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Oh Me, Oh Mãe

I Was Feeling Overwhelmed, But I Felt Better After I Wrote About It (18th September 2020)

Me feeding B
I Was Feeling Overwhelmed, But I Felt Better After I Wrote About It (18th September 2020)
 
#IHaveWantedToWriteAboutThisForAFewDaysButIHaveAlsoNotWantedToGiveMyselfExtraWorkToDo
#IThinkTheWordOfTheWeekIsOverwhelmed
#IHaveBeenWonderingWhyAndIGuessIHaveNeverHadAnAlmost24SevenJobBefore
#AndIAmGettingFedUpWithMyMainContactWithOtherPeopleBesidesBAndTBeingThroughMyPhoneOrComputer
#WeStillDoNotKnowManyPeopleInLiverpoolAndTheOnesWeDoKnowGenerallyLiveFarAway
#AndIWasHopingThatIWouldMeetMoreLocalMumsThroughTheChildrensCentreAndStuff
#ButTheyHaveBeenClosedAndNowANewLocalLockdownLooksImminent
#WeAreTryingToWorkOnBsNaps
#WithFeedingAndChangingHerYouKnowWhatYouAreGoingToGet
#ButWithNapsYouDoNotKnowIfItWillBeTwentyMinutesOrTwoHoursSoYouHaveToMoveFast
#TheFirstNapOfTheDayIsMeantToBeTheEasiestToSucceedWith
#IRiskedShavingMyLegsAndIManagedToDoBothAndIAmWritingThisNow
#IEvenManagedToDoSomeStretchingAndHaveBreakfast
#IHaveFoundMyselfDoingMyStretchingAt4InTheMorningALotLatelyWhichIsNotGood
#IFeelLikeIHaveMadeMyLifeOvercomplicated
#HavingToWriteAnEssayWithEachPhotoThenABlogPost
#ButThePicturesSeemRubbishAtTheMoment
#IAmWritingThisBeforeIHaveEvenDoneAShootAsIFeelPutOffThatTheShootWillBeBad
#IGuessItIsImportantToJustKeepMakingWorkAtTheMoment
#ButItFeelsCrapHavingCrapPhotos
#IGuessPeopleAreNotExpectingMuchFromMeRightNow
#ButIAmExpectingALotFromMyself
#OnceInAWhileIJustFeelDownAboutMyArtPracticeAndWonderWhyIDoItAll
#SoIGuessThisIsOneOfThosePhasesCombinedWithALotOfOtherStuff
#IJustNeedToMakeMyWorkForMyselfAndAsLongAsIGetSomethingFromItThenItIsAllGood
#INeedToMoveFastWhenBIsAsleepToAchieveSomething
#WeAreDueToHaveAFlatInspectionForTheFirstTimeSinceBeforeLockdown
#ItSeemsSoHardToGetTheBedroomCleanAsBIsEitherAsleepInItOrSheIsAwakeAndINeedToLookAfterHer
#TheClothesMountainJustNeverSeemsToGetAnySmaller
#ButIAmGratefulToBeAMumAndILoveWhenBEspeciallyWhenSheSmilesAtMe

(I wrote this post on 18th September.)

#IHaveWantedToWriteAboutThisForAFewDaysButIHaveAlsoNotWantedToGiveMyselfExtraWorkToDo

I need to figure out a way to make these blog posts feel less like hard work. Sometimes I enjoy them, but sometimes I wonder why I am doing this.

#IThinkTheWordOfTheWeekIsOverwhelmed #IHaveBeenWonderingWhyAndIGuessIHaveNeverHadAnAlmost24SevenJobBefore

It is full on and I have been doing it for three months. Tiago does look after her too, but Monday to Friday 7-5ish she is mainly my responsibility, then I need to worry about producing her milk at all times.

We have been struggling with giving her a bottle feed a day as she struggles with the teats, but I think we have fixed it. I decided to get her some slow flow teats and that seems to have done the trick. Sometimes I let her suck my finger (that sounds odd) and I realised how strong she was getting, so with the other teats I think she often is drowning in milk. She had a dream feed last night with the slow teat and she drank most of it.

(5th October – The slow teats definitely did the trick. She has a dream feed with a bottle every night now and she usually feeds quite well.)

