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How Facebook groups helped me successfully breastfeed – blogtober day 27

Day 27 of #blogtober is ‘Facebook’ – so I wanted to share the amazing resources that exist in this branch of social media, without which I would not be continuing to breastfeed my 2 year old. 

In the early days of breastfeeding, when your lady parts feel like they’re falling out and your nipples don’t know what’s hit them, it can be really tough. And even if breastfeeding is painfree (which it should be – though often isn’t), it’s hard work – it’s an emotional journey and it can take some adjusting to. 

So many nights, I’d be wide awake, feeding Squid, feeling like the only person on the planet who wasn’t asleep. Until one night I discovered a whole tribe of women, also awake and nursing. They were women inside my iPhone. Women who were part of several Facebook groups I’d joined – groups specifically geared to help with breastfeeding. 


These groups became a place of solace for me – ‘why will my 5 week old not sleep away from me?’, ‘why is my 4 month old waking for milk every 45 minutes?’, ‘help! My one year old has bitten me!’, ‘why do I feel so angry when I breastfeed sometimes?’, I’d ask. For every query or worry, there were women who have been through it too, or are in the thick of it – women who offered advice and suggestions, but most of all, companionship and solidarity. 

And even now, I regularly consult the people in these groups, when something changes or I need help. Without these people, I wouldn’t be breastfeeding – and much less likely to be breastfeeding past infancy. One group in particular – ‘Breastfeeding Older Babies and Beyond’ – helps me to feel normal in what we do, and the women in this group keep me going to achieve my goals. 


If you’re needing support and guidance with breastfeeding, of course face to face support is best, but that’s not always available at 3.42am when you need it the most. My favourite groups are: 

Breastfeeding Older Babies and Beyond

Breastfeeding Younger Babies and Beyond

La Leche League International (and also search for your local LLL Facebook group!)

For inspiration from a natural term breastfeeder who posts quotes and facts daily, follow The Milk Meg – she is simply amazing! 


See you tomorrow, 

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Year in review: 2017. #blogtober day 25

25 days in… today’s prompt is ‘Y’ for the ‘Year in review’ – so without further ado, here’s the low down of my 2017…

January 


Daddy’s birthday, a new year, cold weather. I’m not a fan of January what with the Christmas slump, but the days pass quickly when you have a small human!

February


A difficult month in my personal life, and another hospital admission for Squid. 

March


Mother’s Day! A wonderful one spent in some beautiful gardens with a picnic and my favourite people. 

April


We saw lambs being born and held some ducklings… Squid bloody hated it…

May


Still nippy, but I love May-time! Look at those bluebells!

June


A house move meant total unheaval… it was exhausting for Squid as you can see. 

July


A family holiday to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday and the addition of our newest family member – Boofulcat!

August


Lots of sunny-summer holiday activities – it was so wonderful to have time off with Squid…

But August brought with it a further hospital stay for baby boy…


September 


We celebrated 2 years of life for Squid – a happy happy day. September was the start of me working (temporarily) full time… it was a slog!

October


My favourite month, and it’s nearly over! We’ve had lots of leafy walks, and Squid has changed so much over the last month. 

What a quick year! I can’t believe we’re on the descent to Christmas already. 

What has been your 2017 highlight?

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Blogtober day 24 – Christmas: making memories

Day 24 of #blogtober is ‘X for Xmas’, and I can’t believe it’s getting to that time of the year again. I am not a Halloween-y type person and so really don’t understand the hype around it, but I am ON BOARD with Christmas and I can’t wait to get in the festive spirit in the run up to it! Being a teacher, that last week before we break up is pretty gruelling, but I absolutely love the Christmassy buzz that fills any school – the excitement is infectious! Our Christmas fair is one of my favourite events of the school year, and I can’t wait to set up our class stall – we’ve got the best idea this year!


So the theme of ‘Christmas’ got me thinking about traditions we have in our family!

First of all, every Christmas Eve, we go out as a family for a meal, and then to Midnight Mass – we used to go to the Christingle service, and I have the funniest memories of my brother starting a small fire by melting his marshmallows on the lit flame – the following year, the church changed the marshmallows to raisins and the candles weren’t lit!


