Co Sleeping.

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When I was pregnant with Freya co-sleeping was never an option for us. It was not really something we had discussed and quite rightly with the fear of SIDS we did not want to do it. (Please always check the sleeping guidelines for prevention of SIDS). When Freya was born she cluster fed nonstop for months. I remember feeding her for 9 hours at one stage and I was truly exhausted. I was sat up in the bed almost falling asleep holding her. It really was horrendous and, in my eyes, dangerous!

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(Up all night)

I never let myself lie her down and feed her so we could both have a rest, why??? Why would I not do that? Well, I believe it was because co-sleeping was so frowned upon.  Just like the ‘horror’ stories you hear about giving birth (because everyone likes a good negative story, right?) there were many stories about putting your baby into bed with you. Only now, three years on having two babies I can tell you. You NEED to do what is best for you. And guess what, everyone is doing that!

When I researched it turns out the UK and Ireland are totally obsessed with our baby’s sleep. We fret when they don’t have naps or sleep through the night. We think we have failed if we take them into bed with us. Well, let me tell you that we have not failed. Let me tell you there is no right or wrong way to do anything when it comes to our children. In other cultures, if you DO NOT sleep with your children it is frowned upon! What do you make of that? It shows you that no matter what you do, there will always be someone with something to say. So, you just do what is right for you and your family.

I did a bit of research on my Instagram page, asking my followers how they felt about co-sleeping. These were the questions I asked and the results:

 

Are you ‘for’ or ‘against’ co sleeping?

Out of 198 votes. 70% said YES and 30% said NO

Do you co sleep with your children?

Out of 196 votes. 52% said YES and 48% said NO

If Yes, how long do you plan on doing it.  (Less than 4 years or More than 4 years)

Out of 195 votes. Less was 85% and More was 15%

If you co sleep, how does your partner feel about it? Are they For or Against it?

Out of 190 votes .60% was FOR and 40% was against.

 

Based on my results I feel there is not as much negativity towards it anymore. More than half said they did not have a problem with it, however not everyone does it.

My situation now has changed. I spent so much time of my life crying outside doors, sitting on stairs and feeling frustrated that Freya had come in and out of her sleeping routine. For 12 months we had it ‘nailed’. She was napping well and sleeping all night. Any sign of change we were on top of it, We could not and would not let it defeat us. Yes, we could not let our child defeat us. How silly does that sound? Should we not be supporting them, nurturing them and helping them when they have a problem?

Since having a second baby I have realised that we can only do so much. We can only do what is right for us at the time. My 10-month-old has frequent night awakenings and in order for all of us to sleep well she comes into the bed with me in the middle of the night.

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I have a way of sleeping with her. I turn on my side, lift my arm up, snuggle her into my ‘nook’ and wrap my arm down by her back. This is not a way I have been told by any professional, it’s my own way and it works for us. She is safe and I can feel her beside me. I have still reverted to how we ‘should’ be doing it, saying things to Brad like ‘I am just going to spend 4 nights in and out of their room with no sleep and hope she stays in there’. Why would I do that to myself (again, already tried it once – didn’t work!)

When I have the energy and time to do that I will, but for now I am taking the pressure off, I am going to relax about the situation and just go with it. I think the partners get the brunt of it as half of them get kicked out of the bed, so please let your partner know that they are not alone there! Also, that it is not forever.

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 I hope I have made you feel more at ease about any situation you are in. If you babies are sleeping well in their rooms that’s great, if you are co sleeping that is also great! We are all doing our best.

(Again, please remember you must be informed when it comes to co sleeping, I am not a professional , this is just my experience)

 

Thanks for reading x

Are We Obsessing Over Our Babies Routines?

From the get-go I was always about routines. Feeding, sleeping, bathing, napping, eating. I feel it is drilled into us when it comes to babies. Your baby must eat at this time, sleep at this time and so on.

I do still stick to a routine. It gets me through my day, knowing what comes next and can make life easier. I also believe that toddlers work very well with routine. My little one likes to know what the plan is, where we are going, who we will be seeing, when she will be eating. If you think, they have no concept of time and have no clue what time of the day it is so having a structure can really help them in their day.

When my second baby was born, we started off well with a routine, but I soon found out that it doesn’t always work out that way.

