- June 8th, 11:49
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After having what can only be described as a physical fight with Florence one morning this week I am beginning to wonder if I’ve breast fed her for just too long? I don’t mean we had fisticuffs or anything but I had to keep restraining her as she tried desperately to latch herself on. She’s strong both in her will and considering she’s little, her physic too; when I’m trying to feed Jimmy she can make it incredibly difficult for me to stop her. I often can’t move as have him one side and inevitably, if she fights hard enough and for long enough, I have to give in and let her feed the other side. We’d got it down to just one feed a day before Jimmy was born but towards the end of my pregnancy and since she has been wanting ‘milk milk’ all the time. I’m a soft touch as it’s been hard for her having everything change, especially as I’m feeding him, so I’d started to give in and 5 weeks on I’m in a right pickle with it again; all the hard work of getting down to just one feed a day had been lost!
Recently the topic of breast feeding older children has been significantly in the media due to that picture in ‘Time’ Magazine. If you haven’t seen it, it depicts a beautiful woman feeding her nearly 4 year old son who stands on a stool to reach her boob. Its provocative headline ‘Are you Mom enough’ looks everybody in the eye and says ‘I dare you to argue with me, I can do this if I want, I’m loudly and proudly breast feeding this child’. And that’s good. I think. For them anyway! I never in a million years thought I’d be the woman still breast feeding a 2 and a half year old child and I know exactly what the me from before children would have to say about it! But I’ve done everything the way I have with the very best of intentions, I never knew it would go on this long you see! If people want to breastfeed their older children then fine, I don’t care what anyone else does but it’s not for me – except it is me! I’ve been accused in the past of feeding her because I want to keep feeding her and not because it’s best for her. I can assure you it’s not that. I’ve wanted to stop for a good year now! I’ll admit when she was six months old and I thought stopping was just around the corner, I had a little sad feeling thinking our special time was about to come to an end. However, I have actively been trying to stop now for at least a year and believe you me; it’s not as easy as just saying no!
I wanted to do everything perfectly, be the perfect mummy and give her the very best of everything. I struggled to feed her in the first place, she didn’t latch properly and I got cracked nipples meaning we had to finger feed her for 2 weeks (she has always refused a bottle no matter how hard I’ve tried)! At the end of this fortnight I got mastitis and was very ill but eventually and with a lot of help from my midwife Suzan I got her latched and we have, quite literally, never looked back. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, everyone knows how hard it can be to start breast feeding but it’s never discussed how difficult stopping often is! Being this perfect Mummy I was adamant on lots of things. She would only have breast milk. Formula at any stage under a year was a complete no go and I was not going to be a failure at that task I’d set myself! And I wasn’t. But because she’d never take a bottle it meant only I could be the one to feed her. I expressed all the time and tried and tried but just as with cow’s milk and formula which we tried after her first birthday and still do try, she has never accepted milk in any cup or bottle and I’m sure we must have tried them all by now! It was binding because I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without her for a long time. She loved it which is brilliant, she got all that goodness from me and I’m so pleased but she doesn’t need that goodness now and yet still she won’t stop! As I said, she’s very wilful and does not forget things, she’s stayed away for 3 nights in a row but as soon as she sees me that’s what she wants and such a fuss ensues that it’s really never felt like a good time to put my foot down entirely. I wanted her to self wean, everyone said she would but they were wrong and now here I am not only feeding a giant child but doing something else I never would have wanted to do either; I’ve ended up being a tandem feeder as well! I really do try hard not to do it at the same time, I want to have that special time now with Jimmy but like I said it can be very difficult fighting her off; I hate to see her upset at the best of times so now, when her whole world has changed by having a new sibling, it feels especially harsh to fight her off but I can’t go on like this. I’ve managed through sheer force again to stop her all day and am only allowing it just after her bath of an evening but it’s really tough and she wants it constantly.
