The first 6 months

Yay! We made it! Six months as a family. At six weeks post partum I had no idea how we were going to get here but after the first three months and a few changes things did get a lot easier. 


If you haven’t read my previous posts we overcame our breastfeeding issues by getting her tongue and lip ties revised. This helped with her reflux and I also cut dairy out of my diet which made a difference and helped with her eczema. We overcame my postnatal depression with a change in my diet (no dairy meant no high sugar chocolate or ice cream), counselling, essential oils and kinesiology. 

We had been through so much already that as Maya was approaching six months I was hesitant to start introducing solids. By the time she was five months she had started showing signs she was interested but couldn’t sit unsupported. These were the two things I was going by to know she was ready. But I wasn’t ready. I felt overwhelmed by the thought of introducing solids. It felt like just another thing to do and half the time I was struggling to get my basic ‘to do’ list done. Breastfeeding was easy. It had taken a lot of work and persistence to get there but it was easy to just pull out a boob and feed her ;p

I did a baby first aid course and looked into baby led weaning but as much as I loved the idea of it I didn’t feel comfortable. So I turned to the Thermomix cookbook I had sold to so many of my Thermotash customers. Cooking for Baby and Toddler is a great cookbook with lots of background info and easy nutritious recipes broken up by age groups. 

We started at the 6 months section and fed her sweet potato puree as her first food a couple of weeks ago and she loved it! She had clearly been ready for awhile. I was the one that had held her back. A couple of months ago this would have triggered my anxiety but I now know that we are both learning as we go and I don’t have to know it all. I’m learning from her just as much as she’s learning from me. 

She first rolled from her tummy to her back on Christmas Eve but it wasn’t until last week that she rolled from her back to her tummy. I was giving her more play time on her back and trying all sorts of things to help her roll. Then one morning I left her on her back and came back to find her on her tummy. This happened two more times before hubby saw her do it. It just goes to show that we can help our little ones as much as we are able to but they’re the ones that have to do the work and they’ll do it when they’re ready. 

Comparing her development to other babies had been a big part of my social anxiety. But with the help of kinesiology and essential oils I was able to let it go and now I just go with the flow. I trust that I am doing the best job I can as a mother and I trust that my baby is developing at her own pace. The last thing I want is for her to have to live up to the high standards my former perfectionist self imposed on me. 

My last bit of relief came a couple of weeks ago when her hips and feet were X-rayed. She was born with talipes which put her at high risk of hip displacia. Luckily the X-ray showed her hips were fine and the feet exercises we had been doing since she was born had helped correct her feet. We have our next appointment in six months and it should hopefully be the last :) and if time passes as quickly as these first six months have she will be celebrating her first birthday in no time!

At six months she is such a wriggle worm. I can’t wait until she starts crawling so I better get started and baby proof the house! She has cut her two bottom teeth and it’s so cute seeing her gummy grin with two little tooth pegs. She is growing her hair again (after losing it when we managed to remove her severe cradle cap) and I can’t wait until I can clip a bow in. She has been baptised, been dipped in the ocean and loves to bounce when her cousins are dancing. It brings me so much joy watching her experience the world and it melts my heart when she turn to look at me or her dad to check in with her circle of security. We are in such a happy place and I look to the next six months with excitement xx

If you would like to know more about using essential oils as a natural solution for you and your bub I will be sharing my experience at this free workshop

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Postnatal Depression – from the darkness to light and love


Thanks to the BabyCenter app I am part of an amazing Facebook groups of mums that were due in Maya’s birth month. This group has been such a wealth of knowledge and support during my pregnancy and since Maya was born. It was also a small trigger with my postnatal depression as I fell into the comparison trap. As a first time mum I didn’t know what milestones were ‘meant’ to be reached and when. So when I would find out about them I would stress about why we hadn’t reached it yet. 

After taking a break from the group and working on myself I have been popping my head back in and recently some mums have commented that they think they have postnatal depression. I congratulate them on having the courage to speak up and share my story and encourage them to ask for help. Motherhood is such a life changing experience that there really should be more support for the affect it has on our mental and emotional states. 

According to the Edinburgh Depression Scale I no longer have postnatal depression. My last score before Christmas was 9 but part of that score was in relation to self harm which caused concern for my maternal child health nurse. So she booked me in for another check which I had yesterday with a different health nurse. When she added up my score and it was zero she asked me if I was lying! This was just one of the reasons I didn’t like this nurse and made me see why some mums don’t like seeing the health nurse. It also highlighted how far I have come this past month. You can read more about my struggle here.  