#AndIAmGettingFedUpWithMyMainContactWithOtherPeopleBesidesBAndTBeingThroughMyPhoneOrComputer

I feel like I have so many conversations going on all over the place and I am bored of them. I just want to have in person conversations, but it is difficult.

(5th October – Rules have got stricter since. I am trying to have a social media detox of sorts. I’ve deactivated my Facebook, made a long password for my Twitter that I don’t know and logged out, trying to go on Instagram less, and aiming to have more video calls and less WhatsApp chit chat.

I am finding social media difficult at the moment. Some people are living under less strict rules and have something that resembles a ‘normal’ life. The weather was so bad today that we couldn’t even go for a walk.)

#WeStillDoNotKnowManyPeopleInLiverpoolAndTheOnesWeDoKnowGenerallyLiveFarAway

All the ‘new mums’ that I know live on the other side of Liverpool.

I don’t drive, don’t really want to get public transport, and don’t want to rely on Tiago all the time.

(5th October – Well, the rules have changed now and we can no longer meet people in pubs or restaurants, and it is not recommended to meet people outdoors.)

#AndIWasHopingThatIWouldMeetMoreLocalMumsThroughTheChildrensCentreAndStuff #ButTheyHaveBeenClosedAndNowANewLocalLockdownLooksImminent

Sometimes I see women pushing pushchairs on walks and I hope they’ll talk to me, but I’m so awkward now with not having much in person interaction. I usually have my sunglasses on and can’t make eye contact when they’re off.

It’s just a weird time to meet people with social distancing and all. I’m writing this on 18th September and it looks like new rules will be introduced for Liverpool tonight.

(5th October – Yeah they changed. There are no baby classes that are easily accessible for me right now. I’m finding zoom classes awkward and I haven’t attended one ‘live’ in weeks.

I actually just got an email to say that she’s thinking about going back to in-person classes, and they’re out of the way for us. So looks like I’ll be looking into other options and probably having to embrace zoom again.)

#WeAreTryingToWorkOnBsNaps

I say we, but really it’s me as I’m the one looking after her all day.

I said to Tiago earlier that I am jealous of his life as he gets to go out for work and do stuff. He went on a bike ride last night. I want to go on a bike ride.

#WithFeedingAndChangingHerYouKnowWhatYouAreGoingToGet #ButWithNapsYouDoNotKnowIfItWillBeTwentyMinutesOrTwoHoursSoYouHaveToMoveFast

Yesterday all her naps were no longer than thirty minutes. Then I messed up with her last nap of the day as it took so long for her to go to sleep that it then basically became her bedtime. I hadn’t done any of her bedtime routine and we missed out a feeding.

We gave her a dream feed and she didn’t wake up, but she had been asleep for so long that of course she was going to wake up early in the morning. I tried to delay her feed and it worked a bit, but after 6 hours I gave up. It is recommended to not use the dummy as the first way to extend sleep, but I was so tired that I kept giving it to her first.

Last night felt like the latest I had stayed up in a while, but I did not achieve anything as I was so tired and just faffed.

#TheFirstNapOfTheDayIsMeantToBeTheEasiestToSucceedWith

You’re supposed to offer at least one nap in the cot and that one seems easy to do.

#IRiskedShavingMyLegsAndIManagedToDoBothAndIAmWritingThisNow

I was half hoping she would wake up, so I knew that the photo would be of one hairy leg and one shaven leg.

#IEvenManagedToDoSomeStretchingAndHaveBreakfast

I was going to eat breakfast first, but I knew that would be dumb as then I wouldn’t be able to stretch properly.

#IHaveFoundMyselfDoingMyStretchingAt4InTheMorningALotLatelyWhichIsNotGood

Well the last two nights before tonight. I am tired all the time, but I knew that she would be asleep long enough for me to do it.

#IFeelLikeIHaveMadeMyLifeOvercomplicated #HavingToWriteAnEssayWithEachPhotoThenABlogPost

Seriously, whose bright idea was it to write a blog?

Why did I feel like now was a good time to do a coding course? To be fair, there will never be a good time to do a course again – or not until B is in school perhaps?

