Monthly Archives: July 2013

Is This It?

Self Weaning?

Moo has just gone to bed without any milk.

For the last few weeks her intake has been less and less, I think introducing the cup meant that she couldn’t sleepily suckle any more. I wanted to try to lessen the pumping pressure. This past week bedtimes have been tough, with lots of fussing and indecisiveness about what she wants, standing up, crying when we leave the room. Last night she had a few sips. Tonight she didn’t want any.

Looks like it might be time to give up pumping. I have plenty left in the freezer in case she fancies a cup one night. I’m lost. It is literally the end of an era. I was prepared to keep going for many more months, even years. I have no worries about being the ‘hippy’ mum that breast feeds her pre schooler. But it looks like that won’t be happening.

I’m sad. It’s been a challenging, traumatic, emotional, wonderful ride. I’m damn proud of myself. And it might be over. My ‘breast feeding’ experience is no more. With it dies the hope of Moo magically latching on. A silly thought that never really went away.

There’s also a feeling of relief. No more money spent on prescription Domperidone and nipple creams, my boobs might make a return to the bedroom department, my nipples will have a chance to heal. I won’t be restricted by room temperature timings and fridges. I will never hear that awful buzzing noise again.

Now to implement a ‘winding down’ plan. I’ll shave 5 minutes off my pumping time next week.

I think I’ll have a little cry, too.

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Admitting Defeat

I think I need to up my anti depressants again. I’ve been taking one 10mg tablet every other day, in the hopes of dropping them entirely. I’ve been taking them for two years now.

The last few weeks have been a struggle. I’ve felt low, but mostly stressed and anxious. I feel exhausted all the time, and not just the usual tiredness, I feel so tired I feel physically ill. I struggle to switch off at night, with my mind full of a million swirling thoughts, and then can’t open my eyes in the morning.

Looking after Moo is pretty demanding right now. Bed times aren’t great, we’ve done away with nappies, she likes to be played with constantly, her happy chatter has been replaced with screaming and whining. And now we mostly feed off each other, me begging for five minutes in the arm chair and her begging for biscuits, us both huffing and short tempered.

I’m trying to do the best that I can, but I’m not operating at 100%. I’m looking forward to bedtime or my husband coming home by 9am. I don’t want to feel this way, I want to embrace everyday as an opportunity to show her new things, play games, laugh, learn.

Maybe if I took 10mg every day I’d feel a bit less frazzled. I don’t want to rely on drugs, but if they help me be a better parent and get me through a tough day then I’m all for it.

Missing Moo

I’ve been away for a camping weekend with some work friends. It’s the first time I’ve been away from Moo without my husband, we had a few days in Paris last year. I was feeling anxious about going, MrTPM is absolutely my crutch, I lean on him for so much emotional support. I don’t know why I felt worried about the weekend, I know my friends well, I’d trust them with my life, and we were just going to chill out by the sea.

Pumping while sleeping in a tent in July temperatures would mean throwing the milk away. Sad as that is, I have a plentiful freezer stash and had left bottles in the fridge. I’d have to overcome pumping around new people, but I talk about it often enough that its not too alien.

I didn’t think for a moment that I’d miss Moo. I was looking forward to getting away from her, as harsh as that sounds. Just having a chance to sit down, drink hot tea, sit in the sun with my book and a cider. The relief of severing the chains of responsibility for 36 hours or so, bliss.

But sat on the beach at Croyde Bay, listening to the waves, filled with hundreds of surfers, looking like tiny black ants amongst the spray, I watched a small blonde girl with pig tails, about the same age as Moo, play in the sand and cling to her mother after getting upset. Her little chubby hands balled into a fist as she clutched her mums shirt, her pink feet pattering on the wet sand as she dug a hole with her brothers, I was reminded of Moo.

And I missed her. Her little bottom lip stuck in a pout whilst sulking, pouring me a cup of tea with her tin tea pot, the cry of ‘wee wee Mummy’ and the frenzied dash to the potty.

To be missing her is a relief. To think that I resented her at the beginning, spent those newborn days wishing she hadn’t been born, sobbed into my pillow, desperate to run away, it all seems a million miles away.

And I’m glad.

My Morning Routine

*buzz* *buzz*
ouch
*buzz* *buzz*
ow, that stings!
*buzz*
ouch
*buzz*
ooh!
*buzz* *buzz*
Must. Keep. Going.
*buzz*
Better turn it down…
*buzz*
Still no let down?!
*buzz* *buzz*
I’d better turn it up…
*buzz*
Owww!!
*buzz*
I’ve had enough.
*buzz* *buzz*
I hate this.
*buzz*
😥

What To Do Now I’ve Hit Two

I feel at a bit of a loss now.

