Like mother, like daughter


 I was always a little accident prone as I grew up.  

You know those annoying ‘ice breaker’ questions in meetings where you have to tell something most people  don’t know about you, or something along those lines? Well my usual offering is that I’ve broken bones in all four limbs (not at the same time). And that I broke not one but three metatarsals before David Beckham made them famous.

G, in contrast, has made it to five years old with barely an incident. No need for A&E trips, stitches, bandages, plaster casts or anything like that. Hell, our first aid kit sees more use on G’s dolls than it does on any of us!

So I shouldn’t be too surprised, I guess, if C takes after her mother in ways other than her blue eyes and occasional grumpy tendencies.

A few weekends back we made a long overdue visit to see one of my oldest friends from school and her husband, in their gorgeous house – quaint village, bags of character, tons of space, sun trap garden complete with vines, apples, cherries and herbs.  And some decidedly non child friendly steps between the rooms. 

The steps were actually the first thing she said to me about the house. “It’s not very child friendly, we need to get some stairgates, but haven’t got them yet”, she said. “Be careful with C and the steps!” she said. Of course we listened, and we kept an eye on C with the steps. 

But hell hath no fury like a small child denied the ability to climb as she likes, and, perhaps inevitably, there was eventually a tumble.

The tumble ended up with us in A&E awaiting an X-ray and subsequent cast. Yep, C had a buckle fracture in her leg.

The NHS were, of course, fantastic. Our estimated 1 hour wait was filled with my friend and I nattering away catching up whilst C dozed in one of our slings, broken short by a triage nurse exclaiming ‘I’ve been calling you!” far earlier than we expected, as we nearly lost our spot.

Sadly the dozing didn’t last, and C was, as is her way, rather unhappy about having to stay still for first the X-ray and then the temporary cast they put on. By ‘unhappy’ I mean she screamed her head off throughout and demonstrated a strength, even in the broken leg, that took all the doctors and nurses by surprise as she kicked and thrashed her way through the whole procedure.

Eventually all was sorted and we headed back to the house for some much needed rest.  Thankfully C still slept well and after some initial frustration at not being able to get down and toddle round she soon became accustomed to her new footwear and rediscovered her ability to crawl at a lightning fast pace.

Back home and with a new ‘proper’ cast on (again the NHS were fab despite her protestations at, God forbid, being made to sit still for all of 5 minutes), we had the welcome news that kids of her age really do heal quickly, and got a date for the cart to be removed after just three weeks.  

Apparently it was likely to have healed after two but the extra week was just to be sure, and this seems to have been proved right, as we’re now coming up to ‘cast off’ day and C is happily toddling around on her cast, far less bothered than us by the increasing whiff coming from it as we swelter in a UK wide heatwave.

Of course, despite the whole experience we still can’t keep C away from the stairs, so much so that she’s learnt how to shut the stairgate behind her as she goes up.

Stubborn, just like her mother, some would say…

On the move

She crawls! SHE CRAWLS!

I may have been worried (in the way that mums seem to worry unnecessarily) that I would miss her first moves, but C’s decision to get moving on my Final Days of maternity leave (capitalisation intended) was really a rather apt and beautiful way to send me off.

It’s perfect timing you see – C finally decides the world is a place to be explored under her own volition, and I head back to work and leave the inevitable chaos to ensue at the childminders house. Selfish, moi?

I had debated for a while how we should spend these last few days of freedom – should I tick off a few more on my list of places I wanted to go in the summer holidays and never got round to? Or spend them cuddling on the sofa, savouring the last times I’d be able to crack through half an on demand box set before lunch?

The reality was somewhere in the middle, dialling down the inferred ‘glamour’ just, erm, a few notches.

Instead of cuddling on the sofa we ended up waiting in the doctors surgery for a last minute appointment for the cold-turned-bad which had left C wheezy and sleepless.

