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January 2007

Breastfeeding at Christmas

Dsc_0127 Phew, what a mad few days!

This Christmas has whizzed by, embracing us in a great flurry of expectation and excitement. It was simply wonderful. My eldest little girl, Tara, was swept away by it all and simply couldn't believe her eyes when she saw what Santa Claus had brought! Sarah, who is three, was equally delighted and is still trying to work out how Santa got down the chimney, whilst Jack just toddled straight over to the new play table and exclaimed in baby delight when he saw lots of new Thomas the Tank Engine toys!

It wasn't all fun and games though - Jack took ill on Christmas Eve and spent all of Christmas Day coughing and with a temperature. At times like this I feel so glad I am still breastfeeding as I just know he would have been hospitalised otherwise. When he was nine weeks old he got bronchiolitis and was in hospital for three days. I was told then that he will be prone to it until he is about five years old, but I was congratulated on breastfeeding by the hospital staff as they said he would have been much worse had he not been breastfed. So, although I have been making half-hearted attempts at weaning him off, I am still reluctant to due to the time of year and the fact that he was so ill as a baby.

Thankfully he is much improved today, but it did dampen Christmas slightly - and now Sarah is starting to show symptoms too...

I had intended going to Mass on Christmas Eve but unfortunately, just as I was leaving the house, I realised Jack had a temperature and I was terrified to leave him. So, instead I went with Tara on Christmas morning. And it was so reminiscent of my own childhood! Mass lasted a little longer than normal and about half way through Tara looked as though she was about to cry. I pointed out the crib and baby Jesus and told her to listen to the lovely stories the priest was telling. I even encouraged her to sing along to the hymns. But to no avail! Every few minutes there was a loud sigh and a deafening whisper, "I'm bored. Is it nearly over yet?" I was soo embarrassed! But that is one of the many joys of parenthood, isn't it?

Anyway we all did very well in terms of presents this year. My favourite was a wonderful painting my husband bought for me from a local artist entitled "The Gathering" - it puts the gluttony and excesses of Christmas into perpective. It is a painting of Irish famine victims and is both beautiful and extremely haunting. Stan wasn't even sure about giving it to me as he thought I might hate it. But he was wrong. The artist explained how as he paints, faces come to him (he calls them "my people") and he places them within the painting. I am a big believer in the afterlife and spiritual goings-on so I thought this was just fascinating.

Ironically, as I considered where to hang the painting and thought I had found the ideal spot, I realised that perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to place it overlooking the kitchen table!

So the entrance hall will suffice.

As for all the presents old Santa Claus brought, I have absolutely no idea where they are going to go...

Merry Christmas to One and All

Merry Christmas to one and all of my visitors! Like many of you, I'm sure, I'm busy preparing for Santa's visit tonight and the Christmas celebrations tomorrow. I'm also just about to go and get ready for the midnight mass (strangely at 9pm!) and carol service at my local church so I haven't time to write much!

But do enjoy your holidays, whatever you are celebrating and I'll get back to you soon!

And for any of you breastfeeding mums out there stressing, here's another chance to read Andi Silverman's wonderful parody of  "'Twas the night before Christmas!"

Have a good one!

Christmas Surprises!

Dsc_0096 I went to collect my little girl from school yesterday and found her outside her classroom with a huge grin on her face and a beautiful patchwork blanket in her arms! She had won it in her school raffle. Standing beside her was her little friend who proudly announced that her granny had knitted it and she had helped!

I couldn't believe that Tara had chosen the blanket. When I was leaving my contribution toward the raffle (a Christmas book with CD) I noticed the blanket and half-jokingly told Tara that if she was asked to choose something that I would love if she chose the blanket. (I also bribed her with the promise that she could then choose any toy she wanted in our local toyshop! Naughty me!) But I really didn't expect her a. to win or b. to choose the blanket if she did!

I was so proud of her because she picked the thing she knew her mummy loved - but I also felt terribly guilty for suggesting it in the first place!

