find out (see what I did there)? Til next time!

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