Living Arrows (2018) – Playing Catch Up.

You are the bows from which you children as Living Arrows are sent forth” – Kahlil Gibran

I have been rather neglectful of my blog in recent weeks and that is because I decided to take a bit of break from it for personal reasons.

I am back feeling refreshed and creative, so it was most definately worth the break. Obviously with taking a break I have missed quite a few weeks of Living Arrows devised by the lovely Donna over at What The Redhead Said

Welcome to The Baby Boat Diaries edition of Living Arrows!

W/C 9th July 2018- 28/53

Aoife, 2 Years 7 Months.

Aoife has been doing Ballet classes, at the same dance school I attended until my pregnancy with her, since May. She loves it and I was so incredibly proud of her during the awards session. She is a wonderful little dancer and was very proud of her bronze medal.

Cassius, 6 Months.

What can I say about this delicious little boy? He lights up my dark days that is for sure!

W/C 16th July 2018 – 29/53

Aoife, 2 Years 7 Months.

This girl is such a character. Here she is just casually wearing a bike helmet (and nothing else) whilst pretending to type on a keyboard.

Cassius, 6 Months.

Hands up if you think Cass is cute!

W/C 23rd July 2018 – 30/53

Aoife, 2 Years 8 Months

Cassius, 6 Months.

W/C 30th July 2018 – 31/53

Cassius, 6 Months

Aoife, 2 Years 8 Months.

W/C 6th August 2018- 32/53

Cassius, 7 Months

Aoife, 2 Years 8 Months

W/C 13th August 2018 – 33/53

Cassius, 7 Months

Aoife, 2 Years 8 Months

That’s it! Finally caught up and back on track!

Living Arrows

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Cassius – A Six Month Update

That is right! I can hardly believe it myself, my little teeny tiny 5lb 4oz bubba is six months old!! It’s time for a little update on how my little squirt is doing!

Growth

Weight – I haven’t actually weighed Cassius for a few weeks now but last time I weighed him he was around 16/17lbs. Not bad for a little guy!

Clothes Size – Cassius is firmly in 3-6 months clothing at the moment, some of the smaller high street brands are getting tight but that is mainly to do with the cloth nappies! In the scandi clothing we favour he is a 62/62.

Shoe Size – No shoes yet!

Nappy Size – You may have seen in previous posts that we use reusable nappies with Cassius. At the moment Cassius is in Bambino Miosolo birth to potty nappies the majority of the day time. For our night time nappies we use the Tots Bots Bamboozles and Peenut Wraps.

Teeth – Cassius is well and truly teething bless him. He dribbles and gnaws on his hands (or anything he can get his hands on) constantly!

Favourite Things

  • Booby Cuddles –  to get Cassius to sleep at the moment I have to be in a reclined position with him lying across my body! Literally the only way I can get him to nap unless he is in the car seat or pushchair!
  • Aoife – Cassius adores his big sister. She is guaranteed to be the one person that puts a smile on his face!
  • Nappy Free Time – Especially in this heat! Nothing makes Cassius happier than be able to wriggle around with the air getting to his bits!

Dislikes

  • Having a wet or soiled nappy – Generally if he is being grumpy it is because his nappy is wet or he has done a poo!
  • Getting stuck – Cassius has been rolling lots recently but I have noticed he gets quite irritable if he rolls into something and can’t figure his way back or if he gets frustrated that he isn’t going anywhere!

Sleep

Cassius is very much a cat napper in the day time but I can’t complain he sleeps well at night. This is the opposite to Aoife! She was very much a 2-3 hour at a time napper and then up every 2-3 hours in the night. Cassius wakes once or twice at the moment!

Bedtime – Cassius doesn’t have a strict bedtime but he does tend to get tired around 8/8.30pm which is when I tend to take him up to bed.

Wake Time – It varies but generally speaking it will more often than not be between 6am and 8am. Morning time is my favourite, he is such a happy little chappy and just beams at me in the mornings.

Naps – Cassius doesn’t have set nap times at the moment. He normally has between 4-5 short sleeps a day. First one is normally around an hour after he wakes up.

Feeding

Milk – Cassius is breastfed and in the current heatwave we are experience currently feeds approximately a gazillion times a day!

Food – Now Cassius is 6 months old I have begun to introduce him to some foods. I am following the same method as I did with Aoife – Baby Led Weaning. I’m in no rush with Cassius. He does not exhibit most of the signs of readiness (sitting up with support, tongue thrust, hand to mouth coordination) but he is enjoying gnawing on cucumber to soothe his gums.

