Surviving The First Month – Boobs And All (Plus, Win a Breastpump!)

Piper is nearing her one-month birthday. I KNOW.

It’s been an incredible (and incredibly fast) first few weeks. She is amazing. I’m drowning in every bit of her, because she really is growing up way too fast for my liking. In fact, I had a little moment this past weekend when discussing birth stories with friends (yes, this is what we talk about now) and I realised she will be my last every baby. I’m devastated that I wont ever have that experience again. But, I digress.

Coming home with a new baby is always a daunting exercise – regardless if you’re like me and it’s your second, or if it’s baby number 5 you’re bringing home to the family.

You forget everything. It’s amazing how the brain retains only what you really need to remember, and discards the rest. Jokes, you’ve just had a kid, Your brain retains nothing, you are all dumb now. So, in the spirit of helping other new moms keep their shit together, I’ve decided to put together a little ‘Surviving The First Month’ series and chat about everything from boobies and body to blood and ‘bloody hell!’

To kickstart, I’ve decided that the most important thing to discuss is feeding. And in my case, breastfeeding. Apologies to the formula mums – I will be there in a few months when I go back to work (although at times I’ve considered hanging up my boob straps and switching to Nan because of, well, all the below reasons)

The latching… Unlike Carter, when Piper was born they popped her directly on my boob and she latched first time, like a little star. I have nightmare memories of leaking nips from Carter days, so my hospital bag was 3/4 breastpads. Although, you don’t actually need them for the first few days as you are making tiny amounts of colostrum and baby really only needs a teaspoon or less, per feed. So all was good under my proverbial hood and little Pip latched and ate and slept and poo’ed. On day 4 my milk came in, and with it, my boobs doubled in size and became rock hard. Piper was still latching but it was so incredible sore that my toes would literally curl in and I would levitate every time she came anywhere near me. I was using these hideous nipple shields to try get her on (because on top of milk coming in and boobs growing, they also become so rock hard that for baby to get a grip is the equivalent of them trying to wrap their lips around a soccer ball). I was in agony and the breaking point for me came on day 5 when after a feed, I looked down and her little face was covered in blood. I immediately contacted a lactation specialist – Sally – from Noobebe Baby Clinic  who came to my house and sat with us for an hour teaching me how to properly latch my baby. That and a session of physio** helped me so much and I cannot stress enough what an investment this is. I can understand why so may moms give up trying to breastfeed, the pain of early onset mastitis, cracked nippled and rock hard goombies is enough to make even the most hardcore crunchy mom give up and grab a bottle.

The mess… Guys. You must never underestimate the messiness of milk. I can only speak from my experience, but when the milk comes in, it comes in fast ad furious. Like the cast of Absolutely Fabulous at a gin sale. No amount of breastpads can prevent this:

Or this (Incase you’re wondering, this is my duvet cover, which means I leaked through shields, a bra, a top and actual linen.)

And even if they do, its a fucking nightmare when boob is out, baby’s on and she suddenly pulls away. Milk streams out at ferocious 90 degree angles. If a forensic expert had to come in to my home they would find traces of Kates Dairy all over the house, from the curtains to the carpets. I took a break from writing this blog to feed Piper now, and this is legitimately what she looked like after her first suck:

My advice? Stock up on breastpads and keep them everywhere. Baby’s room, your room, under your pillow, wedged between cushion covers and in your car. Also, you will be very sleep deprived and therefore very stupid. Top tip? Don’t apply them sticky side down on your nipples. It’s not pleasant.

Feeding in public… I could never get this right with Carter and hated the thought of going out with him when he needed a feed. The amount of times the poor Woolworths change-room assistants let me borrow a stall is beyond me. It also got very expensive as every-time I used a room to feed I felt obliged to buy myself new clothes. Nursing covers are hot and stuffy and unpleasant all round, plus, they could be the size of a picnic blanket but you are still guaranteed a nip sip when shifting baby from boob to boob. I find it incredibly difficult as I have to help her get latched which means both hands need to be under my top, and in order to see what Im doing that also means that I need to also be under the cover. There is not less conspicuous than a hot sweaty woman with a bright pink shawl draped over her shoulders in 30 degree heat trying to wrestle an infant octopus between oversized leaky mammaries. If I have to, then I will feed in public. If not, I express, bottle the milk up and actually just save us both from tears.

