Wednesday, 30 April 2014

an overload of induction tips

I've never written about what may or may not have triggered my labour (apart from the obvious of him being ready)..

Everyone, like literally everyone - male, female, parent or not, gives advice on inducing labour. There are more old wives tales on the topic than any other I'm sure. 

I know people mean well, but if I heard one more 'try having a curry' or 'drink raspberry leaf tea' I'd have screamed. For a start, whoever said have a curry or sex was male. Who in their right minds would want the possibility of a curry poo during labour and sex personally was the last thing on my mind. 

Anyway, so before I forget, the things that may (or more likely may not) have worked for me were:
  • going for lots of walks
  • swinging on the swings in the park
  • doing lunges around the living room
  • lots of rubbing in circular motions of the belly
  • salsa/ Zumba dance moves
So what you'll gather is basically just keep active, but perhaps try to use muscles that haven't been used for a while - the dafter you look prancing around the house the better if my experience is anything to go by.

catching a cuddle

How is it possible to spend all of my time with Hugo yet miss him?!

I guess I'm a busy body and that in turn means that we've recently not had many cuddles. Either someone else has held him when he's in a cuddlable mood, or I've been too tired to safely stay awake, had too much else to do so have put him down to sleep or have been trying to keep him awake during the day so he'll sleep better at night!  

Despite a crazily tiring day yesterday (Leeds - Notts - London - Notts) and a drive back up to Leeds on very little sleep, I'm forcing myself to stay awake to enjoy this cuddle.

I think Hugo needs a bit of chilled out mummy time after his first trip to the capital and I know his daddy will be stealing lots of cuddles this evening!

Monday, 28 April 2014

life lately - a week of lazy days and lovely lunches

Lazy days:
I came home on Monday just before Adi got home from work. He was SO happy to see Hugo and had lots and lots of cuddles!

The rest of the week was thankfully pretty chilled and the sun was shining! We pottered in the garden thinking about what we were going to do to it, went on a couple of walks around the village and focused on a routine for Hugo. I wish we had the money this year to update the garden, but we're starting to think about what we can do now in preparation for next year when we'd like to put some decking down. So far it's mainly been thinking rather than doing, so it could be a while before there is anything to update on! 

On Friday I realised that I hadn't really done much that week, I needed a week like that after so much going on, but I thought it was about time to make plans locally, to fill my days with Hugo now that everything had settled down. I contacted a couple of the girls from NCT and sorted meet ups for the following week. 

Lovely lunches: 
On Tuesday we went for lunch with Adi's parents, bro, sis in law and nephew. I felt bad that I'd taken Hugo down to my family for the entire weekend, but as all of the Pauley boys had worked over the bank holiday, they all had the Tuesday off work which worked out really well. It was a shame it was raining as we would have liked to venture further afield, but you can't beat good pub grub.

Our weekend activities deserved posts of their own, so here's the links. On Saturday I headed into Leeds to the wonderful Trinity Kitchen. While I was out I printed some photos of Hugo for my grandparents anniversary present, which I have to them at their celebratory meal the following day.  Narrowing down pics of Hugo wasn't an easy task, I've probably taken well over 1,000 in five weeks, on top of the amazing photos that Sam took!

A couple of nappy nightmares: 
We had a few incidents this week. At the meal Hugo weed on the table and later that day he pooed in the bath! It's a good job I'm not squeamish!

(21st - 27th April)

diamond wedding celebrations

Today we drove down to Langar Hall in Nottinghamshire to celebrate (belatedly in part due to Hugo's arrival) the 60th wedding anniversary of my incredible grandparents which was last month.

Having just sold their villa in Spain, they treated 35 family and close friends to a slap up meal at the beautiful Langar Hall. Not being a big foody myself and having a baby in tow meant there are no pics of food and very few overall, but I'm told by the more foody types that it was top nosh.

Among the guests were friends of Grandma going back 79 years from when they were 3! As if 60 years of marriage wasn't impressive enough! The remarkable thing was that not only were two ladies vying for the place of Grandma's oldest friend, but there were also four of her school friends there too, along with more recent friends as a couple. I've always been in awe of my Grandma's ability to maintain true friendships and can only hope that the friendships that mean the world to me will last as long! Grandpa's best man sadly passed away however his son attended - how amazing that the family still value my grandparents. 

As well as great food, cake, sunshine and family, we were treated to a vintage car rally driving through the grounds. Below is my fave - a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang style!

Hugo was naturally the VIP guest and had lots of attention and cuddles. Everyone remarked at how amazing he is as he didn't cry once, which was a lovely reminder if how lucky we are to have such a placid baby! 

After the speeches we were presented with the vintage trike that I played with as a child, just as my dad did before me, at the family home and business - Peacock Farm. The trike used to be battered and rusty but my grandma has had it lovingly restored to its former glory. It will be passed down to all of Hugo's cousins and siblings to enjoy and is a wonderful family heirloom. 

Days like today remind me of just how lucky I am to have such a wonderful loving family and how important there happiness and health is. 

