Monday, May 18, 2015

6 Terrible Feelings You Need To Learn To Live With

If you thought that the end of pregnancy was all about giving birth to that lovely little cherub and start enjoying life with him, you are completely misguided. The aftermath of birth will leave you spinning like a revolving door. 

The emotional imbalance you have to deal with after giving birth is so much more severe than what you have ever imagined. No wonder the after birth is called the "fourth trimester". 

Here are 6 feelings that I had to quickly learnt to live with and that even though I experienced them before, after a baby they have a whole new meaning:

1. Guilt: This is just simply us being too hard on ourselves. Come on, we are all playing it by ear, but if you ever think that you are not doing it right (which is constant!) we feel this way. I've never felt guilty about the things I said or did before having a baby, but now I am feeling it all the time. I even wrote a specific article about guilt, you can read it here

2. Resentment: I didn't know much about this one until I found myself at the end of the bed a 3am (after what it seemed to be an eternity of sleepless nights) hearing my husband snore away and the tiny human trying to suck my soul through my nipple. Suddenly an urge to punch my husband in the face overtook me. I came back to my senses before I did anything of course, but I resented him. Mainly because he also has boobs but his are not cut out for the job! why doesn't his boobs work?!?!?!  

3. Ignorance: Whoever said 'Ignorance is bliss' clearly didn't have a baby. I really don't like feeling like I'm constantly playing it by ear. There are schools and universities for everything, why can't there be one for parenthood? The "university of life" doesn't count! Everybody wants to be the best parent they can be, and do the best for this new life, but let's be honest, we are totally clueless. They key is not letting your kids know about it or your hardly earned credibility goes down the drain.  

4. Fear: I am in a constant state of fear. Fear that something could happen to him, fear that I could lose him, fear that he could get hurt. When I walk down stairs with him in the morning I hold on tighter than ever to the hand rail, when I put him on the car sit I tight the straps as tighter as I can. Even when I'm asleep I wake up just to check on him to make sure he's still breathing... 

5. Sadness beyond believe: Are you kidding me?! Trying to unsuccessfully deal with all the previously mentioned feelings will push you over the edge and will make you cry for nothing, or everything, ALL THE TIME. It is all sooooo incredibly overwhelming that I honestly felt totally bipolar. Here is when the 'eat everything you want because you are breastfeeding' stage kicks in, and you are allowed to have a tub of ice-cream a day if you feel like it... I sure I did!  

6. Love you've never experience before: Here is the joke - the love you will feel is much stronger than all the other feelings combine together. When you see him sleeping, when your cuddles are the only thing that will stop him crying, when he sees you across the room and gives you the biggest smile because he knows... he knows you are 'ma-ma', the one and only. I guess you feel ignorant, or fear, or sad just because you love him SO much; you cannot have one without the others. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Guilt Trip

There are a lot of new feelings that I am learning to deal with now that I am a mom, but guilt is the most frequent and most annoying of them all. I am not used to feeling guilty for things I do, but now that I am totally responsible for another life I am constantly questioning if what I'm doing has the remote chance of screwing his life for ever. 

Everything that happens to this little person in your life is on you. From his belly button healing properly, to the nappy rash, or to even getting a cold, you will feel guilty about it. 

The worst part about this feeling is the fact that you cannot win...

If you use the dummy you feel guilty because you might be encouraging a lifetime of visits to the dentist, and if you don't you feel guilty because he cries, or because he needs to be latched on to you all the time. 

If he falls asleep on you, then you are encouraging a bad habit and getting him used to not sleeping by himself on his bed, but if you leave him to sleep by himself you worry he might not feel protected or loved.  

You might feel guilty for bottle feeding him (I know I did); you feel guilty for using the dummy (you can read why here); or you feel guilty because you are not using reusable nappies (you know who you are)... If you co-sleep, if you feed on demand, if you have a strict routine... EVERYTHING! 

