Marathon V Childbirth

It struck me today, seven days before I’m due to run the London marathon, or more specifically, seven days before I’m due to run my first ever marathon, just how similar the emotions, feelings and physical traits are, to becoming a parent!

It may sound overly dramatic and just a little self indulgent but I’m serious when I say, the feelings I’ve had the last couple of days are exactly how I felt before B was born. Bar the whole, hand in the vagina for a sweep bit, even the preparation is the same.

I’ve made lists. God, I’ve made lists.

I’ve packed a bag to unpack it and pack it again.

I’ve felt a very real need to cleanse body, soul, home and mind.(You should see how clean my skirting boards are!)

I’m taking body selfies to see just how much my body as changed.

bump runner

I’ve phoned my doctor because I’m eating chalk.

I’ve tried to change my diet, take vitamins (because of the whole eating chalk malarkey) and listen to experts about the do’s and dont’s.

I’ve muttered the words ‘This time next week I’ll…’ three hundred times, much like I did for a whole month before B came along.

I’ve run (boom boom) every worst case scenario through my head and some, I’ve pictured finishing, I’ve pictured how I’ll feel after, what I’ll feel after, I wonder whether I’ll have enough energy to ever have sex again, whether I’ll be me after I finish? Whether I’ll want to do it again?

I’ve thought I can’t do it.

I’ve thought I’ll be epic at it.

I’ve over thought it to the point I feel like I know absolutely everything and nothing at all.

I’m excited and frightened and one minute very ready and the next not at all.

I think about why I’m doing this, what I wanted and want from it, how it will change nothing but everything and then I feel ridiculously proud.

Four years ago there was no B and definitely no run intended (see what I did there?) and now there’s both, a beautiful little girl, a reasonably good book, a run intended and thousands of miles, literally, thousands of miles, behind me, so whatever happens on April 24th 2016, whether I’ll be the same person I was pre marathon, whether I have sex straight away or three months later, whether or not I cleanse myself thoroughly before I get on the Megabus heading to Victoria, I am allowing myself to feel a little bit smug and a little bit relaxed.

Just like I did before I went into labour.

After all, the hard work has been done, sort of; I’ve grown into a marathon runner, like I grew B.

I know the actual race will be long, tiring, amazing and I’ll be bloody starving after.

I hope I don’t shit myself or hurt myself or fall short at the last hurdle and need pain relief to get over the line but I also can’t wait to show myself, the world, B, just exactly what I’m capable of.

And yes, I will bring that medal home and look after it and treasure it and show it off exactly how I brought B home and treasured her and took her to town so people could muse over her beauty!

I will be that woman and do you know what?

I can’t wait!!!!!

 

 

 

Why I’m running the London marathon, why there’s a book, why I’m eating chalk and why marathon training has changed my life

Last July, whilst having an ultrasound for intermittent, unexplained bleeding, I was told that the lining of my womb was thick.

That’s nice I thought, not only was I blessed with thick thighs and a thick waistline, now my internals were jumping on the bandwagon and increasing in size.

And whilst I was milling over my genetics, my grandmothers ‘thick’ bust and my father’s ‘thick skin’ I certainly didn’t expect the sonographer to follow up with;

‘So, you’re e probably about five or six weeks pregnant.’

‘I’m what?’

‘I’d say,’ she made one of those guestimate noises through her teeth ‘more like five weeks pregnant.’

Pregnant.

One of my most favourite words given the turbulent journey we’d had to have B. Oh my goodness B’s going to have a sibling I thought happily before being crushed with the reality of that word.

Pregnant.

We’d gone through the mill to have B. Two miscarriages a dubious pregnancy and then a very, frightening forty one weeks where I continued to give myself thrush weekly such was my force of wiping ‘down there’ to check for blood. Every toilet trip, every niggle, every something different would see me rush up to the hospital to be checked over.

Pregnant was not good.

‘But the blood?’ I said, B’s now, in my mind, very physical sibling, slipping out of my grasp.

‘We’ll take bloods to see if it’s viable and go from there.’

Viable. Another word I’d long since forgotten. My last viable thing had just turned one and was happily playing with a stuffed frog at her grandparent’s house.

The words ‘I can’t go through this again,’ were about to come tumbling out of my mouth, but in the end I decided to just keep quiet, save my energy. If I’d learnt anything over the last few years it was that these things were way out of, both my control, and the hospitals.

What would be would be. I shuddered at the fourth or fifth cliché to spring through the natural barrier of my pessimistic brain.

