23 August 2017

Review & Giveaway: Awesome Interactive Carlton Kids Books

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Carlton kids books are very much turning into some of our favourites in this house. They just have so much choice and something to suit everyone. We're definitely a book loving family and the more unusual the better! You can imagine my son's complete joy then when he received three different augmented reality books to review.


The three books received were; iExplore Predators, iExplore The Brain and Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex! All of these books include a special AR app which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. Before we go any further though I thought I best quickly explain what augmented  reality is. It's basically the integration of digital information into the user's environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it. Hence why AR usually uses say an iPad camera to show what would look like an object in your room/world around you which wouldn't normally be there.


Each book has it's own intriguing topic so all very different and interesting. Logan wanted to start with the Jurassic World book and after downloading the app onto his iPad we got straight to it. As you can see from the photos there's plenty of reading on each page and some pages have a special AR Activation Page. This means you open the downloaded App, follow the instructions then scan the special Activation Page box and as if by magic a dinosaur will appear on screen and looks like it's in the room with you. My son was totally thrilled with this and spent a good hour flicking through the book and interacting with each AR opportunity. Once he had got to grips with that he then went back and started to read through the pages.


Logan did this with each book as the thought of being able to access AR was really entertaining for him and it put a different spin on what a normal book would usually be. Adding in AR definitely makes a book more exciting and brings it to life right in front of your very eyes. Both the Predators and The Brain books were equally as exciting and fascinating for Logan with the brain scanner allowing you to see what your brain would look like, and the Predators allowing a rattle snake to strike out at you.


If you think these books would be perfect for your little one then why not enter my fab giveaway to win all three! It's simple and easy to enter via the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was sent these 3 books in return for an honest review.

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9 August 2017

Edinburgh Foodies Festival 2017

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Last weekend the other half and I were invited along to the Edinburgh Foodies Festival for the 4th year in a row and as always it was a delight. We left the kids with Granny and headed on into Edinburgh to Inverleith Park with our little Frenchie lady in tow. Kids and dogs are most welcome at the festival but our dog is better behaved than the kids hence why we took her along instead.

We got the VIP treatment when we arrived with access to the VIP tent, a glass of fizz, teas, coffees, biscuits and crisps on tap with some really good live music on the go. The weather wasn't fab on the day we went but that didn't stop us at all. We had our wellies at the ready and browsed all the tasty stalls to see what we could sample and buy for lunch. Last year I remembered there was a soft shell crab stall so I made sure to hunt him down again. Luckily the stall was there and I got a tasty soft shell crab for lunch, yum! I finished that off with a bubble waffle cone filled with nutella and ice cream from waffle island.

It really was a lovely day out and our dog loved it too! If you have a foodies festival near you then definitely take the time to go along. We didn't buy loads but stocked up on some tasty olives. The great thing is you get to try so many different foods and drinks that you might not otherwise go for. Anyway enough prattling on, here are some photos from our day.











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8 August 2017

Breastfeeding Guest Post: Breastfeeding and Tongue Tie

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Today's lovely breastfeeding guest post is from Debbie, the blogger behind My Chaotically Eclectic Life. She's a SAHM, blogger and general skivvy for her family. She loves crafting, planning, reading, food and the colour purple. In order to indulge in her love of food she's embarking on a weight loss and fitness journey. You can also find Debbie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so why not pay her a little visit.


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Tongue-ties affect between 4-11% of all newborn babies and it tends to run in families, with boys being more commonly affected.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a tongue-tie is where the strip of skin underneath the baby's tongue is shorter than usual. This can cause problems when feeding due to restricted movement of the tongue. It can also cause speech issues as they get older.

From the minute Corey arrived on the planet my OH suspected he had a tongue tie.  He was aware of the condition due to his godson having one.

However due to the arrival of his first born son and the lack of sleep he didn’t think to mention it to the midwives in the delivery suite and I was in a world of my own so didn’t really take much notice if I’m honest.
Once we moved to the maternity ward I was asked given the usual post natal checks and asked the standard questions regarding feeding. As this was my second baby, other than checking he was latched on, they pretty much left me to it. They popped back on their rounds and asked all the usual questions; when was he last fed? How long did he feed for? They seemed happy with the answers and Corey seemed contented enough so there was no cause for concern.

