2011: The Year of Baby Making

There is no way of putting it that isn’t an enormous cliche. 2011 genuinely has been quite a year. If you’d told me this time a year ago that I’d be sitting here now with my newborn son – that I’d be a mother – I’d have hoped with all my heart that you were right, but wouldn’t have dared to believe you.

This has been a year consumed with the process of becoming parents. From receiving an HbA1c result of 5.9 in the first few days of the year that signalled the best possible start for a child we were yet to conceive, through the process actually trying to conceive that child – and then succeeding. As the year progressed my belly grew with the life inside it, as I juggled the fears and anxieties shared by many new parents-to-be, as well as those unique to a mother with diabetes thrown in to the mix. And then, seven weeks ago Thomas burst on to the scene, changing everything in an instant.

There is nothing I can write that doesn’t sound cheesy. It is cheesy. But waiting for midnight to roll around with my husband and baby, at home, on the sofa with just a single glass of bubbly (owing to the fact that I’m breast feeding) beats hands down any New Year’s Eve night out. Now I’m doing this, I think it is what I was made for.

Next year will be full of more exciting firsts as we watch Thomas grow and develop, and we grown and develop as parents, and as a family. I can’t wait.

Happy New Year!


The day after I wrote my last breastfeeding post, Thomas and I had our six week post-natal check. Everything was fine. My wound has healed really well, and I’m about average on the new parent stress scale. Thomas is gaining weight fine and passed all his checks with flying colours. Our GP even commented on how strong he is, and as if to confirm it, Thomas lifted his head and turned to look!

What did come out of the appointment though was a diagnosis of breast thrush. My GP seemed pretty certain that this was the culprit for the escalating post feeding breast pain I was struggling with. Since Christmas was approaching me, he wanted to give us both a prescription, even if I then decided I wanted to hold off treatment, at least we would have the option. Having researched it as thoroughly as time allows, there are no real adverse risks associated with the treatment, so we opted to give it a go. I needed to wait until the following day for enough fluconazole to come in to stock at our local pharmacy, but I’ve now completed a week’s worth of treatment. In addition to thrice daily fluconazole, I’ve been applying Daktarin cream to my nipples, and Daktarin oral gel in Thomas’s mouth.

They say the proof is in the pudding. I’m now convinced that thrush was the issue, because without changing anything else our breast feeding relationship has suddenly transformed. No more pain during, or especially after, feeding I no longer feel the need to sit around naked as often as possible, or squeeze my breasts to the point of deformity to ease the discomfort.

And it’s magic.

Finally, finally, I feel like we’ve got this whole feeding thing down. Finally, I’m starting to actually enjoy it.

First Christmas

It’s hard to say whether Thomas enjoyed his first Christmas. He was six and a half weeks old. He has no concept of Christmas, or presents, and breastmilk is the only food or drink that he wants or needs. He won’t remember this Christmas, or be any the wiser when it comes around again next year. But we enjoyed his first Christmas. Our first family Christmas, where family means something a bit more.

Thomas wore his little elf outfit

He was spoiled with lots of lovely gifts including new clothes, books, toys to grow in to and a very special teddy bear. Mummy and Daddy had to do most of the unwrapping, but we didn’t leave him out.

We were spoiled with smiles of wonderment at the Christmas lights, chatter and laughter

But it’s a good job that we bought a turkey to roast. He doesn’t have that much meat on him yet, and he wasn’t a great fit for the roasting tim

Maybe next year….

The Mothering Instinct

This afternoon, Ian popped out to the shops to pick up some last minute bits for Christmas. From almost the moment that he left, Thomas screamed his lungs out. Nothing would console him. Not the boob. Not being held upright. Not being rocked, or sung to, nor gently jiggled. He didn’t want to be put down, and being held wasn’t enough.

When Ian arrived home, he found Thomas naked, apart from a nappy, and me naked from the waist up. The house was warm, but we were wrapped in a blanket, skin-to-skin, dancing in slow circles in the middle of the living room floor.

