I was reading a few blogs, as you do, and came accross the concept of Zero Waste.

So, I want to be a bit more commited to looking at the stuff we throw away.

We used to be quite good, but then we had a baby. A baby who never sleeps and, quite frankly, somewhere around the fifth day my brain stopped functioning correctly. I’m never quite sure if I’ve remembered to brush my teeth, so actually getting my head around dealing with our waste output felt a bit too much to handle. Then my dad came round, and he took five bags of rubbish from around my house to the bin, and I was horrified. We’d gone from meticulously sorting rubbish to throwing away colossal amounts of rubbish and it felt grim.

Yet another thing that fell of the wagon when the baby arrived, and yet it was probably one of the more important things we could do for our daughter. Not only to help safeguard the planet that she will be living on, but also to teach her (and through her future generations) about the importance of minimising our impact on the planet (and how nasty landfill is, obv. We live near a skip company, if the wind is against us we can smell how nasty it is.)

Zero Waste Week was launched in 2008, to raise awareness of the impact on the environment of the things we throw away. It runs for one week in September, and this year it starts this coming Monday.

So we’ve made a pledge at No. 1: this week we’re going to attempt to cut down on the rubbish we put in our general waste bin, and hopefully go into our next collection without an overflowing bin.

We’re hopefully going to achieve this by:

  1. Bringing less packaging into the house.
  2. Making sure we recycle everything that can be recycled.
  3. Wasting as little food as possible.
  4. Making use of our green bin for what food waste we do have.
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A Teddy Bears Picnic Party

Here’s where my real-life and my pinterest-life are completely different.

I absolutely love planning parties, on Pinterest, in fact my Pinterest parties are amazing, if I do say so myself. They have wonderful looking food, fun games and beautiful decorations.

Then I remember that I hate parties. I’m not good with people, I’m not good with social events and I am especially not good with my expectations of people’s judgements. Basically, I don’t like planning things because I worry they will be rubbish and nobody will turn up and I will be sat alone in a room filled with balloons and broken dreams.

I may be slightly laughing at myself but I am also deadly serious.

But equally I don’t ever want my daughter missing out because I dislike certain situations, so party planning it is.

This one was made extra-specially stress inducing because when I started planning it I didn’t know if we would be able to be back in our house or not, so I didn’t have a set venue. Everything I planned had to be moveable at a moments notice.

It also had to be minimal budget.

  • Sun Cream Basket
  • Rubbish and Recycling Baskets
  • Helium Balloons with Floral Decorations (need weights of some kind, stones maybe?)
  • Tin Can Toss
  • Ring Toss (with pastel painted bottles)
  • Brown Paper Bag party bags made to look like teddy bears
  • Sack race/egg and spoon etc.
  • Pimms for the Adults??

 

Pippin’s First Birthday Photos – with Milk & Cuddles Photography [Needs Completing]

I first found Milk & Cuddles Photography after a friend posted photos of her daughter’s cake smash on Facebook. I absolutely loved the photos, and although I didn’t want a cake smash for Pippin I did want some photos to commemorate her Birthday.

I had some very specific ideas in place initially, I wanted to combine the photos for Pippin’s birthday with the theme for our wedding as our Anniversary and Pippin’s Birthday are only a week or so apart.

In the end it didn’t quite work out like that, I decided I didn’t much like the idea anymore and Lauren suggested we look at an outdoor shoot.

She suggested Dunham Massey, it is a place that means a lot to my husband and I. It was just the perfect location for the photos.

And she didn’t disappoint.

 

A few thoughts on confidence

Someone said to me, you must really not give a fuck what people think of you. You wear circle skirts, and loud prints and big hair flowers. You stand out.

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I thought about it for a minute, and that’s just not true. I care far too much about what people think of me. I spend about 90% of my time thinking about what people think of me. I can’t walk into a room, or down the street to be with family without wondering what other people think of me.

I analyse every interaction with other humans, wondering what I could have done better or how I could have managed the situation differently.

The more I think about it, the more sad it seems.

It has become even more glaring obvious that I am far too quick to worry about others’ opinions since I became a mum. And what is worse is that I regularly adapt how I want to parent to fit what I feel other people want me to do. Why would I want my daughter to grow up seeing her mum’s opinion regularly discounted and trodden down?

That’s not other’s people’s fault. Everyone has an opinion, but I am under no obligation to listen to them. Much less actually act upon them.