And instead of gallivanting around the regions favourite tourist attractions we instead went on a tour of the childrns centres of Bolton (yeah, glamour eh?) distributing copies of our local NCT branch magazine I’d edited.

Yeah you heard that right. I edited a magazine. Two in fact. And I thought the only skills I’d learn on maternity leave were of patience and parenting,

It worked out pretty well really. Poorly C has never napped well in her cot, so got a decent sleep in the car as we drove around, meaning she was full of smiles and cuddles when we did stop to play, and refreshed enough to demonstrate and perfect her new found crawling skills.

A proud Mummy post (sorry!)

Today is G’s last day at nursery school before she moves up into reception in September. She’s had a fabulous time this year and has really enjoyed nursery, where she’s made lots of wonderful friends, but is also really looking forward to moving on to reception class.

She’s also got so much out of nursery school – and I don’t mean academically (she’s far too young to be worrying about that!). My shy little girl who kept quiet if there were lots of other children around has blossomed into a girl who plays with everyone in the class and can’t walk across the school playground without some child she’s befriended shouting her name.

I feel privileged to have been able to see all this too – if I had been working this past 6 months or so I wouldn’t have been able to see how she interacts with other children or watched her develop. I only now think I understand what people say about being a Mummy being one of the – if not the – most rewarding job going. I only hope this confidence and friendliness lasts until she grows up – kids can be mean to each other as they get older after all.

This isn’t meant as a mummy brag post but you’ve got to forgive a mama a little proudness… I found out yesterday that at a school assembly for their departing head teacher, G went up in front of the whole school to present the teacher with a book of pictures the children had done for her. Apparently the teacher offered to go up with her but she said she didn’t need her to.

Where has that shy child gone?!

I’m sure I’ll be feeling rather more frazzled and less warm and fuzzy once I’ve got through 5 whole weeks of entertaining both kids in the summer holidays.

But at least I seem to have picked the right summer to be off as far as the weather is concerned.

What To Do If You Think Your Baby Has Tongue Tie

Having never even heard of tongue tie before C was born, I’m astounded at how many people are struggling with the effects of it.

Some might say it’s the latest ‘fad’ to diagnose tongue tie, but given the UK’s appalling breastfeeding success rate and the fact that the first response to feeding problems from health professionals seems to be to push babies onto formula (ironic given the focus on breast is best), it really isn’t surprising that many people never got as far as a diagnosis.

But this isn’t supposed to be a tongue tie rant. Instead I thought it worthwhile to share what I’ve learnt through our tongue tie journey and that of those I’ve spoken with in thEme way. Some is what I did, and some is what I would do next time, knowing what I know now.

Key for me is that the quicker tongue tie is identified and treated, the less impact it is likely to have on mum and baby alike.

So, if you think your baby might have tongue tie, what should you do?

1: Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Breastfeeding support groups, midwives and health visitors are great if you need some emotional support with breastfeeding or some pointers on technique, but anything beyond that will definitely benefit from a fully trained professional eye.

Your health visitor or children’s centre might be able to direct you to the most senior lactation consultant in your area, or you can find a local one on the Lactation Consultants of Great Britain website.

A lactation consultant can tell you if your baby does have tongue tie or not, and observe you feeding to identify any problems with technique etc. And once you’re seeing one you can use that fact to ward off any unwanted pressure from other well meaning healthcare professionals (see 3 below).

2: Swot Up

This is one occasion when consulting ‘Dr Google’ is highly recommended. Some starters include:

NCT overview of tongue tie

The Leaky Boob

3: Stand Your Ground

If you haven’t already noticed, let me let you into a little secret. Health care professionals don’t know the right answer. Go to three health care professionals with the same issue, and you’ll come back with (at least) 6 different answers.

It’s not that they’re trying to confuse you or don’t know their stuff, it’s just that there often isn’t a single right answer. And most of the health care professionals we see have quite a wide skillset, which means that whilst they have knowledge of lots of different potential problems you might face, they can’t possibly know individual subjects in great detail – hence why as above, if you’ve got a breastfeeding issue I would always go to a breastfeeding expert.

