At last, I am free!

The big finish

On 28th December, Jude turned 18 months old. 

He can walk (he can run and climb for that matter),  he can (very nearly) talk, AND, he has teeth. LOADS of them! He’s a proper little grown up lad, really. 

For the last 6 months, I have still been breastfeeding him, but only once a day before bed. This, it seemed, was completely fine with him; he didn’t ask for it at any other time of day – in fact, he didn’t even ask for it then, I just gave it to him, and he was also perfectly happy to have a bottle if I wasn’t in, or he was at my mums etc. Yet I continued to feed him myself when I had him at home by myself. It was ‘our time’ I guess. 

Breastfeeding was always my plan when I had Jude and I was lucky enough to be able to do it for as long as I have wanted to. If not, a little longer! I had initially made the decision to stop at 12 months old, but it just didn’t happen. It’s a weird old thing, breastfeeding. At the beginning of the baby’s life, and throughout pregnancy, you’re encouraged to breastfeed by everyone – “it’s the best thing for baby”, “it’s convenient”, “it’s free”, “no sterilising” etc etc. But then, after a few months it’s all about “so, when are you stopping then?”. Wow – ‘I thought you guys wanted me to do this for ages? We’ve only just settled into a flow!  

Anyway, about 3 months ago I definitely decided that enough was enough. At this rate he’d be four years old and still having it! (I know it’s right for some, just not for me). Steve also seemed keen to be able to lay some claim to them again too (ifyouknowwhatImean). 

Jude had fed on a nipple guard since he was about 4 months old. It meant that I was able to continue feeding him in comfort, and so they have just been a part of our feeding routine ever since and actually, in the end he wouldn’t feed without them. Which means that if I don’t have one with me he can’t be breastfed! It’s as simple as that. We visited Steve’s family in Cornwall shortly before Christmas and I forgot to take any guards with me. So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to stop breastfeeding. 

As it happened, I got really emotional about it and really sad that this time in our lives was over. I even fed him once or twice when we got back, but now I have officially stopped and we’re persevering with a bedtime routine that usually results in us wrestling for 20 or so minutes after his bottle, before he sleeps. (I used to feed him to sleep(!)). 

Milk from a bottle seems to have the same affect as Red Bull might. 

I feel liberated! I feel really proud of myself that I broke the cycle. Because actually, it did feel, at times, like I would never stop. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the time that we spent breastfeeding. As I said, I have been incredibly lucky. But I’m equally as proud that I managed to stop. It’s an emotional attachment that it’s difficult to break I think. More for me than Jude too. As long as he’s fed he really doesn’t care!

Although we have had a slight issue since we stopped feeding…….


Hand down my top! Every. Single. Cuddle. No attempt to actually feed (thank goodness), but still. And he doesn’t only do it to me – he does it to my mum too! It’s like since he doesn’t get that ‘skin time’, he likes to feel my skin as a comfort thing. I stupidly commented the other day that he doesn’t do it in public, but I was wrong! 

I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it (he bloody better!), or we’ll have to use bribery or something. 

It’s nice to still feel loved though. 

Difficulter and difficulter

2.20am, Friday 16th October. (5th night in a row of Jude waking for a feed).

  

Doing night feeds again sucks. But even more, doing night feeds and spending the next 2 hours after his feed trying to put him back down sucks. But eeeeven more,  doing night feeds and spending the next 2 hours after his feed trying to put him back down ALONE because Steve is working the next day and never wakes up anyway sucks. I’m writing this after one of those nights. Actually during one of those nights. It’s 2.20am and so far I’ve been up for an hour. We only went to bed at 11 for goodness sake. The worst thing is, I’m so so annoyed at having to do this again (Jude has been sleeping through, and I mean from 10-7, since about 8/9 weeks), yet I know how lucky we are and some people don’t get to sleep through until their baby is like, 7. 

But I’m still unbelievably irritated by the whole thing. Jude not going back down after his feed (if he opens his eyes at any time I know I’m screwed and I’m going to be awake for at least the next hour), Steve not waking up and helping out. And even if he did wake up he can’t exactly help because he’s up at 6 the next day and I usually tell him to go back to sleep. 

I like my sleep. Correction: I NEED my sleep. How am I supposed to entertain an active, growing child all day if I’ve only had 6 hours? Before pregnancy and being a mum, I could easily sleep for 10 hours a night. I’m convinced it helps with my immune system. If I’m ill it’s usually because I haven’t been having enough sleep. Sleep works better than vitamins any day!

