Monday, 26 November 2012

Trying it out...

OK, so we've had to do it. And my heart is breaking. We are assured by the 'professionals' that it won't harm your baby. But it still doesn't make it any easier (if you read this when you're older, little one, mummy and daddy had to do this for you). Only as I pace up and down the hall, climb the walls, weep in the car and gait around the garden; his cries are still resonating around me.

Nearly 6 months of sleepless nights, long days and arms as a solid as steel, the decision has been made: the tough love brigade are in town.

No longer do we have the daddy reps (200 per rock), jigging swings, Auntie arm ache or beneficial bouncer to get him to the land of zeds (at this rate we could have made some decent wonga as personal baby gym trainers) - here come the plucky parents; well, not quite...
'What if he loses his trust in us?' we ask the health visitor, 'his cries are his only way to communicate with us' we meekly protest. Get a grip I tell myself, people have been doing this for centuries.
At home we brace ourselves for the wails; and it's hard. On the second occasion he goes to sleep within one minute, ‘Hurrah!’ we think, ‘we've cracked it’. But alas, it was a one-off.

Day two, however, is hard-core; the leaflet tells us to up the time by almost double. By 9am my husband says 'Look, if this is too much we won't do it - we can't have two people crying in the house' as I sit there with tears streaming down my face. We decide to try a 'milder version' and it starts to work.

Then on one occasion I find him lying there staring into space - 'Oh god, has he already given up on us? Is he thinking they're not going to bother?' I think pathetically. My husband keeps talking about those adverts where orphans don't even bother to cry as no-one comes to them...pull yourself together Mrs W, surely this is exactly what we are trying to achieve: him being able to settle himself.
When he's up, he gets extra cuddles; I overhear my husband explaining why we had to do this and that 'daddy loves him more than anything'. He's all smiles and gives us a what-are-you-on-about look and we breathe a sigh of relief.

Day four arrives and I swear his voice has gone a little hoarse - don't get me started I'm going to well up again.

My desire for wine and chocolate has gone up a notch.

We tell each other we are a team, we are in this together - we keep giving each other pep talks when the other one cracks. I honestly don't know how single parents do it; I have admiration for them - along with a new found respect for my parents.

So, we mostly have our evenings back and what's the first thing we do? Err play scrabble of course, because that's high on the agenda in any marriage, naturally...

The conclusion? I hate to admit it as I've put it off for so long, but it's made the world of difference and it's kinda getting easier. I know there will be better days than some. Most parents go through this at some stage and no-one can tell you to try it until you decide you're ready. And I'm convinced our bubba is thinking; 'Hallelujah! I'm finally allowed to learn to sleep by myself.'

Still, if you have a nocturnal or non-napper nipper, I know a brilliant rocking method that will tone those arms right up, I charge by the hour...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Da Vinci Cot

Dear Dan Brown, if you could write a bestseller in finding this Holy Grail, you would make squillions; I'm talking sleep.

My quest to find a slumber solution continues: this Indiana Jones crusade isn't just for me (and my sanity) but for our little one - he needs it more than I do, he's got growing and developing and stuff to do. Before you ask if I’ve tried the latest baby method, I've probably read 'em all, seriously. Even the ones that claim they have the answer - all for 47 dollars of course...

So far, my sleep seeking has included the following: routine, routine, routine, background noise, no noise, white noise, whispering, sshhing, swaddling, swaying, singing, bed-time stories, bed-time bath, soft toy, no toy, catching the tiredness, catching when he's full up, dummy, darkness, dimming night lights, temperature checks, teething checks, dream feeds, adding a bottle feed, spacing feeds (even graphing feeds), musical mobiles, music on the mobile, chilling down after playing, tiring him out, door bouncer, chair bouncer, daddy bouncer, did I mention a routine? The list goes on...

The latest one is a comfort muslin; my husband wants to call it 'a name' so we can tell the story to our son when he's older. Hmm, I'm now imagining a 10 year old (or worse, a 30 year old) attached to a 'blankey' and unable to snooze without said blankety blank.

Of course I haven't yet mentioned good 'ol fashioned crying it out or 'CIO' as it's referred to in the parent forums - one of the many acronyms you need to learn as a twenty first century parent.
We have tried CIO but not to the extent of absolute hysteria; he's too young in our opinion, you may read that as being soft maybe but that's just what our belief is. It's not like he hasn't slept on his own before anyway - it happens sporadically and he just drifts off, happily all by himself, so why put ourselves and him through the torture of CIO?