Although a very happy day, my Grandpa did amazingly well to attend having had a stroke the week before, and my mum was in an intense amount of pain with an infection. I go to be tonight with my fingers crossed that she wakes tomorrow with signs of improvement and the doctors get to the bottom of it prompto.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

discovering Yorkshire - Trinity Kitchen, Leeds

Today I met up with an old friend from cinema days and his gorgeous other half. I realised that it's been five years since living in Leeds for uni and the city has completely changed. They suggested meeting at Trinity Kitchen in the new Trinity centre.

I loved it! It reminded me of the Spitalfields food court crossed with the food courts in the Westfield Shopping Centres. The ceiling is like a warehouse, with lots of different lighting hanging down, each food station is vastly different, with shabby huts, vehicles and open stations where you can see the food being prepared. The seating is also varied and it was jam packed so finding a seat was the first task.

The next task was choosing from the vast array of cuisine. There is Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian and British, American and Italian staples to name but a few. There is also a bar, coffee and baked goods. I went with a hotdog and fries - next time I promise to be more adventurous! 

One of the best discoveries was the feeding station, complete with sink, bottle warner and microwave. The toilets also have a changing room and even a chill out room! I'll definitely be using these when out and about in Leeds, even if I don't plan to eat, as it's open for anyone. (I'm sure I can always manage a chocolate brownie if needs be - tried and tested!)

Aside from Trinity Kitchen, the Trinity centre also has most high street shops that you need, great lift access (important when with a pram!), restaurants, bars and the Everyman cinema. It's therefore going to be a great place to visit anytime of day. 

I'm planning to take Adi for our first date night post Hugo. I may even treat us to the cinema - a novelty after seven years of free tickets!

Friday, 25 April 2014

breastfeeding - my summary

We intended to mix breast and bottle for a while, but I was struggling with knowing how much milk he was taking and decided it would be easier to encourage him to get into a more manageable routine if we used just the bottle. As I'm finding expressing okay at the moment, I'm giving him the majority breastmilk with one formula feed a day. I'll gradually increase the formula over the coming weeks. This will also make it easier for me to go away for my first weekend without him when he'll be 12 weeks.

So, has breastfeeding been worth the emotional and physical roller coaster? In a word, yes. Focusing on and working at breastfeeding was my priority and I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Despite only solely breastfeeding for a month, he's had the best possible start and he'll continue to get expressed breastmilk as long as my milk supply allows.

The best bits:
  • Looking down at my satisfied baby, knowing that we worked at it together - an amazing feeling.
  • Post-feed cuddles with his satisfied face and the satisfied sigh.
  • A special bond, lots of time for close contact.
  • Sensing him stirring and putting him straight on the boob before there is any need to cry.
  • Feeding on the go, not having to spend time and money on formula.
  • Weight loss - it's really true what they say, I could feel my uterus contracting and I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight by week 3, still eating whatever I liked within reason!
  • That's without all of the proven health benefits to both of us.
The bad:
  • Establishing the supply - engorged boobs.
  • Leaking boobs through breast pads.
  • Cluster feeding taking up each evening - absolutely exhausting!
  • Physically tiring from holding him up, arm and back ache. 
  • No ability for someone else to feed and no rest for more than 2.5 hours between the longest feeds.
  • Not being able to have a drink or leave Hugo!
  • Feeding in public - trying to be discreet with huge boobs and a wriggly baby!
I didn't think I'd mind taking him off the boob, but I do miss the closeness and need to ensure we have some tummy time to make up for it!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

starting a routine

Last night we started a bit of a routine. As Hugo is now over one month and we've switched to bottles (mainly expressed milk with the odd bit of formula) it's easier to manage how much milk he's getting and when, so it feels like the right time.

Yesterday I tried to feed every 3 hours and let him fall into a natural sleep routine by staying in the house so that he didnt fall asleep in the car. This was a challenge because his feeding has been so frequent until now so he wanted food much more quickly.

We managed a few feeds 3 hours apart and then the last one before bed was 2.5 hours from the previous. I did use a swing seat to put him to sleep when he was fractious in the afternoon, but he was awake for most of the day.

Our new bedtime routine is as follows:

8.30pm - evening walk or activity to keep him awake! (weather permitting)
9.30pm - stretch out on the play matt to burn off any energy
9.45pm - bath
10pm - bottle
10.20pm - storytime in rocking chair
10.30pm - sleep!
8am - woken up for day to begin!

At the moment I'm letting him fall asleep on me before putting him down. At some point I need to encourage him to fall asleep on his own, but I'll wait until the routine is more fixed. At that point I intend to use music to help too.

Night one went well, he slept from 10.30pm until 2.50am - the longest stretch yet and the earliest he's gone to sleep. He then woke at 6am but didn't manage a whole bottle so was up again at 8am.

Here's hoping we can keep this going and gradually increase the stretches between feeds and put him down to sleep earlier!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

breastfeeding - the struggle

Breastfeeding really has been a rollercoaster that starts and stops, jerks forward and back with lots of upside downs along the way. 

Pre-tongue tie
Hugo was latching on well but he was feeding really frequently - up to 18 times a day! I coped through the days of building the milk supply, but on other days, unless we were out or he was asleep he’d want to do nothing but feed and the evenings were particularly exhausting. I felt like things should have calmed down so thought about how I could encourage him to feed less frequently and for longer each time.

