I am really excited to write this post. Firstly because I have learnt so much from others which was key to my breast feeding success story. Also when I learn something that I find to be really useful, I just love to share it. Thirdly, this is one of the BIGGEST questions I wanted to ask my Mum about when I fell pregnant. Obviously, because she had passed, I couldn't ask her anything about it, and it was just something we didn't really need to discuss or never came up before falling pregnant. So I never knew her story. I think breastfeeding was something that I really learnt through others, my research but ultimately my intuition which I like to think, that was mum helping me. So this post is for all new mamas out there and if I have a daughter one day, here it is documented for her.
Before I start I also want this space to be an arena for no judgement. Breastfeeding can be a controversial topic BUT it really doesn't need to be. I truly believe if you do your research, ask others for guidance - the rest is up to you. You know what is best for your baby. Even though I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding, I would never look down or shame another Mother for formula feeding, so I would expect the same in return. Lets support each other always.
Throughout my pregnancy with Hunter, my number one goal was to learn about breastfeeding. I 100% wanted to do it and pushed through all the hurdles. I had heard of so many stories of women who couldn't do it, so I knew it would be a challenge. Once I started learning more about the benefits, there was no turning back. I want to outline some background information about breast feeding, squash some very common myths and share some things that worked for me.
*I breastfed my son for 12 months which was my goal.
Australian guidelines for breastfeeding as of 2017 is 12 months+. The World Health Organisation recommends 24months.
The advantages of colostrum:
For the first 2-4 days of your baby’s life, your breasts will secrete colostrum, a yellowish fluid rich in proteins. These valuable proteins are essential to the development of a healthy immune system.
Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding:
Even though this is a non judgement space, I think it is imperative to share the disadvantages of the opposite to breast feeding. I found this information very important and encouraging to help me continue to breast feed. No judgement, just providing facts.
Things that helped me:
Before I start, I want to say, my labour experience was beautiful, one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I hope this story inspires you + reassures you how natural, beautiful + unique birth is.
Just to give a little background and the lead up to welcoming our darling Hunter.
The lead up
My pregnancy was pretty good, other than daily vomiting for the 9 months, a blood clot scare + dealing with the loss of Mum, and the 'normal' pregnancy symptoms, I think all in all my pregnancy wasn't too bad with H.
So the blood clot scare happened around 35 weeks. I was having major chest pain and shortness of breath. Because Mum had just died a few months before of a blood clot going to her heart causing a heart attack - pulmonary embolism (she was only 62), the doctors were concerned when my blood tests came back indicating that my D-dimer results where present of lots of inappropriate clots. I had to have a CT scan which is not recommended in pregnancy mainly for me but also for baby. But they said I could be just like Mum and at any moment drop dead if it was a clot. The radiographer said you can have up to 4 of these particular scans in your life without affecting you (basically it is the amount of radiation it causes). But because of my chronic illness over the years, I've already had 4. Risk to baby down the track was it MAY cause leukaemia but highly unlikely but there is a tiny risk. But if I did have this clot, neither of us would survive. Crash cause in motherhood right there. We had to make a gut wrenching decision, and all I wanted to do was ask Mum what she thought. I laid there on the cold CT scan table, closed my eyes and asked her. A sense of calmness rushed over me, like she was saying you will be ok, but also I felt like she was telling me, now you know Jo Jo, what I went through all those years of worry about you when you were sick now you are facing it with your own child. I didn't care about me, I only cared about the health of my baby. We did the scan. They only have a milli second to capture the iodine solution going through the heart valves. They missed it. My heart sank. My blood was pumping so quickly, they missed it. Then we had to make the awful decision, do we do it again? We had already tried, I was up to my 5th CT scan now but if we didn't we would be back at square one + wasted the scan. We did it the second time and we found out there was no clot after all. I think they were only really concerned because Mum had just passed away from it. The pain started to ease around 38 weeks when H started to drop.