Even as I type I have her climbing on my lap with a ‘Mummy, can I have some milk milk, yes I can, YES I CAN Mummy!’ and it can often reach a screaming crescendo with one or both if us in tears. Sometimes she physically hurts me, grabbing, pushing and pulling and I know I’ve accidentally hurt her as I’ve pushed her away for the twentieth time so that she doesn’t squash Jimmy…This makes me feel terrible and ashamed in every way and I have to think where did I go wrong? What have I done within my perfect plan to be her perfect Mummy which means I am angry with her and she is angry with me because of the breast feeding? Did I feed her too long? Well I guess for me, yes but when would have been a good time to stop and how the hell would it have been done? It’s recommended to feed for a year but I didn’t want to abruptly stop on her birthday, I always want to have every aspect of my parenting to be as gentle as possible. 18 months and she was still going strong. I tried to cut down but she wouldn’t have any of it and because of her eating habits and slightness I didn’t want her to not have the milk. At two I was pregnant and things were changing, I didn’t want to rock the apple cart too much and she was slowing down. By two and nearly a half with a new baby in our lives it seems cruel to do it now when everything has changed so dramatically! So, I’ve got it back to one feed a day, with lots of upset along the way which is not getting any less… and for the most part I don’t end up with one baby one side and another on the other but it does happen.
I just need that last push, someone to give me that perfect piece of advice which will help me get her to stop but until then, I’ve made my bed and am lying in it. I just hope when she’s nearly four like the child on the ‘Time’ magazine cover, we’re not still fighting about it then. She doesn’t mind Jimmy feeding, not at all, thank goodness. I don’t have that problem and while Jimmy latches on perfectly he also takes a bottle of expressed milk with not even a grimace… I’m even, shock horror, considering a night time formula feed upon hearing a friend is doing the same and her 3 and a half week old is going through the night! I feel a bit guilty thinking I might do the same because it wouldn’t have been a consideration for Florence and he’s such a good baby anyway with his sleeping but you know what, I kind of need a break and I need some sleep! I’ll feed Jimmy, just as with Florence, for as long as he needs it but I appreciate I was probably quite militant last time and I’m going to try and be a bit more relaxed with him. I definitely don’t want to be feeding another 2 and a half year old if he doesn’t need it and I WILL be having a break in between babies this time! Famous last words?
A year ago on the Royal wedding day and she wasn’t even considering giving it up even just a tiny bit.
And now, with Jimmy, a rare but oh so present tandem feed.
Donkey does the Jubilee!
It couldn’t have escaped anyone that this past weekend was the Queen’s Jubilee, her 60th year on throne and the country went all out to celebrate! There were no bigger celebrations than those thrown by the Queen herself and we thought our Bugaboo ‘Donkey’, the Royal of the buggy world, would like to go and check out what was happening around the palace! We took him on the Jubilee line (well it seemed appropriate) up to Green Park (Queenie land) and gave him, like the soldiers, his very own parade! Walking to Stratford is a short journey for us and as they have disabled access it made travelling with ‘Donkey’ super easy. He pushed through the disabled barriers with room to spare and then onto the tube effortlessly. Travelling on the Jubilee line is a brilliant option for him as most of the stations have step free access but I was surprised with how well he fitted on the tube without taking up too much space. Admittedly the Jubilee Line is newer and far more geared up to wheelchairs and buggies but being a double you’d think it would still make him a bit of a burden – not so! Once at Green Park we disembarked with no problems and had a beautiful day in the sunshine (this was just before the bank holiday weekend which of course means rain) and showed good old ‘Donkey’ all the sights!
This is Donkey at the Mall, just by Buckingham Palace!
Here we are by the stage for the Jubilee concert –he was the first star there!
He loved the palace!
And had to get a closer look just outside the gates!
After we’d checked out what was happening in London we decided to take him up to Norwich to do some celebrating with us there! We had lots planned and we wanted to take him out to North Norfolk where we were going to a ‘Fairy Festival’! I rang ahead to ‘Greater Anglia’ the train operator, and asked for assistance with travelling as I had ‘Donkey’ with me! They were less than helpful and said unless I was disabled or visually impaired they wouldn’t help me! Well I wasn’t having that as we couldn’t possibly leave ‘Donkey’ home alone for the weekend so I spoke to a manager who assured me they absolutely DO help people with buggies and organised someone to do just that! Well, better late than never I suppose. A member of the platform staff got out the ramp and hey presto, Donkey was on the Inter City Train, cosily ensconced in 1st class where we left him in the space provided to have a relaxing journey while we trotted off to standard seats rejoining him at the other end! When we reached Norwich we were met, as agreed, by more station staff and the manager I had spoken to (Who apologised profusely) who helped us off the train! Inter City travelling with ‘Donkey’ = NO PROBLEM! He fitted snugly but perfectly through the standard train doors (as a double) and sat nicely in his space on the train. Perfecto!
