Tag Archives: Mum of Boys

24th June 2015

Breast or bottle?

IMG_3645

Learn how to breastfeed like a PRO from day-one after delivery. This article is a comprehensive guide for new moms that has in-depth information on how to establish a successful long-term and stress-free lactation. Just the right knowledge every mom needs so much!

______________________________

I’m in a bit of a unique position to discuss feeding babies, as I formula fed my first baby and breastfed my second.

I intended to breastfeed both, but it didn’t work out – and through lack of support in Dubai after my first went on strike at day five, I switched to formula.

With my second, however, I made sure there was a support network around me from the beginning and I managed to feed him until he was nearly 6 months old.

I understand the benefits of breast milk. I did my research and I attended breastfeeding classes. I know that it boosts immunity and adapts to fully nourish the child as they grow. That’s why I wanted to do it – and that’s why I am proud I got colostrum into both children and was able to feed Wilfred for so long. It’s also why I have some frozen in cubes in the freezer to clear up eye, skin, or ear infections. Breast milk really is the stuff of magic.

But I also understand the importance of a mother being happy, healthy, and confident that her child isn’t hungry. I have seen other mothers cry into their decaf-coffees as they tell me how much they are dreading the next feed as they are in pain. I have had friends tell me that they are ready to stop but are worried how their family will judge them. I have had others tell me that they have stayed up another hour after their baby goes to sleep in the middle of the night to express to boost milk supply, making themselves even more tired when the morning rolls around. And I know why they do it too – as I have been that mad lady sat on the sofa at 4am attached to a breast pump while I flick through my Facebook feed on my phone, worrying that the whir of the motor will wake up the baby for round two.

I get it. I totally get it. I’ve been there.

The first time round, I was the mother that sobbed as she fed her five-day-old baby his first bottle of formula, utterly convinced I was a failure, but relieved that he had stopped crying and was getting something to eat. After that I’d got over the initial guilt and sadness, life became easier. I had a really easy baby, who knew when his food was coming. And I knew that he was getting enough milk – and yes, he still cried, but it was such a relief to be able to cross out ‘hungry’ from the imaginary tick list in my head.

So I have been in both camps – and here is the revelation.

My bottle fed baby is happy, healthy and clever.

My breastfed baby is happy, healthy and clever.

At the age of 18 months, neither one played piano concertos, painted pictures like Picasso, or recited the Greek alphabet backwards. Disappointingly, admittedly.

Neither one grew horns, turned a luminous colour, or started speaking in tongues. Not so disappointingly.

They both look the same. They both met milestones at the same time. They both seem equally happy. And, thankfully they both rarely get ill.

So having said all this, I have come to a conclusion.

Breast or bottle?

Whatever works for baby and you.

Because nobody else matters.

Really. Nobody, but you.



9th February 2015

Today I realised he needs more than just me

zqdEJaUQsczOWx0VwH2MALk8lFgtm9oiNpEO6z_UTwwThis morning, we had a coffee morning at nursery. There was no coffee, so you can imagine my confusion, but I digress.

After I chatted to other mums, we sat down to listen to a presentation by a new school in Dubai. I didn’t concentrate fully, as we have already accepted a place at a different school for September – so as the headmaster chatted, I let my mind wander as I looked at the photos of smiling children in his presentation.

I imagined Stanley doing these things Playing in a  playground, talking to his teacher, going on trips to museums. I couldn’t wait to see how much he enjoyed it all.

But then it hit me right in the pit of my stomach.

I won’t see any of those things.

I will be at work or at home with his little brother. He will have to do all these things on his own, without me holding his hand, without me to comfort him when he’s feeling lost, without me to take pictures of him trying new sports or activities. I won’t get to hear him trying out words in his Arabic classes, I won’t get to see him rushing around the playground with a new group of friends, I won’t get to watch his face as he listens to a story with wide eyes, an open mouth, and crossed legs.

I could hear the headmaster’s voice, but my mind was elsewhere. Tears pricked my eyes  – as for the first time, I realised I had to let him experience it all on his own.

