Breastfeeding Without a Cover (gasp)

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I honestly find it hard to believe that now, in 2017, breastfeeding is still taboo. Society as a whole has grown so much in so many ways, yet here we are still chucking little tanties about babies suckling from nipples in public.

As natural as it is, it still makes people uncomfortable… The same way women talking about childbirth makes people cringe. It must be something to do with the fact that they produce milk, making them large, because last time I checked males have nipples too and even the ones who aren’t dads run around with theirs hanging out.

I’m not really talking about the instances of covered feeding, because thats pretty widely accepted. Because the little muslin wrap somehow makes everyone forget that theres a nipple underneath with a baby attached. I’m talking about uncovered, in the open feeding; no fiddling to get yourself covered, no baby pulling it off half the time. Just baby and nipple, out in the sunshine.

I breastfeed. Exclusively. Not because I am against pumping or formula but because it’s just damn easier. As difficult as childbirth was made for women, the gift of being able to breastfeed truly makes up for it a little. There is no cost, no need for heating (or keeping it cool in storing), no washing up and the best part, it’s always readily available. I currently take the ‘all-guns-ablazing’ approach. If I’m going to feed in public I’m going to do it my way, comfortably without a cover. And for some reason (well beyond my knowledge) a lot of people think that this gift, of feeding my child whenever and wherever they become hungry is, wait for the grown-up word… gross.

Because nourishing a newly growing human being from the organs made to do exactly that is somehow right up there with the gross things of the world like picking your nose and godforbid eating it in public.

So gross that you’ll be judged with an updown glare from a 14 year old in a crop top smaller than your maternity bra while her mother suggests you “cover up because there are children around who don’t need to see it”. Children. Lady, you do realise children are fed this way right?

Freedom of speech is all good and well but freedom to feed comfortably also relevant. Just as relevant as every other pressing issue of the 21st century from misogyny to racism. Insecurity around feeding only leads to added stress and greater difficulty in completing the task in the first place, and insecurity comes from unnecessary glares and comments. We’ve got a right to have our boob out, just as you have a right to look away. Don’t make something natural and beautiful difficult and uncomfortable when it doesn’t need to be.

 

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Dear Violet: Letter 1 – The greatest 10 weeks of my life (so far)

IMG_0186The beginning of a series of letters to my daughter Violet Rae, who today turns 10 weeks old.

Dear Violet,

Today you are 10 weeks old. I’m sitting here staring at that sentence and finding myself unable to truly believe it. Ten weeks ago today you entered the world, beautifully and loudly. I remember the instant you took your first breath and filled my ears with your cry, and your lungs with air for the very first time.

Already, in ten weeks you have taught me so much. To trust my instincts; motherhood comes naturally. To be patient; everything will happen when it is meant to, even your naps (no matter how badly I wish you’d close your eyes so I can sleep for 5 more minutes). To enjoy the early hours of the morning; There’s no point in wishing to be back in bed when your smile lights up the world, even while the sun still sleeps at 4am. To treasure every moment; you grow at the speed of light and I’ll be darned if I miss a single second of it. And that there is always more room for love; Before you I didn’t think it was possible to love anyone as much as I love your daddy, now as my love grows for you both every single day I truly see just how infinite and unconditional it can be.

You’re smiling more than ever now and showing us the things you love (and love to dislike). Booping your nose and talking to you, tickling you and bouncing you makes you so happy, as well as bath time just before bed and your play mat in the early hours of the morning when sleep seems to be the furthest thing from your mind. Nappy changes and sitting in traffic seem to be your least favorite things in the world, as well as that nasty runny nose you had two weeks ago that kept you up all night for so many nights in a row.You keep us on our toes thats for sure. You seem to know the exact instant that I sit down to eat dinner, because the second I do you decide that lying on your play mat or in your rocker is not at all where you want to be and you’ll just die unless I pick you up for cuddles again.

I’ve got to tell you a secret though Vi, even though you’ve only been around ten weeks I’m pretty sure your daddy has fallen head over heels for you. You should see how much he does for you, how hard he works. Up working late, and still waking up for cuddles with you in the early hours of the morning, even if it is only briefly. You’re his world and your smile makes his whole day, every day. So never stop giving him those, okay?

For ten weeks you’ve been the centre of my entire world, my every waking moment and every dream. But really you’ve been that for so much longer, and will be for the rest of my life. I can’t wait for every single moment.

 

All of the love in my heart is for you my darling, I love you now and always will.

Love, Mummy xx

Newborn Madness: 10 things I wish someone had told me about parenthood

If you’re a parent, by the time your baby turned ten weeks old you most likely, at some point, sat and thought to yourself “well why the heck didn’t anyone say anything about this BEFORE the baby got here?!” at least once, right? And you come to realise at some point, that no matter how prepared you thought you were, no matter how many books you read, how many classes you attended, nothing really prepared you for the mammoth task that was and is parenthood.

