I did it. I made it to my goal of 9 months so I didn’t have to sterilise or make up bottles on holiday.  The ultimate lazy reason to keep going. If the NHS really want to improve breastfeeding rates, then instead of banging on about ‘best for baby, best for mum’, they should think about promoting how much easier it is once it’s established. It’s definitely the first bit that’s the hard bit in my experience.

Breastfeeding: the 9 month update

Breastfeeding on holiday

If you can, I highly recommend breastfeeding on holiday. It was so easy and seriously reduced the amount of baby paraphernalia I had to take with me. I found it particularly useful on the flight. It allowed Jacob to fall asleep during take off, which was amazing.

Breastfeeding baby on the planeOne of the main reasons I wanted to breastfeed for 9 months was that I couldn’t get my head around how I would make up bottles on holiday. What would I do for the airport and plane? When Jacob does drink formula he has SMA (the only one that didn’t make him throw up), which comes in really annoying ready-made cartons that need scissors to open. Which you can’t take on planes. And if I made up a bottle to take with me at home, it’s meant to be used within 2 hours… but he’d need it about 4 hours after leaving home. So he might have gotten ill… I’m genuinely perplexed! Could I just have taken powder and asked for boiling water? How would I do it?! SMA-using mums help please! (If anyone from SMA is reading this, please make better ready-made cartons!)

I know some people are worried about breastfeeding in public in a new environment, but I didn’t really think about it. I hadn’t checked out my rights to breastfeed in Portugal, but I did it wherever I wanted and no one said anything!

New habits at 9 months

Jacob still has no teeth, so I haven’t had to contend with biting yet. I’ve still got that joy to come.

He has learnt that grabbing my nipple and pulling makes me say “ouch”, which is apparently hilarious to a 9-month-old! He’s actually started looking up, grinning, then doing it and chuckling! Cheeky little monkey. If anyone has any tips on how to discourage that, let me know please!

What’s next in the breastfeeding journey?

As of today I’ve decided to stop breastfeeding during the day, so we go down to just two feeds—first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I’m starting to get a bit anxious about feeding and going back to work, so I want to get a bit of a head start at cutting down. I don’t want to be stressing about it the week before I go back.

Hopefully, if that works, I’ll be able to continue feeding twice a day for a few months longer.

If you enjoyed reading this, why not subscribe to the blog? There’s a link in side bar 🙂

Follow:

Flying with a baby. Those four words are enough to strike dread into the heart of any first time parent. We recently survived our first flight with Jacob, and it wasn’t that bad! There was a bit of crying, but nothing too intense. Here’s how we did it.

Flying with a baby

Use a baby carrier at the airport

This was a tip I got from other parents. We decided not to take a pushchair on holiday at all, as we thought we wouldn’t use it that much. If you do want to take one, I’d highly recommend checking it in and using a baby carrier of some sort at the airport. It means you have free hands, and baby tends to be happy being attached to mum or dad and can look around. We used our BabyBjörn (I previously wrote this review of the BabyBjörn).

Use the family security lane

This was a revelation for us. Gatwick airport have a special security lane for families. A very lovely member of security staff came over and told us while I was busy sorting out all the liquids into a plastic bag. It meant we could take our time a bit more and not feel like we were holding other travellers up. I could go through the metal detector with Jacob in the BabyBjörn. As always, I set off the metal detector, so they patted Jacob down (he loved it). He was then handed over to his dad while I went through the full body scanner. It was nice and relaxed and all the staff were helpful.

Be prepared to give baby milk on the plane

Breastfeeding baby on the plane

Another tip from friends with babies. Make sure you give the baby something to drink during take off and landing—whether that’s breast or bottle. The swallowing helps their ears so they don’t hurt. Jacob actually fell asleep during takeoff, which was a bonus.

Take snacks

Once the flight is underway, you need ways to keep baby distracted. If they are old enough, food is perfect. One of the best things we did was to take loads (and I mean loads) of carrot sticks from home. Jacob gummed them for ages, then tried to feed them to us. We had so many it didn’t matter when he chucked a few on the floor. Rice cakes would work well too.

New toys

This was recommended to my husband by a work colleague. We bought 3 new small teething toys to take on the plane. The idea being that because the baby hasn’t seen them before, they keep them distracted for a while. This did work to a certain extent, although carrots definitely keep him entertained for longer!