I have been doing a few different things to work through my postnatal depression and a couple of weeks ago I mentioned to my hubby that I was actually enjoying Maya. Not to say I didn’t enjoy her before but the dark cloud of postnatal depression makes it hard to feel the overwhelming and unconditional joy in your heart when you are with your baby. Of course I loved her and she made me happy but it was all hidden deep inside the shell of a person I had become. And I was just so full of resentment of both my baby and my hubby that it clouded my judgement. It was this resentment that bubbled until it burst in a huge fight with my hubby that made me realise I had hit rock bottom and I finally admitted to myself that I had postnatal depression. 

Here’s the 10 things that helped me work through my postnatal depression (in the order I did them)

1. Be open and honest

I opened up to family and a few close friends. I amazed at how many other mum friends had also had it and wish I had known to support them during this tough time. 

2. Talk to someone

I rang PANDA and had a great talk which helped identify that I was in a lot of grief. Click here to read my blog post about PND from the grief angle

3. Reduce sugar

I stopped eating chocolate and lollies which had become a crazy night time binge (was strict for about a week and then it slowly crept back in)

4. Essential oils

A friend dropped off a rollerball of essential oils to help lift my mood (I truly believe this helped unblock some emotions and elevate me to a place where I could begin to function again)

5. Counselling

I began counselling sessions at Raphael Services. They specialise in mental health and families. My CHN made the recommendation and I got the referral from our GP. We have had 4 sessions as a family and I have already gained so much from it. 

6. Asking for help

This was hard for me to do because I felt like it meant I wasn’t a good mum. And the perfectionist in me couldn’t have that! I used this help to either get some sleep, exercise or cook. Sleep (lack of) is my big trigger.

7. Exercise

I started with walks in the morning with bub and then BBG pre-training and then the Healthy Mummy 28 Day Challenge. It felt so good to get those endorphins running again and the walks were great to get fresh air and sunshine. 

8. Kinesiology 

A friend had suggested I try kinesiology. I had no idea what it was about but I looked into it and loved the idea of mixing eastern and western medicine. I only had one session and it helped unblock a lot of emotions and get me to a state where I can now go with the flow.

9. Dietary changes

I cut dairy from my diet on 1 December to help with Maya’s eczema. As a side effect I cut most of my sugar because I couldn’t have chocolate or ice cream or cake. I then started to feel more energised and the brain fog lifted.

10. Positive mindset

I began saying affirmations (usually when I applied my essential oils) every day. “My life is full of joy and my joy comes from serving others” is my standard affirmation. I also started practicing daily gratitude. I had been wanting to for awhile and thanks to The Gratitude Squad facebook group I had the motivation and encouragement to do so. 

If you think you may have post natal depression or worried that a new mum in your life may be struggling try this mental health checklist using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale here.

Do you need help?

Talk to your GP or Maternal Child Health Nurse (my MCHN showed a lot of concern for me before I finally scored high on the Edinburgh scale)
Call the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) national hotline on 1300726306
Call Beyond Blue on 1300224636

If youโ€™re in Perth you can call Ngala on 9368 9368

All tied up

The first time I heard about tongue tie was when my nephew was born 5 years ago. I didn’t think much of it when I was pregnant but knew it could be a possible hurdle with establishing breastfeeding

When Maya was born she was in respiratory distress and was taken to the neo natal ward. It wasn’t until we finally got the chance to breastfeed that we were told she had a severe tongue tie. By the time we were discharged from the hospital three days later the paediatrician said she must have worked her way around the tongue tie because she was gaining weight and attaching well. But just in case they were going to mail out a list of providers that could help with the tongue tie. 

The next day the child health nurse visited us and was surprised Maya was feeding so well with her tongue tie. She mentioned that she was working extra hard and that would explain why she was so tired by the end of the day. By that weekend Maya was crying non stop and struggling to attach. It was so heart breaking that I was counting down the hours until our GP appointment on the Monday to get her tongue tie snipped. 

The GP was lovely and very reassuring and did the snip in another room. We were given exercises to do – brushing a clean finger under the tongue and poking our tongue out at her to get her to copy and poke her tongue out. 


