Weaned… Just like that!

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Thanks for hopping over from Sunshine Scribbles and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 7 The End of the Journey; sponsors today include Close Parent who are providing an organic Close Caboo Organic Carrier, a £20 voucher from Burble Baby and a breastfeeding necklace of your choice from Baby Beads for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs – get your entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

This is a post I wrote at the end of my breastfeeding journey. Beginning the weaning process was a sad time for me as you can read in my previous post.

It has been 11 days since we started weaning, a surprisingly easy process.

Small one has been down to one feed a day for months now, but has been very attached to that single bedtime feed. She has gone without it a couple of times, when she’s fallen asleep on a journey or I’ve been in the bath when she wanted sleep, but it has been a pretty fixed part of her bedtime routine. Often she has appeared to wait for it, not because she is thirsty or not yet tired, but because a 5 second feed before she drops off is enough to complete her day and let her fall asleep content and happy.

For me, one feed at bedtime was a lovely compromise. I got all the benefits and closeness of still breastfeeding, but I no longer had to completely arrange my wardrobe around breastfeeding. Practically speaking, my boobs are so large that I can’t fit most of my clothes and I can’t afford to buy new ones right now so the actual wardrobe stays the same, but not having to consciously think about it or layer up if I’m somewhere where I don’t want to expose my breasts is nice after such a long time.

When, 11 days ago, I first told small one that there was nothing left tonight, we both had a few tears. But that was all. She listened to me, questioned gently, then accepted my suggestion of a cuddle and cup milk while we read a story. I guess this is what happens for Daddy when I’m not there at bedtime.

The same happened the next night – a question, a little sadness on both sides, a snuggle and sleep.

She hasn’t asked for days now, and while the process has been harder from my point of view – we were so close to her weaning naturally – I am coming to terms with it.

If she had resisted more, I would have found it impossible to not continue breastfeeding. As it was, a week away from her 2nd birthday, she understood what I was telling her, listened to me and accepted the alternative I was offering. I’ve had no physical effects – no engorgement and no leaking.

That’s a pretty good second best.

I am so glad I continued as long as I did. I am so glad that I breastfed a toddler. I am so glad that while I didn’t finish breastfeeding exactly as I would have wished, we were able to stop gently and with a mutual understanding rather than with confusion and tears. This must be how weaning is meant to be, so we must have done it right.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding have given me a new relationship with my body. Not only that, but if I hadn’t breastfed I would not have had the inspiration to start MilkChic, which I hope will help make breastfeeding feel easier for other mums.

For more extended breastfeeding experiences please hop on over Fit for Parenting where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw. Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. UK residents only.

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My Breastfeeding Journey: Breastfeeding a Toddler

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Thanks for hopping over from Sunshine Scribbles and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 5 Extended Breastfeeding we have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs including prizes from More4Mums providing a set of ‘Hot Milk’ Lingerie, a signed hardback limited edition copy of Milky Moments and a £30 voucher from MilkChic  Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Past knowing that I wanted to, I didn’t have a roadmap for breastfeeding. I had no clue about timescales and I have had to learn as my daughter has grown.

I decided very early on that I wanted to make it to a year. After the initial months, I was lucky to find breastfeeding easy, so I really didn’t want to have to use formula as it seemed to me a second-best option both nutritionally and financially.

In fact, when small one was tiny, I was sure that I would breastfeed until she was a year and then wean. I understood that there were still benefits to breastmilk, but couldn’t see why you wouldn’t express and give a child breastmilk in a cup.

Live and learn… I’ve never managed to express more than a few ounces and the idea of carrying around bottles and pumps seems incredibly impractical compared to the convenience of breastfeeding. Let’s face it, most mums who continue to breastfeed find their peace with breastfeeding in public, but you won’t find many pumping in front of their partners, let alone in a crowded cafe!

I was very proud to make it to a year, although sometimes it felt like I was the only mum in the world still breastfeeding. At our NCT group’s 1st birthday meet-up there were 2 out of 8 of us left breastfeeding. Actually, that’s pretty good going – in the UK, you are in the minority if you breastfeed past 6 months and I certainly felt that way at times.

The 12 month target had become a huge focus for me and I didn’t really question the idea that we would start weaning at that point. It was logical – small one enjoyed drinking cow’s milk from a cup like a big girl and it seemed the obvious transition to make.

I hadn’t a clue how difficult weaning could be. Small one liked her mummy milk and she certainly wasn’t going to give it up without a fight. Cup milk was all very well for novelty and convenience, but it didn’t compete with the real thing.

Unlike night weaning, which had benefits for both of us, daytime weaning just felt like a pointless fight. I spent hours feeling miserable trying to persuade her she might prefer milk in a cup, or fighting sleep as I tried to persuade her to sleep without a feed. It always ended with us both feeling drained and emotional and me guiltily feeding her. Breastfeeding, as always, healed the rift and left us both feeling snuggled and secure.

I was still off work with a back problem so there was no pressing reason to wean, but I continued to half-heartedly encourage her because I felt it was expected.