My first night in the hospital went pretty much as you would expect with a new baby He fed, slept and cried a little. Still nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I was kept in overnight on the day he was born and other than a couple of routine checks as the midwives did their rounds we were left to our own devises. I’m not a big one for being fussed over so this was fine by me.

The following day I requested to be discharged and waited to see the paediatrician. By this time my OH had informed me of his concern about Corey’s tongue tie and we mentioned it to her as she performed her checks. She had a quick look and said there was nothing to worry about. How wrong she was!

Looking back, I should have mentioned it sooner, maybe to one of the midwives but the euphoria/lack of sleep surrounding a new baby and the fact he seemed to be feeding fine meant that this was overlooked.
We were discharged and spent the next couple of days adjusting to our new addition. Feeding still seemed to be going well, he was feeding regularly and sleeping well. My milk came in after a couple of days and that’s when things seemed to take a turn for the worst.

By our third night at home my nipples were cracked and extremely sore; my happy, contented baby had become a demon at night and I seemed to be feeding constantly. I initially put it down to being tired and the strain of a new baby. My OH was getting distressed by it all and when, on the fourth or fifth night, he woke to find me sobbing on the bed with a screaming baby I said enough was enough. At 2am he was dispatched to Asda for some formula.

After than initial wobble, which I put down to hormones and a lack of sleep, I carried on breastfeeding. I managed to find myself in a comfortable feeding position and everything appeared to be back on track.
Fast forward to the weekend and Corey’s 7 day review with the midwife arrived. She did his heel prick and we got him ready to be weighed. We were prepared for a small loss from his original birth weight of 8lb 5oz, what we didn’t expect was that he would have lost 11% of his birth weight!

The midwife explained that although it was normal for babies to lose some weight in the first week, this was above what was expected. She asked how feeding had been going and we explained the struggle we’d had with the breastfeeding earlier in the week and subsequent crystals we had found in his nappy the day before. We also mentioned that we thought he may have had a tongue tie but that the paediatrician had confirmed everything was fine.

Luckily, she checked herself just to make sure and the minute she opened his mouth she confirmed our suspicions. He did have a tongue tie and it was quite a bad one. She advised that we could make an appointment to have it snipped but would have to see the doctor first to be referred. The alternative was to be re-admitted to hospital via A & E due to his weight loss.

We chose the second option and 7 days after giving birth I was back on the maternity ward. I was shown to a private room and awaited my consultation with one of the midwives that specialised in breastfeeding.
She came in and suggested that I express some milk to give him and hooked me up to ‘Daisy’ and industrial sized breast pump. The whole situation was quite surreal if I’m honest. Once I’d pumped enough milk the midwife showed me how to feed him with a cup. She made it look easy, I made it look really hard.

After visiting time was over I was informed that unfortunately I was no longer able to stay in my own little room and was to be moved back onto the main ward. It was the strangest feeling, especially when I was wheeled down the corridor to the exact same location as the one I had vacated a week earlier.

The following morning we were informed that an appointment had been made for Tuesday for Corey to have his tongue tie snipped. I was advised to stay in hospital until after the appointment so they could monitor his weight/feeding etc.

If I’m honest I don’t really remember much about the two days I was in hospital as it passed in a bit of blur. I struggled to get a handle on feeding Corey with a cup so the midwifes suggested I went back to breastfeeding on demand, which ended up being almost constantly.

On the morning of the appointment we made our way to the ENT department where the tongue-tie snip was to take place. Our time came and we made went into the consulting room where we were talked through the procedure. One of us was asked to sit in a large dentist style chair and hold Corey’s head still. This was where I relinquished responsibility to my OH; the combination of hormones, broken sleep and the fact that someone was about to take a pair of scissors to my 9 day old baby was too much for me to process.

I sat at the side of the room, averted my eyes and prepared myself for the cries. After a few seconds I heard the Consultant say it was all done. Corey hadn’t made anything more than a murmur. We were allowed to head on back to the ward to feed him again under the supervision of the midwife. We weren’t even half way there when he fell asleep.

Corey within 5 minutes of his tongue tie division

 The first feed after his snip went really well and the midwife was happy enough to let us go home later that day.

He was like a totally different baby after his division. His feeding was a breeze compared to the pain and discomfort we had suffered the for the first 10 days. He fed perfectly and we soon managed to finally settle ourselves into a routine. His weight steadily increased and he made it back to his birth weight within a couple of weeks.

