Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mobile Phones for Kids?

I've just returned from the local Post Office (which is my third visit) for the sole purpose of applying for Drew's first passport. Each time I go there I see a different PO Advisor and each one has found a different fault with our passport application and photo. This time, the date was missing on the back of Drew's photo and this has to be added by the Countersignee...another wasted trip. It's funny how they (the Government) are so strict about things like adding the date on the photo when the passport will last for 5 years and in that time, Drew's photo will not change, but Drew will! How will Passport Control know it's her in say, 3 years time? I took her photo at 9 weeks old (by laying her down on the floor with a white blanket behind her as per the Government rules) and anyone who know anything about kids will know how quickly they grow and change, week by week. I could probably take any child on holiday with me with her passport!

Anyway, whilst I was driving to the Post Office, I passed a local school just as the gates had opened and the primary aged children were dribbling out with their over sized rucksacks. I noticed that at least 4 kids were on mobile phones! AND...the Lollipop Man was on his mobile while he was waiting for a break in the traffic! It seems everyone has a mobile phone these days and everyone feels they HAVE to talk to someone ALL the time. I nearly wrote...'I remember a time when there were no mobile phones', but I realised that would make me sound old although I don't remember when 'it was all fields' as I'm not THAT old.

So, that got me thinking. In that moment, whilst in the car, I made the decision that Drew would NEVER have a mobile phone until she could afford one herself. But then I wondered whether parents gave their kids mobile phones for security reasons, so they could use the phone in an emergency. Not a bad idea, but how could you ensure your child would not use their mobile phone for any other reason and how would you stop them from using it whilst in school where it could get stolen or even confiscated?

What about the bad habits they could pick up? Spelling Thx instead of Thanks and L8r instead of later and the risk of developing RSI at a young age. What about mobile phone radiation? Is it harmful to children? Then there is the risk that your child will be the subject of bullies if you don't give them one of these cool new gadgets. You run the risk of sounding like YOUR parents as you hear yourself say 'Just because your friends have one, doesn't mean you have to have one too'. Thing is, when I was a child/early teen, hearing that didn't make any sense. Of course it meant I HAD to have one, otherwise I would be ridiculed by the other kids and struggle to retain friends! Only it wasn't mobile phones in the mid 80's, it was having your ears pierced, wearing makeup and high heels.

So, I think the mobile phone is up for debate at the moment. What do you all think? Place your vote opposite.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Friday, January 18, 2008


Drew had her first injections yesterday.

One was for Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) (DTaP/IPV/Hib) and the other was for Pneumococcal infection (conjugate vaccine, Pneumococcal PCV).

Each injection was given to Drew in her legs. I couldn't watch, but I held her as the nasty, nasty lady punctured a hole in each of Drew's thighs. Drew cried instantly...real tears too. She cried for the next 30mins and then fell asleep in my arms in the surgery as the nurse advised us to wait around to see if there were any adverse effects.

After 30mins, I decided to stay and book into the Baby Drop-in Clinic to get Drew weighed. Now 10 weeks old, Drew weighed in at 9lb 7oz. Right on target. The Health Visitor then asked how we were getting on now we had switched to formula. I said things were much better. I knew that Drew was getting the right amount, I was happier, Jerry was happier and Drew was happier too.

That's when the HV dropped the 'Guilt Bomb'. She advised me that it wasn't too late to switch back to breastmilk, that she could help me get my boobs back on track, but that it would be a hard uphill struggle and it could take weeks to get sorted.

My heart instantly sank. I felt so guilty. The HV was waiting for me to respond. I didn't know what to say. Did we make the right decision to stop? Were we being selfish? My eyes welled up and she could see I was getting emotional. However, although she said she didn't mean to upset me, she continued to explain that I still had the choice. Weeks earlier, the same HV had told me that once Drew had had 4 bottles of formula in a row, there was no going back. My boobs would not work. I was so confused. I thought back to the stress I felt when I wasn't making enough and Drew crying because she wasn't getting enough milk. Could I go through that for a few more weeks with no guarantee it would work? The HV was still silent expecting me to make a decision there and then. I couldn't do it on my own. I needed to discuss this with Jerry. Going back wouldn't just affect me and Drew, it would affect Jerry too. It's not often talked about, but when you feed babies on formula or even Breastmilk in a bottle, it lets the father take an active role in feeding and I think that's great for the baby and the Father. To take that 'moment' away from Drew and Jerry would be heartbreaking and not to mention, an awful stress and sense of responsibility back on just me. In my head, I was saying 'We'll get her in the car park! Nasty lady! I bet she's friends with the lady who makes holes in your legs!!' My heart was saying 'Maybe I should try again for the sake of Drew'.

In the end, I told her I didn't think I could go through that all again and that I hadn't made the decision to switch lightly or overnight. I also said I needed to talk to Jerry. I didn't say 'I'll get back to you' because I felt I didn't have to answer to her. She was only there to advise, not to tell me what to do.

Saying that...the HV rounded up the conversation by telling me she had a nightmare breastfeeding herself and, with one of her children, only got to 10 weeks too! In that instant, she seemed almost human so I knew she was only telling me what she HAD to tell me because it was her job and formed part of the government objective.