I realised that he was falling asleep on the boob. I tried to wake him and keep him going so that he'd take more, but despite me trying to wake him and keep him going, he’d fall asleep and then want more not long after. I think he had to work doubly hard because his tongue-tie made it harder for him.

The bigger he got, the more difficult it was to keep him in a good position and he was also very wriggly, perhaps sometimes out of frustration. His latch also got gradually worse and I was constantly having to re-latch him. The more tired I was, the less mental and physical strength I had to constantly take him off the boob and re-latch him, so sometimes I'd let him feed with some discomfort. Because of this my nipples have become red and tender so breastfeeding has become more and more unpleasant.

I built up to the tongue-tie in my head and coped with the discomfort and exhaustion, hoping that things would improve after the tongue-tie snip.

Post tongue-tie
The doctor told me to re-train him to make sure he didn't fall asleep at the boob, but that's pretty difficult in practice! To start with I thought things had really improved as I was encouraging him to feed for longer, the latch felt good and there was longer between feeds, (apart from the first day of constant feeding to re-build the supply) however his latch soon went back to normal, as did his habit of falling asleep on the boob.

I feel like the tongue-tie snip came too late, as he was already in his own routine. I did everything I could to wake him but he went back to feeding little and often and his latch started hurting. I was becoming exhausted and didn't have the energy to hold him up properly and support him in a good latch. 

After a week of persevering after the tongue-tie snip and a month of breastfeeding, Adi and I decided that we should introduce the bottle for some feeds before I hit rock bottom. We intended to mix breast and bottle if he would swap between both, so that Adi could do the odd feed and give me a longer break to help with my tiredness and breast discomfort in the evenings. We also thought it may help us to ensure he had a good evening feed, being able to see the amount of milk he was taking.

He took the first bottle of expressed milk really well and went back to the breast very easily for the next feed so we will see how it goes mixing both.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

the little things - reaching one month

It's incredible to see every tiny development before our eyes. It happens so quickly and as much as I can't wait for certain big milestones, I want to savour each moment! Here's some of those little things from two weeks to one month.

- he coughed and it came out as a laugh
- a couple of times he's sounded like he's giggling when catching his breath
- when Popa Need was describing a tinned/microwaved meal when he was working away, Hugo let out a 'urgh' sound, after being silent for hours - perfect timing
- snoring to rival his daddy!
- he's found his voice a little more, particularly since the tongue tie snip and can certainly let out a proper cry now!
- in the fourth week he's been much more vocal with lots more noises, moaning, grunts, oohs and aahs
- he is more alert to sounds which will make him startle or rouse if half asleep
- he's much louder on the boob, with a squeaky noise as he's sucking
- he's very noisy when pooing, often moaning, rolling around and grunting before with lots of farting and wet poo noises!
- he loves being talked to but even better, sung to - songs I've been singing include 'Edelweiss', 'Doh Ray Me', 'Kum Ba Yah', 'Twinkle Twinkle' and 'Silent Night' - probably not the right words and completely random!
concentrating on something...
- he's even more smiley due to wind, but the smiles are starting to happen at other times-
- he can stand up when being held and push himself off you with his legs
- when he's overtired or hungry he will be very wriggly
- he can focus and follow us, looking into our eyes rather than just the eyebrows
- we've started to do daily tummy time and he can support his head and turn to the side
- he's incredibly strong when upright too, holding his head up
- he will happily lie on his play matt for up to an hour at a time
- the black and white patterns and light/ shadows are his favourite
- he's not so happy in his bouncer seat and won't last for long without being bounced
- when he's lying in the pram he'll put his arms out to steady himself
- he'll fall asleep in the car straight away - which has been useful at times!
focusing on the black and white 'Cookie cat'
- his latch is off and on and I have to support him very well to ensure a good latch
- if Adi picks him up when he's hungry he'll try to eat his nose
- in the evenings he'll get more trapped wind and can often be fractious
- he's been having lots of reflux too but it has started to calm down
the favourite winding position
- he's a lot more settled having his nappy changed, unless he's really hungry!
- he now loves the bath, but hates being taken out of the water and put in the towel
- he'll often be sick while being changed, and will sometimes pee too
finally settled after bath time
- his limbs are still very long and he's thin but there aren't as many folds to fill
- the darker hair is falling out and the hair left is turning much lighter
- he still looks like his dad, particularly his mouth and eyes
- the shape of his face is more like mine and we think he's got my double crown
one of many happy and content facial expressions

Monday, 21 April 2014

life lately - Easter with family and friends

Long evenings and a few lazy days:
I had the first day since Hugo was born with no plans and it was ace! I stayed in my pjs all day and caught up on sleep while Hugo napped, we chilled and started getting used to life as just the two of us. 

Adi had changed his shift from day to evening to come along to his tongue tie appointment, but that meant that he ended up having to work evenings for most of the week. The timing wasn't great as it just so happened that Hugo really struggled with wind each of those evenings, so I was literally counting down the minutes for him to be home so that I could be relieved of winding/ rocking for hours. 

