Monday, March 30, 2009

Learning to feed at 2 years old

I just submitted this to an amazing site called ibreastfed. It's a non-profit collection of inspirational breastfeeding stories, ranging from very simple to awesome. I think part of the goal is not just to share triumphs, but to normalise breastfeeding. We all know it is natural, but so many people seem to think that means it is easy. It is a learned skill, just like walking, and it comes with it's own share of pitfalls. But they can almost always be overcome with the right support. So by showing that all sorts of people have all sorts of problems it can help new Mums to realise that it isn't the end of the world if they have thrush, or grazes, or their baby wants to feed every 45 minutes (hello Midget).

After a few problems with jaundice and oversupply, Molly was a fantastic feeder. In fact she was a little addict who would happily have skipped solids altogether, snacking away into her second year. I had to wean when we were trying for a second baby, but we took it very slowly (in the end it took 10 months!) and it was fairly peaceful and pleasant. I was glad because I didn’t want to tandem feed.

When I was about 3 months pregnant and she had been weaned for 4 or 5 months, she asked for a feed again. She had forgotten how to breastfeed and was trying to suck like a straw, plus by that time I only had colostrum. So it was quick and a bit painful and I didn’t think much about it. A few days later she wanted to do it again, and from then on it got more frequent. Sometimes she’d go a week without asking, then it would be constant for a few days. I could see that it was only going to happen more when she saw the new baby feeding, and decided that we would have to re-learn to do it properly.

She was squashing my nipple just like a newborn, so I decided to go back to the beginning. We practiced opening her mouth as wide as she could, and sticking her tongue out over her bottom teeth. We made it into a game and would stick our tongues out at each other.

After she was attaching in the right place, she had to learn to suck again. I knew that newborns have a lot of jaw movement, so we practiced opening and closing her jaws. At first I would sit her in front of me and she would do the big mouth and tongue and I would move her jaw up and down, then we would swap places. Then she would attach and I would move her chin up and down while she was trying to suck. Then she would try it on her own. So over a few weeks we got to the point that she could suck again. It was always a bit painful, but I was never sure if that was because of what she was doing or if it was because I was pregnant and only had colostrum. We developed a rule that she could only have one feed a day and only one side, so each nipple was only being used every second day.

Once we had the physical side of feeding sorted and it became regular again, I was hit with breastfeeding aversion. In the immortal words of a counsellor, if I were a cow I would have kicked her in the head. Even the thought of feeding made me tense up, I hated everything about it. It made me feel sick I was so tense, and I hated the way it made me snap at her. I seriously considered weaning, but we had come so far I felt it would be too mean to take it away from her again. I could see how important it was for her, so I gritted my teeth and trusted that I would be fine with the new baby.

When Joanna was born she fed like a dream and I enjoyed it. She seemed to be born knowing how to attach and suck, and I never even got a sore nipple from her seven and eight hour feeding marathons in the first couple of days. I had chosen to stay in hospital for a few days, and one of the reasons was I wanted to get Joanna’s feeding established without Molly constantly asking to feed. I was so relieved when I went home and Molly’s first feed was painless, although I still hated doing it.

There were lots of tears and tantrums because she went back to wanting to feed all the time, but looking back that only lasted a few weeks before she accepted that there were limits. The aversion lasted much longer, it was probably 5 months before it went and I still don’t have much patience for her. I had to really concentrate on relaxing and make sure I was comfortable and had something to do like a book.

A year later she has her special time in the morning, she comes and snuggles into bed and has a feed before we get up. I never thought I would still be feeding her at three and a half, but it is so useful. When she is sick or tired or out of sorts the magic boobies still work, and I love our special cuddles. I’m really glad we worked through it and she can still do something that is obviously so important to her.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Widget's Rubbing Doll

Widget rubs things with her fingers and it's driving me mad. It's at the point where she can't hold my hand because she won't let go of her skirt, or she will walk along behind Midget rubbing her t-shirt. So I made her a rubbing doll.

She chose the fabrics for the skirt, yes that's raspberry slush minkee on the front!
It HAD to have wings, and I put a hat on it to avoid the hair. After spending ages hand sewing a few rows last night I realised why dolls wear hats.

Rubbing the skirt, it's been wonderful having my clothes left alone for a whole day.

It has velcro hands so it's giving her a big hug and she can take it out without losing it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

How on earth

do babies learn to walk in disposables?

Midget goes thumping down on her bum regularly, if it wasn't for the lovely thick padding I'm sure she'd have a permanent spinal injury!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

How hard is it to buy Hot Cross Buns these days?

The first lot I grabbed were minis. So I looked some more but ended up with fruitless. DH told me to grab the ones down the bottom, all looked fine. Got them home (5 hours away!) and they tasted a bit strange. They have chocolate bits in rather than fruit!

Remember when Hot Cross Buns came out just before Easter? There was one type and they all had spices and lovely juicy sultanas in them?

