The transition between breastfeeding to a bottle, the struggles are real… 

Wow. Another thing no one tells you about when you start out on your breastfeeding journey. Which would never have changed my choice to breastfeed. Maybe because not all babies are so fussy or just prefer breast. The comfort, smell and warmth of being so close to mommy clearly triumphed the bottle. My goodness. I never realised that it would be such a struggle to get our little girl to take a bottle of expressed milk, so that daddy could enjoy some bonding time with his precious little girl.

No one said motherhood was easy but it most certainly is worth it. After we had established a good milk supply and breastfeeding, it was time to introduce baby to bottle. As much as I loved and enjoyed breastfeeding it’s nice to have a break and catch up on some sleep. Have a nice hot bath, wash your hair. Well the struggle was real. Our little girl took a bottle for about a whole two weeks twice a day. Once in the morning with granny and once in the evening with daddy. Then the teething or a mental leap began and that was the end of our bottle feeding twice a day. Which left me with the task of trying everything possible to get our precious little girl to take a bottle again.

I tried different times of the day, letting her nurse first and then offering the bottle but she wasn’t having any of it. I also read not to force the issue as this creates a negative association with the bottle. So if she played with the teat in her mouth for a while it was a small step forward in the right direction. I tried different bottles and teats, Dr Browns, Medela, Minbie to name but a few but if the flow wasn’t right she would end up choking on milk and when she eventually did take a bottle it didn’t last long. Leaving me back at square one. Luckily I received 2 of the above as gifts at my baby shower so only ended up having to buy one or two new bottles to try.

Eventually I just gave up and resigned to the fact that I would probably be breastfeeding until I went back to work. Until I spoke to my sister, who’s best friend said to try a variflow teat. A what? I said. I’d never heard of these before, which by the way only Tommie Tippee make! I have included a link to the Tommee Tippe variflow teat on amazon, the only teats she uses. I was so excited and couldn’t be happier to finally be able to enjoy a lie in and catch up on some sleep or not have to stop half way through drying my wet hair, to feed our little girl and enjoy the luxury of going out to get a mani/pedi again.

Breastfed babies have to work harder to get their milk so by using a variflow teat she was in control of the flow of milk. Bottle fed babies you usually increase the teat flow as they get older but this isn’t the same for a breastfed baby, which was news to me. I wish I had know this sooner after struggling for nearly 6 months to try and get our little girl to take a bottle giving me a little more freedom to do the things I needed. The last 2 months of my breastfeeding journey our little girl slowly started weaning her self off the breast and would take a bottle during the day and nurse only at night, which I’m assuming is a comfort thing. Meaning daddy could finally have some bonding time with his little girl and share the feeding early morning or just before bed giving me a much needed break at time.

To save yourself some time and money buying different bottles and teats I would recommend trying the Tommee Tippee  variflow teats first.

Did any of you ladies have any issues making the transition between breastfeeding and taking a bottle?

The Wonder Weeks Birth to 2nd Birthday

Here’s an amazing little book and app I found, called  The Wonder Weeks and use this every time our little girl starts a mental leap, which gives you great insight into what your little one is learning about mentally and ways in which we can help them master these new skills, by creating the right opportunities for them to learn. The App can be set up to send you a notifications when your little one is about to enter a new leap and how it effects them mentally and emotionally, as well as what to expect and how it will effect you. The 3 C’s as they refer too, the crying, cranky and clingy phases that start at the beginning of a leap and continue for as long as the leap or as short as a week, depending on your little one seem to become more challenging as they get older. I highly recommend this book and app to help understand what your little one is going through and how you can help them. It’s been a great help when our little girl who is generally a very content, happy little girl, turns into a very clingy, cranky little girl and seems to cry more that she would in general, which is few far and in between. It’s helped me to remain calm and remember that it will pass and that we also went through all this as a baby.

The Wonder Weeks
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Nursing in public

I thought I would share some handy little tips for breastfeeding around friends and family or out in public that really helped me. 