One evening I tried to go for a walk thinking I'd get some air in his lungs and tire him out a bit. He cried the whole way, which is really out of character for such a placid baby, so I ended up sitting on a rock to feed him by the river! I had a few random glances for passers by, but at least I got to watch the sun go down (even if I was surrounded by midges)! I put him in the car another evening to get him to sleep. It worked a treat and I managed to get him out of the car and straight into his moses without a stir. Desperate times.. 

A visit from Izzy and Good Friday:
My good friend Izzy came to stay on Thursday. Hugo was a bit of a wriggly baby that day - he had been since the tongue tie - but Iz managed a few cuddles when he was settled and we had a great lunch at Giraffe in the Trinity Centre. I've loved having people around who will take me as they find me, which Iz does thankfully!

The next day was perhaps my most difficult yet, due to the build up of sleepless nights and not being able to nap in the morning. I took it out on Adi, naturally(!) but managed to perk myself up for a visit from our friends Sean and Karina. I finished the day baking brownies (it was Good Friday after all) and watching Frozen (for the 2nd time - gotta love a good singing Disney film).

Easter weekend family time:
I headed home on Saturday for a couple of nights as it was Easter and Adi was working. I felt bad taking Hugo away from him but at least he could catch up on lots of work and sleep without us.

Saturday was spent visiting my Nanna in the day and at Hunky Dory with my siblings and parents in the evening. Layla and Rich hosted Easter Sunday so we all met there for a roast and cake. On the way back I popped in to my grandparents for a few hours and also saw my auntie and cousin, so I really managed to pack in lots of family.

My grandpa had just had a mild stroke on the Friday, luckily he had no damage but was tucked up in bed (quite a feat to get him to stay there) and was struggling with transitioning from vertical to horizontal. He's not usually a baby person, but my grandma took Hugo in for a cuddle and it was lovely to see Hugo enthralled as he sang songs to him!

Looking forward:
Next Easter will be when I start putting some traditions in place for Hugo. This year it went by without so much as an egg.. well I did have one but as it was in my position a good week before Easter it didn't stand a chance. I'm going to write another post about planing my own traditions at some point, I loved Easter egg hunts as a child!

(14th - 20th April)

Sunday, 20 April 2014

hospital bag

I did a lot of research about what to pack for the hospital, it turns out that really I didn't need much. Had I been in hospital for longer I could've / would've sent Adi home for more items, so there's no need to pack with a view to staying as long as everything is accessible. We turned up with bags of stuff which just made it harder to find the essentials and way more to carry!

To wear:

  • Nighty x 2 - one for during labour and one for after. I personally wouldn't bother with pjs as it's good to have easy access!
  • Night nursing bra - these are kind of like the bras you get when you've just developed boobs and I wish I'd discovered them years ago. They keep you in place without the discomfort of a full bra.
  • Pants - get big pants that fit maternity pads, but not so big that they feel baggy.
  • Slippers - you'll definitely want slip on slippers that you can get someone else to put on you - far easier than dealing with socks when your feet get cold an great to walk around in.
  • Dressing gown - great to keep warm and be discreet when breastfeeding. 
Going home outfit:
  • Tight fitting strappy top so that you feel well held in and can slip it down to feed. 
  • Maternity bra - you could still get away with a comfortable night nursing bra if you're not walking far. 
  • A stretchy skirt that will slip over whatever size your belly ends up + leggings if it's cold.
  • Slip-on pumps.
  • Zip up hoody.
During labour:
  • Flannel x 2 - one to use and one to have ready to swap over. The hospital room was really hot so it was great to cool down and also turned out to be useful to bite and scream in to!
  • Straws - very useful when you can't use your hands to hold a bottle or cup.
  • Juice and water - in bottles.
  • Sweets, crisps, biscuits and chewing gum - they last and you'll want something to boost your energy after birth. 
  • Camera, phone and charger.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste, face wipes / baby wipes, hair brush, dry shampoo, bobble, grips and hand mirror.
For baby:
  • 3 x newborn (unless you're expecting a huge baby) vests and sleepsuits - I'd go with white.
  • Hat and mittens - better still are sleepsuits with integrated mittens. 
  • Cardigan and a blanket.
  • Thin banket for the hospital.
  • Changing bag with nappies (smallest size), wipes, nappy bags and anti-bac gel.
  • Car-seat - remember not only to fit it before, but also to work out how to adjust the straps, it'll save you a lot of time and stress when you're brain is fried after birth! 
For partner:
  • Phone, charger, money, toothbrush and their patience.
Optional others:
  • Birth ball - perhaps could have been useful in the early stages but I preferred walking around and rolling around on the bed - the idea of balancing didn't do it for me.
  • Tens machine - didn't work for me but I know people who loved it and wouldn't have got by otherwise!
  • Sanitary towels - I used the hospitals but you may prefer more discreet pads.
  • Towel and showering toiletries - I didn't fancy showering in hospital as I was out the same afternoon, but had I stayed, use of my own towel would've been good.