Her feeding had improved but it was still taking a long time to get her to attach so we saw a chiropractor. She attached immediately at the next feed. It was amazing! I thought everything was all sorted but weeks later I noticed she was still taking a long time feeding, she still had the lip blisters, my nipples were creased and she had reflux. 

Here are some symptoms of tongue ties




I looked into it and thought maybe she had a lip tie as well and that needed to be fixed. I asked my child health nurse at her 8 week appointment and she said it looked like a lip tie but the tongue was the issue – it has reattached and was quite thick. She referred us to a couple of lactation consultants to assess the ties. 


We saw Eve Coote at iKids who confirmed her tongue tie was quite bad and the lip tie was causing issues because she didn’t like her top lip being touched. We booked in to get both ties lasered two weeks later. 

During this time I became very anxious and worried we had left it too late (older babies have developed their feeding style and it takes longer to re-train them). I also stressed about my milk supply as Maya was 12 weeks now and at this time milk is less regulated by the mother’s hormones and more by baby’s stimulation at the breast. I was also struggling with post natal depression but didn’t know it yet. 

I was nervous on the day of her appointment and didn’t plan on being in the room but I ended up staying and I’m glad I did. They had a special straight jacket type swaddle which Maya hated but she had daddy right beside her the whole time. 

After the procedure we went to another room to feed which was a struggle because the local anaesthetic hadn’t worn off yet. It was so hard watching her cry and not being able to comfort her with the boob which had been my go-to. 

We were prepared for things to be worse days 3-5 post revision and they most certainly were. She was using muscles she hadn’t used before and so basically she had DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). We had to resort to panadol for the first time to help relieve the pain. 

On day 5 I saw an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who specialised in tongue ties. She was a great help! She showed us another feeding position to try and recommended more tummy time to help stretch out the sore neck muscles. 

Two weeks later Maya was feeding a lot quicker, my nipples weren’t misshapen or creased anymore and her reflux had gone. She was also finally loving tummy time now! It was great to see how getting her ties revised had such an overall impact and it helped reassure us that we had made the right decision. 

Because her lip tie wasn’t that bad we didn’t need to get it lasered. But we chose to since she was already getting her tongue lasered and because the lip tie can cause gap teeth which was part of the reason I had to have braces when I was younger. I still feel bad we put her through the pain of the procedure and the recovery afterward but we will have to make tough choices like this again and again as her parents. To help her move past the trauma I continued to tell her the affirmation I used during pregnancy 


The re-training of her tongue has been slow because she was an ‘older’ baby but at six weeks post revision her attachment is great and her feeds are sometimes too quick lol. We are still working on strengthening her tongue muscles so it give me so much joy when I see her playing with it or poking it out. She is a much happier baby now that she is no longer all tied up :) 

Healthy Mummy 28 Day Challengeย 

One of the hardest things with postnatal depression (PND) was dealing with the overwhelm. Everything just felt too hard, even just getting out of bed. But I had a tiny human depending on me so I got up. In the early days I only ate to keep up my milk supply to nourish her body, I didn’t care about my body. I was so unhappy with my body even though it had grown my baby for 38 weeks and birthed her into this world. I knew I needed to eat better and get active again but I couldn’t handle all the decisions that came with it. What to eat, what groceries to buy, what workout to do. 

I kept hearing about the Healthy Mummy 28 Day Lose Baby Weight Challenge. So I signed up for the December challenge and had my meal plan, shopping list and workouts all set out for me. I didn’t have to think about it, I just had to do. 

And once I got started I had those lovely endorphins running through my body again helping me get through the day. By starting to look after myself I was helping recreate my own identity again, not as a new mum living her life around her new baby but as a healthy and active woman. With the help of some other modalities I was able to work through my PND and now I am enjoying my baby again and making sure I have ‘me time’.

The 28 Day Challenge is exactly that. Over 28 days you get a weekly meal plan which you can customise. This is great because during this time I cut out dairy from my diet to help with Maya’s eczema. So when customising my meals I would select the dairy free option (I’m now having a play going gluten free). There is even an option to skip a meal if you are planning to have leftovers but I have only been able to do this on my laptop and not using the mobile app. 

Once you have customised your meal plan you can create a shopping list. I think I’m too used to the functionality of Thermomix Recipe Platform and being able to remove items I already have. I can’t remember if I could do this when I did the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. So that’s one improvement I would like to see. 