We had slowly cut down to 3 feeds a day when she developed a chest infection. I was horrified as she had never really been ill before and I felt awful, blaming myself for reducing her immunity. She wasn’t eating and I spent 2 days sitting on the sofa feeding her whenever she asked.

Suddenly, at 15 months, she was feeding as regularly as she ever had, and I had lost the will to wean. I started reading up on longer term breastfeeding and it struck a chord. While I never offered milk, I stopped trying to distract her or worrying about what I “should” be doing.

cuddle

As the small one has become more communicative, our breastfeeding relationship has changed. She tells me when she wants mummy milk and when cup milk is OK and, over the last few months, she has self-weaned from all but her night-time feed. Breastfeeding has become more special because it’s no longer a necessity – it’s something we make time for because it’s important to both of us. When the small one pulls me away from something and insists she needs milk in daylight hours, what she means is that she needs my attention. Breastfeeding gives her my undivided attention and an opportunity to reconnect even in the busiest day.

These days, she both frustrates and amuses me in equal parts, loudly informing our neighbour, “MUMMY NIGHT MILK” as she pokes my boobs or telling me that “this one is done” when she wants to swap sides.

I do occasionally get a funny look from friends when they realise I am still breastfeeding, but the small one is so self confident and independent that they struggle to argue against it.

Small one will be 2 soon. If I’m honest, I do hope she weans in the next year, if only because I would prefer her to have different coping methods by the time she starts school and I want her to have time to adjust. Having said that, I am only too aware that I might change my mind, and I won’t be pushing her to wean before she’s ready. This time, I will be able to explain to her why it is time to stop and it will be a decision we make together.
For more extended breastfeeding experiences please hop on over Fit for Parenting where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw. Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. UK residents only.

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Dress to Impress: What to wear when you’re breastfeeding

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Thanks for hopping over from Adventures of a Novice Mum and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 3 Dress to Impress. Sponsors today include Milk and Mummy with a £50 voucher, Lorna Drew Maternity who are offering a beautiful set of nursing lingerie and Mummy Makes Milk who is offering a signed copy of her beautiful book for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs and entries are via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

When your belly is jelly and your boobs have ballooned, even the most fashion-phobic go shopping. This would be fine, except that your confusing new shape is accessorised with this season’s hottest “newborn baby”, a charming but impractical addition which ensures that all shopping must be completed within 15 panicked minutes between feeding and nappy changes.

MilkChic is a fashion site dedicated into women who need to get their boobs out in public. Here is a guide to breastfeeding friendly high street fashion for busy new mums.

1. The Lift Up
Anything with a top which can be lifted to above the nipple – no danger of flashing your baps at an unsuspecting public, but does limit you to tops and skirts or trousers.

Try these:

It’s easy to keep your tummy covered – pick a camisole or vest with adjustable straps and extend them so it sits below your bust or make use of a maternity belly band to keep warm and hide the lumps and bumps.

2. The Pull Down
Any top that will pull down over one breast at a time – stretch fabrics are ideal, but don’t be put off by non-stretch as the right neckline will still give you all the access you need. Plenty of dresses in this category too, so worth mastering for occasionwear!

Try these:

Although your baby’s head covers most of your breast, this can feel a little exposing. I like to layer a pull down top over a nursing vest – learn how to make your own nursing vests easily.

3. The Sleeve Feed
As it sounds – tops with sleeves that will stretch to give boob access.

Try these:

4. Clever Layers

Try these:

  • “One up / one down” – layer 2 stretchy tops (lift up your top one and pull down the bottom one to create a gap for feeding.
  • A cardigan buttoned at the neck like a cape over a pull down top to create a feeding gap.
  • Unbutton a shirt in the middle for quick, layer free feeding access without flashing any flesh.

5. The Random Ones

Love Label Macrame TopEvery now and then you see something really clever – often when a determined older baby figures out a way in! Recently I very much enjoyed seeing a baby latching on through a top like this. Clever child!

 

You can find some more ideas on Dressing to Impress over on Family Fever blog along with another chance to gain some extra entry points to our grand prize giveaway. Remember you need to earn 50 points to be eligible, full details can be found on the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Site.

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How to make going back to work a success: Guest Post & Giveaway

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To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (1st-8th August, 2012), MilkChic is hosting lots of giveaways to give mums a boost. Today (a day late due to 3rd birthday celebrations at MilkChic Manor), Greatvine are offering one lucky reader a free call and follow up email worth up to £40 with their Mothers Returning to Work Coach, Joycellyn Akuffo.

Woman working on an airplane motor at North American Aviation, Inc., plant in Calif. (LOC)Here are some tips from Joycellyn Akuffo, Greatvine expert and founder and editor of Motherswhowork.co.uk on how to make going back to work a success:

Going back to work can be unnerving for a lot of mums – just how do you keep on top of the school run, extra curricular activities for the kids and work?

1. Make a plan
Planning is the key to every working mum’s success – without a plan, you plan to fail. So, get off to a good start by investing in a good diary, where you can keep track of the family’s important dates, and key dates for work so you don’t get caught short.