We just need to find the clue as to what made him let go into the land of zeds, I'd happily let Sherlock Holmes take on the case and crack the code. Even friends are helping out, offering new suggestions, I'm sure they've got a whip, I hear the prize is of value ...

The next thing on the list is food as we have a hungry night milk feeder on our hands. I wonder if when he's older he'll be a middle-of-the-night fridge raider, midnight feaster and secret lemonade drinker?
And so the sleep association continues. What I've learnt on the way is that our boy loves cuddles, that he's a fast learner and knows his bedroom; 'Oh yeah' I can see him thinking, 'I know your game mummy' as he looks around the room and clocks all the things that mean bed-time. Even at Shirley’s house he knew what we were up to. He scanned the room in 360 degrees like a lighthouse and as his eyes nearly met us we both instinctively dropped to the floor, supressing our giggles as we lay there - hold on, I thought we were the parents?

I know we'll get there in the end, even if his mummy used to never sleep as a child. Every baby is unique anyway right? But if you find the grail, please share it - I'll even let you shrug it off as 'Elementary my dear Watson'.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Three Bears

Oh help! I've turned into one of those people. You know the ones that talk in third person? I blame Facebook circa 2007: it made us all slightly narcissistic with the 'is' on status updates - remember the 'is'? As in: 'Mrs W is having eggs for breakfast' or something just as mundane.
Now it's all 'Mummy and daddy this,' which happens daily and I find myself not only talking in third person, but worse, using the Royal We: 'We did a poo today and it went everywhere.' - Can you actually imagine having that conversation out of context...?! Somehow it becomes socially acceptable to say it with a baby.

Instead of the usual greetings, it's 'Hello daddy how are you?' when I pick up the phone, or 'Grandma wants a cuddle'. The thing is; it’s quite sweet to use it in our family but I use it with friends, even strangers and I can't stop. I'm at the Doctors' and I say 'We have got a cold', the shops and I'm all 'Mummy needs to buy some milk'.
If baby bear could speak I'm sure he'd be telling us to 'Grow up, use your words properly'.

It's even got the point where one of us has made up a song and the other sings it. For example, I took our bubba to swimming the other day and daddy comes in (I'm at it again) and starts singing 'splishy splashy' - actually at me! I just looked at him as if to say what are you doing?

Now sometimes all this has its advantages such as 'Daddy didn't do the washing up did he?' while I happily play with our son, then my husband will joyously sing back 'Mummy is so sarcastic and moany isn't she?' and so it carries on while the other one gets agitated (even though we'd agreed we'd never talk through him).

It's also great for rude people. Like the obnoxious librarian I came across the other day who also insisted (but resentfully so) that she stand outside the disabled toilets while I changed a nappy. So within ear shot I said to my son 'When you're a big boy sometimes, unfortunately, you may come across some not very nice people in life and the best thing to do is be nice to them and walk away. Mummy is pretending to be nice now when really she's thinking piss right off .' I then walked out of the toilets and smiled sweetly at her...
Other examples include telling other people what you think while talking to your child. What me, passive aggressive?

At least we're not the only ones that refer to our son's parentage in third person, lots of friends have said they do the same or maybe they're just trying to humour me? Either way, it’s just our way of life now - mummy and daddy simply can't help it.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Lady In Red

You know you're a mum when you go and buy a rain mac. Not your camouflage blend-in-with-the-crowd one, but a bright red polka dot one at that. You might as well go out in your slippers and not brush your hair...oh.

It appears that I'm now last in the pecking order in our little family, it's: bubba, husband then me and it's all my own doing. It's just I forget about me now and the things I used to do for myself. For example, I used to have a bit of a magazine fetish (nothing kinky I'm afraid) that went hand-in-hand with a bubble bath and a glass of wine. Now that seems like a lifetime ago.

And Christ knows when I last went to the salon to get my hair, or anything else, spruced. I'm even pondering whether to get that obligatory mum-chop, you know the one? Where you don't need to actually style your hair; it's short enough so you don't get baby dribble and sick in it, or it gets pulled out by the handfuls.

Right now, I'm rocking the 'Shoreditch top-knot', except it's purely for practical reasons. Rather than joining the trendy (but pretending they're not trendy) East London crowd by wearing the black (no prescription) framed glasses that accompany the bun. I've got the geek-chic look sorted: all I need to do is don some brogues with my PJs.

