Babywearing with Jess


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Will you have more kids?

 

You know it’s this interesting thing that happens at a certain stage in life, isn’t it? The question of you as a baby maker, being obviously that you only need to be a woman as the common denominator for the general public to feel it is of their concern to ask you.

I know I have child less friends who get asked this all the time and who rightly so get sick and tired of it. I know that the minute Josh was born, people where suggesting it was time we considered another! And I also know that we are not alone in feeling that pressure as I heard it often from others too.

 

 

 

Now we have the “two kids” package, the pressure this time round is less, but never the less the question still gets posed regularly enough that its of uncomfortable interest, “will you have more kids?” or “maybe time for another?”

Its asked in different ways depending I guess on your circumstances but the thing people over look quite often when they ask it is, despite modern concepts of contraception and control and planning over these events in our lives for some of us, it doesn’t always work that way.

Yep some people it is like that, planned, coordinated and executed, but not for everyone. When James and I first got engaged and people would regularly ask us about kids, very few of them knew we had been ‘trying’ to convince already for some time.  Every time the question was asked it was like a sting that my body hadn’t yet got the message everyone else was asking me about.

We had been ‘trying’ for two years, we got right to the point where the doctor said, “maybe you guys should consider IVF?”

The pressure I had put myself under and the disappointment I kept feeling at myself every time I did get another period, which was like a soul crushing reminder my body still hadn’t conceived, was getting too much. The ‘trying’ was taking the fun out of our relationship. It was all too much…

This was relatively early stages of our relationship still, we had almost been ‘trying’ almost since we began our relationship. We decided that we would just wait. Focus on other shit. Live life. If the issue was still the same in a few years’ time, we would look at our options then.

Effectively, we stopped ‘trying’. See this sounds silly, cause the only thing that changed was that we didn’t have the same pressure on ourselves, on the situation. It’s not like anything had effectively changed but sex was no longer scheduled or timed and well, I guess I don’t need to say more than it put the fun back into it…. 😉

It was two months later we conceived Josh but I didn’t realise for quite a while. Having PCOS means I don’t usually have regular cycles anyway, the fact I hadn’t had a period in three months meant nothing to me and I had stopped living in hope that a skipped cycle meant I was pregnant. Before then, before then we had kept stacks of pregnancy tests in the bathroom and I would take them all the time, but at that point I had put the concept from my mind.

It was actually a friend of ours who came over after work one evening with an aged bottle of rum which is usually a keen favourite of mine and he offer me a drink, “ohhh nah, thanks, I just don’t feel like it and I’m really tired, I’m gonna go to bed I think guys, I’ll leave you to it.”

He and James both looked up at me surprised and our friend said, “omg, what? Are you pregnant?” I laughed, “I don’t think so! I’m allowed to turn down a drink guys! It that so shocking?! I’m just tired!”

James too laughed, “it’s just that its 40-year-old Appleton’s babe! You love this shit!”

“Meh, not tonight. I’m good, thanks…” and I wandered off into the bedroom, too thinking, I really do love that shit, I just don’t feel like it… Maybe that is a bit strange…? When did I last have a period?

Needless to say, the next day I went and bought a fresh box of pregnancy tests. I did the first and it came back positive… I showed James and said, “no, I think there is something wrong with the tests, give me another one”.

Needless to say, the second one had the same result. Still not letting myself believe it, I said to James, “it’s gotta be something wrong with the packet, you do the last test!”

Entertaining me he took the third test in the packet and after me sitting in suspense on the edge of the bed for the two minutes it took him to return, I eagerly looked up as he walked around the corner, “well, one if of us pregnant and it’s not me!” he smiled. Showing me his negative pregnancy test, he put it alongside the two positive one’s I was still staring out trying to get my head around it.

We thought we had lost Josh when I had a placental abruption at 13 weeks, we didn’t. The placenta grew massive to reattach to the womb lining and he is now a full of energy (and testosterone!) four-and-a-half-year-old.

Between my boys, we had another pregnancy, a baby we call Jellybean. Who was our honeymoon baby, conceived when we went and eloped when Josh was 18 months old. That pregnancy ended in what is called a ‘missed miscarriage’. In between the time when we went for a scan, Jellybean had died and had no heart beat but my body hadn’t caught up with the message yet. I hemorrhaged in the processes of waiting for my body to miscarriage naturally and ended up getting an ambulance ride to the hospital and coming home with a tiny little box coffin with Jellybean inside.

Jai was conceived shortly after and again, despite some issues with bleeds and my massive concerns about losing him too throughout my pregnancy, he is now a full of beans and troublesome 20-month-old. Pregnancy after miscarriage in my experience is quite different. There are fears and concerns and doubts I never had in previous miscarriages the same, even with the huge issues we had early on with Josh. The threat of loss felt much more real.