#ButThePicturesSeemRubbishAtTheMoment #IAmWritingThisBeforeIHaveEvenDoneAShootAsIFeelPutOffThatTheShootWillBeBad #IGuessItIsImportantToJustKeepMakingWorkAtTheMoment #ButItFeelsCrapHavingCrapPhotos

I am guessing she will wake up soon so I won’t have to worry about what picture it’s going to be right now. I don’t know how many more pictures of myself in my underwear in my living room I can deal with.

I will probably try to take a picture with her, so I should set my stuff up ready.

(It felt like the easiest thing to do was to do a shoot whilst I fed her. She moves her hands/arms around a lot whilst feeding now, so I like that I got one with her arm like this as I love arm poses. I think I have also been feeling overwhelmed though as I often feel sore from feeding and so I was dreading feeding her at times.)

#IGuessPeopleAreNotExpectingMuchFromMeRightNow #ButIAmExpectingALotFromMyself

I always expect a lot from myself.

#OnceInAWhileIJustFeelDownAboutMyArtPracticeAndWonderWhyIDoItAll

If you’re an artist/photographer/writer/whatever you know the feeling.

#SoIGuessThisIsOneOfThosePhasesCombinedWithALotOfOtherStuff #IJustNeedToMakeMyWorkForMyselfAndAsLongAsIGetSomethingFromItThenItIsAllGood

I have had these similar phases for years. I guess I am just tired and I’ll snap out of it. Yesterday I had one of those (frequent) realisations that so many people are trying to do what I am trying to do.

I made my YouTube channel originally knowing I would get mean comments, but a mean comment yesterday made me feel really crummy. Usually people write something mean and then delete it as they know they’re being an asshole, but this person still has not deleted it.

It’s also annoying when people write something as if it is not your channel. As if it is a random video on someone else’s channel where the person who it is is not easily identifiable.

I guess you never know what is going on in someone else’s life. Sounds like they’re going through a bad time too if they feel the need to leave horrible comments on random videos.

I love the confidence that people have to write such things. Well I guess it is easy when you have no profile picture and a name that is nothing like your own. I find leaving comments awkward and I usually only write positive ones…

(5th October – I was feeling a lot better, but today I seem to have slipped a bit. Tiago was off work last week, so it was nice to have more support in the day. Now he’s back working again – though only in the other room, but I don’t like bothering him.

I don’t like not knowing when we can see my family again. It was nice to see them when we could and to have a bit of support, but now it’s all been taken away from us again. Obviously we’re not the only people affected by this and some people have less help, but it is frustrating.)

#INeedToMoveFastWhenBIsAsleepToAchieveSomething

I actually need to wake B up now to feed her.

I have been trying to get up at 7am every day to have something that resembles a routine. This morning my alarm went off (the first day that I set one) and I pressed snooze. I thought B would wake up shortly anyways.

Woke up again and it was 7.40am. Okay we’ll try again tomorrow…

I don’t see why I make it such an issue when I know that she usually will have a nap again after an hour. I like to get stuff done in the morning so I can relax a little – at least I have done something today now.

(5th October – I will wake up at 3am and be wide awake, but I always feel AWFUL at 7am. I wanted a nap this morning, but I knew it was a good time to get things done as she usually sleeps alright. I then planned to nap in the afternoon, but I thought I better do the washing up and other things.)

#WeAreDueToHaveAFlatInspectionForTheFirstTimeSinceBeforeLockdown #ItSeemsSoHardToGetTheBedroomCleanAsBIsEitherAsleepInItOrSheIsAwakeAndINeedToLookAfterHer #TheClothesMountainJustNeverSeemsToGetAnySmaller

T does an excellent job of tidying the main room (living room/dining room/kitchen/my ‘studio’) but the other rooms seem to get a bit forgotten. Typically we said we wanted an early morning inspection when I feel like we need the time, but it will be good to not spend the whole day worrying. They have inspected it as a mess before.

They do not know we have a baby. I thought they would see me at an inspection and it would be obvious, but those inspections got cancelled due to the pandemic. Do you have to call to say you’ve had a baby? I don’t think so, but tomorrow they will see anyways.

I am not the world’s tidiest person, but I would actually love someone to have B for a bit so I could tidy the hell out of this flat. I want to organise things properly and get really into nesting mode.

