It’s not all Home-Made Jam and Glitter Glue there are Bad Days too.

Yesterday the boys were making ‘sumfing’ out of bits and bobs and sticky tape which then evolved into painting and inevitably, messy play.  They covered their hands with glitter glue and paint and did some mark making with dinosaurs and a broken hair clip or two.

Since we were having fun, I took some pics and shared them on Instagram.

It looked like we were having a chilled afternoon, making a lovely mess, having fun.  We were.

Minutes after I posted those photos, Spud decided to paint Pooh Bear’s feet.  I had no problem with this except Pooh Bear didn’t want his feet to be painted so I pointed this out to Spud and asked him to stop.  I asked him twice then he flicked his paint-laden brush in a huff.

This is when I saw red and took the brush off him before marching him upstairs and plonking him in the empty bath declaring “that is the end of that!”.

Lately I’ve been seeing red more than I used to and I hate it.  We have days and days when everything is fine but then there are those times when Spud and I in particular seem to clash.  We’re so similar and he’s at that age where he is trying to assert himself and giving us an insight into life with a teenager.  I can see him reflecting my behaviour at times too and I’m trying really hard to be patient with him but it’s a work in progress some days.

I think the reason I’m sharing this is because we ALL have difficult days.  Days when we’re not proud of our behaviour or that we can’t wait until the end of.  Thankfully, the better days outnumber these but we need to remember that what we read online is naturally edited.  I don’t feel like blogging when I’m having a bad day.   I don’t feel like doing anything when I’m having a bad day.

I went through a phase recently when I didn’t want to write or share anything, good or bad.  I’ve come out the other end now and am enjoying getting back into the swing of things on the blog.

I’m aware that if you read this blog, you will come away thinking that we are somehow perfect and happy all the time.  This isn’t the case and I’m not consciously trying to hide this from anyone but unlike others who find therapy in writing about difficult days, I tend to shy away from social media and blogging completely.

Today has been a good day.  We’ve had the odd disagreement about ice cream, as you do, but it’s been a good one.

 

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‘How You Were Born’ a book review

Earlier this year I discovered Pinter & Martin book publishers and reviewed ‘Breastfeeding Made Easy‘.  If you are in to birth, breastfeeding, parenting, yoga and books which challenge the status quo, then I highly recommend you visit their website for a browse.

Happily, I am now a member of the Pinter & Martin book club and was really excited when they said they were sending me ‘How You Were Born’ by Monica Calaf.  I’d admired the range of Monica’s books from afar and the illustrations by Mikel Fuentes are beautiful.

 

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We’ve decided to be as honest as possible with the boys with regards to the birds and the bees and answered any questions they have age appropriately wanting to stick as closely to the biology of it all as possible.  With this in mind, I decided to read the book with the boys without reading it through myself first.

 

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The book is actually really relevant to what we’ve already spoken about with regards to them growing in my tummy then being born and although the illustrations show the baby being born, the graphics are informative yet ambiguous enough for parents to elaborate as much or as little as they want depending on the age of their children.   For example, the birth scene shows the baby crowning but only mentions Mum’s tummy so there is scope to explain caesarean sections too.

That said, if you were wanting to explain a complicated birth, the book is fairly simple and idealistic.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I don’t think it needs to go into the ins and outs of modern birthing methods and all that that entails, that can come later.  It is a beautiful illustration and visual aid to allow you to broach the subject and start to answer those burning questions, if you haven’t already, in a way which seemed to satisfy a (nearly) five year old and a three year old.

When reading the book I added a bit about our own experiences and expected a barrage of questions from my inquisitive two but they didn’t ask one!  They asked for it to be read to them again the next day too.

You can find more titles from Monica Calaf at the Pinter & Martin website and if you’re reading this as a member of my family (I know you do Mum) you might like to have a look for birthday/Christmas present ideas ;)

 

*** I received a copy of the book ‘When You Were Born’ as part of the Pinter & Martin Book Club on the understanding I would review it on a couple of platforms and as it is relevant, chose my blog as one option.  As always, this review reflects my honest opinion.***

 

 

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World Breastfeeding Week take three!

Well, this week saw us raising awareness for our third World Breastfeeding Week since Pooh Bear was born and we’re still breastfeeding.  I started writing this blog post and waffled a lot about how we came to still be breastfeeding past Pooh Bear’s third birthday but I think I’ve mentioned it before ;)  (link to my ramblings on breastfeeding past one)

So, I thought I’d just share this photo I took this morning.

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We had spent the night before camping in a tent in the garden, which went actually went far better than I expected, then the boys asked if we could make biscuits which we did.  Sounds idyllic doesn’t it but it wasn’t without a disagreement or two before you start thinking our lives are all happy adventures and baking!

