The Breastfeeding Fear of Failure

Breastfeeding Fear

If every Mum was honest, we’d all confess to the breastfeeding fear. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when your newborn is hungry. You know two things will happen: they won’t open their mouth wide enough and you won’t latch them on quick enough or with a big enough mouth. It will hurt. It will hurt a lot. There might be blisters and bleeding involved.

I have felt this fear more often than I care to admit. So what can you do about it?

My Breastfeeding Success and Failures

I have a chequered history. If you got awards, I would probably get a meaningless you took part certificate, a most improved player award and a congratulations on your podium finish.

My eldest: failed. By three weeks he was on a bottle and formula. He couldn’t get what to do, and I certainly couldn’t manage to follow what few instructions I had been given. I cried over my failure. At the time it seemed like my first example of being a rubbish mother. Crazy talk!

My middle child: lip tied. Those words still bring out the fear in me. She couldn’t drink from me properly, she was even less successful with a bottle. Breastfeeding or starving her were my options. For four months I felt the fear for every single feed. Four months it took to get a pain-free latch. I cried a lot in pain and frustration.

My youngest child: he’s a month old. I still feel the fear on the left hand side feeds most days. He doesn’t like the left hand side. Between us we’re successful enough to have not used a bottle, but I’m not totally irritation free yet.

Practical Tips

  • No matter how much you read about nose to nipple positioning, it isn’t that easy. Remember, break the latch if it isn’t right, even if you do that a million times a feed. What works on one side might not work on the other. Experiment with latching on in slightly different positions.
  • I go by feeling rather than appearance of lip positioning. If it doesn’t hurt chances are your latch is good.
  • Have a drink beside you. Breastfeeding is thirsty work. If you’re out, take a drink in your nappy change bag to keep your fluid intake up.
  • Keep snacking! Yes breastfeeding uses a lot of calories and yes we all want to lose the baby weight but you still need to eat. Make it healthy if you want to but the odd chocolate session here and there won’t hurt.
  • Netflix or Sky Cinema will be your friend on marathon feeding sessions. Sitting for hours with a feeding baby can get annoying but it can pay off if they go longer overnight.
  • Do what is right for you! If you can’t get it to work there is no shame in trying and failing! (There is no shame in not trying either).
  • Go and see a lactation consultant. 8 years ago, not much advice given to me about practical breastfeeding help. 4 years ago with my daughter a lactation consultant at a local breastfeeding group kept me sane.
  • I don’t use a cover when feeding; you can be discrete without one. Several times people have been chatting to him not realising he’s feeding. A cover lets everyone know what’s going on. If you’re shy find a quiet corner or if you’re out the car is always a good option if it’s close enough.
  • Dont want to invest in breastfeeding clothing? Wear a vest with long straps under your top (I buy one size too large). Pull the vest down under your bra, pull your top up. Easy access while keeping your stomach covered!

Cardiff Breastfeeding Groups

If you are local to Cardiff use the support network. There is lots of support out there: both breastfeeding clinics and peer support groups. I can drive again soon and I will be getting myself to the Woodville Road group for help with positioning on the left hand side. Get more,information by following this link.

I have felt the breastfeeding fear. In the past I have beaten the fear and I have been beaten by it. I have succeeded in feeding my children whether by breast or bottle into active, healthy, cheeky children and made choices that suited my body. Most importantly I am happy with every decision I made.

If you are struggling with the breastfeeding fear of pain at 4am you aren’t alone. Most of all, if you can, get practical help, but nothing works and you formula feed: well done, you gave it your best shot.

Easy Easter Cake With Toy Infinity

Hidden Chick Easter Cake

Usually to do these cakes I would use a cutter with a simple outline, but my two helpers wanted a chick hidden in the middle. Who can argue with that? Unfortunately our chick looks like it’s been to the abattoir because he is also coloured red. Time to use your imagination! This cake can be changed to suit whatever you like to use.

What Do You Do?

Cheat! Cooking with young children should be simple. I use a packet mix. There is still some measuring with the water or oil and cracking the egg is always fun but there isn’t loads of flour thrown around the place and boredom doesn’t set in because it’s quicker.