I guess I could do it, but I write blog posts instead. And I actually feel much better after having written this one.

(5th October – We managed to get the flat looking alright and she never even commented about us having a baby. It turns out that one of our fire alarms has not had a battery in it since we moved in, so luckily that is sorted now. I was sure that they had tested it before, but obviously not.)

#ButIAmGratefulToBeAMumAndILoveBEspeciallyWhenSheSmilesAtMe

I do whine too much, but I think a lot of people feel the same as me, so I think it is good to share so that others might not feel so alone.

I am grateful to be a mother though and just having B smile at me makes me feel so so happy, but it is a life shock even if though you signed up for it.

Time to wake B.


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Categories
Motherhood Oh Me, Oh Mãe

Breastfeeding, Bottle Feeding, Whatever Feeding (26th June 2020)

Breastfeeding, Bottle Feeding, Whatever Feeding (26th June 2020)
 
#ItHasBeenOver2WeeksSinceIGaveBirthToBAt37WeeksAnd5Days
#ILearnedHowToExpressAndBottleFeedInTheHospital
#ThoughInHospitalIUsedAMachineThatINicknamedTheBeast
#ItWasMassiveAndYouCouldExpressColostrumWithIt
#AnywaysILikeExpressingAsItMakesMeFeelLessStressed
#WithBreastfeedingSometimesItJustGoesOnAndOnAndMyNipplesGetSuperSore
#ThoughIAmTryingToBreastfeedHerABitMoreAsSometimesIForgetThatIDoNotHaveToRunToTheFridge
#OrWeCanStartThatWayWhilstTiagoRunsToTheFridge
#OrICanBreastfeedUntilIGetFedUpOrWantToSleepThenTiagoCanContinueWithTheBottle
#ThisMorningSheWokeUpAt6SoIDecidedToBreastfeedHerInTheOtherRoomToLetTiagoSleep
#WeAlsoHaveAChangingStationSetUpInTheBedroomAndOneInTheLivingRoomToSaveHassle
#AnywaysIHaveABreastPumpThatAFriendGaveMe
#IWasNotSureIfIWouldExpressButAfterUsingOneInHospitalIWasGladToComeHomeToIt
#IfIHadNotBeenInHospitalForSoLongThenIWouldNotHaveBeenConfidentWithBottlefeeding
#WeHaveTeatsThatAreForBreastfeedingBabies
#SoInsteadOfTheMilkJustGushingFromTheBottleTheyHaveToWorkForItLikeTheyDoFromTheBoob
#IAmNotSureWhetherToSayBoobOrBreastButBoobSoundsMoreCasualAndILikeCasual
#ThenOnTheOtherBoobIHaveASiliconeManualBreastPump
#ItSuctionsOnAndOnceMilkStartsFlowingFromTheOneBoobItWillAlsoStartFromTheOther
#IAlsoUseItWhenBreastfeedingAsItDoesTheSameJob
#ItIsJustABitDifficultToPutItOnIfSheIsLyingAcrossMeSoIUsuallyRugbyBallHoldHer
#BreastfeedingCanBeALotMessierIfIDoNotUseItAsOftenSheWillBeSoakedFromALeakyBoobEvenIfIHavePadsIn
#ThePumpAttachesToClothesSoItIsGreatForAttachingToMyPantsAsItIsSoHotAtTheMoment
#OfCourseTheBatteryRanOutForTheFirstTimeInTheMiddleOfTheShootSoIHadToPlugItIn
#PeopleCallingToCheckOnUsAreALittleJudgementalAboutHowIWantToFeedHer
#AfterMyHospitalExperienceICanSeeWhyPeopleGiveUpWithBreastfeedingOrNeverStart
#IAmLuckyAsICameHomeConfidentWithBreastfeedingExpressingAndBottleFeedingButSomePeopleDoNotGetAllThatHelp
#AndWithThePandemicThereIsLessFaceToFaceHelp
#AlsoWhenYourMilkIsFlowingYouCanBleedSoIBoughtSomeReusablePadsWhichWillComeInHandyWhenIHaveToFaceMyPeriodAgain
#AWeirdSideEffectOfBreastfeedingAndHavingABabyIsThatIAmMoreAmbidextrousNowAsMyLeftHandAndArmAreGettingStronger

In my previous post there is a photo of my crying whilst pumping/expressing. I think I already had this post’s picture in mind before taking that one, but they are quite different looking pictures so I don’t think it matters that they are next to each other chronologically. This one is almost like a mugshot and has little emotion, though I feel more exposed in it.