Of course, what I hadn’t realised at the time, that, what was meant to be was a long drawn out, painful third miscarriage. A miscarriage that would see me so sick I’d have to be hospitalised and a miscarriage that would confirm that, like me, B is destined to be an only child.

A few days after I was sent home from that hospital stay, myself and Scotty had that conversation. The one that confirmed that A) my body could not go through another miscarriage, B) my nerves couldn’t go through another miscarriage and C) our marriage could not be put through another miscarriage.

‘So, that’s that.’ We agreed.

And I was fine with it. Fine with not having to purchase another pregnancy test ever again, fine with not flinging my legs above my head after we’d done those things that couples do, fine with not ever stepping into EPU ever again.

And despite knowing, feeling, understanding that it was fine, there was still a bit of a void, a bit of a void that needed to be filled… somehow.

‘I’m going to run the London marathon.’ I told Scott one Sunday morning.

‘Great.’ He said, his eyes, never leaving his phone.

‘I mean it.’ I said.

‘Two sugars.’ He said.

Now, I’d been on and off running for the past few years so I knew just how tough it would be to get a ballot place for the marathon, especially given they were changing the system last year and opening it up for an entire week. I also, vaguely knew, that running for charity meant raising a lot of money.

Bingo! I thought. I’d write a book, all about my running, I’d make it honest and funny and people could buy it, or sponsor me, and I’d raise the money that way.

Cue applying to run the London marathon for Bliss.

Cue No Run Intended.

Now, I never expected the book to bull dozer its way into the running and jogging charts the way it did.  (Cue my involvement with Run Wales.) I never expected the whirlwind of amazing events that would happen since publishing it and I certainly never expected to get a phone call from Bliss, less than twenty four hours after I applied, to ask me to run for them (which is an absolute honour given the work they do). But I can tell you, I’m bloody grateful that all these things did happen!

Even if I’m ridiculously tired, slightly achy, always busy and now to top it all off, eating chalk (jury’s still out on whether I’m anaemic, there’s a deficiency or I’m just actually a bit mental) everything surrounding this marathon has been completely amazing.

It’s changed my outlook.

It’s proved to me that I am capable of absolutely anything.

It’s introduced me to some of the most amazing people ever and it’s guaranteed that I haven’t got pregnant! Winner!

So, there it is, in a long-winded nutshell! The reason, in just under two weeks time I’ll be tackling an iconic twenty six point two miles, the reason why there’s a small eBook rocking the world of running literature (so to speak) and the very reasons why my life is sure to never be the same ever again.

(And if you’re a little bit moved and fancy helping with my sponsorship target, or just fancy communicating, tweet me @hannah3phillips )

 

 

 

 

BLISS PHOTO

No Run Intended

So, you may have noticed that I’ve been a little bit quiet over on Blossom and I and that’s because I have! I’ve been far too busy becoming a bestselling author to even consider writing a blog on how motherhood is treating me, despite motherhood continuing to be a bloody wonderful rollercoaster ride.

Now, if you’re a little baffled by my previous statement (the one before the amazeballs motherhood gushing) let me explain; I am now a bestselling author! OK, I’m only a bestselling author in the running and jogging genre of E books on Amazon but bloody hell I’m a bestseller nevertheless.

And I will not be using the word only to say that I’ve sold over one thousand books because there’s no bloody only needed! One thousand books! Can you believe it?

I keep telling B that mammy is now an international superstar, given that I’ve sold six books to America, two in Australia, one in Germany and two in the land of Michal Buble! She’s so impressed by my efforts she keeps telling me to sssshhh, with the finger over her lip gesture, which blatantly proves how proud of her mother she is.

But don’t worry; since my status has dramatically changed to global superstar, life in general hasn’t really changed. I do now have half a sugar in my tea and spend every morning neurotically refreshing my Amazon sales page but apart from that…

Anyway, if you’ve missed the party, No Run Intended was released a mere three weeks and three days ago and steam rollered into the bestselling position on Amazon. Women’s Running did a lovely little piece on it and the beautiful community that is Run Mummy Run got right behind it which has ensured its stayed at number one, has over sixty five star reviews and made nearly three hundred quid for Bliss. (Because my efforts to publish and sell the book is to solely raise my sponsorship pledge for a place in next year’s London marathon. One thousand down, seven thousand to go!)

So, life has been pretty damn busy not to mention bloody crazy! The emails, messages and general support I’ve received has been absolutely outstanding not to mention a little overwhelming. I mean, I’ve actually put a little bit of my heart and soul out there, its right there for everyone to read and people are actually reading it…and enjoying it!