However, I did keep my end of the bargain and promptly drove to the toystore to let her choose a toy. And thankfully she kept within budget!

Then this evening, as we were all busy writing Christmas cards and wrapping presents, the phone rang. Hubby answered and sounded surprised and then thankful. I looked at him and mouthed, "Who is it?" only for him to smile and turn away! But when he came off the phone he announced we had won a Christmas hamper!

Now I often laugh about the only thing I have ever won in my life...

I was 14 years old and entered a competition in a teen magazine. A few days later there was a knock on the door. The postman needed a signature for a parcel with my name on it.

Now, living in Northern Ireland, and because of the times we were living in, my mum firstly shook the parcel to see if she could work out what was in it and then insisted the postman open the parcel in case it was a bomb (if we were going, so was he!) before she would sign for it! Imagine his relief and my disgust to discover the contents consisted of no more than a bottle of Halibut Liver Oil Capsules!

I do recall trying them but not feeling too impressed - and I have never won anything else in my life until now!

So the fact that we have won two decent prizes in as many days has caused much excitement in our house! Should I be really greedy now and buy a lottery ticket? They do say things happen in threes!

And thrilled as we are to have won another prize, the downside is that I have to pick up the hamper tomorrow and it's likely the local press will be there to take my picture! Much as I hate being photographed, I wouldn't mind so much but for some reason my skin has gone mad this week, probably due to the stress of Christmas shopping, so I'll have the complexion of a teenager in any photos taken!

Do you think it would be vain if I asked them to photoshop me?

Breastfeeding a Toddler

The social pressure to quit breastfeeding is enormous... I have noticed with each breastfeeding experience I've had that once the baby reaches about six months of age, lots of  little deprecating comments begin to creep in - comments such as, "You're not still breastfeeding..." and "When do you think you'll stop breastfeeding?" along those like, "You look exhausted, do you not think it's about time you quit that oul' breastfeeding!"

It can wear you down after a while and it's for that reason I started attending a breastfeeding support group within days after my last two babies were born. I find it great to be surrounded by like-minded women who don't focus on when they are going to quit, but rather on for how long they will continue. My motto has always been that I'll just take it a feed at a time and a day at a time and I'll stop when both my baby and I are ready to.

So I was delighted to read today that yet another celebrity has endorsed breastfeeding. Gwen Stefani has reportedly said she thinks breastfeeding has given her superhuman powers and she absolutely loves feeding her own baby herself!

Now although I can't go so far as to say it has given me superhuman powers, I can say I love breastfeeding my 17 month old toddler and I'll not let anyone dictate to me for how long I should continue. I'll continue for as long as my baby wants me too - within reason, of course! And when I do quit it will be my business and no-one elses!

The Boys' Christmas Party

Santa_booze On Friday night my poor old hubby went out in Belfast with a couple of his mates from his college days. Now as he only sees them about twice a year, I guessed it would be a late night. But he assured me he'd get a bus back home and would be in around midnight.

I laughed at his naivety - and waited for the phonecall.

It came around midnight...

He'd missed the last bus home but would get a taxi later. I suggested he book into a hotel as it would cost as much as the taxi home - but he was a bit the worse for wear and didn't know what to do.

So I said goodnight and I went to bed, to get on with another night of relentlessly breastfeeding my little hungry boy.

Some time much later the phone rang, scaring the life out of me as I was in a deep sleep. I fumbled around for it but of course it stopped as I reached it. Just as I was falling asleep again I heard a sound downstairs. Someone was tapping at the front door... I was sure of it. My heart was pounding and my hands were trembling as I grabbed the phone and tip-toed out of the room.

Yes, someone was definitely trying to get in...

I dialled my husband's mobile number and when he mumbled into it I whispered that someone was at the front door and I didn't know what to do. Imagine my surprise when he said it was him!

As I let him in I was both relieved and cross. Relieved it was only him and cross that he had woken me up and scared the living daylights out of me at 6am in the morning!