I must point out that prior to Corey’s tongue-tie I was almost unaware of what to look for and if it hadn’t have been for my OH and the midwife I would have been none the wiser. In all the baby books I read/was given prior to the birth I don’t remember seeing anything about it.
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7 August 2017

Breastfeeding Guest Post: My Story as a Breastmilk Donor

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Today's breastfeeding guest post is from the lovely Arabella who writes at www.exeterbabyactivities.co.uk. Arabella is a 40 something mum of two strong girls aged 14 and 6, living a life of beaches, pets, cycling and green things in Exeter with Mr Husband. A lawyer by training, Arabella runs, Exeter Baby Activities, the ultimate guide for families in Exeter. She writes about life as a family, cooking, growing and eco-friendly things useful to families outside Exeter too - go check out her Mummy Musings. Arabella breastfed for a total of 5 ½ years. Here she talks about her personal struggle with oversupply issues and how this led her to become a breastmilk donor.

You can also find Arabella on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Mums who have struggled with breastfeeding due to worries about supply issues may not realise that the opposite, oversupply, can be just as difficult to deal with and can dramatically impact the nursing relationship.

My personal struggles with over supply included:

Painfully engorged breasts nearly all the time
  • Frequent bouts of mastitis and blocked ducts
  • Not being able to sleep on my front or even side for the first 2-3 months and having to sleep on a plastic sheet
  • Leaking through even doubled up washable and disposable breast pads in minutes
  • Feeling super nervous and anxious every time I left the house as I could soak through a tee shirt in 30 seconds flat
  • Having to wake up twice a night just to pump, even if baby had fed
  • Always washing and assembling the breastpump/bottles etc
  • Constantly having an internal dialogue around where the pump was; how long since I had used it; did I need to wash it; was there time to pump before baby woke; would she be able to latch if I didn’t pump, which was going to hurt more, pumping or trying to feed without pumping….
And then there was the frustration of knowing that I had literally gallons of pure, nutritious wonderful milk to give to my baby straight from the boob, but really really struggling to do so:
  • My super-fast and strong let down literally drowned baby every time she latched on
  • Rock hard and engorged boobs meant nipple feeding was a common occurrence which led to such painful and damaged nipples that it was 9 months before I stopped bleeding at every feed
  • Days and weeks of fighting at the breast - a baby that is desperate to feed but is scared of mum’s breast is a very distressing thing to witness
  • Having to adopt a very restricted range of positions - I could only really feed sitting bolt upright with several cushions under baby, making it difficult to leave the house
  • No laying down to feed, no biological nursing, no calm, gentle, bonding nurturing for us
  • Painful colic for my baby as she was gulping so much air in with each feed
  • Painful poos and horrid nappies plus the sick everywhere
To help cope with this forceful let down and oversupply, I began pumping off an ounce or two before every feed.  I know that pumping can actually make oversupply issues worse but without taking some of the pressure off, my baby physically wouldn’t be able to latch and the fussing at the breast was extremely painful for me.

The result was a freezer full of frozen breastmilk.  Dozens and dozens of packets of breastmilk, beautifully labelled and stored in date order in case it was ever needed.  Some days I’d open the freezer and just stare at the packets; at the pain and frustration and tears and sleepless nights they represented.

When the freezer drawer was full, I’d take the oldest packets, cut them open in the sink and watch them to drip down the plughole one painful drop at a time.

Becoming a Breastmilk Donor

With my second daughter, I was determined not to let this all go to waste. After we came out of hospital for the second time and it was clear I was going to face the same oversupply issues, I began to research human milk banks. Our Devon hospital didn’t run a breastmilk bank, despite having a very busy NICU, but they did have an arrangement with Southampton hospital to send collected milk to them for processing and storage before return as needed.

