The first postpartum poop

I know, I know. Us Brits don’t talk about this sort of thing – but it’s about time we did.

Regardless of how your birth went down or whether you’ve managed to get through pregnancy and birth with or without piles 🍇, that first postpartum poop strikes fear into all new mothers. Fear of stitches bursting and intestines falling out or fear that your uterus is going to fall out of your vagina (that Take a Break article about prolapse has never left me 😬).

To make things worse you’re constantly asked if you’ve managed to ‘perform’ and not allowed to leave hospital until you have. So, no pressure or anything but everyone on the ward is watching that toilet door.

I told every midwife I saw that I was too scared to go and they were all very understanding, sympathetic and reassuring.

In my experience, the actual deed is nowhere near as bad as my imagination had concocted. I’ve had three quite different births and each time I worried about ‘toilet time’ but each ‘occasion’ was actually ok.

You can help yourself out a bit by drinking lots and eating lots of fruit and veg. Maybe pack some fig roles in your labour bag.

I remember the midwife telling me after my first baby that it was better to crack on and get it over with than stalling for ages which only results in make harder – literally. It was good encouragement.

I’ve bought ‘bottom sprays’ like this one and special wipes like these which can each make you feel a bit braver and soothe any soreness a little.

I think giving yourself time – which can be tricky with a newborn screeching for milk every five minutes – and trying not to get stressed out can make it much easier to do the deed. You feel much better once you have got it out of the way.

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Milk collection has moved on a bit….

There have been a few developments in the world of babies since I had my first one five years ago. Some things seem a bit gimmicky but one there is one that is already turning out to be soooooo brilliantly helpful. It saves time and effort, is easy to clean, fast to use and pretty inexpensive. All round winner I’d say!!

It’s one of these little vacuum breast pumps. There are a few on the market but I was lucky enough to be given one of the Haakaa ones – thanks Claire! This one is the same and seems to get good reviews but is cheaper.

Once you’ve got baby latched on to one boob you grab your vacuum pump and simply squeeze it and place it over your other boob. As you let go it sucks on to your boob and uses that suction to catch and draw out the excess milk that would otherwise have gotten soaked up by your breast pad. Easy as that!

I’ve been using it for most feeds during the day since my milk came in on day 2 and I’ve been saving about 3oz in it each time. Quite a good little stash.

Sitting for ages with a breast pump was one of my least favourite things when I had my first baby but it did help to boost my supply and give me a healthy freezer stash.

Second time around I abandoned the electric pump and stuck to a manual one. It was easy to use, fast and efficient and easy to clean and throw in my bag to use whenever and wherever.

This little vacuum pump is like the next generation. No pumping action required, not bits to take apart and put back together. No fuss.

It does look a bit like a small hospital urinal though. Maybe that’s a use for it once breastfeeding days are done? 😆

A word of warning. You can find some rather odd articles pop up if you type ‘vacuum breast pump’ into a search engine. ‘Breast milk pump’ seems to be safer 😀

A mother of three…..

We welcomed our newest addition to the family on 31st August. The youngest in the school year but we’ll deal with that issue when we get there.

Some things don’t always go to plan – no matter how prepared you might be. This little munchkin got a bit stuck enroute earth side but all was well in the end and we were quickly home and able to start getting to know each other.

The challenges of managing three children of different ages and interests are already coming to light and I’ll no doubt talk about that more in the coming weeks and months.

For now I’m off to dance the merry though sleepy dance that newborns lead us on of feeding, changing, feeding, cuddling, feeding, rocking and feeding some more. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Still pregnant

I wholly expect to not meet this baby until September and have said so all along however a little teeny tiny part of me had started to believe that this baby might be early. It’s not looking that way though.

It’s mainly because almost everyone I see says something along the lines of :-

“It’s your third?!?!? They’ll definitely come out early then”

Or

‘OMG!! That bump is MASSIVE!!! There is no way that baby is staying in there until September.

And after a wee while of hearing this you kind of begin to think maybe they’re right. Having a baby over the summer hols would be quite convenient because the bigger two could just be shipped off elsewhere without any concerns over school.

It clearly won’t be the case though. I just cook em for longer. A bit like how I like my sausages on the barbecue – cooked for that little bit longer so as to be entirely sure that they’re properly done.😊

I’ve tried to encourage an early arrival. I’ve had acupuncture, reflexology and red raspberry tea. I’ve been eating six dates a day since July ( I am sooooo over dates!) and I tried the hokey pokey. Nothing doing.