My goals have changed as time has gone on. My ideal was to breast feed my baby once it was born, then she arrived and that all went tits up so the plan changed. I’m still coming to terms with this, grieving the loss of something I never had (as ridiculous as that seems) and I’m sure I’ll always feel sadness.

So, my new goal was to pump until my supply dried up, which I was told would most definitely happen. But after conducting my own research and learning about the miracle drug that is Domperidone, this never occurred. I began to produce more milk, little by little. So my new challenge was to keep pumping until I could cut out all formula. I succeeded at four months.

So, I aimed for six. The NHS would be happy. Moo would be eating more food, the milk wouldn’t be so important (another ridiculous statement). We smashed six months, I decided I’d go a year. She could have cows milk then. But I got to 12 months and came to the realisation that cows milk is a silly option, when I have plenty of human milk for her. My new aim was two.

Well, two is here. Her second birthday has been and gone. What should my new goal be? Where now? Self weaning is the ultimate challenge, my Everest, my heaven.But Moo can never truly self wean. Can she? Surely any child can drink milk from a cup forever? It feels like I need a smaller chunk. I should take each day as it comes, ticking off each month. But I’ve become a sucker for a personal pumping challenge now.

Is there a Guinness World Record for this sort of thing? Maybe I’ll just pump forever. It’s cheaper than bottles from the milk man and I’m sure it’d make a cracking mac and cheese. I’m slightly concerned I’ll never be able to stop. How do you let go of something that has been an enormous part of your life for so long?

I’m sure Moo will let me know when she no longer wants her milk at bedtime and I’ll somewhat reluctantly hang up the pump. Then I’ll need something else to sink my teeth into, a new challenge to fill the void. I’m sure parenting will continue to bring me plenty of those.

Bottle, Your Highness?

Image

These ads have made me a little sad today. And I’m not one of those breast feeders that thinks that every image of a bottle is bashing me for my feeding choices or brain washing expectant mothers. I don’t feel anger or rage, I won’t be writing to any companies to complain or standing on a soap box in the street ranting about it.

I just think it’s sad. Sad that this image is so normal. We think nothing of seeing a baby suckling on a bottle, or toy bottles sold with dollies, or 20 foot billboards covered in cartons of Aptimil. And that’s kinda sad. I’m so, so thankful that formula exists. Without it Moo would have been starving hungry and emaciated. I relied on formula for four months while I built up enough of a milk supply to feed her breast milk alone. But it’s a shame that bottle feeding and formula are the norm. That breast feeding is the ‘different’ thing to do. That breast feeding in the street is gawped at, while bystanders don’t even blink an eye at a bottle in a baby’s mouth.

In a perfect world, every baby would be breastfed. It would feel natural and normal and beautiful to every mother. No woman would struggle to produce breast milk, no baby would find it difficult to latch. There would be no tongue tie. Any weight gain would be acceptable. Mothers would be overjoyed that babies woke often to feed. Nursing bras would be sexy.

But this isn’t a perfect world, this is a world where infant bottles are used to sell tea and biscuits.

 

PS: Breast milk is great with tea and biscuits.

His Royal Highness Is Here

I really worried for Kate. The scrutiny her pregnancy was under, the speculation about her HG, the constant questioning of the sex. I’m sure she was filled with the same pregnancy worries as any other expectant mother, praying her baby lived to full term, exhausted and dehydrated from sickness, stretch marks, blood pressure, urine samples, cankles, feeling uncomfortable in bed. But all the while having to maintain an air of grace, serenity, keeping her composure. I’m sure there were days when she thought ‘shit, I’m so tired’ and just wanted to throw on some jogging bottoms and get a dirty macdonalds drive thru.

I hope she managed to embrace pregnancy as a ‘normal’ mother can. Texting her friends with scan pics, making a collage of her months of bump pics, choosing the first outfit. I hope she hasn’t felt too overwhelmed. Pregnancy is all consuming, but to carry the weight of growing the future heir to the thrown must be suffocating.

I’ve been completely swept up in the magic surrounding William and Kate. I even threw a tea party for the wedding. I’m thrilled to witness the birth of the latest royal baby, this is history being written.

After experiencing a traumatic birth, I hope Kate was safe and healthy today. Birth can be strenuous, exhausting, emotional, physically demanding. I pray she recovers quickly, has time to gaze at her baby boys face, stroke his fingers and gets some sleep.

Will the baby be breastfed? What will his name be? Where will he go to school? Will they hire a nanny? Who cares?!? I just pray he’s happy and healthy and loved, shielded from any unwelcome publicity, his privacy respected.

Congratulations to William and Kate and their family. I send them prayers, well wishes and love.

Two Years And Beyond

Well, I’ve done it.