After making a few phone calls, I was directed to the clerk to the Neonatal Unit who thankfully knew EXACTLY what I needed to do. We had a chat on the phone to discuss my situation and I was able to explain that I had all the milk needed for my baby, with lots to spare and was generally fit and healthy. I had to visit the ward to pick up the relevant forms: a health/lifestyle questionnaire and blood work kit containing a letter to my GP and details of the tests needed. The health/lifestyle questionnaire wasn’t as invasive as I thought.  I can’t remember the exact questions, but they were all things I’d want to know if I was the parent of a premature baby receiving donated milk:
  • Was I generally fit and healthy
  • Any blood transfusions I’d had
  • Did I smoke/take drugs
  • How much coffee/alcohol did I drink
The blood work included tests for HIV, hepatitis, HTLV and syphilis so I made an appointment with my GP to have the screening bloods taken. I tried to do this via the surgery nurse but as she had never done a breastmilk donor screening before, she asked that I saw a GP.

Sadly, the GP was no more informed and tried to argue with me about
a.            the need for breastmilk donors when substitutes are so readily available and
b.            the blood tests requested, despite the letter and forms from the hospital.

After a slightly heated discussion (yes really) the GP was finally convinced by the letter from the hospital and the bloods were taken. When I got the blood results back, I posted them along with the completed questionnaire to the Neonatal ward clerk and a couple days later got the call to say I had been accepted as a breastmilk donor. I popped back up to the hospital to collect some breastmilk bottles (the bottles store the milk in a different way to bags, making it better for prem babies) and started pumping.

I was exceptionally careful to make sure I sterilized the pump correctly and labelled the bottles fully. I also checked the thermometer of my freezer daily to make sure it was keeping the milk at the correct temperature. After I had collected a freezer full, I packed it in a cool bag and my husband took it to the Neonatal Unit and dropped it off.  I’d have loved to have completed the cycle myself by dropping it off but as I don’t drive, I didn’t want the milk to be out of the freezer for the length of the bus journey.

My daughter and I continued to struggle with my oversupply for many months but this time round I was able to take comfort knowing that vulnerable babies would be benefitting.

Further information on breastmilk donation and oversupply issues

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a breastmilk donor or receiving donated milk if your baby needs it, the UKAMB website has lots of useful information.

If you don’t have a breastmilk bank near you, do still contact your local infant feeding coordinator, as they may have an arrangement with another hospital that you can benefit from.  Some milk banks also accept large donations from out of area donors and will arrange collection from you.

If you struggle with forceful let-down or oversupply issues, do seek help from a lactation consultant or infant feeding coordinator.  Online guidance can be found on LLLI, LLLGB and Kelly Mom.


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5 August 2017

Breastfeeding Guest Post: Breastfeeding Fun with Premature Twins

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Today I have a lovely guest post on breastfeeding from Charlie over at Our Altered Life. Charlie is a mum to twins Oliver and Harry and she blogs about life as a parent of a child with special needs. Here she explains more: "I chronicle the highs and lows of a life less ordinary and the challenges and adventures we all face. I write to reach other parents who may have struggled to cope at the start of their own journey into the world of special needs and to offer them some entertainment, insight and hope. Helping others is a real passion for me, hence the career in teaching. When I'm not writing or working you will find me drinking gin, eating my own body weight in cheese and laminating stuff (you can take the girl out of teaching but you cant take the teacher out of the girl!)".

You can also find Charlie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but please read on for her fabulous guest post on breastfeeding premature twins.

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Making the decision
I can’t say that I actually considered the feeding aspect of twins when I found out I was cooking two babies. I mean, I knew that they’d need feeding but it was a while before the enormity of the fact that I would have two blighters hanging off my breasts actually sunk in.

Once my boobs started to swell in anticipation for our new arrivals I sat and weighed up the pros and cons of breast feeding and bottle feeding. Bottle feeding was definitely more practical with two to feed at once and based on the fact that no one has yet invented a detachable breast I did quite like the idea that others could help out. On the other hand, I really wanted to feel that physical closeness with my babies and knew that skin on skin would help that.

I knew that there was a lot of support (*cough* pressure) for new Mothers to breast feed and pass on essential nutrients and antibodies. I also read that breast feeding helped your stomach get back into shape and saw the appeal there too (12 years later and I’m still waiting!) Plus, there was the convenience of just whipping a boob out rather than carrying bottles and all the other paraphernalia everywhere we went.

