29 May 2012

My breastfeeding scars

Is it only me or are you getting sick and tired of reading articles about breastfeeding in some form, which then turns into a debate on "breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding"?

Breastfeeding "Cherub" in hospital, one of the moments I enjoyed.
It upsets and annoys me when people, not just Mums, judge other people because they aren't breastfeeding or because they had to give their child formula, or as one person quoted "the artificial stuff companies are trying to push".

People should not be judged on whether they breastfeed or bottle-feed their babies, as long as their baby is healthy, being fed, and are being brought up in a safe environment with parent/s doing everything possible to make sure they have a healthy & happy child is whats important.

Don't get me wrong I am not against breastfeeding, if you can do it, that's great. It's a lovely bonding experience for you and your bub, and your bub is getting all the antibodies and nutrients from you.

I guess I'm a little sensitive on this topic because I didn't have the greatest experience with it. Cherub is now 8 months old, and is on formula and solids. She was breastfed until she was 8 weeks, I would have loved to been able to have breastfed her longer.

Most of my memories are of my girls not being able to suckle or latch on properly or get any milk out of me, which made them cry uncontrollably and resulting in me comp feeding them with a full bottle of formula after spending 30 minutes to an hour trying to breastfeed. Only when they had drank the bottle, were they happy and content.

Popette was born at 29 weeks + 3 days gestation, due to me developing severe pre-eclampsia and Hellp syndrome. As a result of me being sick and having polycystic ovarian syndrome my milk didn’t come through properly, and I was put on motilium for 3 months with Popette being comp fed with breastmilk and formula.

Over the first 4 months I tried so hard to breastfeed her, but had a lot of obstacles in my way. I had flat nipples so tried a nipple shield, but Popette had a hard time sucking because she was still so small and had issues latching on as she was also tongue-tied. I desperately wanted to breastfeed Popette as I thought it would be the best thing for her, especially since she was born premmie and missed out on the important stages of growing during the last trimester. So I expressed every 3 hours by her bedside in the NICU, as well as hired a electric breast pump from the chemist so I could express every 3 hours at home...which is the hardest thing when you don't have your sweet little baby lying next to you. I had gotten help from a lactation nurse and the nurses within the NICU, but still struggled with breastfeeding my baby.

After months of struggling to breastfeed, and a depleting milk supply, I finally decided that I would stop and put Popette on formula full-time. It wasn't an easy decision to make, it upset me that I couldn't give Popette the nutrients she needed and I felt a failure that I couldn't breastfeed her.

I had a very similar experience with Cherub, who was a healthy, full-termer born at 38 weeks.

While I was in hospital my milk never properly "let down" so I never got to experience my breasts becoming hard and painful because they were so full of milk. So when Cherub was 3 days old I was placed on motilium (again) for approximately two months to try and increase my milk supply, it worked for a little while, but once I was weaned off the medication my milk dried up again. It was very upsetting as I wanted it to be a different experience with Cherub.

It upsets me when people suggest it's the mother's fault for not being properly informed, or for not getting advice from the ABA, ECN, Midwife or Lactation consultant etc.

With Cherub I had all the information, but not good support. When I was in hospital with Cherub (which was a very new experience for me) most of the time I had uncaring, unsupportive, rude nurses and midwives, which made it an upsetting time, instead of the joyous, exciting time it should have been. There was one lovely nurse who helped me a couple times when I buzzed. But the others were too busy helping other mums. What annoyed me is that they "assumed" that I should know how to breastfeed because I already had a child. Boy, where they wrong!

Whenever I asked for help, they would only pop in for a minute to tell me the baby was correctly attached and then would leave to help someone else. I had a hard time trying to breastfeed, and on day 2 had cracked nipples because of incorrect attachment causing me pain. After struggling to breastfeed Cherub I gave her a bottle of formula which was frowned upon by the nurses.

When it was time for me to leave I was so upset and miserable. I left the hospital feeling helpless and unable to cope with a new baby, not to mention a toddler who was having issues with Mummy being away from her for so long.

I think healthcare professionals need to be more supportive to mothers and their babies, and be there for them if they decide they want to breastfeed or give their child formula. Sometimes you don't have a choice but to put your baby on to formula.

My girls are now 3.5 years old and 8 months and are strong, healthy, happy girls. I don't think they get sicker any more than children who have been breastfed, this has been proven by many of my daughter's friends who are sick a lot and were breastfed up until 1 to 2 years of age.