And I had an amazing birth with Jai, don’t get me wrong, but I really don’t like being pregnant. It’s not a ‘mother earth’ time to me haha I gain shit loads of weight and my hormones go out of whack and symptoms of PCOS seem worse even though they are different. But as soon as Jai was born, James and I kind of looked at each other, “I know we only ever planned for two kids, but is this really our last baby?”

So, I don’t know. I am currently at the point where never having to be pregnant again is actually an incredibly appealing concept. I haven’t got to do things like open water diving in so many years because my body hasn’t been my own, I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding or both. Now with Jai close to weaning, the light at the end of the tunnel in that sense is close enough to catch glimpses of momentarily sometimes.

But I hate what contraceptives do to my body. I hate how they mess with my already normally slightly out of whack hormone levels and yep sure sometimes that stabilises, but at a different kind of balance than what my body considers normal and I find the issues of PCOS worse. Weight is more difficult for me to manage, all kinds of other symptoms I usually don’t struggle too badly with become facts of daily life again like they did through my adolescence.

Jai weaning himself off the boob and having days sometimes in between feeds now means my hormones are already changing balances and messing with me anyway. I think a lot of us overlook how much that affects us as the mothers when a baby or child is weaning from the boob. It makes our hormones jump all over the place too.

And sometimes I sit there on the rare occasion he still asks for boob and I get a tear in my eye and wonder if it might be the last time and I try to savour it as much as I can. Then I catch myself thinking, “would it matter if it is the last time I breastfeed?”

I know after all our battles, struggles and issues with fertility, James and I quickly jumped from, ‘two kids max’ to ‘whatever life throws at us’ but really… there are lots of benefits to just having two kids right? That’s why we always originally agreed on two, well that and we both come from two children nuclear families which probably does have a bit of bearing on how we conceptualise our understandings and expectations of family when we are getting to make the decisions.

But two kids means you’re not outnumbered by little people. We can still tag team and break them up when it gets too much, “you take one, I’ll take the other”. Travel is still somewhat affordable (but man, travel even with one kid is hard, I’m not sure my expectations of that argument still stand in my mind). You don’t need a different car – that one was like a fundamental two kid argument for us but when you really think about it, that one is ridiculous, we have changed cars several times over the last few years anyway.

And while I had thought before I had kids, one on one was easier, when you actually have a wee pack of children, like happens with friend’s kids etc, sometimes they can actually be easier to manage from the adult perspective. They entertain each other more.

But as I watch Jai at the age Josh was when he was conceived and see him finally getting to all those stages of independence, he plays by himself now, he likes pottering around the garden, he is more independent, more capable. He is interested in toilet training, he is trying to drop his day sleep. He runs and jumps and keeps up with his big brother. He is not a baby anymore, even if he is my baby.

They say you never regret having another child but you may regret not having one. And I imagine there is a shit load of truth to that. Because you bond with children, well you are meant to, and of course you wouldn’t regret that extra person to love.

I kind of expected that the threat of doing all these ‘lasts’ with Jai would make me more clucky, more keen to do it again, more set in my mind that whatever life throws at us is the direction I want to go. But strangely I am finding almost the opposite true for me, the idea this might be the last nappy I have to change, the concept this could be the last time I have to lie on an awkward angle to breastfeed my baby back to sleep… while heart moving and somewhat bitter sweet, it’s not making me miss doing it to the point where I want to jump up and start from the beginning all over again.

Its making me rethink just how much I want to in fact… so when you ask me, “will you have more kids?” well, guess what, I dunno… But maybe just realise often when you are asking a woman this, you have no idea of the context, journey or experiences she has faced on this exact topic when you do. You could be actually being really rude and hurtful, in fact, regardless of her journey, you are being rude.

It is her body, her family, her choices. How about we drop the expectations that we are all meant to do the same thing or plan for life the same way or even know what we want or what we are doing or need to explain that to someone else. Because this question of asking a woman about her choices around children, well it’s kind of like asking someone if they are pregnant… Just don’t. They will tell you if that want to talk about it. Otherwise you risk putting your foot in your mouth big time and really upsetting someone.


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Wedding stress and the top 10 reasons to elope ;)

Six years ago today, my now husband James and I booked and paid a deposit on a wedding venue we never got married at.

You can see from the picture we were pretty stoked to at least have this aspect now “ticked off” our list.

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If you have never planned a wedding, well, let me just say in the simplest, most straight up way possible, it is stressful as fuck.

So just pulling it back to basics right, there is a few things you need for a wedding; two people who want to get married, someone to “marry them” or conduct some kind of service, two witnesses to sign the paperwork, some rings and a location.

When we booked this specific location, well, our wedding plans, like many had become far more complicated than that. For starters, my Dad had died two months earlier and all the plans I had told him about before he died included him walking me down the aisle.

At a friend’s wedding recently I was sitting next to another married friend of mine Kylie, who must have been married just over two years now as I was pregnant with Jai at her and Ari’s wedding even though I didn’t know it at the time.