I hear a lot of horror stories of Mothers who have felt pressured to breast feed. Sometimes they feel thrilled to have been able to master it. However, other Mums have plunged into depression when, for whatever reason they have been unable to breast feed. I was really lucky to have a lovely ‘old school’ health visitor at one point and her advice was the best I’ve ever heard. She told me that the baby will pick up on how the Mum is feeling so if I wanted to give breast feeding a go then that’s great but if for whatever reason it didn’t work then that was absolutely fine too. The priority was my health and happiness which in turn would benefit the baby. Common sense really but her words helped and I decided that I would indeed ‘give it a go’.

The reality
My boys were born at 32 weeks and weighed just 3lbs 9oz each. They looked like two little old men who hadn’t grown into their skin yet and for a few weeks they were covered in tubes and wires. Harry was also born with a very rare craniofacial condition meaning that he had no eye, eye socket, ear, nostril and a short under developed jaw. He was sent 50 miles away to another hospital for a week for more tests and I stayed with Oliver to recover from my emergency c-section and try to get my head around the news.

The boys were reunited at around 8 days old and as soon as they were strong enough, I decided to try to breast feed. I tried feeding them individually as well as the ‘rugby ball’ technique of tucking a baby under each arm so they could feed simultaneously (I did worry about the window cleaner witnessing that one as I sat helpless on the sofa so wasn’t too distressed when we had limited success). Oliver latched on after a few awkward attempts but Harry really struggled. He couldn’t breathe properly and there was some disagreement about whether his palate had been affected or not by his syndrome. In the end, I decided to express my milk and bottle feed Harry with a mixture of breast and expressed milk for Oliver.

I expected to feel like a failure but I remembered the words of the health visitor and knew that I had tried my best. I felt that I was still doing my bit for them and started expressing like a woman possessed. At one point, the staff in special care suggested I slow down a bit as they had enough to feed to entire ward but I was a woman on a mission.

Looking back, I was suffering with postnatal depression after the shock of our news and I felt that this was the one thing I was doing right so I kept going…and going. After a few weeks of 4 hourly Daisy the cow episodes with my trusty breast pump, mastitis had set in and I looked like I was smuggling a couple of bald men down the front of my top. I admitted defeat, stopped expressing and the puppies deflated. I on the other hand felt only proud.

What I learnt
I learnt that its great if you want to breast feed. And it’s great if you don’t. It’s great if it’s a beautiful experience for you and your baby but equally its great if you tried your best but it just didn’t happen. Whether you breast feed or not is NOT a reflection on the quality of mother you are. There are enough pressures on us to be Mary Poppins as it is and I don’t think that pressure to breast feed helps. What I do know for sure is that above everything a baby needs a mum who is happy, calm and loves the little person she has created. Many may say that breast is best but I believe that your best is enough whether that’s delivered by a nipple or a teat!


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3 August 2017

Breastfeeding Guest Post: When Breastfeeding isn't for You

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Today's breastfeeding guest post comes from Zoe Bell from The Tale of Mummyhood. Zoe is a mother of two beautiful girls and has a passion for blogging, writing and fitness! Zoe can also be found on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Whilst I was pregnant with my first child I constantly thought about breastfeeding and whether it would be something that I'd try. I'm not an overly confident person when it comes to feeding in public and in front of family and friends, so breastfeeding was a source of anxiety for me. Don’t get me wrong, I'm not against feeding in public, I applaud any mother who sticks two fingers up to the onlookers who do so with disgust.

When my first was born I took the plunge and decided that I would try my hardest to overcome my own anxieties and I would feed her myself. She latched on perfectly and almost immediately, filled her tummy and slept for hours whilst we were still in the hospital. I must admit though, breastfeeding just didn’t feel natural to me. I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t feel like it was helping me bond my new baby.

We were lucky that things were pretty straight forward in the hospital and we were home the very next day. Even though I carried on, feeding still didn't feel like it was the right thing for me to do. I also worried that my husband wasn't getting a chance to feed his daughter, but he was happy that we were happy, whichever way we chose to feed.

On the third day after leaving hospital, I remember feeding my daughter as usual but this time something was different. She seemed to need more and more, but was never satisfied. This went on for a few hours and by this point I was feeling incredibly sore. I was so worried about my daughter being hungry, I also felt inadequate as it didn't appear that I was providing her with what she needed.

Later that evening, the situation hadn't improved. Luckily, we'd stocked up on bottles and formula just in case. I asked my husband what I should do, I felt so rotten. In the end, he reassured me that even if I wasn't producing enough milk, it wasn't a reflection on my ability as a parent. So, we made the decision together and fed our daughter her first bottle of formula milk. It was the best decision we could have made.

