Never stops talking!

I just love it when children don’t stop talking, KW2 is at the stage now where if he is not talking to someone, he is talking to himself!
Today, while sat having a poo, I could hear him saying to himself…
“Nice job fixing the toilet dad, nice job”

While riding his bike yesterday, I could hear him chanting to himself on the way back from a friends…
“You can do it Alfie, keep pedalling, come on, you can do it.”
When the back was going quickly down a hill, he was saying
“Calm down bike, calm down”

He just has me in fits of laughter all the time, pretty sure he takes after me, given at the supermarket child free yesterday, I heard myself saying,
“Let’s get tomatoes Pops, ooh I wonder what else we need”
I must have looked crazy, it’s just I am so used to talking to the children, I forget I am alone!

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Breastfeeding is best for me!

Breast or bottle? A controversial choice in some people’s eyes.

This week is world breastfeeding week so I thought I would do a post related to it.

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Firstly, although I am all for breastfeeding, I am not a militant mum who thinks anyone who chooses to feed their children formula is nothing short of harming their children, there is absolutely nothing wrong with formula if that is the choice you make, but I do believe that when it works, breast is best. I have friends who tried it and despite persevering with expressing, nipple shields, lotions, bleeding nipples, mastitis, combined feeding etc, it was just making them and their baby miserable; then it cannot possibly be best. A happy mum, makes a happy baby! Some mums beat themselves up when it all seems impossible, heartbroken they can’t feed them. But every mum loves their baby the same and we all want the best for them, just by loving, caring, feeding them, you are doing a brilliant job. How they get that nourishment and whether breast or formula needs to be what works for you and your family.
I do believe however, that mums should give it a go, even if just for the colostrum, as this first few days the colostrum is supposed to have so many health benefits, not to mention the feeding certainly helped my uterus contract back to size but oh my goodness the after pains where dreadful, and got worse with each child!

My experience

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I was fortunate in that although the first few weeks consisted of constant feeding, painful let down and exhaustion. After that , it just all fell into place with all three. With KW1, I mastered massaging my breasts when feeding to help with engorgement and painful lumps, at night I slept on a towel with no bra as I think the free flowing milk also helped prevent them getting sore. I also rubbed breast milk onto my nipples, before they got cracked, I had a Fridge full of special cooling pads, lansinoh etc and luckily I never needed any of it.
Don’t get me wrong it really was hard work for the first few weeks and I felt like all I was doing was feeding, as feeds could take up to 90 minutes, and breast feeding babies want feeding at least every three hours, often more. It also really did hurt and that moment they latched on was toe curling, which turned into a shooting kind of pins and needle pain with the let down reflex. Ow!

My partner is more pro breastfeeding than me, and was ultra supportive throughout. Although during childbirth NCT classes, I don’t think the breastfeeding counsellor appreciated his sense of humour! What I didn’t know until after the class I suppose, was that he really did think it was best, and was keen for me to do it. I always said I would do it if it worked, I desperately hoped it would work but I wasn’t wanting to beat myself up (although knowing me, I would have done). Luckily for me, I loved breastfeeding and so did my kiddiewinks. Breastfeeding all came naturally to me and I often joke that the reason breastfeeding works so well for me, is because childbirth has always been a trauma ( but that’s another story). Hubby’s positivity towards breastfeeding as grown with each child.He really believes it is best and cannot understand why people don’t persevere. In the days when there was no formula people used to breastfeeding so why do so many people have problems today? In some ways I wish he could try it, then he would see why some woman have to stop or give up trying to feed, despite desperately wanting to breastfeed. Whether he would be as pro breast feeding, if it hadn’t worked for me, I don’t know.

Being a milk machine
Expressing is definitely not glamorous, it is noisy and a royal pain in the bum! It is something I dreaded doing with KW2 and KW3 (although with my eldest it gave me an excuse to sit on my bottom watching the TV). With each baby I have expressed, although with number two and three I had a lot less time for expressing! I don’t find expressing easy and can only manage 2-4 oz in twenty minutes to an hour. With KW1 I expressed enough for my hubby to give her a dream feed at 11 each night, but this changed to formula when she started taking 6oz plus bottles at the dream feed, she naturally cut this out. With KW2 and 3 expressing was more sporadic so hubby got a lot less chance to feed them, but it worked for us,

