{The Nest Writes} Breastfeeding is the lazy option..

Breastfeeding is the lazy option.

Hang on, before you lynch me and throw your mean words my way just hear me out.

When breastfeeding works it is the easiest, simplest thing in the world. Let me lay it down for you. Feeding your babe at 3.27am consists of rolling to the right, unhooking your bra strap and whacking out your bosom into your bambino’s eager lips. You lay there in the warm embrace of your flannelette sheets, drifting between delicious moments of sleep and awake. In this loving haze you manage to nourish your little one in the most natural of ways.

That’s when it works.

I recently ran into an old friend (read: I use the term ‘friend’ loosely after this most recent encounter) who also has a daughter about the same age as my toddler-bird. We smiled nicely at each other and exchanged random pleasantries about the bouncing new bundles we each held in our arms. She then mentioned a conversation that she had had with a mutual friend of ours regarding an article that I had written on the blog about the troubles I had breastfeeding my first child. It was an article I had written about being confronted by a stranger for bottle feeding my child in public. You can read it here -> ‘Bad Cow’

We stood there admiring each other’s new babes jovially laughing about the lack of sleep, the poo charts and how quickly they grow. Then she said: “So, have you managed to sort yourself out this time with the breastfeeding or did you just give up and resort to the bottle again?

EXCUSE ME?

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

A blaze of fury engulfed me.

Had I sorted myself out? Like I hadn’t tried hard enough? I just thought I would give up and use the bottle because, you know, that’s easier.

Should I just get a shirt that says I am a breastfeeding failure?

The reality of feeding your new baby for many people isn’t quite as simple as ‘sorting yourself out’.

When breastfeeding doesn’t work, feeding your baby can become an arduous and labouring endeavour every single day.

For me it doesn’t work.

I tried. Fuck I tried.

The first 12 weeks of my darling girl’s life revolved around hospital trips and lactation specialists. This wonderful exclusive breastfeeding that everyone pushed me to do led to my daughter losing 12% of her body weight within a couple of days. The paediatrician told us we would have to comp-feed her otherwise he would admit her to hospital.

I met with lactation specialists. Three of them. Each of them confirmed that she attached well I just simply didn’t have enough milk. One even suggested that had I had an average sized baby that I probably would have been able to feed her, but since she was nearly 5 kilos born that she needed more milk than I could provide. I didn’t have enough milk for my own child.

Basically I was a failure. I wasn’t able to exclusively breastfeed my little person.

I took medication that gave me headaches, but they said it might just increase lactation.

I developed a great relationship with the health food store who helped provide me with natural supplements.

I baked cookies with brewer’s yeast. I made lactation protein balls.

I set my alarm so that I could pump while my new babe slept. I spent more time in those first few weeks pumping than cuddling.

I spent a magnitude of money on the best breast pump. I tried nipple shields because someone suggested it may help. I even resorted to a supplemented feeding tube.

Don’t you tell me I didn’t try.

When breastfeeding works it is great. There is no steralisation of bottles, no jumbled trips to the only supermarket in town that sells your baby’s formula, no remembering not to boil the jug if your baby will need a feed in the next hour. Instead, you untie your breast and your little one has instant room service.

That is when it works.

Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

Some women exclusively breastfeed. Some women formula feed. Some women mix both.

If you can exclusively breastfeed good on you. You’re a star.

If you formula feed good on you. You’re a star.

I continued to comp-feed my daughter and still do. We still enjoy the time of a morning breastfeed before she is compensated with formula throughout the day.

Each time I pour sterilised water into her bottle I flinch at the comments and judgments of those who tell me I haven’t tried hard enough.

You do not know what other mothers are going through. Every single one of us is doing our damn best. How about instead of tearing each other down we put out messages of support.

It doesn’t matter how you feed your baby just nourish them, whether it comes from a breast or a bottle.

To all the mamas, I gotcha back. I know you are doing your best x

coco3

This is my Coco and she seems to be alright…

Happy health Nesters x

 

 

 

{The Nest Cooks} Feeding the starving little birdies

Starving. Wasting away. Haven’t eaten in like one hour!

choc dipped banana

When the little birdies come home from school they are often ‘famished’ (or so they say!) and finding ways to fill their tummies can be really painful!

