It’s Time To Give Up Breastfeeding

When I had my first son, I was determined to breastfeed exclusively. And I did… For the first three months. I decided before he was born that breastfeeding would be easy. And it was.

Until it wasn’t.

He latched right away and fed well from day one. I had no pain, no cracked nipples, no mastitis, everything was great. I pumped after each feed and tried to build up a supply for when I went back to work.

I didn’t have enough though. Raiden was a big baby with a big appetite and after three months it became apparent that I couldn’t keep up, but I didn’t want to admit it. I wasn’t against mix feeding, it just wasn’t for me. Breastfeeding was easy and I just needed to try harder. I didn’t want to fail.

Wasn’t long before he preferred the bottle

Luckily for me Zombie was in a much better head space and gently reminded me that introducing formula did not make me a failure. Raiden had had three months of exclusive breastfeeding and was thriving, but it was taking it’s toll on me. Mentally and physically.

The night we bought formula was a strange one. I cried a lot and both Zombie and I felt extreme confusion regarding which formula to buy and how much to give him. 

There is so much education and support (and pressure) around for breastfeeding yet virtually nothing for formula and mix feeding. We’d spent three months training the wee man to take a bottle (he much preferred the breast and some days at the start of his life it could take over an hour to get 10mls into him) due to him needing to when I went back to work, but we hadn’t gotten a lot of help with that either.

When they both need feeding at once

Once I started mix feeding I felt like a huge weight had been lifted.  I mix fed for a further four months before giving up breastfeeding and pumping completely and Raiden became formula fed from then on. My supply had dropped drastically after going to work and he had decided he preferred bottles after a while anyway.  It was still a tough decision, I tried hard to increase my supply but one day I realised that it was a battle I wasn’t going to win. My only regret is I never got a photo of me breastfeeding him.

Beore the twins were born I decided that this time round I wasn’t going to put so much pressure on myself and they have been mix fed from the start.  Initially they just had one bottle of formula a day but once I was out of hospital and Zombie back,at work and it was up to me to handle the majority of the feeds it was easier to pump and bottle feed. 

Due to not breastfeeding as often and relying soley on the pump, it wasn’t long before my supply started dropping and the formula started increasing. I’ve held on for a while but I’ve decided that they’ve had a good start with the breast milk and without having to pump every three hours or so I’ll have more time to focus on the boys. They are thirteen weeks old now and starting to interact with us. It’s an exciting time.

Made sure I got my photo this time

I have mixed feeling about giving up. I’m not having any more children so this will be the last time. I haven’t pumped for two days now though and emotionally am feeling calmer. I think for my mental healths sake alone it’s a good time to stop.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

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I’m Not A Super Mum

It’s a phrase that got thrown around a lot in the late nineties by women’s magazines to describe celebrity mothers who still worked. 

Super Mum.

I always thought this was a bit off, these women could afford all the help in the world and yet were praised for doing a job most mothers did alone or with just their significant other. Not to say these celebrities had it easy, they’re human and have difficulties just like the rest of us, I just felt it was praise that could be spent elsewhere. 

I realise now that I was wrong.

It’s a phrase I didn’t hear for over a decade, but I’ve been hearing a lot lately and this time people are directing it at me. I have three sons under the age of two, two of them newborns and I guess it’s a pretty daunting lifestyle. 

I tend to get it the most when people see me dealing with all three of them at once. It’s definitely hard work, relentless at times, but the reality is, I’m just dealing with what life has thrown at me. And I’m not alone. I have Zombie who shares the parenting with me when he’s not at work, even giving me nights off and time to nap plus family and friends who help where they can.

I’m just a Mum.

My mother, landed with four children under eight overnight, the youngest under two when her husband died, who carried on raising them while grieving for her loss as well as losing her own mother the year before, she’s a Super Mum. 

My friend who’s first baby had a horror birth that left her baby unable to feed, spending months with specialists trying to make feeding time easier for both of them and who’s second baby has such severe reflux that at eighteen months old has developed an eating disorder, but has taken it all in her stride, she’s a Super Mum.

The mothers of children with ADHD or autism, sensory disorders or learning disabilities, who love their children all the same and go out of their way to support them as much as possible, they are Super Mums. 