I try to do the best for my family and daughter. The way I parent may not be the way others parent, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I must be doing something ok, she is thriving.

I want my daughter to grow up confident in her own decisions and in herself. I want her to be strong, and to continue being as wilful as she is now. I also want her to know that although her decisions may not always work out the way she planned, it is ok and she can dust herself off and try again. I want her to know that it is ok to disagree with the opinions of the people around her, and that she can forge her own path.

I need to find my voice, for her, and show her the strong woman I want her to be. Not the woman who allows others to dictate to her and lets her voice be drowned.

I want to be a role model for my daughter.

 

 

 

My Breastfeeding Story

I’ve been breastfeeding now for ten months.

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I never intended to breastfeed at all. I did say “Oh, I will give it a go, but if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work”, to everyone who I thought wanted to hear it (the midwife, other mamas-to-be, my Mother-in-law, my husband, the woman in the COOP). Really I had no intention of it working, I just wasn’t interested in breastfeeding.

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and pregnancy was hard. I didn’t like losing my body autonomy and I wasn’t sure I could cope with the extra responsibility and the dependence of baby on me for all the feeds. Plus I wasn’t sure how to cop with my breasts’ new function.

Then I got gestational diabetes and moved very swiftly from a homebirth to being induced at 37+4 weeks.

I hated the idea of being induced and, frankly, I hated being induced.

I laboured, unsuccessfully, for fifteen hours before heading over to surgery for an EMC and a lovely big bleed.

I was shown Pippin, and then she was taken somewhere else in the room for her AGPARS and whatnot, whilst they sewed me back together. We got into recovery where we had our first cuddle. Then daddy got some skin to skin, and baby Pips decided she wanted a bite to eat and did her newborn crawl to daddy’s nipple.

So back she came to me, and they attempted to get her to latch on my right nipple, with no joy. I was struggling to get into position and she was struggling to get into position. So, as they were concerned about getting some nutrients in her, and how sleepy she was getting, they asked permission to give her a cup of formula. Which was given.

It’s all a bit blurry after this because I was both tired and still slightly drugged up. Drs kept coming in and taking bloods and looking for infections. Then they took Pip away because they wanted to fit a canula and do some tests.

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After a  bit I got taken back up to the ward, and they brought her back and I just looked at her.

It felt like two minutes later when they came a took her again. They wanted to fit a naso-gastric tube and do an xray.

So when my parents arrived to visit their granddaughter they found me, alone and fairly upset. I don’t want to dwell on that bit. But what it meant for feeding was that Pip was on a drip for the first day, as they were worried about her aspirating a feed. By the second day her oxygen levels increased enough that she was allowed to have colostrum and formula fed through the tube.

I did have loads of support from the infant feeding team. I was shown how to properly hand express colostrum, and then given a pump to try and stimulate my milk to come in so we could send it to Pippin.

On the second day I went and saw here. I can remember getting to hold her again, but I’m not sure when it was. I was a mess and I really struggled with feelings of, I can only describe it as inadequacy. Not about the feeding, but because she had ended up in that situation. I don’t know how I ended up fighting so hard to breast feed, I think it felt like the only thing I had left to give her. The thing only I could do. If things had been different, maybe I wouldn’t have breast fed. Who knows now.

Latching still wasn’t working well for us. She could managed the left, but my right nipple was just the wrong shape for her. I was still pumping religiously and she was having top ups of both expressed milk and formula. They identified a posterior tongue tie, but I was really reluctant for more medical interventions. We left hospital after a week with an appointment for the tongue tie clinic and a breast pump.

I wasn’t in a good way when I got home. The birth had crushed me, I was on daily injections (I hate needles) and I was shaking and felt sick every time I had to feed her. I wasn’t in a good place mentally, but somehow we just carried on.

 

In hospital I had begun to recognise her hungry cries, but sometimes the crying just wouldn’t stop. We would pace for hours with a screaming baby. We were changing more nappies than we could keep track of in a day, all of which were filled with mucousy poo. We were struggling. Then, after a particularly bad night during which we changed seven nappies in an hour, my midwife asked when we had considered the possibility of a dairy allergy. So I put measures in place to removed dairy. It would take a whole other post to talk about that, and I probably will do at some point, but over a number of months it made a massive difference and the smiley, contented baby we’d had glimpses of was around more often and things got a little easier. With hindsight I know that the screaming with red face and balled first wasn’t, as I had been led to believe in hospital, hunger, it was pain. Pain as her tiny body tried to process dairy. In reality those ‘top ups’ were probably not needed and actually might have been making things worse. But nobody was to know that, and it couldn’t be helped.