I think using the phrase 'Breast is Best' is fine, but it shouldn't be shoved down your throat like an unwanted Jehovah at your door!



Well that's it then. My boobs have given up the ghost!

I forgot to post this, but Christmas Eve at about 10.10pm, my boobs stopped producing milk. Well, I'm sure they were still producing, but there was no semi-skimmed in my lovelies that night! Of course, to make matters worse, we were staying Teignmouth with my parents and didn't think to take emergency formula as we hadn't introduced that yet!

Panic set in and whilst Drew sat in the arms of my Mum in their living room, Jerry and I sped all round the roads of Devon trying to find somewhere that would be open that would sell formula...on Christmas Eve!!

We headed towards Newton Abbot Hospital in desperation and my Mum gave her my last drop of expressed milk to keep her mildly content.

We can laugh about it now, but at the time, driving manically around late on Christmas Eve was like driving around a ghost town. Everyone was in their warm cosy homes, watching a Christmas Eastenders or Two Ronnies Special and there we were looking like a kerb-crawling couple, driving slowly past garages and corner shops squinting to see if there were any lights on. Nothing.

Twenty minutes or so passed and all we kept thinking was 'why didn't we think to bring some formula with us???'. But you don't. We haven't done this baby thing before...how would we know? No one tells you these bits. You just learn...the hard way!

Jerry was adamant we wouldn't find anywhere open and I asked him why we were even out scouring the roads and he said "I'm doing it for you. Its a mental thing". I could have lost it at that point, but it only made me laugh like a mad person.

As we carried on driving in the dark night, we both focused on a dim light in front of us.
It looked like a garage, but the garage lights were off, but the inside shop appeared to be lit. Could it be open now at this time of night? As we drove nearer, it shone like a beacon in the frosty evening and we could just make out a outline of a person...an angel. We let the light guide us closer and low and behold...it was an all-night SPAR and it was open!

We have never been so pleased to see a grumpy Scrooge working in a tiny garage shop ever!! He had a tub of formula which we bought and I'm sure he probably thought we hadn't eaten in days as we were both so relieved as we held the shining tub of food above our heads. BEHOLD...SMA GOLD!!!

We called my parents to let them know we had struck lucky and we were on our way back only to hear Drew's cries in the background...which tugged at the old heartstrings. Thankfully, Drew took the SMA like a duck to water and I'm sure she was relieved her belly was finally full. I know we were.

From that point on, my boobs never recovered. I was never able to give her a full feed no matter how hard I tried massaging them so I continued to top her up with formula to ensure she was getting what she needed.

After Christmas, we changed from SMA to Aptamil (as mentioned in a previous post) and Drew had no problems switching. I also continued to feed from my breast as much as possible and topped up with Aptamil.

However, last Friday, after trying for sometime to get my breasts to make more milk, trying the hot flannels trick and applying more massage, they gave up. I had lumps all over them which were really painful and tender to touch. Even lying down was too much to bare. My right one had also just started bleeding too and I was getting uptight about not being able to give her what I wanted.

I made a GP appointment that very day to check whether I had an infection because of the blood and he was great. The GP reassured me that the blood had come from a cracked nipple due to Drew sucking so hard to get the milk. He basically suggested that because I had introduced formula, my boobs were making less milk.

I pointed out that I only used formula BECAUSE my breasts weren't making enough and he said you have blocked ducts (pointing to the tender lumps) and again advised massage and hot flannels or his other suggestion was to switch wholly to formula as he could see I was getting stressed. The GP then said I had done well to breastfeed this far and that I had done as much as I could and I shouldn't feel guilty.

He read me like a book. I DID feel guilty and I know that's a natural feeling that ALL mothers feel when they stop breastfeeding at any point. It's drummed into you so much in your antenatal classes, the hospital, the health visitors, the midwives, the books and the Internet, it just subconsciously happens. You also hear 'Don't feel guilty' lots and sometimes that just makes you feel even more guilty...especially if you had it sorted in your head. You were okay about it and didn't feel guilty and then someone says 'Don't feel guilty'...it makes you starting worrying about it again. That's what happened to me yesterday.

After the GP appointment and talking it over with Jerry. We made the joint decision to switch to formula and I braced myself for the pain the GP said I would feel for days or weeks while the milk was absorbed back into my body.

The pain was really bad that Friday night and no position was comfortable. It was like sleeping with two melons on my chest with pains shooting down them both. Painkillers did help and after the hot flannels again, I had to express a tiny spoonful just to ease the pain. Each day that goes past, they feel better, but they are still lumpy and tender in places. When the milk eases up I'll be able to see how far they droop for the rest of my life!