 

So, for all you newbies out there; here’s my top 10 things I didn’t know before I became a mum, that in a few months time you’ll be thankful you now know . And for everyone else, here’s a bit of a giggle, because honestly, I really should have guessed.

 

  1. It’s okay to get poop on things

No matter how great you think you’ll be, there will be at least one sh*tty nappy change (pun intended). Whether it’s that first tarry black post apocalyptic looking poop, or the runny after-immunisations sludgy yellow slop. It’ll happen. It’ll get on your carpet, it’ll get in your hair, it’ll get on bubs face too! And it’s TOTALLY OKAY. Because unlike those embarrassing posts you made on facebook when you were 13 that are now stuck on the internet forever to haunt your present self, it’ll come off with the quick swipe of a nappy wipe.

 

2. Getting poop on yourself without realising until you’re in public is also okay

It’s honestly inevitable. If the poop can get on the carpet and the walls then yep, it’ll get on you too. And at least once you won’t see it until it’s too late, and everyone in k-mart will know you spend your hours wiping someone else’s bum. And it’s fine because you don’t know those people and they don’t know you. And if you do know them then just pretend its mustard, trust me, same colour, they won’t even know. And if they do know they won’t say anything because they feel sorry for you, you’re a sleep deprived mess.

 

3. You will forget your new child’s name

Let’s be real, unless you’ve been set on one name your entire pregnancy, you probably spent many hours deciding which name would be best for your unborn little cutie. You’ll see and contemplate a LOT of names. And in the midst of being sleep deprived and a little all over the place you may have to think once or twice in those early hours of the morning if Violet really was the name you picked or if you dreamed it up and literally have forgotten their real name entirely. Trust me, it’ll only be momentary but it’ll happen. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just don’t do it when you’re registering them for their birth certificate yeah?

 

4. Keeping track of nighttime feeds is never a good idea

Remember the days when child-less you would wake up before your alarm, look at the clock at 2am and smile because you still had another 4-5 hours left to stay in your pillow kingdom of warmth. Well looking at the clock at 2am when you’re feeding, changing nappies and sometimes also sheets (because accidents happen) will not make you relieved nor anywhere near somewhat happy. You’ll be sad. Tired and sad because god only knows when this child will let you rest again, and for how long. Don’t look at the clock, stay blissfully unaware. In fact, pretend it’s 5pm, put a movie on, have a cup of tea. Time is utterly irrelevant. Trust me, you’ll be happier for it.

 

5. Babies smell fear

You finally put bub down for a sleep after a few solid minutes (maybe even hours) of screaming. You’re relieved, but also scared they’ll wake up again as soon as you walk away. THEY WILL. THEY KNOW. THE MINUTE YOU THINK IT THEY WILL WAKE UP. confidence is seriously everything. Believe in your bub, she’ll stay asleep, she’s awesome at this, just look at her. Same goes for non parents who are scared to hold baby because he’ll cry. He knows, even you just thinking it gives him the advantage. fake it till you make it I say, even false confidence is better than none at all.

 

6. Breastfeeding is just as full time as pregnancy when it comes to what you can eat

Oblivious little me “I can’t wait to have this baby so I can have a glass of wine/soft cheese/salami”. REMEMBER, if bub will be affected by it, and they’re drinking the milk that you make. You can’t have it. It’s obvious, but I really wish someone had reminded me of this before I got all excited about the fact that the end of pregnancy was near and that my freedom of eating and drinking whatever I wanted was near. It wasn’t and still isn’t. I’m not complaining, breastfeeding is incredible. Wine though…

 

7. People aren’t joking about parenthood being isolating

Seriously. You’ll think we’re over exaggerating about the isolation of parenthood, but it’s real. And it’s there. And it’s probably one of the biggest contributing factors to the baby blues other than the feeling of being overwhelmed by the sudden and new duty of caring for a tiny human being. But it’s totally normal to feel that way, for younger parents and older ones. You’re transitioning into a new lifestyle, especially with your first child. Your friends want to give you space to settle, you may not know many other people with babies, or you may know hundreds. But those first few weeks can feel lonely and asking for help, or even just some company is 100% okay, and in no way a sign of weakness.

 

8. Realising that no parent is an expert, and every baby is different is a must

This includes realising that not all advice is good advice, and not all good advice is advice you have to take. Every baby adjusts to the world differently, reaches milestones at different times, and reacts to different parenting methods totally differently. If Belinda Opinionista from down the road says you have to rock your baby to sleep every sleep time until 4 months because she did and now her kids sleep perfectly, but that doesn’t suit you or your baby, don’t do it. Just because it worked for someone else, or studies say it should work doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. And you should NEVER feel guilty for not doing something if it doesn’t work for you and your baby.