Don't forget the notes and ensure your partner is aware of your birth 'plan'.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


Hugo was born with a tongue tie. It's something that affects 1 in 10 babies and is more common among boys. 

Midwifes used to check routinely when babies were born and simply tear the tongue tie themselves using a nail or such like. Obviously this led to infections and so now it's done using a sterilised pair of small scissors. It's an incredibly simple procedure.

My midwife noticed the tongue tie on her first visit - the day after Hugo was born. She said that this could be affecting how easily he was able to latch on to the breast so could make breastfeeding more difficult. She referred us that day and said it should be up to 10 days for an appointment. 

10 days later and we were still waiting for a letter or phonecall. Breastfeeding was indeed difficult because he struggled with his latch and my boobs were starting to get very tender. He was having to work harder at the boob so was sleepy and taking a long time at each feed. I was constantly re-latching him and this was the only reason that I was able to last so long, as I didn't put up with pain.

It can make is near on impossible for women to breastfeed when a baby has tongue tie and the professionals were astounded at how well I was doing. It's therefore incredibly frustrating that throughout the pregnancy and birth, all health professionals in the nhs are guided to drill in to you the importance of breastfeeding, yet they can't do a simple snip of the tongue as a routine post-birth check which could make all the difference.

When my health visitor came on the 10th working day since the referral she called to follow up and gave us a number to call as well as a number for a complaint which she advised us to do. 

We called the following week and were told that there was a delay due to the one(!) doctor in the region qualified to do the procedure being off sick. They had apparently had a 'crisis' meeting and were holding extra surgeries to keep up with the demand. 

We were booked in for the following week - so Hugo was 3 weeks and 3 days. That's 3 weeks and 3 days of unnecessarily frustrating feeds if the procedure could be done at birth.

The doctor was an hour late, but luckily Hugo is a very content little man! I was getting stressed as I hated the idea of inflicting any pain or discomfort on to Hugo. I needn't had been, as he barely flinched. He was understandably a little resistant as the doctor and nurse opened his mouth, but the snip lasted a couple of seconds and he didn't feel a thing. The doctor simply dabed it with a cotton wool pad to soak up any blood and passed him back to me.

I was led into a room to breastfeed in private and the doctor advised me to make sure he doesn't fall asleep at the boob, to rid of old habits. He was able to latch straight away and I saw signs of improvement, but was just relieved that he wasn't in pain and could feed. 

Adi and I are fully intending to do something to help put tongue tie on the agenda. Something so simple can be all the difference between breastfeeding and not. Tongue tie can also lead to speech problems, yet is often not picked up until such a time, when the procedure does become a bigger thing and inflict pain. 

Why can't all babies be checked for tongue tie by the doctor who does the routine post-birth check? Why can't that doctor be trained to do the procedure? Why isn't there more than one doctor able to do it in my region? Why does it take so long for the referral? Why do different regions have different standards, with some refusing to do it all together unless it affects speech?

Answers on a postcard. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

life lately - going it alone

This is the second life lately post. I'm going to aim to do one weekly to give an overview of what I've been up to. One day this will mean that (if he's at all interested) Hugo will have a diary of his life! I'm a very nostalgic person so I'd have loved to be able to read about my early years, regardless I will enjoy looking back myself. 

Although I've entitled this post 'going it alone' it really was far from it! Adi's paternity may have been over, but I had two visits from Layla, two visits from mum and my uncle also came over with his family, which marked the last if my aunties and uncles to meet Hugo. 

Hailstorms and hearing:
Adi's first day back coincided with Hugo's audiology appointment to check his hearing. My sister was on her Easter break so offered to come up for moral support. We headed out to lunch a little late so rushed around Wakefield. We ended up at a tea room called Marmalade on the Square that I thought looked pretty when I'd passed the week before. It has the style I love, with mis-matching chairs and tables, a French country, shabby chic edge, with a few items for sale and of course lovely food. Although we really had to rush our lunch I'll definitely be back. 

A run around Wakefield and wrong turn later we finally ended up at the hospital 15 minutes late. I am never late for anything and absolutely hate the feeling! Just as we'd got Hugo out of the car the heavens opened and there was an incredibly dramatic downpour of rain and hailstones! We couldn't wait in the car or under shelter like everyone else, so were forced to make a run for it. We were absolutely drenched and everyone was bemused at our drowned rat look as it literally lasted for the 3 minutes it took for us to get from the car to the entrance. We had luckily managed to throw the rain cover over Hugo and he just slept through it, absolutely oblivious to our ordeal. He even continued to sleep through the audiology test, which involved the nurse inserting something into his hear. Thankfully he has perfect hearing and being late had it's upside as we were seen straight away and were back at the car before our 20 mins free parking finished!

Ending up in Thirsk:
Mum was also on her Easter break so came up to spend a couple of days with me. We headed out in the car aiming for somewhere around North Yorkshire. Mum has a way of letting the car take her somewhere, just going with the flow without too many plans. This is wonderful usually, but not quite as easy to manage with a 2.5 week old baby!