The meals are quick and easy and to save money and time I customised my meal plan so I would have the same meal as leftovers for lunch or find meals using similar ingredients. There are even some Thermomix meals which was great to see but I recommend you read through the recipe first to ensure you’re making the most of cooking with your Thermomix and not double handling. It is a great way to help you realise you can now think in the Thermomix way of cooking :)
As for the workouts they are also quick and easy. Maybe a little too quick and easy for my liking but it was a great reminder to be gentle with my body and accept that it’s not the body I had a year ago. I had abdominal muscle separation and I birthed naturally so while my body was ready to work out there’s no doubt there was still some healing going on inside. 

Which is why I loved the Pilates workouts on Wednesdays. There are 8 different exercises you do for 60 seconds each. This is different from the other workouts which are upper/lower body specific and have 4 x 60 seconds exercises in a circuit you complete for 3 rounds. These workouts go for less than 30 minutes so when Maya was catnapping it was perfectly timed for me to get my workout in before she woke up. 

There is a lot of research that says short workouts get results but my mindset is still used to longer workouts. But I know any exercise is better than none. And in the 3 weeks I followed the challenge (too much going on during the week of Christmas to stick to the plan) I lost 3.3kg. This proved my mindset wrong. 

You can track your progress in the app by entering your weight and measurements measurements. The app also updates your BMR along the way. When you first sign up you calculate your BMR for your meal plan and have to add 500 calories if you are breastfeeding. For more info on breastfeeding on the challenge click here.

The meal plans are released every Wednesday so the first week of the January challenge have gone live today. The workouts are released every Friday. I’m really looking forward to the January Belly Buster challenge. I know you can’t spot reduce fat but I am so sick of my mummy tummy. I know it takes time for everything to go back to how it was and to be honest I think I am now back to pre-baby weight (I know I had stopped weighing myself once the scales hit 70kg). Which means my midsection is probably more pre-baby belly than mummy tummy but I don’t think I’ve ever had the overhang before. Or maybe I was too focused on other areas of my body before to notice. 

If you would like to join me in the Healthy  Mummy January 28 Day Belly Buster Weight Loss Challenge you can sign up here (note this is my affiliate link). There’s also a Facebook group you can join once you sign up. If you’re anything like me then it’s having the community support that keeps you motivated. That’s the main reason I love signing up for challenges. If you have any questions about the challenge please comment below and if you’ve signed up before let me know how you went with it all xx

The dark side of motherhood

Motherhood is hard. It is amazing and you never realised how much you could love someone until you hold your baby in your arms. But it is also so damned hard.

This tough mama gig also comes with its own mental illness. Postnatal depression. It doesn’t affect every mum and it doesn’t affect just new mums. Postnatal depression is not a dirty word. But it has a stigma attached to it just like with all mental health issues and so many suffer in silence. This is a societal problem but in my experience it’s also an internal struggle of not wanting to admit you’re not coping.

It wasn’t until 14 weeks post partum that I finally hit my rock bottom and there was no more denying it. I had postnatal depression. Looking back the signs had been there from the beginning. I had chronic stress pre and during pregnancy. My husband struggled with his depression during pregnancy. I had pregnancy insomnia in the third trimester and then 2 days of zero sleep before Maya was born. So of course there was no way I was going to cope with the sleep deprivation when she arrived. Throw in a difficult labour, being separated from Maya for 3 days and difficulty breastfeeding due to tongue and laser ties and you’ve got a recipe for post partum depression.

When I was on the phone with an PANDA counsellor she helped me realise I was in grief. I was grieving the birth I had planned for and grieving the ideas I had had about having a baby – post labour, coming home, breastfeeding and motherhood in general. I had no idea motherhood was going to be this hard.

When I got off the phone I thought more about my expectations of motherhood and this grief I was experiencing. I had also thought grief was just when you lost someone. I didn’t know you could grieve an idea. And so I started looking at my post natal depression through the stages of grief.

Denial

I was in denial for so long for two reasons. One, I ate my placenta so I truly believe that gave me a boost that had a masking effect of how little I was actually coping. Two, I am a perfectionist and didn’t want to admit that I was struggling. I would struggle for a couple of days and open up to my hubby saying we had to keep an eye on me and then I would be fine again. Everything I had read about PND said if you showing signs for 2 weeks then you needed help. I wish I hadn’t read that and had asked for help a lot sooner. But when things were good they were good. The highs were high and the lows were so very low.

