fright club

Here are eleven normal-ish things that will terrify you when you become a mother for the first time.

1. Stairs
You’ve been walking up and down them all your life. You’ve gone down them on your bum, made them into a slide and even used them as a storage unit. And then you had a baby and suddenly they are not only the worst obstacle in the world they are also terrifying! They threaten to trip you up, loosen your grip, trick you into lobbing your baby down or up them.
They become a menacing kaleidoscope of colours and patterns convincing you there’s definitely an extra step, an awkward floorboard, a missing step despite the fact there were twenty six of the buggers when you bought the house, twenty six when you went to the toilet earlier on and twenty six when you called the postman in to double check your counting skills and to hold the baby whilst you made a hysterical phone call to the doctors proclaiming your madness/hallucinations.

2. Petrol stations
The bane of all mothers lives.
Do you; leave the baby in the car whilst you pay, locking the door and legging it so fast over the forecourt you break your neck and die?
Do you; get the peacefully sleeping baby out of the car seat, waking her up in the process, ensuring she screams, draws a lot of attention to yourself as you get hot and bothered, sweaty and sweary because naturally you’ve left your purse back in the car?
Do you; refuse to put petrol in at all and run out in the most inconvenient black hole possible; no phone signal, no nappies left, not a soul around you for miles?
Do you; take husband with you who complains profusely about paying?
Or do you; take husband with you who complains profusely about the baby crying whilst you go and pay running across the forecourt so fast you break your neck and die?

3. Children (other peoples)
Where to start with this one? Maybe the bit where everyone else has managed to produce something with the same genetic makeup as Lucifer himself? Or maybe the fact everyone seems to accept that their little beauties carry/spread their germs with same ease as the snot trickles down small-Satan’s face?
Heavy handed, germ infested, loud, jealous little mites that like to showcase their interest of the most precious thing you’ve ever owned via sticky hands, silly sounds and whatever dangerous weapon, I mean toy, they think the baby would like on their head.

4. The weather
The weather has always been something you’ve been mildly interested in, excuse the pun. But then you have a baby and a thermometer and suddenly every season becomes a challenge.
Too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet, too dusty, too anything that may interfere with your bundles temperature, outfit choice or sleep pattern.
I became particularly vigilant by purchasing a thermometer that displays it’s unhappiness of the temperature via a sad face and flashing light which is particularly handy on hot or respectively cold nights; you know the ones where your desperate for sleep but then have to strip/layer the baby…

5. Bank balance
Checking your bank balance post baby becomes not unlike what I imagine Russian roulette is like.
Maternity pay plus cute necessities such as hats with ears that cost more than month’s mortgage payment, equals a worrying financial situation.
And it’s ironic really that one should find themselves in such scary squalor after having pretty much at least nine months warning of such expense.
‘Babies cost!’ The masses continued to warn and you continued to ignore.
Babies cost which means bank balances take a bashing!

6. Night time
The sole reason the night time becomes so terrifying is because it’s when sleep should happen! And we all know that when a new baby comes over the threshold sleep becomes a treat not a given.
Sleep is so precious. Well, it’s precious, in demand, worryingly elusive and because it should normally happens at night time, when it’s dark and quiet the night time becomes the most anxiety fuelled period of having a baby.
Like most brand, spanking new mothers I spent a lot of time in the beginning, during the night, just watching my baby breathe.
Around the five month mark I had managed to almost rid myself of this habit, albeit the odd check, when my beloved step-dog passed away in her sleep. She just stopped breathing during the night; cue the obsessive checking once again!

7. The post man
Post (excuse another pun) arrival of a new baby the post man fuels morning anxiety on a major basis. He becomes a new mother’s nemesis within the first week.
Not only does he pick the precisely worst moment possible to slam letters through your box, knock as loudly as he’s able or chose you as allocated parcel minder for the entire street.
But You can guarantee he will turn up the minute the baby latches on, the exact second the baby decides to nap, on you, making it nigh on impossible to move, or at the only moment out of the entire day that you’ve been able to use the toilet. Failing all this, he also obviously has to witness the complete breakdown over the stairs!
It almost makes me think that there’s a whole module at posty school dedicated on how to ruin maternity leave.
Six months in my posty kindly told me I was looking far better than I did; ‘You know,’ he gestured ‘better than when he was first born.’ I refuse to tell him that he is a she again.