We ended up in Thirsk for what we thought would be a quick stop-off before heading on, however Hugo had other ideas! We parked up and popped in to a vintage shop but Hugo made it clear that he needed feeding, so we headed to a lovely cafe called Olivia's Bakery and Cafe in the heart of the town. It turns out that it must be the place for mums of Thirsk to go! About 5 other families with babies were in the cafe and I felt completely at ease to breastfeed, especially as we were seated in a corner right at the back. By the time I'd fed and winded Hugo, eaten a lovely chicken and pesto panini and brownie, fed, winded and changed Hugo again, we'd been a good few hours! 

We had a quick wonder around the shops, purchasing a book for Hugo's pram and curtains for my living and dining rooms before heading back to the car (via the vintage shop of course). Thirsk is a pretty town around a square with cobbled streets. It's definitely a good place to stop off if in the area.

We'd intended to head somewhere else, but by that point it was late afternoon. Instead we decided to pop in to Laura Ashley in York to pick up wallpaper for my dining room while it was in the sale. It should have been just a slight detour, but we ended up following signs back to Leeds on the way home that took us north rather than south, so what should have been a smooth journey ended up with me and Hugo being overtired and crabby. 

I love that the location of my house means that we are so accessible to so many pretty places. I can't wait to explore them all properly. 

Stumbling upon St Aidan's:
Mum was really unwell and had pushed herself with our Thirsk trip. The following day we had a lazy morning to build some energy before heading out for a walk along the river. I'm so glad we managed to get out as we came across the most wonderful discovery - St Aidan's

Adi's first night away:
At the weekend Adi headed up to Newcastle to go to his friends stag do so mum and dad came to stay overnight, as it would be my first night alone with Hugo. We went for a walk to show dad St Aidan's and then via the Rose & Crown pub in the village on the way home. The pub is under new management so I'll keep my eyes on how it progresses. The main benefit of having them over was for some extra sleep in the morning when Hugo was wide awake. 

Adi arrived home in the morning with plenty of time to make it over to his cousins daughters Christening in Pudsey, yet we still ended up leaving later than planned and arriving with only a minute to spare. I often feel like I have two children to get ready and out on time, Adi is notoriously slow and late for everything! I shouldn't have written this in the same post about me being late for an appointment, but it's true and infuriating!

(7th - 13th April 2014)

breastfeeding - the gush

Just when I thought I'd cracked the colostrum, the baby had to re-learn everything when the milk came in as the density of my boobs and feel of the nipple changed. It was an incredibly difficult night, for hours no matter what I did, he could not latch.

The feeling of not being able to feed your baby, when you can see they are hungry is awful and incredibly frustrating. It tests your limits. I think Adi was ready to crack and if we'd had formula in the house we'd definitely have used it, but I'm so glad we persevered. I rang the F.A.B. helpline and they reassured me that I was doing everything I could and it was probably the tongue tie, which made Adi and I consider snipping it ourselves! 

In the end Adi was able to take the baby and calm him while I used a hand express pump (invaluable) to express some of the milk, which helped to soften them as they were rock solid, and get the flow going. I also had a sleep which gave me the energy to try again. When I did Hugo latched on straight away and fed well. To help me and Hugo, I was very conscious to remain calm and keep my heartbeat steady even when he was struggling and I was exhausted. Having the support of a partner was invaluable, as he simply wouldn't have settled had I not been able to pass him over away from the smell of milk at times.

I kept massaging the boobs between feeds to loosen them as they were hard and lumpy, and fed little and often (on demand) which helped to establish the milk supply. This stage was the most painful, but only the pain that all women experience as their milk is 'letting down'. 

Then, just as we thought we'd cracked the milk, it would appear that my body was just teasing. The milk comes in gradually and each feed is different from the one before. Suddenly my boobs were less hard and lumpy and just huge and soft, full of milk which was leaking everywhere! The milk flow was far too fast and too much for baby to cope with! I used the hand pump to express to help get rid of the access fluid to make it easier for Hugo.  For a good few feeds we seemed to have cracked it with me expressing a little before if I felt the boob needed releasing.

Finally, the milk flow settled and he got used to feeding without me needing to express before. By the end of the first week I was still taking it a feed at a time, but he was latching well and the milk supply had settled. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

breastfeeding - the colostrum

Just like my desire to have a natural birth, I had a real desire to breastfeed. Formula is a wonderful substitute for those who are unable to breastfeed, but if possible, I wanted to do what nature intended.

I myself have a weird relationship with milk. I have an intolerance to cows milk but do have the occasional goats milk. I'm not convinced we (humans) are designed to drink milk at all after our mothers. The idea of giving my baby something unnatural, unless I had to, was therefore something I didn't want to do when he was so little. 

That is until he starts teething, which is perhaps natures way of saying that he shouldn't be guzzling at my boobs for much longer! 

Although I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, the idea of a baby suckling at my sensitive, big boobs wasn't appealing. I was really unsure if I'd be able to get used to the feeling and was half expecting to give in at the first hurdle. Added to which, the copious amounts of stories about the baby not latching on properly and causing bleeding and bruising petrified me. Formula was always going to be a good alternative if I needed.

Because of these stories, preparing for breastfeeding became my main focus in pregnancy. It was the initial reason for attending NCT classes and my main reading topic. I am pleased to say that my research and determination has paid off (for now!).