Immediately after our daughter fell asleep. She was no longer unsettled and hungry, but content and peaceful. I felt the anxiety melt away and I felt more comfortable in my new role as mother. In hindsight, I didn’t leave enough time for my milk to come in. If I'd have tried again, the chances are that I would have been able to carry on feeding her myself.

These days though I'm strong enough to admit that I didn’t want to. Breastfeeding wasn't for me and that's ok. I think it's amazing when mothers continue to feed their children, I really do. However, it's also difficult to go against the grain and choose not to use the advised methods of feeding. That strength should be recognised too!

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2 August 2017

Breastfeeding Guest Post: My Boob Story

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Today I have a lovely guest post for you from Rachel over at Rachel Ridler: Mum on a Mission. Rachel has been kind enough to share her breastfeeding journey with us or Boob Story as she likes to call it. She is a mum to two, wife to one and friend to many. Rachel is a mum on a mission to share her wisdom and faith with the world around her. Based in Doncaster, she loves to share real life stories and ideas with her readers so why not pop over and say hello! Rachel can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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This week I got a text to say I had received my final £40 breastfeeding voucher for completing 6 months feeding with Reuben.  And it got me contemplating what a journey and road I have been on with it all!  I am sure every single mother has their own story to tell about this, and here is mine.  Enjoy!

Samuel

Everyone told me that breastfeeding could be tricky, and I thought I had prepared myself for it, but I wasn’t. I really wanted to feed my firstborn naturally (not only for all the benefits that you get told about, but also to save money – with a student for a husband and maternity pay we didn’t really have much going spare!!!). The first few days were difficult.  Because of my 36 hour labour, I had had two injections of diamorphine which made Sam come out really sleepy.  Great for getting post-labour rest, but not so great for getting him to figure out the whole latching on thing!

By day 3 we had managed to figure out some sort of feeding (I mean – he wasn’t going hungry all the time!).  But that was when one of my nipples started to get sore.  Sam had this fun game of shaking his head at my nipple instead of latching on to it, so we were both getting frustrated.  Especially when it came to feeding off my sore side.  The constant latching on and off was agony.  I spoke to the midwife visiting and then a health visitor the next day, but they all seemed to think that he was latching on fine.

By day 7 my nipple was infected – yellow puss and everything!  I was in tears by the time to midwife came to visit, ready to pack it in but too scared to do it without the midwife’s approval.  We chatted it through and agreed to try out pumping and giving Sam expressed milk.  I was so relieved to not have to try to latch him on to my sore side again.  It was almost life changing at the moment (the night before I had been in floods of tears whilst we had lots of friends from Rob’s college round and probably put them off motherhood for life – sorry girls!!).  The next day though I felt so guilty – my mum had bought me special breastfeeding clothes and I wasn’t going to need to use them.  I felt so wasteful.

I managed to pump and feed Sam for 6 weeks which was great, although very time consuming and strange to feel like a cow being pumped for milk!  It was nice to be able to let Rob do some of the feeding too, especially at night where we were able to alternate and both get a bit more rest.  But by 6 weeks my supply couldn’t keep up with demand, and I was going back to work, so we transferred Sam over to formula and never looked back.  I was so glad that I was able to give Sam breastmilk for those first 6 weeks, but I really do not judge or think any less of people who can’t or don’t want to.  It was an emotional and physical rollercoaster!


Reuben

So when I got pregnant with Reuben I was all prepared for the potential craziness that breastfeeding might bring.  And I was more realistic that we would just feed him however suited our family.  If I was able to feed him myself then great, but if not we wouldn’t sweat it.  We would need sleep and strength to cope with two, and I would do whatever I needed to to get that.  I even contemplated investing in one of those magic formula making machines!!

But then I found out that our new home was in the catchment area for the new NOSH breastfeeding vouchers, and not to sniff at a potential £200, it made me slightly more determined to make breastfeeding work this time.