Across the table from us where some other mutual friends of the bride and grooms and they are currently engaged and wedding planning and asking us about our tips for wedding “success” if you like… Good thing Kylie was there cause my only tip was, “don’t invite anyone”!

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James and I had a whirlwind romance beginning to our relationship, one romantic novels are written about and I have written about this stuff for him in a folder of stories about our first years together which I did in secret for a long time and gave to him on our first wedding anniversary. But today as we talked about how ironic it is we never had that original service and plan eventuate and how bloody glad both of us are that it never happened that way, we first laughed and joked about how much more cost effective it is if none else to elope and how more people should consider it..

But more than that, our wedding had no guests, “a proper elopement” as all the resort staff commented in surprise… And do you know what that made for?

A day purely focused on celebrating our love for each other and the next chapter together.

So here is the top reasons we thought of to elope and not invite anyone to your wedding if it’s not your thing or it all becomes too hard and stressful like it did for us the first time round planning…

  1. It’s about you.

It’s not about who has what dietary requirements, whether you feed guests sit down meals or not? Do you have an open bar or make people pay for drinks? Who is feuding with who and who do we have to sit on opposite sides of the room? Who had issues or problems or accessibility stuff we need to consider? Who do we invite out of obligation and who do we really want there? What does my mum want, what does yours? What does that random family member who always causes a scene need? Blah blah blah…. So much of wedding planning stress is actually nothing about the two of you getting married, it is about the people you are entertaining and including in the day… That’s cool and awesome, but yeah, another option, just don’t invite them… Any of them.. 😉

  1. You can have your wedding on any day of the week or time that takes your fancy..

There are many benefits to point out here… when we did elope we had Josh (our eldest son) with us, he was 18 months at the time, having a morning ceremony meant I know he could nap while we had photos etc… Also, just saying, do you have any idea how much cheaper it is to have a wedding on a Tuesday rather than a Saturday or Sunday..? Yep no guests to consider for has other advantages there too..

  1. Cost advantages

Beyond just the day of the week and not having to pay for others to eat and drink, the whole cost of our wedding, which included things like flights, car hire, private beach house at a resort, five day holiday, room service, honeymoon package, EVERYTHING was still a grand total of probably the cheapest wedding of my friends and family I have heard yet. And we rolled a family holiday and the closest thing to a honeymoon you can get with s clingy breastfeeding toddler in tow, all in one package!

  1. The best of everything!

I was so lucky to have a great wedding planner who helped me with everything. She was part of the resort package. In fact the minute my Mum casually flipping through a magazine saw a story about a couple ‘eloping and not telling anyone until after’ and made a passing comment, “I can imagine you doing that!”, James and I made eye contact across the room, “that’s pretty much permission right there dude” we said to each other with our eyes… that night we researched “best wedding resorts”… I found one that had all the bits we wanted, a wedding planner, a separate beach house you could hire on the water front (but still a 50 meter walk to all the benefits of being in a resort), a honeymoon package, photographers and babysitters they had access too, knowledge of celebrants in the area, a spa and salon on site, a pool, everything WE wanted. It was made so easy for me.

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The Beach House, separate from the resort we had to ourselves for five days!

The wedding planner sent me a template, you need to pick these things, and here are my top three recommendations, that’s it. I just had to pick my favourites. The hardest part of all was not telling anyone we were planning it for the six months out we did… There were a very few people I told, those who were originally going to be my bridesmaids mainly cause I still needed help with some of those calls, being a bride and planning a day like that you will look back on forever is a bit of pressure as much as it is fun and exciting.

Anyway, she told me their off seasons, we planned it during school holidays, just before the “real wedding season” started just out of cyclone season but on the cusp of the busy period. We planned it mid-week, we did all those thing because it meant we were able to have the best of the best, I got all my “first picks” for everything because I wasn’t competing for time slots with others, most of the service providers even gave us discounts!

  1. The intimacy

It’s our love story right? It is a day about us… I know and understand the desire to share that with those you love but at that time in our lives, everyone was still raw and devastated about my dad dying, the last thing he said to me was “don’t let me steal your thunder” so I foraged ahead with the plans we had before he died… but in retrospect, doing so was making him steal the thunder in itself.. Weddings and funerals man, they have the ability to bring out the best and worst in all of us as they are such monumental times and celebrations.

At our wedding there was literally six of us, there were also the wedding planner who came along in the morning to set it up and the two hair and make-up ladies who helped me get ready but the service itself was just us. It was James waiting at the end of the aisle for me, Josh throwing rose petals as I walked down the rose petal aisle while in the capable and caring arms of the babysitter, the photographer taking the photos and our celebrant. The photographer and babysitter where our witnesses.