Okay, I’ll be honest. My two fight over who does what job. By using two packet mixes they both do the same thing with no arguing, no me turning into moaner Mum at the mess and it is a much more relaxing activity.

Follow the instructions on the packet you have. You want one packet to make the inside hidden chick and another to bake around it. Whatever you hide inside either needs to be made out of a different cake mix (e.g. Chocolate) with a vanilla sponge outside or use a vanilla mix and colour it a different colour.

Easter cake activity for children

Easter Cake Baking

Cook the coloured cake according to the instructions and allow to cool. The next bit is child-friendly, let them cut out the shapes. A word of advice remind them to go close to the edge otherwise you end up with two shapes and a whole load of cake scraps you can’t use!

Line up your shapes in a loaf tin, and pour over the other cake mix. To stop the bottom of your cooked cake drying out add a layer of cake mix to the bottom of the tin first and then layer your shapes. Cook your cake and leave it to cool. Our chicks tried to dive out of the way of the cake batter so we didn’t end up with a nice straight line…

You should hopefully have a cake your children can be proud of, that isn’t too stressful on yourself. I can’t guarantee it won’t get sneezed on, have mud in it somewhere or that the spoon won’t get licked and re-used while you aren’t looking. Have fun baking on a rainy day!

Or you could end up with something that looks like this….. A highly professional effort lol. They did well. It might not look like a cake from an episode of Ace of Cakes but for an 8 year old and a 4 year old I think they should be proud of themselves. Can you spot the head of a chick sticking out the top?

Easter baking

 

They also did the washing up!

Children can go Toy Infinity and Beyond with Baking! X

Recovering From a Caesarean Section

Having recently had my second Caesarean section I thought maybe a blog on the advice I had been given on helping recovery would be a good idea. Both of my c-sections were elective, so no rush emergency jobs here.

Toy Infinity, caesarean recovery

On The Day – Before

Whether elective or emergency, a Caesarean section is a nerve-wracking procedure. Most of my nerves are around the spinal block, it is such a very strange feeling to lose the use of your legs. Knowing an anaesthetist is shoving a needle into a tiny space in your back is not for the faint hearted.

Nerves aside prepare yourself for a wait or even to miss your slot due to an emergency. Bring a book or something to do for those moments when you can’t be bothered to talk. It is hard to ignore your hunger too if your wait stretches out ahead of you. My hospital allowed you to drink sips of still Lucozade sport to counter the nausea afterwards, but check with your doctors being sipping anything but water.

On The Day – During

Baby is born surprisingly quickly! One word to the wise, they push down on your stomach quite hard when getting the baby out. Nobody warned me and it took me completely by surprise. It is the worst part of the operation.

As with a vaginal birth your baby is checked over by a midwife before being brought over to you. They did offer me the first hold but to be honest there isn’t much chest room between you and the screen and I was too worried about dropping him that my husband had the first hold both times. I also tend to get the shakes quite bad, no idea if due to the drugs or adrenaline and nerves.

My sections were in different hospitals, one let me keep my glasses on, one didn’t. You don’t need to be Einstein to guess what I preferred: being able to see your newborn is always a bonus.

It is the stitching that takes the longest. You don’t realise exactly how long because if you’re like me, you are spending all your time staring at this beautiful new addition to your family.

On The Day – After

Until your spinal wears off you are bed bound and catheterised. The midwife on the recovery ward gives you a buzzer and help with any practical tasks you can’t manage. Eventually you will be taken to the post delivery ward for the next couple of days. My last Caesarean section had a combination spinal/epidural and the affects wore off much quicker than my previous full spinal. This meant you were turfed out of bed and back on your feet sooner. Which is undoubtedly better for you in the long run, but painful!

You should have had some good pain relief in hospital, and they’ll release you with enough medicine to keep you comfortable at home. I have always been quite comfortable when sitting or lying down, it is moving that is tricky lol.