My plan is to just crack on, do things and organise stuff. No doubt bub will come when least convenient such as when furthest from home, or when everyone is at work and we have no childcare.

I’m happily resigned to the fact that babies pop out when they are good and ready so this one is going to stay put for a while yet.

‘But when is your actual due date?’: The EDD and intervention obsession.

I have a half written blog post along the same lines as this. Everyone is soo obsessed about EDDs despite knowing that less than 5% of women give birth on that day.
I’m pretty certain that everyone that knows me know that its a subject that really gets my goat!
If and when I go overdue with this baby I will be refusing all offers of sweeps and induction unless there is some indication that baby or I are unwell. Its been proven that some people just cook babies longer than others.

Tales from the Mother Side

Copywrite: Emma Tunbridge Photography

Close friends and family know that this is close to the top of my list of ‘bloody irritating questions’, along with a) ‘Is he/she a good baby?’, b)’How is he/she sleeping?’ and c)’When are you going back to work?’ (Answers: a) What the chuff is a ‘bad’ baby?! b) Like a baby and c) If/when I want to/have to.)

I shouldn’t get so riled, I know – I mean, think of the cortisol, for God’s sake – but WHAT is this obsession with a singular date in what is actually a five week window, between 37-42 weeks? At best, it’s a lucky dip of one number out of a possible 35. At worst, it makes women and their partners obsess over one date and, once that date arrives, along come ‘those’ messages from friends and family. Well intended, of course, but there’s only so many times you can open a…

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Pregnant – Again!?

Folk have certain expectations of what you should do with your life – and when.

When you’ve been with your partner for more than a month or two everyone starts asking when you’re going to move in together. Five minutes after you’ve managed to make that momentous leap people start questioning when you’re going to get married. “Do you want to get married?”, ” “Isn’t it about time you got married?” “When are you going to make an honest woman of her?” etc. etc. If you succumb to all this then the second you’ve exchanged rings – or even before – folk start quizzing you about starting a family. We broke the rules here and whilst we did get engaged we had a baby before getting married. Shocking I know. Only shortly after we got engaged people started asking us about babies. This question in particular is soo thoughtless. I was once asked ‘isn’t it about time you two stopped having fun and started having babies?’ What the lady didn’t know was that I’d had a miscarriage a couple of months earlier. I very nearly told her but decided to spare her blushes by joking about how much we love wine and travel. Well, that’s no joke. We DO love wine and travel.

It seems that the questioning about children goes on and on until you have one. We were lucky and managed to have a baby girl not too long after. But that wasn’t enough. Our baby was less then a week old before people started asking if we were going to have another. Seriously, the stitches were still fresh! This went on and on with people telling us that it wasn’t fair on the child to stop at one and that we shouldn’t leave it too long. Whenever I went out and didn’t drink or was a bit bloated people would say things like “ooh is there something you’re not telling us?”. It seriously felt like all eyes were on me. Watching, waiting, expecting.

Instead we got married which only seemed to add to people’s insistence that we should be having another baby soon. As it turned out we did have another baby about a year after our wedding and then something strange happened. This time the questions stopped. We had obviously achieved what was expected of us in life. University, mortgage, marriage, babies (not in that order). It seems like that’s it. Nothing else required.

So when people heard that we were having a third baby the reactions were quite different. More like “you’re having ANOTHER baby!?!?” and “oh my god! You’re pregnant AGAIN!” or “was it planned!?”. My favourites for ultimate cheek were “did you get drunk and forget the contraception?” and “Oh dear, I bet that was a shock!”. Three children it appears are not expected. Two. You’re supposed to stop at two. Ideally one of each flavour around two years apart. Anything else seems to be considered a bit of a failing. I hate to think what is said to people who have FOUR children or twins or worse ……….none! Its just totally assumed that everyone wants to have children so if you break this norm and don’t have any rather than just leave it those same people either keep asking or after a while start speculation that there is something wrong. As though its unfathomable that anyone might choose not to have children.

I realise that often there is no ill will from these nosy parkers. Some people are just keen to share their thoughts with everyone or are only trying to make conversation but I really do wish that they would consider the impact of what they’re saying.