Isobel

Why I love breastfeeding

As part of World Breastfeeding Week I wanted to write about my reasons for doing it. This post isn’t intended to be one of those highly emotionally charged pleas to formula feeding mums to drop the bottle and go back to nature. I’m not particularly evangelical about it at all. In fact, I am more relieved that it’s working for me than anything else. I’ve been a formula feeder myself and I am  evangelical about the fact that mums should be able to choose the method of feeding that suits their family best. All the information and statistics in the world means nothing if mother and baby aren’t happy.

But it is World Breastfeeding Week and I am proud to be a breastfeeding mother. I can’t say how long this will last for; I have no real plans beyond today. If we are still going strong in six months or even a year, then so be it. If we stop tomorrow, I will know that she has had the best start in life. And yes, I know that I said I wouldn’t be evangelical about this and I don’t think I am. I also don’t think I can write a post about the reasons why I love breastfeeding without mentioning the health benefits either. So there. You know it already. It’s one of the reasons why I love it but its not the most important reason to me.

a view from a breastfeeding mother

I need to go back to a day that has shaped me and my world. When my son was dragged into being by stranger’s hands. When he was held by another and willed to breathe. When he was alone, frightened. Alone. When he was away from his mother during the most crucial time for bonding and for recovering. When his mother slept on as he screamed and screamed and screamed.

I’ve already written about how I struggle to forgive myself for not being there when he was born. The fact that I was put under so that he could be born still haunts me to this day. I missed his first moments and NOTHING can take me back there to change that. I also missed much of his first days because I was stuck on some kind of replay, unable to digest what had happened and unable to accept this baby. But I digress; this is about breastfeeding.

When they gave me my son and put him to my breast I felt nothing. He fed almost manically for days. In between feeding he screamed. Some feeds were almost two hours in length and there was never much time in-between. He fed and he fed and he fed. And nothing. I felt nothing. I wanted to stop. I wanted the physical and emotional pain to end. I wanted my body back. I wanted to start again.

I suppose something stopped me. I suppose it was the fact that he needed me. I felt breastfeeding was more important this time because he was so unwell. I felt that it might save me… I think it did.

We carried on breastfeeding and although he still fed erratically,often and for long periods, we slowly began to realise what it was all about. Breastfeeding isn’t just a means to provide nutrition to a small person who is unable to feel thankful, let alone show he is grateful. Breastfeeding is much more precious than that. Breastfeeding helped me to love my son.

As we fed, we bonded. And that  is the reason why I love breastfeeding. When I nursed my son, I was forced to stop and to hold him close and to watch him. I was forced to hold him. I was forced to stop everything else in my world and focus on him. I was given another chance to nurture the bond that was almost destroyed with his delivery. It took a while but eventually, he became that baby who had kicked me from within for nine months. He became my son.

Today, my youngest is almost six months old and we are still breastfeeding. There has never been a doubt in my mind as to the power of it all. Breastfeeding is more than nutrition. Breastfeeding is nourishment for the soul.

 

For some more inspiring stories about breastfeeding, Plus2.4 has some excellent resources, posts and guest posts to choose from; Circus Queen has blogged extensively about breastfeeding and has a wonderful posts highlighting breastfeeding bloggers and their reasons for doing so;Kylie has written about her breastfeeding journey on her blog, Not even a bag of Sugar and Me, the man and the Baby has lots of breastfeeding posts too.

 

 

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She’s 19 weeks old

She’s 19 weeks old today.

I thought it would feel amazing, fitting back into my old clothes. And it does but it still stings a little to see that there’s no bump anymore. And yes, it’s absolutely fantastic that the bump is now a baby but still…

Over recent weeks, since I came down from my ‘I’ve had a baby’ high, I’ve come to realise that Isobel is probably going to be the last. Forever the baby of the family. The last bump, the last baby. The last time I have to fit back into my clothes again, the last time I have to hold a tiny newborn baby and breathe her smell and know she is mine.

And yet she isn’t mine, not really.

As I dressed her after her bath last night and watched her little legs kick into the early evening air, it hit me like a tonne weight. As she pumped her arms out at her sides and sucked her fist with such passion and hunger… it really hit me.

She isn’t mine. I’m only borrowing her. I hope I’m able to return her to the world one day with all her bits intact. I hope that I’ll be able to teach her, nurture her and care for her in exactly the way she needs. Because one day I’m going to have to let her go. One day I’m going to have to allow my hand to fall from hers and widen the steps between us until there is nothing but empty air where she used to be.

Knowing this makes each night feed so special. It means that every time she clings to me I must relish her neediness. Every time she calls for me or cries for me or wants me…

She’s 19 weeks old already.

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Gummee Glove: a review

Isobel is four months old and teething. How on earth did this happen? Only yesterday she was a tiny, red bundle wrapped in a swaddle and sleeping all day. Now, she is trying to crawl and covering the house in dribble.

Oh, the dribble!

The teething monster has her bad. I wonder if I could do a deal with the tooth fairy? Maybe the next time she collects one of the Big One’s pearly whites, she could magically and painlessly deposit a couple in Isobel’s mouth for us? It would save a whole lot of chomping and drooling.

It’s safe to say that the baby is finding growing teeth a little painful. When you hold her, she grabs your hands and chomps your fingers. At night, she chomps her own hands. Teething toys do provide relief but it’s a full time job making sure they stay in her hand and she isn’t that great at keeping hold of the things she really wants. It’s a frustrating time!

This is where the Gummee Glove really stands out among the teething toys. We were sent one to review and I have to say that I think it is a really clever toy. The Gummee Glove is a teething mitten which fits onto the baby’s hand (like a glove!) and fastens together for a snug fit. Around the edges there are flexible rubber chomping tabs and on the palm of the glove there is a crinkly insert designed to stimulate with new sounds and textures. There is also a little pouch inside the glove which you can pop a teething ring into. This can be removed and chilled in the fridge.

I immediately loved the idea of the Gummee Glove. As advised, we washed it prior to use and I left the teething ring in the fridge overnight for added relief. The baby also loved the Gumme Glove! At first, she wasn’t keen on having the glove attached to her hand and she spent a few minutes looking at it like it was an alien. It didn’t take her long to realise that she could chew it though and since then it hasn’t been far from her mouth!

Isobel actually prefers to chew the fabric of the glove and at the moment she finds the angle of the rubber tabs a little difficult to aim into her mouth. She also uses her other hand to hold the glove near her mouth. The best thing about the Gummee Glove is that Isobel can keep hold of it. I don’t have to keep picking it up from the floor after she’s dropped it. And it does provide some relief for her too.

All in all, we’re really impressed with the Gummer Glove and quite a few parents have commented on how clever it is. If you’d like to hear more about it, pop over to the Gummee Glove Facebook page. The Gumme Glove comes with a handy little pouch bag to keep it safe and full care instructions too.

 

 

** we were set a Gummee Glove for review purposes only. No payment was received and all views are my own!

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