Both of our faces were stained with tears, but as our chests rose and fell in unison, Thomas let out contented little snores.

And I learned that I do have the mothering instinct after all.


When I hear my husband upstairs with Thomas, doing a nappy change but simultaneously acting voices out for the stuffed cuddly dinosaurs who live beside the changing mat, and when that immediately silences Thomas’s crying, I feel like my heart will burst. When they come downstairs and I see Thomas’s tiny head balanced on Ian’s shoulder, his little face peering over with big eyes taking it all in, my heart just about cracks open and spills all over the floor.

I love them both so much. More than I can find the words to say.


Breast Feeding, Six Weeks In

This breast feeding thing often seems to be getting harder, not easier. I’m still waiting for the moment when it all falls in to place and all the promised, and obvious benefits, start to outweigh the negatives. I’m waiting for the day when it becomes the “easy”, “natural” and “painless” process that so many sources seem to promise.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had some days where it does begin to feel a bit like that. I am certainly feeling the benefit of having milk always readily available exactly when you need it. No messing around with bottles. No sterilising to worry about. No issues with making up feeds in advance, or ensuring the availability of facilities to do so when out and about. I’m certainly not short of confidence to feed anywhere and everywhere. And it’s free. Well, at least financially it’s free. But it is coming at a cost to my sanity at times.

When I last wrote about feeding I was planning a trip to the local breast feeding drop-in session. This was only my second solo trip out of the house with Thomas, when Ian had returned to work. (And was Thomas’s first bus ride!) The advice and support were brilliant, and really, really helpful in both a practical sense, and in making me feel more emotionally supported. My only regret was that I didn’t go a week sooner, and I can’t help but feel I’d have benefited much more from the help of breast feeding supporters in hospital than midwives for whom breast feeding advice is only a tiny part of their role. What I learned during that session was that I have somewhat the opposite problem to the one which I had most feared before giving birth: Instead of having too little milk, I have an over abundant supply. It’s something I’m still working on managing. But the most important thing that came from my first visit to this group was that I stopped beating myself up so much about it all. The guilt really diminished. I recognise that I am successfully nourishing my child, no matter how hard I am finding it. He is gaining weight and providing me with plenty of wet and dirty nappies.

It’s the anxiety I can’t shake though. At least once a day I still get the overwhelming sense of responsibility come over me. Feeling that am the only person who can provide this for my son, and that I have to find a way to keep going during that feed, because I can’t pass him to someone else in that moment. It’s hard work, making parts of my body available at a moment’s notice, any time of the day or night, and knowing they are the only things that will quieten a particular anguished cry. I’ve declared on more than one occasion already that I’m never going to do this again, never going to create a situation where a child is so totally dependent on just me.

The discomfort issues with feeding had begun to get better too. My nipples have definitely got more used to this, and I think the latch has probably improved following the intervention of breast feeding counsellors. We’ve had no bleeding issues for a couple of weeks. Latching on can still be painful, but generally for the duration of a feed, it no longer feels too bad. The issue that I‘m having lately is pain after feeding. It’s pain that gets worse throughout the day, so by the evening I can’t wait to get my clothes off and sit with no top on to relieve some of the discomfort. The only other thing that helps is putting lots of pressure on my breasts after each feed, but I can’t very well walk along the street with my hands pressed inside my own bra. At times my nipples and my whole breast feel as though they are burning, as if someone is pouring hot water in through my nipples.

I’ve restored to painkillers almost every evening this week. Those and tears. I’ve been back to the breast feeding group and we’ve talked about possible causes. I’ve wondered about thrush in the ducts and nipples, but I’m mindful of the fact that it’s often over-diagnosed. And as the breast feeding counsellor I spoke with this week pointed out, it often takes more than six weeks for thrush to really establish inside the breast, so it would be rare to start having symptoms at four or five weeks of age. Thomas also has no signs of thrush in his mouth, and I don’t have thrush anywhere else. It’s possible that this is just another side effect of over supply and a fast let-down. But if that is so, I can’t find a solution. And some nights, sitting in the dark with my son, I don’t see how I can keep going.

