Bloody hell. One year! I remember writing a blog when he was about 12 weeks old promising to check in and let you know how things were going, and it’s taken until now – soz! I knew this year would be busy, but I didn’t anticipate it going this fast. In one way I’m elated – Florence’s first year often felt like it was dragging, a baby who didn’t sleep, a mum still finding her parenting style whilst struggling inside, a much smaller support network and many, many days which felt like groundhog day.
This time round I’ve been better supported, I’m more confident, we have had two children to keep us busy and thankfully far more sleep overall. I returned to working much earlier, I took on Southend Cloth Nappy Library in September and more recently the Group Hypnobirthing Courses, we found out Lenny has some allergies to contend with, decided to home educate Florence and of course anyone who has met Lenny will know that HE DOES NOT STOP MOVING!!! So yeah, its flown by, but I’m here now updating you as his first birthday nears as to how feeding has gone. You can catch the first twelve weeks including the tongue tie stuff here..
Beyond those early weeks, things seemed fairly easy for a while actually. His latch wasn’t perfect but improving, and although he was still bringing up milk quite a lot, he was happy, thriving and we weren’t really worried. We were bedsharing and getting far more sleep than with Flossie despite him feeding regularly overnight still. Not having to even sit up to pop a boob in his mouth was a dream in comparison and I now realise how much safer it was for him too.
At about 5.5 months he started grabbing food off plates given half a chance, so we started baby led weaning just with veg, fruits and soft meats initially, before starting to include other stuff. Because Florence is sensitive to dairy, I decided I didn’t want to introduce it to him yet and it seems like my mothers instinct was spot on. After a few random more mild reactions, he had a major one in October and we have since discovered he is allergic to cows milk, eggs and peanuts although testing has been a bit inconclusive – we are back in a few months for more and I’m hoping we can ditch the epi-pen if he’s okay!
Anyway, I was also told I should remove dairy, egg and peanuts from my diet – I wasn’t convinced it was necessary as I’d been eating them for the whole of his life whilst feeding him, but within a few days of cutting it out, his reflux completely stopped! The odd occasion I’ve slipped up, or been unable to resist cheese or similar, its resulted in a day or two of reflux again, so I’m now much more careful to avoid it. I’m not going to lie, its been HARD! I love cheese, and the number of things with a bit of milk in is almost unbelievable, but I know that it’s not forever for me and hopefully Lenny will outgrow it too. I know there are a lot of women out there going through a similar ‘added layer’ in their breastfeeding journey – I take my hat off to you all, sometimes when I’m tired and craving comfort food it takes all my willpower to resist!
As he approaches one I’ve had a few people begin to rejoice for me that I will soon be able to eat it again as I can stop breastfeeding, and trust me, the temptation is there! However, I fed Florence until she was two and it feels really important to me for a few reasons that he has my milk for a similar duration, especially given he is already eating a restricted diet. So it’s unlikely I will encourage weaning him any time soon, and I’m hoping for another gentle, mostly child led weaning process.
His latch is generally load’s better now, but anyone who has breastfed a teething baby will be familiar with the changing latch when they’re uncomfortable – some weeks have been quite sore, but currently we are on a good run. The crazy arm waving, slapping, pulling at my face and trying to tweak the other nipple can all do one though – that’s one part of feeding an older baby I find incredibly annoying! When he’s calm and focussed I love the connection, and when I hear him gulping down milk I made, I still find it incredible that I have been able to offer him this nourishment from conception right through to his birthday – feeding my babies is right up there on my list of top accomplishments – mainly because it really hasn’t been easy either time, but it’s been so worth the effort to me.
He recently went into his own cot in the same room as his sister (she is delighted to have him in there) as I needed to create some space for myself for the night I has him sleeping in our room, Flossie in hers and Matt downstairs as he leaves for work in the early hours so needs to get to bed early – it left me with only my bathroom to hang out or work in – there are only so many hot baths you can enjoy before something has to give haha I miss having him snuggled up but appreciate the space and if he wakes in the night I usually just bring him back in with me still. Night feeds are less frequent when he’s fit and well compared to when he was in with me though so we have had the odd longer stretch which is bliss.
I’m often asked how often he feeds or how frequently Florence did at this age, I honesty don’t keep track, but I’d say between 4 and 6 times a day usually now, I follow his lead. Feeds are often short, and when I’m not with him he’s happy with water or oat milk from a cup. So if you are still feeding your baby 50 million times in a day to establish your supply or serve a growth spurt – know it wont be forever, and that feeds often become shorter as baby gets more efficient and excited to go off and play!
If you would like support or an understanding ear at any stage of your breastfeeding journey, you can find myself, Lizzie and Clair at Cake Club Thursday’s 12.15-15.00 at DILAM HQ. Our gorgeous brand ambassadors will bring you a hot brew, and you will be well looked after in every way.
For more in depth 1:1 feeding support I would highly recommend getting in touch with Clair – In The Club Midwifery
Or Lynsey – Mothering Matters (She also runs a free weekly support group in Benfleet but sometimes you need the time and space of 1:1 support)