 

Expressing and bottle feeding… I used the Medela double electric pump with Carter and am using it again with Pip. This thing is terrific, the only downfall is that you have to hold the pump in place while expressing which meant you were very limited for however long it took to get the milk out. That is, until Michelle from BreastPumps and Beyond came to my house to deliver, what I fondly refer to, as THE BIGGEST GODSEND AFTER HAVING A BABY. She also brought me chocolates, so she’s basically my favourite person.  It’s a click on bra that allows you to hook the pump in so you can operate hands free. This thing has actually changed my life. I can read, work, blog, watch TV, take hideous selfies or wash dishes while expressing. Jokes. I have a dishwasher for that.

I debated for hours over posting this photo, but decided that in the spirit of honest parenting, you needed to see what real motherhood looks like. It ‘aint pretty. 

I’m using the Medela Calma bottle and teat which mimics the sucking action of a nipple. (God, how many times can one person actually say ‘nipple‘ in a post?). I’ve been expressing from 4 days and giving Piper the occasional bottle since she was 5 days old – so I can get a break, or feed in public or so hubby can feed and I can sleep lie awake wondering if he’s going to remember to change her nappy afterwards. Oh, and also so I can drink. heavily.

So, what have I actually achieved with this post? Apart from perhaps causing a spike in the sale of the contraceptive pill? Well, hopefully to help you realise that you’re not alone in this messy journey of motherhood, and also to help you stock up on shit you really need, versus shit you really don’t.

Shit you really need:

Breastpads. Any brand. The large box. keep them everywhere

Towelling nappies. Not for nappying, for absorbing spillage and mess and milk and tears.

A Medela breastpump and THE WORDS GREATEST BRA. Get them here:

A nipple cream – I use the Medela lanolin. Yes you will gawk at the price. Yes, you will need it. (great for cuticles, too).

The number of a good Sister (like nurse, not biological or Whoopi) who can help you with your latch – chat to Sally from Noobebe. She also does vaccinations.

The number of a physio who can help you should you get mastitis or pain.

A comfy chair. I use the ComfyMummy chair with a foot cushion and it’s really helped with those 3 am feeds when you are so exhausted you can’ see straight Tip> Pay for Scotch Guarding. because, mess. FYI – they have recently moved their showrooms so give them a visit or have a look at their website.

Shit you don’t need:

Breastfeeding tops – They really make zero difference when you have to peel back layers of bras and pads anyway.

Overly warm breastfeeding covers – they are not fun for everyone

Nipple shields. If I can give up this crutch, so can you. I promise.

Judgy opinions. Do what works for you.

** Side note. When selecting a physio to caress, massage and laser your boobs, try not to book your husbands ex girlfriend. You’re welcome.

Competition Time!

The lovely folk at Breastpumps and Beyond and Medela want to try and simplify your breastfeeding experience, so we are giving away one Harmony manual pump to a lucky winner. I also have this particular pump as it’s super handy for on-the-go expressing. I’m shooting a wedding at the end of the month and will be taking it along to express between the ‘I Do’s’ . To enter, all you need to do is subscribe to this blog, like and share the post on your Facebook timeline (you can share it from here) and leave me a comment. Winner will be drawn and announced on Thursday.

Continue Reading

Introducing Piper Grey. Our Daughter.

I’m writing this from a very loved up cocoon. 13 days ago we met our precious daughter, Piper Grey. She was born via planned C section but came wide eyed and screaming into this world, just as I had hoped. She is perfection, All 3.42 kilograms and 50 cm of her. Just like her oder brother she was born with a mop of dark hair which I’m almost certain will, like his as well, fade, fall out, grow back blonde and then settle into a dark blonde. She has large almond eyes that currently, are a deep blue and a little rosebud mouth. Her character is simply delicious – soft and sweet with a ferocious crossness that comes every 3-4 hours when she’s hungry and needs boob. Her features are delicate and dainty but her hands, man those hands, those were made for something great. In fact, her hands were the first thing the gynae saw as he pulled her out, and as he did he said ‘she’s gonna be a 4 kilo’er’. I’m kinda glad she’s not.

