The little guy gradually started nursing less often, it became more about comfort and less about quantity. Nursing seemed confined to home, perhaps it was boredom feeding, more often than not it was me using my milk to get him to settle for sleep. We were rarely feeding on the run or while out and about because the world is so much more exciting to look at than the same old boobs!
At sixteen months old, breastfeeding a fully fledged toddler with twelve teeth and a few words in his vocabulary seems perfectly normal to both of us. To close friends and family, it isn’t that strange either, maybe just a little bit, but not strange enough for them to question me about my choice.
And then totally out of the blue, in the middle of a busy playgroup, he came running over to me and began tugging at my shirt. Of course without thinking, we started feeding perched on a windowsill. I looked out across the room to watch the other kids splattering shaving creme and glitter up the walls and all of a sudden…there they were…
Two women, crossed arms, staring at me feeding my toddler!
Probably for the first time in my breastfeeding experience, I felt slightly awkward!
It occurred to me that they may find the whole scene slightly awkward…embarrassing…odd?!?
Anyway, not one to be deterred, I gave myself a quick reality check, flashed them a big smile and a giggle and carried on.
A recently published report came to mind, one stating that the confidence of a mother may affect breastfeeding success. The Journal of Advanced Nursing published a report that found that mothers who are more extroverted and less anxious are more likely to breastfeed and to continue to breastfeed than mothers who are introverted or anxious. (Source: Wiley)
So do you feel that a mums personality may go some way towards her breastfeeding success and longevity?
I certainly felt a fleeting pang of embarrassment, but another mum may have been totally mortified and quit breastfeeding then and there.
Generally, I feel inclined to disagree with the findings of the report, that less confident personality traits mean breastfeeding failure is imminent. Myself, the shyest, most private kind of mother, I became totally liberated by the experience of breastfeeding, and make a point of publicly feeding with the hope of inspiring another shy mum to do the same for her child.
I do agree that emotional stability is a more likely contributing factor, health professionals need to tune into all of these underlying personality traits in order to offer the best support and advice.
Let me know about your experience, are you shy, did it affect your confidence to breastfeed, did you lose all inhibitions to do what you felt had to be done? I also did some research into the benefits of breast milk past one year which you can read here.
When the time came to start thinking about nursery and pre-school for my little guy, it didn’t take much research to find that the Montessori approach really resonated me. When the guy was tiny, we often remarked on his concentration on the smallest of things, like nothing else existed around him just that one object…
Then I found this quote:
“A child’s different inner sensibilities enable him to choose from his complex environment what is suitable and necessary for his growth. They make the child sensitive to some things, but leave him indifferent to others. When a particular sensitiveness is aroused in a child, it is like a light that shines on some objects but not others, making of them his whole world.” The Secret of Childhood p. 42, Chap 7
Montessori concentrates on these sensitive periods, using them as a guide to focus on a particular area of learning that each individual child is receptive too.
I LoVe that idea, so for pre-scool at least, Montessori is my first choice.
It will be a little while before he starts attending official sessions at nursery, but in anticipation of that time, I am trying to start to bring some Montessori play into our home. I am slowly filtering in some new activities and clearing some shelves to have these activities within easy reach.
Starting in the playroom seems obvious, but hopefully we will roll out activities into different areas of the house like the kitchen and bathroom.
The activities are so simple, but teach so much. I never thought this simple spooning activity would occupy him for so long, but, he was riveted for a good five minutes, the concentration was incredible!!
It teaches coordination and concentration, spooning into a bowl without spilling the grain. I chose some dried black beans so they would contrast with the cream carpet and he could see them clearly to pick up when he missed the bowl.
Of course it was always going to end like this!!
Every little person probably has some stacking toys at home, so instead of throwing each hoop onto the hard floor to make a noise, I made the effort to show him how to stack them properly. In a nice clear and clean space, he actually started stacking, not throwing!
It seems too simple, but it is a great way to develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and a sense of order, something which Montessori understands to be a trait of all children to be developed.
I will add to the collection of activities as I gather materials and ideas, so come back and have a look soon. Meanwhile, why not try out some homemade paint!
Have fun, and feel free to comment and share more ideas with me.
Now I don’t suppose there is anything wrong with a bottle of paint from the craft store, kids the world over have been painting anything and everything with it, tasting it and treading it into cream carpets in many a home. But there is something so satisfying in making your own paint, a smug arty glow before the kids have even begun to create their own masterpieces!