Here is Donkey enjoying his first class ride!
And this is him soaking up his first impression of Norwich station!
Staying with my Mum is great, she lives in the countryside and there are always lots of lovely walks for us to go on. Unfortunately it rained a lot over the Jubilee weekend but it was no problem for ‘Donkey’! The rain covers fit tightly over each seat/basinet and leave simply no room for any rain to get inside and disturb the little ones. They both stayed bone dry; we on the other hand had to shelter under a tree when we got caught on a long walk one day.
My Mum and Donkey getting caught in the rain over the Jubilee weekend!
The rain just came and came which was such a shame as we’d long planned the trip to the Fairy Festival which was held in Holt, North Norfolk. We’re British, we can’t mind a bit of rain so we decided to go anyway! Why not? We knew ‘Donkey’ could deal with rain well and so lovely, if wet, Fairy Festival fun was had by all! We danced to bands in wet tents, played games, watched some really fun entertainment and even posted a letter from the ‘pixie post!’ Our favourite part of the day was building a fairy house in the grounds of Holt Hall, where the festival was being held. We had to forage for materials like flowers, twigs and grass and build a home for a tiny fairy or pixie! The terrain was boggy, muddy and wet but ‘Donkey’ has big wheels so even he got to come and help build the fairy house while keeping a sleeping Jimmy nice and warm and dry!
Here’s my gorgeous nephew Arthur, Florence and Jimmy, who’s warm and dry inside Donkey, building our fairy house!
So, that was our Jubilee weekend with ‘Donkey’! Where will he be spotted next? You’ll have to come back and see next week!
For more information on the ‘Donkey’ and all other ‘Bugaboo’ products please see their website www.bugaboo.com. It’s also worth noting that ‘When you choose a ‘Bugaboo’ product to help you on your way, something else good happens as well – as ‘Bugaboo’ contributes 1 % of its total revenue to The Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. This means more women and children living with HIV in Africa will get the medicine they need to lead a more normal, active and hopeful life.’
Another outing we’ve been on recently was to see In the Night garden Live! We were lucky enough to get to see the show at the o2 which was super exciting in itself and we were not disappointed with the performance either, not by a long chalk! We went to see it last year and I was afraid it might feel a little old having already seen a similar show in the past. It 100% didn’t and delivered on every scale. I’d go so far as to say that I personally found it even more enjoyable this year and I’m 32 so no wonder all the children were in raptures! There were little people as young as Jimmy right up to around the age of ten and all the faces, including the older ones were smiling from ear to ear which proves that even if you might have outgrown the actual programme (it’s aimed at pre schoolers), the stage performance is still a must see for all! I actually think the staging is incredibly clever and the puppetry and actors behind the characters do a fine job while being noticed without being noticed if that makes any sense? I loved the way the show dome (purpose built theatre) becomes part of the set as images such as the flowers, Haahoos and Pinky Ponk float about above you; it must have been a very detailed eye to have thought about how everything like this was going to be portrayed. From the seating which throws you right into the night garden with the characters, to the ticker tape floating down amongst the audience, this show provides a magical experience that we’ve been talking about ever since. It may sound daft but it didn’t surprise me to hear from a friend that initially the choreography was conducted by a member of the Royal Ballet. I don’t know how true this is or how accurately I soaked up that piece of information from my friend but it makes sense that this show has been produced in such a slick manner and not as you might think, in a slap dash, this is only for kid’s kind of way! The show is beautiful from start to finish, to witness the children enjoying it, not just my own but the whole theatre is something totally wonderful and really feels very special. The biggest cheer of the performance went up when Makka Pakka took to the stage which was great as we love him too! We also went to meet Iggle Piggle at the end of the show which topped the experience off just perfectly! Florence hugged him and I know was totally delighted with the experience! Will we be back next year? You bet’cha!