The women who’s children have cancer or other horrifying illnesses, who keep it together looking after their child and their healthy siblings at home, putting on a brave face every single day, they are Super Mums.

The mums who have to work to help support their family, even though they would rather be at home with their kids. The mums who choose to work to help support their family and face the judgement of society. They are Super Mums.

The single mums, the mums of difficult teenagers, the mums who have lost children or miscarried and yet still go on, they are Super Mums. 

The pregnant women who force themselves out of bed each morning despite being more tired than ever before, eat a healthy diet despite craving nothing but junk and smile through the constant nausea, they are all Super Mums.

The first time mum, still sore from the labour or surgery with tender breasts, silently crying while her baby nurses, her nipples so sore that each suckle feels like they are being ripped off, or the mother who gives her baby formula for her own personal reasons while society and her inner anxiety berates her for it, they are Super Mums.

The mothers with Post Partum Depression and Anxiety who go on when every fibre of their being tells them to give it all up, they are Super Mums.

Even the mums with the ‘easy’ babies are Super Mums. All three of my boys are often described as dream babies or easy and let me tell you it’s still bloody hard work.

I guess what I’m trying to say is any mother who gives a damn about their kids and deals with whatever life throws at them no matter how taxing is a Super Mum. I don’t deserve the praise any more or less than the next Mum. We all do what we have to do to get through each day, doing the best we can for our children, putting ourselves last at times. That’s my definition of a Super Mum.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

I Want To Write A Post

I want to write a post but I don’t know what to write about. My life has become very repetitive. I have to get up each day, feed babies, change babies, hold babies for a couple of hours because they get lonely even though they have each other for company, find time to use the breast pump and then repeat. A shower gets squeezed in at some point and sometimes I even get to eat!

I watch a lot of Netflix. Gilmore Girls mostly, but I’ve only managed to get to the start of the second season so far because I keep falling asleep when I’ve got my two little heaters snuggled up to me. It’s nice because I don’t get a lot of sleep at night. For a while there I was lucky to get two hours in a row. The boys have started sleeping through the night now, so I get about five hours in a row now which is nice, but I’m still shattered. I don’t know if it will last, but it is following the same pattern their brother did and he only stopped sleeping through for a few weeks after they were born. 

Taking turns being asleep

The twins are eleven weeks old now and doing well. Thriving. They’re bottomless pits most days which is tiring but actually a good thing. They smile more each day and are starting to get curious about their surroundings. I think the sleeping longer at night means they have more energy for discovery during the day. They’ve grown so much too, exceeding Raidens birth weight by about 8ish weeks. 

Raiden is still doing amazingly well. We had a few issues with bedtime for a while, I’m guessing it was a fomo thing but he’s come right now. He still adores his baby brothers and helping us look after them. He has recently started looking after his teddies the same way we look after the twins. Giving them bottles, getting us to swaddle them, putting then down for naps… It’s very cute.

Puppy and Jack take turns to have a bottle

Being a mother to a newborn or newborns in my case can be incredibly isolating but I’m feeling a lot less isolated than when I was on maternity leave with Raiden. With him I didn’t get out much, didn’t really have many visitors (sometimes none for weeks) and was obsessed with cleaning the house which of course I had no time for which stressed me out. It was no wonder I got depressed letting myself get into such a strung out lonely state.

With the twins I’ve been getting out more because we still have to entertain Raiden. I still don’t really have visitors but I have a friend who comes to clean the house twice a week so I talk her ear off when she’s here plus I do get a few people who pop round semi regularly which is always nice for the adult conversation. Plus I’ve had two Saturday nights off thanks to Zombie where I’ve gotten to go out and catch up with friends.

First time I straightened my hair in over two years

Life’s actually pretty good right now. I’m tired and have a short temper at times due to this, but I’m happy. Everything is ticking along quite nicely and I’m feeling pretty positive as a result.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

I Cry A Lot, But I’m Not Depressed

The boys are four weeks old now. Feeding constantly, especially overnight. Gaining weight steadily. And being ridiculously cute at all moments. It’s a hard life being a baby!