Up until then I hadn't thought too much about the labour, a good friend of mine told me, the less you know, the less you have to worry about in terms of labour. Plus I knew that so many people had birth plans and it never went to plan. I thought surely with my medical past, something wasn't going to go to plan, so I wanted to be flexible and follow the lead of my obstetrician. Around 35 weeks we had just finished all our birthing classes and we had learnt all about the different pain relief. I think I am the only person who has never YouTube giving birth or watched 'one born every minute'. I was completely clueless. But my friend showed me her video of giving birth around this time. So with my research on pain relief, the classes and watching my friend's video I started to think about my plan. I said to my obstetrician I wanted to have an epidural. I've had a few spinal blocks in the past so it didn't worry me. My only other request was I wanted to have a vaginal birth as long as it was healthy for myself + baby and that baby was put on me straight away so I could breastfeed.
Leading up to the birth I wasn't concerned about the pain or contractions - I was just so scared about tearing. My friend had a grade 3 tear (from front to back) I nearly passed out when I heard this. That was my only worry and obviously baby being ok.
So a week before H came, around 38 weeks, I got 'the show'. I never really experienced braxton hicks the whole pregnancy and other than 'the show', nothing else other than him dropping. He decided to get the party started at 4.10am Monday 18 April 2016, I was 39weeks + 2 days. So I had 'the show' for a week before and no other symptoms.
Hubby leaves for work at 4am. Around 4.10am I woke up, with really bad lower back pain that moved to the front. Prior to this I had never experienced back pain (jeez, after giving birth vaginally I can't seem to get rid of it!) I got up, and went to the toilet + had diarrhoea. Pretty much straight after this, I had really strong period-like pain. It lasted a few seconds. Pretty much then I thought, yep, it is starting. I rang hubby and said I am having a shower, not to stress, but I think I am having contractions. A red light camera and speeding fine later, hubby was home within 5mins (his work is 20 mins away 😳). He was so excited. My Dad was staying with us, he heard me scream in pain whilst I was in the shower. I said just get your phone and start timing. The contractions started 15 minutes apart for the first hour. No pain then all of a sudden a very strong + intense period-like pain. It feels like someone is doing a Chinese burn on your abdominals, just twisting tighter + tighter. Dad was getting all confused, he was writing down the length of the contraction and the time between them but got all his numbers confused (FYI Dad is a Financial Planner so I thought we would have had numbers covered with him 😳). After my shower, I did my hair + makeup, made the bed and paced the house. At this stage it was only 5:10am so only an hour had passed. We called the birthing suite + said I was 15 minutes apart + they said to call back when I was 5 minutes apart (my advice, don't wait, just go). Then it started to get INTENSE. I went from 15 minutes pretty much to 5 minutes - straight.away! We got in the car. It was really intense, I felt like I only had a few seconds to catch my breath. It took us 8 minutes to get to the hospital. When we arrived, the contractions had dropped to 3 minutes apart. The midwife checked me and I was already 6cm dilated. Shitttttt!!! I wanted that epidural. My friend, 3months before me, had her second son + didn't get the epidural in time, so I was thinking that is going to happen to me!!! Nooooo!!!!
On a little side note - I just couldn't believe how the midwives were just so slow, they weren't slow, but it felt like it to me, they were just so 'business as usual'. Looking back, they deal with this every day, all day, but I was like hurrrrrry the eff up, this kid is coming!!!! Straight away I said I want an epidural, I wasn't taking any chances. She got me into the bed, took my blood pressure and then she got the other midwife in - never a good sign. She turns to me and says we have to do blood tests, so you won't be able to have the epidural until we get the results as your blood pressure is too low! What???!!!! I had never heard of this before. The midwife kept saying prepare yourself to not get one, because if the results indicate that you have low platelet counts then you can't have it. Fuckkkkkkkkkkkkk! The 30 minutes was let's say INTENSE! (But....saying that, I am writing this 14 months after the event, + I honestly can not even remember the pain, my Mum always said this to me, you forget the pain + I really did. I know it was there but I can't really remember it. You remember it being intense + painful but that is it, the memory leaves you, which is good thing).