It’s a physical battle and an emotional one. The longer I struggle physically, the harder the emotional struggle becomes. I really hope we crack it soon, because I still don’t want to give up.

Itti Bitti Leaks

So our adventures in cloth nappies continue. Just about. Because sometimes it is hard not to get disheartened.

To begin with I loved Itti Bittis. To be honest, I was always biased towards them. Partly because my sister-in-law used them but also partly (probably a bigger part if I’m truthful) because they’re so soft and fluffy. They feel and look lovely in their rainbow colours and array of limited edition prints. And as a bonus, the Itti Bitti D’Lish in small size fitted beautifully and worked really well. As in, they contained the wee and poo and they wash and dry well.

But lately, we’re getting leaks. I know that cloth nappies can sometimes need to be changed more frequently than their disposable counterparts, but even so I’m often finding that I’m feeling a little damp patch on Thomas’s tummy less than 2 hours after we’ve changed him. (And yes, we’re making sure he’s pointing downwards before we fasten the nappies, and that they’re not over compressed or with the inserts sticking out.) The poo, fortunately remains contained. But the wetness is a problem. Aside from creating an even bigger mountain of washing with so many full outfit changes, it’s hardly fair on Thomas to keep getting wet.

I’m not sure where it’s suddenly gone wrong. Other than the fact that Thomas has grown, so maybe that has compromised the fit, although it’s not obvious, or maybe he is weeing more. Maybe I’m partly to blame for not always checking and changing as often as I should. That in itself is because I still don’t really have enough nappies. With the frequency of changes and the amount our boy can wee and poo, we can easily go through more than 10 nappies a day (not including overnight, where we’re sticking with disposables for now). Allowing enough time for drying, that means I need to do a nappy wash most days to keep on top of things. If I haven’t had time, I’m probably subconsciously trying to eke out my supply of nappies by resisting changing… until they leak. Some days I give in and use disposables for all or most of the day, but I feel a nagging sense of regret every time I do this, hearing the voices of all the people who told me I’d never stick at cloth nappies echoing in my head.

And for similar reasons, I’m trying to hide the fact that I’m having this problem with leaks, especially from my husband. Ian isn’t keen on the Itti Bitti’s, as he’s noticed a few leaks too, and finds them complicated to snap together. I don’t want to admit to him that I don’t think they’re working either. I find myself not allowing Ian to do nappy changes when Thomas has an Itti on, just in case it’s leaked and reinforces his slight tendency to just go with disposables.

I think it may be time to move away from the Ittis, at least for some of the time. I need more nappies anyway. And I’ve realised that appearance doesn’t matter. Especially when you have a little boy who will almost always be dressed in some form of all-in-one sleepsuit, trousers or dungarees, thus covering the pretty nappy.

I love the Tots Bots Teeny fit that I bought to try, but I know he won’t fit in to Teeny Fits for too much longer. I’ve tried a regular Tots Bots Easy Fit which I borrowed from a friend, and it seemed ok, but I had some nagging doubts about the fit with it snapped to its smallest setting. I tried out my Bum Genius V4 for the first time today, as last time I tried to put it on it was way too big, even on its tiniest setting. But now it fits, and I definitely liked it. He’s got a Pop In on now. It’s a bit like a cross between a the Ittis and the Bum Genius. Fits more like a Bum Genius, but with inserts that snap in rather than being a pocket.

I bought lots of different nappies to try initially because I knew that not all nappies would necessarily work, but I always assumed that a clear favourite would emerge and I’d end up buying a complete set of that type. I never understood really why people had so many different types of nappy rather than just sticking with one, but now I think it may be the way forward. We’ll keep experimenting, because I’m determined to make this work.