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Lisa had a son Josh’s age, she came well prepared haha

After the service itself Josh went with the babysitter Lisa who had a son of a similar age to have a play and a sleep while we did photos and then we returned to the beach house and front lawn where we got married hours earlier to drink champagne and finish the photos before josh got dropped back, the photographer left and the resort brought us the first course of our honeymoon package dinner.. It was beautiful..

  1. The relaxed nature

The day before the wedding, the various people helping us (celebrant, photographer, wedding planner, make up peeps, babysitter, everyone) said “Ok, what time is the service?”

We hadn’t planned a time. Why would you need an exact time when no one else is coming? “Umm in the morning? I dunno, what about 10am?” we replied.

So a 10am wedding it was planned to be. This was in Northern Queensland (we wanted to go “offshore” enough that it felt like an overseas holiday, but not too far cause, well travelling with a toddler is hell and also I’m Australian, getting married in Australia made the paperwork easier). The morning of the wedding a cyclone was coming in. It was like grey rolling clouds for half an hour followed by beautiful sunny skies.. As 10am approached, I remember James and Coleen our celebrant standing outside saying, “I think its going to start raining right at 10am hey?” In a normal setting I get that would be kind a bit of a disaster, but we had no pressure from ourselves or others, “well why don’t we get married at 1030am then?” I suggested…

I remember everyone but James’ shock at that moment… When we were talking about it today we both remarked how at that moment and following that, every single one of the people who helped us with our day commented on separate occasion and to both of us, “this is the most relaxed wedding I have ever experienced!”

That might be a personal draw card, but why would you not want that for your wedding? The stress of the wedding day seems to be something we as a society have made to become part of the ritual but why? That element was one of the best facts!

  1. No issues

I didn’t spend the whole time worrying and stressing that my dad wasn’t there to walk me down the aisle. We didn’t have anyone get excessively drunk or be a pain in the arse somehow (which is like a stable at weddings right?). Things like trying to coordinate bridal parties & MC’s, eliminated when you don’t have one haha

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I just had the whole hair and make up stuff done in the lounge so Josh could get used to all the people involved and was part of the process too

More than that, we had an eighteen month old who had only been cared for by other people a handful of times. He was still breastfeeding (a major aspect of my dress selection was “can I pop a boob out if need be? Haha) and some of those aspects in an what can be perceived as overwhelming ritual and event for a little person and for a mum and bride in that process, well a lot of those where eliminated. It was a pleasurable and relaxed event for all involved, including the little person who had been a product of our love for each other in the time since we put off the last wedding plans.

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What are you up to mum?!

  1. No pressure

Like everything in life, everyone has different expectations, I dunno what the battle is for you or the hard part of your wedding plans but for me, like all brides, my dress was something of significance and importance to me. Like I mentioned, being able to pop a boob out as a breastfeeding mum was important to me. But just like lots of other women I had expectations and pressure, if from no one but myself for all of these aspects to be perfect.

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When we had our original wedding plans, the shoes where of huge concern to me.. I dunno why.. I wanted these navy stilettos, my mum bought them for me in fact, I don’t think I have worn them more than once, just to show off to my new husband around the house after we did get married.. but when life changes, and man how life had changed in the two years between those two versions of what we planned our wedding to be, things like the shoes lost significance..

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No pair of stilettos in sight! These kinds of shoes made my heart swell this time

It became less of a “performance” to me, it became more real… More down to earth which totally suits James and I and all that we are together. I took the pressure off myself.. In fact none of us wore shoes at all for our wedding.. It wasn’t about the shoes, or the dress, or my hair and makeup or the rings (well hell obviously it was a bit about those things for me!) or anything materialistic, it was about us… Btw my dress was from ASOS haha I ordered a few “off white dresses” I liked and cause they were like $100 each instead of thousands, I had a choice which was even cooler 😉

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Barefoot wedding

  1. The convenience

Not only in planning and pre-wedding stresses being minimalised but the whole affair was really convenient. I think again part of that was being able to be the star attraction or focus on a day when we weren’t competing for the attention with others. Mission Beach where we got married is like “wedding central”, people travel there from all over the world to get married. The resort we stayed in, well I don’t know how many weddings a year they host, but lots as I said I started my search with “best wedding resorts in Australia”. But the fact we were a random mid week wedding just before peak season, we were actually made to feel like royalty, which is a lovely feeling particularly when you are celebrating your love for one and other. In the days following we did other “normal” tourist stuff and people made comment to us regularly, “oh it’s you guys! That was so beautiful the other day. We saw you out and about taking photos and you just looked so in love”.

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I don’t know how we would have battled the clingy toddler, two hours of wedding photos, service itself, “honeymoon package” which included three course room service to our guest house, a two hour spa package and partners massage thing the next day, the time it takes for make-up prep etc and being away from or trying to balance Josh’s needs alone in that time frame just from my own personal perspective… There were so many aspects made so convenient by just having it with us…

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Safe space for toddler to roam free and someone else to keep an eye on him, perfect.