Pooh Bear was the cleaner of the two little biscuiteers apart from the flour on his head.

Breastfeeding a toddler well, now preschooler, is a normal part of our every day routine.   Some days he’ll feed once, sometimes not at all, sometimes he’ll feed like it’s going out of fashion.

His preschool teacher said he is completely laid-back and has settled in amazingly and he’s definitely the more confident initially compared to Spud who can sometimes take a bit longer to come out of his shell.  Whether this is down to our natural term weaning or not, it hasn’t held him back any.

I haven’t decided to breastfeed for an unusually long time, I’ve just decided to let him decide.   The more I read and learn about breastfeeding, the more it makes sense.  To swap my milk, which changes to suit the weather and Pooh Bear’s stage of development as well as passing on the appropriate antibodies for any pathogens we’re exposed to, for the alternative just seems the strange to me.

I only wish I could have offered Spud the same.

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A Soggy Summer’s Day and a Gruffalo Hunt

Wow, I have just looked back at the blog and it’s been two whole months since I wrote my last blog post.  In those two months, I’ve been contemplating stopping writing for many reasons but this week I have had the urge to write all the posts I’ve been meaning to write but haven’t had the drive to.

Since it’s the Summer holidays, I thought I could get the ball rolling again with a #countrykids post and show you what we got up to in the deep, dark woods…

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I was really proud of Spud for reading “You did it!” without any prompting.  He loves reading signs when we’re out and about.

 

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As a family, we really love the Gruffalo and the trail at Delamere Forest was brilliant even in the rain.  We’ve visited the forest before and the boys have never walked as far as they did today without even a whiff of a moan which is nothing short of a miracle.  They ran enthusiastically from sign to sign and the puddles were an added bonus resulting in soggy legs but also a lot of fun for the boys.

 

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And we had to finish with an ENORMOUS ice cream even if it was chucking it down with rain…

 

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You might have noticed Spud featuring on the blog again.  I’ve had a really good think about including him whilst on a break and I’ll probably write about it in the future but his beautiful little face is back for now.

We won a Forestry Commission Discovery Pass earlier in the year so enjoyed free parking and you can find out more info on more benefits and about your local forest on their website.

This post is being linked up with the fabulous Country Kids from Coombe Mill which will be full of half term fun in the UK and beyond so please pop over and see what all the other bloggers have been getting up to.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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‘Breastfeeding Made Easy’ by Carlos Gonzalez

Judging by the vast array of parenting books which are available these days, I’m guessing I might be in the minority having only read two books of this genre.  Both of these books relate specifically to breastfeeding and I’d like to recommend one of those books to you in particular…

 

‘Breastfeeding made Easy’ by Carlos Gonzalez.

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Gonzalez is a rather elusive fellow on the internet.  I suspect the websites with the most information are spanish which is why I was only able to find the same few lines about him on a number of english speaking websites.

A father of three and paediatrician, he also founded and is President of the Catalan Breastfeeding Association (ACPAM), he currently gives courses on breastfeeding for medical professionals.

This quote from Annalisa Barbieri’s article in The Guardian perfectly sums up his way of thinking with regards to breastfeeding and parenting in general…

“I think the problem is that things like how to feed your baby, and child rearing and co-sleeping are not part of the science of medicine. We don’t learn that at [medical] school. Mothers in Spain go to doctors to ask how to raise their child. But we we study diseases and treatments. What doctors know about baby raising is what they’ve learned as people, from their mothers, or their own professors – sometimes the advice can be 40 years old!”

It was after becoming a father that he realised that there is more to parenting than what he had previously learned at Medical School and wrote “My Child Won’t Eat!’ and later, ‘Kiss Me!’.

So, what did I think of his book on breastfeeding?

It was really interesting reading the book from the point of view of a breastfeeding peer supporter and even though my knowledge of the breastfeeding basics is pretty good, I learnt much more about how everything works in a way I am now able to explain clearly to the Mums I support without blinding them with science at a time when they have complete information overload.

Throughout the book, Gonzalez dispels all the myths surrounding breastfeeding and I am so enthusiastic about this book and breastfeeding in general, I could happily go through them all for you here but that would mean you wouldn’t be tempted to buy the book and it would be a rather long blog post too!

Gonzalez explains the complexities of how the breast works in ways which are easy to understand and once you understand these few principles, it really helps in getting breastfeeding established.  It is also a good gauge of how much the health professionals you meet know about breastfeeding too.  If they are suggesting a path which interrupts the way breastfeeding works, you can assume that they don’t know enough about breastfeeding to treat you and you should find support elsewhere.  If they are suggesting a path which compliments breastfeeding, then you can trust in their judgement and the support they offer.