Alot of people have been asking me about her name, and no, it didn’t derive from ‘Pip’. We were calling her Pip in the tummy because ‘It’ sounded too weird, and when we chose the name Piper it was simply a coincidence that it was 2 letters longer than her nickname 🙂

The whole C section and hospital experience was amazing – even better than the first. I had her at a different hospital to Carter and cannot tell you just how welcome, special and important all the nursing staff made me feel. The only downfall was the limited visiting hours for Barry and Carter and the broken aircon – she was born in one of the hottest weeks and I was uncomfortable for 4 days. It was like staying in a sauna.

And the boys? Well, they are simply besotted. Barry has been given 10 days paternity – which is great but in my opinion about 2 months too little – so has been with me for 2 weeks helping and bonding and being my rock. He goes back to work tomorrow and Im somewhat devastated. Carter is simply obsessed – I always knew he would be loving and nurturing but to see him with her, it can actually make your ovaries do the Macarena. She is his little light and he gravitates towards her like a beacon – he smothers her with kisses and soft touchers and whispers her name when he’s crying. I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Piper was born with several ‘stork bites’ on her face – a ‘V’ on her forehead, on her eyelids and under her nose. At first I was really upset – her perfect face felt flawed, and I gave myself a full day to mourn a little bit of her perfection. And then I sucked it up and told myself I was being ridiculous – she has 10 fingers and toes and is a perfect human in every other way. The docs said the marks will fade in a few years, and I’ve learnt to embrace them as part of her and who she is. I don’t edit them out in all my pics as I want her to look back at photos and see her for exactly who she was.

I have been loving my time at home with her. Not being able/allowed to drive is a tiny blessing. I’m trying this time do do less and be more. She is my last baby and so I want my waking hours to be spent gazing, touching and smelling this little bundle. Because I know all too well just how fast they grow up.

r-Grey

It hasn’t all been roses and custard, I did too much too soon and suffered a small bout of mastitis, afterbirth pains (we need to talk about that, people!) and threw in a dose of food poisoning for good measure.

She is 2 weeks tomorrow, and I actually don’t remember a time before she was here. Yes, the lack of sleep and 2 am feeds and constant soiled nappies and saggy tummy and exhausted eyes are leaving me more mombie than anything, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. She’s here, she’s ours and she has completed our little family.

 

 

Continue Reading

7 Ways To Survive The Last Month Of Pregnancy

There comes a time, in every women’s pregnancy, when she reaches the ‘gatvol‘ stage. For my International audience – gatvol basically means ‘sick and tired’. Well, friends, I am officially gatvol. Like labour dilation, it happens slowly with a rush at the finish. I woke up on Monday, tired, puffy and exhausted, and by the time this morning had rolled around, I was 100% certified gatvol. If you aren’t sure if you are in the early stages of gatvolness or the late stages – here’s a simple test: Does the sight of another human being fill you with rage? If yes, you are at full-scale gatvol.

Full-scale-gatvolness tends to happen in the last month of pregnancy, and can be narrowed down to one thing. You have been pregnant for 11 years.

The only official cure is to birth the baby, so until then the gatvol-ness must be managed with a variety of lifestyle changes. Because as we all know, hard liquor, medication and murder are all top of the ‘pregnancy no-no’ list.

So, as my free-gift to you, I have come up with a list of several ways I can recommend surviving the final stages of pregnancy, until it’s time to become un-pregnant.

  • You aren’t sleeping, which is terrifically unfair, because you know that in a short few weeks when baby is here, you will never sleep again. Why aren’t you sleeping now, you ask? Because baby is literally sitting inside your bladder making running water noises and the slightest movement from either yourself or her sends you waddling to the loo. If you’re lucky, a little bit of wee will pass out. Enough to justify the use of a square of bog roll. If you’re not, you will convince yourself you have a bladder infection. This goes on all night. All fucking night people. The only way I have managed to help myself is to have a weekly cheat meal of soya sauce in a bowl. Drink it before bed and ensure you do not touch water. You must dehydrate yourself to the point of biltong if you want it to work. Then, with skin sucked in as tight as Zumas Shrek skull, you must go to bed and not move. Not a muscle. Your lack of movement, coupled with the extreme dehydration your are now putting your body against, will ensure a guaranteed 4-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

  • The heartburn in the latter stages of pregnancy will become so bad that you will wish sudden death upon yourself. Gaviscon will no longer work. Not even when drunk directly form the bottle (the large pink one) and downed with a couple chew tabs at the same time.Not even when your pillow nest is 4 granny-goose high and you are more erect than Bill Cosby after cocktail hour. The only cure, I’m afraid, is to stop eating anything with wheat, carbs, cheese, sugar, preservatives, spices, flavouring or milk. You must not consume anything that is actually food. Instead, if you feel faint to the point of collapsing, you may smell a piece of spaghetti and drink one glass of soya sauce in water. You might actually die from malnutrition, but the positive to this is no more heartburn, and a guaranteed good rest.

  • If you, like me, are waddling like an Internet gif, you must make alternative transport plans. I cant begin to tell you how little respect I generate when I walk int a boardroom looking like I’m birthing a penguin from my vagina. If the waddle is severe, you must break a bone and confine yourself to bed rest until baby arrives. A toe or foot will suffice. Remember – a break will hamper your time after baby – so think this one through very carefully before committing. If the waddle is only bad in the morning, afternoon, around lunchtime and at other times during the day, may I suggest finding a sturdy office chair to get you from point to point. Extra claps if you can find an attractive colleague to push you around.

  • It is very important to remove yourself from any situation where you may encounter a person with a stupidity disability. Sadly, hiding at home away from other human beings for 9 months is almost impossible, so may I suggest embarking on a ‘people purge’ for a while. Remove yourself from any and all mailing lists, politely decline any and all meetings and avoid 98% of men in the office who think their sexist jokes are funny. It is also very important to not answer unknown numbers, or emails that start with ‘TV licence’. Just yesterday I told a do not reply sender to go and ‘fuck their hand’. If your bullshit tolerance feels like it might break, then may I suggest also deleting your social media accounts until your anger hormones have settled. 12-99 months should suffice. Top Tip: Also try and avoid the following people: Car guards, telesales people, municipal workers, slow waiters, taxi drivers and slow-mall-walkers.

  • Do not allow yourself to be in traffic unnecessarily. I say this with peace and love in my heart, for I intentionally aimed my SUV at a silver painted mannequin man just last week. After a mind blowingly fun 2 hours in traffic. His juggling red balls were blocking the turning arrow, and for that I knew he must die. Luckily I had my son in the car, otherwise that silver man would have been so deeply ingrained into the tar of William Nicol that people old have mistaken him for a shimmery mirage.

  • Do not divorce your husband while pregnant. Give the relationship a fighting chance and admit that even you – yes, you – may be overreacting at times. Sure, the sight, smell and sound of him may cause you irrational anger, but this too shall (hopefully) pass. They don’t mean the things they say and they are also probably truly sorry for being such assholes during your 40 weeks of suffering. Do not rise to the bait when they tell you about your pregnancy and feelings and do not, under any circumstances, let them know that the smell of alcohol on their breath makes you want to cut their face off. If possible, ignore them for the entire gestation and become a self sufficient martyr.**

  • In the last month of pregnancy it is important to not carry anything of monetary value. Buy a cheap pay-as-you-go cellphone and eat off paper plates. This means, should you ever drop anything, it is therefore not necessary to pick it up or retrieve it, because if you lean down to fetch it, the chances are statistically high that you will never get up again.

  • Invest in a pair of highly unattractive, yet functional footwear. I’m taking something with the word ‘Froggy’ or ‘Green’ in them. Your feet and ankles with grow so swollen with water that anything sharper than the prick of a blade of grass will surely make them explode. Your feet, in anything stylish, will expand and wrap themselves around the straps, and you shall be left with a Geisha like walk for eternity. Fashion be damned, buy those damn Crocs.

Now off you go, waddle with god speed into your 19th trimester, dear friend. Not long to go until baby is here, you can drink wine and see your toes again.

**If you still feel this way when your baby has reached high school, then it’s probably not a phase and you should get a divorce attorney in.

Continue Reading