Some of the traditional aspects, like James not seeing me or my dress right before, these skilled, talented, experienced and empathetic professionals, such as the hair and make-up ladies helped us achieve.. But me being locked away to get my makeup done for hours, why?

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Still did those traditional you can’t see my dress till I walk down the aisle things…

Josh being around meant I could feed him down for a nap before the “service” so he was happy and contented before it started. It all occurring during the morning and daytime which worked for me because when we had finished our photos and everyone left and Josh was dropped back, I breastfeed my baby to sleep and went out to sit with my now husband on our beach front deck spa of a beautiful beach house as part of a resort and eat the epic desert they hand delivered to us..

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The boys getting all ready as I was locked away getting dressed! Nearly time!!

Even the service itself, it wasn’t until that morning the wedding planner said “where do you actually want to get married? Where do you want the service to be?”

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What about here?

James and I looked at each other, “umm… what about the lawn just there?” I asked knowing it provided an amazing back drop but also a space for Josh to run around and be safe if he got bored or even go back into the house to play, all while under the capable and watchful eye of Lisa the babysitter.

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Setting the scene on the front lawn

That’s where we got married. “Some like flags or something at least?” she suggested. “Sure sounds great..” and that’s what we had, convenient was a high priority which mad the stress almost totally eliminated.

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The flags were a great idea, and helped distract the toddler haha

  1. The love

I am not knocking traditionally ways of marriage or the service or indeed any of our beautiful friends & families ceremonies and services they have loving included us in in recent years but for us, this was one of the best decision’s we ever made. It was my mum we were most worried about her reaction, do you know what she said when I did tell her the day before, “Good for you” and not in a mean or bitchy way, in a sincere, that’s awesome for you guys sense. Getting engaged days before my dad died was both a blessing and curse, I got to tell him, I got to share with him my plans and excitement and everyone commented on how excited he was, but the day following he died.

My plans and our expectations we shared when we first got engaged where never going to be the same with such a huge lack of presence from someone with such a huge role to play in this. Instead of it being a continuation of our battle to work out how to do this, how to not let dad “steal our thunder”, we realised we had to focus on what the point and purpose was and that was the love. Our love for each other and our commitment to each other to stick it out through the shit times just as much as enjoy and celebrate the awesome ones together and eloping for us, well there could have been no better way to honour that than the way we did.

 

Tips if you want to elope:

Do something that is very “you guys”.. this was us, if a picnic and a registry office is you guys, do that… focus on what it is for you, the people getting married.

Do it in the “off season” or “off day” to get the best of the best at the best price, you’re not competing with others and contract work on a down day is like a win to someone in that kind of field, like us you might even be lucky and score some discounts.

This is just my personal take, but if you have someone you are worried might be upset, like for me it was my mum, I told her with enough advance warning she knew before it happened to be as respectful as I could, but within a short enough time frame that I was still gonna do it regardless (I think I called her day before, like casual as, just after we landed and arrived at Mission Beach, “hey mum, we are all here safe, by the way, we are actually going to get married while we are here, I hope that doesn’t upset you?”)

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Making it about you and being respectful of others isn’t mutually exclusive.. I spent a lot of time talking to my Mum and sister and bridesmaids on my phone on my wedding day too!

Keep true to whats important to you. As I mentioned my dad walking me down the aisle was a kicker for me, it truly was. But having someone to say “holy fuck I am wearing a wedding dress and about to walk down the aisle” mattered to me big time and I did that on the phone with both my sister and my mum before I walked out the bedroom I was getting dressed in… Sometimes we can’t get what we want in life, but sometimes, maybe even often, there is a reason and a silver lining we see later that makes sense as to why..

 

 

 

When James and I talked about this today, there were two things be both said almost at the same time, firstly, “man I am grateful and glad with the way we did end up doing it” and also, “shit we still never organised that ‘home reception’ for all the people we were meant to invite either” hahah

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Our engagement party, December 2010

 

That’s ok, it was four years from our engagement party until our wedding day, it will be our third wedding anniversary this year, so by that time frame, I have at least another good year or so to go before I need to do that right?! ❤

 

So with renewed hope after speaking to a dear friend and “bridesmaid” from way back about this today and James and I continuing discussions maybe we should actually have a “wedding party” as we planned, I am not going to share too many, my dreams of being able to share them first with the people we love in persona as a way of them experiencing our magic day too are not yet given up on 😉 But here are a few more fav’s…

 

 

Photo credit Matthew Evan Photography – https://www.facebook.com/cairnsphotography

All services and support provided through Castaways Resort & Spa, Mission Beach Queensland – https://www.facebook.com/CastawaysMissionBeach/

Including hair and makeup ladies from the beautiful on site Drift Day Spa – https://www.facebook.com/DriftDaySpaMissionBeach/

Thanks to all of you for making our special day about us that extra bit more magical xx

 

 


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Breastfeeding in a woven wrap in a cradle position

A Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) is generally the first carry most people learn in a woven wrap. This way to adapt the carry to allow you to feed in a cradle position is shown in the video below:

 

Make sure to follow the breastfeeding safety guidelines which are talked about in the video (in case you want to watch it without sound cause you are feeding baby right now! 😛 )

 

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Using a sling to support you breastfeeding

So I shared with you some safety tips about feeding in a carrier yesterday, but I realise, it didn’t really give much of a guide HOW to do so…

If you’re still a bit lost as how to do it in whatever option of sling, wrap or carrier you have, check out this great article on the Sheffield Sling Surgery page – Breast & Bottle feeding Safely in a Sling

Rosie is a wealth of knowledge and great resources and in this article she outlines some various tips about feeding in woven wraps, stretchy wraps, ring slings and buckle carriers specifically so there of information about specifics there.

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http://www.sheffieldslingsurgery.co.uk/breast-and-bottle-feeding-safely-in-a-sling

 

Another point about feeding and slings and carriers is it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “feeding on the go” situation. These tools can also just be used to support your arm!

If you didn’t already know, newborns particularly can feed A LOT! So much so there is a whole market of pillows and chairs and other items to help breastfeeding Mum’s bear the weight of holding baby in this position for large proportions of the day (and night!).

You actually don’t need as many items as are marketed to you as you new parents. That I can assure you of. But if you don’t believe me there are lots of other places and people who can tell you the same… Like here – Babies needn’t be expensive. Stop buying stuff.

The point is, if you have a wrap, sling or carrier you can use it in just the same fashion, standing or sitting… As a support for your arm…

You don’t even need to buy a specific sling or carrier, you can use a scarf or sarong or something you have around the house already!

 

Like this….

 

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Thanks Raising Ziggy 🙂

 

And hey, awesome advantage, you can actually use your arm more…

It is a whole new post about drinking and breastfeeding here but in short, one glass of wine at the time you are actually feeding your child isn’t going to even get into your breastmilk at all in the time they are finishing that feed so lets just leave that topic for another day!

Personally, I didn’t have a drink for the whole nine months I was pregnant with my kids and I figure that’s long enough haha The night after Jai was born, I thoroughly enjoyed and savored that long awaiting and much anticipated glass of Malbec with my Mum and husband after we got the kids to sleep! So that probably gives you some insight into my views on the topic… 😉

 

 

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand…

Here is a video from Rosie showing how to use a stretchy wrap to do so.

 

 

I have shared this one because I know from talking to a lot of new mums a stretchy wrap can commonly be the carrier that people gift to them… They can also seem confusing and overwhelming..

They don’t have to be. And even if you are not too sure about having it tight and secure and safe for on the go (please head to a Sling Meet or find a local consultant, hands on help makes the world of difference!!) you may want to try this..

 

But remember the breastfeeding safety tips, check them out again here, these still apply is you are sitting or using it as a support!

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To see more about general carrier and babywearing safety, see the post about An’So Child-Carrying Safety Guidelines.


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Breastfeeding in a sling or carrier

So I knew this was coming, I have to eat some of my own words from previous posts after the Slingababy training and here is the one of the first big ones for you…

Breastfeeding in a sling or carrier.. I am not saying that I haven’t said it can be done, nor have you all probably seen plenty of my photos with my boobs in them because my children have proudly showed them off as their own for four years now…

 

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Grocery shopping with Jai as a newborn

 

But when I read my previous post, Feeding on the go, and I read the following I cringe a little…

 

Once you feel confident about latch and breastfeeding in general, and you also feel confident about wearing your baby in which ever version of wrap or carrier of your choice, let me invite you to try something that will actually change your world as a breastfeeding mum; feeding on the go.

 

So why? What’s wrong with what I said there??

Well, as was so earth shatteringly brought to my attention when I spouted that “line” that I have heard many, many times in the world of babywearing support before, I had a few hard questions asked of me.

 

Why do you have to be confident about your latch to feed in a carrier? When did you (Jess) feel confident with your latch feeding your boys? Did you feed them in a carrier before then?

 

Well, I don’t know why you ‘have to feel confident with latch’… its just what people say I guess. I’m not sure when or if I ever felt “confident about my latch” in the two years I breastfeed Josh.

Feeding Jai has been different, he didn’t have a bad tongue tie like Josh did, my boobs remembered the job from last time, I didn’t have the same self doubt and Jai has feed like a champ from as soon as he was born.

Josh was a completely different story and I for sure feed him in a carrier before I felt confident about my latch. I just popped a boob out left, right and centre for the first two years of that kids life. He may have had issues breastfeeding but a boob fixed that all that baby’s problems so I didn’t hesitate for a second to whip it out if I could.

And I just rolled with it, I made it up. I didn’t follow any rules, I didn’t know there were any I was “meant” to be following… He was strapped to my front and nuzzling at my boobs starting to grizzle cause he wanted a feed and so I jiggled and wiggled a bit and hiked my boob up with my hand so he could latch on.