Included in not looking after myself is my diet - are the words diet and biscuits allowed together btw? I'm not getting near enough my five-a-day. I must admit, I've never been a gourmet chef at the best of times - even though I do make a mean Burmese curry - but my culinary skills have gone to pot (excuse the pun). My daily nutrients usually consist of peanut butter on toast accompanied by downing a glass of Berocca on my way out of the house.
But I have nailed getting ready in a military operation style though - I'm pretty sure I can fix up and look half blunt faster than Usain Bolt can run the 100 metres. And a pair of sunnys and a smacker of red lippy (to match my new red mac perhaps?) is a great disguise for those sleepless nights.

Saying all that, I do still at least check I'm dressed properly before I head out… Unlike Shirley; who once walked to her friend's house with her left boob hanging out, (yep, you read that right) all jiggly and exposed as she strolled up the street. Her friend had to motion to her that her bazonga was on display as she handed her a drink - all in front of two strangers...

So these days, I might look more Little Red Riding Hood than Chris De Burgh's Lady in Red, however, I do stop short at stuffing tissues up my sleeve. Just remind me to untie that muslin from around my shoulder...

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Contented Little Mamas?

Ok Gina, let's be ‘avin ya.

My friends fall into different schools of thought when it comes to parenting: some are super-strict with their routines, others are, let's say: more lackadaisical and then there are the ones who are in the middle. I think I fall into the latter category, but then I've always been known to sit on the fence.

When I got to the point of being up all night and I could no longer put matchsticks in my eyes, I needed to try something; anything. So out came ‘the book’ - we all know the one.

I'm of the opinion that you need to do what works for you, so when I flicked through this so-called holy grail, it alarmed me. I was suddenly being shouted at from the pages with a stern point-of-the-finger. I felt like I had been sent to baby boot camp and had been given my first detention for turning up late.
But because I was more in despair than Desperate Dan, I needed to try it, so I decided to pick a chapter that suited us.

The first rule was to make sure that the little one was up, nappy changed and fed by a certain time - which didn't bode well as I was already 15 minutes behind schedule - oh dear, epic fail so far...Still, I thought, I need to keep at it so I moved on to the next task in the regime.
Then something magical happened: he went down for his first nap; all by himself. No motion involved, or terrible singing. And then it happened again later at a relative’s house! The relative and I (let's call her Shirley) decided to try out the commands together. For the first time ever, the babies were in sync (see female of the species for reference) and both went to sleep, unaided, within 10 minutes.
We sat there a bit shell-shocked, 'Right then', said Shirley 'lunch?'
Not daring to make a noise to possibly disturb them, we crept around the house like the milk tray man; avoiding things like the 'fourth step on the stairs' that creaked.

Forgetting she had put the bagels in the toaster due to the shock, Shirley jumped out of her skin when they popped up (burnt to a crisp).
We sat there not knowing what to do with ourselves; would they suddenly wake up?
While the bambinos snoozed contentedly, so not contented were we; we sat with our backs as stiff as cardboard, eating our cardboard bagels.

Later on in the day, the rules started to get harder to follow:
Shirley said 'He's getting tired and irritable and I know he should be sleeping not playing'.
So we consulted Gina's marvellous medicine which said not to interact with them for a certain period before they rest.
'Put him in his bouncer, facing away,' I advised, suddenly being a nap-pro after two siesta successes.
'Then what?' she said as he was starting to grizzle.
'[Get him to] look at the plant'.
So she turned towards the plant, staring.
'What are you doing?' I said.
'You told me to look at the plant!'
'What?! Get him to look at the plant so he becomes dozy.'

And we fell about in hysterics, (hysteria is a usual emotion I feel these days) completely disturbing him in the process.
That's how desperate we were to settle them that she would try anything - yet somehow I don't think parental 'greenery gazing' would catch on as a new method for baby sleep training.

So while the day ended well, the nightly verdict? Hmm, I gained all of an extra hour’s sleep - all that hard work and it hadn't paid off. But I'm going to stick with it, albeit our own tailored version. I don't quite fancy baby boot camp, not quite yet *yawning*...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Wide Awake Club

If a sleep barometer existed, mine would be on the scale of delirium.

