As much as I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding, I am also very aware of how exhausting it can be. Especially in those early days. And as we have plodded on and come over some pretty big hurdles, now Rafe is 13 months, as I have said previously, it is something I have grown to love and cry every time I think of that last breastfeed we will have. And I almost forgot, with him only nursing morning, before bed and once in the night, (all quite short feeds) how much it can drain you. Not just physically – my boobs resemble a Bloodhound’s ears, my skin is so dry – my feet, my feet look like something from Lord of the Ring’s – I’m basically a mummified corpse. So, yes, physically draining – and mentally too. With Rafe being poorly, he has totally gone off his food (something else to worry about…) so he has been having mammoth nursing sessions lasting over an hour. Which I forgot how hard they can be sometimes. A much-needed comfort and nourishment for Rafe but I think the exhaustion of being up so much in the night with this never-ending cough and cold and nursing for hours on end, I feel like the life has been sucked out of me. Slightly dramatic I know but like I’ve drank that Hocus Pocus potion and my youth has been stolen. Again, dramatic I know. Think I just need a spa day, a full-night’s sleep, someone to pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs, a spray tan, a bottle of wine with friends…Just maybe a few hours where I don’t need to work, take the dog out, feed the baby, change the baby, clean the house, put another load in the washing machine, have a poo in peace - just some me time. What is that?! Urgh, now I feel selfish (damn you mum guilt) as Rafe is a snot monster at the moment and it’s not his fault he’s poorly (NURSERY GERMS) but guess I’m just a bit Hocus Pocus’d out. Can anyone else relate?
So yes. Poor Rafe is still poorly – he is getting better but this cold and damn flipping cough is just lingering on and on. The last cough he had lasted bloody five weeks – honestly if he is ill for Christmas I will cry. Positive thoughts Faye, positive thoughts. I kept him off nursery this week but when he goes back next week (I hope he is well by then) I am honestly dreading what he is going to catch next. Yes, I know it is good for him in the long run and his immune system but the thought of going through another cold, cough, viral rash, if he does get hand foot and mouth, chickenpox…just fills me with absolute dread. I just feel like we haven’t had proper happy Rafe for a while now and just snotty, tired and grumpy Rafe. He came into my bed the other night as was just so snotty and upset and he fell asleep holding my face and although I was so tired and just wanted sleep, it was the cutest thing in the world and although he is poorly and I’m a mummified corpse, it was a precious moment that I needed.
Oh Lordy, this is turning into a moaning mini post! So…Christmas! Too soon? I know it’s still only November but we have got into the Christmas spirit this weekend and has done us all good. I managed to get tickets for Fenwick’s (department store in Newcastle if you have't heard of it) Santa’s roof top experience. There's a couple of experiences you can do, we chose to watch The Snowman, eat popcorn and drink mulled wine. Also met Santa's elves obviously! Was so lovely. And Rafe didn't try and escape and sat relatively still though was enhaling popcorn for most of it. And Rafe saw his first Fenwick’s window which carried on the Snowman theme which was just magical. My mum and dad took my brother and I every Christmas when we were little so it’s so lovely to carry on that tradition. I also wore make-up for the first time in a long time and even straightened my hair so was nice to feel half human! We are off to see our local Christmas light switch on later so well and truly getting into the Christmas spirit. Can’t wait to eat my body weight in food.
I thought I had gotten over the stress of what Rafe should wear underneath his flipping sleeping bag but prepare for questions….so it has been getting quite cold in his room at night – going down to about 16 degrees. At the mo he is in a 2.5 tog with a vest and babygrow but I have bought a 3.5 tog but now I don’t know whether that will be too hot for him? Help! When he goes to bed, because the heating is on, it’s normally 20-21 and then gradually drops. I think he might be too hot in the 3.5 straight away – but then don’t want to disrupt him by changing him in the night but guess I could change him mid feed but want to keep him sleepy. HELP!!
Again, a bit of a short one this week. I’m off for my spa day…WHO AM I KIDDING? Need to take the dog out, put another wash in…
Nursery can be great for interacting with other children and for learning and development. But you know what it is NOT good for? GERMS. NASTY NASTY GERMS. Basically nursery is a place where germs go to party. Finally, after over a month of Rafe being poorly with a cough and viral rash – a few days into feeling well again. BAMB. He is loaded – and I mean loaded with cold. (I have to wash his sheets every day as they are green. Yup, barf.) He has another ear infection and also we suspected hand foot and mouth. I have been dreading that bad lad for a long time. I had to go and get him from nursery on Wednesday as he was not settling (he had a cold, but seemed okay, although did scream when I left) and they noticed a couple of blisters in his mouth – and he does have a little rash around his mouth too. They’ve had a case of hand foot and mouth going around so they thought it was best to get him home. Major mum guilt again as when I walked in he was crying and I thought they might think I was the worst mum ever for not noticing the blisters. But I thought it was just from banging his lip – really didn’t think anything of it to be honest. So felt like poo. And you know what I should have not mentioned last week? I should never have uttered those blissful words ‘my baby is sleeping through the night’ – as well, that has gone out the window. Poor bubs is coughing and sniffling all night. It’s literally never ending for the poor champ. I know it’s good in the long run to build up his immune system but ain't a laugh a minute now.
