My Breastfeeding Fail

Throughout my pregnancy there was one thing I didn’t have to give much thought to – breastfeeding.

I remember my breastfeeding goal because there was only one and it was so simple: I was going to breastfeed for 3 to 6 months or as long as I could…

Fast forward 3 weeks after having my baby and my breastfeeding journey was over.

I had an over supply of milk, my boobs were huge – they looked great – but they hurt like hell. Kai was super fussy after feeding which was all the time because he was hungry every two hours sometimes sooner.

I was exhausted, not completely healed from the birth, adjusting to life with a newborn and in a moment of weakness I mixed Kai a bottle of formula but I couldn’t feed him myself so I ask my mom to do it whilst I had a little cry in the other room.

He took to the bottle really well and slept so soundly after that feed, that we kept feeding him formula the rest of the day.

Later that day I needed some relief from my very painful, always full breast so I started pumping and noticed that there was about 80ml of very weak milk, it looked watered down and disgusting but after that came really rich looking milk which Kai probably wasn’t getting to whenever he fed.

In hind sight all I needed to do was pump the 80ml and dump before feeding but in my exhausted new mom mind, I had already failed.

Kai was happy with his formula so why bother him by experimenting with my pump, dump and then feed theory.

After the dust settled and I did some research I found out that the really weak milk is called “foremilk” and what general happens with moms that have an oversupply, is that baby gets full on the foremilk but they don’t stay full for very long, the foremilk also makes them super gassy, which leads to them being very fussy.

Thinking back I wish I had just a little more strenght in those early days but that’s ok.

The one and only thing that would have helped is if I had educated myself beforehand, I was so focussed on the things Kai might or might not need that I failed to properly perpare myself on the things I needed to know about those early days.

Still a great mom thou…

Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers

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With winter approaching and Kai having turned into this busy-bee toddler who is super annoying unless he is well entertained, I have started looking into ideas to keep the little beast occupied during those long rainy (finger crossed for the rainy) winter weeks that are about to hit Cape Town.

These are some of what I think will work on my very energetic two year old:

  • Hopscotch – Just use some colorful tape to mark the floor in your passage or any other area big enough. I used to be really good at this when I was little so I’m very excited to see how this plays out.

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  • Balloon Games – Kids love balloons, at least mine does so this is bound to be a winner.
    • Keep it up – keep tapping the balloon and keep it in the air for as long as possible or Balloon Tennis or Ping Pong

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  • Bowling in the passage – you can purchase an indoor bowling set from the Crazy Store or stack up paper cups and use any ball that you may already have.
  • Target Golf – this could be a fun but I’m pretty sure the husband and I are going to end up fighting about point on this one.

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  • Dance Party – Kai loves dancing, and this is sure to burn some of that endless toddler energy.
  • Dino Hunt – just hide little toys all over the house, it doesn’t have to be dinosaurs, but this is the only thing that Kai would be interested in searching for. I might just hide them in the ball-pit instead of having him run around the house causing chaos.
  • Play dough – Yes, play dough in the carpet is tough to clean but this keeps Kai entertained for hours.

***To remove play dough from carpet: dampen a cloth with hot water and let it sit over the play dough for about an hour, this will soften the dough and make it easier to clean up***

  • Bean Bag Toss – I will probably use sand bags instead, (toddler and potentially loose beans not a good combo.)

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  • Cardboard House – just get one of those huge boxes and cut out a door and windows. You could also get your kids to decorate their new house with crayons or paint.
  • Art and Crafts – you could make sock puppets, toilet roll people ,anything you or the kids can imagine. (I think Kai might be too little for this one to keep his interest, so it might be a last option.)
  • Baking – Kai loves watching and helping in the kitchen so this winter I will be dusting of my almost non-existent baking skills and will keep you posted on the whatever edibles we create.
  • Reading – one of the simple little joys in the world is turning the pages of a new book, so these are some of what we will be starting with, some exciting new ones and the a few “must-have” classics.