And that’s pretty much it.

 

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            Feed ALL the babies!! 😉 Breasting Jai as a newborn while also bottle feeding a lamb..    

And check out the adorable look on Josh’s face!!

 

 

So I eat my own words here. I am not going to delete that from my previous post because it is a common myth about some of the guidelines that have become like “golden rules” in the babywearing community in an attempt to be helpful. Instead though, it doesn’t really achieve that…

 

So, if you want to try breastfeeding in a carrier, here is some extra tips about carrier safety for you.

 

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To see more about general babywearing and sling and carrier safety guidelines more generally, please check out this post – An’So Child-Carrying Safety Guidelines

 

Please feel free to share, print or otherwise freely distribute this infographic with attribution to Babywearing with Jess as the source 🙂

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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Slingababy Training School; an insight to my experience..

So my last post was really just me throwing out some of the huge ideas that where running around my head after the intensive training process I was just involved with but also after spending almost a week with some people within the babywearing community from all around the country, who have before now, many have just been names I know from being in the same Facebook groups and sharing connections…

 

There were lots of discussions about what we call the art of carrying our children as a result, which is all positive I think… Where I may have been misunderstood is that I wasn’t suggesting we all had to agree on a universal term.. More that it is ok to have different names and ways we refer to this as it means different things to each of us depending on our perspectives… and again, that too is ok…

 

I wasn’t trying to enforce or suggest there should be a “name change” broadly, just that I was actively considering how my language choice influences perceptions of these practises and what I am talking about…

 

And further more, I am still trying to get my head around a whole lot of new information.. I was just asking a whole lot of questions that were running around in my mind. I am grateful for the insight and input from all sides of this discussion and think its pretty cool we are actually talking about it… Just talking about… that doesn’t anyone person has to change something if they don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reflect and consider and potentially question things…

 

And when we do, it often takes a bit of time I find for my brain to catch up.. So this was probably closer to the “here’s a bit of an idea of what the consultant training was like for me” post that I originally had in my mind when I thought about writing about when I got home, that was before doing the training

(to be clear, this is just my take on this learning experience, I am not representing my process here to be that of a universal one or representing other trainees, its just my reflection of the process…)

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There was 18 of us completing the training, from all over New Zealand and also Australia. We all come from different areas and perspectives, businesses and organisations, this was not a one – size fits all kind of thing.. Its was an amazing opportunity though for lots of different perspectives, interests and takes about carrying children.. And we learnt a lot about that but also much more, in terms of baby physiology, mother physiology, child development… a whole broad range of related topics…

 

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I guess the best way for me to provide overview of my personal process for me is to follow the timetable we followed broadly, so on the first day, our focus was largely about this concept on “consultants” as we are all aware this is a relatively new concept to New Zealand and with so many of us in the room interested in this topic alone, this started a lot of conversations among us as individuals… I am not suggestion there where some special conclusions we reached or anything was “decided” on, this was just some interesting discussion…

 

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After a morning of various discussions, perspectives being sharing and learning from everyone around the room with their varied viewpoints and interests, we looked at baby physiology and anatomy and there where some very funny photos of us all pretending to be “babies” in our “chair carriers” to better understand some of the aspects of positioning and the perspective of our children being carried in a sling, wrap or carrier…

 

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The next day, we jumped straight into woven wraps… This day was particularly hard for me, I blogged about it at the time which you can read here, but essentially, wrapping is something I have only ever done with Jai, even then, not that much comparatively to my experience with other kinds of carriers but I thought I had got my head around it a bit in the last year and I essentially had to “unlearn” some of what I thought I knew from my self-taught process and that was really difficult for me… My learning in this aspect particularly is continuing to be “rewired” in my brain, if that makes sense…

 

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(Note the concentrating frowns in this picture hahah)

 

 

We spent almost two full days focusing on wrapping with a woven wrap alone… Not about pretty finishes and the “best” way to do things but rather understanding the differences of the properties of different wraps, the limitations and functions of different passes, how to handle a wrap to make it do what you want it to do…

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We learnt about ideas for troubleshooting when the wrap or carry isn’t achieving what you want it too…

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We learnt about some tricks and tips which might help demonstrate more clearly these concepts when we are teaching them to others…

 

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We learnt about the many various ways we could show people safely to get a baby onto our back….

 

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We learnt about the various back carries in a woven wrap and their various advantages and limitations…

 

 

We learnt some other tips and tricks about various ways we could hold tension in a wrap and other tips and tricks…

 

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(if you are someone who likes names for things, I am fond of the term “the wrap onesie” for this one where you hold tension in you knees by doing a little bow to grab the top rails as opposed to bending down hahah)

 

 

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We learnt lots off each other as trainees on the course as well, all bringing different interests, skill sets and experience with us from our own journeys…

 

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Like these three amazing twin mamas who all showed us more than a thing or two and provided a valuable experience for us all to learn more about tandem wearing from their experiences…

 

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And that was just the first few days!! Over the following days, we looked at ring slings, stretechy wraps, Mei Tai’s, Buckle carriers and a section called “weird and wonderful” where we looked all kinds of different things people could use to carry their child.