Read Next: The Truth About Breastfeeding

To top it all off, the fact that everybody likes to contribute to how you do things. Why do total strangers (on the street) think it's ok to stop you and tell you that the baby should be wearing gloves because it's cold? In fairness to the lady it was middle of winter on a windy day, and the three layers of clothes plus the coat plus the two hats and boots weren't warming enough... Might be these things only happen to me...

What I realized though, is that his life has only just started, so this is only the beginning, which means that I have a life time to enjoy this guilt trip. What I will do then is learn from it and improve for the next baby... Or become that lady on the street, so watch out people.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The grass is always greener on the other side

I have recently made the decision to stop breastfeeding and start bottle feeding my little one (you can read why here). However I only just noticed some benefits about breastfeeding that go beyond the obvious that everybody tells you about. These are the benefits that you only think about once you are on the other side.

1. You don't have to think about cleaning bottles at 3am because your little one is going through a growth spurt and you miscalculated the night feeds.

2. You don't have to think about how the hell are you going to sterilize the bottles while you are on holidays

3. You don't need to carry bottles with water in your baby bag when you go for a walk in the park "just in case"

4. You don't need to entertain your baby when he cries his eyes out while you wait for the feed to warm up

5. You don't need to worry about going on a long haul flight. I was carrying 6 empty bottles and 6 ready made feeds and I was praying for no delays as it meant another feed I might not have!

6. You don't need to think about where you feed him. You can even do it while you walk if you have him in a sling.

7. And the best one of all, you have one hand free to change the TV (I know more than I should about The Only Way is Essex), or more importantly stuff your face! So jealous...

It was only by talking to friends who breastfeed that I realised there are also some hidden benefits from bottle feeding too:

Read next: The Truth About Breastfeeding

1. The chances are if your baby takes the bottle he would probably take a dummy, which are a godsend in some critical "melt down in public" moments

2. You can take a night off to catch up on sleep because your other half can take over

3. You can have a girly weekend away, while husband takes over

4. You can enjoy date night without worrying about rushing home for a feed (grandma is well trained on the bottle feeding from)

5. You can sleep on your front!

Ok, so there are not as many points as the breastfeeding list but I am sure the "catching up on your sleep" point counts for at least 3 spaces!

Oh well, you know what I mean... The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My son has special powers

Ever since he was a tiny newborn I have noticed he was different, special. Of course he is special, he is mine and I am biased!. But what I noticed was something different, something I couldn't really put my finger on. And after a few weeks into motherhood it hit me: he is a psychic! 

Let me explain how I got to this conclusion: 

1. He can sense when we are about to eat: EVERY SINGLE TIME! It doesn't matter if it's lunch or dinner, and it doesn't matter if we keep changing our meal time to confuse him! He knows exactly when the hot meal is on the table so he will kick up a fuss because he doesn't want to miss out. How dare us leave him out?! At the end of the day a warm unreheated meal is overrated, right? 

2. He wakes up at any attempt of laying him flat, except when it's on mom and dad's bed: you have spent the best part of an hour rocking him to get him to sleep. He is in your arms asleep and you feel victorious, so you start the walk to the moses basket. As slowly as possible, you are even tiptoeing, you put him down. But wait, your arm is stuck under his head, Damn! You consider sleeping on the floor like that or attempting to get it out. You try, but at the sightliest move he wakes up and resets all what you've done to zero. You need to start again! Slow, fast, with a hot water bottle to heat up his spot beforehand, nothing!!! Every time: fail! Unless... He is in the big bed. How does he know?!?!?