And another thing that is making the ‘putting back down’ more difficult is the creaky floorboards. My god they’re irritating! And I’m sure they were never this loud and creaky before! Im sure it’s literally been for the last week or so; ever since Jude has been sleeping in his crib and is therefore more sensitive to noise. Grrrrrrrrr. Anyway… Time to try and put him down again. 

      

Weaning time approaches 

  Night feeding has pretty much been the theme of the week this week. Jude seems to be ready for weaning! I was told that once he stops sleeping through its usually because he’s ready. And I’m not remotely surprised as he’s always been a good eater! And he’s 17 weeks now which is apparently OK to wean from. So we may well start soon! I had thought it might’ve been the new crib, but he goes down brilliantly in it now, just doesnt stay there long enough! Based on the above (I was clearly slightly p****d off!), I think sooner rather than later could be the key! 

Jude also now wriggles to the top of the crib and bangs his head on the bars. I tried to solve this by tucking his sleeping bag under the mattress, but he escapes! The next move will to be to sew some Velcro to the bottom of his sleeping bag and the crib. It has to be Velcro in case of needing to pick him up quickly. He’s ok for now, but that’s my plan if worst comes to worst. 

       

Catching up on sleep

Something we have started doing, on which there are very mixed opinions, is (what I like to call) ‘co-napping’.

 In the mornings after particularly bad nights, and when Steve has to go early to work so can’t get up with Jude, I bring him into our bed and we nap, sometimes for 2 hours or more! It means that I can catch up on sleep and he is joyous when he wakes after a good old sleep too! I read when Jude was really little, that the safest way to co-sleep is for me to lie on my side and make a right angle with my legs and stretch my ‘underneath’ arm out in front of me. Jude can then lie in the gap between my outstretched arm and my raised knees. Making that shape means I won’t roll onto him. I also place my other arm over his tummy to hold him in sort-of-thing. It’s great! He seems to love napping with mummy! And when he wakes he ALWAYS wakes with huge grins! It’s safe and amazing. Brilliant! 

      

Breastfeeding update: the dreaded ‘M’ word

       

I had to get an emergency doctors appointment as I had had really sore nipples and boobs for a few weeks. It seemed to start after our trip to Twickenham and Brighton, when I hadn’t expressed enough perhaps? And I had thought it would get better, after all I didn’t want to take up a highly sought after doctors appointment if it was just sore nips did I? 

Well, it turns out I should have! I eventually rang for an appointment and managed to get an emergency one on a Friday afternoon (I didn’t know it was an emergency until I Googled it). And it was a good job I did! I took off my bra and showed the doc my right boob and she gasped! Gasped and stared in horror! Oops! Perhaps I should have come sooner…… Aaanyway, 2 prescriptions later (both breastfeeding friendly) and I was off to the pharmacy ready to fix my poor boobs! 

Time for a genuine ‘mum problem’: I struggled with the actual taking of the tablets. I was supposed to take a tablet every 6 hours: 4 tablets a day on an empty stomach. That was the hard bit. Some days I barely remember to feed myself, let alone take a tablet every 6 hours on an empty stomach! So that was a challenge to say the least, but at least they helped anyway. 

I am fixed:) But rest assured I will never let it get that bad again! Ladies: if you’re leaving your breast fed babies for the first time overnight or a long period of time, MAKE SURE YOU EXPRESS ENOUGH! I didn’t and it was dreadful… I thought I had but I hadn’t expressed as much as Jude would normally drink in the same period of time and that was a baaaad move! Lesson learnt. 

     
    Talking and teething

 

Our boy is doing both! He has started talking loads. And I don’t just mean gurgles, I mean different noises for different things. He talks to his toys! He even seems to talk louder (or it could definitely be taken as singing) when there is music playing. 

On that note, I’ve discovered a fabulous music channel-type-thing on YouTube which plays nursery rhymes and has brilliantly colourful animations to go with each song. That’s the latest thing to help when I’m in the shower. It makes me feel awful though for ‘just sticking him in front on a screen’ as they say. He loves it though! And I figured as long as it’s nursery rhymes or Disney it’s fine! That’s alright yeah?!

Our boy has also been a little miserable recently with what we think is teething. He’s had a bit of an upset tummy and has had awful red faced crying episodes to which there seems to be no cure. He’s also a bit snotty and congested which I think is a symptom of teething. He’ll definitely be all ready for weaning soon! 

 So the next blog is probably gong to be weaning based (unless he goes back to sleeping through again soon). Can’t wait for the photos, can wait for the nappies! 

Ta-ra X