This was originally the blog of a first-time Mum to remember the ups and downs of my pregnancy - and chart the first year of my daughter's life. But I've kept it going, and am now a mother of two! More than anything, it helps me to get to sleep once I've emptied my brain of issues and concerns and emotions onto the laptop.
If you're reading this and also a mum- or dad-to-be, first time parent, or just someone who's thinking about it - I hope it gives a little insight into one person's experiences - good and bad....

Sunday, 31 March 2013


This is my little girl who NEVER just chills out on the sofa - let alone fall asleep there for several naps in one day.

We have a very poorly little girl this Easter. Since Thursday she's not been able to keep anything down - not even the usually fail safe Dioralyte. The doctor, in a phone consultation, says the virus may last 3 or 4 days. We're currently on day three. And it's heartbreaking.

It's so quiet in the house without Charlotte's constant chatting and singing. She doesn't want to play with any of her toys. It's just Peppa Pig or Raa Raa on the TV, dozing on the sofa and cuddles with Mummy and Daddy in between throwing up.

So far, the virus seems to have avoided James, which is good news. I'm told the antibodies in my breast milk should stave it off. So thank goodness I've kept at it.

One thing Charlotte did yesterday had me in tears. While her speech is excellent for a 21 month old, there's plenty that she still gets endearingly wrong. The other day while playing with James on his playmat a bit of milk came out of his mouth, and Charlotte said: "James' milk fell over"! Well, yesterday when she was being sick into a bowl, she - very wearily - said: "my milk fell over". Bless her heart...

Thursday, 28 March 2013


James had his 8-week check up and first jabs today - and all went brilliantly. He's a smiley, healthy, happy chappy. And despite being in some discomfort from his jabs, after a nice bath, he went down to sleep as beautifully as he (almost) always does.

He really has been a dream child the past few weeks. He only cries when he's hungry (still at least every 3 hours) or tired. And when he's tired, he goes down to sleep really easily (often only for 25 mins and with the help of a dummy, but still...).

And I can't believe that after writing at just less than 5 weeks I had more or less decided to give up on the breastfeeding - we're still going. And it's improving. We're topping up a some of the feeds when I know they've not been good, and he gets formula at least one night-feed, but other than that it's all me. And he's piling on the pounds - 13oz in the past week alone.

Yet why am I still totally knackered? Yes - his big sister, as ever. After two nights of properly sleeping through, we're back to the up several times a night norm. And I think we managed about a week without a cough and a cold . They're both back with a vengeance again.

Plus Charlotte's got some new teeth coming through - making her a whinging, crying, unhappy, shouting, non-eating little girl once again. I do feel sorry for her, but at the same time there are days when she is really trying my patience and it makes everyone miserable. But we know it'll pass eventually - and at least there's evidence of actual teeth this time, and therefore a reason for her behaviour.

But tonight she's at her Grandma's. James is asleep for a few hours. So I'm treating myself to a curry and glass of wine, and it feels well deserved :)

Nap time

Thursday, 14 March 2013


Getting loads of proper smiles now :)

So I haven't given up breastfeeding after all :) Was so close last week, but pushed on through and each day things seem to be getting a little better.

I've had great support from the local hospital's breastfeeding 'guru' - she's been very encouraging, checking I'm doing everything right and not having a go at me for introducing the bottle or the odd bit of formula. The suggestion from her is that James is simply a hungry baby that needs feeding a bit more than we were used to with Charlotte. So that means top ups, or more frequent feeds - the latter of which isn't conducive to also looking after a 20-month old toddler.

So at the moment - I'm feeding James myself when he's awake enough and we've got the time, otherwise it's a bottle of expressed milk (or formula if we've not got enough), with top-ups from the bottle if he doesn't seem satisfied despite coming off the breast.

So a mish-mash of everything, which is hard work, but should get easier the more he's simply taking from the breast. And if he's full and winded, we have one very chilled out boy. In fact that's how both the bf woman and the health visitor described him - "chilled". Rather different to the "strong personality" we often heard to describe his sister!

Talking of her - she's having horrendous nights because of her constant cough once again. She's on another course of antibiotics after the doctor said she's got a lingering chest infection. But she seems happy enough in between coughing fits. 

Despite her rough nights, she's now sleeping in her 'big girl bed'. She kept ending up in it after cuddles to ease her cough anyway, so we thought we might as well try the full night. Unfortunately we've had one falling out incident, thanks to an ill-fitting bed guard (now rectified) - which ended up waking her up to the point of her thinking it was playtime, so ended up back in her cot. 

And I can hardly believe her speech can have improved even more week by week - but the full sentences she now comes out with astounds me. "Look Mummy - it's a breadstick", "Look Grandad, my jeans fell down!". The talking of a 3-year old if the experts and books are to be believed.

Lastly, for this post, we're trying to establish a bit of routine with James already - otherwise we have no idea where we're at. So we've started with bedtime. Bath, massage, feed, story, bed, starting at 6pm - just as we did with Charlotte from a similar age - and so far it seems to be working.

He definitely gets his longest sleep when he's gone down (usually between 7.30-8pm), and up for feeds roughly every 3-4 hours after that (usually around 11-30pm, 2am, and then anything between 0430 and 6am). But it's proving trickier in the day as he doesn't follow very much of a pattern from which to take his lead - other than alternating one very awake day and one very sleepy day. So any kind of napping schedule will have to wait, and I'm just feeding him when he's hungry or every 3-4 hours if it's not so obvious.

Oh, go on then - another picture of my smiley 6-week old:

Thursday, 7 March 2013


I have all but made the decision to knock the breastfeeding on the head.

James' sleepy, non-interested feeds are just getting worse and worse - to the point that most of them end up with a full bottle rather than just a 'top up'. Even when he's wide awake, he'll just lie there with the breast in his mouth, or very half-heartedly suck.

It's clearly a result of introducing the bottle and him finding much less effort than the breast. But we were left with very little choice a few weeks ago when he was losing weight, not pooing and clearly not getting what he needed from me.

Either way, whatever anyone says about me having done well to get this far - I still feel like I've failed him. I am so disappointed not to have even made it to six weeks, let alone three months or the four and a half months I managed with his big sister.

I so wanted to give him the same start as her - and it's all the more disheartening because it had started so well in the first two weeks. I was optimistic from the outset that breastfeeding would be a success this time, as it mostly was with Charlotte - and every morning recently I've tried to think "today will be better" - or even more recently "this feed will be better". But it never is.

The compromise at the moment is to give him as many bottles of expressed milk as possible, and formula when I haven't been able to express enough. But it means going through the rigmarole of feeding, expressing and sterilising even more so than if we just gave bottles of formula.

Everyone is telling me not to be too hard on myself and beat myself up over this - and I keep trying to remind myself that surely a more relaxed and happy Mum is better for James (and Charlotte) than a miserable one who is stubbornly trying to persevere.

But I can't help feeling a failure - it's such an emotional decision. Is not breastfeeding denying James what's "best" for him? Or is what's best for him actually a Mummy that's not stressed out over every feed...?

Oh, and he remains a very lazy, sleepy little boy - but we've definitely had smiles and a little more lovely awake time in the past few days.