Read Next: 3 Things As Scariest As Birth

3. He can tell the difference between you standing and you sat down: the oldest trick in the book and the one that never fails is gently bouncing the baby while vigorously moving him left to right. It is the last resort and it normally comes accompanied by you walking in circles around the room in an attempt to calm yourself down too. Finally, the little cherub is calm and asleep in your arms so you slowly stop the walking (but continue all the other moves) and prepare to sit down because, who needs all that exercise?! you have to save your energy for getting in and out of bed ten times tonight. But he knows! As soon as you feel that comfy sofa on your bum and you excel with relief he starts crying again which only makes you bounce back to the standing position like a spring. But how does he... Oh, who cares...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

To Sleep or Not To Sleep

What is it about sleeping that we cannot stop talking about it? Or is it just me?! It is the main topic of any conversation, even when you don't even know the mom/dad: "You have a lovely baby, how does she sleep?". You just want to know if they are as sleep deprived as you are, and if they are not, you desperately want to know why? how? when? how?!? what? HOW?!?! . 

So it begins, the search for that mysterious recipe or knowledge that will bring back the full night of sleep (or at least more than three straight hours) that you desperately need... The Holy Grail of Sleep. 

I talked to everybody and tried everything they suggested, but for me it only got better when I learnt to roll with it. As soon as I stop fighting him and the fact that he didn't sleep more than two hours at a time, and fighting the fact that I had to be awake at night, then it got easy. 

Here is the list of all the things I tried to get him to sleep... with very little or no success whatsoever... 

1. Warm room: it got too warm so he couldn't sleep
2. Cool room: it got too cold so he woke up
3. Less naps during the day: almost impossible and super grumpy baby
4. Eat as much as possible during the day: only help him to put on weight, loads!
5. Bath him before bedtime
6. Massage him before bed
7. Wearing a plain sleeping suit: apparently one with prints got him too excited to sleep
8. Put a warm water bottle in his bed to warm his spot up before laying him down
9. Have the mattress on an incline
10. With the hair dryer on
11. With the vacuum cleaner on (all night long!)
12. With the white noise app on (he preferred the real sound from the vacuum cleaner)
13. In the car seat while driving him around the neighborhood 
14. In the car seat in the bedroom
15. Swaddle: he spent more time awake trying to break free than actually sleeping
16. With a sleeping bag
17. On the baby sling
18. With my hand on his chest: which meant I slept on the floor
19. In bed with us: I was too worried about rolling over so this didn't work
20. With the dummy: he spit it out and cried for it more times that I can count
21. Trying to reason with him: we are not fluent on "baby language" so it didn't work
22. Pray: all the Gods from all religions were off duty that day
23. With my mom, in the spare bedroom: Best. thing. ever. She didn't mind being awake in the middle of the night, and it gave us 3 solid hours of sleep 

Have you tried any other way to get your baby to sleep longer?

Friday, April 10, 2015

"Summer" is Here

The sun is shinning and I can't wait to go out to the park, with a baby that mostly sleeps and doesn't understand exactly what's going on... but still!

It's Sebs first summer, and I'm actually not remotely prepared to take him out under the sun. This was the perfect excuse to go SHOPPING!!! So I did...

I was on the hunt for hats, but which one is the best to protect his fair skin? There are so many options I couldn't make up my mind, and so I bought many!

Here are my favorite ones. The practical and obvious "fisherman" hat (you can see him wearing it here), and the cutest of them all, the beret (which I am sure won't protect him as much but he looks so cute!!!). Both hats are from H&M. 

The problem is that I couldn't stop my shopping spree there... I had to get him a whole outfit, and so I did. 

The chinos are from Primark, and the braces are from H&M. The best thing about the braces is that I can use them with any jeans/trousers/chinos, and I can adjust them so he will be wearing them for longer than a couple of weeks (he grows out of his close so fast that I can't keep up!). 

Now, let's get the picnic blankets out of the garage, the Pimm's out of the fridge and head down to the sunny park. 

The Knott Bump & Us

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

3 Things As Scary As Birth

When I found out I was pregnant there were two things on my mind. The obvious one:"I'm soooo happy" and much more worrying one: "He's gonna have to come out now". 

Birth scared the hell out of me, but only after birth I started thinking about other things that are as scary. And no, you cannot get pain relief for them! 