Getting ready for the show to start!
Enjoying the show with our special Iggle Piggle light-up wind mill which can be purchased for £6 at the show dome.
Florence meets Iggle Piggle at the end of the show and as you can see from her face is delighted to be doing so!
In the Night Garden Live takes place in its own all-weather, purpose-built inflatable show dome with many family-friendly facilities. For further show, tour dates and ticket information please see the website www.nightgardenlive.com or call 0333 300 0023.
There’s another great live show which we’ve been to see in the past starring none other than young Peppa Pig (Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt)! How popular is that little piggy? I don’t know a little person who isn’t totally in love with her and her show so anything Peppa related is a sure fire hit! We certainly enjoyed her live theatre show when we went to see it last year and would love to go again! It’s great news then that she’s back in the West End for a third Christmas, ready to entertain all her fans as a special Christmas treat! Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt is her second touring show and we loved it, can’t recommend it enough so if you get the chance do make sure to go! It’s going to be on at London’s Criterion Theatre from 6th December 2012 – 6th January 2013. For more information and to book tickets please see the website www.peppapiglive.com.
With all our socialising and fun days comes a lot of bad eating and after a pregnancy as well it has to be said that my figure is not at its best. Diet time has come and I’m firmly back on it during the week! I’ve always been a weekday dieter/weekend treater and the regime has worked in the past so am hoping it will again now but I will also be doing my usual routine of exercises too so fingers crossed, by the time my holiday comes round in September, I’ll have a little bit of a bikini body… As a Mum with two children it’s hard to find the time to exercise though and I always dream that if I won the lottery I’d employ someone to look after the children a few hours every week while I attend a swanky gym. It might sound silly but I actually love going to the gym, only when I have time to really indulge though and have a sauna and steam afterwards. I absolutely love the feeling of having done a workout and feeling and being slim makes me feel really great about myself too. I also like the idea of booking into a boot camp like the celebs seem to do! If I had the money I’d definitely do something like that to kick start this diet and exercise plan of mine! I’d obviously have to employ a nanny to come with me and the children so it’s not likely to happen but I feel that if I could do that it’d really set me on the right path! I’ve recently heard about The Academy 4 Wellbeing it’s a brand new weight-loss retreat designed to transform lives and is so new it isn’t even open yet! Opening its doors in September 2012 for the first time it will give guests the skills and knowledge to improve their entire wellbeing; from health and fitness, to nutrition and weight loss. Many new mums like me will find it hard to get back into shape after the birth of their little ones; however, the Academy 4 Wellbeing could really help, especially with that first bit of getting going which is always the hard part! Sounds great doesn’t! Dieting and exercising like a celeb but in actual fact it’s not even with the celeb price tag! Perhaps when I can leave the children I’ll be able to go myself!
For more information please visit www.academy4wellbeing.com Prices start at £995 for a seven day stay.
In other news this week we’ve been trying out some lovely Le Toy Van traditional wooden toys! Florence got their gorgeous oven and hob set from the Honeybake range for Christmas along with a few other bits and bobs including the cake stand compete with cup cakes! It’s one of her favourite things to pay with and she can spend ages making cups of tea and baking cakes! I’ve been testing out some more of the range this week and have absolutely fallen in love with the Petits Fours, a new addition to the collection of three wooden cakes. They’re different to the cup cakes, more detailed and come complete with either a cherry or a strawberry on top. As with all the Le Toy Van wooden toys we have they are beautifully painted and incredibly well made. The selection of three cakes comes in a lovely gift box and I can guarantee any little girl would be thrilled to bits to add it to her tea party repertoire! They’d be a great gift as the set or you could break them up and give them individually to your little one when they have earned a certain amount of stars on a star chart! The Le Toy Van Honeybake range isn’t cheap but absolutely won’t break the bank and you do certainly get what you pay for; in this case that’s quality! We love these darling little cakes and indeed the whole of the collection which has cake mixers, lollipops, ice cream sundaes… Oh the list is temptingly endless and every time you add a piece to your little ones collection they’ll be delighted with these beautiful toys!