How long did I feed for?
KW1 decided she had had enough of the boob at 5 months, she was screaming at bedtime at my boob as it just wasn’t coming quick enough for her, my hubby brought in a bottle of formula and that was that, the next few days I was rejected in favour of the bottle. (She had been having at least a bottle of formula a day since about six weeks)

KW2 hardly had any formula, as he weaned early and ate for Britain, 98th percentile plus. He cut some milk feeds out quite early as he was over eating and spewing the milk up, ( we didn’t worry as he was getting plenty of milk in food and had lots on his brekkie). I gave up breastfeeding completely when I returned to work at 8 months,

KW3 is nearly 6 months and had her first bottle of formula yesterday, I had gone out (naughty mummy) and clearly she had not been satisfied by her bedtime feed. She always senses when I am in a rush. Today I tried; well hubby tried and I went to the gym and for a swim. But, she refused her 5pm feed, she did then have both boobs and the formula at bedtime. if possible I would like to keep that bedtime feed going once back at work, as other friends have done. I have to admit though I was still a bit sad about her having that formula! I know it’s silly, but I was.image

My pros and cons
I am going to look at the pros and cons for me, I will omit the health facts and benefits as I am not a doctor or medical professional and this information is freely available to all anyway. So it goes without saying that all the benefits to the babies and I is a big pro!

Pros
-Once established you do not need to plan how much milk to take with you on a day out. Flexibility when socialising!
-No need for thinking ahead, Storing, preparing, making etc
-Once established you can do it discretely anywhere. (Although I did have a feeding apron which helped me do it in places I might usually feel a bit on show, and gave me a bit more freedom to where non breastfeeding friendly clothes.

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-releases a natural sleepy hormone so night feeding is just a case of whack it out, feed and go back to sleep. I love the convenience of feeding as soon as they wake.
– possible to feed lying down at night time
– save around £10 a week on formula, ( until they start drinking a bit less)
– if other people are cuddling my baby, I get to steal her back to feed her
– no forgetting how many scoops, checking water temperature, sterilising.

Cons
– family members don’t get the lovely experience of feeding the baby, I let the siblings help out with the expressed milk, but it was nowhere near as frequent as if I had formula fed

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– occasional embarrassing leaks in tops, leaving a lovely milk circle over the nipple
– breast pads, these cost and you get through a fair few at the beginning. Not to mention the fact i would regularly accidentally let them go into the washing machine, to wish they reacted a bit like tissues. Or I would leave them on the sofa and someone would end up with a used breast pad stuck to their bottom, thigh, side…
I bought some reusable bamboo ones this time, which worked much better, but I swear the washing machine eats them, like it does with socks
– lack of freedom, unable to leave my babies and just pop put for the day or night (although this can also be a plus point when you aren’t wanting to leave them)
– having to be careful with alcohol, although I have to admit with each child I have become slightly more relaxed about the amount I am willing to drink and feed with. The other week, KW3 had been sleeping though, I went out and drinks cocktails, she then woke for a feed at 2am, we had no expressed milk in, so I had to feed her! Oops…

What Made breastfeeding easier
– bamboo little lambs breast pads
-supportive hubby and family
-perseverance
-bebe au lait feeding apron

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– feeding cushion in the early days

I love breastfeeding but appreciate it is not for everyone and will never judge others for the choice they make! It does disappoint me that some people judge the way people choose to feed their children, people slating mums breastfeeding in public, people moaning about formula. At the end of the day we are all parents feeding are children!

I love the way all my children see breastfeeding as the most natural thing in the world. When my youngest was a few weeks old, I caught KW2 feeding his sisters dolly with his ‘breasts’. What really made me chuckle was when he said ” she’s finished that booby, she needs to change sides.
He is going though a very, very interested stage at the minute. Lots of jokes about boobie milk and too my surprise he pretended to go to drink milk from my boobies, telling me what he was doing before he did it, which meant I had time to react. He was firmly told no it was for his sister and he only had it as a baby, hopefully, he won’t try that one again. Both children talk openly about feeding their sister and how she eats. They wouldn’t bat an eyelid if they saw a baby breast or bottle feeding.

I know I will be gutted when KW3 weans herself off the booby! Chances are she is my last baby, and the thought of not breastfeeding again is actually quite a pulling at heart string kind of feeling . Even now my tummy does a little flip flop when she latches on, but not a painful experience now, instead a ‘oh I love you so much’ kind of feeling. I can’t explain it, but I love it. I love the little noises she makes when seeing the boob coming out, the noise when feeding and the way she looks at me when snuggled in for a feed. I love the closeness, bonding and the fact that it is down to me that she is gaining weight and thriving , I love the fact that I provide that. Such a special experience!