You want something healthy. Filling. Delicious.

caprese

The team at Mums Grapevine have put together a list of 10 Healthy After School Snacks to give you some inspiration. avocado

Happy eating Nesters x

{Raising Little People} Green Fries for your little birdies

Getting the little birdies to eat green beans is not the easiest thing. Especially if you make an epic fail and let it slip that they are good for them..

greenbeans

So, instead of just cooking them the old-fashioned-steaming-way, why not try something just a little bit different?

The fantastic team at Super Healthy Kids have added a little spin on the boring old beans. You can’t tell me that “Green Fries’ doesn’t sound just a little more appetising?

Head here to find the recipe -> Green Fries

green beans 2

Do you have a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more veggies?

Happy eating Nesters!

Bad cow

cow copy

Something horrible happened to me the other day. Not horrible like need to contact my next of kin but horrible all the same.

I have always prided myself on being a good parent. Not a perfect parent, but a good, will try my hardest, whatever gets you through the days, kind of parent. My eldest daughter often says please and thank you and only rarely throws food at people. She is fairly well adjusted (so I say anyway) and is so healthy that she thinks a doctor is just another character in her storybook, next to the butcher and baker.

I had trouble breastfeeding her. I tried my hardest. I did all the tricks. I tried herbal remedies. I tried prescription drugs. It just didn’t work. Upon medical advice she was compensated with formula from day two and after just six weeks she became a sole formula fed baby. I had no choice. I was, despite by best efforts, a ‘bad cow’.

During my pregnancy with my second daughter, I studied and prepared for breastfeeding. I did everything in my power to let go of the personal failings that I felt associated with breastfeeding. I tried to wipe the slate clean. This time would be different.

At the beginning of December 2012 we welcomed our new little lady into the world. She was 9 pound 6 ounces and two weeks overdue. She was robust and strong from day one. Again, I struggled to produce milk. I managed to feed her for three days before she lost too much weight and once again the formula compensation began.

I was put on a medication to encourage my body to create milk. This medicine gave me headaches and nausea but I continued taking it. I wanted to breastfeed this time. I wanted to prove to everyone (especially myself) that I could do it.

So for four long months I persevered. I remained on the medication. I expressed every three hours. I was awake when my baby slept expressing more milk to encourage my supply. Feeding took an hour to complete. 20 minute breastfeed. 20 minutes bottlefeed. 20 minute express. This was repeated every three hours or so. I didn’t sleep much. But I told myself I was doing what was best for my baby.

It was during one of my first trips shopping alone with my new baby that it happened. I was half way through the groceries when my little one began to cry. She was hungry. She needed to eat. I left my half full trolley with the service counter and went to a café just across the centre. I ordered a hot chocolate and sat down.

I breastfed my daughter for approximately 20 minutes and then started preparing her bottle. As I poured the formula into the bottle I noticed a woman in a red scarf watching me. Not a particularly noticeable woman. But I did notice her. We made eye contact. I smiled and continued to prepare my daughter’s bottle.

I began feeding my daughter and disappeared into that mother-daughter nurturing space. Minutes later, not-particularly-noticeable-lady-in-red-scarf leaned over my right shoulder and muttered “You know you are poisoning your baby”. WHAT?!. “Formula kills babies. If you were a good mum you would be breastfeeding” WHAT?! What just happened?

I remember being so surprised. I remember not really understanding her words. I was so stunned. I was so angry. I was so taken aback.

Then she was gone. I didn’t have a chance to retaliate. I didn’t have a chance to tell her that I had just finished breastfeeding. Or to mention the medication that makes me sick but I still take so I can feed her. That it isn’t my fault. That I am trying my hardest.

In that one moment she crumbled my self-esteem. In that one moment this stranger stole my power. I knew I should ignore her. I knew I was doing my best. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to let it go.

Her words ate me up. It is all I could think of. I went back to shopping. I cried in the deli. I cried in the Asian food section. I cried in the frozen food section.

I went home and every time I fed my daughter I heard her whispering in my ear. I cried at home. I cried in the shower. I cried making the bed. Her words played over and over in my head.

Three months later I no longer cry. I do however scan every face I see near my local café. I do often find myself hiding under a table to prepare my baby’s formula. I do get angry when I catch myself hiding.

Then I tell myself that I might be a bad cow but I am a good mum. That is enough. It has to be enough. Now I cuddle my healthy, happy, robust eight month old and while I will never forget what she said, it will no longer rule me.

Whoever you are, remember that you never really know another person’s story. You can never really see the back story. Be supportive, not judgmental. Be helpful, not critical. Show kindness, not aggression. Above all, remember we are all doing our best.