8. Outside in general
Outside with a new born literally becomes a minefield of danger! I mean, eagles could literally swoop your baby away, comets could come crashing into the pram, everyone looks like a potential serial killer and that’s without getting started on the atmosphere in general! The germs, the poisons, the everything’s that could contaminate the baby and then there’s the old people that insist on touching/kissing/ramming their dirty fingers far too near the precious skin of your baby!
My advice; stay inside until said baby hits puberty.

9. The grandparents
They mean well, they really do but the whole ‘in my day’ theory really is quite terrifying! So terrifying I cannot bear to think about it!

10. Health visitor
Your allocated health visitor has social services on speed dial! This is a notion I found difficult to shift upon meeting mine for the first time and then when she suggested I take out my scented plug in because it could harm tiny airwaves I was pretty sure the baby was already on some sort of at risk list.
Relations were not improved when I told her I was unable to eat a biscuit in case someone died.
‘That’s OCD.’ She said with a look of such concern I practically shit myself.
‘That’s dieting.’ I wanted to reply but given she was already making me an appointment to see the GP, singing me up for a ‘stress club’ and checking the baby for signs of neglect I thought it best to keep quiet.

11. Dying
I’ve never been afraid of dying. Everyone does; it’s as much a part of life as being born. (I’ve always had the mad notion that I’ll Meet my fate by being run over but that goes hand in hand with the not being able to eat biscuit side of things.)
But then I had a baby and the thought of not being on this planet to hold her hand, watch her grow, be part of her life absolutely terrifies me!
Not that I wanted to die before she came along but now…I really do not want to snuff it!

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The hindsight letter

Dear pre Blossom me,

Firstly, stop reading this and go to bed! Seriously, get some sleep. I know, I know, you think you can’t bank the slumber but just go and relish your clean sheets and the fact you can just go to bed!

Be prepared to start worrying on a new level. You know your worries now? Well, I hate to tell you but they are not really worries, they are nothing but thought occupiers, so empty your mind…in bed! Go to bed!

Stop spending money, like, yesterday! People have been telling you that babies are expensive haven’t they? And you thought ‘how expensive can they be?’ Bloody expensive! Even when you are breastfeeding they cost. Cost a lot, so save money, you can do this by staying in bed longer! In fact, I’d stay there for days if I was you.

Get ready to toughen up! You think people are vocal when you are pregnant, well, you just wait for the onslaught of advice, opinions and general insults that are heading your way. Three words; man up princess! You’re about to be thrown to the wolves!

It’s a shame you won’t get £1 for every time someone uses the phrase ‘rod for your own back’ that way you wouldn’t need to save…or receive the pittance that is statuary maternity pay!

I suggest you rehearse the reasons why you can’t spoil a newborn baby and why breast is best! That way you can reel off clever, witty replies to the ‘advice’ you are continually being lumbered with instead of mumbling and crying a bit.

Don’t worry too much about your hoo-ha! Seriously, although initially it does feel like a RTA, within a few weeks it will just feel like you’ve reversed into one of those awkward pillars in Tescos car park. A little scuffed, a little damaged but not worth phoning the insurance company for.

Which brings me onto sexy time. If you do get a nanosecond to yourselves to participate in a bit of bonding, don’t do it! You are wasting a valuable sleeping opportunity!
Only joking, get cracking on that front! Sex after a baby is like going for a night out in Newport City centre; the thought of it is horrible but in reality you end up having the best time!

Don’t worry about spending a ridiculous amount of money on the change mat you are felling guilty about. You’ll be surprised how many photographs that change mat will feature in; best to have an interesting, good quality one!

And last but by no means least; that unconditional love everyone keeps banging on about, you know the quality you thought you’d never possess? Well, you do! It’s weird but you would, if you had to, share food with the tiny human that’s about to turn your entire world upside down, that’s how much you love her!

Best of luck kid!
Love You.