Exciting Things This Month

As I mentioned above Cassius has begun having his first tastes of food. He is also a pro at rolling and gets about by doing so. He is an extremely happy, smiley baby and is becoming very social.

I will see you for the next update in 3 months!

Siobhan x

 

Living Arrows 27/53 (2018)

You are the bows from which you children as Living Arrows are sent forth” – Kahlil Gibran

The last couple of years I have done my own version of Project 52, this year I decided to join in with Living Arrows devised by Donna over at What the Redhead Said.

The Living Arrows project will comprise of me sharing a photo of displaying childhood from both Aoife and Cassius’ life each week!

Wow! What amazing weather we have been having! It’s like being on holiday with it being like this!

Welcome to The Baby Boat Diaries edition of Living Arrows!

Aoife, 2.7 Years Old

Aoife was styling it out whilst taking advantage of the breastmilk lollipops I had made to keep Cassius cool. Only at the age of 2 would it be acceptable to dress like that!

Cassius, 5 Months Old

I love this photo for so many reasons. Those chubby little cheeks, his lovely big blue eyes and those chunky little baby arms! He is a big fan of the lollipops!

Thanks for stopping by!

Siobhan x

Living Arrows

Tandem Breastfeeding – A real story featuring Rebecca of The Ish Mother.

In January 2018 I gave birth to my second child. At this time my daughter was still breastfed. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be breastfeeding my newborn son. I had already decided that as Aoife had continued to nurse throughout my pregnancy that I would more than likely tandem feed.

Tandem nursing is what is referred to as nursing the “old baby” and “new baby” together. Tandem nursing often helps the older child with the transition of their new role as big brother or sister. It really is a truly heartwarming experience when you see your child bonding through holding hands and stroking.

I spoke to fellow blogger, Rebecca of The Ish Mother who also tandem nursed her children. Here is what she had to say about the experience…

“When I got pregnant with my second child, my daughter was three and a half. Old enough to have stopped breastfeeding, you’d think. Well, no.

I didn’t plan to feed her that long. When she was born, the challenges we faced meant that I set a goal of just one month. Then two, three, six, twelve… Then until she was ready to stop.

I didn’t quite manage that last goal. Pregnancy made me much more sensitive to the point where feeding felt almost unbearable at times so I gradually cut down her feeds from on demand 24/7 (and boy did she demand) to one quick feed in the morning. It surprised me how willing she was to go with this, I was expecting much more of a battle. I had hoped that once her little brother was born things would settle down but unfortunately I developed a strong aversion to feeding her. After trying to tough it out, we negotiated an end – she said she’d stop when she started school. Two weeks before she did, she decided she didn’t need my milk any more. In total, I tandem fed my children for five and a half months.

I sometimes wonder if it was worth going through all those uncomfortable feeds in pregnancy. Maybe I should have stopped breastfeeding my daughter altogether then? But then I think of all the positives my brief experience of tandem feeding brought.

One big positive was that engorgement, which first time round made me dizzy with pain, wasn’t really an issue second time. Any time my son didn’t do an efficient enough job of draining my breast I could simply offer my more experienced nursling a feed. Problem solved in less than a minute!

It also smoothed the transition from only child to big sister for my daughter. Continuing to breastfeed through pregnancy and in the early months afterwards seemed to reassure her that she was still my little girl. Even though to me she suddenly seemed huge!! I didn’t master feeding both at the same time – having a four year old and a bigger-than-usual newborn pinning me to the sofa was just too claustrophobic – but I think feeding her seperately, even for a few seconds, gave her the one to one time she needed to feel secure.

I also think it helped her bond with her brother. We didn’t get to enjoy those snuggly tandem feeds with siblings holding hands across me like I’d heard other mothers talk about, but breastfeeding was a way of getting used to “sharing” me. She didn’t really seem to get jealous at all in those early months, in fact she just fell into adoring her little brother.

Finally, I think allowing her to be part of the negotiations about stopping gave her a sense of independence. It was a big decision, and one that she needed to be a part of. It helped shape her impression of herself as a “big girl”, and gave her some control over a time of change and uncertainty.

Two years on, big sis and little bro still adore each other, she’s still adamantly a big girl and I’m still feeding my son. I’ve no idea how long I’ll feed him for but as I’m not planning on having any more children I know my tandem feeding days are well and truly behind me. And I’m glad they happened, even if I was relieved when it was over!”

So there you have it! Accounts of tandem feeding from myself and Rebecca. Another important factor in Rebecca’s story was the comments about feeding until the child was ready to wean. This is also my plan with my children. I feel no need to instigate weaning and I am perfectly happy to go for as long they need me. I’m sure I will end up feeling quite redundant when they both decide to stop!