I’ve breastfed Moo to the World Health Organisation recommended age of two. Sure, she’s had some formula along the way, but hey, it ain’t poison. It’s been a shitty two years, I’ve been so tested, but I’ve done the best I can scientifically and biologically do for Moo, I’ve given her natures finest gourmet food.

I’ve pumped for at least 20 minutes a day for two years. Most of those days I will have spent at least two hours pumping. Some days have been spent almost constantly attached to a pump. I’ve had approximately 24 prescriptions of Domperidone. I’ve got through two breast pumps. My dear husband has washed thousands of bottles. I’ve spent night after night listening to the buzzing and watching the flashing of a pump. I’ve pumped in cars, toilets and in Paris. I’ve had mastitis more times than I can remember. I’ve frantically google searched for information on increasing supply, cried to midwives, health visitors and lactation consultants. My friends and family have listened to hour upon hour of me moaning about the same damn things. But I’ve done it.

A huge two fingers to those who told me that ‘mastitis was my body’s way of telling me to stop’, that I’d ‘done good enough’, that it was ‘ok to give up’. I’ve been failed by health care professionals and a society that relies too heavily on the accessibility and ease of formula. All I’ve had to rely on was my own determination. I’ve done myself proud, seeing as I’m usually one to give up when the going gets tough. I should thank society for seeing ‘extended’ breast feeding as weird, thank the doctors for the shitty advice, because it made me even more damn sure that I kept ploughing on.

My daughter is two. Yes, I’m still breastfeeding. No, I don’t plan to stop any time soon.

Moo Turns Two

As I walked up the stairs tonight, my nostrils were filled with a familiar smell and a million memories washed over me. A tiny Moo, warm and comfy in a baby grow, clenched fists with that odd fluff that gathers in the creases, milk and sweat and skin. Ever so soft newborn hair, naturally pointed into a Mohawk. The smoothest fleshy pink feet. Little frogs legs curled up towards her body. I do have memories of that time. Yes, lots of them fill me with sadness. But that sweet sweet baby smell, that’s a lovely one I’ll treasure for always.

Moo is two tomorrow. I’m still up, writing her card and finishing the cover for her baby’s bed. She’s sleeping soundly, completely oblivious to any hurt in my heart. I’m sad that the only baby I’ll ever have is growing so fast. I’d like a rewind button, to undo and change so many things. The knowledge I’ve gained about breastfeeding came too late. Although I’d hate to relive the post natal depression in its early days, and I’m sure there’s little I could do to change that. I’d settle for a pause button. I love Moo just as she is. Grown enough to call my name and run to me and sing Baa Baa Black Sheep. But young enough that she still loves her bedtime milkies and a cuddle with Mummy. Every single moment is so precious, so fleeting. I just wish I’d been in a better place for the first year, mentally able to live in the moment and savour every second.

I’m sure that this next year will bring us more challenges. I’ll continue to be tested daily, I know I’ll always struggle with anxiety and depression, my temper short and my emotions running high. I look forward to our future adventures. Moo will continue to learn and develop, becoming even more her own person, her character building. She might learn the whole alphabet, pedal a trike or sleep in a ‘big bed’. There’ll be tears and ‘baddies’ on knees and laughing until we pee ourselves. I need to let go of the things that should have happened, would have happened, could have happened and focus on the things that will happen, might happen, I can make happen.

Im doing the best that I can and I love you with all my heart Moo, happy birthday.

Sadness

I feel really sad today.

I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m sad for the experiences I had and for the ones I never got to have. I love pregnancy and birth and breastfeeding. I think they should be revered and celebrated. But my experiences were riddled with depression, heartache and fear. It’s the cliched ‘why me?’ Why did I have such a shit time when other women pop babies out and latch them on and get on with things? Is this some kind of test of strength? If it is then I hold up my hands, I give up. Im broken. I’ve had enough.

I feel so alone with this. No amount of comforting from my husband or kind words from friends can ease the burden. ‘I know how you feel, I’ve been there’. I hear and read that all the time. But that’s even more shit. There are more women like me, suffering. It makes me feel less alien, but it doesn’t take away any of my stress or reduce my personal upset.

And then the guilt starts. I should be grateful that I didn’t die during childbirth. Thankful that I fell pregnant at all. Relieved that at least Moo still drinks breast milk. I’m so blessed in this life. I have a husband, a home, a daughter and food on the table. I’m incredibly selfish and self involved. There are women desperate for children. Mothers prostituting themselves to feed their families. Human beings that are ravaged by cancer and debt and crime. I’m here, I’m alive, I’m healthy in the grand scheme of things. I should spend less time wallowing in the past and focus on the here and now.

I can consciously force my mind to think these things and act this way, but its all pretend. There’s only so long a person can put on a show. I’m not sure if this blogging thing is cathartic or if its just more time spent on self pity. I need a slap.