That’s all kinds of crazy!

So, I suppose the intention of this quick, scribbled post is to say thank you! Thank you to anyone who’s read it, reviewed it and in general made a fuss of the achievement.

Thank you, as always, to Scotty boy who’s had to put up with the creative neurotics and tantrums and an even bigger thank you to B who I hope won’t be too embarrassed by her mother’s full on honesty and who reminds me, every time, my head swells a little bit that, it really is irrelevant.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Run-Intended-Hannah-Phillips-ebook/dp/B014FWOMNE

On Affairs and How They Don’t Have to Mean the End of the World

The Disco Pants Blog

During a wintry season in my parents’ nearly 50-year-old marriage, my dad took it upon himself to have an affair. As a man incapable of telling a lie, it was conducted very openly with a pony-tailed, bottle-blonde ‘friend’ of the family, and while I was protected from knowing the details of what was going on, my memory is of him coming home from work, showering and leaving again, and of his uneaten plate of dinner which my mother would leave, covered in foil, on the Formica kitchen counter. When I was both old and young enough to adopt an attitude of protective indignation, I was angry at what I perceived to be the spinelessness of my beautiful, green-eyed, flawless-skinned mother. Why did she allow this to happen? Why did she meekly, weakly stand by while he came and went as he pleased?

It took me being married myself to appreciate…

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My Way

Would you mind if I was ever so bold and made a statement that goes something like this; I’ve taken to parenting quite well. At least I think I have. Obviously the benefits of why or how I do things won’t be reaped until Queen B has hit eighteen and is alive, healthy and is as reasonably balanced as an eighteen year old can be.

I do my best. Or at least I think I do my best. Which brings me on to…the two things I have disliked most about becoming a parent.

Number one; I hate feeding B actual, real, human being food. I hate the responsibility of working out whether she’s having the right thing, the right amount and that it’s going down the RIGHT way. My irrational fear of her choking and therefore croaking was brought about by the second thing I have disliked about being a parent.

Other People’s opinions. Other people’s opinions have been the bane of my life; I was a sensitive child and probably and even more sensitive adult, I put it down to my literal perspective and thinking manner. With all the advice and warning literature that’s readily available for pregnant women and new parents I have found it truly amazing that no one failed to mention that parenting is basically an invitation for judgement.

So much so I’m pretty sure the trimesters should be renamed judgement phase one, judgement phase two and so on, so on. And then that bump which people have told you is too small, too big, too low, too high will then cease to exist and attention is turned to the most perfect, beautiful, awe amazing thing you, as its parent, will ever see.

A tiny baby that you have created. A human being you are responsible for. A little person hat you love more than life itself and will do absolutely anything for because its human nature to do best by this child.

Cue: judgement phase four and I’m not sure whether there’s ever an end to this chapter of parenting?

Since having the baby I would probably need at least another foot full of toes and possibly an extra pair of hands to count on the digits the unhelpful insights, opinions, recommendations or simple insults I’ve received. And as I’ve said, I’m a sensitive dab so each throwaway remark or point of view has left a little scar on my confidence as a first time mother; each perspective has had me questioning my ability, got me all worked up and teary which is especially handy when you replay these little tete-a-tete’s, that people, family, friends, strangers offer so freely, during those witching hours when everything else is already on top of you too and you’re not quite sure why the baby is screaming blue murder.

Its a shame people are not so quick to offer cooked dinners or to take away the ironing pile that actually amounts to the same height as the Empire State building.

Which brings me on to the real reason for this post…why can’t we let parents parent the way they see fit? There is nothing more disheartening seeing people in the same type of rubber dingy as you attempting to deflate the damn thing!

Now, Frank Sinatra only got to number twenty seven in the billboard charts with My Way in 1969 but this statistic is no reflection of what the song achieved, in fact, In the UK it actually achieved a still unmatched record, by becoming the recording with the most weeks inside the Top 40, spending 75 weeks there.

So, what I’m trying to say is…Frank did it his way, Elvis went on to do it his way too and so did Sid Vicious and guess what they were all pretty successful so guess what again…I’m doing it my flipping way too and I hope to god your doing it your way because that’s how the world spins round.

And now, as the end of this post is near; And I face the final curtain.
Reader: I’ll say it clear; I’ve stated my case, that much I’m certain.
Would you mind if I was ever so bold and made a statement that goes something like this; I’ve taken to parenting quite well. At least I think I have. Obviously the benefits of why or how I do things won’t be reaped until Queen B has hit eighteen and is alive, healthy and is as reasonably balanced as an eighteen year old can be.