Useful websites and support
http://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/
http://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk
https://www.laleche.org.uk/node
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/breastfeeding-help-support.aspx
http://www.nct.org.uk/branches/sutton-epsom-district/breastfeeding

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Hospital appointments

Well tomorrow we are off to the orthoptist at Warrington hospital, we always have to be there ten minutes early so he can play with the toys. If not, we end up having to have a play after his appointment which seems absolutely bonkers! I always feel really nervous before them, worrying whether KW2 will conform and do the test properly. He always tries relatively hard but sometimes it is difficult to tell if he can’t do it, or if he is messing about.

He used to hate the part where they test each eye using a patch and pictures, which get increasingly smaller. He used to try and hide his face, shout out silly answers that weren’t one of the options, or just not speak. Generally I got him participating by telling him to shout the answer to daddy at work. Things also improved when I twigged if he arrived in his patch then we got the weaker eye picture test out of the way and done with, this help immensely. At the last two appointments he has firmly said

“come closer, I can’t see it” when the test has got a bit difficult. The first 12 months he made immense progress, but as expected, this progress has plateaued over the last few appointments, which has been somewhat disheartening. He is not due the prescription appointment until February so at least the the experience should be relatively short and sweet.

Bless his heart, he said at bedtime tonight, that he likes going to the hospital but doesn’t like his patch so wants the doctors to tell him no more patch! (Don’t we all… Can’t see it happening though!)

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Update
The appointment went well, a mini silly spell but was a happy little thing and seemed to quite enjoy himself. Progress with the patch has plateaued, but this does mean that he can now reduce it 2 hours. He proudly told Daddy about his appointment when he got home from work. A massive achievement though was that he managed to see some of the 3D test, for the first time he could point out which part of the insect stuck out, even trying to grab it.

Pretty plaits

I have never been great with my own hair, but I love plaiting my daughters. I have love plaiting since the age of about 10 when I used to insist on plaiting a 5 year old family friend. I don’t think she enjoyed the experiences as much as me.

A favourite of my 6 year old KW at the moment has been named by her as the ‘s’ plait;

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This particular picture was taken after she had worn it for 12 hours, with two hours in a paddling pool and a half hour swimming lesson. It held really well.

It is actually pretty easy to do, it just involved sectioning of the hair has you want to use it, the combs with the thin end for sectioning is ideal (although I can never locate one when I want one). I move to the side of my daughter so I am always plaiting vertically if that makes sense. When I get across the head, I plait a bit more than I end and then put a bobble in, I then section the next part of the hair and repeat.
It took me about ten minutes ( that included finding the hairbrush and bobbles though, which was a good few minutes)

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Photo steps to follow

Always a reason…

Children seem to always have an answer or reason for everything. I always wish I had written down the many funny conversations, statements and observations the children make, as I am sure so many people wish they had.
I am hoping I can use my blog to share some funny anecdotes at times, it them become a recorded memory for the children. If anyone would like to share the funny things their kiddiewinks say, I would love to hear them.

My cheeky kiddiewink number 2 (3 years 8 months) is no exception to this, he has an answer for everything and never stops talking.
Tonight, he was not allowed any of his sister’s birthday cake, as he refused to eat his tea. About half an hour after we put him to bed, he appeared outside and said,
“I’ve got my hand over my mouth”
He then came over and grinned a chocolate cake crumby smile.
“Have you had cake”
“Yep, Tilly told me to.”
” but why weren’t you allowed cake”
“Because I didn’t eat my dinner, but I sneaked some” -then lots of giggles.

We were actually quite amused by his blatantness and the fact he thought he was so funny.
On returning him to his bedroom he told me many times how it was actually my fault he ate some of the cake

“Well mummy, yeah, I found the cake because you left it out, so I ate it , yeah, at bedtime it needs to not be out, yeah, because when I see it, I will eat it, yeah, so if you leave it out, I can eat it. So mummy, yeah, because it’s bedtime, you need to put it where it belongs and hide it, then I can’t find it and eat it.”
(When he uses ‘yeah”
“Oh so it’s my fault”
“Yes because you let me find it”

Ten reasons to love Eurocamp.