It’s amazing how one simple thing can feel so overwhelming and stressful when you have a hungry crying baby while you’re out and need to find a place you can sit and feed with out feeling exposed or making others around you feel awkward or uncomfortable. 

This is something I seriously struggled with in the beginning and as our little girl started getting older for various reasons. At first it was about finding a way to feed her and still be able to see what I was doing and making sure she was comfortable. My goodness. The struggle was real and infuriating when I had to think about making sure I was covered up and still try and get my precious little bundle of joy latched on so she could nurse. I just couldn’t get the hang of using a nursing shawl. I was just too much for me. Thankfully I had my mom or MIL or partner with me to ask for help making sure I wasn’t exposed so I could concentrate on my daughter. 

A friend of mine who I previously mentioned, the breastfeeding consultant, with loads of experience suggested wearing two tops when going out to make nursing easier and more comfortable. Which in turn meant I was less stressed and baby wasn’t picking up on my energy making it more stressful. Babies pull off the breast and as they get older and become distracted to look around leaving you exposed. So when my friend suggest wearing two tops it was a breathe of fresh air. A sigh of relief. Why hadn’t I thought of this before! Or read this somewhere!

So what I used to do was wear a spagetti strap top under a tank top. Or a tank top under another top, so that when it was time to nurse all I had to do was unclip my nursing bra and pull down the side of the top I was nursing from just enough for baby to nurse. Which meant any exposed skin on my chest was covered as well as my belly. Meaning I felt more comfortable feeding in public and more able to concentrate on making sure my little girl was properly latched on and able to feed comfortably. 

As she got older I would tuck a muzzi, as I call it, (another word for muslin), just under the strap of my tank top in case I needed to cover up if she got distracted for any reason. 

This also saves you money in the long run and gives you freedom to still dress in way you usually would. Dresses unfortunately didn’t make it out the wardrobe for months, until our little girl eventually decided to take a bottle when we were out. 

I hope you found this as helpful as I did. 

Below a photo I found online for you two see what I’m talking about. 

Breastfeeding Latch

On my journey into motherhood and breastfeeding I found some great websites which I found extremely valuable and helpful. I have created some links in the menu section for you should you like to read up on anything in more detail, which include some really helpful videos too. 

As natural and easy as breastfeeding felt to me, both my little girl and I managed to establish a good latch in the first week, which made breastfeeding an enjoyable bonding time for both us. Dr Jack Newman has some excellent advice and videos on how to get the perfect latch. Dr Jack Newman Breastfeeding Latch. As long as I helped my little girl achieve this by correctly positioning her to get a good latch, for it to be an enjoyable bonding experience for both of us. A good latch should never feel painful but if it does, release the latch and start again, by gently using your little pinky finger and pushing it into the corner of your babys mouth, to release the latch. Always make sure your hands are clean. 

The first week was by far the most challenging, nursing a new born every two hours, was exhausting, as well a tender aching body, and all those emotions and hormones raging through   your body again, honestly given 5 minutes alone to gather your thoughts can be overwhelming. No one said breastfeeding would be painful to begin with, while your nipples adjusted to their new role of nursing a baby! Breastfeeding takes patience and perseverance, a new skill, to be learnt by both mother and baby. I think I stood in the shower every night that week with tears running down my cheeks, crying, as I washed my aching body. Milk leaking from my breasts but I was determined not to let my cracked, painful nipples stop me from breastfeeding our little girl. I wasn’t going to let this get the better of me or give up. 

A friend of mine is a breastfeeding consultant which was a great help whenever I had questions. She suggested I join Le Leche League, Le Leche League LLL an international breastfeeding support group, they also hold groups in your local area for support, as well as the online support group.  Kellymom is also another great resource for breastfeeding support and information. KellyMom.com 

I count my blessings every day, my mom arrived to stay for 2 months, 12 hours after our little girl was born. I couldn’t be more excited to share the beginning of our new journey with her. My mom nursed 3 of us, so it was easy to turn to her for any advice or questions I had but when she left I was on my own and knew I would need to find answers some where. 