Don’t be pushed or bullied into doing anything that you don’t want to do – which includes formula top ups, timed feeding schedules, medications, early weaning, etc etc. Read up on your subject, keep the evidence to hand, and don’t be pushed around.

If your baby has tongue tie and you want it released, there’s a good chance you will have to push for it, so stand your ground here too. Get a referral as soon as you can. Matter tongue tie release babies have to relearn how to latch and feed. Time is of the essence and sadly referrals on the NHS take time, sometimes a long time as there are relatively few practitioners who release tongue ties despite it being a very simple procedure.

4: If you can, go private

Not everyone can do this, but going private can be a huge advantage in terms of getting tongue the dealt with quickly. We got an appointment the day after diagnosis!

The cost seems to be around £250. Call your local private hospital (eg Spire) and ask who performs tongue tie release or frenulectomy.

If you can, and if your or your partner’s work offer it, get your baby added to your private healthcare cover as soon as possible after baby is born. Many policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions so waiting until there’s a problem could be too late. Our BUPA policy covered our appointments and meant we didn’t have to wait.

Accidental Eco Mum

It’s official, I’ve become one of those mums.

Yup, I’m a card carrying member of the breastfeeding, cloth bumming, baby wearing brigade. And I’ll probably end up doing some form of baby led weaning too, just to complete the picture. An eco mum, you could say.

Except I’ve got a confession. It’s got very little to do with being eco friendly. In fact, I’m doing it all out of pure laziness, with a bit of vanity thrown in.

Let me explain:

Breastfeeding – C seems to have a cows milk protein intolerance, which rules out standard cows milk based formula. I’m not entirely surprised as I struggle with dairy too (it gives me migraines and headaches). I could get a special formula on prescription, but that would involve firstly the faff of going back and forwards to the docs to get it, not to mention the faff of washing, sterilising and making up bottles constantly. And apparently it stinks anyway. I’m grateful that I can breastfeed (not all can), so for me breastfeeding just seems easier overall. Even if I can’t have cake.

Verdict: lazy.

Cloth bumming – the one household chore I hate more than anything is taking the bins out. I’d much rather load and unload the washing machine every other day than trudge out with a heavy bag full of pooey nappies. And the cloth nappies these days are seriously cute – I’ve already got tons of girls clothes left over from G so don’t have much excuse to go cute shopping otherwise.

Verdict: lazy and vain.

Baby wearing – G pretty much refused to get in her buggy after she was about 18 months, preferring to be carried or to walk. This was fine for Daddy, who was plenty strong enough to carry her about, not so much for me. I tried all sorts of gadgets to help carry her (the Hippychick Hip Seat was the winner, but I did look blimming stupid wearing what looked like a fully loaded bumbag when she decided to walk instead of being carried). I can see how much easier life would have been with a proper, ergonomic buckle carrier or a woven wrap, so I’ve already got both on loan from a local sling library to try out. And C falls asleep in them pretty much instantly too, which saves the hours of trying to get her to take a nap, particularly when I’ve got G pestering me to play. Oh, and have you seen all the pretty patterns they come in?? It’s like clothes shopping for me without the stress of having to buy two sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy clothes, and without the guilt because after all, it’s for baby isn’t it…

Verdict: lazy and vain.

Baby led weaning – we’re not there yet and won’t be for another few months. But seriously, cooking, blending and feeding all those purees? Who’s got time for that? And I tasted some of those baby food jars when G was weaning – yuck! Nope, C can have (broadly) what we’re having 90% of the time and leave it at that.

Verdict: lazy.

They might not be the reason that the books give for doing all of these things, and it might only be me that sees it this way, but it’s what works for me.

And surely that’s the only thing any parent should be striving to do – bring up their children in a way that suits their personalities, lifestyle, morals and so on?