1. The first poop: This one was obvious. Everybody tells you about it, and inevitably it will happen, the question is: how fast?! You can try to get over with it quickly, or like me try, to avoid it like the plague by not eating anything... 2 days latter and it happened anyway. By the way, make sure the bathroom is not far or you might not make it. Conveniently they forget to tell you that it's not just bladder control that goes on strike after giving birth!

2. The first time you have sex: this is the elephant in the room nobody really talks about. Let's be honest, we are all thinking about it, even your other half - you just popped a watermelon out of your privates, how could everything be ok down there?! After the emotionally scarring labor, together with the sleepless nights you promise to yourself you will never have sex again, NEVER! After all, that careless drunken night of sex is what got you into this mess. But some time passes by and curiosity gets the best out of you. Is everything on its place? Is everything stretched now? You open the bottle of wine ready to let history repeat again, with one difference though, birth made you wiser, so this time you are using two condoms! 

3. The first wax: The thought of someone putting hot wax into my recently tear and repaired parts makes me look back on the birth with fondness. Do I need to say more? I wish I could have an epidural for the first wax after birth. 

I have passed the hoops from the first two, but for this one I am just hoping the "jungle look" comes back into fashion before summer arrives.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Being Spontaneous

One thing I've learnt while living in England, is that you need to be spontaneous if you want to make the most of a sunny day. Chances are you will wake up to a sunny morning and decide right there and then to make the most of it by having a picnic near a lake or river, or driving down to the beach or having a BBQ. 

Well, being spontaneous has a whole new meaning once you have a baby. It's almost impossible to leave the house quickly when you have to consider nap times, feed times and sudden poop explosions. By the time you actually leave it'll be raining or it is so late that the idea of being stuck in traffic with a hungry baby makes you set up the picnic in the living room of your house. 

To avoid disappointments here are some tips that will hopefully help you leave the house quicker. You have probably been awake since 6am anyway so you will most likely beat the traffic!

1. Keep at least one picnic blanket, cool box and a beach towel in the car

2. Before the weekend comes group the beach/picnic essentials and put them somewhere they are easy to find and reach. There is nothing more time consuming that running around the garage trying to find the beach umbrella, recliners, etc. 

3. Keep the baby sunscreen and a spare hat in the baby bag

4. If you know the baby is due for a nap but you're still not ready to go, put him on the car seat (or push chair) so if he falls asleep the disruption is minimal

5. Always, and I mean, ALWAYS be prepared for the rain

6. Stop quickly by the supermarket to buy snacks: when you're trying to be spontaneous there is no cooking involved, just get some crisps and sandwiches from the supermarket

7. Go somewhere you have been before: there is no time to waste trying to discover new picnic places or beach spots, you can't plan ahead the route, so just pick somewhere you have been before 

8. Go with the flow: if you manage to get out of the house at all then you should consider yourself lucky, so if you change your mind and decide to stop by the country pub and have a family lunch instead then enjoy it. 

Carrot Cake

This cake is a family favorite, and it is so quick and easy to make! For the cake on the picture I used two different size cake tins, but I have also done it before using just one cake tin and cutting the cake through the middle to fill it with frosting. Let me know how you get on! 

300g caster sugar (or brown sugar, or any sugar)
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g grated carrots
100g chopped shelled walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C

Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a bowl and mix using a handheld electric whisk like me (or if you are lucky use your KitchenAid) until the ingredients are well incorporated. Now add all the dry ingredients: the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed. 

Finally, add the grated carrots and walnuts and mix by hand with a spatula. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin (I coat the tin with butter and flour, I am rubbish at using greaseproof paper) and bake in the preheated over for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown or like me, use a skewer or toothpick to see if it's cooked. Leave the cake to cool down before putting the cream cheese frosting over it. 

Cream Cheese Frosting: Using your hands, mix together the icing sugar and butter until there is almost no more loose icing sugar. You can use an electric whisk or mixer to do this but a cloud of icing sugar will raise from the bowl and you be tasting the sugar from your utensils for all eternity (so you might want to cover the bowl when mixing). Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it's completely incorporated. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. Do not overbeat as it can quickly become runny. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Loving the baby sling

This weekend was all about walks, and what better way to walk than using a baby sling. There are some lovely lakes near where we live so we decided to go for a quick walk while the sun was out, which in England is very rare and as expected it was very briefly. 

