I think I am always going to look back on my breastfeeding experience with mixed emotions, I have found it both incredibly rewarding but also incredibly difficult.  My daughter is currently 8 months old and I am breastfeeding her on demand and we started weaning at 6 months.  I don’t want to focus on the difficulties too much in this post, I just want to give my overall feelings looking back over the last 8 months, and it is overwhelmingly positive.

My breastfeeding journey started before my daughter was born, because I have had an operation on each breast to remove a lump there was some concern that the scar tissue would cause problems for me feeding my daughter (it looks like my nipples have eyebrows), I was advised by midwives to express colostrum once I got to 37 weeks.  This had to be done every day for four weeks (my daughter was a week late).  It was fairly painful in my breasts but also cause small contraction like pains in my stomach.  I froze and saved the colostrum I managed to express (sadly it sat in my freezer for a couple of months before it was thrown out, as once my daughter was here and I could breastfeed I was told not to add the stored colostrum to expressed breast milk by my health visitor – this was not the first, nor the last piece of conflicting advice I have had on subject of breastfeeding).

Luckily once my daughter was born I could breastfeed her, and after a few early problems with latching her on, my milk came through about 48 hours after she was born.  My daughter was colicky and also suffers from Silent Reflux so her early weeks are a haze of tummy massages, feeding and then keeping my daughter as upright as we could, curling up on the sofa all day and, sadly my daughter crying.  Lansinoh cream was a godsend, and we persevered on through a bout of mastitis which was excruciating.  Slowly her reflux medication was sorted out and her colic started to ease, this meant that things got a little easier in terms of feeding and latching on.  At about 5 months she finally got the hang of my fast let down and didn’t gag and unlatch several times during each feed, which meant I felt more comfortable going out and feeding her in public places.  Though not long after this (6months or so) she became a lot more curious and active and now feeding her with any distractions in the area/room is a big nono as she is more interested in everything else than feeding!

Even now at 8 months it is difficult to feed her in public as she is too easily distracted, and my fast let down and possibly some of the damage from my operations means my milk sprays out in all directions which can be quiet embarrassing.  So I try to make sure that we go out in between feeds, though I will try to feed her if she lets me know she is hungry.  However, we rarely have much success in feeding her much while we are away from home.

She will not feed from a bottle anymore.   She did for a while, when her meds needed to be mixed with expressed breast milk, but from about three months her meds were given by syringe and so I stopped expressing.  When we tried bottles a few weeks later she just refused them and still does.  I am thinking about trying to reintroduce a bottle as I have to go back to work when my daughter is 11 months old, but I haven’t quite got round to starting on that yet.

I am still feeding my daughter at night, for the past few weeks she wakes only once a night, usually between 12am and 1am for a feed and otherwise sleeps through (touch wood).  Before then she was waking several times a night for feeds, and as she still eats very little solid food, (something to do with her reflux or not I don’t know), I was happy to do this.  I do want to drop her last night feed sometime in the next few months, but I am in no rush and I am hoping she will drop it of her own accord sometime soon.

I feel that for me, personally breastfeeding has been a really positive but challenging experience and I am proud that I kept going and I honestly believe that for my daughter and I breastfeeding was the right choice.

 

Zena's Suitcase

It’s been a lovely lazy family here, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

We did have a few things to do, shopping for one thing, on Saturday morning (Boo always needs something) and we also needed supplies for the new kitten we will be getting in a couple of weeks when he is old enough to leave his mum, still trying to think of a name for him, his is a lovely ginger and white kitten. Excited!

We also went to the opening of the rebuild of the local park on Sunday afternoon for a little while, but other than that a long expanse of nothing-pressing-to-do filled our weekend.  We did a little cleaning (as little as we could get away with hehe) and a lot of T.V. watching.  The hubby and I are currently watching the Stargate SG1 boxset he got as a present for his last birthday, although Boo is becoming something of a fan too!

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We also watched more than our fair share of Cbeebies this weekend.  I had no idea how awesome all the cartoons are nowadays.  I might get seriously addicted.

But TV aside, it was nice, really really nice to have a weekend where we could spend time as a family and not have to rush anywhere or do anything.  I know that Boo enjoyed being able to play with her toys all day and having daddy home made things so much more fun.

It does seem that life has become increasingly busy as I have become older, but it really makes me appreciate the odd days, and weekends that you do get to relax and just enjoy being in the company of the ones that you love.

 

 

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Despite the weather yesterday, Boo, her grandparents and I went for a lovely walk at Birches Valley on Cannock Chase, and we met the Gruffalo!!

It was absolutely amazing and even though it was raining on and off all afternoon Birches Valley was very busy with lots of different people, mountain bikers covered in mud and enjoying the trails, teenagers enjoying the Go Ape! climbing experience and younger children enjoying the Healthy Heart Walk and visiting the Fairy Village and of course the Gruffalo!

Me, Boo and The Gruffalo!
Me, Boo and The Gruffalo!

I am not quite sure what Boo made of the Gruffalo but she adored being outside and feeling the tree trunks and the ferns, and touching all of the wooden sculptures along the Healthy Heart Walk. It was also nice to see more sculptures being made, so next time we go there is going to be even more to see and do.

Healthy Heart Walk Sculpture
Healthy Heart Walk Sculpture

There was so much to see and do and the walks were really lovely; well made, wide paths with buggy access and decorative benches at regular intervals for people who need to rest on the way round.  It was obvious that all of the children were having a whale of a time. The Fairy Village seemed to be a firm favourite with the younger children. It was really well made, and lots of children had chosen to leave gifts for the fairies.

The Fairy Village
The Fairy Village

It is really nice that we have something so great so close to us, and I will definitely be taking Boo there again.  As she grows she will be able to be involved in more of the activities so she will probably like it even more!

 

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Zena's Suitcase

For the first night ever! Well, since she was born 8 and a half months ago Boo slept through the night, she went to bed a 8pm and woke up at 5.30am. I was so shocked when I heard her, woke up this morning, I rolled over and looked at the clock and it was 5.30am, I honestly feel like a new person! Drunk on sleep!
Over the past few months I have been honestly shocked by how little sleep I can function on, I can’t remember a lot of the last few months because it’s a haze of fog (and daytimes naps for both of us).  
I am trying to not get too excited as I know in all probability we will be up tonight, hopefully not more than her usual 3 times. But I can dream… yes I can dream because I am finally getting some sleep!

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She sleeps so little the only photo I can find of her sleeping is from months ago!!!

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