Anyway, back to what happened yesterday...it started with Drew's first vaccinations...read my next POST to see what happened.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Brain Shrinkage

I’ve just done the silliest thing…I just went to the Vets for Barney’s booster vaccinations and they reminded me a few days before the appointment to take his vaccination card...which I did. However, I drove the 30min ride to the vets, looking for a parking space which wouldn't be too faraway. That's when I realised I’d forgotten Barney!! What a dimwit! I had already rearranged the appointment 3 times! They thought I was bonkers so I blamed it on brain shrinkage. The Vet just laughed at me. Barney 's got away with it again!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

**WARNING - loaded nappy shot - WARNING**


Wednesday, January 9, 2008


So, there I am. Semi-naked in the front room. A flannel soaked in hot water draped over each breast. Watching Shameless on the telly, whilst Jerry fills the baby bath with water wearing his boxer shorts. Drew had just performed the projectile vomiting scene from The Exorcist...all over Jerry, the sofa and the carpet. All I kept thinking was I hoped the doorbell didn't go as I wasn't looking my best. I mean, I was wearing two non-matching coloured flannels!

Anyway, the 'hot flannel to the breasts' trick worked! I had blocked ducts which was quite painful and still is. But, this worked and I managed to express 3 fl oz instantly!

I wonder how often I have to do that. I can see my routine getting longer and longer. Hot flannels, feed, feed top-up formula if necessary, express...when do I get to watch Jeremy Kyle?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

What Dignity?

It's funny how your dignity goes out the window when you have a baby. Not only do you have to keep your legs apart for hours on end, you then worry about the possibility that you might just poop in front of the midwives who then actually clear it away as if were crumbs you left from a slice of chocolate cake...

...but then the hospital midwives take hold of your boob and nipple as if they were forcing a square peg into a round hole. A round hole which keeps moving and has a rather annoying 'crying' sound effect. You can guarantee it though...those midwives WILL get that square peg in the round hole even by force, then they hold it there and wait for the round hole to clamp down onto it. Then they ask 'can you feel the milk?'...'No, but I can feel your cold hands squishing my boobs, its not even 7.00am and you've not brought me my toast, jam and tea yet woman!!'

Premium Rate S*x Phone Line

Do you know, I don't think I've ever talked so freely about my own nipples, breasts, front and back bottom, and that fact that NO-ONE told me I might get piles (where did THEY come from?). All with a serious look on my face. I'm sure anyone eavesdropping would feel they were getting a freebie from a premium rate s*x phone line.


Friday, January 4, 2008


Yes!!! My first bath since giving birth 8 weeks ago!!! I was actually able to run the bath, sit in it, read some of my book (borrowed) and relax! AM-AZ-ING! It also gave me a chance to check that the bubble making machine worked that my Auntie Ceri & Uncle David bought Drew. It does! Its much better than our usual bath time internal 'bubble' machine!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My Top Ten Tips (for now!)

Here are TEN things no one tells you about BEFORE you have a baby!!

1. There are 3 MAIN different reasons why your Baby could be crying...
  • WIND
There are other reasons such as:-
  • I'm too hot, too cold
  • I've poohed my pants and its gone everywhere and I want you to experience the smell and texture of the contents of my nappy and let it linger under your nails for at least 3 hours
  • I just want to be held
2. Don't assume they want to feed ALL the time...if they've had a fill, let them suck on something else. With newborns especially, the need to suck is quite strong and sucking a dummy or as it's called in our house, "Colin The Comforter", can give them great comfort. It is suggested that "comfort sucking" can help steady a baby's heart rate, relax the stomach, and helps them settle...and amuse us in the process!

3. If you use Avent products, there is a number embossed on the teats indicating how many holes are in the teat which control the flow of milk. For example... 1 hole for newborns, 2 holes for 1 month +, 4 holes for 6 months. Or you can get a teat with a variable slot for 3 months +.

4. Feeding a baby double the amount before bedtime in the evening can help with letting them for longer! (That's a good one that is and it works!).

5. If you are breastfeeding,
ALWAYS have "Emergency Formula"
at the ready just incase your kahoonas
stop working and are empty!
You never know!

6. Aptamil seems to be the closest type of formula to breast milk and is recommended by Midwives and is much less creamier than other formula products.

7. Go to the Antenatal & Postnatal Groups. Even if you're the shyist person in the world, the support and guidance you get from the Community Midwives and Health Visitors is brilliant and you can swap stories and pick up some really good tips from the other mothers. You're realise you're not on your own!

8. Don't walk on eggshells around your baby. We were advised to let Drew sleep whilst we watch TV and listen to music so she gets used to sleeping around loud noise. This means she is less likely to wake up whilst at the slightest sound...even when Jerry comes back from a boys night out...drunk again!!

9. Don't be TOO eager to express to early on. I made this mistake and now my boobs don't know what they are doing. They're still as big as houses, but sometimes one is bigger than the other, sometimes more painful and lumpy. All in all...they are not sexual objects. They are a feeding facility which sometimes goes on strike!

10. If you choose to try formula whilst still breastfeeding, if you give your baby FOUR feeds consecutively from a bottle, the Midwives/Health Visitors say your boobs may give up producing the correct amount needed.

I should add that everything I write is just what I have found out myself. From my own experience. If you are at all concerned about anything, my advice is to speak to your Community Midwife or Health Visitor...and make sure they are nice ones!!