So that 30 minutes honestly felt like 10 hours. My obstetrician came in to say hi, and said he would be back soon, he reassured me I was doing great, he has such a calm presence. But I remember saying to hubby, if I can't get the epidural they have to give me a caesarean, I can't cope with the pain. Midwife walks in, checks me, I am 8cm dilated + contractions are 30 SECONDS apart. At this stage I had only been labouring for about 2.5 hours. The results are in - you can have the epidural!!! You bloody beauty!!! I screamed - yasssssssssssssss!!!! I literally was so excited!!!! Haha. It didn't take long and the anaesthetist was in. I wanted to jump out of that bed and tackle her with a huge hug. She said it would take about 15 minutes to administer and when I got a contraction to tell her as she would have to stop. You have to stay really still and because my contractions were already 30 seconds apart and so intense, she said it could take a bit longer. I turned on the side of the bed, my hubby stood in front of me, I bent over + put my head into his chest, and he put his arms around me. I closed my eyes and just counted + repetitively said Mum in my mind. I don't think I felt one contraction as I was so in the zone, that epidural was going in.
I reckon I felt the affects of the epidural pretty much straight away. I was on cloud 9. I was so happy + excited to meet our baby boy. It was about 7.30am. The epidural slowed my labour right down. I remember texting my friends + snap chatting them whilst I was in labour. I was sending them videos of this little boy called Balang dancing on Ellen (see video below). I was loving life! Haha I read over all my friends + families predictions on the baby's weight, length etc (I loved doing this).
My obstetrician popped in here and there just to reassure me everything was going good. The midwives only came in a few times to check my blood pressure + to check how far along I was. I couldn't feel a thing. I was just laying in bed watching TV (like you would at home). At about midday I was 9cm (so I had only progressed 1cm in 4.5hrs), my obstetrician came in + said start practising pushing, it is her first pregnancy so she will be awhile. He works at 2 hospitals (about a 15 minute drive between them), he said he would see me soon, off to deliver another baby at the other hospital. I was thinking, what does he think about in the car ride between them? Haha.
So I practised my first push + the midwife said 'your baby has a lot of hair'. Ummmm what? How do you know that? Your baby's head is crowning. One push? Already? She said no more pushing, we have to wait for your obstetrician. So I waited till 2:15pm when he came back (still hadn't felt a thing). Just before he came in, hubby and I took a selfie, our last photo of just the two of us. Then we put our heads together + did a prayer to God, that our baby would be safe + healthy. It was possibly one of the most beautiful moments in my entire life.
In comes our jolly obstetrician. 'Hey gorgeous, wow bub has a lot of hair, you are doing perfectly'. He comes in, lifts my leg up to his shoulder and I go 'are you sure?' Haha he goes 'Yes gorgeous, this is how it is done'. The midwives said push when you have a contraction. I said I can't feel anything, so they had to check manually and told me when to push. They offered me a mirror to look + if hubby wanted to look but we both declined (this time, I think I want to pull bubba out Kourtney Kardashian style 😉). First push and he was half out, one more + he was out. Possibly the most magical part of my whole labour was this very moment. As I pushed, and closed my eyes, I just saw the image of a figure 8 (infinity symbol) and then my beautiful Mum's face. She was right there in front of me. Throughout my whole pregnancy, I never felt her presence. Everyone kept saying you will feel her when she is around, but I never could + I was getting so frustrated. But that moment Hunter came Earthside, I felt my mum, I felt like she came with him. I could see her again as my eyes were closed. I could feel her presence. Words can't describe the feeling of complete happiness in that moment. Then my OB, pressed on my stomach + said now the placenta is coming out. He made no sound, I started to panic but remembered my friend saying her first, made no sound either, I said what's happening, then my baby boy used his lungs for the very first time, that cry made me feel so happy.
We collected Hunter's core blood, so that nurse stepped in quickly + took the sample she needed whilst the doctor placed my beautifully perfect little boy on me.