I stamped back up the stairs into bed and spent the next 30 minutes trying to calm down after the fright I'd had.

Then it hit me - Jack had slept through for only the second time since he's been born, only for my husband to so rudely awaken me. I vowed I'd give him a hard time about it in the morning, hangover or no hangover!

At breakfast I ribbed him a little bit about it. But he turned on the old Irish charm telling me he came home because he missed me! And considering he looked as if he was suffering quite a lot anyway, I decided to let him off the hook... for the time being!

Later, I mentioned that I'd recorded the Jonathan Ross show so we could watch it that evening. His reply was that was the nicest thing I'd ever done for him!!

So I jumped at the opportunity - what about all the dinners I'd cooked, the beds I'd made, the underwear I'd laundered, the children I'd borne and breastfed...

We both fell about laughing at that point. Hmmph - Jonathan Ross? Whatever the boys were drinking it certainly turned hubbys brain to mush. He'll never live that one down...

Unique Baby Gifts...

Little_babies_love_cuddles_xox Yay, I've finally designed some products for my CafePress Store. It has taken me a lot longer than I would have liked and there is still a long way to go but at least Little Babies Online Store is taking shape at long last!

I have designed lots of mildly humorous slogans for bibs, t-shirts and bodysuits which would make cute gifts for a new baby. I've also started designing a few that are suitable for moms - t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts and so on. Dads clothes are in the pipeline! 

There are a few nice messenger bags and tote bags in there too and you can even purchase real postage stamps! So you can spread the breastfeeding message wide and far!

I'd love to hear what you think of my new store, so feel free to check it out and let me know...

Breastfeeding and Birth Choices

The breastfeeding world this week is abuzz with the latest medical findings on epidurals and breastfeeding. Apparently

  • those who have the anaesthetic are more likely to have problems in the first week after birth and to stop breastfeeding early.
  • A chemical in epidurals (Fentanyl) may affect babies (making them too sleepy to get a good latch) or it may be that women who do not have pain relief are more likely to persist with breastfeeding.

Pat O'Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, pointed out that although it was possible that fentanyl had an effect on the baby, there may be other reasons why a mother may not breastfeed.

Now I'm not going to get into all of these reasons as my blogging friends have already covered it.  (I've been unable to as I've had no laptop for the last few weeks due to a series of unfortunate events.) However, if you want to find out more I suggest you check out their blogs:

Mama Knows Breast

The Lactivist

Breastfeeding 123

Personally, although I have never chosen to have an epidural (I was too afraid of the possible side-effects after hearing a few horror stories from a nurse friend!), I did have loads of gas and air and a good dose of pethidine during each of my three labours and I still breastfed!

I was determined from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I would breastfeed, no matter what. All three of my babies were extremely sleepy after their births, due mainly to the side effects of the pethidine.

And although all three had problems latching on at the beginning, they improved within about 24 hours and before too long they were pretty much breastfeeding constantly.

What was, and is, important to me is that I had a choice regarding pain relief. I researched my choice and was aware my babies would probably be sleepy if I accepted pethidine and that this may cause a few breastfeeding problems. But I was prepared for that.

I have spoken to several mums who were both shocked and disgusted that I opted for pethidine knowing it would affect my babies, whilst others supported my decision and thought I was brave for avoiding an epidural.

I know mums who've had epidurals and chosen to breastfeed and others who refused to breastfeed at all. What I say is each to their own. Birth choices and feeding choices must be a personal decision; and as long as mums are educated beforehand about the potential risks and benefits of their choices, then their decisions should be respected.

Breastfeeding a newborn can take a while to become established, regardless of whether or not the mum has had medication during her labour; as long as mums are aware of this, then they can decide whether or not to persevere with breastfeeding.

Some will, some won't, but they certainly don't need to be frightened into refusing pain relief just because it might cause a few problems with breastfeeding. Forewarned is forearmed as the old saying goes and I say Amen to that!