 

9. It’s okay to walk away for 5 minutes

When the screaming has been non stop and you can’t seem to solve or soothe them it is 100% okay to put baby in a safe place, like their cot, close the door and walk somewhere where you can’t hear them for five minutes. In fact, I honestly think you’ll go mad if you don’t. I thought you couldn’t, I would rock her and bounce her and hold her while my ears would ring from the endless screaming until I felt like I could break down crying because I didn’t know what I could do to help her. I eventually worked out that walking away, just for those five minutes and recollecting myself was the very best thing I could do for her. You come back with a fresh head and a calm demeanour that your baby will be able to pick up on and in turn will help calm them down.

10. Getting to know your baby takes time

The biggest thing of all. You’re new to being a parent. Your baby is new to being a baby. Everything is a little all over the place for the first few weeks. In the beginning it’s all extremely instinctive, feed, sleep, feed, sleep. You might feel a little overwhelmed, maybe even a little used considering you pour all your hours into feeding and tending to this little humans every need to get nothing much back for a while. But when those smiles start coming, and the personality starts to show that’s when it will all feel worth it. as time goes on you never think you can love your baby more than you do right at that very moment. But every single day that child will prove you wrong by filling your heart with even more love than you ever thought possible.

 

Violet 4 WM

 

Above all else, take a deep breath and remember that this gorgeous little human is entirely your own, and you get to love them for the rest of your life and beyond.

 

 

 

Violet Rae Cook: 2 Month Update

I’m pretty certain that the moment your newborn baby looks you dead in the eye and smiles has to be the most beautiful, exciting, eye watering moment of your life. And right now we’re getting more smiles than ever.
Week 7 was a bit of a rough week for little Vi, the side effects of her immunisations kicked in and for 4 or 5 days of the week she was unsettled, grumpy, croaky and tired. She simply wasn’t herself. On Tuesday night we rang 13 health just to check her symptoms and to see if we should take more serious action. Her symptoms weren’t bad but after hearing her somewhat weak and coughy cry through the phone the registered nurse recommended taking her to the Emergency Department. Just to be sure. You never know with little babies as things can get serious very quickly.
It was super busy in the ED when we got there, literally patients from the ambulance waiting in a line on their beds which was pretty crazy to see… who would have thought on a Tuesday night at 8pm right? So we waited at the counter for about 10 minutes, which seemed like a lifetime when you’ve got a sick baby in your arms wailing and the thought in the back of your mind that something could be seriously wrong. Once we were seen though and asked for Violets age we were taken straight through to see a doctor and 3 nurses. A doctor and THREE nurses. At this point I was freaking out a little bit, we were in a Resuss room with lots of big scary looking machines in it. They’d put a few different monitors on her and took her blood pressure which made her scream even more.
Then I tried feeding her, which as always, always calmed her. And it didn’t. She wouldn’t latch and wouldn’t stop screaming. The nurses looked concerned, and I figured she was uncomfortable having her blood pressure taken (and making her arm purple) so I asked them to take it off. After which she latched and started feeding. They let us sit there until she had fed and then moved us into another room to keep an eye on her. They initially thought it may have been whooping cough (holy shit right?) but they tested for it and it wasn’t that. Then they thought she might have something stuck in her throat or chest so we had an X-ray, and nothing showed up on that. By this time it was around 10pm and Vi was sound asleep on my chest. They’d ruled out all the bad possibilities and pinned it down to being a little unwell from her vaccinations, which would eventually pass without seriously harming her. Now we just had to wait for the Pead to come and give her a final once over before we could go home… 3 hours later after an emergency with a newborn up in the maternity ward we were finally seen and sent home at 1:30am.

 

Even though there was lots of waiting and nothing really wrong I’m still glad we took her. As you Just never really know with babies under a certain age, and their condition can deteriorate super quickly. So I’m incredibly thankful with how prompt the hospital was with getting her seen and ensuring her safety, despite a room full, and hallway full of people waiting to be seen.
The rest of the week we had more sleepless night, and a snotty nose developed. I kissed goodbye any thought of decent sleep for myself for the week and focused purely on making little Vi feel safe and loved while she was experiencing illness for the first time. And I’m sure people are wondering, do you feel bad for vaccinating if it’s made her sick? Absolutely not, because if a little illness means she won’t end up with a life threatening sickness then I’d do it 1000 times over to make sure Vi is protected and healthy.
Now she’s getting better we’re seeing more smiles than ever. Her Nanny Bec and uncles have come down to visit and are giving lots and lots of snuggles to help her get over her little cold. More and more personality is shining through as she is seeing and experiencing more and more of the world every day. She’s loving morning play time on her play mat. Is enjoying her bath time more than ever. And is genuinely a super super happy, loveable little girl.
I still can’t believe it’s been two months already! Some of the toughest, yet most rewarding months of my life. Happy Two Months Little Vi!!