I have always ben a bit of a scientist at heart, so I guess that cooking up some cornstarch paint is my bit of messy play before the little guy gets stuck in.
It is so simple to make, it washes off little hands so easily, and it is totally non toxic and edible (not tasty) so kids of all ages can join in…even the ones who just want to taste the brushes and sample the bright colours! Along with the basic cornstarch and water mix, I used some natural food colourings from the supermarket, these contain paprika, tumeric and spirulina to get their vibrancy so I felt comfortable that everything was mouth friendly.
How to make the paint…
1/2 cup cornstarch/cornflower 2-4 cups water Colouring of your choice
Add the cornstarch to a pan and slowly add 2 cups of water to make a smooth mixture.
Begin to heat the mixture, gently stirring.
As the mixture starts to turn lumpy, remove from the heat but continue to stir until a smooth, thick, gloopy mixture is made.
Slowly mix in 1-2 extra cups of cold water to thin the mixture to the desired consistency. You can use it as a very thick paste to paint and squish with your fingers, but we like it a little thinner for brushes and sponges.
Divide into separate containers and stir in desired colours.
We covered the table with some plastic sheeting and set out brushes, paper, cardboad etc…
Then you just need to add a kid!! Or two!!
The quantities left plenty to be stored for a rainy day…but use it within a week.
It has been two months since my last post. A lot has happened. Such a short space of time in which so much has changed, and life marches on leaving you struggling in the ripples it leaves behind.
Just a couple of months ago, life was a different entity all together. A trauma involving a good friend became my priority, she needed me, so I had to be there with my full focus. Then the more trivial bits…some major home improvements, a case of foot and mouth, a very poorly little guy, and all of a sudden I realised just how much time had passed.
So after my disappearance, I am easing back into the all consuming world of blogging with a nice simple post. If I don’t do this one, I have a feeling that three months, then six months then a year may pass with my blog gathering dust.
My sixteen month old little guy is a fully fledged toddler, he has dropped a nap, he sleeps slightly better at night (one feed instead of four!) and he gets VeRy bored indoors, no longer content to play with a few toys on the lounge floor!
Day to day at the moment involves constantly entertaining, stimulating and interacting with a very inquisitive and hands on little guy with the attention span of a goldfish. Playgroups, messy play, animals, art exhibitions, swimming, anything to keep him occupied.
…but it has been really rewarding.
Seeing him understand how to handle a paintbrush and splodge paint around, hold a stick of chalk and make shapes on the chalk board, sit at his little table and tap on his keyboard making phone calls on a remote control, playing with the contents of his mini kitchen.
My favourite time is letting him play while exploring textures, that’s why I love painting, play dough, salt dough, sand and water. Over the next few posts I will post up a few really simple recipes for totally edible and homemade art ideas.
It is the Rolls Royce of pain relief for a grueling labour. The most up to date statistics (here) currently state that, overall in the USA, 61% of women giving birth to a singleton make use of the wondrous epidural.
In the UK, figures (here) reveal that percentage of women to be 33%.
Like many other women, I was all for an epidural at the start of my pregnancy, probably even before I was pregnant when I think about it! I planned to just show up at hospital and make it my first request! The more I read about them though, the more nervous I got that i might need one, aside from the needle in the spine, there were some surprising facts floating around that started to change my opinion of what I considered a routine and safe procedure.
So I thought I would take a closer look at some of the facts that I found particularly interesting, and share them with you…
What is an epidural?
Starting with the basics, lets straighten out the types available:
Spinal block is an instant and total numbing that lasts for a short period of maybe a couple of hours. Medicine is injected into the fluid of the spinal cord, just the once, no catheter is left in place. Because of its instant and total numbing effects it is good just before a c-section.
Epidural takes 10-20 minutes to have an effect, the anesthetic is injected just outside of the fluid of the spine. A catheter is taped in place and medication can be administered over a long period of time to provide numbness to the lower half of the body.
Walking epidural is a low dose or combination form of epidural. The lower dose of anaesthetic is combined with a painkilling opiate like pethidine or morphine, this usually allows the woman to move around with support but don’t expect to be pacing the corridors as you will likely be attached to a drip and baby monitor which can make moving around difficult.