Are you a breastfeeding mother? How long have you breastfeed for? Would you consider tandem feeding?

Thanks for stopping by!

Siobhan x

Motherhood The Real Deal

Dad’s and Breastfeeding

Starting out as new parents is hard. It can be harder in some respects on the fathers especially if mum is breastfeeding. I have heard many times over the years “how can dad bond if he can’t feed the baby?!” Well it may shock you to know that there are many ways a dad can bond and help out with baby in the early days. These can include, but aren’t limited to;

  • Babywearing.
  • Taking baby out for a walk so Mum can have a little rest.
  • Read to baby. This way they get to know Dad’s voice a little more.
  • Changing nappies.
  • Having cuddles and napping together.
  • Talking to baby.
  • Bathing together, skin to skin is great for bonding with baby.
  • Do the magic baby hold (you know that one where you hold baby over your forearm)
  • Jiggle and sway with baby.
  • And last but definitely not least SUPPORT feeding… help protect your partner from criticism, keep her fed, help her get good help should she need it and take care of her.

From personal experience Luke has been a great support to me throughout both of our children breastfeeding and I couldn’t ask for better.

Another dad that is of great support is Ross, the guy behind Isablog. Ross is such a great role model for those dad’s out there with breastfeeding partners. In fact he was that supportive that when his daughter turned 1 years old and his partner reached the milestone of a year breastfeeding, he made her a boob cake…. that milked! I remember seeing the video myself and thinking “what a guy!” You can see the original post about the amazing cake here!

Here is what Ross had to say…

“I made the cake just as my little way to show my support to my wife for making it to a year of breastfeeding. Before we had Isabelle we had no real intention of getting that far. My wife wanted to stop before she went back to work. But rather than stop, she kept going. And I guess as the man in the breastfeeding journey it’s easy to feel like you can’t do much. So I guess I wanted to show my support by making a boob cake that milked. Maybe that’s a slightly weird way of showing support, but it’s my little way.”

DSC_0114

He also says “I think breastfeeding is something that’s so hard to do, but once you can it’s such an amazing thing to be able to do. I really think more women would be able to do it if they’re supported from the start and receive the right information. That’s how I saw my role. I couldn’t physically do it, but I could be there every step of the way. I could learn about breastfeeding with my wife, and when she was in doubt I could help her through it. There are always other ways you can support your partner even if you can’t physically do the feeding.”

Ross is absolutely correct. As I have said above there are so so so many ways in which dad’s can be involved in breastfeeding. If you are a first time parent or even it is the first time you are considering breastfeeding remember these factors in your decision making, it could make a huge difference. It is so important to have the best support network you can build around you, especially in the early days. And again in the later days when you could be feeding a walking, talking toddler…. people seem to think that is weird.

Thanks for stopping by!

Siobhan x

Mudpie Fridays

Why Celebrate National Breastfeeding Week?

You may or may not know that this week in England it is National Breastfeeding Week. A week that will, according to Anna Burbidge in an article for LLLGB (National Breastfeeding Celebration Week 2018), “provide an opportunity to look at the support women currently recieve and what might be improved, in line with UNICEF’s recent “Call to Action” which recognises breastfeeding as a collective responsibility”. Although we have no particularly recent data, the UK does have some of the lowest rates in the world, with 8 out of 10 women stopping breastfeeding before they want to! The last survey was conducted in 2010 though so this information could have changed in the last 8 years!

This week I will be sharing a variety of posts to show awareness of some of the areas of breastfeeding that may not be spoken about as much such as breastfeeding and dads, tandem breastfeeding, breastfeeding a child with SEN or health issues and natural term weaning. To start though I will share with you a bit about my own personal breastfeeding journey.

It may come as a surprise to some but I was never certain about the method of feeding I would opt for when I was pregnant with Aoife. I was often asked if I was going to breastfeed, I would more than often reply “I would like to, if I can”. Obviously, knowing what I do now about breastfeeding and the formula industry, it comes as no surprise to me that a clueless first time mum would say such a thing. Prior to falling pregnant I had only really known one person that I could think of that had breastfed, that person ended up being a massive influence to me. Most people around me had bottle fed and with working in a nursery  a lot of the children were formula fed and I was required to make up bottles for them. I hadn’t really thought that much about it to be honest, one of the first purchases we made when I found out I was pregnant was a box of six bottles!

As I got more and more pregnant the idea of how to feed my baby kept being brought up in every conversation! Luke and I decided that I would breastfeed and we would see how it went. At this point I had no end goal in sight, although teeth would probably put me off and you know, it’s a bit weird if they are walking and that… oh how my opinions would change!

