Monday, 31 August 2015

Me and Mine - August 2015

dear beautiful me and mine
August has been a month of birthdays - I turned 32 and B turned 4 - so there has been a lot of cake, partying and day trips. And so many presents! We finally finished converting the spare room into a bedroom and play area for the girls, which has resulted in a few nights - not many though! - of unbroken sleep. It's amazing how a solid block of sleep can set you up for the day! I have managed to read a book that's been on my list to read for a while - The Five People You Meet in Heaven - and it was everything I hoped it would be. M is talking a lot more - we can have proper little conversations now. And her sense of humour is really developing. She makes us all laugh a lot. B is growing up so quickly, and yet is still so obviously young. I can't believe that if we weren't home educating, she would be expected to start school in the coming week. She's so little, even if she does insist that, now she's 4 years old, she knows everything!

My Birthday

This month:

The Hubby has enjoyed...
Nice weather
A different hair cut
Doing more yoga
Spending time with B
Completing the girls' bedroom

I have enjoyed...
Listening to my new radio
B's Superhero birthday party
Winning bowling on B's birthday
The Curly Girl Method, and how wonderful my hair is looking
Time for reading
The August Bank Holiday Weekend

B has enjoyed...
Her Superhero birthday party
Going bowling on her birthday, and having Happy Birthday sung to her at Frankie & Benny's
Her new bedroom
Her cousin coming to stay for a few days
Practising writing her name

M has enjoyed...
Having her hair done
Singing the Alphabet song
Her toy panda
Her new bedroom
Talking more
Playing Old MacDonald Lotto with B

Our Superhero Identities - sssshhhhh!
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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Siblings - August 2015

dear beautiful
So many cuddles this past month. These two so enjoy each other's company. They still  love to see each other first thing in the morning, kissing and hugging and shouting for joy. M is getting so much more interested in what B is up to, which is resulting in shouting and tears. B is as patient as a nearly 4 year old can be; M is getting more and more frustrated with what she's not allowed to do. They are both quick to say sorry though - our behaviour and modelling for B has paid off, and M has learned how to apologise already, though I'm not entirely sure she needs to say sorry quite so often as she does.

 B has learned a few of her books off by heart, and I have caught her "reading" them to M a few times now. It's incredibly touching to see. They play together with the Duplo, but B's penchant for pretending the bricks are cakes is not so easily understood by M, who just wants to build. They've been enjoying singing and dancing to Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys, and especially singing it whilst jumping up and down on mattress in the spare room. They chat to each other, and it's so wonderful to see how good friends they are.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - The Finale

Thanks for hopping over from Milk and Mummy, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt: Day 7 - The End of the Journey
Sponsors today include Close Parent, who are providing an organic Close Caboo Organic Carrier; a £20 voucher from Burble Baby; and a breastfeeding necklace of your choice from Baby Beads for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs - get your entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Back in April, I realised B hadn't fed for a while, but I hadn't noticed straight away. I wrote her a letter: To My First Nursling. It was an emotional time, but it was only the end of one leg of my breastfeeding journey. For her it was over. And perhaps, one day, if she has children of her own, she will start another leg of her journey with them. I am still feeding M, and she shows no signs of stopping any time soon. When she does, I hope it will be as gentle and child led as B's weaning was. Maybe I will be feeding another baby then. Continuing on the same road, but with a whole new set of experiences - some familiar, others brand new.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Striking Ignorance

Tube strikes don't affect me, so I can look at today's Union actions a bit more objectively than your average commuter or Londoner. Perhaps it's easier for me to see the drivers' side, as expressed in this article. Yes, it must be very difficult to get to work, but it must be difficult to not get comfort breaks, and worse to have your relationships break down because of the hours you have no choice but to work. When I was in paid employment, I joined a union that didn't strike. It's not been my preferred method of achieving change, but I support those for whom it is. 

But I just don't understand why people can be so ignorant as to not see that we are constantly being pitted against one another, when we should be uniting. The powers that be want us lower folks to be fighting amongst ourselves so that we don't see what they're up to. 

Let's have a go at train drivers because they earn more than we do, rather than fighting for everyone to receive a decent wage. 
Let's complain about not being able to see a doctor at the weekend, rather than making sure the government can't sell the NHS to their cronies. 
Let's kick out all the foreigners seeking our benefits, rather than going after the politicians and their friends who have taken much more from us. 
Let's get angry about a lion's death, rather than care about human beings who are starving and dying and going through all kinds of torture. 