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The week of the roll

It’s all systems go here! Last week if she could have got rid of her shoulder Blossom would have been half way down the A470!

This week she’s mastered it. We call it the turn, grunt, push, away to go!
I’ve already had to retrieve her from various ‘trouble spots’ the fire grate and the dogs basket to name a few.

Anyway, as it’s officially Christmas jumper day today both me and the girl have donned our festive pullovers and we’ve decided that for every roll Queen B does we’ll donate £2 to save the children.

We’re currently on £3…which will very nearly be £4…that damn shoulder!

https://secure.savethechildren.org.uk/donate/

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What not to say to a nursing mother

Eleven things to say to a breastfeeding mother that will make them want to punch you in the face.

1. ‘I couldn’t do it.’ Is probably the most annoying thing you could say to a nursing mother.
News flash; breastfeeding is difficult but doable! Only around two percent of women can’t actually breastfeed. Saying ‘I couldn’t do it’ to someone whose been through the rigmoral that are the early days of nursing is like saying ‘I’d really like to breathe, but I can’t!’

2. ‘I did it for a while but the baby was just not satisfied.’
Wrong! A newborn baby will feed a lot in those first few weeks and when I say a lot, I mean, get comfy, your in for a long ass journey at the beginning. One that sees you sore, squirty, sleepy and not to mention drained. They latch on they latch off and the process is repeated vastly throughout. It may seem like she’s not getting what she needs but have faith, trust your body, your milk is tailored to meet every single need your bundle of joy is demanding!

3. ‘Its only beneficial for the first three days.’
Are you talking about the colostrumn? Because yes that magical stuff is a source of super goodness for your baby, and I’m a firm believer of any breast is better than none. However, the benefits of breastfeeding go a lot further than those initial few days. I won’t list the realms of positives that breast milk gives both mammy and baby but believe them when they say; breast is best!

4. ‘I didn’t fancy it.’
I didn’t fancy pushing a pumpkin sized human out of my vagina but I rolled my sleeves up and got on with it! I don’t fancy chowmein or a cruise but giving my child the absolute best start in life? Yes, I quite fancy that! Especially when it’s free, full of goodness, easily accessible and ensures I can leave the house on a whim whenever, I can’t work out what’s not to fancy?

5. ‘The baby will be clingy.’
Another news flash! New born baby’s are clingy! Whether you breastfeed, bottle feed or steamroller straight in with rare steak they want love, attention, fuss and some.
If by clingy you mean I have a stronger bond with my baby you’d be right? Definitely right, because, and here’s the scientific bit, breastfeeding is all hormone controlled and releases something called oxytocin which is the exact same hormone that’s released when you fall in love, so, officially cue stronger bond.

6. ‘ don’t you get embarrassed?’
Uuuhhhh NO! I once farted in aerobics that was embarrassing. Waving at someone you don’t know; also somewhat embarrassing. Feeding my child the way nature intended usually wearing more than I would on a Saturday night pre baby; not at all embarrassing.

7. ‘How do you know they are getting enough?’
I use my special how-much-milk-is-my-baby-getting gage. It sparkles and plays a Lady Gaga song when the baby is full! OK, OK, you got me; the one downside to breastfeeding is that your never quite sure how much milk your baby has drunk, It all boils down to the have faith in your boob malarkey. ‘Is she due a feed?’ Comes under this bracket of stupidity and nursing. Breast feeding works successfully on demand so it really doesn’t matter whether you’ve fed five minutes or five hours previous the baby is never really ‘due’ a feed.

8. ‘My baby sleeps through.’
Hurrah for your baby! I’ll tell you why he/she sleeps through shall I? Breast milk is watery. It’s a whole lot of liquid goodness that’s easier to digest. Formula milk is far more fatty and therefore satisfies that tiny tummy for longer…not rocket science ey?

9. ‘Doesn’t it hurt?’
Once established breastfeeding does not hurt. Initially though? Yes it’s toe curling horrendous and if the attachment is wrong it bloody kills. But, and I hate to keep returning back to basics, I’d like you to remember that labour hurts! And while we’re on that train; hangovers hurt, a bikini wax hurts, having a tattoo hurts but we still endure all these things frequently for less satisfaction than keeping a human alive.

