Feeding your baby is something that sounds so simple, but in my experience is actually more complicated than expected.
Firstly, there’s the pressure. We all know the ‘breast is best’ message. That gets rammed down our throats enough by health professionals. Something I wasn’t expecting was the pressure I put on myself. Up until now (8 weeks), I’ve mangaged to exclusively breastfeed Jacob, but it has not been easy and at times I’ve really wanted to give up. The only thing stopping me at times has been the fact we don’t have any formula in the house.
I know I’d be really disappointed in myself if I did give up, which is ridiculous. My rational mind knows that the only thing that matters is the baby getting fed, but my postnatal brain thinks that it’s incredibly important that I feed him myself and if I don’t I’m a failure.
Secondly, breastfeeding did hurt at first. Occasionally it still does. We had problems with the latch at first, which was helped by going to a Baby Cafe. I strongly recommend going if there’s one near you. The breastfeeding councillor showed me the biological nursing position, where you kind of sit the baby upright and allow them to latch on themselves, which really improved things for me.
The thing I didn’t expect was how tied down I’ve felt at times. Knowing you are the only one who can feed the baby can be amazingly pressurising. Expressing milk occasionally has really helped me with that and I recommend getting a decent pump to make things easier.
Cluster feeding—where babies feed frequently (sometimes constantly) for a short period, often because of a growth spurt—has also been tricky. The website Kellymom has some great information on that and many other aspects of breastfeeding. I think if you didn’t expect it, you’d think there was something seriously wrong.
On the positive side, I love the closeness we get from breastfeeding—the snuggles are brilliant—and as a lazy mother I also love that there’s no sterilising. It’s also great in the middle of the night when the baby is screaming and I can stay in bed, whip a boob out and feed him. Minimal fuss and no going downstairs to make up a bottle. Perfect.
Overall, breastfeeding has been a great experience, but I think women aren’t prepared for the difficult side. It’s not always easy, but overall I’ve found it to be worth it. I hope to continue for a good while yet, but I am starting to realise that the odd bit of formula might not hurt. I’ll keep you posted.
*I wrote this review when the baby was about 8 weeks old. I’ve updated it now he’s reached 6 months.
I wasn’t initially sold on the idea of the BabyBjörn Miracle carrier—I thought it was expensive and we wouldn’t use it, but my husband bought it anyway. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s definitely been one of our most used pieces of baby equipment so far.
The BabyBjörn Miracle carrier is a structured baby carrier that is fully adjustable. It’s been suitable for both me and my husband, which is quite impressive considering our nearly 1 foot height difference. It’s suitable from birth up until 15 months. Although I see that the weight limit is 12kg, so I doubt it will last that long for us—Jacob is a big boy! It’s worth remembering that if you have a very small baby, it won’t be suitable from birth. Jacob was 8lb 5oz so he was fine. The carrier has leg straps you can use until the baby is 4.5kg, which provide them with a little more support.
Fussy newborn stage
The carrier has been a life saver on those days when the baby has been too fussy to put down (i.e. most days!). I’ve often worn it around the house and he’s never failed to fall asleep. At times it’s been the only way I can manage to eat lunch!
I also often prefer using it to go out over the pram. He consistently goes straight to sleep, which isn’t guaranteed with the pram. I also feel like it’s a really good workout carrying the baby around. I credit the BabyBjörn whenever someone mentions that I’ve lost the baby weight quickly.
We’ve even used it to go on some long walks (5ish miles) on our holiday in Yorkshire, with a couple of breaks for feeding/stretching the baby out.
We’d been given a wrap type sling, but I found that quite challenging to put on alone. The BabyBjörn is simple to use with its colour coordinated parts and I can be confident he’s in securely. At the moment he faces inward, but as he gets older he’ll be able to face outwards and take in his surroundings, which is something I really look forward to.
A few people have said they found that as their baby gets bigger it becomes a bit uncomfortable, but so far it’s been perfect. I’ll update in a few months once he’s bigger, but so far so good!
The forward-facing option
From about 5 months, we started using the forward-facing option. He doesn’t look that happy in the picture below, but he genuinely does love it usually! He chatters away and blows raspberries, which is so cute. I like being able to point things out to him on walks and it avoids him getting bored.
I have started to find him a bit heavy now, so I can’t carry him for too long. My husband still finds it fine though. Jacob is over 9kg already so I think that’s the reason, not the carrier itself.
You can buy the BabyBjörn on Amazon here.
*This post contains affiliate links
Giving birth. The thought of it is terrifying. My view was it was always best to be informed, so I’d asked a lot of people about their birth stories. Here are the 5 things I think every pregnant woman should know about giving birth, but no one tells you in advance.
5 things no one tells you about giving birth
1. Your waters breaking isn’t necessarily a single event. In films, waters breaking is inevitably depicted as a sudden gush and that’s it, waters have broken. End of. Not in my experience. My waters broke in a gush and then continued to trickle until I gave birth over 2 days later. Its was quite a shock. Who knew they replenish?! I used up half a packet of maternity sanitary towels before I’d even given birth. Top tip: buy more than one pack!
2. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Doctors and midwives tend to be risk averse in my experience and want you to go down a certain path. If you don’t want a particular intervention, feel free to say no or ask for more time. In my case, my waters broke before contractions started. The hospital would have preferred I was admitted to hospital and induced 24 hours later because of a small risk of infection. I didn’t feel that was necessary and thought that induction had risks too, so I said no, I’d wait and see if I went into labour naturally. You have to weight up the risk yourself and don’t be afraid to disagree with the medical team. Some good advice I was given was to ask ‘what would happen if we did nothing?’. Sometimes doing nothing is a good option that isn’t really considered.
3. Pushing isn’t the worst bit. To be fair, a friend had told me this but I didn’t believe her. She’d told me contractions are worse. She was right in my experience. The pushing part was my big fear before birth. How could I possibly push a baby out without it ripping me in two? Yes, it did hurt, but not in a terrible way. It stings, but it’s brief. The pain of pushing was a sign it was coming to an end and I found that a massive relief.
4. ‘Birth plan’ is a ridiculous term. There’s a lot of focus on writing your birth plan. I think it should be called ‘birth preferences’. It’s definitely worth thinking about what you’d like, but birth doesn’t follow a plan and you need to be flexible in case circumstances change. I really wanted to give birth in the birth centre, not the labour ward, but on the day I wasn’t allowed because I’d become higher risk by my waters breaking. This panicked me a bit, and I think if I’d entertained the idea earlier I might have been more relaxed.
5. It doesn’t have to be a horror story. Although things didn’t go quite to plan, my birth wasn’t as horrendous as I expected. I managed with just gas and air. People love to share a horror story and scare the life out of pregnant women. Not all births are terrible.