We love camping; well glamping! We’d choose it over a hotel anytime. Granted you might not imagine it’s for everyone, but with the amazing accomodation choices available now, there really is something for every family. We all love everything about it and the relaxed feel of the holiday makes it perfect.

10 Reasons why we love it
1) space– space for the children to scoot and cycle in safety ( few cars and those on site travel very very slowly) So lovely to sit on our pitch watching the children whizz about with their new found friends. Sitting outside with a cheeky drink unr the stars, while the kids sleep.  It beats tiptoeing about a hotel room when the children are in bed.
2) being outside– we feel like the whole holidays is spent outdoors, especially as we stay in a tent. I am sure this helps the children sleep well too. From walking to the loo block, to walking to the little shop; a stroll by the river, to sandcastles on the beach, so much time is spent outdoors.
3) fab kids clubs( all free, caters for 4 upwards, also tumble tots, learn to ride and learn to swim for the little one. (Not all theses are available at all parks)
4) super pool – whether you want a quiet and tranquil pool; an indoor or outdoor pool. There is something to suit everyone. Personally, we always choose one with a big complex with a slide and toddler areas.
5) everyone is friendly– young and old all mix and enjoy each others company. Las time we went,  KW1 and 2 (5 and 3) made lots of little friends near our tent but got very friendly with two older couples, whose pitch we passed on the way to the wash block. One couple even brought some chocolate to the tent for the children’s long journey to the ferry port.
6) total flexibility in arrival days, choice of transport, length of stays, type of accommodation of accommodation ( tents, safari tents, mobiles…). Last year we went as a group of four families but chose accommodation to suit budgets, different travel options and differing arrival dates. The same applies to our holiday this year, again meeting up with friends for part of it,
7) Campsites to suit what your family fancies: rivers or beaches; rural or touristy, large or quaint… Accomodation choice is excellent too- we love the safari tents but usually we go with the classic tent.
8) being able to load up the car makes travelling with wee ones ideal- taking bouncers, play mats etc isn’t a problem
9) eurocamp provide baby baths, high chairs, changing mats, boosters, travel cot, decking gates, bed guards- all for free
10) being able to enjoy a drink on your pitch with the children tucked up in bed having had a fun day. We love the fact in order for us to enjoy the evenings, we are neither stuck on a poky hotel balcony while the children sleep, or dragging our kids to bars until midnight. Perfect!

A selection of snaps for the first two years of family holidays…

This year we are off to the dordorgne  over May half term; we have even got friends meeting up with us again. They are staying on mobile homes, for us it’s a safari tent! We can’t wait…And for those who worry about the fact tents don’t have toilets, little man has the answer…

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who needs a toilet?

Clothes for a cloth bum

I remember being very frustrated with KW2 that his trousers never fit properly round a cloth nappy, we usually had to wear a size bigger and usually these were too long. At least with a girl the option of leggings, tights and dresses means clothing a cloth bummed baby is not quite as challenging. Nevertheless, trousers remains a problem so I have been searching for reasonably priced alternatives.

Frugi- quite pricey but if you keep an eye out, you can get some bargains in the sale, or on ebay.

Little Owls- I am yet to try the clothes, but they always look amazing and another product I ordered from this website was great. Again a bit pricier than the high street

JJ Jiraffe- my order arrived in 2 weeks and we love it. We ordered a squishy size lillestoff birds baggies with matching vest and a 7-8year old skater skirt with matching t shirt. I mainly got my biggest KW something as she was desperate to have something the same as her sister and on the high street they fall into different clothing bands. Again not cheap, but custom made and only a bit pricier than the high street, the baggies were £15 and the skirt £20, the vest was £5 ,£7 for the t shirt. Personally, I think the shirt needed something round the cuffs or collar so not quite as white, I am sure I could have had this but no doubt would have cost a bit more. The order was packaged beautifully, and a pretty scented candle was also included. We will definitely be ordering from here again, although not as often as we would like due to finances.

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Home made by granny- my mum is pretty good with a sewing machine, although she tends to knit more these days, so I persuaded her it would be a good idea to have a bash at making Poppy some baggies. I found a PDF pattern on easy for £4.50 and downloaded it to her iPad, she is going to try while we are on holiday. Can’t wait to see the results, as to cost, that remains to be seen but fingers crossed it is financially viable and they look fabulous, as I am very excited!