On Monday 18 April 2016 at 2:40pm my perfectly perfect baby boy Hunter Francis John Zammit was born. A tiny 2.9kg + 48cm. My piece of Heaven.
I laboured for 10.5 hours and only had one tiny tear.
For the next 2hours, Hunter was on my chest feeding. He fed like a champion. I remember changing breasts as the midwife came in and she said this must be your second baby, and I said no it's my first, she said you are a natural. I think that gave me the confidence in the beginning that we would be ok. All I had to do was follow my instincts and we would be ok. I fell instantly in love with my darling boy.
Hubby + I chose the name Hunter Francis John. Hunter - a name symbolising strength which is what his grandmother Suzanne was. Francis and John after his two grandfathers. I felt like Mum had passed Hunter over to me, she had carried + cradled him for 9 months, now it was my turn. I felt like I knew Hunter my whole life. I will forever be grateful to this little boy for everything he is + for brining me a piece of my Mama back. Even now, when I hold him really close, I feel her.
The other anxiety I had before going into labour was introducing Hunter to people. I was extremely anxious about having close family in the hospital because I would feel Mum's absence. She would of been in the delivery room with us, so to not have her holding him when others were, I really feared that moment. I took my time. Hubby showered me (still in the birthing suite - I couldn't feel my legs for about 2hours due to the epidural). I put my makeup on and we left the birthing suite as a family of 3. Surprisingly I was fine when our family visited Hunter. Because the whole time, I felt Mum was in the room. I just had to hold my little boy + she was with us.
I stayed in hospital for 4 days. Hunter was thriving and I was recovering really well. Expect the vomiting got worst. I ended up having major stomach surgery 6 days postpartum. I will do a seperate blog post on this because it had nothing to do with my labour it was something completely different. My labour experience was beautiful, peaceful, happy + euphoric. A few hours after giving birth to Hunter, I said to Hubby, let's go again! I loved it. So praying my birth story with bubba number 2 is just as magical.
I love it. Like you I can't live without. All I want is more of it. It is my favourite hobby. I love the blankets around my neck and my feet popping out. The linen is soft and I am surrounded by pillows. It is king size so I have plenty of room to stretch. I get at least 12 hours of it. NOTTTT!!!! Or this could of been written pre-baby, but definately not now as a Mama. I used to hear Mothers, always talk about lack of sleep. But never really understood it until I had a newborn. I don't think there is enough talk about it unless you already have a child (it is all us Mamas seem to talk about). Social media and discussion groups are all about nursery set up, what to take to the hospital, how scary labour is, and the endless pregnancy symptoms! Don't get me wrong, along with breastfeeding this is what I researched and spoke about too in my first pregnancy (and loved it and still do). But we do need to add another topic to the discussion - SLEEP!
I really wished I had researched more about sleep before having Hunter. In my first pregnancy, I really wanted to breastfeed and had heard a lot of unsuccessful stories, so I really focused all my energy into researching it, asking friends, seeing the lactation consultant and learning loads, mainly about the benefits and what to expect with breast feeding. It worked because I successfully breastfeed Hunter for 12 months which was my goal and I am pretty proud of myself (I will write a post on this soon). Anyway, back to sleep (oh I wish :) I would say my number one shock to the system when I had Hunter was the lack of sleep. I am one of those people that LOVE my sleep and need a lot of it. I am not an early riser, I am night owl (*note your babe might be the same, it is our temperament) so living on only a few hours of sleep in a week (dead serious), I think I went into shock because I just wasn't expecting it. I remember messaging one of my friends who also has beautiful scrumptious boys and saying "what is wrong with him? He just won't sleep! He will only sleep in my arms or being vigorously rocked or sometimes not at all. He isn't on a schedule, shouldn't he be sleeping by now??" She was a lifesaver and reassured me her two boys were exactly the same and she was the same with her first but with her second, she decided to 'let go' and enjoy motherhood and stop focusing on trying to get him to follow a schedule or be a particular way. Our stories were pretty much the same. Thank God! First tip: speak up and talk to your friends and family. Don't hide the fact that your baby doesn't sleep, it is okay, it is completely NORMAL, more so than I thought. And FYI sleeping through is no more than 5 hours!