For more information on the Honeybake and al of Le Toy Van’s range please see their website www.letoyvan.com.
The Petits Fours by Le Toy Van
Florence cooking up a delicious feast of what appears to be tomato and teapot in her Honeybake oven and hob set
MY LIFE WITH 2! WEEK 5!
Well, tandem feeding aside, things are going really well. I’m much better and although the infection hasn’t gone yet, it IS on its way out and the pain is loads less! I thought today as I walked with them both to play group that suddenly everything is feeling happy again. Not that I was unhappy or that they were but it was all so unfamiliar and I felt so ill that I don’t think I was coping entirely well. Today, despite the rain, the day felt sunny and I’m not sure when it changed but we’ve slipped into more of a routine which makes things easier. Everyone in the family is just more used to their new roles now too I think. Jonny is being brilliant at helping out with the feeding because Jimmy will take a bottle so it means I’m getting way more sleep than I did with Florence. Although Florence is still not sleeping well, because of the feeding help with Jimmy it’s not making me feel quite so desperate. Like with potty training I’m going to pick my battles and as long as she starts the night off in her own bed at the moment then I’m happy. Florence is calming down, she’s accepted going back to one feed a day with reluctance but it’s getting easier and we’re having far less tantrums.
I had started to worry and still do a little bit that I couldn’t be as good a Mummy to her as I had been before Jimmy was born and that I couldn’t be as good a Mummy to Jimmy as I had been to Florence at the same age and it had been getting me down. I’m trying to be more philosophical about it now, they’ll neither of them miss out on any love, sharing is a great lesson and when they’re older they’ll be glad to have each other to play with. Florence is being a great help too most of the time. She passes me nappies and gives Jimmy his dummy! Mostly she’s being a very, very good girl indeed! She went to stay at my Mums on her own before the weekend when we all went up and she did have a bad night with a night terror but the second night she was fine and it meant I got to spend some one on one time with Jimmy which was lovely. And very, very easy! I went to the baby cinema with him and generally just put my feet up; he’s such a good boy! Feeding him is going brilliantly and he’s gaining weight fast which is such a novelty for me as Florence never has. He, unlike her, feeds really fast then either lies on the play gym awake looking around or goes straight back to sleep! I kind of can’t believe it; as far as my experience went before him, babies don’t do that!? His only trouble is that he STILL has a cold and is really snuffly but he really doesn’t complain too much and sleeps despite it! I’ve been trying out the Baby Nose-Clear range by 4 Little 1 so will let you know how they work out next week. We’ve been out and about just the three of us and having some lovely times both in the sunshine and the rain! The low light of our travels has been having my first breast feeding altercation with some twits on the tube thinking and verbalising that it was disgusting. I gave as good as I got don’t you worry! And the highlight of our recent jaunts has got to be having a fantastic time as a family of four over the Jubilee weekend! Every time Florence sees a Union Jack she shouts ‘Jubilee’! It’s very sweet.
Here are some pictures of our Jubilee weekend!
Jonny’s new perfect way to revise for his Open University exam!
Florence enjoying time at Granny and Papa’s as well as Grams!
Jimmy in his London bus and soldiers baby grow!
The four of us and our flags! Look at Florence’s gorgeous red, white and blue dress from good old Mamas and Papas! She chose it herself and she obviously has good taste. The dress which comes with leggings and a hair band and the matching sun hat separately! Just beautiful!
My Mum made some cakes to celebrate the Jubilee but she couldn’t be bothered to make a Union Jack so it ended up looking a bit French… Oh well!