Myself personally, I am coping a lot better this time round. When Raiden was four weeks old I’d already been diagnosed with post partum depression and while I did a good job of looking after him I felt like a failure and struggled to bond with him. 

This time round I’m calmer about the whole situation. I’m getting a lot less sleep, but I’ve bonded with both boys and I have a better understanding of how babies are. I’m so much busier this time, but I’m still managing to get things done like the washing and dishes which I didn’t even attempt last time. It helps that we have home help so the house isn’t an absolute bomb site, plus I’ve had so many lovely people drop off food and meals so that we can eat with minimal effort. I’m feeling good about things.

That’s not to say I don’t have rough moments. I often cry at 4am when I’ve only had three or four sleeps of half an hour each because the boys wake every two hours hungry and Raiden who usually sleeps through has decided he wants up and attention too. When all three are crying and needing attention in the wee small hours but there’s only two parents it can feel a little overwhelming. 

Parenting is easier when 60% of your family is asleep

When it gets to 2pm and all I’ve had time to do is snack or pick at food between the boys feeds and not eat a decent meal I get frustrated and hangry. When I finally get one boy settled and in bed and the other wakes up I sometimes cry, mourning for just five minutes to myself because it seems that’s a lot to ask for. 

And after Zombie leaves for work and I’m trying to get Raiden fed, dressed, his lunch ready and him entertained before he gets picked up for daycare whilst simultaneously feeding both twins or trying to settle them and use the breast pump when all I want is a shower and just half an hour more sleep I often swear a lot in my head and under my breath when the boys are out of earshot just to keep my sanity.

​​And sometimes I’m just so tired that I fall asleep on the couch during feeds and wake up disorientated and feeling worse than before I slept because it was such a short and light nap. Plus I get lonely being stuck on the couch all day with two tiny humans attached to me. 

And of course until recently I was very pregnant and still have a lot of extra hormones running through my body so the smallest things make me cry. Like an ad on TV of a puppy who can’t find his ball.

But it’s all worth it. 

Brotherly love, Raiden and Miles

My boys are thriving and all three of them fill my heart with happiness every single day. Raiden is such a doting big brother, helping to give the twins bottles, giving them cuddles and worrying about them when they cry. And I have help, like I mentioned above plus visitors a couple of times a week which means I don’t go completely crazy.

Both asleep at once!

Parenting is hard and I know a lot of mothers cry or swear or feel helpless on the daily as well, no matter how well they are coping. I’m just happy that I’m not suffering from depression (touch wood it stays away) like last time and that I’m for the most part feeling on top of things, in between my mini freak outs. 

Raiden at a few weeks old, I love this photo

I’m not ashamed to say that in Raidens first few months of life I didn’t particularly enjoy being a mother. I thought he was wonderful, amazing and the cutest thing I had ever seen, but I was depressed and struggling. I was lonely and didn’t ask for help when I needed it. I felt like a failure the whole time until he was a couple of months old, started settling down and him and I found our rhythm together. This time I’m not dealing with any of that guilt and just enjoying each day as it comes, no matter how hard some of the moments are.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

I Felt Them Cut Me Open

Just over three weeks ago I welcomed my little twin boys into the world. It was amazing to finally meet them and to find out their gender, but it was a pretty crazy few days in the lead up. My surgery had been scheduled for the morning of the 15th, but the day before I was advised it could be delayed due to an influx into NICU from out of town. 

Things got weird after that. I was told I could be flown to Timaru for the surgery, but that my family would have to find their own way and we’d have to find our own way back. Zombie and I spent the day stressing and putting plans in place, but hoping that the surgery would just go ahead as planned. 

The night of the 14th I went nil by mouth in preparation in case the surgery went ahead. Then on the morning the surgey was postponed til the afternoon. After that I was all gowned up, had my IV inserted and ready to go for the afternoon slot when the surgery was cancelled due to me having eaten two crackers a few hours earlier (I’d been nil by mouth for 18 hours by this point aside from that).

I was then booked for first thing that following morning, but ten minutes before we were due to go into theatre I was bumped down the list again. Luckily this was the final delay and a few hours later I was making the walk to the theatre.