I do my best. Or at least I think I do my best. Which brings me on to…the two things I have disliked most about becoming a parent.

Number one; I hate feeding B actual, real, human being food. I hate the responsibility of working out whether she’s having the right thing, the right amount and that it’s going down the RIGHT way. My irrational fear of her choking and therefore croaking was brought about by the second thing I have disliked about being a parent.

Other People’s opinions. Other people’s opinions have been the bane of my life; I was a sensitive child and probably and even more sensitive adult, I put it down to my literal perspective and thinking manner. With all the advice and warning literature that’s readily available for pregnant women and new parents I have found it truly amazing that no one failed to mention that parenting is basically an invitation for judgement.

So much so I’m pretty sure the trimesters should be renamed judgement phase one, judgement phase two and so on, so on. And then that bump which people have told you is too small, too big, too low, too high will then cease to exist and attention is turned to the most perfect, beautiful, awe amazing thing you, as its parent, will ever see.

A tiny baby that you have created. A human being you are responsible for. A little person hat you love more than life itself and will do absolutely anything for because its human nature to do best by this child.

Cue: judgement phase four and I’m not sure whether there’s ever an end to this chapter of parenting?

Since having the baby I would probably need at least another foot full of toes and possibly an extra pair of hands to count on the digits the unhelpful insights, opinions, recommendations or simple insults I’ve received. And as I’ve said, I’m a sensitive dab so each throwaway remark or point of view has left a little scar on my confidence as a first time mother; each perspective has had me questioning my ability, got me all worked up and teary which is especially handy when you replay these little tete-a-tete’s, that people, family, friends, strangers offer so freely, during those witching hours when everything else is already on top of you too and you’re not quite sure why the baby is screaming blue murder.

Its a shame people are not so quick to offer cooked dinners or to take away the ironing pile that actually amounts to the same height as the Empire State building.

Which brings me on to the real reason for this post…why can’t we let parents parent the way they see fit? There is nothing more disheartening seeing people in the same type of rubber dingy as you attempting to deflate the damn thing!

Now, Frank Sinatra only got to number twenty seven in the billboard charts with My Way in 1969 but this statistic is no reflection of what the song achieved, in fact, In the UK it actually achieved a still unmatched record, by becoming the recording with the most weeks inside the Top 40, spending 75 weeks there.

So, what I’m trying to say is…Frank did it his way, Elvis went on to do it his way too and so did Sid Vicious and guess what they were all pretty successful so guess what again…I’m doing it my flipping way too and I hope to god your doing it your way because that’s how the world spins round.

And now, as the end of this post is near; And I face the final curtain.
Reader: I’ll say it clear; I’ve stated my case, that much I’m certain.
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I think we should all just stop warning.

I recently read the beautifully written They Should Have Warned Me blog and being reasonably fresh into this journey that is motherhood I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was beautiful, it was spot on it made me cry; not that that’s difficult postpartum. I copied and pasted the link and sent it to my very pregnant friend; who also cried.

A few days later I then read the response to this blog; I’m Glad Someone Told Me and was equally as moved. Another spot on article that recognised that motherhood isn’t always as seamless as it’s perceived to be and it’s OK to have a bad time of it. I quickly copied and pasted that article to my same very pregnant friend, typing; this one is good too, because it’s important she has a broad spectrum of what could be’s, right?

But it bothered me. I’d sent her two articles, two beautifully written, hitting-the-nail-on-the-head observations; both making valid points, both warning/advising that this is what motherhood could be like? And either way it was OK.  I imagined my hormonal, tired friend reading both pieces, a baffled expression on her face and an even more baffled perspective forming.

And then it hit me. Why was I trying to ‘warn’ her of anything? Because all I really wanted to tell her was; enjoy it, do it your way and enjoy it. Yes, some days are bad and others top of the world brilliant, just like life before pregnancy, before a baby, because that’s what life is like; up and down.

I remember being pregnant and literally drinking in blogs, websites, app information that would maybe give me a snippet into how being a mother  was going to be, what it would be like, how I would find it, and do you know what? Absolutely none if it has had any relevance to the way I’m brining my little girl up.

I’m fully behind the essence that we all need to be made aware of the mental health issues that could possibly arise after having a baby and it’s always nice to hear how truly beautiful having a baby is but it’s also OK to just get on with it…it’s totally OK to do it your way, your unique, tailored way because at the end of the day that’s the only way that should matter to you. And I would like to tell my friend that she categorically cannot get it wrong.