I wish I hadn’t spent those weeks blaming myself – researching colic, foremilk and hindmilk and thinking it was my fault for feeding her too much, or too little or not swapping breasts enough. When it was inevitable.

Around the same time we worked out the dairy allergy I got mastitis. And it is every bit as horrible as they tell you. At first it felt as though I had glass in my nipple, then I started shivering and felt freezing cold, but I was boiling hot. At some point over the second night it started to break; I was alternating between shivering and sweating so heavily I had to put towels down on the bed.

The midwives suggested having the tongue tie snipped (I had cancelled the previous appointment because we were managed well) would be advisable. So we had it done. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was over quickly. Although as she learnt to latch again it was like going back to square one: sore nips.

From there we haven’t really had any issues. I kind of, enjoy is the wrong word, but I feel some sense of achievement I guess. Which is funny because I haven’t really done anything exactly. I am glad I have breast fed her. Ending up breastfeeding has influenced a lot of my other parenting choices too. We ended up co-sleeping, which wasn’t our intention, and I haven’t gone back to work quite as quickly as I thought. It has worked for us though, and with Pippin’s allergies I am quite glad she wasn’t exposed to more dairy through formula. I like the way things have turned out, for the most part, I could do with a bit more sleep, but that’s probably a common complaint for parents!

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I do think it has been harder than we are probably led to believe, and that leads to, in some cases, women thinking there’s something wrong with their breasts/supply when there might not be. I was lucky that I had a lot of support, but it was completely by chance. I know two women who gave birth around the same time as me who were desperate to breast feed, but it didn’t work out for them. I feel a bit sad that I got the support when I was pretty set against breast feeding and they didn’t have that.

As things stand I have no intention of stopping breastfeeding until Pip decides she is ready to. With her allergies it is probably the healthiest thing I can do for her right now. Although I am holding out hope she will take a bottle of ebm eventually.

If we ever did this again, and there’s a slim to none chance of me ever going through labour again, I think I would breastfeed. I think I would trust my instincts more, and hopefully panic less about whether they are having enough milk (babies and bodies are clever, they know) although I would do bottles and dummies as well as breastfeeding, to allow me a little more space.

Sod the nipple confusion, mama needs a nap.

 

Pippin’s 10 month update

There’s been so much going on of late that I haven’t really had the inclination to write much. Not just in our own lives, although that has been really busy with the renovation, and I’ve also started therapy in order to deal with some of the feelings I have around Pip’s birth. It also seems that every time you turn on the news right now there’s another terrible thing happened. There seems to be so much sadness right now.

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Pippin continues to grow, as babies do, and she’s thriving. We had her 9-12 month check this week, and the health visitor said she’s in the top end of the bracket for development. I try not to look at the lists of things she should be doing, but it is always good to know she’s doing well.

She’s still in the 91st for weight, which surprised me a little because she never stops moving! Although she has lost a little. She’s also just under the 50th for height at 71cm. Her dad says she takes after her parents: short and stocky! It is true that she has little legs, just like me. Her trousers always have to be rolled up.

She’s surprising us now with everything she can do. In the last couple of weeks she’s moved on from walking whilst holding both of your hands to just one hand. She has also mastered climbing the stairs, which is a little scary to be honest.

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Her sixth tooth also cut this week, so she’s dropped the amount she’s been eating. She has also dropped her milk feeds to three per day, although she still feeds massively overnight.

Still exclusively breastfed and unfortunately although we’ve seen a bit of an improvement in her allergies Dairy is still a no go.

She is loving turning the pages of books right now, and is having a go at putting the rings on to her stacker. She still absolutely loves knocking over towers, but has also started kicking them down too. She can also kick and throw a ball, although it very often doesn’t go where she intends it to.

Pippin and I had a joint trip to the dentist and we’re starting to get somewhere with the teeth brushing – although I think she likes the toothpaste a little too much!

Her birthday feels like it is coming along at a really rapid pace now, and I’m just hoping to get back into our own house in time for us to throw her a little party!