CSE is a combined spinal-epidural. A one-off dose of painkilling opiate, with or without anaesthetic, is injected into the spinal space, very close to the end of the spinal cord. Pain relief lasts for around 2 hours, and then if more pain relief is needed, it can be given as an epidural. The spinal administration is combined with the placement of the epidural catheter into one procedure.
How does an epidural work?
The spinal cord runs through a space in the bones of the spine. Nerves running from the spine send messages to different parts of the body enabling them to function. The nerves from the lover section of the the spinal cord control the lower sections of the body.
By injecting anesthetic into the epidural space of the lower back, as seen in the diagram above, the nerves controlling the lower body will be blocked, and feeling will be lost in the legs and the torso from the belly button down.
Can this medication reach baby?
This is the big question that we all want an answer to. Although injected around the spinal cord, the drugs used will still enter your blood stream. It is claimed that the amount of medication that does enter the blood stream is very low with an epidural and even lower with a spinal, but it will still cross over to the baby via the placenta. I am guessing that the longer the epidural is being administered the more medication ends up reaching the baby.
It also takes a couple of hours for feeling to return to your legs after having an epidural, while the medication starts to wear off. The Royal College Of Anesthesiologists states (here) that while the effects are typically not visible within hours of receiving a general anesthetic, traces can still be found in the body and breast milk for a few days. That’s not something I fancy floating around in my newborn!
Breast feeding after epidural.
Studies have shown (here) epidurals to have a negative effect on breast-feeding.
That’s a sweeping statement sure to make many mothers angry…after all, we all know that breast feeding is temperamental even in the most ideal of situations.
But one really fascinating study worth looking at (here) showed a deficiency in oxytocin at delivery with epidural analgesia.
This I find interesting…oxytocin is the hormone that stimulates let down and brings milk or colostrum with it. Low oxytocin…problems breast feeding…makes sense to me! I have to admit I thought it was maybe down to the anesthetic effect of the drugs on the baby which made it harder for them to latch on, so I really like this scientific stand point, much more compelling.
So what about mum?
Ok, so you managed to handle the big needle in the spine, but what are some of the effects on mum apart from the feeling of total relief from contractions that just started to get the better of you…
Allergic reaction to the anesthesia used Bleeding around the spinal column (hematoma) Difficulty urinating Drop in blood pressure Infection in your spine (meningitis or abscess) Nerve damage Seizures (this is rare) Severe headache
You can Google the risks of an epidural easily like I have just done for the list above. No doubt you have done it at some point, so I won’t go into too much detail, as the list is almost endless!
Two particular points that were of interest that I want to look at have a knock on effect on baby are:
Low blood pressure (hypotension)
Elevated maternal temperature
Low blood pressure has a direct effect on how much blood is pumped into the placenta. This in turn affects how much oxygen reaches the baby which is obviously not ideal. To remedy the problem it is likely that you will get hooked up to IV fluids which may restrict how freely you can move into different positions for labour (another reason why your walking epidural might end up less mobile).
Elevated maternal temperature has the potential to spark a whole cascade of meddling, not least because a temperature can be a sign of infection but also because it may lead to a faster heart rate in the baby. Fast heart rate can be a sign of a baby in distress and may lead to a c-section. Baby may need tests to rule out infection and may require treatment with antibiotics after the birth, interfering with those precious first moments of skin to skin contact, breast feeding and bonding. That right there is a good enough reason for me to try and stay away from the epidural!
Does an epidural really slow down labour and lead to a higher chance of c-section?
This isn’t just something they say to scare you away from an epidural, it’s not just hear say from the natural childbirth advocates, there is a simple reason why this is the case.
Plain and simply put, epidural anesthesia is indiscriminate, it freezes up the pelvic floor muscle which are crucial to guiding and delivering a baby safely and steadily. This once active muscle that was guiding baby out so nicely, becomes a little bit too relaxed giving baby the opportunity to turn around in the birth canal. This is where forceps may be needed to reposition baby, episiotomy cuts may be needed to allow forceps access, or c-section may be required if labour is too obstructed to deliver vaginally.
Will an epidural be so high on your birth plan now?