The first few weeks (days even), I am not going to lie, hands down the lack of sleep is what I remember the most. Not the labour, not the contractions, not the breastfeeding (yes my nipples were cracked and sore), and not my major surgery I had 4 days after having Hunter (another post to come on that), but the lack of sleep is all I remember. For me, that was the hardest part. I remember asking my friends, so when do they actually sleep? 3 weeks, 4 months, f*ckkkk 6 months, surely not? Where I had Hunter, it was a great system which I also think was due to my breast feeding success, you have to take the baby to the nursery to feed not in your room. Midwives 24/7 in there and other Mother's and their newborns - dressing gowns, slippers, bags (under their eyes of course) and that face. Just let me sleep, please, for 10 minutes. I remember walking down there at 2am (that is when babes loves to party), and dragging my feet, like a toddler being dragged away from the swings, I thought, shit, my legs are literally going to fall off. So the beginning was definately tough and the lack of sleep and exhaustion was hard to say the least. But I went back again didn't I? So must not have been too bad, right? Also just want to point out, Hunter is a TERRIBLE sleeper and still isn't great. Your baby (and I am praying second babe) may be a fabulous sleeper. But I just want to prepare not scare.
So as I have set the scene, H didn't really improve and just got worst. I was completely clueless. I remember around the 3 month mark, it just got worst and he probably didn't settle until at least 6 months (at 6months he would at least sleep for 2-3hours - heaven!). But it was at that 3 month mark, you start getting the comments and the sleep deviation really sets in. So I tried EVERYTHING. I mean everything. Even in the middle of the night I bought a $500 sleeping program online who guaranteed a 'gentle' approach to helping babe sleep. It was just another sleep training program and pretty much like the free information you get from online guides and 'sleep schools'. Now please remember this is my story and your story will be different from mine. Sleep training, crying it out - may all work for you, but it didn't for me. This post is really for the Mama, who needs reassurance that there is nothing wrong with your baby or you and if you don't want to sleep train or it isn't working, you don't have to.
I focused soooooo much on trying to get Hunter into a routine but it just didn't work for him, and he still has a very flexible routine now, I have now learnt it is his temperament and personality. So while I have been pregnant this time round, I have really dedicated my time in researching about sleep. As I didn't do this with H and just felt all over the place. I see a beautiful midwife and lactation consultant from the hospital, she really helped me with breastfeeding but mainly I love her approach to motherhood. Her advice is very much based on researched and she can back anything up, but she also is a mother and grandmother herself and really focuses on the child as an individual and makes sure everything is tailored for you and your babe. Her main thing is - you know best and to trust your intuition. Oh my goodness, she is spot on. Every time I did this with H, everything fell into place. The moment I did something I thought I was meant to do, it all went to shit. This is the key word to motherhood - intuition.
So after all my research, meetings with my midwife, talking to friends, and on the job training :) I found a fantastic book which I love. I literally read it in 2 days. It was like it was written from my heart. I believe this is a must have book for all pregnant woman and new Mamas. Why I love it? Firstly, it says to follow your intuition, every child is different (no parent or sleep manual will work - EVER), it is reassuring and nurturing, it is written by a lactation consultant, there is loads of research and the best part there are heaps of real life stories from other Mamas. I am going to point out my top 5 quotes from the book to give you a taste and what really helped me. The book is called 'Sleeping like a baby, simple sleep solutions for babies and toddlers' by Pinky McKay.
Sleep: one step at a time:
"I spent so much time trying to teach my first baby to sleep. I wish I'd spent it enjoying him" Megan
The most important point of all. It will take time and look completely different for every family and child. Go gently. But most importantly follow your intuition. It will never fail you and always guide you. Do what feels right and what works for you. You don't ever have to explain yourself. If you and your baby are safe, healthy and happy, stick to it. If you want to try new things, give them a go and be consistent but if it doesn't work that is ok. Some beautiful strategies and examples in the book. Remember do everything with love, how can you go wrong with that?