I'm so grateful (this should have been my grateful post!) that there is and was formula to feed my two girls. I don't know what would have happened if the NICU didn't have formula to give Popette when I was unable to express enough breastmilk. There was times when I could only express 10-30ml, not enough when your baby is up to 70ml or 120ml - 4 hourly feeds. I remember my husband dropping off the precious breastmilk I tried so hard to express before heading off to work, and at times it was too late as they had already fed my daughter formula.

This has been a very hard topic for me to write about. It still gets me upset to this day, even though its been a long time since I breastfed both my girls.

24 May 2012

Week 21: Time

Isn't it nice when you have time on your side?

I don't necessarily mean "me time", just time in general. Like when you need to get something that you've been meaning to do done and never seem to find the time. I'm not talking about housework or chores like mopping the floors, I mean stuff that you keep putting on the backburner and never getting around to finishing or doing.

For instance, for me, it's finding the time to get a whole lot of photos printed and then put them away in photo albums. When Popette was born I bought a baby album which I still haven't finished adding photos too. I'd like to put together one for Cherub also, but still haven't found an album for her yet.

Plus I've got quite a few unfinished craft and art projects that I've started, that I'd also like the time to complete.

Today Popette is at daycare, so I'm at home with Cherub. I was hoping to take Cherub down the road and get a few things done...one of which is to get said photos printed. Now that it's raining, I'm thinking of staying put and leaving it for another day...but then again...I don't always have the time to do it. So this week I am grateful for time.

20 May 2012

Week 20: Family get togethers

I was about 7 when this photo was taken,
it was of my family and relatives at our house.

Today we all got together for a BBQ lunch to celebrate Dad turning 85. It was nice sitting on the deck enjoying our lunch and chatting. The little cousins had a ball playing with balloons and party blowers, and a few of them kicked the soccer ball around the backyard.

There's 14 of us in total, including my husband, myself and our two girls, my parents, my two brothers and their families. We don't get to see each other that often, but when we do, we have a lovely time catching up on what's been happening, and sit back and watch our children play together.

The kids range from 10, to 6, 5, 3.8, 3.5, to my youngest "Cherub" who is nearly 8 months old. They all get along great, and have lots of fun together.

Unfortunately my eldest brother is moving his family to Brisbane next month, so getting together won't happen all that often. What's sad is that my girls won't get to see or know their cousins. Unlike when I was growing up, I used to see my cousins regularly for birthdays, Christmas lunch, or a BBQ.

My second eldest brother is also looking at selling his business and home, and moving his family to the Central Coast. It's not quite as far as Brisbane, so hopefully we'll still be able to catch-up over long weekends or during holidays, but its still a shame that they are also moving.

While we aren't the closest of families or see each other that regularly, maybe every 3-4 months, it's always nice to have your family close in case you ever need them or want to pop in and say "Hi" or use their bathroom!!  (A couple months ago we were leaving my cousins 50th, when "Popette" vomitted in her carseat. We were so grateful that my brother lived nearby and were able to call in and give "Popette" a quick bath and the carseat a quick clean up before driving home.)

So this week I am grateful for family get togethers I have had, and look forward to having in the future.

What are you grateful for?

15 May 2012

Motherly advice unwanted


Source: http://www.sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms.com/
I have an older cousin, she's 50, single and has no children, but loves to give me advice about my children. Lately I've been getting a weekly phone call from her, as she's been concerned about me. For those of you who don't know, for the past 12 or so weeks, my daughter has been sick (for a better word) with a constant runny nose and night-time cough (which lasted for 4 or so weeks). The doctors haven't been able to cure it or tell me what the problem really is (I've had them tell me it could be Asthma, Allergies, Whooping cough (which it wasn't), pnuemonia, post-nasal drip etc) so we have been spending a lot of time at home, and not really catching up with anybody as I haven't been sure whether its contagious or not. That with a 7 month old teething bubba and housework that never seems to go away has been taking its toll on me.

My cousin usually rings late (around 8pm or after) because she likes to ring after she's had dinner and when she settles down to unwind. I find it too late as we are trying to get our eldest in bed and in the likely chance she's in bed early, my Hubby and I are trying to unwind ourselves, which means no telephone conversations....just us, maybe a DVD and some wine & chocolate or watching the latest shows we've recorded on TV.

