On breastfeeding.

Droopy eyes, soft mewling noises, and warm snuggles. A small hand comes reaching up and wraps around the breast, hugging it, kneading it, drawing it in closer.  Soft let down and enough oxytocin surging through my body to instantly propel me to cloud nine.  This is a time for quiet cuddles and quiet thoughts, a time to slow down and breathe them in, memorising their smell and every tiny detail.

Breastfeeding has been one of the most rewarding parts of motherhood for me, one that comes with not forgetting how truly blessed we’ve been to do it twice now.   It was hard in the beginning with Maddie: this idyllic picture of the most natural thing in the world shattered when it wasn’t… well… natural for us.  Panic taking over as I began to think here I was failing as a mother straight out of the gate, a symptom I now recognise as part of the PPD I went through.   We were blessed to have human angels, in the form of midwives and lactation consultants, come around each day that first week to help us hone this skill, one we’d both obviously missed the memo on.   But easier it did become, and soon Maddie was breastfeeding like a champ and continued to do so up until she self-weaned at fourteen months.

With Dexter, however, it felt like I had never stopped:  just a few minutes after birth saw a brilliant latch and his first nursing session.  It felt just as natural as it had with Maddie once we had gotten the hang of it and, with the exception of those early weeks complaints like sore nipples and engorgement, along with a minor thrush infection (and of course, occasionally sending him coughing and sputtering thanks to oversupply and forceful letdown), we’ve been lucky enough to have gotten on with it without any major issues.  The pain in those early weeks, the waking up with soaking wet bedsheets, the inefficient cluster feeding, all of those eventually became distant memory and what remains is the soul-calming experience of sitting quietly, nursing my baby while I stare at him in wonder and think “I MADE this! Each of these budding little fat rolls came from ME!” And at nearly fourteen pounds at nine weeks, he’s definitely getting the good stuff!

I thought back to all the countless times I must’ve nursed Maddie over those fourteen months and know that I will have just as many shared quiet moments with Dexter, as it’s my hope to nurse him just as long if not longer.   And years from now, when they’re too busy for their parents, when their heads are spinning around as teenagers, and when we tearfully watch them marry the people they love as adults, I will always look back with gratitude for those small, quiet moments softly cuddled in and feeling all at once sleepy and bursting with love from all of those hormones, from the peace that comes with being forced to slow down in a life that is going by entirely too fast and quietly reflect, “REMEMBER these moments, MEMORISE these details, DRINK them in, because one day they will be among the memories you treasure most.”  And both Maddie and Dexter will likely not have any recollection of those thousands of nursing sessions, but I will; and for all the frustrating cluster feeding sessions where it felt pointless to put away the boob, all the exhausting three AM feeds and five AM wake up calls, all the embarrassing times I realised, in public, that I have completely leaked all over my top… I will, indeed, treasure them.

Instaweek.

Early morning snuggles, lunch out to do the Breakfast at Tiffany’s photos, more photobook progress (my second book is done and ordered!!), and many rainy afternoons spent indoors.  Maddie is currently on half-term, a two week break from school; so with Dexter needing my attention frequently (and the rainy weather), we’ve been doing a bunch of quiet indoor activities like playing make-believe, arts and crafts, working on reading and spelling, and learning a bit about science with some of the books Father Christmas brought her last year.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a bit hectic managing both kids on my own (which has included such events as Maddie sneaking off in the middle of the afternoon to spray the entire contents of a jumbo sized hairspray container on her hair) as Dexter’s arrival coincided with the start of school, and my big girl was suddenly off all day, every day doing her own thing whilst I am left to quietly care for Dexter most of the day.  Yet at the same time it’s challenged me to put into practice more patient parenting and to use those precious minutes when Dex is asleep in his chair, not to clean something I’d inevitably cleaned five minutes ago, but to sit down with Maddie and read a book or work on her phonics and have just me and her time.   Because half-term isn’t forever, and these days pass by so quickly.

Dexter: Two Months.






With each passing week I feel like we get to know a little bit more about this little person who only just joined us a short two months ago.  Dexter is such a happy-go-lucky little boy, spending his alert periods throughout the day smiling and cooing, all the while waving his little arms and kicking his legs as he “plays” on his jungle mat.  In month two he found his hands, which subsequently found his gob, and he happily chews on them throughout the day.  His hands are open now, and sometimes it looks as though he may be trying to interact with objects, but then the hand promptly balls into a fist as he uppercuts himself (the poor dear) and I think maybe not quite.   One thing he is doing in a controlled manner with his hands is that adorably-sweet “kneading the breast” thing babies do when they are nursing, and it makes my heart swell.

Dexter still has an evening fussy period where he is both trying to cluster feed right before bedtime and plagued by terrible gas.  Usually we just wait it out and try to help by moving his legs, and once the gas passes he is out for the count for a good few hours.   He still wakes two to three times a night (which Mark and I usually tag team), on the rare occasion more, and sometimes we have mornings like this one, where he decides 5:30am is a splendid time to begin the day (Maddie is on Half-Term break, give me the extra hour, child!).

Yet each day usually unfolds uneventfully into the next in a comfortable rhythm with this happy little boy of mine and a mummy who is very much happy as well.  Loving my days spent at home with this little one!

Dexter this month:

  • Swiftly growing back the hair lost last month.
  • Brown hair, eyes are almost fully brown.
  • Getting better at lifting his head / shoulders in tummy time.  Often will worm his way across the mat during a session.  Looks a bit like a fish out of water.
  • Started cooing!
  • Kneading / hugging during nursing sessions.
  • Starting to develop some delicious fat rolls in places.
  • Loves to sit upright using the nursing boppy as a support.
  • Awake for longer periods in the day with distinct “nap times” starting to develop.
  • Loves: playing on his jungle mat, swinging in his chair, cuddling with just about anybody, watching his big sister do big kid things, having his legs and feet massaged, and of course… eating.
  • Hates:  tummy time, gas.
  • New nicknames:  Guy Smiley, Muppet.

Brave.

Disney’s Brave and Princess Merida are among the hot topics of our household as of late, and Maddie’s become quite taken with her own bow. And despite my asking she not loose the arrow while I was doing my own style of “shooting” she did, in fact, shoot me in the boob.  It’s hard to get mad, as it’s kind of what I love about her.

I used to be an adventurer like you, until I took an arrow to the boob.