Sleep training & controlled crying
"The cries of an infant are the voice of Nature, suplicating relief. It can express its wants in no other language." Mrs Parkes, Domestic Duties, 1825
Sleep deprivation is a cow! And the moment you tell anyone about how your babe doesn't sleep - you will get, have you tried sleep training? Shits me! I have tried all the sleep programs and had all the certain sleep 'schools' on speed dial. I remember starting them and thinking, all those mothers who say they can't get their babies to sleep, just haven't persisted or tried hard enough. But I did. It didn't work. It made me so miserable and made me feel like a complete failure. I believe I am a natural mother and motherhood came to me so easily. Other than sleep, H was thriving and such a happy baby. But doing these programs it stressed Hunter. I always felt like I was going against the what I truly thought was right. There had to be another way. As I have mentioned it is very important to follow your intuition, but it also important to learn from others and do your research. Educate and empower yourself. I would suggest, reading and learning about different sleep strategies and programs. They do have some great tips and tricks that may be suitable for your babe. In particular, learning about baby's sleep cycle, active alertness and sleep cues etc. The moment, I started to 'watch' Hunter, and was able to identify the hunger cues, the cuddle cues and the sleep cues - life became a lot easier. With routined sleep programs, they are good because they offer babies a secure and predictable environment. However, think about yourself, how would you feel being told you had to eat at 12:30 on the dot or sleep at 1pm - what if you aren't hungry or worst, hungry at 1145? We want a secure environment yes, but we also want babies to learn flexibility and not just be so mechanical and structured. If you have read any of my other posts, you will know that I am a highly organised perfectionist and love lists and schedules. But I am also an educator and something I learnt very quickly in teaching and now motherhood, you need to go with the rhythm of the child, they are all different and require personalise needs. Your baby is no different. I really want to point out something I have found in my research and it goes into further detail in the book, which is the science behind controlled crying. I wish I had come across this before having Hunter. Again, no judgement, but I think it is really important that all parents know of the dangers and risks of controlled crying. I really do not think it is spoken about enough.
Firstly, it is a myth you will teach your baby 'bad habits' or 'spoil them'. Your baby doesn't have an agenda or deliberately trying to inconvenience you, he is simply expressing natural biological urges to be nurtured and nourished and to feel safe. He has no control over his needs and how they are met.
Secondly, crying it out has now taken on the more 'gentle' terms of controlled crying, controlled soothing, spaced soothing, gradual withdrawal. Basically, the difference is you don't just shut the door on baby and let them cry till they are exhausted, but you offer interval reassurance throughout the process. The Australian Association of Infant Mental Health (AAIMHI) advises, "Controlled crying is not consistent with what infants need for their optimal emotional and psychological health, and may have unintended negative consequences" - okay that was enough for me. Also go with common sense, we don't need a journal article telling us that if a baby is left alone for twelve hours, they could aspirate vomit and choke or become overheated. There is no published documentation where there are any 'safe' guidelines on how long you can leave a baby to safely cry it out.