Anger

I soon learnt that sleep was my biggest trigger. My sleep pattern revolved around Maya as a breastfeeding baby and with her tongue and lip tie issues it was only recently that she was drinking expressed breast milk from the bottle. So the nights were long and lonely for me and my sanity suffered from the little sleep I was actually getting. It was easy to see why sleep deprivation was used as a form of torture!

I was stuck in a viscous cycle. I wanted to breastfeed but I would start to resent my baby when she woke me up crying for a feed. Sometimes it had felt like my head had just literally hit the pillow when she would wake up! I would feel anger build up and then hate myself for being angry with her because she is just a baby. And then I would look over to my sleeping husband and the anger would boil over. And then I would get angry with myself again.

Bargaining

By 12 weeks I started looking at things we may have done wrong and how they may have contributed to the struggles we were having with Maya. Not getting her tongue and lip ties lasered. Letting her sleep on us instead of in her bassinet. Not picking up on her sleep cues quick enough. And during my real low points thinking about how much better my life would be if it weren’t for this situation.

Bargaining is an important stage of grief but it is also tricky because of all the added guilt it can bring. I love being a mum to Maya but on my low days I would run out of patience and wish for a different life. And then I would feel shame and guilt for even thinking that because she is my world and I wouldn’t change that for a second.

Depression

The depression would come in waves. I would be in tears one day and totally fine the next. I slowly lost my positive outlook on life and struggling making even the smallest decisions. The only reason I got out of bed some days was because of my baby and some days I couldn’t bear the thought of stepping outside the house. I developed social anxiety and I even had a panic attack.

Acceptance

That was when I hit rock bottom and admitted I had postnatal depression. It was hard at first but I reached out to family and friends and was grateful for all the love and support I received. I was surprised at how many of my friends had experienced postnatal depression themselves.

Opening up about my PND made such a difference for me. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I had given my pain a voice. And with this acceptance and the support I felt around me I know I will recover.

I wish there wasn’t such a stigma attached to postnatal depression (or any mental health issue) and there was more community support. The age old saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is true and I wish we could find a way to bring this old wisdom into our modern lives where we are so connected yet so isolated at the very same time.

Postnatal depression is scary and unfortunately puts a dark cloud over such a joyous time in life. But it doesn’t have to. Notice the symptoms, open up to people you trust, be kind to yourself and ask for help. Asking for help has been really hard for me to do but I have slowly made some progress in this department. Reading this blog post about the helper people also helped me allow myself to ask for help.

If you think you may have post natal depression or worried that a new mum in your life may be struggling try this mental health checklist using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale here.

Do you need help?

Talk to your GP or Maternal Child Health Nurse (my MCHN showed a lot of concern for me before I finally scored high on the Edinburgh scale)

Call the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) national hotline on 1300726306

Call Beyond Blue on 1300224636

If you’re in Perth you can call Ngala on 9368 9368

The Fourth Trimester

When Maya was born the number one piece of advice we got was make it through the first 3 months.The first three months of a baby’s life is also know as the fourth trimester and it’s all about the baby adjusting to life outside of the womb where it was nice and warm and they were hooked up to food 24/7 and were rocked to sleep. It’s also an adjustment for the new parents as they learn how to meet the needs of their new bundle of joy.

The first 6 weeks were the hardest for me. If you have just joined my journey now you can read about Maya’s birth here and our breastfeeding journey here.

So in the first 6 weeks of Maya’s life we had her tongue tie issues to deal while we were establishing breastfeeding. All while being so very sleep deprived. During the third trimester I had pregnancy insomnia so in some way my body was getting prepared for the sleepless nights but after getting no sleep in the 48hours before Maya was born I was already running at a deficit. Then the 2-3 hourly round the clock feeds came. I was a zombie. I lived from feed to feed. I didn’t worry about what the next feed was going to be like. I was finally living in the present moment which was something I had been trying to do all year. I still had The Power of Now sitting on my bedside table since I started reading it while I was pregnant (my bookmark hadn’t moved past the first 20 pages).