It all started off brilliantly. After a much shorted labour (only 6 hours instead of 36) with no drugs this time, Reuben latched straight on and was immediately more interested in feeding than Sam.  I enjoyed the first few days of feeding and milky coma’s (the best thing about breastfeeding a newborn!) but then my right nipple started getting sore again.  I realised that I had what they call an “inverted nipple” where it sticks in rather out, and this was meaning it wasn’t sitting in Reuben’s mouth properly when he was feeding, but instead was rubbing on his palette – probably the same issue I had with Sam.  But this time I was prepared!!  Although I didn’t see a midwife for a few days, I decided to start pumping off the sore side to give it a chance to rest and heal (it was bleeding – never a good sign…).  I continued to feed off the other side, and then Rob would feed Reuben from a bottle whilst I pumped for the next feed.

It was all going swimmingly until I started to get aches and pains in all my muscles, followed by hot flushes and cold chills.  Every time I would wake in the night to feed Reuben I would be a different temperature.  My breast was really hard and painful and the next day it turned bright red.  I booked an appointment with the nurse and she confirmed I had mastitis (yey!!!!).  Seriously painful, and was prescribed antibiotics to clear the infection. I started to feel much better very quickly, but unfortunately the antibiotics upset Reuben’s little tummy and we had a few days of screaming.

By the end of the antibiotics I had made the decision that I couldn’t put him back on my sore breast – the thought was painful in itself!  So I researched feeding off just one side.  Although it is not “best practice” it could be done! I mean, if you think about it, twins only have one boob each and they do just fine!  Our bodies are made to adjust to whatever life throws at them, so after a few days of my boob catching up with the extra feeds on my good side we were back in business!

I had managed to collect 3 breastfeeding vouchers before Christmas – 2 days, 6 days and 6 weeks – which was a fantastic feeling after having to give up so quickly with Sam.  We had carried on giving Reuben one bottle a day of formula after getting him used to the bottle whilst I was pumping, as it is always helpful to know he will take it in an emergency.  We enjoyed a good 4 months of blissful breastfeeding (you know the kind they show in the adverts where mother gazes lovingly into babies eyes whilst they are feeding…. except most of the time the TV was on or I was checking facebook!) and then we started weaning and the fun began all over again.


With the weaning, I obviously started dropping some milk feeds.  This completely confused my milk supply, and the weekend before I went back to work the familiar feeling of aching muscles returned, followed by cold chills and hot flushes.  Yup, I had mastitis again!!!  My good boob promptly turned bright red and was like a painful stone in my bra.  Annoyingly it was Easter weekend so I had to wait another full day to get an appointment with the doctor for more antibiotics.  My appointment was the afternoon after my first morning back at work, so I had to pretend to be well and happy to be back at work whilst being in immense pain. My chills got so bad that whilst driving back from meeting my boss my hands turned blue and I walked through the door of my house shaking.  I was so cold that I couldn’t dial the phone to ring our IT department, but by the time I got to the doctors I was sweating!

I was only weeks away from getting my 6 month voucher, so I was determined to keep feeding through the mastitis, after all I had done it once before.  And I succeeded!  I now still feed Reuben once or twice again, but he absolutely loves his food so is enjoying weaning more and more.  I am very glad I got to enjoy the whole breastfeeding journey this time round, it has been so much simpler and easier that having to cart round all the bottle feeding paraphernalia.  But I want to say that all you mums and mums-to-be, please don’t feel guilty or upset as to what your breastfeeding journey turns into.  As long as you feed your baby it is all good. The end…..

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1 August 2017

World Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2017 - 1st to 7th August

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World Breastfeeding Awareness Week is finally upon us and it's time to celebrate all things boobtastic - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! Breastfeeding isn't all glamour and smooth sailing as some people would have you believe but it is a magical sweat inducing journey which lots of women undertake each and every year. It's definitely something to be proud of, an achievement to smile about and sing from the roof tops but I also believe as women we should have a choice in how we choose to feed our babies. I often find it a bit sad when us ladies lash out and bash each other when the whole breast vs bottle debate rears it's hideous head so let's be thankfully for what we have and what we can do and live life the way we choose.

The boob celebrations last a whole fantastic week from 1st to 7th August and I plan to share as many breastfeeding related stories as possible for everyone out there. I'm hoping that even the most die hard boober and bottle lovers with read these stories and realise that whilst some people love breastfeeding others find it's just not for them. And do you know what, that's totally ok. I think it's important that we stick together and support each other, especially when we're struggling on with our babies.

So please look out for some fab guest posts coming very soon!

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