Well I guess I am showing more of my body so it makes sense. I’ve just seen an Instagram message from a guy asking if he can send me a picture of his semen, so posting pictures like this does worry me. Yes, I’m showing parts of my boobs and talking about them a lot, but it’s not in a sexual way. I know that people don’t need an excuse to send gross messages, but seriously the most recent posts in my feed are me crying, me feeling shit, me singing to my baby, my husband with my baby, me dancing with my baby and my post-partum belly. Which part of that screams ‘please ask me if I want to see photos of your semen’?

(He’s since deleted the messages, but I screenshotted them. For anyone who might be unsure – before you press send, would you send it to your Grandma? If not then don’t send it to me. Thanks.)

Anyways, everyday we seem to have a different feeding journey. At the time of this photo B was 2 weeks old, and now writing this she is 8 weeks. I really need to write shorter posts so I can catch up and actually post things in real time…

This is a post about our feeding journey so far – starting with the hospital and then how it’s been at home. I hope that it will be helpful for someone who plans to breastfeed or is interested in comparing experiences. I’m sure I’ve missed out loads of things too, but feel free to get in touch with me about anything.

Also feel like I should state that I’m not an expert and I just wanted to share my/our feeding story. A list of helplines and websites for breastfeeding support is available on the NHS website.

This post unintentionally coincided with National Breastfeeding Week – Happy NBW!

(It feels weird saying Happy NBW as you’ll soon see that my journey hasn’t been happy at times…)


Hospital/Early Days

I was only planning on breastfeeding, but B had problems latching after she was born and we were originally kept in the hospital longer because of that. Due to Covid apparently they are slower to discharge people who are having problems breastfeeding as there is less face to face support available. This makes sense as I had so many different women touching my boobs (one at a time, don’t get too excited). A video call isn’t the same as someone physically trying to help.

I was in hospital for four nights and after my milk came in on day three I started to express using the hospital pump. No one told me you could pump colostrum (first milk) with them, which I later flagged up as that could have saved me some stress. I didn’t think you could as I’d read that as you produce so little colostrum, a lot of it just gets stuck in the parts rather than making it into the bottle. I guess this is only with certain pumps and now I know that this isn’t the case with hospital grade pumps (or so I believe).

With colostrum you can get syringes (I think I called the hospital or Liverpool BAMBIS – babies and mums breastfeeding information and support – for them) to start trying to collect it from 37 weeks. Some people have more success than others. I tried, but didn’t feel very confident, and then I ended up having a baby when I was 37 weeks and 5 days… I did try again to collect some when I was sat in the first maternity ward waiting for my surges to get stronger as a friend said she did that, but my mind was elsewhere.

(After birth) In hospital I found the syringes fiddly, but someone would help me collect the colostrum. I say someone as I’m not sure what people’s job titles were, though I guess most were midwives and there were a lot of student midwives. I was also visited by women who work/volunteer for BAMBIS. Everyone was so helpful that I thought about training as a breastfeeding specialist to help other women.

I found that one boob was more productive than the other, though she favoured the one that was less so. The productive one would collect a syringe full (1ml) in no time at all, whereas the other one would get 0.3ml with some struggle. You then empty the syringe close to the inside (obviously) of the cheek if I remember correctly.

After a day (at least) I remembered that a friend mentioned expressing into cups (special cups, not kitchen cups) so I asked for one of those. This was so much easier and again I flagged this up, and they said it should have been mentioned at the first check-in. Only the midwife was allowed to give B the colostrum with the cup (I would have been too scared to do it anyways). At first I didn’t realise that she could be fed with the cup, so I was sucking up the colostrum with the syringes.

Then once my milk came in I used ‘The Beast’.

The Beast
(I gave it this nickname, so expect blank looks if you ask for one)

I was still trying to breastfeed, but it was difficult as B’s latch wasn’t great, so I found it easier just to express and bottle feed her. I think by this point my confidence had also gone, but I knew other new mums had been having issues with breast feeding and it wasn’t just me.