10. ‘You should get that baby on a bottle!’
This is patented by the old school generation who throw it into conversation if a baby should so much as murmur. It’s said with a shaken head if you mention that you’ve had a rough night, if the baby gets a cold or if you happen to mention something peculiar like ‘breast pad’ or ‘pump!’

11. ‘ Your still breastfeeding?’
Yes I bloody am and if I decide to do so until my child goes to university it just so happens to be none of your bloody business!

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Ten surprisingly good reasons to use a baby sling

The week of the sling.
After *misplacing the pram, the donated sling made it’s debut and here is what I found…

1. For the first time in months I’ve had the ability to use both hands.
I’ve got so used to using one hand, almost in the same way that I’ve got used to inhaling food rather than eating it, that the sudden use of two had me somewhat perplexed.
I found I was able to do dishes, to iron, to polish, with a little awkward manoeuvring (on my part) I was also able to have a wee that lasted longer than two seconds and wash both hands after!
I managed to prepare food that wasn’t something rammed between two slices of un-buttered bread and even consume the food without risking indigestion or choking. Granted, the baby had to share the sling with crumb debris but I don’t think she was overly bothered.

2. You feel like an idiot/kangaroo.
The sling took some getting used to. As a breastfeeding mother, I’m already a rare commodity, having my baby attached to me in another manner confirmed to those uneducated/ignorant/plain stupid people that I am nothing but a hippy that reads too much on that World Wide Web thingy!
I don’t think I helped the cause by putting the baby in a Christmas pudding bobble hat, which to onlookers was the only part of the baby on show.

3. it’s tricky to get out of. Be prepared to get stuck and then sweat because of said stuck-ness!
With a pram/buggy/car seat the baby is plonked in, clipped up and your away to go. A sling on the other hand, especially one that has been donated and therefore is exempt from instructions, is somewhat trickier.
There appeared to be clips and straps not to mention buckles that I had no idea what to do with. Add a snow suited, somewhat miserable baby to the equation and the result is quite stressful. Especially when said baby weighs over a stone and the central heating has been cranked up to full.
I believe we were stuck for around forty five minutes before I threw the towel in and knocked next door to relive us.

4. It triggers something vocally; you’ll find yourself saying ‘whoosh’ as you go down steps.
Once we got the hang of successfully getting in and out of the contraption formally known as ‘the sling’ we ventured outside.
And the notion of feeling like a hippy kangaroo mammy soon wore off as I came to realise how handy having both hands were in the real world too. If I wanted, and I use the term ‘wanted’ loosely, I could feed pigeons, wave at other mummies, purchase a news paper with ease. The sling really was making possibilities endless.
I was slightly anxious about tripping up and squashing my bundle of joy but this feeling also disappeared as I started ‘whooshing’ our movements.
Yes, I felt it necessary to vocalise what we were doing not unlike a Disney movie.

5. Talking of steps, you will still avoid them completely; simply forgetting the fact you do not have a pram.
Hills and slings are just as tricky as hills and prams if anything it’s a bit worse.
Lumbering towards home, with ample shopping that I was able to plop into a shopping basket with such ease in the supermarket, was reasonably testing. A fifteen pound baby, flimsy plastic carrier bags and gradients that I’m pretty sure could give Mount Everest a run for it’s money was not fun.
It was even less fun when I got home and realised that we could have cut through the hill via some nice steps because we didn’t have wheels!

6. You will cling on to the bottom of baby, convinced she’ll somehow slip through the tiny leg holes.
They are tiny holes! Honestly tiny, in fact, I wasn’t sure whether my chubby little puddings thighs would fit through them so why in god’s name I thought she’d fall to the floor, crack her head and possibly die was beyond belief!
Like all things in life, the sling takes some getting used to, trusting the damn thing is another matter completely.
In the same sense that it took a while to get used to having two hands again, actually not holding onto the most precious thing in your life also took some patience.