2. Use technology
Set reminders on your mobile phone so you don’t have to remember things – everything from birthdays, school plays and school assemblies should go into your phone, it’s a great way to keep on track…and it’s free to do.

3. Call in your favours
While you’ve been off work, you’ve probably helped out friends and family with one thing or another. Now’s the time to call in those favours. Speak to friends and family to see what they could do to help if your days comes a-cropper. For example, if there are train delays, could they pick up your toddler from nursery for you, or take in your child who walks home from school? Get to know who you can depend on (and help out), so it’s not a major panic when things go wrong…they will, sometimes.

4. Superwoman wore a cape…do you?
One of the perils of being a working mum is that you work and still come home to all the chores that need doing. Some days, you’ll have next to no energy to do anything, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. You are human, after all, and it can be more draining doing things for other people (your family) and working than we give credit for. Don’t feel like you’re useless just because you can’t keep your home pristine during the week like a Stepford wife.

5. A problem shared…
Delegation is a skill that every working mum needs. If you’re cooking, get your partner to do the homework with the kids. Or get them to read the toddler a bedtime story, while you do some chores. If you try to do it all, you’ll get half the work done if you’re lucky, and it will feel like you haven’t achieved much every day, which will demotivate you. Get your children involved – teach them how to tidy up after themselves and it will soon become a habit you don’t have to nag about.

You can do it…you may not have the whole cake to eat, but you’ll definitely get more than a slice if you have a plan.

Win a free call and follow up email worth up to £40:

If you’d like to win a one to one telephone call and e-mail with Joycellyn, just leave a comment below telling us what you most worry about / most look forward to about work. For a bonus entry, share this on Facebook or tweet the following on Twitter:

I want to win a @Greatvine 1-to-1 phonecall & e-mail for #mums returning to #work @MilkChic http://milkchic.co.uk/60017 #workingmums

Don’t forget to enter all the other World Breastfeeding Week Giveaways too!

Giveaway Terms & Conditions: UK only. Closing date: 22/08/2012, 23:59. No cash alternative. Winners will be drawn randomly from all entrants. If the winner cannot be contacted after 7 days, an alternative winner may be drawn.

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Win George at Asda vouchers for World Breastfeeding Week

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To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (1st-8th August, 2012), MilkChic has teamed up with lots of breastfeeding friendly retailers to give nursing mums a treat. Today, it’s the turn of George at Asda, who are giving away a £50 voucher to one lucky mum!

George at AsdaSince pregnancy, I’ve got a bit more adventurous with fashion. Where previously I was a dress for your shape kinda girl (in my case, empire line / 50s styles… anything that would make my boobs seem less of a liability), now I’m more likely to try new things. Getting dressed used to be a lot easier when I was certain what worked, but it’s a lot more fun now I’m not ruling out shapes on sight. I bought my first ever pair of skinny jeans in Asda when small one was a few months old and they stock loads of breastfeeding-friendly styles at affordable prices, so you can experiment with new looks without breaking the bank.

*Word to the wise: If you’re trying to budget, close your eyes as you go past the kids section. I seem unable to walk by without picking up something.

Here are my picks of the current range… Gorgeous prints in classic dress shapes:




Animal Print Cotton Summer Dress, £12
Button front for breastfeeding access

Floral Print Shirt Dress, £20
Shirt dresses are brilliant for breastfeeding access, and this is just gorgeous!

Moda Printed Jersey Dress, £16
The crossover neckline will stretch for breastfeeding access.

Funky flat shoes:




Bird Print Canvas Shoes, £8

Aztec Print Canvas Shoes, £8

Patent Contrast Ballet Shoes, £10

Something to keep in the baby bag for when the weather isn’t “quite” as summery as you’d hoped:

This Crown Print Pac a Poncho is a good shape for breastfeeding in – wear with anything underneath and just lift up to feed.

(Other designs are also available)

And finally, some breastfeeding friendly nightwear to curl up in at the end of the day:




Floral Print Jumpsuit, £10
Button front for breastfeeding access

Ruffle Trim Pyjama Top, £6
Button placket will stretch for nursing access. I’d wear this with the Animal Print Pyjama Bottoms, £6

Win a £50 voucher – what are your favourites?

For a chance to win a £50 George at Asda voucher, visit George at Asda and tell me in the comments below what you would buy. For a bonus entry, share this on Facebook or tweet the following:

I’ve entered to #win a £50 @georgeatasda voucher with @milkchic http://milkchic.co.uk/59541 #fashion

Good luck! You can find lots more breastfeeding friendly George at Asda fashion on the shop pages. Don’t forget to enter the other World Breastfeeding Week 2012 Giveaways too.

Terms & Conditions: Entries restricted to UK & Ireland only. Closing date: 18th August 2012, 23:59. Winner of 1 x £50 George at Asda voucher will be selected at random from entries. No cash alternative. If winner cannot be contacted after 7 days, an alternative name may be drawn.

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