Then at around week 6 Maya did her first 5hour stretch at night. Getting more than 1-2hours sleep in one go felt like heaven! And by week 8 she was going 7hours and by week 10 she started going 9hours. It was great and all her own doing (I had planned to follow Save Our Sleep but once Maya arrived I didn’t want to make her follow a routine). The only problem was she would go to bed at 6/7pm but I wasn’t ready for bed yet so I never got to make the most of it. Which is something I regret during the wonder weeks. 

The wonder weeks are great to help you realise why your baby is crying so much (or more than usual). They say to go by due date but we noticed signs in line with her birthdate (which was only 10 days early). The first wonder week was met with cluster feeding and reflux! The second wonder week wasn’t too bad and it was great to see how she had changed after it. She was more alert and interested in us. The third wonder week was a terror and my good sleepy baby was replaced with one that was tired as hell but refused to sleep!  

Adjusting to life as a first time mama was tough and there were lots of tears (both mine and hers) along the way. I had started drafting this blog post in the first six week but can’t even make sense of the gibberish. Plus it all feels like a distant memory now. I know it was tough and I wouldn’t have got through it without the support of my hubby, my family, my friends and other mums I met along the way (in person and online). It’s hard to look back because just like with the birth the pain is gone and only love remains. From the moment Maya arrived it felt like she had always been in our lives. 

When I was asked what it felt like to be a mum now my answer was simply that I could hardly remember what life was like before she was born. But it has been a roller coaster and since I joined motherhood I immediately felt sorry for not being there for my sister and friends as they became mums. This mama gig is hard and I am just in awe of every mother out there. I am also just realising that I may have post natal depression and have started seeking help. It’s hard to be upfront about it but I always wanted my blog to be honest and as my friend said to me when I opened up “you seemed so happy from your Instagram posts”. Maya has brought me more joy and love than I ever imagined so it’s easy to post on Instagram about this but social media is just the highlight reel of everyone’s lives. So if you think you need some help just speak up. Talk to your partner, a friend, family, see a GP, call a helpline. There is help out there and I will blog about the help I will receive. 

But first here’s a few things that helped me through the fourth trimester

Baby tracker app. This app tracks feeds (and helps you know which boob to pop bubs on lol) and you can also track nappies, sleep, how much milk you express and baby’s body eg weight, temperature.

Sound sleeper app. We were playing the Rock-a-bye lullabies to her when she was asleep but to help her fall asleep we found the Sound Sleeper app to be a godsend thanks to the womb sound :)

Happiest Baby 5 S Sleep Method. I found out about this around week 2 and tried them that night. It was so great to finally have tools to help calm Maya down and get her to sleep. 

Dunstan baby language. I first heard of this when my sister had my nephew 4 years ago but it wasn’t until around week 4 she reminded us about it. It made such a difference in us responding to her cries because now we knew what they meant. We had already started figuring these cries out but it would have been great to know this from day one. 

Baby carriers. We had bought the Ergo Baby 360 carrier and while Maya liked it she was a hot baby and overheated quickly. So I got my hands on a Connecta carrier which she loved and I could finally get my hands back on the days she was being super clingy and wouldn’t let me put her down. 

Community support – Australian Breatfeeding Association, my Child Health Nurse, FB groups, mother’s group. I accessed support from all of these and will continue to. It’s great to seek advice from professionals and also from first time mums like me or experienced mums that were going through motherhood all over again. 

As a first time mum my life has been flipped upside down. And for all the right reasons. I always worried I didn’t have a maternal instinct but it kicked in the second I gave birth. My life revolved around Maya so much in the first 6 weeks. Then after her immunisations I felt comfortable taking her out (and once the rain finally stopped and Spring arrived). And at 8 weeks post partum I started working out again (with the BBG pre-training guide). It was at that point that it felt like Maya was fitting into our lives. I felt normal again. Well, better than normal because my world had grown incredibly with just one bundle of joy xx

The ebb and flow of breastfeeding


Being a first time mum I was not prepared for the roller coaster that is breastfeeding. They say it takes 6 weeks to establish breastfeeding. This is what we went through during those 6 weeks and the thoughts that ran through my head:

My baby was taken straight to the neo-natal ward from birth so I was sad we didn’t get the chance for baby led attachment. “Was this going to affect our breastfeeding journey? Is she ok? Is she hungry? I can’t wait to go see her.” 

Once I was moved to my room it was time to start expressing. “This feels weird. Is this working? Oh wow it’s working. Haha look at it spray out of my nipples.”