I got off to a bit of a rocky start with Aoife, she was born at 36 weeks (perfectly healthy I will add) yet I was pushed into topping her up with artificial milk. I told them, thanks to the support of the breastfeeding mum mentioned above, that I intend to exclusively breastfeed. The answer to this was to cup feed her. I struggled massively with attachment and positioning. I asked for help and received barely any! Luckily, thing improved once I was home after our 4 day stay and I had the opportunity to really establish breastfeeding. I will forever be grateful for the support I received from a great friend, she bought me the book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” (if you breastfeed and don’t own this book I highly recommend you get yourself on amazon… it is amazing!), she also bought me my first sling and a hamper of goodies to help me through the early days. She was always on the other side of the phone giving me advice, sending me links and being my lifeline! Luke was a great support to, he did all he could to help me. He even helped me relieve my engorged boobs by hand expressing one whilst I fed Aoife on the other!

The struggles didn’t end there. I suffered horrendously for the first four months of Aoife’s life with cracked and bleeding nipples. Every feed filled me with dread and brought me to tear, it was a toe curling experience and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I was often met with “surely it wouldn’t hurt to give her one bottle” from well meaning family members. Fortunately I’m a stubborn cow and through gritted teeth and with sheer determination we got through it and eventually my nipples healed and breastfeeding became a painless experience. I know now that it was more than likely the latch that was the issue!

As time went on I became increasingly passionate about breastfeeding and decided I wanted to help. I wanted to help mum’s that like me struggled in the beginning, that need that extra support and advice in the beginning. I trained as a breastfeeding peer supporter and learnt many things I wish I had known in the beginning!

Fast forward a few more months and Aoife’s first birthday. I was officially breastfeeding a one year old! To mark the occasion Luke bought me a golden boob trophy! By this point I knew that the WHO and NHS recommendations were that infants were breastfed up until the age of 2. This was my next goal. During the next year, I fell pregnant with Cassius. I had no idea what would happen in terms of my milk. It is very common for milk to dry up in pregnancy, thanks to all the hormones and what not. I knew this could create an issue in feeding Aoife until she was two years old but I decided to go with it. As it turns out breastfeeding whilst pregnant is not a fun experience. My nipples were sore, I became super agitated all the time and worst of all, Aoife was a nipple twiddler and my god it drove me insane. Thankfully, all of this disappeared along with the arrival of Cassius. Apparently a baby on the boob is great for stopping a toddler that twiddles!

I never intended to tandem feed, in fact I don’t think I even knew it was thing until I met a lady that was tandem feeding her then almost four year old and almost 2 year old. I think she was probably the biggest influence in normalising tandem feeding as when I did fall pregnant I didn’t bat an eyelid at the idea. It certainly has it’s benefits in the early days! Aoife was a great help if I became engorged (I will talk more about tandem feeding and it’s benefits later on in the week!).

So, yeah, here I am now breastfeeding a 2 years and 7 month old and a 5 month old. Who knows how much longer Aoife will feed for, the intention at the moment is to let her make that decision. Breastfeeding is so much more than just milk, it is comfort. Neither of my children have dummies or comforters so boob is very much the replacements for these… or should I say they are the replacements for boobs! If I do feed Cassius for the up to 2 years recommendations, which I intend to as he has a suspected Cows Milk Protein Allergy I will have been breastfeeding for 4 years! It will be incredibly strange when it all comes to an end!

Thanks for reading! And please do drop back in this week to read my others posts! Tomorrow I will be sharing a post about dads and breastfeeding, featuring Ross from Isablog.

Siobhan x

 

Living Arrows – 26/53 (2018)

You are the bows from which you children as Living Arrows are sent forth” – Kahlil Gibran

The last couple of years I have done my own version of Project 52, this year I decided to join in with Living Arrows devised by Donna over at What the Redhead Said.

The Living Arrows project will comprise of me sharing a photo of displaying childhood from both Aoife and Cassius’ life each week!

What a lovely week we’ve had this week! My parents got back from their holiday on Wednesday so we spent Thursday to Sunday seeing them haha!

Welcome to The Baby Boat Diaries edition of Living Arrows!

Aoife, 2.7 Years Old

Grandad makes an appearance in Aoife’s photo this week! She missed her Gaga lots so was very happy to see him.

Cassius, 5 Months Old

My mum treated Cassius to a new outfit this weekend and we were pleasantly surprised to find it came with an adorable hat!

Thanks for stopping by!

Siobhan x

Living Arrows