One of my best friends came to visit us in 'week 2', 'So, is he sleeping through the night?' asked her boyfriend innocently. I nearly choked on my tea. 'Are you joking? He is a new-born' came the sarcastic reply. Realising he was only trying to make polite conversation, I then tried to backtrack and make light of it, underneath seething with sleep depravity.

Patience was the first thing to go. The second was my judgement - my husband popped to the supermarket one night for essentials and on his return he found a bug caught underneath a clear plastic pot:
'I see you've caught a spider for me to take out?' He said.
'I think it might be a slug or a beetle or something but it was crawling towards me in the hall' I shivered.
'It's a bit of black plastic,' he said, deadpan, picking it up.
'No it's not, it was definitely crawling,'
'Look it's just plastic!'
'Get it away from me!'I screamed.
After that I was frog-marched to bed.

The sandman doesn't visit me much anymore. I can't remember the last time I had eight hours of unbroken zeds. At first I compared getting up at silly-o'clock to doing an airport run - you know those red-eye flights that you book for your holiday because they were cheaper? The ones where you have to force yourself to get up and you feel like someone has winded you? That's how I felt at each wakening. Now it's just a way of life. It's certainly getting easier, or maybe I'm simply adjusting to it...

My friends' little bundles seem to be in slumberland for long glorious stretches. Then there are the stories (fairy-tales?) you hear that their angels sleep from 7pm-7am. The health visitor reassured me all my baby's frequent night awakenings were 'normal'.

One solution? To catch forty winks in the day of course. But as a relative recently said, 'He doesn't nap for long does he?' and coupled with the fact that it takes me a good twenty minutes to get relaxed, by that time he's up again and ready for round two.

The other wide-awake talent I seem to have acquired is I rise when our little one stirs, even when we're not together. I'm suddenly in super-alert mode at 2am - this then turns into absolute panic-mode; where did I put our baby? Before realising a second later he's with his daddy and the whole reason I'm on my own is to actually try and hit the hay.

So tuned in am I, Timmy Mallett would be proud, we could bring back the Wide Awake Club and instead of the hand symbol, the Wacawave would now be a hash tag and it would be trending within hours. If only I could be like my dad who can doze anywhere; he once fell asleep on a family friend's shoulder...

Yet despite these nocturnal necessities, nothing in the world can beat those huge, magical gummy smiles that greet you as the sun rises, along with the morning 'chats' and cuddles.
It's just each time the baby alarm rings; it would be nice if our little pea had a snooze button.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

There's an app for that

Becoming a parent for the first time exposes some character traits you didn't know or necessarily want to admit. My husband might tell you otherwise but I hadn't realised that I might, possibly (ahem) like a bit of control. There I said it. Surely there's nothing wrong with wanting to plan a little and prepare for things?

When our little one was born we were impressed - and I don't just mean by the overwhelming love, joy and pride for him - but also by his communication skills. When he was hungry he wouldn't cry, he would just make a little quirky noise that we called 'The Count' (after the character from the 70s kids' TV series: Sesame Street) which we found hilarious and genius. In fact, he had (and has) so many little 'isms' it's so amazing that such a little being can have so much personality already, anyway I digress.

Mrs Control here thought she had it down to a tee, knowing exactly what he wanted and when. I even remember asking people in 'week 3' how to get them into a routine (yes I now know that it was impossible to have a routine back then).
Then suddenly, 'week 8' hit and it all changed - eek. No longer were the cues and signs but here was one cry that meant hunger, tired, trapped wind and all the above, plus more. Sucking his hand now meant he was tired instead of hungry and his feeding habits changed every three days.

So I found an app. Excitedly, I rang my husband one day and said 'I've come up with a new app idea!' - another silly invention or money-making scheme of mine. Then I discovered many already existed that timed and graphed feeding patterns, I was a bit disappointed I hadn’t got there first but equally grateful that there was something that was ‘the answer’. Of course, it didn’t make a blind bit of difference, nor did the white noise app that was rated 4.5 stars in getting bambinos off to nodding-land. But psychologically it helped me feel in control and my iPhone became everything from organising my social life to googling every baby related question out there - what did we do without them? 

Secretly though, we love the fact that he has a strong-willed personality and keeps us on our toes. I know, I can hear you say; ‘He is just a baby and that’s what they do’, but we like to think he already knows his own mind (just humour me).