We always open one gift on Christmas Eve – always a gift from my dad, as mum doesn’t agree with this tradition! Irina from wavetomummy says that this is a proper tradition in her home country of Finland – if that’s not a good enough excuse then I don’t know what is!


As adults, we all stay at my parents’ house, and now we have Squid, Christmas morning is so magical! When Christmas morning comes around, and we have to wait for mum to have a cup of tea before we open presents. Then we have Bucks Fizz and croissants for breakfast, and eagerly await our Christmas lunch…


As a family of 3, hubby and I have developed our own traditions! Much like Kim from raisingaragamuffin, and Laura from fivelittledoves, each year, we buy one more bauble to hang on the tree – by the time Squid is an adult, we will have quite a collection! Laura said that this tradition is extra special in her household – each new decoration is hung upon the tree in tribute to her son who sadly died in 2006. I imagine that’s a really special tradition to have.


We also have a Christmas Eve box, and I think this year will be the first that we can properly indulge in the preparations for Father Christmas! We have a special plate with spaces for a drink and snack for the big man, and I just know that Squid is going to love preparing that this year.


Also this year, we are doing a ‘Book Advent’ for Squid – a book per day during Advent – I can’t wait! Stacey from onesmallhuman also has this tradition – and it’s always ‘The Night Before Christmas’ that’s saved for Christmas Eve!

The thing I am most excited for this year is seeing the Christmas panto on Christmas Eve! It’s Snow White, and I am sure Squid is going to love it (Oh no he won’t!). Beth from twinderelmo and Danni from momof3boys reckon this is a top priority family tradition too!


I asked some fellow bloggers what their Christmas traditions are, and there’s definitely a few here I will be stealing!

Cat from rockandrollpussycat and Christy from welshmum say that Christmas Eve means new pyjamas for the whole family – and it’s even better if they’re matching, like this set here!


For the families who don’t have a chimney, Sophie from sophobsessed says she always leaves a magical key out for Father Christmas – and what a great idea! I can imagine this would have been something that I would have felt really worried about as a child, had we not have had a chimney!

Tom from theunlikelydad says that Christmas starts around December 1st, when he and his family head to a local farm to choose their Christmas tree! I absolutely love a real tree, and I think this is a great tradition! It seems that December 1st is a popular day for choosing and decorating the tree – Nicole from thelittlestdarlings says that this is the perfect time to eat Christmassy food, listen to cheesy songs and decorate the tree – all topped off with a Christmas movie and a hot chocolate!


Kerry and her family from kerryshawmummyoffour sprinkles ‘reindeer dust’ on their driveway every Christmas Eve, so the man in red and his trusty sidekicks know where to stop! I love this reindeer dust recipe to make at home!

Samantha from bigsteviecool and her hubby make sure they crack open a bottle of Moet when the kids are in bed on Christmas Eve – in our house, after the frivolity on Christmas Eve, we can often be found wrapping last minute gifts, so I much prefer the idea of Moet!


I absolutely loved Hollie from thriftymum‘s suggestion of having a huge pre-Christmas clear out – and then taking all your unwanted things to a local homeless shelter. What better way to spread the Christmas love and give a new life to unwanted belongings.


Ahh, Christmas is just my favourite time of the year. This year, we are taking Squid to see Father Christmas at Bluewater on the 23rd of December and I can’t wait!

I’ll leave you with this video from last Christmas which my brother filmed – so lovely!

What traditions do you have in your family?

See you tomorrow,

Love, Squidmamma x

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Wet Weather Autumn Activities with a Two-Year-Old: #blogtober day 23


Day 23 of #blogtober is ‘weather’ and with the miserable weather that the UK is currently experiencing, I thought I’d share some photos from our rainy day! It’s been cold, windy and drizzly – a typical autumnal day in England really. But if we let every wet and dreary day put us off venturing outside, then we’d never leave the house! And after all, we’re not made of sugar, so a bit of rain won’t hurt. 

I’ve been looking forward to this half term week since I went back to work after the summer holidays, so today we donned our wellies and rain macs and went exploring! This is absolutely our favourite wet-weather activity – it’s free which is a huge bonus, plus it gets you out in the elements and enjoying all weathers!

