There is a new craze doing the rounds at the moment – The Tree of Life Brelfie. For those of you who don’t know what a brelfie is, it is a breastfeeding selfie. These pictures use an app called PicsArt to superimpose a tree with roots onto a breastfeeding picture before using different art styles to add an effect to the picture.
They are incredible pictures to look at but I have to admit that I was dubious at first. I was worried that despite being visually stunning and despite being a symbol of a proud mother, they would soon just become the latest fuel on the fire of the whole breast vs formula feeding debate. Usually calm and centred women would once again become enraged because they perceived a beautiful picture to be slighting their choice of feeding. Now due to a number of issues I formula fed my children exclusively after the first few weeks and I was at times shamed for this. However, I really do not see the need for any such debate or ill feeling. Babies need to be fed and as long as they are fed then end of story!
I will happily say that I have so far been wrong in my prediction. All of the pictures that I have seen have been viewed as the beautiful, life affirming, proud mummy moments that they were meant to be. And so do you know what, I decided to do my own. Even though it didn’t work out for me, I did try. I am proud that I tried. I never got a picture of me feeding baby boy but I did get one of me feeding baby girl and so I am celebrating that fact! I am a proud mother!
Share your brelfies proudly ladies!
Weaning: it’s a marmite topic! Some parents love it yet some parents hate it. I am well and truly in the hate it camp (weaning that is, not marmite – I love marmite). Weaning baby boy was difficult and stressful but weaning baby girl has opened up a whole new world of torture.
Baby girl has cows milk protein allergy as well as a possible soya allergy. Until I started weaning this time around I had no idea just how many foods contained milk or milk products. Soya is even worse! These things hide themselves in the unlikeliest of places. I find myself checking the ingredients on product packaging like a mad woman. I must have checked every single loaf of bread in Morrisons last week before literally throwing the last one back on the shelf and stalking off, muttering obscenities under my breath. I eventually found one in Aldi. Now before anyone even thinks of saying the words ‘Free From’ to me, I refuse to pay over £2 for what is the equivalent of half a loaf of (foul tasting) bread.
Baby girl has mostly been consuming fruit and vegetables so far. You can’t go wrong with fruit and vegetables I thought. And then she reacted to peas! Peas! So now, not only am I checking labels for any trace of milk and soya but we have added peas to the list of ingredients to look out for as well. Also, did you know that some chickens are fed soya which can then lead to a reaction when the chicken is eaten? No? Neither did I! If I were at all organised I would just save myself the trouble and make everything from scratch. Unfortunately it is not often that I am in domestic goddess/supermum mode (I still need my mum to come and help me get my house in a presentable condition).
Some people moan about the mess when weaning. That part doesn’t bother me. In fact I quite like to watch my children have a play with their food, it is good for their development. I once tipped a pot of chocolate yogurt onto baby boy’s highchair tray and let him go wild. We both enjoyed that one. The bit about weaning that I don’t like is, well it’s just the weaning in general. The worrying over how much they are eating, whether it is healthy enough, whether there is too much salt, whether that particular food is going to cause an allergic reaction etc etc.
I try my best to make at least 1 family meal a day that we can all sit down and enjoy together. Catering for no milk and soya has its issues though and I am running out of ideas. If there are any chefs out there interested in a 7 day a week, unpaid position, please get in contact! Until then I will just muddle through and hope that my children, by some miracle, don’t grow up to be the world’s fussiest eaters.
Have you weaned children with allergies? Any tips?
Attempting to breastfeed baby boy was one of the worst experiences of my life. I wrote a post about it early on in my blogging journey so I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that after my boobs being manhandled by more strangers than could ever be deemed necessary and still not getting the hang of it I threw in the towel. I felt like an absolute failure! It wasn’t until he was 12 months old that a health visitor asked me about his tongue tie. What tongue tie?! Apparently he has a fairly severe tongue tie and according to the specialist it’s no wonder we found breastfeeding so difficult.
With that in mind I was determined to get it right with baby girl. I read all of the information again and watched the videos. Having a c-section with an epidural this time instead of under general anesthetic meant that we could have skin to skin straight away and I was sure that it was going to work this time. However, over the few days that we were in hospital it was clear that we were having difficulty. I had exactly the same problems as with baby boy. She just wouldn’t latch and when she eventually did she either fell asleep straight away or came off after a few minutes and I had to start the whole process again. Knowing then about baby boy’s tongue tie, I asked for her to be checked. 3 different people checked her and they all said that she was fine. I was told by a midwife that I just had to learn how to latch her on myself. It wasn’t how it was supposed to go! I carried on trying once we got home but nothing worked. Baby girl was losing weight and I could feel myself going back to the dark place that trying to breastfeed baby boy took me to. There was no way I was going back there again so I stopped trying. I stopped trying to breastfeed and I gave my child formula. And guess what… I didn’t feel guilty!