My Top Caesarean Section Recovery Tips

  • For the first few days I used disposable maternity pants while the blood loss was heaviest. No point wrecking your good pants. Don’t forget your maternity pads!
  • Big pants! Big granny pants that go right up to your belly button are a must. No scar rubbing, no catching on stitches and they’re comfortable. I’m a convert to granny pants lol.
  • After your dressing comes off stick a sanitary towel on the inside of your pants over your scar, this helps keep your wound dry after a shower. I didn’t do this all day because I found the cotton fabric more comfortable against my scar.
  • Getting up is a challenge! You can’t use your stomach muscles very well. It’s worth mastering a kind of roll onto your side before moving your feet to the floor. Don’t try and use your abdominal muscles to get up, that really hurts. Use the strength in your arms and legs more than your stomach.
  • Keep your wound clean and dry. Shower every day and make sure you dry it well after. If you have the dreaded overhang use a hairdryer on the coolest setting to make sure the scar is totally dry. A moist scar is more likely to get infected.
  • Take your painkillers!
  • While it’s tempting to live life as normal, remember a c-section is a major operation and your body needs time to heal. 4-6 weeks is recommended. I’ve felt normal, with no movement issues or pain by 4 weeks each time.
  • Both times my scar has popped open a bit when stitches have come out too early. Keep an eye on your wound! If it looks infected get help from your GP early; especially if you feel unwell or have a temperature.
  • Ideally put your feet up for at least two weeks. Concentrate on feeding your baby. Housework can wait! Remember the healing you can see on the outside is also happening on the inside.

I’m no medical professional, these are just my experiences with a Caesarean section and recovery. If you are due for surgery soon, all the best with your recovery and try to take it easy!

Twin Mummy and Daddy
JakiJellz

Boss Baby A Review By An Eight Year Old

Boss Baby

I couldn’t go to see Boss Baby I was at home with our newborn. So I handed over the task of reviewing the film to my 8 year old son, and this is what he said. The first paragraph might be a spoiler so don’t read it if you’re desperate not to know the plot!

Dream works Boss Baby

The Reviews

“I thought that Boss Baby is a very emotional and enjoyable film. What I liked was close to the end when the Boss Baby got promoted and then the older boy sent him this letter. Then they lived together again.

Another bit liked they were going to work, while the big brother was putting some powder on Boss Baby’s bum he farted. This was the funniest bit, I laughed a lot. The saddest bit was when they left each other.

My favourite character was Boss Baby. I liked him because he was very funny. The character I didn’t like was Francis Francis because he was nasty.

There was nothing I didn’t like about this film. I would watch it again as many times as I wanted.

If you are going to watch it you’ll leave there saying it was a great film!

Well done a brilliant review there by the oldest Toy Infinity boy G.

 

My middle child also wanted to give her thoughts. Who was I to say no?

“It was really good. The best bit was when the baby washed the big brother’s hair it was really funny. When the big brother said to the Boss Baby you can talk, he really could talk.

My favourite character was the Boss Baby because when the big brother powdered his bum he farted. I didn’t like Francis Francis.

If you’re going to watch Boss Baby make sure that an adult checks it before you watch it. When the adults watch it before the children the children can watch it after the adults.”

Well done E (age 4) a brilliant review as well.

So that is word for word what my children thought. I will confess to getting slightly concerned where the last part of E’s was going lol. If you’ve been to see they would love to know what your children thought.

Football Maths Activity

I can’t claim any part of this as my idea. My husband actually came up with this for my son. It was so popular with them both that I had to blog about it. It is a great example of making learning fun.

It doesn’t happen often but sometimes my 8 year old actually wants to do something that isn’t playing football or Nintendo. He loves maths and he is very good at it, so it is something we are encouraging.

Football Maths

Using Premier League football teams, players from his favourite football club and maths we have found a way of making maths fun.

For example…

Addition

Arsenal 12     Tottenham Hotspur 5

Liverpool 6    Everton 3

Ozil 3              Bale 42

Multiplication

Man Utd 10    Man City 5

Chelsea 2        Swansea 6

This can be easily tailored to the level your child is at, their interest and of course their choice of football team. Arsenal tend to win whatever the maths sum is! Gareth Bale also seems to score an enormous amount of goals over every other player.