Firstly we splashed in puddles: no matter your age, who doesn’t love splashing in puddles?! We had a little rubber ducky with us so he joined in with the puddle splashing! 


Next onto leaf-kicking –  a great way to burn off some energy if your toddler has l been stuck in doors (and it may just guarantee you a rest if said toddler naps afterwards!) 


We saw beautiful patterns today – raindrops on leaves and an intricate spider’s web. I love seeing the world through Squid’s eyes – everything is amazing! It really helps me to stop and take it all in when he is so awe struck!


We collected lots of different leaves and twigs – Squid was incredibly selective about the leaves which met with his approval! 


Squid was most unhappy to pose for photos, but here are a few!


Obligatory mummy milk – so mummy got the wet bum sitting on the bench and Squid was nice and warm! 


Back at home, after a hot chocolate to warm up, we created what can only be described as works of art! Leaves and flowers make excellent paint brushes and stampers, and we painted lots of pretty autumn patterns, then glued some of the leaves onto the picture too. I had some orange cellophane which made a great noise and looked pretty as well! 


And then we did some leaf embossing by putting a leaf under paper and using a crayon to mark the top of it! 


We still have half a bag of leaves left – so suggestions on a post card for what to do with them would be appreciated!

What’s your favourite rainy day activity? We have the rest of the (presumably rainy) week to fill, so hit me up with ideas! 

See you tomorrow – only 8 days left of blogtober to go!

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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It takes a village – raising kids, #blogtober day 22

Today’s #blogtober prompt is actually ‘Villains and Superheroes’ but that didn’t spark my thinking so I chose another ‘V’ prompt – ‘Village’ – which is the exact sum of people that I believe it takes to raise a child. 


I am not afraid to admit that this whole parenting malarkey is really hard. I don’t have a bloody clue what I’m doing 80% of the time, and I absolutely would not be able to cope without the support of our baby-raising village. There are a number of people who make this village for us – people who give time, effort, energy, love, sanity, wine, advice, condolences and patience to us and help us through the minefield that is raising a family. 

So this post is a shout out: to the people who I would be utterly lost in this maze without. 


1. Mum and dad. 

They are always there for us – through the good and the bad. My dad often takes Squid out when he won’t sleep, or if we’ve had a particauly bad night. My mum has Squid every Friday – unpaid – for 12 straight hours. We often get home from Work to find our house hoovered, or a meal cooked for us. Squid adores his grandparents – they are the centre of our village. 

Squid made sloe gin with Grandma and Daddad… as all 2 year olds do!!


2. My brother. 

Squid’s uncle is known as ‘Oojay’ in our family (‘Uncle James: U.J… Oojay just kind of stuck) and he is the person I turn to when I need to rant about the perils of raising a human. He’s the one who buys us unnecessary gifts, brings round wine and ensures that’s Squid is suitably down with the latest Disney merchandise. 

3. My mum friends. 

My god, I do not know where I would be without my mummy friends who really ‘get it’ – because they’re living it too. If Squid isn’t sleeping, they’re my first port of call – because sometimes knowing I’m not alone in raising a sleep thief really helps. Whenever Squid enters a new, more challenging phase, my mum friends are often there too, with their own toddlers and so we try and claw each other through the tough times, but equally rejoice when our small ones do something groundbreaking, like all their wees on the potty! 

4. My birth group. 

When I was pregnant, I found an online forum of 100+ women from around the UK who were all due in September 2015, the same as me. Over time, this group transferred to Facebook, and though we have lost a few member along the way, there are now over 60 of us who speak on a daily basis – sharing in the highs and lows of parenting. These women know things about me that no one else does, and we have been chatting for nearly 3 years now. I have even met up with several of them in real life! I am really lucky to have these women be part of our ‘village’ – a group I rely on regularly for sanity and laughs. 


5. My best pal. 

She is always just a text and a bottle of wine away, and is absolutely amazing with our small person. I am so grateful to have this lady in my life and Squid absolutely adores her. She’s kept me sane in the hardest of times and when I’m at the brink of sleep deprivation she will take Squid off to play so I can have a cup of tea. I hope I can repay the favour. 