And so I’m learning with babies; just when you think something is working and you have it sussed, it all changes. And as much as I try to have our little routine, I have to be as flexible and fluid as possible and sometimes [read weekly] you get thrown a curveball and you can’t control everything…not unless you've found an app for that?

Holding back the (y)ears

If you had told me a few months ago that I'd be singing (and dancing badly) to Simply Red around the bedroom over and over I wouldn't have believed you.

It's funny what you think “works” to soothe your baby. For some unknown reason it has to be Mick Hucknall's Every Time We Say Goodbye (not Ella Fitzgerald's version) and the words get changed to 'Every time we say goodnight', clever eh... It's these semantics that make me smile and realise how crazy new parents are that we will try anything to pacify our children.

I went to a friend's house for a coffee and as I came in she said, ‘Excuse the music, it’s been on repeat 200 times already today as this is the only song that will get her to sleep.’
It was a song played at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and they happened across it after trying everything - flicking through music stations - so it became a joke that it was the only song that would work.  
But what made me laugh even more was not only the attachment to the song itself, but that the parents didn’t like the Cheryl Cole version (sorry Chez) and needed to find the original for their own sanity.

I make up around ten songs a day about the most mundane things to entertain my son (or probably myself?) and I do wonder if I’ve put him off singing for life and think of him holding his ears. I imagine him saying, ‘Alright, enough now mum’. And just as I’ve finished, in comes daddy with a whole new set of tunes to rock out to (literally, see Son of a ...).    

So thanks Mick, you may have found a new fan.

The female of the species

If you imagine my neurosis as a new mother then double it, this is what it's like when I get together with a female relative of mine. We have a regular play date with our babies but somehow it turns into mission-must-do-everything-at-100mph.
I think the babies know this and have a cunning plan to make a game of tag team: while one sleeps, the other wants to play, then one wants to feed when we try to go out while the other is content. 'Right, you put the kettle on and make the tea while I watch them' is usually the first thing that's said as one of us piles into the house with all the baby paraphernalia.

On one occasion it was nearing the baby witching hours so we decided to play the guitar and sing to them. Utterly unimpressed with our attempts, they both looked away and yawned while we were manically singing and clapping in their faces. They were the most difficult audience we'd come across - even Simon Cowell would have given us the sympathy vote.

When we do eventually get out of the house, the prams inevitably get knocked into each other as we aim to steer them in a straight line. The other day we had a few errands to run in town; including getting the babies weighed, whilst trying to time both their naps, feeds and changes as they happily played relay.
We ended up charging around like two lunatics with these huge buggies thundering up (and barely fitting on) the path; people were swerving out of our way when they saw us approaching.
On arriving back at the house, grocery falling everywhere and out of breath, we looked at them - both blissfully tucked up in their prams - they simply smiled at us and looked a bit bewildered.

All we could do was laugh at our frenzy - it would have been so very different if the dads had them for the day. Mind you, (sorry guys) half the things wouldn’t have got done; men and multi-tasking aren’t two things that are generally associated together. 

So kettle on, the manic mummys sat down to drink our second cup of the day and the four of us even managed to have a kip…for all of 20 minutes, until the relay started up again…

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Son of a Preacher(wo)man

Without sounding like a Baz Luhrmann song, everyone needs: a rocking chair / bouncer / pram / fuel efficient car / strong arms (delete as appropriate). I did say I wouldn't preach or write this blog to give out advice, but what a godsend any of the above are.

It hadn't occurred to me that having a baby would entail hours of finding tricks of the trade to get them to sleep. You'd think that a little human being would instinctively close their eyes if they were tired...or maybe our little boy is like his mummy (as I should be resting rather than writing this).
You join the I-am-at-my-wits-end club when you're out pushing the pram at dusk (aka the baby witching hours) and when you see other parents doing the same you give each other a knowing tired nod. 

But wow: the adult rocking chair - a new discovery at 'week 13'. We could have done with this before - good for getting little ones to sleep whilst simultaneously winding them and giving your arms and back a break. Mind you, you also feel like a 90 year old lady who's lost her marbles sitting on her front porch in Louisiana rocking back 'n' forth on her chair. But still, it's quite therapeutic.