Christmas Plays

Christmas_play I've had a busy couple of days. Yesterday I went Christmas shopping again! I had forgotten about all the extra people mums need to buy gifts for - teachers, classroom assistants, playgroup leaders, breastfeeding support group leaders and so on!!! I started at 11am, stalled at 3pm to collect Tara from school, and headed straight back into town again on a hunt for white tights for her Christmas play which was today!

Speaking of which, you wouldn't believe the job I had getting white tights (or not getting them as happened). Every colour was available bar white. I suppose there are a lot of little Christmas angels out there whose organised mums bought them all up weeks ago...

Anyway, fortunately I met my mum and two sisters in M & S and they decided to take my two girls with them. I didn't protest as I had lots still to do. But the result was I didn't see them again until 9.30pm, we had to get a take-away dinner and everyone was overtired and grumpy today!

However, the play was fabulous and I may be being prejudiced here, but my little angel was the cutest little angel!

Now it's bad enough getting organised for one Christmas play but we had two in one day. My youngest little girl, Sarah, was a Christmas star for her play this evening. So we had to dash across town at 5.30pm, in Christmas rush-hour traffic, for her performance at 6.00pm. The result - a lot of grumpy, overtired children tonight again - although at least I managed to make a fairly healthy dinner before we left! And since I'm still breastfeeding Jack I never really have to worry too much about his diet as there's no such thing as bad breastmilk! Thank goodness!

(Although I do think my own diet needs looking at as the back of my hands have got really sore  and dry and are even cracking and bleeding a little. It has happened before, usually in the cold weather and only when I am breastfeeding. So either I'm lacking some vital nutrient or I just need to start wearing a good big pair of gloves when I brave the elements!)

Tonight,  I think we will all sleep well - or at least the rest of the family, excluding me and Jack, will!

Get Ready For The Third Breastfeeding Blog Carnival!

The third Breastfeeding Blog Carnival is scheduled to take place on January 1st 2007!

This time around we are blogging about New Year's resolutions, specifically Parenting resolutions. So we'll be writing, for example, about changes we hope to make in order to become better parents, to make more time for ourselves and our children and so on.

If you are a blogger and would like to submit a post for inclusion, please email it to me by 23rd December 2006. The best posts will be included in the Carnival and will gain lots of exposure for your blog,  as you will get links from all five bloggers already involved in the Carnival.

We welcome all bloggers,  male or female,  just so long as your blog is relevant to our Carnival!

Guidelines which you should follow to increase your chances for inclusion:

  1. Please write your post in a clear and concise manner
  2. Check your grammar and spellings.
  3. Stay on topic.
  4. Link to each of the other blogs in the Carnival (ie. BreastFeedingMums Blog, Breastfeeding 123, Mama Knows Breast, Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog and The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog).

I look forward to your submissions and wish you luck!  Happy blogging!

Amazon a-Store: To Buy or Not to Buy?

Breastfeedingmums_logo I'm trying to earn some money from affiliate sites to help pay for the hosting of my website and blog. And I've tried to do this, unsuccessfully, a number of ways.

But one of those that I really thought would work was Amazon a-Store.  What it is, is an Amazon shop on my website and blog for which I receive commission everytime someone purchases a book or some other product. The customer pays exactly the same amount of money as they would if they visited Amazon directly, for whatever it is that s/he buys and, in theory, I get a percentage because I am giving Amazon free advertising space.

I have two a-Stores at the moment: BreastfeedingMums a-Store

                                                                                           BreastFeedingMums a-Store

But for some reason I haven't made anything from either yet. And I mean ANYTHING!

I'm confused as I think my a-Stores are pretty well integrated into my sites and the products I have chosen to display are totally appropriate to the content of my sites (although customers can buy anything at all from the stores; it doesn't have to be breastfeeding stuff!).

I'd love to hear stories from other bloggers about their a-Stores. And I would really love to hear from my own visitors - is there some reason why you don't like to purchase from an affiliate site?