Who is in your ‘baby raising village’? 

See you tomorrow, 

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Self care – making time for yourself in the midst of motherhood

Day 18 of #blogtober is ‘relaxation’ – something I don’t do a huge amount of, but something that is so vital to your well being!

The past 7 weeks I’ve been working full time, whilst juggling home life and parenthood. It’s been really really hard work, and 2 days away from half term, I’m feeling incredibly burnt out. There’s been a lot of burning the candle at both ends going on, and so this post is really a memo to myself: you can’t pour from an empty cup. 

Me time used to be a shopping trip with friends, or coffee and lunch in a pub. Sometimes I painted my nails, or fake tanned my legs… Since becoming a mum, relaxation and me time sometimes reaches the dizzying heights of treating myself to a 49 second poo in peace. 

So how do you make time to relax amidst the busy goings on of life?

Nowadays, for me, it’s with a cup of tea (preferably piping hot, no sugar, a dash of red milk; leave the tea bag in, thanks). Sometimes I don’t even have time for a cuppa full stop, but when I do have time to sit and enjoy one, it can really keep me going!


I rarely get a bath in peace, so I can’t say that’s necessarily a go-to for relaxation, but occasionally I get treated to a child free bath, and I absolutely love Lush bath bombs when I do! A friend recently gave me this one – I can’t remember what it was called, something with honeycomb, but ahhh it was bliss!


Sometimes me time is pub night with my girl friends. A rare treat, but all conversations over a bottle of prosecco seem to soothe the soul! 


Sometimes relaxation is reading a blog post from another inspiring Mama, or catching up on the goings on on social media. 

Occasionally, I get to read a book – something I absolutely love to do but don’t often have time for. I have quite a collection of books on audio so I can be read to – Harry Potter is my favourite!


Lastly, sometimes relaxation is curling up on the sofa with my hubby and chatting about our days. This seems to happen less and less nowadays – we’re both often still working until 10pm, but I love it when we do get a chance to chat about nonsense! 

How do you make time for yourself? 

See you tomorrow,

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Four parenting mantras I live by #blogtober day seventeen

Squid on Saturday just gone… at a restaurant for a family birthday, I am not sure my blood pressure has ever been so high! On top form, Squid took great pleasure in crawling on the floor, eating dried bits of rice, screaming if anyone but me touched him and generally causing havoc!

#blogtober day 17’s prompt is ‘quotes’ – and there are many quotes that I parent by, so I thought I’d share the 4 that have often kept me going when the going gets tough(er than usual). Parenting is hard work. There’s no two ways about it, but keeping these phrases in mind can really help!

1. This too shall pass. 

Everything is a phase, and usually, at the point you think you’re really going to lose your shit, they cut the tooth/learn to stand/have a language explosion and things get easier again. 

Mischief personified

2. It won’t always be like this. 

This one works 2 ways for me: it won’t always be this hard, and also he won’t always be this little, and I’ll miss it. This helps me to try and maintain a rational position on the situation – because I do really miss each stage as it passes! 

ONLY Owl Ice Cream can brush his teeth…

3. He’s not giving you a hard time, he’s having a hard time. 

Ahh. This one is so important. I think it every day. When Squid is having a shit-fit because I’ve cut his toast into triangles, not squares, and even worse: I’ve put the toast on the orange plate and he WANTED THE PINK ONE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, EVEN THOUGH HE ASKED FOR THE ORANGE ONE, I have to remind myself that he’s just asserting himself, he’s having a hard time making his opinion heard, he wants to be understood and validated. (Though I’m sure he also thinks I’m just plain stupid for not knowing about the plate-colour preference that day, and not guessing that when he says marmite he actually wants peanut butter…) Toddlers are a bloody mine field at times, but I remind myself that he’s learning and growing at a rate of knots and that really can’t be easy! 

A highly unimpressive Twister…

And finally…

4. There’s a cold bottle of Pinot in the fridge. 
Yes, this often keeps me going. Because who on earth can parent without wine? After 6pm, of course…

See you tomorrow,

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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