However, formula feeding didn’t end the problems. Baby girl still had difficulty with a bottle. Milk would pour out of her mouth when feeding. I knew that there was something wrong. It was when she was about 5 weeks old that I started to notice that her tongue looked like baby boy’s did at the same age. If I hadn’t found out about his tongue tie I wouldn’t have thought anything of it but it got me wondering. I mentioned it to my midwife who agreed that it didn’t look quite right. She referred us to a tongue tie clinic and I’m so glad that she did. At the appointment the specialist said that she never seen a tongue tie as thick as baby girl’s and it was the most difficult one that she had ever had to snip. It was horrible watching my little girl go through such a traumatic experience but once it was done she calmed down quickly. She even took a bottle without milk pouring of her mouth. I am quite angry that despite 3 professionals checking my daughter for tongue tie it was me who found it. However, I’m glad that it has been sorted at an early age (if baby boy ever needs to have his snipped it will have to be done under general).
My breastfeeding journey was quite frankly rubbish! I regret not being stronger and maybe trying harder but ultimately I don’t regret the decisions that I made. My decisions took me out of a dark place and enabled me to focus on my family. They were the best decisions for us all. Some people look down on me for formula feeding. Some people think that I didn’t try hard enough. Some people think that I have let my children down by not breastfeeding. Well those people are one’s whose opinion I do not need! I did my best and I am doing my best and that’s all that matters.
Last night one of my worst nightmares became a reality … my perfect prep machine died! I am in shock and mourning at the loss of this indispensable piece of equipment. I just don’t know what happened. One feed it was fine, the next it was gone. I feel so lost!
The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine was probably the most useful piece of baby equipment that we owned. After struggling with breastfeeding with baby boy and moving onto bottles, I found it difficult as he fed on demand still. Bottles are recommended to be made fresh each time and not in advance so baby boy would wake hungry but then have to wait roughly 30 minutes for a bottle to be made and cooled to the correct temperature. This was a nightmare, especially at night. In a sleep deprived state I was searching google for alternative ways and came across the perfect prep machine. We bought it the next day and haven’t looked back since! It was a lifesaver, making bottles to the perfect temperature in under 2 minutes. We used it everyday until baby boy moved onto cows milk.
When baby girl was born I was determined to breastfeed successfully however once again that didn’t work out (details to follow in another post). The trusty perfect prep machine came out again and has been used since – until last night!
It was the worst possible time for it to break. Mr K had gone to the football leaving me to do the bedtime routine on my own. I was completely prepared. I had recorded ‘In the Night Garden’ the previous evening so that I could time it perfectly with baby girl’s feed. She would then go to sleep and I could put baby boy to bed. However, disaster struck! I ended up with a screaming baby on my hands who wanted a feed, a toddler who after his programme had finished couldn’t understand why he wasn’t going upstairs to bed (Mummy now had to feed baby 30 minutes late) and a mummy who was crying and desperately wishing she was on a cruise around the Bahamas! It was not a pleasant scene!
Once I had finally settled baby girl and baby boy was asleep I took a look at the machine in the hope that I could revive it. Sadly though my perfect prep machine has left us for electrical heaven. I will miss you old boy, you served us well!
Now, anyone know of any good offers on a new perfect prep machine?!
When baby boy was a newborn he suffered terribly with colic and wind. Breastfeeding hadn’t worked out for us and bottle feeding wasn’t going much better. Baby boy would cough, splutter and dribble so much milk that we would often have to change his clothes after a feed. Within half an hour he would be in visible pain. We later found out that he was suffering from silent reflux alongside the colic!
It was at the Baby and Toddler Show at Event City in Manchester that we found a solution to our feeding problem. I was walking past the Haberman stand and caught the end of a demonstration. The demonstrator was showing a young woman a bottle. It didn’t look like any other bottle I had seen before. It was a Haberman Suckle Feeder and with its curvy lines and bright green detailing it looked slightly space age. I was intrigued and wondered what was so amazing about this bottle. The answer was impressive and so I bought 6 of them.
The Haberman Suckle Feeder has an innovative design that uses a closed teat. This means that once milk enters the teat it does not flow back into the bottle unless it is released back in by you and so the teat stays full at any angle. This meant that baby boy could be fed in a more upright position which helped him to feed more comfortably. The closed teat system is also good for reducing wind and colic by ensuring that air bubbles are filtered back into the bottle. The really good thing about the Haberman Suckle Feeder though is the way in which is encourages a baby to feed.
Baby boy had to use his jaw, tongue and mouth to actually suckle the teat to get the milk. This meant that he could stop and rest when he wanted without his mouth still being flooded with milk. Unless he was suckling no milk came out. I could hold the bottle upside down and not a drip would escape! It is this technology that makes it perfect for parents who want to combine breast and bottle feeding (be that expressed milk or formula). Babies do not have to learn a new way of feeding. They use the same suckle action as they do on the breast. The bottle also allows for the flow of milk to be varied just by turning the bottle. No need for different sized teats! If you want Dad to share the feeding without confusing baby then this could be the bottle for you.
From the first use of this bottle we noticed a huge improvement in baby boys feeding. He no longer coughed and spluttered because he was in control of his feeding. It was a lifesaver.
Baby boy is now no longer using bottles but I would have no hesitation buying these again in the future if I needed to.
All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.
Image credit – http://www.habermanbaby.com