Baby or Not Baby… that is the question!

Famous last words… but I think I’ve actually breast fed my darling daughter for the last time. Note, I say daughter. She’s no longer my baby  – she’s a little girl!

We’ve been trying tofeeding wean for a few weeks now, in preparation for a week away from Mummy and Daddy while they have a well deserved few days off and Mila gets to hang with her grandparents. I thought it would never end, and till yesterday contemplated still breast feeding and hoping for the best when we left her (she is very comfortable with taking a bottle, but does love her boobie!)

We made it…. one week shy of 11 months… Here was our journey….. Bit of a rocky start in hospital with the latch, but we came home and it all came good. From then it was feeding, feeding, feeding…. constantly feeding…..At home, in front of the TV, out and about, in the car, restaurant, pub, spumpinghopping centre…wherever she wanted really!

Well, after 4 months of exclusive breast feeding there were a few months of trying an extra top up of formula, and then a solids and breast milk combo from 6 months on.

Couldn’t have done it without my trusty pump – my friend since day 1, pumping 6 times a day (at one stage), then 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1, washing and sterilising, pumping at my desk at work, pumping in the car, pumping in the dark before everyone was up, power pumping for an hour session to boost supply, pumping in the middle of the night…. The freezer bags, filling, labelling, one shfreezerelf of the freezer full, no…. more, piles of bags, all in rows by date!

The potions I took – Brewers yeast cookies, fenugreek tablets, nursing tea, almonds, coconut water! And the excuses – I am breastfeeding, I need that ice cream! And the feed safe app to make sure when I had a drink I was right to feed! Finish feeding, quick have a wine. Not more – just one! Longing for the day of 2 consecutive glasses in a row! 

And the funny stuff….leaking, a little bite – wow that’s her first tooth! spraying milk in her face, distraction, taking my nipple with her!

I got a lot of phone time in… Black Beauty on audio book in the first few weeks, lots of Candy Crush, Facebook, chats, on-line shopping, midnight emails, Criminal Case, Sudoko, phone calls, photo compilation, non stop google!

Most importantly, Mila has been happy, healthy, well fed and we’ve had lots of cuddles, snuggles, settling and lovely mother and daughter calm moments.

I’m proud of myself and Mila. She’s ready and I am too – now crack open the wine!!!

Our baby is so happy, when she sees us, to show even more happiness, she bursts into giggles. The joy of hearing my happy baby giggle when I pick her up from day care, or when she is playing with her Daddy, it is unexplainable. There are times when the 3 of us are all laughing together – such precious times.  

  
   It took a while for our baby to come along but when she did, little Mila really decided to cut us a break and be just a beautiful, easy going baby. Parenthood is hard – no doubt about that! There is endless housework to be done and that’s after the breastfeeding, pumping, pureeing, encouraging food to be picked up (and inevitably thrown on the floor!), and putting to sleep. All the tough times melt away though when hearing that we are raising a good sleeping (mostly), good eating (mostly), chatterbox and giggly girl who fills not only our lives with joy, but the lives of our family and friends, and her daycare carers who love her cheekiness. 

We are one lucky family! 

I hadn’t really thought about what being a working Mum meant. I had an image of getting myself ready like normal and popping a onesie on my child, and waltzing calmly out the door. It is still pretty easy leaving the house. There aren’t any tantrums about what outfit to wear or breakfast to eat so I am thankful for that but who knew it took over an hour and a half for Mummy with her four month old to get ready.

My morning routine consists of 5.30 expressing, wash up and sterilise the pump and get all the kit ready to go (we can’t do this the night before because we use a lot in the morning!), jump in the shower, wake up Mila (yes, I know! Heartbreaking to wake up a sleeping baby!), feed Mila and get her dressed. Then I run around the house packing everything up to take, including the right amount of expressed and frozen breast milk. Then at around 7.15am off we go…. That is almost 2 hours since my alarm went off and I used to be up and out of the house in 25 mins!

Pumping during the day is another fun task. No sooner have I done one pumping session, another one seems to come around. When I was exclusively breast feeding I used to think that it would all get much better when I started pumping. Now I am the other way around – yearning for the convenience of just taking out my boob! Now, what seemed a better proposition than the sitting back and relaxing with my baby has turned into assemble, find an appropriate location (I am lucky I have great colleagues as I normally just pump at my desk!), pump – whilst answering emails, decant, run up to the fridge, wash, sterilise (sometimes), put out on the drying rack! Repeat multiple times a day!