 

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We also did lots of talking and learning about mothers physiology and anatomy, about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum periods and lots of exercises and learning around planning and preparing for workshops, consultations and more again about what each of us thought about what being a consultant in this industry meant..

 

Again, there was no one answer here, this was a discussion of our various perspectives, directions we may want to pursue and where we could go to from here… And they where all different, and that is ok and really awesome and exciting.. my previous post wasn’t suggesting we all need to have the same understanding of, more reflecting on the many different perspectives and considering and questioning my personal use of language around it…

 

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(teaching Lorette about the importance and art of the “selfie” for Instagram here hahaha)

 

So to clarify again, my post was based in the premise I was exploring how I would like to refer to myself in a consultancy capacity and seeing as I am hoping to work with midwives, women’s health and other medical professionals, the conations around the title “babywearing consultant” where just something I was fundamentally reconsidering…

 

So to answer again the numerous questions, “Hi, I’m Jess from Babywearing with Jess and I am a Sling and Carrier Consultant trained through the Slingababy Training School” 🙂

 

Others who have been my peers and become friends in this process, have chosen to take different titles and names and that too is ok… It is the direction they have chosen for them, because it best suits them…

 

Just like what carrier you could chose to use, best suits you… 🙂

 

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Bits and bobs about breastfeeding… 

It’s International Breastfeeding Week and also today was the Big Latch On, an event to celebrate that in the past I have both helped organise one event and attended others…  Today we did neither actually, but I did share a photo of myself breastfeeding Jai at a month old, in the supermarket, in a ring sling on my Facebook page with a tag supporting the cause… And the context and content of my post got me thinking… 

So many of us have this “natural, instinctive” concept of breastfeeding.. Like we will just have a baby and it all happens, without a hitch, no issues at all… Sunshine and rainbows… You know what I mean… Yet as I mentioned in my Facebook post, i actually can’t think of one mum who has never had an issue with breastfeeding… Not one who exclusively breastfed from day one till the day their baby/child self weaned… To the others who struggled and battled and then after that, many battled guilt about formula feeding… 

I’m not going to feed you a slogan, be it “breast is best” or “a fed baby is a happy baby”, nor place any judgement on what decisions individual mums make that are best for their family… I just wanted to have a realistic conversation about what it is like breastfeed…. 
It’s like, as if the life changing event of child birth isn’t enough of crazy ride, as soon as it’s done and you have the baby out, they then suck onto your boob and its like this whole life experience..  if your experience is anything like mine,  especialy first time round, it not only included pain, issues, cracked nipples, feelings of being “trapped” and so much more… 

Fortunately in my journey I haven’t yet had to battle mastitis or other similar issues which many mama’s I know have battled… Support to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship is sooo key! Someone to help feed you and bring you water in those early days is invaluable… 
Once you guys sus it, and I say you guys cause its a relationship, a team effort of mum and baby, but once you sus it, breastfeeding is such a simple way to fill your babies needs, you don’t need to do anymore than pop a boob out to comfort your baby for a large amount of the time in their first year… 
Later down the track, breastfeeding can help you soothe and settle your baby with nothing more than your body and that’s awesome… It’s convenient, easy and accessible… And a settling tool that I missed in my artillery when Josh did wean… 
My point is, it isn’t usually “sunshine and rain”, well it is in a sense, usually for most mama’s I know, breastfeeding has been a series of rain and cloudy skies, hopefully mixed with interspersed sunshine and rainbow, or hope at the end of the tunnel, in terms of struggles, is a roller coaster ride of emotions and experience… And that’s ok.
No matter how you managed to feed your baby for how every long the time period was… They are here, you did your best. For me, both my boys, despite our many issues, managed a breastfeeding relationship for a decent chunk of their infancy of which I am grateful… 

One of the last times I breastfeed Josh in July 2014 


But my over arching point is… Boobs are amazing..  Our bodies are amazing…  Though often with my rough, now toddler, I do miss the early days of breastfeeding..  With a nostalgic,  rose tinted glasses version of the actual events…. 

For so much of our lives we are conditioned and trained for our boobs to be this “sexual object”; media, culture, society… You don’t need me to rehash the rant right?! Boobs are overly sexualised and then when it comes to using them for natures intended purpose…?!  People freak out, society sometime feels like it gives a slap in the face… Luckily this stuff is changing .. Attitudes are changing but honestly… 
I can’t put it better than my first midwife,  “look love, your boobs aren’t there to make your arse look good!” hahaha 
Happy Breastfeeding Week 😂😅