Photo evidence that I was trying to breastfeed in hospital.
I couldn’t remember but it makes sense as I posted a picture of that dress with all its milk and colostrum stains…
I also knew the benefits of skin to skin contact with her, so I did try this with breastfeeding but also while just relaxing with her in general on the bed.

I guess I just expected for it to be easy as it’s such a natural thing.

I was a bit scared to bottle feed and wind her in the beginning, so I made them show me a few times before I did. They seemed so rough with the bottle teat as I thought it was solid, but actually it was quite soft and flexible. Soon I got confident though and I had a good routine going on.

I was told to feed her every 3 hours, so I’d get a bottle of my milk out of the fridge half an hour-ish before to let it warm up to room temperature, wake her up (if she hadn’t woke up by herself), feed her and then pump and put the new milk in the fridge. At first I thought I wasn’t allowed in the room with the fridge, but once I knew I was then it was nice that my world was extended beyond the ward I was in. I took great delight (loser) in going there to get all my supplies – new bottles, teats – and to wash the pump parts, and to fill up my water bottle.

(I wasn’t allowed visitors due to Covid restrictions so being able to walk into a room opposite the one I was in seemed quite exciting. Later on I learned I was allowed to go outside to see people, but I wouldn’t have been able to take B so it would have been stressful. Ward visitors would have been useful for holding B and letting me sleep a little…)


Home

Like I said earlier I had only planned to breastfeed. A friend had given us an electric pump (thanks Rebecca) and we’d bought some bottles and a teat just in case, but I didn’t think I would use it all anytime soon. However as I’d pumped and bottle fed in the hospital I felt confident doing that (and the pump was super easy to figure out).

I did keep trying to breastfeed (and now I’m not trying, I’m succeeding), but I’d lost my confidence and when I did try I got sore nipples quickly because of her latch, so I was mainly expressing and we were bottle feeding.

The teats at the hospital were just ‘normal’, but the one we bought (and similar ones by other brands) is meant for babies that are being breastfed too.

Milk will easily come out of the ‘normal one’ milk, but with the breastfeeding mimicking ones the baby has to make a vacuum with their mouth in order to get some.

It took us a couple of days to get confident with the new teat, but once we figured it out we were fine.

In the hospital they’d mentioned the ‘paced feeding’ approach with the regular teats to mimic breast-feeding. I’m not an expert on all of this, but to me the paced feeding way can be likened to eating with chopsticks – eating slower so you give your stomach time to realise that you’re getting full. You’re basically letting them drink for a bit (with the bottle held flat rather than tilted up), then stopping the flow of milk by taking the bottle away completely or tilting the bottle down to with the teat still in their mouth.

(B hadn’t really been sick from feeding until one day last week, when I had been breastfeeding her a lot as I was a bit anxious about going out and her maybe getting hungry.)

Anyways, like in the picture I usually express by pumping on one side then using a manual suction pump on the other side. I read a breastfeeding support group comment the other day that said you shouldn’t use the suction element of the manual pump until 6 weeks, but I’ve been doing it from the beginning? And then I swap and pump on the other side. A double pump is probably easier/quicker (and I read that it can produce more milk), but the way I do it also works.

When you pump or feed with one boob the other one will leak (like in the picture below), so the manual suction pump will collect the excess. It’s also a good way to transition from breastfeeding on one feed to bottle feeding with the next, or a future feed if you don’t collect enough from one feed and collect some from multiple feeds.

I have quite a few pix of B breastfeeding with her hand under her chin. Excuse the leaky nipple, not sure why I wasn’t wearing breast pads (I have some bamboo reusable ones).
Love how I was always wearing an eye mask, but hardly slept in those early weeks as I felt unable to.
In hospital they’d tell me to get as comfortable as possible with pillows, but I always found myself unable to get it right. Once I got home I quickly gave up with that and just used my arm to support her and would feed her standing up sometimes. This is probably a big reason why I’ve become more ambidextrous, but I think texting/typing with my non-dominant hand also has a big part to play in it too.