I don't want to be one of those people who moan that the world was much better 'back in my day.' I'm sure there were things that were better and things that were worse, and it probably all evened out. I just find it strange that there are now 53 types of Hot Cross Buns. Paradoxically, I think it means we are losing variety.

Think about it. By providing fruitless, and mini, and chocolate chip, and even chocolate with chocolate chips, what happens is the people who eat chocolate at every other time of the year can now eat chocolate at Easter too. We are actually becoming more bland and less likely to try anything new.

It may be a stretch, but now think about Facebook and mobile phones. These are all about sharing every tiny experience and never being alone. You never have to make a decision on your own, you can check with all your friends. Google is an extended version of this - don't like what the doctor is saying? There is almost guaranteed to be some information Google can find to let you back up what you want to do. It may not be very accurate, but you'll only find that out if you dig deeper, and that is the one thing we choose not to do. And now, you don't have to make a decision at all, because you can get the same safe option you always pick.

If this is happening with little things, I wonder how the big things are?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My big walking girl

Midget took 5 steps last night!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


How great is this timing? I just got the girls' leg warmers on Monday and have used them several times already. Then tonight I found there is a giveaway happening. I would so like to have more of them, they're brilliant. So I love huggalug leg huggers because they are such cool colours and they extend my girls' clothes - instead of wearing something for 2 weeks then shooting up and showing their ankles, the leg warmers can cover the bottoms and they can still wear the pants. And they are so easy in the change bag!

ETA - I forgot to add, if you want to win some too it's really easy and I'll tell you how, but I'm not giving out my email address publicly. So PM Dash at the ABA or Nappycino and I'll let you know.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sugar, Honey, Icing, Tea

This is apparently what a playgroup Dad has taught his son to say instead of swearing. I have to admit I've never heard the boy saying this, and I think it's pretty much a joke.

Swearing, the perrenial favourite, came up at playgroup a few weeks ago. Amusing things fathers do was a big one, and the weird ways other people have dealt with it. Someone knew someone who had actually made their child eat hot chili. And what was even stranger, when the daughter called them on their swearing, they ate it too.

Several Mums were heard to say "Ooh no, I'm too much of a potty mouth for that."

Well obviously I'm the weird one.

Don't get me wrong, I swear, and Widget swears. But to me it's a signal of a couple of different things. Firstly it means I'm swearing way too much if she's copying it, so I need to rein it back. Secondly, I need to look at the times and ways she's using it.

Consistency is one of the things we all know we should strive for in our parenting. We have to be consistent with their behaviour, their routines, or it's all going to end in tears. So why doesn't that apply to us to? How can I expect behaviours out of my 3 year old that I don't expect from myself? Why should her language be more perfect than mine? Swearing is just one example of consistency for me, if I make a mistake I acknowledge it and apologise, if she has a like or dislike I take it into account, if she does something for me I thank her. In other words, she is a full member of this family with the same rights, and she doesn't have expectations put on her that I wouldn't expect from myself.

As for times and ways, well there's a level of personal comfort isn't there. Language is a defining human feature, if we drop something on our toe we're going to say something. In practical terms it doesn't matter if we say 'shit' or 'sugar,' the intent is the same. But who likes to hear a toddler swearing? But why tell her off for it? She already copies "Oh dear" from me, if I make the substitution she's going to follow pretty quickly. It's a really superficial way of looking at swearing, but it's just plain 'not nice.'

Sometimes it's definitely for attention, so that's definitely ignored!

The one thing that she will absolutely always get into trouble for is swearing at someone. Because that is about respect. It's never happened so far and I can't see it happening soon, because she's never been sworn at. Again, I'm not perfect and I get frustrated with her just as much as the next person. I know I've said things to her that aren't nice, but I don't swear at her and I apologise afterwards.

So what do I do when she swears? Mostly I adjust my behaviour, usually I ignore it, occasionally I tell her she doesn't need to say that, what else could she say? Basically I try to be consistent.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Who is this pet?
Say! He is wet.
You never yet met a pet,
I bet, as wet
as they let
this wet pet get.

Widget is loving Dr Seuss. We have to have several a day, and she 'reads' them herself. It's a combination of remembering, pictures, and her experiences, so this one was particularly fun. It went something like:

This pet is wet,
he's very very very very very wet.
They wrapped him in a towel.

The alphabet was great, G has a goat and girl pictures so that became

Mary had a little goat

It gives such an insight into her little mind to hear what she reads.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Change of plans

I actually have a list of topics I was going to write on and have started some of them. However FIL has just been diagnosed with cancer and given a few weeks to live. So we are visiting, luckily we already had something booked and there have just been some rearrangements.

After starting in the car at 4am the girls are doing brilliantly, Midget is asleep on my shoulder as I write this. I think I am going to continue my quest for cute leather baby shoes and the little green nappy icon.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I've found a worse addiction than caffiene - my internet is broken!


(I'm typing this at DH's work because we had to come and bring the girls in. Plus the nappy hunt starts today and I had a whole heap of work to do, so we were in here for about 5 hours yesterday.)