I was a lot less nervous this time round. I knew how the surgery would work and what to expect, so I didn’t spend the buildup freaking out and practising breathing exercises to calm myself down.

Of course this time it was different. Zombie wasn’t allowed in until after the spinal block had been performed, which of course was the part I was the most scared of. And then there was the fact that the spinal didn’t work properly.

The anaesthetist did all the temperature checks and prick tests as normal, I could kind of feel them and wasn’t convinced that we were ready to get going, but the fact that I could feel the ice colder in the areas that weren’t supposed to be numb was a good sign and so they got started.

And then I felt them cut me open. It was agony and I screamed. They quickly stopped and went into damage control mode, but all my composure was gone. I have never been so scared in my life. 

They covered the incision and then removed all the tape around the surgical site. Have you ever had a bandaid the size of a car wheel removed from your body in one hit? It hurts a lot. If nothing else, that would have been a great indication that the spinal hadn’t worked. 

After this they rolled me onto my side, performed the spinal again (Zombie was sent into the corner so I lay there silently crying and trying not to freak out) and this time it worked. I felt my body slowly go numb and I felt calmer at the same time.

Aside from a brief moment of nausea when I was being sewn back up and an inability to throw up (I was angled upside down, cut open and with abs that hadn’t been used in months) the rest of the surgery was fine. Zombie watched the boys be removed and told me that we had more sons. 

I wasn’t allowed to see Miles for a while. He could breathe on his own, but his oxygen saturation was low and he ended up being taken away to NICU for a day and a half to be given help breathing. Mason was fine however and it wasnt long before I got to hold him in my arms and feel like the whole ordeal was worth it.

The team in the theatre were lovely. One of the surgeons was a twin and two of the others had twins of their own. While they were waiting for the first spinal to work we all went round telling our best dad jokes and having a laugh. They definitely know how to put a nervous person at ease when they’re on the table.

I just wish I’d spoken up about my concerns about the spinal not working. Zombie and I spoke about it later and he told me that he wasn’t convinced it had worked either, based on the fact that I was a lot more ‘with it’ that time than when Raiden was born. 

I’m relieved that I won’t have to go through it again though. Our family is complete now and although the hard yards are by no means over and there are sure to be plenty of anxiety inducing events in front of me, the years ahead of me watching my three sons grow are going to be exciting and well worth any bumpy starts we had.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Family of Five

Miles Alexander (right), 7lb3oz and Mason James (left), 8lb6oz born on Friday 16th March at 10.46am and 10.48am. Raiden has unlocked Big Brother Class!

Big brother is so loving and excited

We are still in hospital but hopefully will be going home tomorrow. I cannot wait to start our lives as a family of five.

Mason and Miles

Mason and Mummy

Miles and Daddy

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Double Trouble

It’s been a very long time since I posted, but I have a good reason. It wasn’t intentional, I finished up my 100 Happy Days with all intentions of writing regular posts and keeping my social media updated, but then I got sick. 

So sick. 

I couldn’t keep much food down and I was exhausted. I wasn’t worried though, I knew exactly what was going on. Zombie and I had decided it was time to start trying for another baby. We just didn’t expect it to happen so fast!

I booked in for a scan right away and had it at five weeks. I’ve mentioned that I had an ectopic pregnancy in the past and I wanted to make sure that bubs was in the right place. While the radiologist was performing the scan I told her about how sick I’d been as it was a so much more than with Bubble. That was when she told me it was probably because there were two yolk sacs.

Twins! And identical twins at that!

Twins don’t run in our families so Zombie and I were understandably shocked but it wasn’t long before we got used to the idea and even got excited about it. It’s not easy though. I was hospitalised for three days with dehydration due to hyperemesis, I’ve thrown up several times a day for the past three months, I have less than zero energy no matter how much rest I get and I’ve lost twelve kgs which while pregnant is NOT a good thing.

The two parts of our again video game related announcement.

But I can’t wait. I’ve spent the last couple of months either sleeping, throwing up or trying not to do both and all because Zombie and I decided it was time to make Bubble a big brother. We just never expected him to be getting two siblings!
Smiles and Sunshine

Katie