Use two nappies

This is something we do at nighttime, and thought it would be helpful on the flight. We put two nappies on (and used the more absorbent Pampers Baby Dry ones) to prevent any leaks.

Relax!

Overall, I’d say the most important thing is to relax. It’s pretty likely that the baby will cry at some point in the flight, but the vast majority of people are very understanding and friendly. We didn’t have any negative comments, even though I’m sure some people were pretty irritated their peaceful flight was disrupted.

This Mum's Life

The Tale of Mummyhood

 

Follow:

Pre-baby I was a pretty active person. I’d go to the gym a few times a week. Spinning was my favourite class, but I’d do some weights, some outdoor running, maybe a bit of yoga and pilates. Post-baby the main thing I do is walk. I occasionally run and do the odd YouTube workout. I haven’t managed to get back to the gym for two reasons—time and money. So when I was offered the chance to try out the new Aaptiv stroller workouts, I jumped at the chance.

Getting back to exercise with a baby

Baby sleeping in the pram during my Aaptiv stroller workout

Jacob is exhausted by my workout!

Aaptiv is an on-demand audio workout app. It has loads of different types of workouts from running and cycling, to stretching and strength training. Their stroller workouts are a new offering and are designed for busy mums with babies. The classes are short (20-25 minutes), making it easier to squeeze one into a hectic day, and because they use the pushchair there is no need for a babysitter. My favourite thing about the stroller workouts is getting to exercise outside in the fresh air. I think it’s good for Jacob to get some fresh air too.

At first, I was a bit skeptical about an audio workout. I’ve done a lot of video workouts and they are easy to follow because you can see what you are meant to be doing. My concerns were unfounded though. The workouts are easy to follow. I did find that occasionally I wasn’t sure I was doing the move exactly right, but as the workout continued I got the hang of it. The workouts are challenging, but modifiable depending on your fitness level. I found the instructor really motivating and having music made the workout go by faster. I don’t know about you, but I need to be encouraged to push myself harder during a workout. If I workout on my own, I never work as hard as I do at a class, so Aaptiv is useful to keep me going.

Another good thing about the app is that you can download classes to your phone, so you don’t have to worry about using up your data.

The workouts

Stroller workout in the park

Jacob getting a bit grumpy by the end of my workout. Luckily you can pause the workout to soothe any grumbling!

The stroller workouts include strength moves, walking, some jogging, and plyometrics. When I heard about the jogging, I assumed I’d need a specific jogging pushchair, but that’s not necessary. The jogging sections are brief and light, and Jacob was fine in my usual Bugaboo pram. I was running on a smooth path though, so that helps. I did all my workouts in the local park, but you could do them anywhere. You just need a little bit of space.

So far I’ve tried:

  • Leg love stroller workout—this really works your lower body hard with lots of squats and lunges. I really liked this one and I felt the burn in my legs and bum the next day.
  • Stroller strong vibes—this also worked my lower body with lots of walking lunges. Jacob liked this one as I made funny faces at him the whole time!
  • Everyday we’re strollering—this is a more cardio focused workout. There are intervals of 2 minutes of running or walking (depending on fitness) followed by strength moves.

If, like me, you want to stay fit and healthy, but struggle for childcare and time to go to formal exercise classes, I’d definitely recommend giving Aaptiv a go.

*I was provided with a free 2-week trial to Aaptiv, but all opinions are my own.

Follow:

Quick heads up. I’m a pretty big fan of breastfeeding at the moment. At almost 9 months in everything is going pretty smoothly. It hasn’t always been that way though. I’ve had some bumps in the road, but overall it’s gone well and I enjoy it. I found that it was hard to find objective information about breastfeeding when I was pregnant. NHS sources are, understandably, very positive. You can read very negative accounts in forums. I found it really hard to get a balanced view. Here are the pros and cons of breastfeeding I’ve found so far.

The pros and cons of breastfeeding

The pros of breastfeeding

Weight loss

Personally, I’ve found that I lost weight quickly when breastfeeding. By about 2 months in I was back to the weight I was at my booking in appointment with the midwife. I know that doesn’t happen for everyone who breastfeeds though and I’ve read conflicting research. In theory it makes sense to lose weight while breastfeeding—producing milk burns a lot of calories. But I know some people find it makes them really hungry. I guess you don’t know until you try.