During our last phone conversation we were talking about time to myself, and that I hadn't had much of it lately. She then started telling me that I should explain to my nearly 3.5 year old that Mummy needs time to herself each day (which she should understand), and to not disturb Mummy for
a whole hour. (This is coming from someone who has never looked after my daughter or has kids of her own, and doesn't get interrupted every 5 minute's with "Mum, I'm hungry", "Mum, I want something to eat", "Mum, blah blah blah"

While I loved the thought of it, I nearly laughed out loud!

Don't get me wrong, I love my cousin, she is lovely. It's nice that she's concerned enough to ring and check up on me each week...it's actually very sweet of her. Especially, since she has enough worries of her own with caring after two elderly parents.
But doesn't it make you laugh when someone who doesn't have kids loves to give out advice.

Do you ever get family, relatives or single friends who love to give you advice about bringing up your own kids, when they haven't had kids of their own or no what it is like to be a parent?

13 May 2012

Mother's Day

What a spoilt Mummy I am. This morning I had cuddles in bed with my two girls, where I received a lovely card and charm for my Pandora bracelet. Yesterday I received a box of beautiful flowers from my Hubby.

Me and my girls

And on Thursday I received a decorated tile with "Popette's" handprint and a little poem on it, which "Popette" made me at daycare. :)

We are going out for lunch today possibly somewhere up the mountains, then having afternoon tea with Nanna & Poppy.

What are your plans today?

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mummies and Nanna's :)

12 May 2012

Week 19: Flowers

Today I was bought a lovely box of flowers from my Hubby for Mother's Day tomorrow, and made me think of how flowers can invoke memories of places we may have visited, loved
ones who are no longer with us, or special occassions.

Whenever I see Cornflowers or Carnations, it makes me think of my late grandparents who loved these flowers.

Anytime I see Carnations, Chrysanthemum's, Sweet peas, and Orchids - it reminds me of my Dad's garden and green house out the back of my childhood home where he grew vegetables and flowers.

When I was growing up my parents and grandparents would wear a Chrysanthemum in their coat lapel on Mother's day.

Whenever I see Kangaroo Paws it reminds me of a trip I went on with my parents when I was fourteen to Western Australia.

My parents had planned the trip as a special "retirement gift" for Dad. We went on the Indian Pacific, which I thought was "cool" as I had my own room and got woken up each morning before sunrise with a cup of tea, which I would then drink while watching the sunrise over the Nullarbor

The thing my parents loved most about the trip, was the Western Australian Wildflowers coach tours we had gone on. They took a lot of photographs of flowers, which they later converted into slides.

For my Dad's recent birthday I created a photo book of some photographs taken on this holiday, including many of the flowers my parents loved seeing.

Therefore, I am grateful for flowers and all the memories they bring, new and old.

03 May 2012

Week 18: Good Health

Its hard to be grateful this week as I'm fighting a cold, as well as looking after my two girls who are suffering from runny noses and feeling miserable for the past few days. Hubby worked from home yesterday and looked after the 3 of us, but today I am on my own.

Thankfully the cold medication I'm taking has kicked in, but it's hard when you watch your little ones suffer, and know there's not a lot you can do for them.

"Popette" has been sick on & off for the past 7 weeks or so, and has a constant runny nose. The last time we saw our Doctor she thought it was allergies, this was after she had "Popette" tested for whooping cough & asthma...that was 3 weeks ago.

"Popette's" nose has been running clear for all that time, her nighttime coughing had stopped after 4 weeks, and she wasn't coughing or sneezing during the day, so we just thought it was either allergies, sinus or hayfever. But then Monday afternoon after I picked her up from daycare, I noticed that her nose was running a green mucous, and she started coughing again.

Poor little "Cherub" has also caught the cold, and hasn't been breathing too well when feeding or in her cot, so we have both vaporisers on at night to help them breathe.

I long for a day when we are all well, and I'm not worried about "Popette" picking up a cold or runny nose from "so and so", or daycare or wherever!

Along with days that are free of my toddler being whingey and clingy, and having tantrums because she is sick and tired, and doesn't understand that she needs to rest to get better.

I am grateful for days where we are in good health, and when "Popette" is having fun laughing, and being playful with the rest of us and enjoying herself.