When finally it comes to the end of the day, I toss everything back in my huge back pack (I have been compared to Reese Witherspoon out of Wild with size of my pack!) and run to the station to avoid being late! Anything I may forget, I need at home and so I have been known to have to make a night trip into the office to pick up various pieces of abandoned pump!!!

Then, breathe, calmly walk into daycare with a big smile on my face as I am about to get an hour or so of daughter time! And it is so worth every minute of the day pumping and washing and sterilising and rushing when I see her darling smiling face!

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This time last year I was preparing for surgery. After a course of injections the IVF doctors went in to retrieve 8 eggs from my ovaries. By the time it came to the implantation, there was only Mila!

Mila thrived in her Mummy’s belly for another 39 weeks or so after that and arrived 13 weeks ago as a pretty little girl. It is crazy to think that within 13 short weeks she has her own personality, habits and preferences (even though they might change every day or so!) In my 13 weeks of being a parent, I have realised that babies are who they are already. It is nature not nurture that is going on here. How they sleep, play and feed is not anything to do with when you got them into a bedtime routine, what kind of bed they are in and in what room, their own or yours, when you started tummy time. It is really all them!

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We are so lucky. We figured out her routine and worked ourselves into it. We’ve both had great sleep most nights with me feeding her before she goes to bed and Cam giving her a bottle of expressed milk before he sleeps allowing me to go to bed a little earlier, but it is Mila who makes the choice (or just knows how) to have long sleeps at night and not so much during the day, it is her who eats enough to see her through to the next feed, who closes her eyes after the feed and just goes back to sleep! Nothing to do with our parenting!

So, every night I keep my fingers crossed that we have her everything she needs to sleep a long time and we remark at how lucky we are that it was Mila that came along!

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Mila has been an absolute miracle gift and we are so lucky. What more could we want for Christmas! Well, her arrival has really brought the generosity of our friends and family out and she was the most spoilt person. She monopolised the Christmas tree gifts and had 2 stockings and a Santa sack!

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Truly what a joy she is: sociable, chatty, smiley, happy and she makes other people smile. I think she is going to be an absolute charmer. Having her in our lives has been the best Christmas present ever.

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Wow. Mother to a newborn life. It isn’t entirely different to what I expected. The main surprising thing is how quickly the days go whilst in essence sitting around doing not much (except nurture new life!)

I wake up and feed the baby, try to get a shower, express milk, feed again perhaps, burp her, try to put her to sleep long enough for me to have some breakfast and before I know it 2 hours has gone by. Then as she probably isn’t sleeping I embark on getting ready to go out to the day’s activities to an aria of screaming. We go to mothers group, or walk, or visit friends, or run errands, but all in the hope that at some point she will fall asleep. Sometimes she does but more often than not she dozes. She is generally pretty good until that is she senses we are almost home. That is when her vocal chords get a real exercise. By that time it is typically afternoon. We have a few hours of continual feed, cuddle, do some kind of activity, cry and then finally Daddy is home to distract her and run the bath. Bath time is a reprieve from the relentless complaining as she relaxes and chills. However, torture time comes next in the form of drying and dressing! Finally peace again as she has her last meal of the day and hopefully (on a good night) goes to sleep restfully in her cot!

It is quite strange that it all goes so quickly yet nothing gets accomplished (apart from the happy? life of another little person)

This makes it all worth it though

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I think the first hurdle as a Mum, apart from never being able to sleep after the birthing marathon, is learning to feed. It seems like it should be so natural. We were made to feed our babies and women have been doing so for thousands of years! However, why then is it so challenging. Mila at first didn’t latch on to my left breast – only the right. For whatever reason, she just didn’t fancy it. I started using the pump to draw the nipple out and also get some liquid gold – colostorum to feed from a cup.

Then suddenly when my milk came in the latching problem was because my boobs were too massive – full of milk. I had to pump a bit out to fit enough
boob in her little mouth.

Now she guzzles and guzzles like a champion milk monster but only after we play the suck the hand not boob game.

What will come next? Who knows! The only constant is the experiences change every day and we never know what tomorrow will bring!

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Milk drunk Mila!

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