I have found that Seb has a better day if he has some fresh air so I tend to go out almost every day with him. By 'better day' I mean I get to recharge my batteries and therefore I have more patience to tackle the sleepless night. I use both the push chair and the baby sling, but let me tell you why I love the later. 

1. It's cuddle time - who doesn't like cuddles with their little ones? The sling let me do that even if I am out and about

2. Bonding time with dad - it is actually the best excuse to get some 'me' time while dad carry those 13 pounds of love around the shop

3. He gets to be in all the action - Seb is now old enough to be facing forward so all the drools and dribbles are contented on the sling rather than my t-shirt 

4. Freedom - I have both hands free to do other stuff like carrying an umbrella or even take selfies!

5. Sleep - it works every time

6. Spontaneity - It is my best friend on those days when you feel like you want to run away but you really can't. I just put the baby on the sling, go for a walk, and it allows me to escape from the messy house, the dirty dishes, the empty fridge without all the fuff of the push chair. 

Have you got any other positives for using the baby sling?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Funny Memes

This post is going to come back to bite me on the bum. When I am older and living in a care-home, we will know why! But hell, he pulls to many funny faces to let the opportunity pass by... 

Let me know which one is your favourite, or even better, other quotes that can be used with the images. 







Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dummy: Love or Hate?

I find myself in a love-hate relationship at the moment with the dummy. It makes my life easier in some desperate moments, but equally terribly miserable some other times. Let me explain to you why...

It all started a couple of weeks after he was born, in one of those nights when there was nothing I could do to stop him crying. 

Even before I had him I knew I wasn't going to be one of those moms, you know, the ones that use the dummy as a cork to quiet my boy. I would totally understand what he needed and calmly work things out with him. No way; no child of mine would ever use it, ever I say! How deluded was I?! 

So on that particular night I found it, hidden away between the toys on the shelf, the dummy I got as a present and I promised never to use. 

I was desperate, I would have even accepted an exorcism if it meant it would make him stop crying. So I crumbled and gave it to him, and it was love at first sight! Suddenly the room was quiet, and I could here the snoring of my husband (over the ringing of my ears). And so it began... 

Sometimes I gave it to him to make him fall asleep, sometimes he would spit it out and I knew he was hungry. It was my safety blanket when out and about because I knew if things got out of control I would stop all the looks from other customers at the coffee shop with it. The dummy made everything better. It was magic... It was love! 

But then, without me even realising it, it got out of control! I would use it every time all the time, and my baby would ask for it all the time too! I couldn't, for the love of me, make him go to sleep without it.

And then it started... The hate. 

He would wake up at night crying for it. He wasn't hungry or needing a nappy change, he just didn't know how to go back to sleep without it. I would give it to him, he would then go back to sleep and I would go back to bed only to hear it falling from his mouth and knowing I would have to get up again, and again... And again...

I used to play with the idea that I had mental powers. That if I thought about it strong enough the dummy would stay in his mouth for another 20 minutes but it would never work. 

Now here I am, at 4am in bed after I have given him the dummy, knowing that I will have to go to his room soon because I have heard it fall; hoping that he will grow out of it so don't have to go through the "letting him cry himself to sleep" tactic... 

So let me ask you, is it Love or is it Hate?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I'm using my son's baby products!

Some baby products I didn't know existed before I had Seb. Now that I have tried them I'm so in love with them that I am sure I will keep buying them long after he has stopped using them. 

1. Baby shampoo 
Who has time to have a proper shower now a days? Most of the time they are a 5 minute soap-only shower, and if I am lucky I might be able to add some shampoo into the mix. 

Well, the other day I tried the baby's shampoo. It was actually a mistake driven by the lack of sleep, but I am so glad it happened because it made my hair look so amazing I couldn't believe it! I have tried it several times after that to make sure it wasn't a one-off, and still loving it.