Paediatrician William Sears says that babies that are 'trained' to sleep well and appear to be 'good' sleepers, are being trained from the beginning to not express their needs and because they just stop after a few days of 'training', which doesn't mean they have learnt to self soothe, they have learnt to stop expressing themselves and have given up because you haven't responded to them. Don't know about you, but I don't want my baby or child to ever feel I have given up on them at any age. Babies (and children + teenagers) need our help to learn how to regulate their emotions. When babies are left alone, they fail to develop the understanding that they can regulate their own emotions. A longitudinal study of depressed and healthy preschool children who underwent neuroimaging at school age showed that children who experienced responsive early nurturing had a larger hippocampal volume - a brain region that is key to memory and stress modulation. This means that by responding to your baby when she is young, when she is older she will have a better capacity to soothe herself and calm down if she is feeling upset, angry or anxious. You don't ever get this time back, the hippocampal volume can never increase later in life, it is during infancy it develops. As an educator, who specialises in gifted education, I know the effects of children and the RAPID increase of anxiety in young children. I have preformed a lot of research on how anxiety affects intelligence and learning. We live in a society, which has a growing number of suicide and mental health problems. I know for me, if I can help prevent this in anyway, any form of sleep training or controlled crying isn't for me and I just wouldn't take that risk,
"The newborn baby will have only three demands. They are warmth, in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three." Dr Grantly Dick-Read
I am not going to write too much on this because I will be doing a blog post on this soon. I am also not going to comment too much on formula feeding because I haven't done it and I am not an expert. I am a Mother, who researched breastfeeding and really pushed through (I mean not just the cracked nipples or waiting for my milk, I had major life-threatening surgery 4 days after Hunter, and was only on a drip and liquids for 6 weeks when I first had him.) I get it, it is very difficult but it can be done. But the one thing I really want to point out is, firstly no judgement and if formula feeding works for you, that is your choice, but I really want to emphasise that MOST of the research done on sleeping and baby sleep guides and what is considered 'normal' is based on formula fed babies and not breast fed babies. So already if you are breastfeeding all the information about sleeping is going to contradict. I don't care what anyone says, formula fed babies and breast fed babies, sleep differently. It is a proven researched fact. As do boys vs. girls. These sleep training programs, crying it out approaches, how much you want to put 'gentle' in front of it, they are based on formula fed babies (and don't even consider that all babies are different, even if they are littler than the average baby). So please do not get disheartened if your babe doesn't sleep to these ridiculous guidelines. Also remember if you are breastfeeding, your baby is used to being on you all the time, it is his comfort, that is all he knows, putting him in a cot is very unnatural and a western ideology.
"The bosom of a mother is the natural pillow of her offspring" Dr JT Conquest
I was that person pre-baby that said I will never ever co-sleep. I was so against it. But I am a proud mother who co-sleeps, who loves it, embraces it and can't wait for babe number two to join us. It has taken me 12 months to be able to admit that. Co-sleeping is not a guilty habit. 80% of parents co-sleep (in Australia) and breastfeeding and co-sleeping are inextricably linked. Australia is extremely unique compared to the rest of the world. In Europe, South America, Africa and Asian - co-sleeping is the norm, cots and bassinets are the taboo and 'strange' thing to do. Psychologist Penelope Leach states, "Western cultures are unique in the amount of physical separateness which they impose on infants, inventing innumerable gadgets - prams, cots, baby chairs and bouncers." Also think about our ancestors, where do you think the cave woman put their babies to sleep? Yep, on them and with them. It is the most natural and nurturing thing you can do, especially for newborns. Again, all babes are different and some prefer their own space and go into their cots earlier than others. What I have found with Hunter is, when he is ready he will do it, not a minute before or less. He now starts out in his cot (3 months ago, he would of screamed), I lay with him and hold his hand, after about 10 minutes he falls asleep. He will wake anytime from 11pm-3am and comes in with us. When he is sick or teething this varies which we accommodate for. I am not saying you need to co-sleep, I am saying it is ok to and it is very natural. Do what works best for you and baby. Remember as parents, we do need to be selfless. If your baby is happy, content, relaxed sleeping with you, maybe he is telling you something. Don't worry they won't always be sleeping with you. Relax and enjoy the snuggles. Hunter is always so much calmer when he is with us.
Time to sleep
"Always kiss your children goodnight - even if they're already asleep' H Jackson Brown, Jr, author
I think it is really important to have some sort of 'routine/association' with sleep. As structured or as flexible as you like, even if babe is co-sleeping, so sleep is always associated with positivity, something to look forward to and a way for you to communicate with your bubba that it is sleep time. The book goes into more strategies for this, but it can range from soft music, the same book being read, a song, a bath, massage, putting sleeping bag or swaddle on. With Hunter, I always sing him his favourite song 'Little Little Boy..." and give him a massage and read the same book to him.