I emphasise the TO YOU bit again because that’s what I really want on pass onto her, to the lady in the supermarket who only has a week or so left of pregnancy, to anyone who is thinking about getting pregnant or at the very beginning of the growing a human voyage; If I got on the Tower of Terror rollercoaster I would have a completely different experience to the adrenalin junkie that took the seat next to me; completely different!  So, excuse the metaphorical pun but that’s why I think we should all stop warning or telling or anything.

We should hand hold, pat backs, offer support and frequent ‘You’re doing great.’ We should be there for the tears or the joy or the anything that our friend, sister, colleague wants to throw our way. Sometimes we’ll be able to relate, often we won’t because that’s the incredible thing about human beings we are all different, very, very different.

And becoming a mother is the only common denominator we’ll each have during this trek.

So, let’s celebrate the mutual factor us females share within pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and rejoice in the more than common factor that every one of our journeys will be different. Let’s celebrate, learn, support and enjoy; not warn.

So, to my friend; the only advice I really have for you is enjoy it as best you can, if you can, because it doesn’t half go fast. Phone me whenever you want, to say whatever you want, ask me advice, ask for my assistance, my aid and I promise to help as best I can, but like Frank said; do it your way.

Walk your own path and leave your own footprints.

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What Christmas looks like when you are six months

They literally woke me up! Granted it was early morning but still. Normally I have to thrash around or cry a little for attention but there they were with these huge toothy smiles banging on about it being my first.
They then took me downstairs where that mother one got all gushy about a jumpy thing, a swinging thing and a thing they filled with balls.
She put the music on, the music with bells and happy sounds. She’s been playing this music for a long time and saying ‘don’t tell Daddy.’
The father one, post initial excitement, looked tired and a little bored by the whole malarkey.
The mother one, you know the one with the boobies, then kept passing me paper stuff which tasted absolutely rank but I quite enjoyed the noise it made and the way they both laughed at me doing my goat impression.
They then put me in the jumping thing whilst the father one looked at where he was supposed to put batteries. They then had a quarrel about reading instructions first and why the hell had the mother one hidden the tool box?
The row was gaining as much momentum as my bouncing when in came the grandparents; the really crazy ones not the little bit crazy ones.
They brought me loads of stuff! Some brilliant, some I heard the mother one whisper to the father one was a bit unsuitable.
I loved it all especially the thing they named; cotton bud dispenser! If only they’d let me play with that longer.
The grandparents paper was less shiny than the stuff I’d had earlier in the morning and smelt a bit damp.
Apparently everything from the grandparents (really crazy ones) smells a bit funny but no one has told me why yet.
The father one then took me out of the jumpy thing and put me into the swinging thing. I was thoroughly enjoying the jumping thing so I made sure I poo’d once he’d pushed me three or four times to show my distaste.
They all liked it when I poo’d and clapped their hands and talked to me in that stupid voice all big people seem to do.
For dinner, that day, we went somewhere new, where lots of other people were having their dinner and people I had seen before were all around our table. It seemed nice and they stuck me in a chair next to the table so I could see everything which was really exciting.
Only this dinner was different. That mother one was in no rush to eat hers which I felt was both cheeky and selfish. I demonstrated my dislike for her ‘not bothered’ attitude by crying until she stopped eating and picked me up.
She then tried to distract me with this paper thing on her head and they all thought it was highly amusing when they put it on my head!
I cried a bit harder until it was removed and the mother one took me outside not to ‘ruin’ everyone’s day.
Outside she kept saying that this was my first Christmas and that I must be tired! Ppppfffftttt! I was in no way tired this was all too exciting!
After a while she handed me to the father one who tried to sssshhhhhh me, like he always does, but I could time my nap by it that he’d give up soon and pass me to someone else.
That someone else happened to be the one they call Aunty and that’s the last I can remember of the place we had dinner; I’ll give it to the Aunty one she’s good!
Back at home, just the mother one, father one and me and the mother one mentions a glass of wine which is code for wanting me out of the way which disappointed me. She had been more than neglectful on my so called first Christmas!
I made a song and dance then about not wanting to go to bed and wanting to go in the jumpy thing again only the parents still don’t know what I’m after half the time. I made the really wailing noises and the mother one stuck her boob in my mouth and then all of a sudden it was morning again but they hadn’t woke me up and there was no more shiny paper.

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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!