The epidural will always have a place on the delivery ward, it is essential at times, every labour is so different and who knows how yours will turn out. What I think is important is to really study for a birth, prepare with as many natural aids as possible, yoga, meditation, hypno birthing, aromatherapy, TENS, massage…the more prepared you are in the earlier stages, the further you may get into your labour naturally, that might be all the incentive you need to go that final leg alone!!
How did you handle the pain of childbirth? How did you find the epidural if you went down that route? Would you make the same choices for the next time? Let me know, leave a message below…
This was a lovely surprise! My first blog award, from someone whose own blog is so inspiring and always keeps me coming back for more, Atlantamomofthree, a big thank you! Have a look at her blog, it is full of informative articles, recipes, breastfeeding and childbirth thoughts and lots of laughs.
She also bestowed upon me the brilliant Yoda award which made me laugh so much, I am honored!! THANK YOU!! Please check out her blog Atlantamomofthree.
Image courtesy of www.atlantamomofthree.com “You are a wise soul, with your understanding and care coming across in all your posts. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, oh green one.”
I tried to look back into the history of the award, but like many other people, I failed to find out much about it’s origin. The trail doesn’t go back much further than 2009 when the creator may have sent the original idea into cyberspace. Several incarnations of the image exist, probably reinvented by people wanting a more aesthetically suitable image, but other than that I can find no concrete evidence about the origin of this award!
None the less, the award is a great way to show appreciation for great writing, research and photography. Based on how proud I felt when I received the nomination, it is a really inspiring process to join in with! So in accordance with the rules here I go…
Seven random facts about me…
I wanted to be a milkman lady when I was young.
I am trained to make false eyes.
I hate hate hate exercise.
The sun makes me very nervous.
My shyness manifests as verbal diarrhea.
I sleep on my face so spiders can’t crawl in during the night.
I rarely see anything to completion, too fickle!
My nominations are…
Goodnight Mush Fabulous resource for baby wearing and passionate about breast feeding. Gorgeous photographs and a lovely personal peek at life with two children.
Mummy Flying Solo Makes me laugh without fail. Inspiration on all things parenting and life, so grounding.
The Lady Likes Food I just love her heart healthy but decadent desserts, but there is a whole host of other fresh, and interesting recipe ideas here.
Rambam Institute This is a Jewish medicine blog, but there are always fascinating insights into health issues covering a range of areas, I like the pot luck lessons I learn here!
Taking a break from anything too taxing in an effort to help me get a decent night’s rest (help with my problem here), what better way to unwind than to get back to slaving away at the cooker!
This is a baby led weaning basic, a staple, nutritious, hand handy meal for infants, toddlers and grown ups too! The shape is great for little hands, and the texture is perfect even for beginner BLWers.
You can easily customise them, I had some chives growing in the garden, but spring onion, or dried herbs would work just as well. I also chuck in a handful of peas because they are a great iron source and my guy loves a pea, but sweetcorn for extra fibre would work also.
Did you know that most of the goodness and fibre of a potato is in the skin, so a good scrub and bake so you can use the whole of the potato also adds an extra nutritious boost to these crispy golden batons.
1 large baking potato or 2 medium mashing potatoes Large handful of frozen peas or sweetcorn 1/2 can of tuna drained and flaked Fresh ground pepper 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives or spring/salad onions 1 egg
Pre heat oven to 170C/340F
I used a left over large jacket baked potato, scoop the flesh out and mash. Alternatively, boiled and mashed potato works just as well.
Add tuna, spring onions or chives, peas/sweetcorn, pepper to season and mix thoroughly.
Lightly beat the egg and add to the mixture, combine well.
Prepare a baking tray with a sheet of non stick paper or lightly oil your tray.
Scoop heaped tablespoons of mixture onto the baking sheet at intervals.
Lightly flour hands and shape into a croquette or patty or anything you fancy, flouring hands each time.
Bake at 170C until golden, 15- 20 minutes, you may like to turn halfway through cooking to get an even colour.
Do you ever get the feeling that your blog is ruining your beauty sleep more than the kids do?
I am more than ready for a good nights sleep, but lights out, and my brain is still whirring away energetic as ever, I’m starting to wonder if the computer is the culprit?
Even a glass of hot milk, a late night warm shower, or some meditative thoughts don’t seem to be helping and it is really starting to get me down. Last night I had to get up and wash my hands and feet in cold water, I just didn’t know what else to do with them, it didn’t help much but it felt like the right thing to do at the time.