The midwives were very supportive and when I went to visit my baby I was encouraged to try breastfeeding before she was given the colostrum I had expressed. “Am I holding her right? Am I doing this right? Ok now to make my boob a sandwich and help it into her mouth. Come on baby you can do it. We can do this.”

She had a tongue tie but seemed to be latching on. But she wasn’t getting enough and was low in sodium so I was pressured by the doctor to put her on formula that night. “I really don’t want her to have formula. I don’t want this to affect our breastfeeding. Am I being selfish? I need to do what’s right for her.”

My midwife was very supportive though and kept me expressing and taking it to my baby. The next day she had put on weight and her sodium levels were fine but I still had to top up with formula after each attempt at breastfeeding. “Is my milk in. Is my baby getting enough? Is my milk in? I feel the baby blues. That means my milk is in right? Is my milk in?”

To help my milk come in I was eating my placenta raw and drinking warm milk with panela (Colombian sugar cane). “Don’t look at the placenta. Just swallow. Don’t think about it. This is so gross. But it’s going to be worth it. I can’t believe I’m eating my placenta.”

I was still so uncertain about my milk being in when we finally went home three days later. The next morning I was expressing and finally noticed the change in my milk. “OMG my milk is in. Yay! Ok. We can do this breastfeeding thing. She keeps crying when she’s trying to latch on. What am I doing wrong? How can I help her? My nipples hurt. The shields don’t work. My nipples are cracked. It hurts to shower. It hurts in the morning cos it’s so cold! It hurts. This is so hard.”

After my visit from the child health nurse I felt more relieved that we were doing a good job. “She’s putting on weight. She’s doing great. We’re doing great.”

And then the tongue tie started tiring bubs out. “I know it’s hard work baby but we can do this. I have us booked in to get your tongue tie snipped. We just need to get through the weekend. You’re doing great. I know you’re tired. We can do this. I’m so tired. Will we make it?”

Monday finally came and we got her tongue tie revised. “I’m so glad they took her to another room. I can hear her cries. It’s so sad. She’s back in my arms. She’s back on my boob. She’s feeding straight away. She’s such a trooper!”

The nurse that assisted was also a lactation consultant and she told me I didn’t need to keep expressing with each feed. “What a relief. I can pack it all away and just focus on each feed.”

It was amazing to see the difference in her feeding after the revision but it still took some time for her to latch on. Anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour. “I can’t believe it’s taking so long. What’s wrong? Is it me? What am I doing wrong? She must be starving. She just needs to latch on. Why won’t she latch on. Let’s try the football hold instead of the cradle. That didn’t work. Let’s feed in bed. Nope. Breathe in. Breathe out. She’s still crying. Time to go to daddy while I go in the other room and scream and cry and pull my hair out.”

This became our new normal for the next two weeks. “I love breastfeeding. I love the bond with my baby. I hate breastfeeding. I feel like a milk machine. My life revolves around her feeds. I’m a slave to breastfeeding. I want my body back. I feel like I have lost my identity. Oh she’s staring up at me. She’s so precious. I love nourishing my baby’s growing body. I’m so grateful for this experience.”

When she was 5 weeks we went to see my chiropractor and after baby’s first adjustment she was latching on immediately. “I’m so happy. I can’t believe how quick it worked. This isn’t so hard after all. We can do this. We are doing this. I AM breastfeeding.”

And now I just have to be mindful of what I eat and follow an anti-colic diet. “Yum my mum’s quiche. Oh no it had broccoli in it. That’s why baby is so upset. I’m so sorry I ate broccoli. Poor baby. Poor me. That’s another thing I can’t eat. Add it to the list. No peas, cauliflower, oranges, cucumber, milk chocolate. Chocolate! Oh well. It’s not worth the pain she goes through.”

We’re in a good flow now. Feeding on demand. My boobs know what to do. “Baby just fed an hour ago. Oh she’s cluster feeding. I am so amazed at how she knows what to do. Oh no my milk is coming out too fast. Sorry baby. Take a breath. Give me a burp. Let’s go again.”

So that’s been our breastfeeding journey. It has been full of ups and downs but we made it through the other side. It was actually hard trying to remember all the things we went through. Did you go through something similar? I’d love to hear about your experience whether you continued breastfeeding or not xx