I’m very grateful for my mom and the amazing health visitor who were full of great advice and information. For example, a baby who falls asleep at the breast but still suckling is actually a good sign and should never be taken off the breast, as this is when they get the hind milk. The fattier, richer milk or as I used to call it, the full cream milk. The good stuff. Which helps them grow. Baby will come off the breast when they are done nursing. Something I never knew when I started breastfeeding. I have included a link to more information about foremilk and hind milk if you were interested in reading up more about it. Fore milk & Hind milk Breastfeeding

As enjoyable as breastfeeding may be and that special bonding experiment you get to share with your new little baby, it does come with its own share of challenges. Cracked, sore or bleeding nipples are just part of a whole new journey. Although this is quite normal the first week or two while your body adjusts to breastfeeding, it can be painful and challenging especially when you’re trying to nurse and your nipples are so sore and trying to heal but hang in there and stay strong. It gets easier and more enjoyable. I loved breastfeeding our little girl for the short 8 months I did. There are so many positive benefits to breastfeeding, as well as some really great products which I will share with you in my next post. 

P.S To help with sore, cracked nipples I used Lansinoh nipple cream, before and after every feed to keep my nipples soft and supple. It’s amazing, I swear by this, I even use it on my lips in winter. You can also you silicone nipple shields to help give your nipples a chance to heal, or silver nipple shields. Silver has amazing healing properties for your body. After my first week of breastfeeding things were looking good and I was feeling positive about my choice to breastfeed and far more confident and happier. 

Here are the links again to some of the websites I found some really useful information from, as well as support as mentioned in my post. 

Dr Jack Newman Breastfeeding Latch 

Le Leche League also known as LLL

Foremilk and Hindmilk

Kellymom

Baby Shower Gift List, from Birth to their 1st Birthday.

One of my best friends is finally going to be a daddy and I couldn’t be more excited for him. So when he asked me to compile a comprehensive list of everything baby will need in that all important 1st year,  I couldn’t be more excited to help. After all that’s what friends are for, right? This inspired me to create a comprehensive list of everything baby will need from birth right up to their first birthday, which guests can purchase from online which making it a lot easier to keep on top of and prevent getting 3 of the same items.  I love baby showers and all the planning and excitement that goes along with it.

While creating ‘my original’ baby shower Gift List,which I had saved, thanks to Amazon. I was able to use this as the basis of the gift list. I know creating these can take up precious time, so thought by sharing this with other expecting mothers and fathers to be & friends of expectant parents hosting a baby shower, may also find this useful if you don’t have a clue what to get.

I’ve created one long gift list to choose from, which  gives you the option of a Girl or Boy and have included Breastfeeding & Bottle fed baby products. As each will have their own slightly different requirements. I have provided a choice of quality baby products, as well as a more expensive product choice as each individuals preferences & finances will differ.

I have most of these products and prefer quality, well known, trusted brands that I love and use every day. All of which I am more than happy to recommend.  When I compiled my gift lift of things we needed for our baby shower, I was aware of so many different products on the market that you really don’t need and will never really use even if only for a short time.  So I looked for things that I would be able to make good use of without wasting money or precious space trying to store baby products we didn’t need and things we would be able to keep once we were done with them, for baby no.2. So you can be sure to expect the same with the Gift List I have created. I also received some really useful things that I would never have thought to get or add to my gift list which have come in extremely useful, so have included these for you as well.

It’s amazing how much stuff you need for one little person. I thought I might mention that we started out using Pampers micro nappies for our little girl as she was so petite and tiny that the nappies we did have for her were way too big, but as she out grew these we changed to Huggies, which you can only buy from Costco online or in store for £41 a box of 198 nappies. It’s a “huge saving” and the quality of nappies are amazing too. I haven’t had any nasty leaks or poop explosions as we called them. As opposed to Pampers nappies which just didn’t seem to contain these nasty little surprises.

I hope my Baby Shower Gift List from Birth to 1st Birthday is as useful as friends have found it to be.