But why just football? Star Wars battles, Shopkins, Disney baddies vs goodies. Any subject you can use with numbers is possible.

You don’t need any fancy equipment for football maths, just a piece of paper and a pen, so it is cheap! My son has learnt specific ways of doing his sums at school and he will write the sum out to follow those rules. We don’t interfere with that so we don’t confuse him.

This doesn’t just apply to boys of course! Anything that encourages a love of maths is great in my book. Give football maths a try and let me know if it works for you.

Decorating a Children’s Room on a Budget

Children’s Room on a Budget

We recently moved my daughter into her new room, leaving our new arrival with the smaller box room. She has very definite ideas of what she likes and wants and this new room was no exception. So how do you decorate a children’s room without spending a fortune? Especially if in a few years you might need to re-decorate again.

We have one or two sneaky ways of making sure we’re not re-painting all of our children’s room again and again.

Toy Infinity

My Tips for a Children’s Room on a Budget

  • Give them one wall to choose whatever colour they like.
  • A cheap way of creating a specific colour is to buy a couple of tester pots of a colour you like and adding it to white paint. This lightens the colour but you can use as many or few tester pots as you like. Just be sure to mix enough to finish the wall! You will never get the same shade again.
  • The other walls are white or a neutral colour. This means when they get bored of candy pink or red or a beach theme you are only re-painting one wall.
  • By using magnolia or a natural colour you can use the cheaper paint. Some coloured paint can be a lot more expensive.
  • Removable stickers are a life saver. They can be removed easily without damaging paintwork (most of the time) and are relatively inexpensive.
  • I always steer clear of wall paper and borders to make sure there is no damage to plaster work if you remove them.
  • Curtains, cushions, and other soft furnishings can be chosen by your child to complement or contrast with their chosen wall colour.
  • If you are painting a mural or other image onto a wall don’t forget the tester posts, many £1 or less. No wastage of larger paint pots.

What Did It Cost?

We recently did a beach theme. I must admit, finding nice beach theme stickers was quite hard work! We chose these from JoJo Maman Bebe in the end. There were enough stickers to create a great looking wall display.

After all the hard work, my daughter loves her new bedroom. It took two big tubs of white paint, 1 tester pot of yellow, 2 tester pots of mid range blue and 1 of a slightly darker blue. (I can’t remember the names!) Don’t forget though that unless the white paint needs re-painting you won’t be painting the whole room next time.

We also mixed enough of the sky blue to paint one wall in the new box room/nursery for our new arrival. The rest of the room was white so we didn’t need to do anything to it! Two decorated children’s rooms for the price of one.

The total cost was about £50. We still have some white paint left too. All paint was from B&Q and there were no multi-buy offers at the time, so you might get a better bargain. Keep an eye out around bank holiday time…. Mind you I hope it is a long time before I’m decorating another children’s room!

JoJo Maman Bebe link correct as of April 2017. This is not a sponsored post.

The Tale of Mummyhood

 

When Two Children Became Three

From Two Children to Three…

What’s it like going from two children to three? I have seen no end of posts like this in my midnight browsings of Mumsnet when the pregnancy insomnia was doing my head in.

Three children, family, mum life

I’ve only been a mum of three for a few weeks, but so far I seem to be doing ok at juggling all three of them. Mind you, I should confess that I have done very little other than feed my children while recovering from my C-section. Mr Toy Infinity has been worth his weight in gold sorting out everything else. I need a crystal ball to know if I can keep this up in future.

So what would I say to anyone debating going from two children to three in their family?

What I recommend!