7. Getting used to the weight takes some time. I’m sure I have dents in my shoulders.
I think; if I hadn’t loaded up with shopping, didn’t walk the long way home, it wasn’t stupidly cold and therefore hadn’t layered up on clothing; our debut sling experience wouldn’t have been such an uncomfortable one.
Saying that, minus the hills, the shopping, the cold, carrying the baby close was nice, it gave me a ‘as if nature had intended’ sort of feeling.
It must be noted that to be comfy you must be done up correctly. You know, Velcro attached to Velcro and buckles clicked into their holders. It was only when I took the baby out did I realise we had been twisted in a few places and done up a tad wrong

8. You become an instant hit with the Polish community. I had to check twice that I hadn’t donned my 1995 track suit and trainers.
Need I say anymore about this?

9. Following on from point 8; I now know that ‘Czesc’ means ‘hi’ something I didn’t know pre sling and only positive things can come from learning new languages!

10. It knocks the baby out! I’m not sure whether this is literal but she did sleep for an unusually long time.
I think it’s the closeness and the rocking. Either or I had to check whether she was breathing a few times just to be on the safe side

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Eleven things that may impress, distress or amuse you about breastfeeding

With breastfeeding, once again, rife in the media here are eleven things that I believe will either impress, distress or amuse you surrounding nursing.

1. Breastfeeding your baby is so beneficial; It not only makes the child clever, witty, with the behavioural skills of a royal offspring, it pretty much guarantees entry into an IVA college, an IQ that could give Einstein a run for his teeth; oh and also prevents the child being bullied!
In all seriousness, the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby are truly amazing. In terms of your little one, human milk actually boosts a baby’s immune system which can help her/him fight viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, such as; respiratory tract infections, ear infections, bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, infant diarrhoea and common colds and flu’s.

2. As for the mother you ask? Well, breastfeeding reduces the risk of both ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The longer a mother breastfeeds, the higher the benefit. In fact, a woman who breastfeeds for 8 years has nearly a 0% risk of breast cancer! (Although, eight years is taking us into the wonderful world of extended feeding.) Breastfeeding also promotes emotional health; studies show that the correlation between postpartum anxiety and depression is less than those who choose to formula feed which can only be a good thing.
And almost all women are able to breastfeed! It is an urban myth that
“Breastfeeding is easy for some women, but some don’t produce enough milk”

3. Which brings us on to the milk itself: Milk is made whenever milk is removed from the breast. So whenever the baby feeds it’s as if he/she is placing an order for her or his next meal. The more they feed, the more milk is produced. In fact, a woman’s body is so amazing she can feed twins or even triplets!
A woman naturally produces milk after her babies are born but will need/ be eternally grateful for confidence and support during this time! Information and support in the early days are essential to manage breastfeeding. Pat your wife/partner/daughter/sister on the back because she’s probably doing the hardest thing she’ll ever have to do by solely keeping a small human alive.
It should also be noted that Small boobs can make enough milk for the baby too! Supply comes from the demand much like a Chinese take away so have faith in your breasts whether they are pancakes or melons!
There are actually only two medical circumstances that may result in a woman having a low milk supply and it’s either a physical anomaly or a hormone imbalance. So there!

4. Still on the milk train; a nursing mother’s body is constantly making the perfect milk for her little one. Milk changes its nutritional profile as the baby grows, for example; milk made for a three month baby is different than that for a six month baby. Clever or what?
Milk can even change on a day to day basis; it will become more watery if the weather is hot or if your baby is sick, providing the necessary hydration.
The milk also contains substances that supposedly promote sleep and calmness in babies, not that this is that apparent during the witching hour, but they are in there…somewhere!

5. Breastfeeding will no more ruin your breasts than life in general. Boobs get bigger during pregnancy; it’s their way of preparing for nursing. A few days after the mother gives birth, once again, they get bigger/fuller when the milk ‘comes in.’ In all honesty they could give Dolly Parton’s fine set a run for their money during this period and new mothers should expect lumps and bumps and the ability to super soak objects/people and animals in close proximity. Around two weeks after the milks arrival the boobs will deflate slightly and stay that size until the weaning process begins. Naturally, the ups and downs of weight gain, weight loss will play a little part in shaping your rack! Being fitted for a good maternity bra then nursing bra during these periods is essential for the support and comfort of your boobs at these times. The only sure way to ensure your breasts don’t sag is to not get pregnant, not age and possibly consider cosmetic surgery?