I decided not to buy any emergency formula so that I wasn't able to give up easily. I ensured that I had the support of my husband and that we together would set out to try to make it work. In my head, if the baby was hungry and my colostrum had come in, surely there would be a way for him to feed. As a back up there was always a 24hr asda not far away in the worst case scenario!

Latching on:
While in hospital I struggled to latch the baby on, but with the help of the F.A.B. breastfeeding specialists and lots of different positions I managed to successfully feed. The research I did really helped as I knew instantly whether the pain I was feeling was normal or due to him not being latched on properly, because of the positioning of his chin and lower lip. 

As he was so sleepy on the first day, there weren't many issues as he didn't require much, so although I wasn't fully confident, we went home knowing that I had fed him and therefore should be able to feed him again.

The first night was difficult as the positions that had worked in hospital weren't working as well at home. I managed to feed lying on my side with him lying next to me, but then that wouldn't work the next time, I'd try the cross-cradle, but that wouldn't work again, rugby ball hold, same again and so on. 

He was also sicking up lots of mucus, which he would have swallowed during the birth, so over the first 36 hours or so he wasn't taking much down until he'd got rid of that. 

The midwife came the following day and I was really anxious. Although he had taken some colostrum it felt like he wasn't able to take all of the colostrum that he needed. Because you can't tell how much colostrum/milk breastfed babies are taking, the anxieties are heightened. 

The midwife helped position him and reassured me that the positions I was using and the latch were right, but discovered that he had tongue tie which could be restricting him. Because of this we hand expressed some colostrum and fed him with a small spoon to ensure that I knew how to do this if he wouldn't latch when the midwife wasn't around. 

The midwife meanwhile referred him to have the tongue tie snipped, which can take up to 10 days. (More of that in another post).

Later that morning one of the F.A.B. specialists popped round to see how I was getting on. She again reassured me that the positioning was perfect and he fed well. She also reminded me that his stomach was the size of a marble, so it may seem like not much was taken, but he was fine. 

The following day both the midwife and another F.A.B. lady came. I'd had a successful night of feeding and seemed to have cracked it but accepted their support anyway, as I was taking things feed by feed. The F.A.B. lady gave me a great tip to help him breath through his nose, which was to lift his legs high to ensure he was horizontal. The lady in the hospital had said to use a hand on the boob, but that had actually been hindering the latch, without me realising. Each woman has tips on what has worked for them and others they know, so it pays to accept all advice, whether or not it works for you. 

So, thanks to the incredible support of the F.A.B. breastfeeding charity and my midwife and husband, we cracked the first stage - colostrum, which meant that no matter what came next, he'd had the most beneficial first feeds. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

what's in a name?

Choosing a name for a child is a pretty huge thing! I had romantic ideas of names with meanings, using a family name as a middle name and a specific reason for the first name. What we've actually done is simply go with names we both love. 

Adi and I chose the name Hugo for a boy before we knew the gender. We had gone through lists and had a few options for girls, but Hugo was the only real contender for a boy. We like names that are intended to be names, but that aren't too popular. I've loved having the name Sasha as I've always been the only one throughout my life. As unusual names are becoming the norm it's more and more difficult to find a name that hasn't been used by a friend or relative. 

It's also hard to find a name without knowing somebody with it, which can affect how you view the name. I think this is the main reason I love 'Hugo' - because I don't personally know anyone called Hugo. The only things that come to my mind are a friends older brother, the Scorsese film, Victor Hugo and an ex cast-member of Made in Chelsea. It's safe to say he's not named after any of them, but if I had to choose one it'd be the author Victor Hugo for my love of Les Mis!

Once we knew the gender we were certain he would be Hugo and were able to refer to him by his name between each other. It helped to create a little personality in our heads and imagine him as a person growing inside of me. 

The next question was a middle name. Adi doesn't have a middle name but I do. I was determined for Hugo to have one and ideally would have liked a family name, but Adi wanted him to follow his tradition of no middle name. During one conversation Adi said 'George' and it just fit, instantly we both knew it worked and that was it. We'd both loved the name George, but as it is very popular, especially after the birth of Prince George, we decided it could never be a first name. It felt solid as a middle name, to balance Hugo which is more quirky. 

When choosing the name, not only did I check it went with our surname Pauley, (a lot of 'e' and 'y' endings were out of the equation) but I also checked it went with various professions so that no matter where life takes him, the name would suit. So, could he be doctor Hugo, builder Hugo, cricketer Hugo or something else - I think anything works because he will become his name and have a personality that goes with it!

Monday, 7 April 2014

life lately - paternity

One week paid paternity leave simply isn't enough. Adi had two weeks off, using annual leave for the second week, plus the weekend, making 16 days leave in total. For me it felt like two months, but for Adi it went way too quickly.

We're incredibly lucky that I didn't need much time to recover. We were out and about from 3 days after the birth and haven't stopped since! I can't imagine how people cope who have had caesareans or other complications which require more recovery, I guess that's when the support of family and friends is vital. 

