What being a mum of 5 has taught me about having babies

I know I say it a lot, but I have given birth to five babies. That’s quite a few! I often wonder how on earth my body grew and birthed these little humans! Knowing all too well how hard it is to get pregnant and the worries for nine months until the baby is safely in my arms, having five children is really something I celebrate every day, even though being a mum is exhausting and has made my tummy very wobbly!

I hear lots of new parents worrying about some of the main aspects of pregnancy and parenting – that is the birth, feeding and sleep. So, I considered what I did with each of my children and how it has affected them as they have grown up.
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A grand day out – what Mummy did on her day off

With having to stop breastfeeding Naomi, I knew I would feel sad about it – the transition to the next stage is always emotional. However, I decided I’d focus on the positives, one of which being able to leave her so that I could have a break. Six months with a baby 24/7, not to mention the nine months of pregnancy and three other children to look after is tough. And as much as I adore my children, having some time for me is essential to my mental well-being.

So I’d asked my in-laws (who absolutely love spending time with their grandchildren) if they’d have Naomi for a few hours. They jumped at the chance and made it very easy for me to leave her. I knew she would get their undivided attention.

I was unsure what to do with my day off. I had about five hours of freedom and I know all too well that this isn’t that long! I wanted to use the time wisely but also not overload myself.
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Stop breastfeeding easily with these 5 essential products 

There’s lots of advice out there for starting breastfeeding but not much about what happens when you want or need to stop.

Last week, under doctor’s orders, I stopped breastfeeding my baby. As it happens, it was the day she turned 6 months old. Having had two children close together and my fourth child feeding until he was 16 months old, as much as I treasure breastfeeding, I was feeling worn out with it.

Despite being on antidepressants and battling anxiety, I was determined to feed my baby until she was 6 months if I could. Each week that went past was a personal achievement. I can honestly say that while she was an absolute dream to feed, and thrived, I didn’t. I felt awful. Perhaps my body is finally saying enough is enough!

So, having given her a few bottles in the day, which thankfully she took well, I was encouraged to keep going. I knew that once I had started the new feeding routine I would want to do the full transition. I also knew what I was in store for… engorgement, discomfort, emotional imbalance (aka moody!). But, being a pro at this by now, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so any readers can get ahead and avoid the inevitable gripes that go with this.

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A (grieving) mother’s little helper – will antidepressants numb the pain?

I’ve been sitting here staring at the packet for half an hour.

Antidepressants.

These little pills, I know, are offering me the chance to numb my mind for a while from the anxiety and depression that’s taken hold of me. I’ve resisted them for so long that it feels strange to finally be here. As I said in this post, I can’t help feel like I’m failing.

I wonder if I’m really depressed enough to take them. After all, I’m generally okay. I’m not walking the streets in my pyjamas. I don’t feel a black cloud above me all the time. I’m still functioning as I always do, albeit with my mood swinging on a pendulum. I can be switched on one day, enough to write posts like this, but the next I can only stare at the screen blankly, my mind a fog.

But is this enough to start these tablets? I’ve spent over two years avoiding using them. I know this is a last resort for me.

I’ve been here before you see.

Do I really want to go here, again?

The answer is no. I don’t want to go here again, but I feel I must. Continue reading “A (grieving) mother’s little helper – will antidepressants numb the pain?”

Breastfeeding and bedsharing … so who’s the needy one now?

I posted a picture of my baby son sleeping on my bed on my Instagram page (pop over and follow me if you like) and also his unmade cot in my first Project 365 weekly update. Sleep’s been on my mind a lot lately.

I’ve always co-slept with my babies, it was easier with breastfeeding and meant I could sleep as much as possible in between. But with the other three, they were always, and quite naturally, ‘off the boob’ by six months and in their own rooms (because by then they were sleeping through).

Except Baby J has decided he’s not doing things the way his siblings did!

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Giving up breastfeeding is hard to do

This feels a bit like a confession… I want to give up breastfeeding.

Baby J is now seven months old. I’m amazed I’ve got this far! After the horrible start, which took me around 16 weeks to comfortably establish feeding, I didn’t want to give up.

I passed the six-month mark and thought I’d wean him off then. I know it’s advised to feed for a year these days, but I just couldn’t see myself doing it that long, what with teeth and the endless night feeds. I fed Boy J up to six months and that was what I had in mind this time round too.

But we’ve now passed seven months and I’m still in two minds.

So, I’ve been thinking about the reasons I want to give up breastfeeding:

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I almost gave up breastfeeding, until I saw my osteopath

It’s World Breastfeeding Week so I thought it a perfect opportunity to share this post about how osteopathy helped me to continue to breastfeed my son.

Fourth time around, breastfeeding would be a cinch, right?

When I found out I was pregnant with Monkey 4, one of the first things I couldn’t wait for was breastfeeding. I just wanted this baby delivered safely in my arms nuzzling into my breast, while I looked down at him in wonder. This isn’t me being totally idealistic, I know breastfeeding isn’t easy. The reason I was so excited was because I’d really enjoyed breastfeeding Monkey 3, six years earlier.

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Breast is best… with cabbage leaves, hot flannels and painkillers!

So, you get through the first trimester of morning sickness and generally feeling rotten, to then head into the second when heartburn and an insatiable appetite kicks in, before reaching the third trimester when swelling and moving make you feel like you’ve been invaded by the body snatchers. Then the big day arrives. You’ve successfully grown a wonderful new human and now is the moment you get to meet him or her.

So push (or pull), however it happens, baby is safely born. Mum flops her head back in sheer relief, the hard part is over and she can now start enjoying her new baby. (Huge generalisation of course, but you get the drift.)

Ah but she thinks the childbirth was the hard part…. until breastfeeding begins.

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Life with a reflux baby

All babies are sick, right? They bring back up a dribble of milk occasionally after a feed, sometimes a bit more. But when your baby is sick a lot, it can make for a difficult life for a while.

Of my four children, both my sons had reflux. I had my daughters first so, to be honest, I can’t remember how sicky they were. But I do recall it getting worse with each child. I had severe reflux myself when I was born, and I’m told it was custard that kept me alive as I couldn’t keep anything thinner down! That was the mid-70s, thankfully I’ve not been given the same advice as my mum was then, even though it seemed to do the trick!

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