6. Breastfeeding is free! Once you’ve purchased your breast pads, nursing bras, breast pump, (in case you want to express) freezer bags, (in case you want to keep your expressed milk) various bottles that claim to have teats exactly like nipples, (just in case the baby won’t take one brand) nursing pillow, suitable clothing, various colour scarf’s (to go with all outfits) breastfeeding apron, (just in case your outfit doesn’t go with a scarf) copious amounts of sweet treats, an IPad, (to peruse at your leisure during growth spurts when the baby pretty much feeds for days on end) all the unnecessary things on Amazon that promise the baby will sleep like an angel; in fact, the average household supposedly saves approximately two to four thousand dollars annually compared to families who have to fork out the cost for formula.

7. Breastfeeding aids weight loss which is a blessing in disguise post pregnancy. A nursing mother actually burns around 1000 calories a day producing milk.
In fact, mothers are advised to quaff an extra 500 calories a day or the body goes into starvation mode! When you think that there are around about 452 calories in the average doughnut it’s reasonably easy to consume the extra.
Especially when women seem to instinctively feel a need to eat extra fats and sweets during breastfeeding. (And most of the time before/after if we are honest!) Some lactation oracles believe this craving is nature’s way of prompting women to eat certain foods to boost the supply of extra nutrients which support milk production, so there!

8. It is illegal to ask a breastfeeding mother to leave a public place such as a restaurant, cafe or on public transport.
It is often documented in the media that women have been humiliated by being asked to leave or cover up whilst feeding in such places.
‘Humiliation’ is a key trigger word under the Equality Act 2010, which enshrines the protection of breast feeding, amongst other things. The act even makes it the establishment’s responsibility to ensure other customers don’t make the mother, or her guests, feel uncomfortable, let alone humiliated.
So, technically the mother is in her right to ask for more suitable seating, cushions, a six-packed model to fan her if she gets too hot!

9. The penultimate point I have to make is a somewhat mood killer; there is a connection between the inability to breastfeed and post natal depression. Breastfeeding is difficult! In those first few weeks when the mother is exhausted, recovering from labour, (which is called labour for a reason) adjusting to the newfound responsibility of a tiny human being; physically breastfeeding can hurt, it’s daunting and it’s relentless! And it’s easy to give up.
A study of 14,000 women in England found that those who planned to breastfeed but had not managed to were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop postnatal depression, compared to women who had no intention of breastfeeding.
So, it’s important to read up, learn what you can, take the pressure off!
A new mother should not be made to feel guilty for not keeping up with the onslaught that is breastfeeding in those early days; it’s not unusual for the baby to feed up to fifteen, sixteen times in the twenty four hour period and despite the fact it’s well documented that breastfeeding should not hurt; initially it does. Its toe curling and draining.

10. There are two fundamental key features to successfully breastfeed; Perseverance and support.
I can’t emphasise enough how vital having support is. Find the local breastfeeding club, speak to a lactation consultant, use trusted websites such as Babycenter and Kellymom, utilise breastfeeding forums, phone up your friends who are, or who have, previously breastfed, believe me they will not only love offering advice but enjoy reminiscing about feeding.
In the darkest hours having someone who’s been there or even someone who’s willing to just hold your hand and tell you that you’re doing a great job is like a guiding light, a long, hard cuddle and sometimes the only nudge you need to whip out your breast pad and feed again.
And just when you feel like chucking the metaphorical towel in, you’ll have an OK day, you’ll wonder why you wanted to sterilize those bottles and risk mastitis by quitting; hence the perseverance!

11. And finally breastfeeding your baby allows you to inspect their ears and only good things can come from this! For example; Excessive earwax may impede the passage of sound in the ear canal which could cause conductive hearing loss resulting in a hearing aid.
As your ears are more than just necessary for hearing; they also help you keep your balance it’s obvious that ensuring healthy ears prevents broken bones! So, by breastfeeding your child you may produce the worlds next great trapeze artist or mountain bike champion. Seriously, breast is defiantly best!