I perhaps should've milked it a bit more and be waited on hand and foot, but I felt the more I did by keeping on top of housework and getting out and about, the quicker I healed, even if I did push myself to my limit somewhat. It also meant that Adi could be focused on Hugo rather than me.

We packed so much into the first two weeks, so here's a bit of a summary with some would haves/ could haves along the way.

First day:
On the lead up to the birth it's impossible to know who you'd like to visit you and when, as you can't imagine what it'll be like. Lots of people warned us that we'd be bombarded with visitors and that Adi should keep on top of it to ensure it didn't get too much for me. 

As much as we wanted time on our own, having my family around on the first day turned out to be fantastic. I knew I could speak my mind and tell them all to bugger off if needed, but having them around was a great support. 

I was high on adrenaline and couldn't contemplate resting, I just wanted to focus on the baby, feeding and relaxing. Adi was shattered, so while I had company downstairs, he was able to go and have a good sleep. I was cooked for and waited on, and managed to have a sleep while Hugo was in the best hands.

By the time my family left in the evening, we were rested and ready to go it alone. I couldn't sleep much that night, so if I hadn't had the 2 hours and if Adi hadn't had so much sleep we would have been exhausted, but that support got us both off on the right footing. It was also special to have my family there on the day he was born. Adi's parents also saw Hugo when he was a few hours old and his brother and family came the following day.

My top tip would be to try really hard to get some sleep during that first day. It can be tempting to just spend hours staring at the baby but you'll need all the energy you can to breastfeed constantly over the following days and weeks. On that first day the baby required very short feeds and not much else, so sleep and be woken by someone each time the baby needs feeding!

Each day onwards was filled with visits from the midwife, breastfeeding advisor's, family and friends. I was so proud and still had all of the endorphins flowing, so I wanted to show Hugo off to the world and didn't mind visitors at all. I knew all of them would take me as they found me and I was confident enough to breastfeed in front of everyone.

The only thing I would do is ensure there was time in-between visits and not too many in one day so that Hugo wasn't passed around too much. It didn't matter while he wasn't feeding much, but as the week progressed and his appetite increased, I was trying to juggle feeds with passing him around for cuddles, which stopped me from ensuring he had a proper full feed each time.

Too much, too soon:
The times that we didn't have visitors were great to chill out, but we also wanted to get out and about. While Adi was off, I wanted to go to normal places and do normal day to day things so that I could do trial runs for when I was on my own. 

On the third day we went to the White Rose centre to shop, then popped in to Adi's mums and back to ours for visitors. For the first trip out, I had totally overdone it. Because Hugo was asleep throughout the shopping trip, he'd been too long between feeds and wouldn't settle to feed at Adi's mums. We learned from this and I realised that I now have to go at Hugo's pace, not mine! That was hard over the first few weeks because feeds took so long and it seemed to be all I was doing!

Hugo's first two weeks:
By the time Adi went back to work we:
  • had been shopping to the White Rose centre 
  • registered him as a proper person in Wakefield
  • had a baby photoshoot
  • walked to the cafe in the village for lunch
  • walked to the pub for a drink
  • travelled to see family in Nottingham twice (due to a poorly Nanna)
  • popped over to Adi's parents three times
  • had a day out at West Bridgford Park (where I grew up)
  • took Hugo to our friends house 
  • ate out twice (Hugo's first Nando's and Pizza Express experiences) 
  • had four visits from the midwife, three visits from F.A.B. breastfeeding charity and one visit from the health visitor
  • enjoyed a picnic at Rufford Country Park 
  • had visits from lots of family and friends!
So, I think maybe we overdid it a little, but I loved the chance to introduce Hugo to so many people and do normal things. Yes I was incredibly tired, but the hormones and endorphins helped. I was also sore but I just went at my own pace and had a bit of a waddle! I think doing so much has helped us to have a placid baby who is used to going here, there and everywhere.. or maybe it's having a placid baby that helped us!

(24th March - & 6th April 2014)

Saturday, 5 April 2014

meeting in the middle - Rufford Country Park

We decided to go for a walk today, the sun was shining and it was one of Adi's last days of paternity leave.

We received a text from my brother in law to say they were heading to Rufford Country Park if we'd like to join, it's an hour away from us so we figured we may as well. This is the first of many posts to come of the places we'll meet up in-between Leeds and Nottingham/Newark/London.

Rufford is a great place to stop for a picnic, slightly quieter than the neighbouring Clumber Park. It has a pretty house and gardens, cafe and a big lake to walk around.

The pram wasn't really needed as Hugo was mainly carried by his doting auntie and uncle! 

We'd intended just to pop down and head straight back again, but as my mum was poorly and couldn't visit us, I couldn't bare to drive all that way and not go the extra half hour to see her. Particularly as she was alone as my dad was working away. 

She was so pleased to see us (we didn't tell her, just turned up) and it really lifted her mood. She was writing a letter to Hugo as we arrived and was longing to see him. 

As we'd planned a day of rest and some quality time before Adi went back, it was a very fleeting visit so we didn't let anyone else know. I felt bad but sometimes you have to be selfish so that we don't take on too much and so Hugo isn't treated like a doll constantly being passed around!