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  • Movies – I am also not against screen time. Kai has learnt so much from watching you-tube videos but I think we need to move away from you-tube and I was amazed to find Gummi Bears, Tale Spin and The Smurfs (the old ones) on DVD at Musica and I suppose we will have to watch The Good Dinosaur a few more times as well.

And then for those days when cabin fever hits and you just have to bust out of your warm winter prisons:

  • Art Jamming – I though Kai was a bit too young when we tried this and whilst he spent quiet a bit of time painting the stool and when he did finally paint on the canvas it was really terrible, he had tons of fun and so did we.
  • The Aquarium – this is one of Kai’s faves, Baby Shark is a very close second to T-Rex
  • Rush, Bounce or Jump around.

Lastly, we have an indoor play park a few minutes from where we live (there are tons of them around these days) it’s nothing special and even though Kai has most of the same toys at home, he is really excited to play with the ones that aren’t actually his.

Pampers Baby-Dry: Product Review

My one and only experience of being pregnant was not great but i found a happy place in shopping for my new arrival and if I wasn’t shopping, I was putting together my shopping lists. My number one baby essential and still on top of every shopping list, even today’s one, are nappies.

Think about it…

It’s the first thing you put on baby.

It’s the item you will purchase for the next 18 to 24 months and in my case, we’re heading for longer.

It’s that can’t-do-without item. The item you toss into the trolley without a second thought even if you’re sure you have enough at home because the risk of running out… nope… we don’t even want to think about it.

Kai’s delicate bottom has only ever felt the soft touch of a Pampers nappy. We have had 22 months of nappy bliss so imagine my excitement and curiosity when Pampers launched a NEW Pampers Baby-Dry with 2 air channels, designed to allow airflow inside the nappy, perfect for keeping those little bottoms cool and dry.

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My son has been kind enough to have gifted me with uninterrupted sleep for a while now so “12 hours of dryness” gets tested every night. We’ve been using the New Pampers Baby-Dry for 3 weeks now. We’ve had no leaks and he still wakes up with his gorgeous, wrinkly nose smile, ready to jump out of bed and conquer another day of childhood.

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It’s really important to me that Kai gets a great night’s sleep and that he is comfortable throughout the day with fewer nappy changes interrupting his playtime.

Overall, I’m very happy with this new and improved Pampers nappy, I like that it is light-weight and thinner but still super absorbent and there is a noticeable difference in the dryness of my baby’s bottom. The new design is a much-welcomed fun and colourful makeover.

***Sponsored Post***

Playschool Drop-off Drama

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If you have been following me on Instagram, you will already know that Kai started going to playschool and he is not happy about it. He will be turning two next month, which might be a little young for school but I’m a working mom. Grandma has been kind enough to take care of him so far and we could definitely take advantage of her a little longer but that wouldn’t be fair.

It was a struggle for me to make the decision to have him start school this year because daycare and playschool was not how I was raised and the fear of leaving my child with strangers for a good few hours a day, isn’t great … but I started to notice that Kai would look at other kids and be excited by seeing them though he would never just start engaging with them in the same way that he would with adults.

It’s understandable that he would be more comfortable with adults because that’s all he knows, the youngest person he interacts with on a regular basis is 18 years older than him. Now I was an only child for six years but I had cousins my age who I visited regularly which is the biggest difference and so the search for a playschool began and ended at the first school we visited

Friendly staff, spacious classrooms, a curriculum (for a two-year-old…crazy or maybe that’s normal now) great reviews and when I just knocked on the door without an appointment, they walked me through and showed me around a very impressive space (it was at the end of the day, so clean and tidy was a winner for me.) On the official open day it was not much different than my surprise visit and I was very happy that they didn’t put on a “show” it was a what you see, is what you get experience and we were very happy that it was “The One.”

I spent a lot of time preparing for the first day, from taking Kai shopping for school bags (Yes, plural –  he picked two of them) to going on a hunt for the perfect snack box and testing him to see if he would eat out of it (and Yes…I have spontaneous insanity.)