Remember it is a proven fact that, when you are stressed, baby feels this. Babies are no different to other people in your life, when someone you love is stressed, you feel it too. So try and enjoy the ride, remain calm and remember you won't ever get these days back, they will be all grown up one day.
Would love to know what you think, your story and what has worked and hasn't worked for you.
We have reached the half way mark! And boy am I feeling it! I'm excited to be able to have a blog because I can document my pregnancy which I didn't get to do with my first, Hunter. As my babes will only be 18 months a part, I remember a lot of my first pregnancy so I will be comparing them in each bump date.
I didn't document my first pregnancy mainly because I was just trying to get through each day. My beautiful Mum, passed away the day before I found out I was pregnant. So I was grieving throughout my whole pregnancy with Hunter. My aim was to get up each day, breathe and basically just survive. That is all I could manage. Once I had Hunter, the Mama love bubble + exhaustion took my mind off my grieving but I have found now that I am pregnant again, all the emotions of loosing Mum have hit me just like they did when it first happened. A mixture of pregnancy hormones, post traumatic stress of relating pregnancy to loss & simply starting another new chapter without mum, has made me extremely emotional throughout this pregnancy.
To be honest, with this pregnancy I have just wanted to stay home + not leave the house. I've just wanted to shack up with hubby + Hunter. Which is not me at all. I love being around people, and a major extrovert, I am definately the opposite to a homebody, but I just don't feel like socialising. Missing my mum has really taken over me and I often find myself crying a few times a day for her. I'm not depressed, I know the difference, I'm grieving still (I don't think you ever stop - something I will blog about later).
Both my pregnancies are complete opposite! From the beginning extremely different...here are some differences to date.
Hunter - first pregnancy:
So as you can see everything is different to date. Just hoping my labour is the same though (because it was the most beautiful experience which I will write a post on that soon).
Just a few things I wanted to point out. People say you put on weight quicker with the second because you usually haven't lost weight from the first. But I had and was 10kg lighter when I fell pregnant with this babe, than I was with Hunter. Also baby has been checked numerous times with the bleeding + cramping, and baby is fine.
So as you can see if an individual can have polar opposite pregnancies than all woman are completely different.
Would love to hear your pregnancy experiences, please leave a comment below!
My motherhood section is probably the most diverse + something I really want to sink my teeth into. But I want to start with something light to show, that I will be writing about heavy, often polarising topics such as breastfeeding + co-sleeping and lighter topics like gift-giving + pregnancy symptoms.
So today I wanted to share some gift ideas for the modern mama.
The key is these 3 simple points: keep it personal, thoughtful but neutral. For example, I think vouchers are fantastic, however rather than a Myer voucher, maybe a Yummy Mummy Day Spa voucher.
•Think of your Mama, is she having a boy or a girl, does she already have children, what is her style (likes designer, carefree, neutral or bright pieces), does she love massages or would she love a date night with her partner - what does she talk about? Let your Mama know you know her and have taken the time to get her something she would like.
•If you know baby's name, initials or surname get something personal made. Instagram is flooded with beautiful personalised products, from dummy chains to leggings to blankets. Surname is always a good option because it is gender neutral and can be be handed down to other siblings, plus you can organise before baby arrives.
•Unless your Mama has specified something she particular wants for her nursery or house or to wear I would stay clear from these products, as they are usually expensive + she will feel she may have to display it. Unless you are confidant knowing her style or colours, go for things that are neutral (whites, greys, black, beiges) and things that she can decide when to use them (blankets, towels, dummy chains).
What we love•
Note for Mama's - I am all for the gift registry. I love to give someone something they want or need. Whether it is a baby shower or even when baby comes or even birthdays, I think we should break down the barriers + make registries ok. It isn't about how much you spend, it is about giving something thoughtful + personal (a registry gives you insight into that).
Please comment below and tell me what you thought of this post