All the anger is being directed at the wrong groups of people. The media - and I can never remember whether they're in the politicians' pockets, or the other way around - tell us who's to blame and straight away, like mindless sheep, we're there, shaking our fists, complaining of injustice, and hurling abuse. And all the time the powers that be are sitting smugly, rubbing their hands together with glee, as they watch the minions destroying one another, oblivious to the rich and powerful getting more money and more power. 

We need to open our eyes, soften our hearts, and use our brains. We can't, we mustn't, believe everything the papers and news channels serve up to us. And we must unite with our co-humans, and go on strike from believing the lies, rather than fighting for the scraps our rulers deign to throw at us. 

Positive About Breastfeeding - Backstage

Support! It is the the most vital ingredient in the recipe for successful breastfeeding. Surround yourself with people who believe in breastfeeding. Get help when you need it. Find the breastfeeding cafes near your home, and go to them before your baby is born. Seek out other breastfeeding mums and ask for advice. The more you know, the more successful you will be.

When B was born, my support consisted of my mum, my best friend and the Hubby. But with the issues I had, they weren't enough. The paediatricians and nurses at the hospital were unsupportive, unhelpful and poorly educated in breastfeeding. I didn't have the confidence I needed as a first time mum. I knew what I wanted, but I got scared and gave into pressure. My breastfeeding journey didn't have a good start. By the time M came along, my circle of support had grown enormously. I was part of the local Attachment Parenting group; I had more breastfeeding friends; support at the hospital had improved; and being part of several breastfeeding groups on Facebook connected me with a huge number of breastfeeding mums. I could find answers, advice and encouragement in so many places, at any time of the day or night. The journey with M was so much better because of those helping me along.

Every new mother should be able to feed her baby the way she wants to, after receiving accurate, evidence based information on infant feeding. They should never be told to top up with formula without first having seen an IBCLC. IBCLCs should be on staff at every maternity ward. There should be breastmilk banks at every hospital so that every baby that needs supplementation can have access to human milk. The government should be channelling money into breastfeeding education for health care providers and ensuring schoolchildren are taught about it during science and PSHE lessons. The NHS should be ensuring that all their staff are up to date on breastfeeding training, and GPs and Health Visitors should be reminded that facts are to beshared, rather than their outdated opinions. We need better support for breastfeeding, and it needs to be everywhere. With a bit of investment, the NHS could save a huge amount of money because of fewer serious childhood illnesses and cancers, and less obesity and diabetes due to more babies being breastfed beyond the first few weeks of life.

Support breeds support. Women who have been helped and encouraged to achieve their breastfeeding goals are able to go on to support and help others. From my own experiences and research, I could name at least 10 women I have been able to help in various ways to succeed in breastfeeding their babies. But I would never have been able to do that if it wasn't for the support I first received in the early days of breastfeeding B. So, thank you to my mum - an LLL counsellor, who I saw advising women when I was a child, and who encouraged me, prayed for me, and reminded me that I was a breastfeeding mum, despite my low supply. Thank you to my Husband, who overcame his initial fears and became my greatest supporter, even becoming a bit of a breastfeeding cheerleader himself. (You'll find him blogging at Dad Thoughts.) And thank you to my best friend, who listened to my tears, and texted me uplifting words, and reassured me that all would be well. You carried me until I was able to feed on my own two feet.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

52 Weeks of Memories | 31: Black and White

Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories 

A trip to Ikea allowed M to indulge in a little panda cuddling. She loves those pandas!

Positive About Breastfeeding - Beyond Babyhood

Thanks for hopping over from Another Bun or Dad Thoughts, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt - Day 5: Extended Breastfeeding.
We have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs, including prizes from More4Mums, providing a set of 'Hot Milk' Lingerie; a signed hardback limited edition copy of Milky Moments; and a £30 voucher from Milk Chic. 
Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


 Extended breastfeeding, or as it ought to be known, full-term or natural-term breastfeeding, is generally considered to be still breastfeeding a child over the age of 1 year, though there are many, including a lot of health care providers, who seem to think that it refers to anything over 6 months!  The World Health Organisation state that, "Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond." This isn't just for those in developing countries, as is often thought, but refers to children all over the world.