First day of school was great, Kai was reluctant to walk into the school but once he spotted the sandbox and the playground he was ready to explore. We gave him kisses, said our quick goodbyes and left, just as we were prepped to do.

Then I burst into tears in the parking lot, I didn’t know that the school owner was watching me until she came outside and invited me back into her office to watch him on the monitor. I didn’t hesitate or think that it would be polite to decline her offer, I was in her office and in front of the screen faster than the very very speedy rabbit.

Kai was fine –  being carried around by a teacher and watching the other kids. – Great.

We went for breakfast, did a little shopping and Neeren had a coffee while I got my hair done, all this without me stressing and annoying my husband to the point where he has to take deep breaths and repeat to himself “my wife is crazy but she warned me before I married her.”

The rest of the day was a major downer, Kai cried when we picked him up. It was a cry I never experienced from him before. It was the emotional cry of relief and it broke my heart because I have cried that cry before and its exhausting and painful.

I started to wonder what he thought of this whole school thing, did he think I abandoned him. He doesn’t understand school or that mommy has to work. I spent the rest of the day just watching him play, whilst the mom guilty found a home in my heart and mind.

Week one – the tears would start from the moment I would park the car in the school parking lot and I had to fight back my own tears until I was back in the car.

Week two – the tears started from the moment I put him in the car seat at home.

My only comfort was that his teachers say that he is fine after I leave and only cries after nap times and when we pick him up.

All I could think about was the amazing mommy stories about kids who took to school so well or were fine after the first week, I wondered if we had started school to soon, should we have waited one more year, but the answer is No.

The more I speak about Kai struggling with playschool the more I hear that other mom’s are going through the same thing or have gone through the same thing with kids of different aging.

So, I decided to get out of my own head, he was going to adapter in his own time and mommy had to stop being so weakened by crying that stopped immediately after I walk out the door. My mommy energy before drop-off had to change because as connected as I am to my child, he is connected to me.

Today he cried as expected but when one of his teacher came to get him, he didn’t hold onto me, he went to her (still crying) and asked her if, “mommy’s coming now?”

It’s a small but significant change and hopefully the start of Kai adapting to his new routine. I know that I am not alone in my worry, anxiety and mom guilt, it’s the daily hurdles in our mommy journey’s.

Is he too young? again No, he’s not. Since I wasn’t so involved in my own dramatic state this morning, I noticed the little boy being carried into the three-year-old classroom, crying and holding on to his dad, I noticed two slightly older kids fussing with tears in their eyes and one much older child trying to reason with mom to take him back home.

I also realized that my son knows I wouldn’t abandoned him. As I drove to work, I could hear him say, “mommy’s coming now.”

That was not a question, he wasn’t asking his teacher if I was coming now, he was telling her that I was coming now and he is right. Mommy is coming now because no matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I am not with my family, I am focused on getting back to them, same as every other mommy.

Getting Rid of the Pacifier

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The pacifier was one of a few items that didn’t make it onto my list of baby essentials but we were gifted with a few at our shower. My midwife also recommended that I give Kai a pacifier so I could benefit from some quiet time but we decided against it at first.

You don’t have to be a parent to know that babies and toddlers become incredibly dependent on them and we wanted to avoid that as far as possible.

Kai was about 2 and a half months old when we first noticed him trying to suck on his thumb and with a little effort he managed to get it into his mouth a few times. That was when we decided to go with the lesser of two evils.

We could control the use of a pacifier, we couldn’t control how often and how long he would suck his on thumb. We could take the pacifier away, we couldn’t exactly cut off his thumbs and with that in mind, I placed the pacifier in some warm water for a few minutes (another midwife tip for getting baby to take to the pacifier more easily) and offered it to him. He took to it immediately and we were pretty happy with our decision at the time.

Even after a year into Kai sucking on a pacifier and having to purchase four of them, every three months or so, I still hadn’t realized that Kai was not the only one who had become dependent on them, we were as well. It was our go too, it was easier than dealing with a fussy baby/toddler and spared us many awkward public moments.