So, I have decided to step away from the laptop for a couple of days! No more hard core research, late night tweeting, pinning, blogging or blog networking. Just to see if it helps.
Part of the problem is that I know the little guy will wake up at any minute, so my body won’t let me relax until I have dealt with his first middle of the night feed, but now I am struggling to nod off even after my job is done, now I seem to be clock watching until the next feed and the next.
There is a routine to it now which I need to break out of, but I just don’t know how. I was never this tired even when he was a newborn!!
Is anyone else out there having the same problem? Do you have any advice, tips or tricks to help me fall asleep? Please help!!!
It’s a sad(ish) day! I have just packed away the breast pump and the steriliser bits.
While there is plenty of milk still flowing, the breast pump just isn’t collecting as well as it used to. My milk donation days are up, and the steriliser needs an industrial de-scaling. It doesn’t seem worth it for 4 pacifiers!
So a clean up was in order, of all those things collected over the last year, the essentials…that never got used, and all those newborn inserts that had long be discarded.
Just one brown box. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t stay, it needs to find another home and luckily we have a friend of a friend with twins ever grateful for anything going spare. I am not the most sentimental of people, so I applied my ruthless streak to all those wonderful baby memories and got packing!
Imagine opening this box of treats when the time comes, if you are blessed with another baby. Will I want new things for the new arrival, or will I be as thrifty as I was with my first and revel in how little I need to buy the second time around?
For that reason I packed everything beautifully, wrapped, cleaned, polished and labelled so neatly that it would be a kind of tombola, a lucky dip, reaching in and discovering it all again.
Bye bye baby days! Hello to my grown up tiny guy!
It got me thinking about how differently we all approach ‘stuff’…I have friends who see the value in pre-loved everything, some who spent a small fortune on the nursery, some with homes full to the rafters with toys, and others whole lot more frugal.
Honestly, I felt a bit guilty that I didn’t buy more new stuff when he was born, so I had a little splurge on a few nice bits and then felt guilty about that.
I never felt guilty about splurging on Dino!
2 foot tall fun…for mummy!
Anyway, if the next time comes, I will be armed and ready to pump and freeze all of the milk that got wasted first time round. There was so much milk at the beginning I just didn’t know what to do with it all!
So as you can see, my son has a lovely set of eight teeth. Eight tiny, pearly white, eagerly awaited, razor sharp teeth.
As you can also see, he has developed a penchant for biting me!
If I ask for a kiss, he comes steaming towards me, mouth wide open, and starts trying to clamp my mouth between his teeth. Or if he is in a particularly boisterous mood, he will merrily bash against me with his head and start trying to gnaw away at my leg or tummy, or arm.
It was something I wasn’t expecting until he was a little older, maybe at pre-school where you hear stories of that kid who bites! At 13 months old, I got a little bit worried that the little guy was doing something he shouldn’t have been…I pretty quickly discovered it was totally normal…
So what should I do about it? I am pretty sure my current approach, giggling madly, giving a puny yelp of an ouch, and laughing some more as he goes in for a second bite may not be the conventional route! And saying ”no” is something I talked about trying not to do (check it out here).
I never knew, but each bite is just an expression of his excitement, his love, his enthusiasm and his energy in life. There is no way I am going to bite him back like someone recommended a friend try doing with her son.
Why do toddlers bite?
A bite is a way of expressing something without words, be it happiness, excitement, joy, or anger, frustration or hurt.
It could also be down to the usual suspects…teething, tiredness, boredom or just plain old experimentation.
How to react when your toddler bites you.
Stay calm! Try not to laugh! Use the serious voice to say something like ‘bites hurt, ouch’ and use it consistently.
Shift the focus to a different activity, not biting mum fun time…a distraction is invaluable.
Understand why your toddler is biting.
If you can figure out what your little person is trying to tell you with a bite, it might go some way to calming the situation down. If they could be teething, bring the teething toys out. If they are over tired, try and get a nap in or nap earlier for the future. If they are in need of more activity, try and give more time to entertaining them.
Each scenario has an obvious solution, but especially if your toddler is older it may be harder to deal with the situation. Zerotothree.org has some great advice here to help you deal with your situation.
So what age did your child start to bite? Or did they never go through this phase at all. How did you handle it? Would love to hear your thoughts…