With Freya (my eldest) everything was so over the top. To the extent that I would cancel plans just because I knew that it was a nap time or feed time. Looking back, I think it was a bit silly. However, at the time I felt it was the right thing to do. From 5 months she was in her own room, she was sleeping through, she was eating well, breastfeeding was structured, she was sleeping twice a day, she went on morning walks, she had some classes here and there. My world revolved around Freya’s routine.

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Now I have two children and I am just totally unable to fully commit to an all-day routine. Managing two children’s routines can be tricky. Roisin does have a structure to her day. She feeds, eats and sleeps around similar times. However, if I cannot get her to nap, I cannot spend too long trying as I have Freya running around so that has often been cut short. Roisin has had to slip into a routine not of her own but one of Freya’s.

I follow some mums on Instagram that only have one child and sometimes I feel terrible that I am just unable to put my full efforts into Roisin’s routine. But you know what, she is actually just fine! The worry that we MUST have a fully working, healthy routine can get overwhelming. We can lose ourselves slightly.

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I have recently learned that children will be ok if they go to bed half an hour later or eat twenty mins past lunch time. I do keep a routine but a loose one. One that is good for all of us. I don’t put shopping or play dates off because of naps as I know that naps will be taken eventually and if they are not, That’s ok.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with routines, don’t! It is good to have one to a certain extent, but children will be okay if they don’t have a bath every night or if they miss their afternoon nap. Life goes on, children grow, they will develop just fine. Having a routine, is nice but it’s not for everyone and every child.

Let’s give ourselves a break.

My next blog will be about Co Sleeping. If you have any questions or concerns drop me a mail and I will incorporate the answers into the blog.

Thanks for reading x

Sex After Baby

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Sometimes I feel people are afraid to talk about one of the most natural things known to us as humans. So many questions about it. The hot topic that everyone wants to know about but dares not to ask. Well, I want to talk about it and maybe you would like to know?

What I want to write about in particular is going back to a ‘normal’ sex life after you have a baby. Kicking off with the first-time having sex with your partner after giving birth. There are many things to consider here so let’s start with mum. One bit of advice I would give you is not to feel like you HAVE to have sex in any particular time frame. You need to make sure you have physically and mental healed before you are ready to be intimate. Yes, I have taken into consideration the partner when I say that, but an understanding partner should have no problem waiting until you feel comfortable again. Include them in how you are feeling, talk to each other, explain your worries. This way they are on the same page as you and can support you. Depending on how your baby’s birth was, and your healing journey sex can be daunting to even talk about. You are not alone when it comes to this. It is totally normal to not want to have sex after having a baby. I waited until after my six week check to even bare the thought.

A lot of women ask if it will hurt, again this depends on how you birthed your baby but from my experience it did not necessarily hurt but it felt a bit tender. Just ask your partner to be gentle until you are sure you are okay.  I remember hearing once about a lady who got pregnant again a couple of weeks after giving birth and I will be honest; I was worried that I was not ‘normal’ that I should be having sex again but wasn’t. I have since learned that everyone is different. Every relationship, person, birth and partners are different. What I want to get across is to just remember only do it when you are ready not because someone else said you should be!

Then we move on to the long-term sex after baby and my word it may never be the same as before, but it is what you make it. Do you remember the early days? The ‘can’t keep your hands off each other’ days? The days that just consisted of sex (and food, don’t forget the food!). Well, I am not saying these days are gone but we have just had to put them on hold for a while (while meaning a few years!) Your sexual relationship with your partner without a doubt changes after you have a baby, or two. Again, you are not alone in this! When you are both running around like mad hatters all day after your kids, cleaning, talking, changing, cooking, singing, minding, teaching. Not even including the food that must be prepared, messes to be cleaned up and bums that need wiping you may not exactly be in the ‘mood’ for rompy pompy (no idea if that is even a term used for sex!) Also, you may not even feel sexy.

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Again, everyone is different. I have friends that mange sex more than twice a week and some that manage twice a month. It all totally depends on how you are your partners day goes! What I have learned is time does help. As the children grow, we are starting to find more time for each other. We are starting to be a bit riskier and noticing each other a lot more. We have realised that sex does not have to be structed and does not have just be in our bed – (for my co-sleeping mamas). I also found that the early days just revolved around the kids and if we could fit sex in then it was a bonus. Its totally normal for it to be that way. You both grow together, raising a family (can be so hard at times) and the love is still there for each other sex will always be on the cards. How often, how many times, where, when etc is up to you and your partners pace. Try and communicate as much as possible. Its so easy to think that the other person does not think of you sometimes as there is so much going on. So, voice how you a feeling.

One thing I will say is flirting means something. If you have not found the time together remember a little bum slap, a loving glance or even little ‘I love you’ whispered can really make someone’s day. Making someone feel loved and wanted is so important in relationships so if you can not show them in the bedroom show them other ways.

I hope I have helped you feel more comfortable about this topic and given you someone to relate to.

Thanks for reading x

 

Relationships After Baby.

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Let’s start with our partners. Lets just take a moment to consider the fact that they may not of had the baby physically, but they were there, they saw what you had been through. In my case my first experience was a negative one as it was for Bradley.

The fact is, once you are home you are both onto a new chapter in your life. Every relationship is different, but I began to see Brad in a new light. He was finding his new role. I think it is hard for the partner as they are not nursing etc so sometimes they can feel helpless. I think it’s important to remember that because they are not 100% involved (other than feeding you, minding you and changing nappies) it’s easy for them to feel left out. Now you may think that is just childish, but it’s very easily done. You are bonding, feeding and up all night with your new-born. Your focus is not on them. This us where I am going to say – THAT IS OKAY! Do not begin to worry. Your partner will find their feet, they will be alright. I think it’s important to pick your battles. Allow space for upset and confusion. It’s all new to both of you.

I remember letting the small things get to me and it would cause an argument and that then would escalate and really there was no need for it.  If something really upsets you, let your partner know. But something I had to remember is that we all need some head space, we all need time to ourselves or with friends and now that there is a baby sometimes you are not able to do all those things as much together. However, make sure you also get your time. That is highly important. Just because your partner is not feeding the baby etc doesn’t mean you cannot get time to yourself. There must be compromise.

Yes, parenthood is a roller coaster. Its fun, scary, terrifying, exciting, turbulent and crazy but you are in it together. You are both going through it, be kind to each other and look after each other’s feelings.

 

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(This picture was our first date night in 6 months)

The next type of relationships I would like to talk about is the ones with our family. When a baby is born it is wonderful for everyone. Babies bring joy and happiness so of course everyone wants to see the bundle of joy. And that is lovely, however you must consider how you are feeling first. You need to be ready for people to come and be in the house around you when you could be a little fragile and overwhelmed. No matter what, remember you can say no. You can say ‘no sorry today is not a good day for you to visit maybe another day?’ People do this all the time. Your family may be a little put out, but do you know what, they will see the baby another day, they will get over it all and they will love you no matter what. You need to do what is best for you.

I remember what made me uneasy and that was breastfeeding in front of family. I would be fine going to a café and feeding in a room of strangers but being home and feeding infront of uncles and brother in laws hard. So, everyone has their reasons and that is alright. You need to feel calm and secure with baby so make whatever decision you need to be just that.

Relationships with friends can also be a bit tricky. I found friends with children have a completely different view on it all. They can relate to what you have been through. They know to keep distance and usually bring you essentials when you get a visit from them. Friends without children are wonderful but maybe not as understanding especially when you cancel, re arrange to don’t reply to text messages. I have learnt pure, real friends will always be there no matter what. The others were supposed to be with you a certain time of your life. We all make memories together, move on with our lives and find ourselves on different paths. Those paths may meet again but don’t get hung up on these things. You are at a wonderful time in your life. Embrace it. Its time for you and your baby. Its time to do things for you. Do things what is right for your family. You can still socialise but maybe a little but more on your terms. Again, compromise is important in all our relationships.

I was very selfish for at least a year. I cancelled, didn’t reply and focused on my postpartum and baby. This was not a conscious decision I made at the time it is just what happened. I did not cancel or not reply just because I didn’t want to. Some friends drifted, everyone met the baby eventually and my relationship with Brad grew.

I now have a small group of friends but they get it, they understand me and I don’t feel guilty saying no. Becoming a mother or father can be a tricky experience. Everyone needs positive support.

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The final relationship and the most important is the one with you. Your mind, body, responsibilities and life has completely changed. You need to relate to yourself again, understand who you are and what you have achieved. It took me at least a year to come to terms with myself as a mum. Even now when I call myself Mum, I am like ‘Whhhhhat!’ So, take your time. Tell yourself how wonderful you are and do everything at your own pace. You got this!