Anyway, I digress a little but here is how Gonzalez explains the age old worry women have about not producing enough milk…

“A system that adapts constantly to the baby’s needs, producing more milk when the baby wants more, and less when the baby wants less.  A system that goes on producing milk for as long as baby needs it and then stops producing it when baby stops nursing, that produces enough milk for one if there is only one baby, and for three if the mother has triplets”

 

“The amount of milk a woman produces doesn’t depend on her race, or how much time has elapsed since she gave birth, but rather on how much her baby feeds”

On breast size…

“the varying amount of fatty tissue that produces different-sized breasts; the glands are always more or less the same size, and size has nothing to do with the breast’s ability to produce milk”

On the worry your milk will run out after frequent feeds…

“The breast doesn’t work like a toilet cistern that has to fill up again before it can be flushed.  It is more like a tap: when you want more water you open the tap more.”

On Breastfeeding in Public…

“Few things are more boring than a breast seen from the outside.  If you have seen one you have seen them all”  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if this attitude were taken by those who see breastfeeding in public as offensive.”

I found his section on ‘Prolactin’ really enlightening as I knew the levels of prolactin were higher at night and they affect milk supply but didn’t really know why exactly.  He explains why trying to increase the length of feeds won’t up your supply but that more frequent feeds will.

He clears up why making a baby wait for feeds and restricting night feeds, especially during growth spurts, is so detrimental to milk supply.  So many women are told by health professionals and well meaning friends and family to make baby go longer between feeds then wonder why their milk supply drops forcing them to supplement when they wouldn’t otherwise need to.

Using little scenarios, Gonzalez simply explains complex biological functions which makes for an enjoyable but educational read.

The way he describes the mythical ‘foremilk’ and ‘hindmilk’ is excellent…

“there is no moment at which the skimmed milk is finished and the whole milk begins.  The amount of fat (and therefore calories) increases gradually”

“To start with, the baby takes fewer calories from more milk; at the end, more calories from less milk…The time depends on the speed at which the baby feeds: he may take two or three minutes to get as much milk as he needs, or more than twenty minutes.”

His thoughts on feeding schedules (which I think is particularly genius!)…

“ An expert sitting at home and writing a book a year ago or a hundred years ago, or the doctor who saw your baby last Thursday and recommended you stick to a schedule, can’t possibly know whether your baby will be hungry today at 2.25pm.”

There are far too many points I could discuss with you from the first two chapters never mind the whole book which discusses an extensive range of breastfeeding topics.  I found it a really easy and enjoyable read too and found myself loving Gonzalez by the end of it.

I (and Gonzalez) recommend checking the up-to-date recommendations on which drugs are considered safe to take whilst breastfeeding.  Gonzalez mentions LactMed and The Breastfeeding Network  (my first choice for UK based info) which are great online resources for information on what you can take for a range of illnesses and they are constantly updating their websites in line with the latest research.  It is also worth checking your rights with regards to returning to work in the UK with Maternity Action as Gonzalez writes from a Spanish point of view.

As a ‘parenting’ book, I absolutely love it and can honestly say I would definitely buy it myself having now read it.  It is based on scientific fact by a professional who really knows the field they are discussing.  I think it is a brilliant buy for anyone interested in breastfeeding from a professional or peer supporter point of view to a new mum or mum to be.  It would also be a brilliant resource for anyone wanting to support a mum and I definitely think that Dad’s would benefit from reading this book too.  I would be really interested to know what I would have thought about it if I had read it five years ago when I was pregnant with Spud and knew nothing about breastfeeding so I asked my sister to read a few chapters to see what she thought.

“ It is really easy to understand and once I’ve read it, I can now explain to others how things work.  I would find this book really helpful if and when I have children”

So all in all, a brilliant and informative read and you could win yourself a copy if you hop over to my facebook page and like this photo.

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You also need to like the Pinter and Martin facebook page and in the event that you don’t win, Pinter and Martin have offered my readers 30% off the purchase of ‘Breastfeeding Made Easy’ with the checkout code bmeblog30 and you will also get free P&P!

The giveaway will end at midnight on Thursday 8th May 2014.  Please refer to my Giveaway T&Cs  and the facebook post before entering.

 

I should mention a bit about Pinter and Martin Publishers.  They are exactly the kind of publishers I would be if I were a a Publishing house.  Only publishing around 12 books each year, they specialise in books which are based on sound evidence and which are thoroughly researched, enabling the reader to have the freedom to think.  You can find titles from Ina May Gaskin, La Leche League and Gabrielle Palmer to name a few.  You might like to sign up to their newsletter from the main home page here to hear about new books first.

 

****Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the book ‘Breastfeeding Made Easy’ by Carlos Gonzalez in order to write this review and another will be sent out to the winner of the giveaway from Pinter and Martin.  As usual, opinions and thoughts are honest and fair***

 

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