I didn’t put on huge amounts of weight while pregnant, so maybe it has made no difference and I would have been the same if I hadn’t breastfed, but I like to think it has helped.

No sterilising

As a self-confessed lazy mama, this has been one of the biggest bonuses. I hate the faff of washing and sterilising bottles, so breastfeeding has been a god send for me.

No organisation required

Again, as a lazy mama, I don’t have to worry about remembering bottles or working out how much formula I need when I go out. As long as I have my boobs, we are good to go!

Health benefits for mum and baby

Breastfeeding has tonnes of health benefits for mums and babies.

For women, studies show a lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and obesity if you breastfeed your baby.

Babies get long-term benefits from breastfeeding—even if it’s only the colostrum of the first couple of days. Babies who are breastfed (statistically) have a lower risk of infection, get less diarrhoea and vomiting, are less likely to be a victim of sudden infant death syndrome, have a lower risk of childhood leukaemia and are less likely to get type 2 diabetes or be obese.

All these benefits are seen at the population level. So, your baby won’t necessarily benefit, it has just been proven to reduce the risk of these diseases.

 Soothing baby

Nothing calms Jacob down like a long breastfeed. It’s helped when he’s been ill or just really angry about something.

The cons of breastfeeding

Feeling tied down

This has been a big con for me. Particularly at around 4 months. Being solely responsible for feeding a baby can be hard—and tiring. I found it a bit overwhelming at times, but now Jacob is feeding less I feel much less tied down. Once your baby can reliably take a bottle, it’s fine to leave them occasionally. I had a weekend away at 8.5 months.

Growth worries

Growth worries are a common problem in breastfed babies. It can be hard to have confidence in your body’s ability to provide enough milk for your baby. I found reading this webpage really helpful. To summarise, if baby is producing enough wet and dirty nappies and gaining weight, they are getting enough milk. It helps to know to expect cluster feeding and constant feeding during growth spurts—that means you don’t panic that baby is starving on your breast milk.

Getting the hang of it

Breastfeeding is a skill. At first, both mum and baby are learning how to do it. It was hard in the beginning and quite painful. At first, Jacob’s latch wasn’t quite right, but after getting help from a breastfeeding councillor at a Baby Cafe, things improved quickly. I’d strongly advise figuring out where to get help in advance. Now, it couldn’t be easier. It just feels so natural.

Clothes

This is a bit of a flippant con, but a con all the same. It is so tiresome to constantly think “can I breastfeed in this?” before you get dressed in the morning. I am throughly sick of all my breastfeeding-suitable clothes after nearly 9 months. It would also be nice to wear a proper, underwired bra for once.

Breastfeeding a baby outside

Breastfeeding an 8-week-old Jacob while having a cream tea

Overall, I’d definitely say the pros outweigh the cons for me. It’s not always been easy but I’m so glad I persevered at the start.

Follow:

A while ago I wrote a post on my postpartum hair loss. In that post I lamented about how it seemed all of my hair was falling out and wondered if it would ever stop.

The good news

Well, here’s the good news. It has stopped falling out. Phew! I’m guessing it stopped about a month or two ago (so probably at about 6 months after birth). Which is a big relief. For a while I was worried it was all going to fall out—I had noticeable (to me anyway) bald patches around my hairline at the front. Luckily, now I’m finding less hair in the plug hole after a shower and I am having to clear my hairbrush less often too.

The bad news

As you may guess, there is also bad news. The bad news is now it is growing back where it fell out. It looks absolutely ridiculous. I have tons—and I mean tons—of short regrowth all round the front of my hair. It’s currently about half an inch long. It’s all wispy and horrible.

What can I do about it?

After a lot of Googling, I’ve realised there isn’t much I can do about the regrowth. After all, nothing can make hair grow several inches overnight. I think the main strategies are eating healthily to promote hair growth, and reducing any further breakage. So not blow drying or straightening too often. Another strategy I read was to avoid tying hair up, as that can highlight the shorter bits. Well, that’s not happening. Jacob’s favourite game is pulling my hair.

I’m seriously contemplating getting a fringe just so it blends in. Whether I take that plunge or not, I’m definitely going to get a new hair style in the next couple of weeks. I think it might make me feel a bit better! I’ll be pinning new styles on Pinterest furiously for the next few days.

Did you suffer from postpartum hair loss? How did you deal with the regrowth?

 

 

Follow: