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.

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Super Rad Sh*t

Happy Spring Day my little fairies! I for one am loving the warmer weather, although I may be imagining it, but for the first time in months I’m in open toed sandals (gnarly troll toes and all) and not wrapped in a Game Of Thrones style coat. So yay, here’s to warner weather and plenty more sunshine.

So, I’ve been tinkering around with a new idea for quite some time, and thought -what better day to launch it than on Spring Day. New starts, fresh beginnings and all that jazz.

The idea for the theme of ‘Super Rad Shit’ came about for two reasons – firstly – I get sent a lot of really cool rad stuff that sometimes isn’t enough for a whole blog post, but has definitely made a positive difference in my life, and secondly, I buy a lot of super rad shit (and sometimes super shit, shit). I’m the type of person who pops to Dischem for deodorant and comes back with a thousand rands worth of stuff (yes mom, I know I should be putting this money into my bond). So, to ease the guilt over being such a product hoarder, I thought what better way than to share my love of all products and things with you, my besties 🙂

I will be posting my Super Rad Shit (Yussis, SEO best practice is annoying) stuff every few weeks, and there probably wont be too much of a trending theme. It will just be me reviewing random stuff I have bought and tried and giving you the honest low down – to potentially save you some cash dolla should you be considering making  the same purchase.

Some items are sponsored, some are the result of retail therapy. Either way – I’ll tell you, honestly, how I feel about them

My first post is dedicated to ‘Shit That’s Simplified My Life’. The last several weeks of pregnancy have left me a redundant human. Between the nausea, exhaustion and growing sense of hatred for 98% of all humans, I’ve had very little time for time consuming stuff. So here’s my round up of Super Cool Shit #1.

  1. USN Trust Bars

Sure, the name is more suited to a condom, but these bars ( and I have only tasted the Vanilla Cupcake) flavour, are delicious. I munched one for breakfast this morning and keep them in my draw, handbag, cubbyhole and camera bag for when I haven’t had time for a meal or I’m feeling hunger pangs coming on.

Verdict: Rupert Approves. Rupert like cake.

2. Badger Pregnant Belly Oil.

My tummy has already popped, and I am so worried about stretch marks with this pregnancy. I’ve been using this Badger oil on my tummy since baby was just two lines on a stick. It doesn’t have the vanilla fragrance that it promises on the box, but that’s probably not a bad thing. Preggie noses are not good with overpowering scents, so I’m preferring a more bland vibe these days. The oil spreads beautifully and sinks in quickly – no ruined tops of clothing. Alos, the packaging is stunning and I’m going to see if they have baby products for when ‘Pip’ is born.

Verdict: Rupert – the anti stretchmark Boston Terrier Advocate – Approves.

3. Matsimela Bath Bombs

The closest I get to a Spa day is visiting my actual Spar for bread and milk, so to be tricked into thinking I’m having one at home sounded amazing. One of the things I’m most excited about with our renovations is the oversized freestanding bath we are getting. It’s going to make such a difference when my two-year-old and future baby joins me. The thought of wetting both boobs and knees simultaneously makes me want to poop myself – which coincidentally –  is what these bath bombs look like once dissolved. Brown colour aside, they smell insanely beautiful and leave your skin with a soft oily finish. I will be stocking up on more of these for when my new bathroom is ready. I also have my eyes on some Lush products – although I need to save –  because I’m pretty sure their non-official payoff line is ‘Gots to be flush, for Lush’.

Verdict: Rupert doesn’t apprive of baths, but he’s totally giving the thumbs up on these bath bombs.

4. Essence Quick and Easy Sponge Nail Polish remover.

Speaking of shit I buy at Dischem, there is never a visit to that store that doesn’t result in me buying something off the Essence stand. Their cheap and cheerful pricing model means I can leave with a little treat without too much guilt. Seeing as I am a nailpolish slut, I figured it was time to try  this new nifty nail polish remover bottle, You basically dip your finger in and jerk it around for several seconds until the nail polish is gone. It’s apparently acetone free so I’m also happier to have it lying around the house in case my makeup obsessed son gets hold of it.

Verdict: Rupert says ‘Nailed it!’

5. Gel effect nail polishes

In a bid to save money, I quit having my nails done. Not the smartest move I’ve made as my hands are always showing – especially with photography. A lot of brands promise a ‘gel’ effect, but I have found that very few actually deliver on their promise. Another Essence favourite though is the ‘1 coat and go’ which is literally that – I can apply a coat of nail polish and have my hands dried, and coated, in less than 90 seconds. The paint chips after a day though – but I honestly haven’t found a product that doesn’t chip on me, even when having my nails done at a salon. I also tried the Wet ‘n Wild ‘1 step gel’ but hated it – the colour went on streaky and my nails were chipped within a few hours.

Verdict: Essence – Rupert Approves. Wet ‘N Wild: Rupert does not.

6. Silicon makeup sponge

I’ve been using the original Beauty Blender for a year now, but because I am as conscientious as a brick wall, I haven’t been cleaning it like I should, and it’s gone a bit mouldy and stinky. Eeuw. I have been seeing these silicon sponges around for a while now – they promise less waste and a smooth makeup application. Um, the verdict is out on this one. For R49 it’s not a devastating loss, but I found that my fingers work better than the silicon. It doesn’t really blend my makeup in as as much as it just smears it around my face. I’d give this one a skip. Side note – also pictured here is a new animal friendly makeup brand I’ve been trying – ‘MINA’. They have a store in Sandton City and every colour under the sun is available. they are well priced and I love the fact that I can wear their stuff, guilt free.

Verdict: Leave the makeup sponge on the shelf. The actual makeup? Rupert Approves.

7. UCOOK

Ok. I will be honest here. The only reason I signed up to try UCook was becasue they were promising a free Le Creuset dish to their first 100 new signups. Sadly, I was customer 101 (Story of my life) so I missed out on the dish, but my guilt also didn’t let me cancel my order. And I am SO glad I didn’t. The box arrived at work laden with ingredients and instructions for 3 meals. So far I have made the spinach, feta and mushroom ravioli and the butternut quesadillas. Both meals have been freaking amazing, and I’ve already signed up for next weeks box. The recipes are clear and the portions are really really generous (I ate my left over dinner on my way to work this morning. The fetus demanded it.)

Verdict, Rupert Approves (although Rupert is cheap and wishes these meals were a tad less pricey).

8. Sheryl Sandbergs ‘Lean In’.

I don’t know if it’s age, work history or what but I am really really battling with the huge amount of sexism I face on a daily basis. I have a vagina and am therefore incompetent and functionally useless. I bought this book a few moth sago after a particularly bad experience and am just loving how it verified everything about how I feel, and how all I suspect, a lot of women,  feel daily. Do yourself a fave – get it. Get it now. Your useless, incompetent and confused vagina will thank you for it.

Verdict: Rupert, and Rupertina, approve.

9. Blendid Smoothie Mixes

The only reason my NutriBullet gets used these days is thanks to these bad boys. They have literally been a lifesaver on mornings when my morning sickness is so bad that dry retching is all I can manage. They are packed (I cant finishs one) with ingredients and have the best names. I’m trying to convince them to name a pack after my current situation “Dumb pregnant vagina who vomits all the time”, catchy, no?

Verdict: Rupert, the smoothie connoisseur, approves.

10. HnM Maternity Wear.

It happened on Tuesday. I was sitting at my desk in jeans that were cuting off my blood supply, and I realised it was time to bite the bullet and buy some sexy preggy wear. I never wore them with Carter and have always been super against the idea – but my burgeoning tummy had other ideas. Luckily for me, and you, HnM (Mall of Africa only from what I’ve heard) has a really nice range of fat clothes. Stylish as well. Like these here black pants, which may not be sexy on top but are well fitted, nice fabric and look like skinny tailored work pants. They are also perfectly complemented by the bathroom bin and sexy morning selfie. *face cut off to save you that sight*.

Verdict. Rupert approoooves. And, exhale.

 

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