 

Thanks for reading x

My First Postpartum Experience

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My honesty continues all the way into the postpartum phase.

Looking back now I can see that this stage was never going to be an easy one, but I did not realise at the time. I was so overwhelmed from my birth experience as well as exhausted, anxious, uneasy in myself, sore and just not present. So, my postpartum was going to be a tough road.

I had Freya in London and unfortunately there are just not enough resources for new parents. They have a shortage of midwives, so I feel I was overlooked in a way. I was so worried about expressing my real feelings to the midwives on the home visits because I did not know that it was okay to feel upset, down or even anxious. I did not know what the result would be if I told them.

Would they think I was not coping?

Would they understand?

No one told me on the team that it was alright and totally normal to feel all these things. I also feel they knew what I had been through and it was not spoken about. I remember on my day three home visit I broke down in uncontrollable tears. I instantly apologised. The midwife did say it was alright and told me about the ‘baby blues.

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From then, I never really spoke, or I suppose even realised that I had a traumatic birth for at least a year after having Freya.

I was also feeling anxious about feeding Freya in public. I was breastfeeding her which was the one thing that went perfectly for me. However, in the early days she cluster fed a lot. I remember my mum coming over to visit and we decided to go for a walk. Freya started crying as soon as we went into the park. I panicked, mum panicked, and we rushed back to the house. There was no calmness about it. It was hectic. My poor little baby was so upset and because I am feeling so anxious, I felt like I had to go home to feed her. I will never forget that walk home.I felt under pressure to leave the house.

Learning to walk alone with Freya and maybe go for a coffee alone. Would the buggy fit? Where would I sit? What if she cries? (these are all normal thoughts when you are feeling anxious) although, I did enjoy walks to our local park! I would go early in the morning so I would not bump into anyone.  Then there is the topic of the ‘mum groups’. These are good for new mums and to be honest they did help me! However, I did at times feel out of place or even felt obligated to meet up. This again was a feeling that would come with my anxiety. I remember the first group I went to. It took months of persuasion from Brad but I went. I continued to go every week and I did get support from that group.

I still go to groups now, I still meet up with mums from classes I have attended but when I was a first time mum I put myself under pressure and that led to me feeling even worse. Only go if you feel up to it. Only go if you want to go. I did enjoy a coffee and a chat with others that were going through the same baby situations.

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My body changed, my mind changed, my attitudes changed. It was a very hard time for me. I had a tiny human that was relying on me for absolutely everything and I did not know how I was truly feeling.  I also had to think of Brad. He was there too! We cannot forget the dads!

Even though I enjoyed breastfeeding no one tells you how difficult it can be at times. I was constantly feeding and the effects on the mums mental health is not spoken about as often as I would like to see. Due to me feeding Freya exclusively she would not take a bottle which would mean I would get no time for self care or ‘me time’ . I did not know at the time how important that was.

I know I am not alone in this. I know there are mums out there that were and are in the exact same boat as me. It is not uncommon for anxiety to overcome you even if  you did not have a traumatic birth, Being a new parent is a very strange yet wonderful change, Its not just you anymore!

Advice I would give? Ask questions, just say it. Say how you are feeling. Its normal. I know that now especially after having a second baby. You matter. You need to be heard. Your baby needs you well. Be kind to yourself. If you don’t want to go out on a certain day, don’t! If you cancel on someone, that’s okay. Do what you feel is right for you and your baby.

Thanks for reading 😊

Birth Story – Freya

 

*This is possibly a trigger story for some people who like me, have suffered PTSD *

Welcome to my first blog under The_Mummy_Editorial.

There is so much I have to say but best to start with how my journey began as a mum. Myself and Bradley were overjoyed to find out I was pregnant on a sunny day in Feb 2016. I was due in Nov and had already started planning a new place to live and what we would buy for our new arrival. This is where our minds were focused. We went to our Midwife appointments and did everything ‘by the book’. Sure why wouldn’t we?

I knew what I was doing, I had seen One Born Every Minute. I heard stories that matched up to what I had seen on TV so why focus on the birth? I mean, what first time mum would focus on the birth? We would not know what to fully expect so.. just do as you are told right?