I think sometimes there is a fear that allowing a child to continue to breastfeed as long as they want will mean that their mother will be tied to the settee for years, but nursing a toddler is very different to nursing a newborn. The near constant feeds reduce. Breastmilk is no longer the main source of nutrition. Snacks and toys and noises and the possibility that something interesting might be happening somewhere else can all distract from feeding. It is during toddlerhood that the ability of breastfeeding to comfort and console really comes into its own. And when the penchant for putting all manner of germy things in their mouths can be counteracted by the continued antibacterial and antiviral properties of breastmilk. Breastfeeding can even be more enjoyable during the second year and beyond. Little ones no longer rely only on mum for everything; nursing time is accompanied by books and toy cars, and feeds are shared with soft toys, thrust at our breasts by overly-keen mini lactation consultants; the gymnurstics begin.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - Looking Good!

Thanks for hopping over from Mummies Waiting, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt - Day 3: Dress to Impress. 
Sponsors today include Milk and Mummy, with a £50 voucher; Lorna Drew Maternity, who are offering a beautiful set of nursing lingerie; and Mummy Makes Milk; who is offering a signed copy of her beautiful book for our Grand Prize winner. 
Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs. Entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


Finding attractive breastfeeding clothes that don't cost a small fortune is difficult. Add in being plus sized, and it becomes an even greater challenge. When I first got pregnant with B, at the end of 2010, I was surprised to discover that Evans, the leading plus sized women's fashion retailer, does not have a maternity range. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised - I had long been aware that larger ladies aren't expected to live like "normal" sized ladies. Despite the average woman in the UK being a size 16, many fashion ranges don't go above that. Some don't even include it at all. And many plus ranges don't have maternity lines, or are only available online. I had my wedding dress made especially for me, because there were no larger sized wedding dresses to try on in bridal shops. Because, of course, who would want to marry a fat lady?! And if that idea is unthinkable, then logically there should be no need to create maternity wear for larger ladies, because that would mean men actually want to have sex with fatties! Gross, right? Well, fashion industry, a little news for you - larger ladies are just the same as smaller ladies, and as those in between. We have those life changing moments too.

Things were a bit better in 2013, when I was pregnant with M. I found a few online stores that sold plus sized maternity clothes, and even managed to get a few items from Next, whose sizes go a little higher than other high street stores. Again though, I discovered that I could only find stuff online. I lost quite a bit of weight when I was pregnant, so I had no idea what size I was, and would have found it much easier to try things on before buying them. And I was even more annoyed that Evans still didn't have a maternity range.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - Out and About

Keep Britain Breastfeeding Logo

Thanks for hopping over from Visit from the Stork and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 2 - Positive Public Feeding; we have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs, including prizes from Snoob; with a breastfeeding scarf, a goodie bag from Forever Patricia; and a breastfeeding necklace from Booby and the Bead
Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here; and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

I have never had a negative experience breastfeeding in public. Yet, I have a number of friends who have experienced being told to leave premises, asked to feed in the toilets, and subjected to nasty comments and looks just because they are exercising their right, by law, to feed their babies when out and about. It's ridiculous, in this day and age, that this is still happening. Breastfeeding mothers are protected by the law! A friend recently told me that she was nervous about feeding in public - very early on she had had to stop breastfeeding her first baby, firstly expressing and then moving onto formula, so she had no experience of breastfeeding outside of her house. Fortunately for her, her first public feed was uneventful. I'm so glad, because that gave her the confidence to do it again and again. Since then, she has experienced judgemental stares, and people getting up to move their children away from her. And her baby is only 5 weeks old! Seriously! There is something incredibly wrong with a society that thinks it's acceptable to plaster sexually charged images of women showing their breasts - low cut tops, naked, etc. - everywhere for advertising the most unrelated products, and yet vilifies women who are feeding their children as nature intended.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - The Grand Entrance

Keep Britain Breastfeeding Logo

Thanks for hopping over from My Mummy's World, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 1: The Start of My Journey.

Sponsors today include  Boobie Milk with a £50 voucher, Cherub Chews who are offering a breastfeeding necklace and Loveyush who are offering a breastfeeding scarf for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs; entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


If you have ever read about My First Year of Breastfeeding, then you will know that we had a really tough start first time around. B was tongue tied, I have insufficient glandular tissue (IGT), and the breastfeeding support at our hospital was appalling. In those first weeks there were no positives. I was in pain and B lost a great deal of weight; I was desperately unhappy and exhausted. I had done a great deal of research about breastfeeding while I was pregnant, and I had been certain it would be a breeze. I was unaware of tongue ties - as was my La Leche League trained mum - and I didn't believe Low Supply was a real thing. However, I'm a stubborn soul, and I was determined to keep breastfeeding. But why?