The 'books' say to start sleep training them early: getting them to sleep by themselves, all good in theory but what if that means trying this for over two hours? It's no coincidence that Rock-a-bye Baby is a popular nursery rhyme, people have been using the swaying technique for centuries.
If you are a parent reading this, own up - how many of you have been caught out moving back 'n' forth automatically when you hear a baby crying? Queuing up is my favourite place to jiggle without even realising. Even our baby bouncer has been engineered to rock when our little one stirs.

We were at our antenatal friends' BBQ the other day with all our new family additions (that's how we roll these days) when they announced they had found a new way to get their little one off to snoozeville. They coined this 'the daddy swing' - involving a certain moving technique coupled with the father and it even came with props - I wonder how you patent that?

So it works for us for now, and yes we know we may have made a rod for our sore backs, but we need to sleep too, speaking of which...

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Planes, trains and...err motorbikes

Motorbikes are currently my nemesis. I think I'm quite a placid person but suddenly I have developed an irrational anger towards motorbikes, glass recycling, dogs barking, lorries, sirens, doors slamming - you get the picture. 'Do you know how long it's taken to get my baby to sleep?' I want to scream absurdly.

In fact, everything becomes a threat to your child: dogs, cat, spiders (I have rolled up a towel and used it in a draft extractor manner to stop it coming in, too scared to catch the little blighter). Even buses; in a macabre way I'm imagining throwing myself into the road kamikaze-style to stop anything potentially harming my son. I do realise how extreme, nonsensical and borderline insane this all sounds (remember, I am very tired).     

But as a relative quite rightly pointed out (she was in a park when some children started screaming and her baby was asleep in the pram): you need to realise the whole world actually doesn't revolve around your baby, and she's right of course.

Still, if you're out and pass a pram and you need to make a sudden loud noise for whatever reason, or rev your motorbike, please just think - there is a little tired person in there who needs to nap and an even more tired person pushing them. 

A long shift at the Milk Bar

Breastfeeding: Oh Lordy where do I begin? A topic so discussed yet so taboo at the same time.

We went to a class where they said if it hurts you're not doing it right. As we were driving back my husband says: 'That sounds simple enough.' I started to protest 'but I'm sure my friends said it hurt like hell and their advice was to persevere with it', 'oh no' he said 'they must have been doing it wrong!' Hmm, I thought, but then why have all my friends given me this sympathetic 'oh give it at least three weeks' talk and must-have cream to buy?

Four weeks later he ate his words.

The pressure to breastfeed from the health professionals is immense. The guilt you feel is immense. My story is a personal one but no-one can quite ever prepare you for it. At one point at 4am I was thinking but how can women in the Third World do it so easily and not me? No wonder there are breastfeeding help-lines (not 24 hours though I might add) and drop-in clinics.

Day 9 I texted my friends who had breastfed to ask how long they nursed for. One friend rang me and said 'seven months, but I know why you're asking...’ Seven blinking months! Seven hours felt like a marathon. Six weeks I was told was the turn-around. Then apparently after twelve weeks everything starts to get better. Umm ok, I thought, secretly hoping they meant in dog years. But it was so true!

And so the feat began. And it was totally my choice but I wanted to do it for so many reasons. It’s just that no-one said you would feel like a tap. The milk bar opened at all hours of the day and sometimes the only staff member didn't get a break - it was drive-thru all the way. 

I know, I thought in my naivety, I'll invent a hands-free breast pump, bingo! It'll make life easier and I'll make millions. So I got my dad to make a prototype (really), and yes that was an awkward conversation between daughter and father. What I hadn't realised is the more you express, the more milk you make - supply and demand - and you end up engorged. While the Pammy Anderson look might sound appealing to some, if you used this wonder invention you would end up having enough milk to feed the town twice over and people would start calling you Daisy.

The hard fact is you have to resign yourself to become like a cow and sit on the sofa (aka the feeding station) and nurse. And those who are in the know: how annoying is it when you are there for the duration and you just can't-quite-reach for that glass of water?

Amongst the most wonderful and difficult things about breastfeeding, one of its perks include burning an extra 500 calories a day, so you're able to eat slabs of cake at any given moment. This may sound vain but when you are able to treat yourself without (for once) feeling guilty, it makes the world of difference. 'Oh, but I'm breastfeeding so it's alright' is a common phrase I've heard recently.

Breastfeeding has certainly been a huge wave of emotions to say the least and every experience and baby is individual. Whether you can, can't, do, don't, will, won’t; to me it doesn't matter. Breastfeeding is a complex topic and I have a new found respect for women.