My ‘Newborn Must Have of the Week’ is more for me rather than Jimmy I have to say but it’s something I don’t think any new Mummy should be without! Following on from my breast feeding theme this week, it has to be my new nursing bra by Mammae. It’s an expensive product but it’s worth every single penny as my Mammae Classic nursing bra in Purple Promise is quite literally the most comfortable bra I have ever owned, nursing or otherwise! As I say, it’s worth every penny (Mammae nursing bras start from an RRP of £75) and this comes from a woman who has never spent a great deal of money on a bra in her life! Prior to children I really didn’t have boobs so rarely wore one and when I did I just bought them really cheaply as the only need I had was that they looked pretty, I didn’t need it to do a job! When I had Florence I didn’t have a clue due to never having been a bra wearer and although I went to get measured, I just bought the bra the woman in the shop told me to. It was middle of the road prices, looked like a Granny bra and wasn’t wildly comfortable. I just thought that was what a nursing bra was like, I was wrong! I didn’t know that until I started wearing Mammae! These bras are soft and silky to the touch, they have beautiful lace and gorgeous patterns on the inside in contrasting back ground colours and they make you look and feel as if you are wearing a beautiful bra, not a nursing bra! It’s even better then that they do work brilliantly in their primary job!
What’s so different about Mammae then I hear you ask? Why should you spend the extra and get this over any other bra? Well for starters they’re under wired, not something I associate with a nursing bra. There’s a rumour that under wired bras are not suitable for breast feeding, not so! These babies prove it; I don’t even notice the wire to feel but it, along with the material, makes my shape look so much better and that in turn makes me feel sooooo much better as well! I also think an underwire just gives that greater level of support and let’s face it, that’s what it’s all about! Next there’s the fact that instead of unclipping from the outer top of the bra each side, which exposes an awful lot of breast, these unclip from the inner bottom side of the bra on each cup and underneath is material with just the right amount for your nipple area to go through which certainly makes things a whole lot more discreet! The third unusual point to these bras is that they come with their own breast pads which not only do the job very effectively but look pretty and match the bras too! No more soggy disposable pads bunching up at the bottom of the bra cups! These lovely ones stay really dry and keep their shape all day and the best bit is that you get two pairs! All in all I think this new bra of mine is just about perfect for my needs. The straps are beautiful too, comfortable and fairly thick but because they’re detailed with lace could easily be worn under a strappy top. To be honest, I don’t even feel the bra (not even round the back) while I’m wearing it which is great especially as it’s a very supportive one! I thought this bra would be something I’d only buy for a special event and to wear with a special outfit and it’s true, I will wear it for that kind of thing (My best friends wedding is coming up and I’ll be buying a dress to go with the bra not the other way round) but because of the comfort this is a bra I’m going to want and need to wear every day too!
For more information and to buy a Mammae bra (only recently available in the UK) please see their website www.mammae.co.uk. (I got measured for a general nursing bra on the high street and the fit is perfecto!)
My Classic Mammae nursing bra in Purple Promise.
This is how it opens, what you see underneath and the beautiful matching breast pads.
As you can see, especially considering the picture is taken from above, the bra is VERY discreet!
Before I go I must mention this totally great new way of finding friends as a new Mum that I’ve heard about. We all know about the certain associations you can join but they often cost money and with a lot of SureStart centres being closed down (damn Tory government), getting out and meeting other people who have also just had babies in your area can be quite difficult. I value my friendships with other local Mums just as much as the ones I have with my old school friends and have some wonderful relationships which had I been without could have made me incredibly lonely indeed. Philips Avent, the same company who make bottles, breast pumps and loads of other baby related products have recently launched a new innovative online club called the Due Date Club (they also have a FaceBook page). This is a website which replaces their old site, Philips Avent Family and aims to bring you tips and expert advice as well as being a tool to find friends in your area. You type in your name, area and due date, or as much information as you want and then you’re away! Definitely worth looking into don’t you think? For more info please see www.avent.com. I must be off now but didn’t want to leave without mentioning this as it sounds just great! Until next week then…
In the meantime follow me on Twitter @rocknrollerbaby
(All opinions and words, apart from those in green, are my own. I have not been paid for this article although I did receive some products to keep after I had reviewed them.)
The winner of the Top Cat competition is Freddie Coulthard from Norwich and the winners of the one month’s free membership to the online dating website uniformdating.com are Sarah Brannan, Ellie Davidson, Gayatri Kapil and Jennie Campbell.