Oh how wrong I was but I had no clue!

My waters broke at 2 am on the 27th Nov. Bradley called the hospital and they told us to come in. We arrived and were brought into a small room where my towel was checked. The midwife did not seem concerned, I was not having any pain so I was sent home and told to come back in 24 hours later.

As soon as I got home what I thought were contractions began. Looking back now they were so light and timing was completely off but we were timing everything and checking EVERYTHING!!!!

So, 2am the following morning we headed back into the hospital. We buzzed in and walked up to the desk. The lady who greeted us made a remark that she was not expecting us and checked if we should even be there?? Straight away that made me anxious and feel out of place. We were then taken down to a bed on a ward were everyone was sleeping. So we had to be quiet. We waited there for about an hour before someone came and spoke to us. They told us to wait until the morning to see if there was any progress. My ‘contractions’ had pretty much slowed down at this point!

The next morning a midwife came in to see me, did the usual tests and spoke about giving me a pessary (a dissolvable tablet that is put into your cervix) to move things along. However, before she did this she examined me and that to be honest was pain I was not expecting! She then inserted the tablet while telling me that things should move along quickly and she has never in her whole career had a patient that did not go into labour. No pressure! Bare in mind, I was still on a ward with other new mums and expecting mums.

So,  not surprisingly at all.. nothing progressed. They left me for four hours. I didn’t eat or drink much in this time as I did not realise that it was necessary!!! A doctor came over to me and spoke to me as if I was a colleague using language and words I did not understand. All I got from that conversation was that I could not have a water birth which I always thought I was going to have!!! I was very upset.

The next stage was the drip of Oxytocin. They call this the ‘love hormone’. Its a hormone that is usually natural that your body creates to go into labour but wont naturally progress is if you are anxious or scared – Duh !!

Things started to move…..

Bare in mind it is now Wednesday and I went in during the early hours of Monday morning! Still on the ward my contractions were getting intense. I was pacing around the bed, on and off the ball, over the chair, asked for a bath… and I was shouting at everyone! Poor Brad, He didn’t know what to do. I begged him at one point to help me. He was lost!

I asked for some gas and air but when it arrived the tank was empty so I had to wait for a new one. They examined me again and said I was only 3cm!!

Then a couple of hours later (still on the ward), I had the urge to push. I shouted for the midwife. She told me not to. She said if I do it could hurt the baby but the urge was unbearable. At this stage, I has asked for a epidural.

I was exhausted, hungry, thirsty, anxious, overwhelmed and in pain. I should also mention that Freya was back to back – So this did not help.

Then around 11.45 pm a wheelchair came for me and I was taken to a delivery room. There was a midwife, anaesthetist, doctor and trainee midwife all waiting.  After receiving the epidural I was put on my back, legs up and told I was 10cm and ready to push. So I did and NOTHING! My contractions had slowed right down.. now nearly five minuets apart. (There is a very valid reason for this , which I will explain in a later post)

They were shouting at me to push and I was but of course could not feel a thing and I had a group of people staring at my …. ummmmm… well ya know! At around 4.15am they made a call to help Freya ‘over the hill’ as they said by using a vacuum or kiwi cap as it is called in some places and there she was at 4.25am screaming just like I was.

She was taken away to be check and as as soon as she was handed to me I vomited all over the midwives and equipment (missing her of course!) Before I knew it there was only myself, Brad and Freya left in the room!!

It was magical when I held her, it really was. However, shock is also a good word to describe this moment. I mean I was expecting to have a baby at the end of it right? but I was feeling completely empty and not myself.

I went back to the ward, Brad went home for some sleep. I woke up at 8 am to someone wanting blood from me which made me feel very faint as I had just given birth !!! and I had not eaten in over a day at least!

It did not have to be this way. I still believe it was magical as had my baby but I really did not have to go through all of that, I know now that it was avoidable!

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I would also just like to mention that the doctors and midwives were amazing. They were doing their job. The took care of me and my baby very well. They kept us safe.

I will be doing more posts on how things could of been different for me and how it was with my second baby but I would love to hear your stories? Was your experience similar to mine? Was it different?

*Freya Kate Alexander was born at 4.25am on the 30th November 2016. She is a beautiful girl. She has changed me as a person, for the better and I will always be great-full for that. She has taught me how to be MUM. A job I love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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