Let's call it the silver lining from being awake all night. 

2. Baby wipes
Like the shower, I consider myself lucky if I have time to brush my teeth and wash my face in the morning before I have to start changing nappies again. Let alone having time to put some make up on; that would be such a treat - no, actually, sleep would be a treat... 

Anyhow, sometimes I manage to get some make up on, but after giving birth my skin became very sensitive, probably due to the hormones, so I need to make sure I remove it before bed. The problem: I can't, for the love of me, be bother with that step, EVER!

So I tried for the first time one of baby's sensitive skin wipes and it did a great job. Even better than some of the proper make up removal products I have. SCORE - it only took me 30 seconds to get the make up off! 
3. Baby oil
There is no time to go to the salon for a "tidy up", so you buy those waxing kits from the supermarket. They are good, but it is extremely annoying to find only two oiled wipes when you are supposed to have several uses from it. I found out something much much better than the oiled wipes, BABY OIL. It works wonders after waxing to heal the skin and lock the moisture.  

Have a go at these products and let me know how you get on. I would love to know if you get the same results as me! Is there any other baby product that you use??? Share the secret!

Monday, March 23, 2015

7 Must-Have Apps For New Moms

As a new mom I suddenly found myself overloaded with things to do and no time to do anything... You have no idea how demanding this 8 pounds size human can be! Here are my top apps that are making my life easier and hope they will help me through the first year:

1. Meal Planner Pal (free)

Awesome app to organized the meals for the week so the husband knows exactly what to cook each day! 

2. Relax Melodies (free)

It has white noise to help the baby sleep (including the vacuum cleaner!), and all sort of other melodies. The best part is that you can mix two or more sounds to create your own relaxing melody. 

3. The wonder weeks (paid)

I love this app! It gives you personalized information about your baby's development that not only explain the periods of fuzziness of your baby but also how to help him achieve the new skills for his age. 

4. WebMD Baby (free)

I have spent so much time on this app! Thanks to it I have only called the doctor twice a week instead of, well, constantly! 

5. Baby Tracker (free)

Believe me when I tell you that you will get obsessed with poop, sleep and eat. So you better keep track with this app. 

6. Shopping apps (free)
It is not all about the baby, you can't forget about yourself! Here you have loads to choose from, my favorites are Asos, H&M and Topshop.

7. Kick ass games (various)
When you are done online shopping why don't you just kill some time at 2am by playing a game? The crowd's favorites are Candy Crush (of course!), Hay Day and Fruit Ninja. 

Is there any other app that has make your life easier after your baby was born? I would love to know!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

4 signs your baby is teething

Teething is an unsettling time for a baby and for a parent, so it is completely understandable for you to have spent the last three days researching in Dr Google exactly the symptoms and how to help your baby through this time. 

It is reassuring to know that it could happen at around 6 months... hold on, it could happen from birth... oh no no, from 18 weeks... well, clearly nobody really knows exactly, so I just hope the below can put your mind at ease!

1. Dribbling and drooling
If you have to use several bibs in one day or change his clothes because they are wet then that is a definite sign he is teething... Or it could be that he is just a baby and that you actually have the type that drools as much as a Great Dane!

2. Hands in his mouth 
If your baby constantly has his fingers, hands or fist in his mouth then he is definitely teething. Even more so if he has both fists in his mouth, which is pretty impressive so please take a picture and share it! ... Or it could be that he is just a baby and is discovering his mouth. 

Read: The Odyssey of His First Night Alone

3. Flushed cheeks 
This is a sure sign your baby is teething because of the pressure of the teeth trying to break through the gum are making his cheeks flush... Or maybe you just need to turn the heating down or give those oh-so-kissable cheeks a rest.

4. He is really cranky and cries all the time 
If your baby is really unsettle and cries more than usual then he is most likely teething... Or he might be just hungry, or needs a nappy change, or is going through a growth spurt, or he might just need you to get your head out of Dr. Google and pay him some attention! 