  • Plan ahead – schedule regular time for your other children so no-one feels left out. I have been killing two birds with one stone and doing reading time or homework.
  • Get them involved – My 4 year old loves fetching things (hurrah!), likes to be in charge of winding while I hold him. My 8 year old boy is a bit over all the fuss to be honest, well until he is interested in football anyway.
  • Sitting down activities – film afternoon, reading, Lego, puzzles, even playing schools (and no I don’t get to be the teacher). Anything that can be done will feeding a baby with one hand!
  • Prepare for the inevitable where do babies come from type questions. I didn’t do this and got completely blind sided by it, and what to say that won’t get a million texts from Mums of what the hell do you tell them that for?
  • Try and plan some time for yourself. This admittedly is easier for me, my eldest two are in school. If you have small children at home all day your evenings will be even more precious.
  • I chose two small gifts as a thank you to my children as birth presents from me for all their help while I was pregnant. They seemed to appreciate this and let’s face it giving them from a newborn who can’t go shopping always seems a bit daft.
  • It sounds simple but leave snacks and plates/bowls at child level in the fridge or cupboards so they can help themselves. I make sure there is a treat they can reach for those moments only bribery will do.
  • Learn to say yes to help. I hate being dependent on people but using help offered has made the last few weeks much easier.

What I don’t recommend!

  • Thinking you can do everything. I’ve concentrated on the children and healing. Everything else could wait.
  • Being polite to every visitor. If you’re tired, go to bed, especially if it’s a doting grandparent who won’t be bothered if you disappear.
  • Trying to make do with out good painkillers. It is so much easier to keep on top of pain with regular pain relief than to struggle to build it back up. I learnt that the hard way after my first c-section.
  • Putting too much pressure on yourself. Struggling to breastfeed? Get help. If help doesn’t help, then change to formula feeding. No guilt, no pressure, motherhood should be enjoyed. I have struggled with a lip tied baby with breastfeeding and the pain nearly broke me.

So far we have been blessed with a non-colicky, great at feeding, healthy baby boy, he has slotted right in. It has been hard work going from two children to three children, but enjoyable hard work. Although I won’t say no to a few more hours sleep lol. Whether this honeymoon period lasts for a long time or we hit the hard times who knows. But whatever happens I feel very privileged to be a mum of three.

Toy Infinity…. And Beyond!

Twin Mummy and Daddy

Easter Bank Holiday Egg Hunt Events in Cardiff

Bank Holiday Fun – Easter Events in Cardiff

If you’re looking for some family entertainment over the bank holiday weekend there are a lot of events in Cardiff and the surrounding area.

Here are some events at some of my favourite places to visit with the children. Most events have a small charge. Follow the links (if provided) for further information.

Cardiff, Easter, Easter events

Easter Egg Hunts

The Royal Mint – Llantrisant.

If you are going to be visiting the Royal Mint this Easter then take up the challenge of finding the hidden Easter eggs and solve the puzzle. This isn’t a separate activity, you need to be a ticket holder. My children really enjoyed their trip to the Royal Mint, especially making their own coin. For further information see Royal Mint website.

Dyffryn Gardens – Vale of Glamorgan

Dyffryn Gardens are beautiful all year around but especially in the springtime. If you are visiting them this bank holiday weekend between 11am-3.30pm you can hunt for bunny’s clues to find a Cadbury treat. Please note that normal admission charges to Dyffryn Gardens still apply. For further information please see their website.

St Fagans National History Museum

On bank holiday weekend between 11am and 2pm you can take part in the family Easter trail. Charges of £2.50 per child apply. St Fagan’s is free entry, but parking charges apply. If you live locally consider an annual parking pass if you are intending to visit multiple times to save you money. Once you’ve completed the trail claim your prize! For more information see their website.

National Roman Legion Museum – Caerleon

Between April 8th and 23rd the National Roman Legion Museum have a sheep themed Easter trail. Hunt the escaped sheep on the loose in the museum to claim your prize. Entry of £1 per person applies. Their website has full information.

Cardiff Castle

No trip to the capital is complete without a visit to the castle, and this Easter they have an Easter trail for children. Solve the puzzles in the castle and grounds to win a prize. Please note than normal admission charges apply, plus an additional £1 per person to do the trail. If you are a Cardiff resident then apply for your castle key! Find out more here.

Hopefully these Easter events in Cardiff will provide some egg-cellent (sorry…) inspiration for you over the Easter holidays. If you go to any of my suggestions I hope you have fun and especially that the weather is kind to us in South Wales and the sun shines for the whole two weeks!