I would say that I got kind of stuck with expressing rather than breastfeeding. Since she doesn’t do much at this age, feeding her is a good way to spend time with her and bond. Tiago’s been very supportive and I think perhaps his keenness to feed her also made me want to pump more (I’m not blaming him). When he feeds her it means I know I have a little time to do something, like on the 5th when we got home from dinner, and she needed feeding so T fed her whilst I did a photo shoot and then pumped after.

I was giving myself so much extra work by having to sterilise everything each time though, and in the night Tiago would be feeding her while I was pumping. In hindsight all being awake at 3am isn’t great, especially when Tiago has work in the morning. I’d also then have to sterilise stuff and often I’d wait for the machine to be done. I’d take the lid off, then wait until it had cooled down enough for me to take things out (I burn myself easily), so I wouldn’t get back to sleep for a long time.

I thought I should try to breastfeed everyday at least once, though sometimes it just didn’t happen and I would go 2 days without trying. It has gotten easier now that she is older and her mouth is a bit bigger. I don’t always have to guide her to the nipple and help her get a good latch; she can do it herself now.

So eventually I started to breastfeed during the night. Sometimes my nipples would be sore, especially as I wasn’t use to breastfeeding so much so I’ve started to use my nipple shields lately when it feels necessary.

I’ve now moved to mainly breastfeeding during the day/early night as well, but T will often offer to feed her after work/in the early evenings, especially if he feels like he hasn’t seen her much.

A friend also told us (and the NHS backs it up) that breast milk fed babies need to take a vitamin D supplement. There are many different brands out there and we have one that seems easier to put in a bottle of milk, though you can put it on your nipple. So this is another reason why we usually give her at least one bottle of expressed milk a day. Maybe when it runs out I’ll try a different one…

Everyday is a different feeding day though. Today (7th) it’s so hot that we’ve just bottle fed her. I breastfed her at midnight and 4am, then she woke up at 7 and since Tiago was awake I asked him to feed her with milk that was in the fridge. I didn’t sleep much as I was aware that I needed to pump, which I eventually did at 9am. Then because it was such a hot day it seemed better to just keep bottle feeding her. I stop and start so much with these posts that now it’s 9pm and I’m pumping and I feel really sweaty.

It’s now 10pm and it’s super hot, but I think I’ll try to breastfeed her in the night just to make my life easier by not having to sterilise a lot. She also hasn’t slept much today, so I’m hoping she’ll sleep for a long time tonight but we’ll see. (8am update- She went to sleep after midnight in the end, but slept until 6am when I breastfed her. I changed her nappy, fed her a little more and she’s asleep again.)

I used to pump every 3 hours during the day, but now I know that my milk production is good and there is quite a bit in the fridge I have been doing it every 4. After she slept for 7 hours in a row last week I also know that I can not pump or feed for that long and it’s also fine. Around 3 hours though I will start to feel a little pain for about 30 seconds if I’m awake which is quite odd.

After coming home from hospital I’d get calls from the breastfeeding support service and they told me that I should try to breastfeed first before expressing. I know on the calls that they were trying to help, but I felt like I had to justify myself to them a lot. Generally the advice you get can be quite different depending on who you talk to, and sometimes you learn things after you’ve already done them – someone said that babies shouldn’t have dummies before 6 weeks until breastfeeding is established but a midwife gave B a dummy in the hospital (with my permission) when she was having photo therapy as she just wouldn’t settle in the machine. By the time I heard about the 6 week thing I’d already been giving her a dummy for at least 2 weeks I think.

In the early days I was warned a lot about over producing – pumping can make this happen apparently. My boobs would get quite engorged and I’d feel lumps, but massaging them in the shower would really help. Just be careful when you get out as you might find that you’re leaking… (If you can’t shower then dunking them in water is meant to be good.)

I’ve said before that if we feel guilty about things (that are legal and reasonable), it’s only because people are judgemental about something that has nothing to do with them. Whether you breastfeed, bottle feed, formula feed, breast milk feed or a mix of feed, people will have things to say about it. As long as your baby is getting fed in some form and is putting on weight then that’s great.

You just do what’s best for you and your family.


Thanks for reading! If you’re enjoying reading my blog (and/or the work I make) please consider supporting me by ‘buying me a coffee’ on Ko-fi – thanks!