So if your baby presents any of the above he must be teething, but just in case let's call the Dr. for a third time this week just to be completely sure. At the end of the day, it's our right as first time moms!

If you want real information why don't you try the NHS website, or BabyCentre

Friday, March 20, 2015

The truth about breastfeeding (well, my truth :-))

It is simple - it is not for everybody and that is OK!

"It hurts at first; just for the first couple of weeks" they say. That doesn't sound so bad, does it? Well, think again! During the first weeks you are breastfeeding at least 12 times a day... For 14 days... 

But it doesn't stop there, oh no! On top of that, if you are not careful, chances are you will get a cracked nipple. Again, let me tell you, when you have that little bundle of joy wrongly latched to a cracked nipple 12 times a day, you are in for a world of pain. 

What is that? What if you had a c-section you said? Well, you will think you are something out of the circus trying to juggle your baby to get him away from the scar but still on to your cracked boob. 

So you say to yourself, "I just went through 36hs of labour, I won't give up now." And so you push through the first weeks of pain, the cracked nipple horror, the c-section, the cocktail of hormones leaving your body, the lack of sleep...and you think there is light at the end of the tunnel... 

But hold on, what is that? Mastitis? Oh yes! It comes so quickly that you don't know what hits you. By the time you realize what it is you are shaking in bed with a fever. The solution? Breastfeeding through the pain of mastitis is the best chance you have for recovery (and also get antibiotics from Dr.).
If you are still breastfeeding after all these I applaud you! I see my friends who are still breastfeeding and I am very proud of them because it is much harder than they make you think. Me on the other hand, I felt like breastfeeding was the most twisted form of torture...

As I said, breastfeeding is not for everyone. So if you make the decision not to do it, it is ok. We all want what is best for our babies, and at this point what my baby (and my family) really needed was having me at the top of my game to take care of the new arrival. 

Despite all the looks I get when I get a bottle out at a restaurant I chose not to feel guilty about it. There is plenty of other things in my baby's life I am sure I will feel guilty about, not this

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Motherhood Pact of Secrecy

Have you ever been afraid to go on a roller coaster? and your friends trick you by telling you it’s not bad at all? And then when you are stuck in it, at the very top, they turn around and laugh at you because it is actually worse than you have ever imagined? Well, may be the roller coaster example doesn't apply to you, but you get the gist, right?

I have a theory: I think moms take an oath, a pact of secrecy, not to tell anybody about how difficult motherhood really is. From pregnancy, to the oh-so-horrific birth, to the weeks and months to come with a newborn.

“Motherhood sometimes sucks, and this is why” – I wish someone had said that to me when I asked, instead of the repetitive “it’s hard to explain”. Let’s be honest, as if there was nothing to tell people! It is not a crime to admit you didn’t enjoy breastfeeding, or that you didn’t like the newborn stage, or that after 6 months you are still struggling with the lack of sleep.  Why don’t we honestly talk about it?

Read: The odyssey of his first night alone 

I am not stupid, I knew motherhood wasn’t going to be easy, and I know everyone is different, but let’s start sharing! I wish women feel more comfortable talking about it. I mean, REALLY talking about it.

So next time someone asks you, don’t try to mask it by pointing at that tiny human giving you those toothless smiles, just tell them as it is. At the end of the day, they are asking you for a reason, don’t waste their time. Think about it as the Sisterhood of Motherhood, where moms get the support they need to go through it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

4 hospital bag must haves

Packing my hospital bag felt like I was packing for a holiday abroad. It was exciting and nerve wracking. The prospect of this new baby you have been waiting for so long and the fear that overcomes you when you put that tiny nappy on the bag knowing that you have never changed one before (don't worry, you will be sick and tired of nappies soon). 

I had my bag ready three months before the due date, but I think I must have unpack it and re-pack it every week. And still, when I was in hospital I realized there were some things that I needed. Nobody tells you about these things, so here they are...