I was mommy drug dealer, ready with Kai’s fix and a spare in my handbag just in case. (OK that is crazy dramatic but you get the point.)

Kai was 22 months old and he was asking for his suck (“suck” is what he calls it) more and more and I decided it was time for him to be weaned of the suck. Most You-tube moms suggested snipping the top off the pacifier and giving it to your child. It worked so well in those videos… but welcome to my #realmomlife.

Kai was busy with his morning bottle and feeling very brave in that moment I took the plunge, hiding all the pacifiers expect one which I snipped the top off, to be ready for when he asked for it.

He was really upset that his suck was broken, he asked me to fix it because mommy is supposed to fix everything and he was angry that I couldn’t. I distracted him with toys and we played games for a while before it was time for his morning nap.

It took 45 minutes before he fell asleep. He cried so much and I really think that it was more painful for him that his suck was broken. I quickly took it away and he still cried and asked for his suck repeated. I tried holding him but the crying just wouldn’t stop. I felt like I was comforting my kid after the death of his soulmate. (Again, with the dramatics but it was traumatic for me too.)

Eventually I decided to sing to him, this stopped the crying but he didn’t want me to hold him anymore, he just held onto my hand while he listened to me singing and after about 5 minutes of “twinkle-twinkle little star” he pushed my hand away, pushed my head of his pillow and he was asleep less than two minutes later.

I just watched him, wondering if he was ever going to forgive me for taking away his suck. In need of a lighter moment while I was lying there next to my angry sleeping toddler, I texted my husband and he didn’t disappoint.

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There was a bit of crying and asking for the suck before the second nap and again later that night but each time he was a little less fussy. By the next day the crying had stopped, he would ask for his suck but didn’t fuss about it when I told him that the suck was gone.

He only asked for it again about a week later, when he noticed another child using one while we were out shopping but I quickly pushed our trolley away and distracted him with the Oreo cookies we needed to buy.

The good things that came out of this experience were:

  1. Mommy was forgiven quiet quickly. (Yay)
  2. He has been talking so much more since getting rid of the pacifier and his words are coming out a lot clearer.
  3. Now when he goes to sleep, he is always smiling and saying cute but random things until he eventually falls off to sleep. (going to sleep does take a bit longer than it used too but I suppose that was to be excepted.)

In hindsight or for baby number two, there are two things I would do differently when it comes to pacifiers:

  1. I wouldn’t cut the pacifier and give it to my toddler to start weaning, I would just tell my little one that it was gone.
  2.  Now that I am aware of how dependent I had become on the pacifier as well and that I had made it worse than it needed to be, I would try to limit its usage to nap times if possible.

Note, on point 2, I said “try.” I know that I’m a really great mom but even great moms have those moments, when in real-time things don’t always go the way we planned or imagined and we have to just keep reminding ourselves and each other that, that’s okay.

Best New Mom Advice

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Mommy Advise, was the one thing that there was definitely no shortage of throughout my pregnancy, even now almost two years later I feel like people never miss the opportunity to tell me what worked best for them when their kids were little but the best advise I got was from my mid-wife.

Her words were more than advise, it was the belief and confidence in my motherly instincts that I needed and draw on even now.

Those first days of baby being home can be incredibly overwhelming for a new mom and I can’t imagine that it gets any easier the second, third or even fourth time around… We took Kai back to the emergency room at around 10 pm the first night he was home, because I taught he was struggling to breathe.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with him, I was just in a state of panic and now that I think about I’m not sure how much of his strange breathing was in my head and how much was real.

Thank goodness, my midwife was scheduled for a home visit the next day and shared those wise words with me.

It changed my approach as a mom, instead of panic every time I experienced something out of the ordinary, which was most days, I was calmer in everything I did.

The first three months are tough for any mom but my midwife’s advice definitely gave me the  strength I needed to be a confident new mom from start.

“Just Breathe Mama.

He’s yours and no-one know his needs better than you do.”