This is his journey, not mine.

He needs so much more than me. He needs a teacher with a welcoming hug when I drop him off. He needs a football coach to pick a position and teach him how to dribble a ball. He needs a school nurse to take his temperature when his nose starts to run. He needs a best friend to play chase with in the playground and sit next to in class. He needs his Daddy to read him a story when he gets home from work. He needs his brother to be the first to try out creations from his toy kitchen and have shouting matches with when they are taken out to tea. He needs his grandparents to give him love, hugs, and ‘don’t tell your mum’ treats when we’re back in the UK. He needs his cousins to grow up with, sitting next to at pantomimes and jumping through puddles on winter walks. He needs his aunties, his uncles, and his godparents to ruffle his hair and remark ‘wow, you’ve grown!’ before taking him on adventures or building train tracks on the living room floor.

We are all so important.

We.

Not just me.

I don’t underestimate my role for a moment – and I am grateful for every moment, every bed time kiss, every time he leans his body into mine and lingers for a second for comfort. I know that in years to come, I will look back at these crazy days with a two-year-old and a one-year-old and miss them with an ache in my belly.

But today I realised he needs more than just me.

And I have until September to get my head around that. He’s my baby until then, at least.

 



17th January 2015

Why I Blog

photoI have asked myself this question a lot recently.

I have always loved to write. When others might have phoned a friend for a chat, I wrote letters. I sat in my room and wrote short stories and magazine articles as a child. I wasn’t very good at things like science and mathematics at school; even though my exam grades were decent enough, I was bored silly. But in English lessons, I felt alive. Words spilled out of me and I knew from a very young age that I wanted to write, to be a writer, to be heard.

After studying English at university and sending my very first email (how strange to think that was just 12 years ago), I started working at a series of magazines and national newspapers in London. I found my way in fashion and beauty, compiling my own shopping pages and assisting on fashion shoots all over the world. I attended London Fashion Week season after season, and was invited to parties on a nightly basis. It was a fun, tiring, and very memorable time in my life; but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to write.

So in 2008, I handed in my notice and started my own online beauty magazine, writing reviews, news stories, and round-ups on a daily basis. Over the next few years, I got a dog, got married, moved to Dubai, and had my first baby – but throughout all of it, I kept publishing that website every single week. The website did well and I made regular money from it, but I was bored and it became a bit of a chore.

When Wilfred was born in January, lipstick and mascara just didn’t seem that relevant or important to my life anymore (given that most days, I didn’t even have time to apply it).  That reflected in the words I was writing and you could tell that I just didn’t care. I don’t regret starting my beauty website for one second and I learnt a lot of very valuable things about the online world, but I now realise that this was my ‘practice website’ – and the best was yet to come.

I started Mum of Boys in May 2014. Suddenly words and ideas were spilling out of me again and I found it refreshingly easy to write regular blog posts to help, inspire, or just make other mums laugh. Writing isn’t a chore anymore, in fact, it’s what I do in the evening to relax.

Of course, there have been moments of doubt. Should I put the boys in the public eye? Should I stop blogging and put all my photos of them in lockdown? Am I being too honest?

It’s something that is constantly on my mind since the website traffic started to spike. It’s been wonderful to see so many people are reading my words, but it’s been terrifying too (especially the few ‘hate comments’ I have received, which my friend Simone tells me is a mark of success, hello haters!)

But I am aware that the blog has given the boys lots of opportunities too, with a real incentive for us to go out and try exciting things, create yummy things in the kitchen, and make plans for the future. I don’t think that starting a blog is the answer for every family, of course – but for us, this blog gave me a virtual kick up the bum and that has to be a good thing.

I may not be a fashion stylist on location in New York anymore. I may not be a beauty journalist running around London in my 4-inch heels. But I am a Mum and suddenly people want to listen – and that seems apt, considering it’s the best thing I have ever done.

So that is why I blog. And I hope you are enjoying it.