1. Baby nail clipper
As you probably know babies are born with hair and finger nails. What you don't realize is that those tiny fingernails are like razor blades; 10 tiny very sharp razor blades. 

So pack the clippers and take advantage of how much they sleep on the first few days. Your boobs and probably the rest of your body will thank you for it. 

2. Nappy rash cream
The advice says with water and cotton you are good, but the baby's delicate skin is constantly exposed to pee and poops. Seriously, for being something so tiny the volume of poop that comes out of them is ridiculous. The last thing you want is also having to deal with nappy rash, so don't forget the cream.

3. Bottles
You really don't know how baby feeding is going to go. You might be ok with breastfeeding from day one, or you might struggle. In case of the latter it is better to be prepared, and have a couple of bottles of your choosing sterilised in your bag. At the end of the day the baby needs feeding, and in case breastfeeding doesn't as expected it's better to use your own bottles rather than hospital ones.  

4. The mother of all treats 
Is there a chocolate bar or packet of biscuits that you have always wanted but never bought because you thought the price was a bit too much? Well, this is your chance to get that treat and put it in your bag. At the end of the day, you just push a watermelon size baby out, you deserve it and there is no better time to indulge/celebrate with it. 

5 people who will test your parenting skills

Being a first time mom is hard. You are suddenly responsible for this tiny human being that is so incredible demanding, and let's be honest, you have no idea what you are doing. 

I find myself doubting about every single thing I do. "Is this the best brand of nappies?" "Is this the best washing tablet for your delicate skin?" "Why are you still crying?!?! I've fed you, changed you, fed you again. Is it your ear? Or your throat? Or a rare condition that I might not be aware of?!?! Let's call the doctors for the third time this week". 

It is hard work, especially when you feel you are playing it by ear every day. So imagine on top of that having people second guess you?! 

1. Your own mom
My mom is a pretty good starting point as a role model goes. And in all honesty, I think she has done a pretty good job! So it is hard not to doubt yourself when she second guesses you. 

I personally have to deal with questions like "isn't the baby sleeping too much?", "which doctor recommended the formula powder you are using?", or my favourite "his cheeks are pink, are you sure he doesn't have a fever?!?!" (to give you some context, this was through Skype). This last one sends me into panic mode and even though I know for a fact he doesn't have a fever I still get the thermometer out and check him at least three times to be sure. 

2. Your mother in law
It is point 1 all over again, but the difference is you cannot tell her to back off. 

3. Friends with no kids 
I have to admit, I used to be one of those. Having to be louder than the kids running around you in order to have a conversation, or having to arrange a get together way to far in advance so they can arrange for babysitters, used to put me in the worst mood. "How do they let it get so bad?" I used to think. "When I have kids I will still have time for uninterrupted conversations" I used to tell myself.

I now know what it feels like to be on the other side, and it's not remotely as easy as you thought it would be when you didn't have them. 

4. People at a restaurant, at the shops, on the street (you name it)
Have you ever had the need to explain to complete strangers why your baby won't stop crying?

Those moments when you need a break from the routine and the cream coloured walls of your living room. You decide it is safe to go for walk into town and have a coffee. And then, as soon as you sit down, all hell breaks free and there is nothing you can do to calm your baby down. 

It is so hard trying to avoid all the disapproving looks from everybody at the coffee shop. Even the ones that smile at you because they want to be nice! You know deep inside that they are thinking you are a terrible mom! 

5. Your own baby
Nobody, and I mean, nobody, will put your skills to the test more than your own kid. They are born with special powers to push your sanity to the limit, and it doesn't matter if they are a baby, a toddler or a teenager, they will have no mercy when they use this power.  

It is impossible not to feel like you are been judged all the time. Therefore I have a mantra that I repeat to myself every day (sometimes twice a day if it has been one of THOSE days): "he is still alive so you must be doing something right, you are clearly awesome".

Perhaps there are people that make you doubt how good a parent you are? I would love to know so put it in a comment below.