So in the end, I don’t think it was hand foot and mouth. The doctor was unsure as was only one ulcer/blister and he had no rash anywhere else but his mouth. He is just absolutely loaded with the worst cold. He coughed and was a bit sick the other day and it was literally just snot. Honestly feel so sorry for the champ. You can tell it's really taking it out of him - he pretty much slept all day yesterday. It’s just a never-ending cycle of cough, cold, cough, virus, bloody virus. Sleep has been as you can imagine, fucking shite. But just got a plod on and pour coffee into your eyeballs. And then vodka later on.
Randomly – and I don’t know whether this has anything to do with him being poorly. But he hated swimming last week, even though he seemed well. And then for the past week, he has got really upset in the bath. Holding on to the sides for dear life. And he normally loves the bath and splashes away. I just can’t think why he would suddenly hate the bath – unless it is all connected to being poorly. Who knows? Another thing to add to the: ‘What the fuck is wrong?” baby list.
Thank you for everyone’s advice on how to get involved more in offering breastfeeding support. Once Rafe is better (hopefully soon!) going to look into how I might become a peer support worker/breastfeeding support worker in my area. I’ll keep you in the loop!
Sorry it’s bit of a short one but in-between working and cleaning up snot – it’s been a bit manic this week. Any miracle cures on getting rid of colds would be greatly appreciated!
Till next week,
At nursery this week, the staff told me another child accidentally knocked Rafe over. He was absolutely fine and wasn’t upset for long – and it was an accident but I honestly just wanted to cry! (And find the kid...) I just can’t get over sometimes how unbelievably and fiercely protective I am of my little boy. Before I had Rafe, I of course knew about maternal instinct and imagined it was incredibly strong but until you have a baby, I don’t think you can comprehend how overwhelming that instinct is. And it makes me laugh as I remember thinking in my head I am going to be a super relaxed mum, give my children their freedom to explore, make their own mistakes, travel the world, loosen those maternal reigns. My husband and I use to argue as I went travelling to Oz, NZ and Fiji when I was 18 and I always said that I would let my own children do the same. And he would say: “absolutely not! The world is a dangerous place.” And then we were at fireworks the other night and he said to me: “Just imagine Rafe when he is a teenager asking to go watch the fireworks with his mates.” And I replied, “absolutely not! I will have to go with him.” Haha. Oh what a change. I know I’m not going to be able to follow my teenage son around to make sure he is safe – or stop him from travelling the world if that is what he wants to do (and I must remember what an incredible experience that was) – but I just worry so much. Is this just me? I mean I worry about him going to school, if he makes friends, if other children are nice to him, growing up, dealing everything kids have to deal with these days - just everything. All I want to do is protect him forever. All this over a kid knocking him over?! Do I just need to go get a wine? Imagine what I am going to be like when he brings his first girlfriend home? MOTHER-IN-LAW FROM HELL. HAHAHA. Joking. Not joking….
I thought Rafe was going to be quite upset when I took him to nursery this week as he hasn’t been for three weeks due to half term and being poorly. He was a bit shy to start with but didn’t cry when I left and I was told he was quite happy all day and was just commando crawling everywhere and playing with all the toys and doing some painting. When I arrived to pick him up, I was confronted with the sweetest sight in the world. Again I wanted to cry. He was worn out from a busy day and he was fast asleep on a little beanbag. Honestly I thought my heart was going to explode. He looked so blinking cute! I had to wake him up though and carry him into the car in the rain so that was a fun moment. But all in all a success at nursery. And they have this little app now where I can sign in and see what Rafe is up to – if he is napping, photos etc…which is so reassuring and lovely to see what he is getting up to.
Thank you for all your support again on the breastfeeding front. I always worry a little when I write about breastfeeding as I don’t want to upset anyone who may have chosen not to breastfeed – or who struggled as I honestly aren’t judging either way. And I don’t want to come across as someone pushing breastfeeding down people’s throats – but, at the same time. Just as nap refusals and zero sleep is part of my life – so is breastfeeding. As time has gone on, I’ve started to become quite passionate about breastfeeding – again, not about waving my boobs in people's faces.– but just that I wish there was more support out there for women in the UK who choose to breastfeed – especially as our breastfeeding rates are so incredibly low, which I find quite shocking. I just wish I could help in some way. I signed UNICEF'S call on UK Health Ministers to break down the barriers that make it difficult and often impossible for women to breastfeed in the UK (you can sign it here) but really want to try and do more. To offer more support to mums who do want to breastfeed. Become a breastfeeding support worker maybe? Or should I be brave and share more breastfeeding photos to ‘normalise breastfeeding’? Or is that just going to come across as ‘pushy’ and annoy people? Anyway, just want to know if anyone else feels the same – and if they have done anything about it? Any bf support workers out there? Any good groups to join? Or maybe start some kind of campaign? (I have no idea what I really mean by this!) Or shall I just put my boobs away and keep my mouth shut?!!
Rafe’s been so much better with food this week. So much so you put a mix of food in-front of him and he shoves it all in his mouth! Going to start trying him out with different recipes again as he is so much better. What’s your baby’s (I should really start saying toddler now but doesn’t feel right!) favourite meal?
At the beginning of the week, I was still pretty wiped out as Rafe’s cough, although better, it seemed to be never ending and still bad at night. But something unheard of happened twice in a row this weekend...RAFE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT. Yup, can you actually believe it? I'm hoping this is the start of something beautiful that will continue because I scared my neighbour the other day in my wrecked state and well...Wouldn't a week of full night's sleep be the dream? Imagine?! I wish I could share something I tried differently that suddenly worked but I honestly did nothing different from our routine. Sorry, not very helpful I know. I think maybe it is a mixture of him being much better, able to self-settle now and with his appetite increasing as he got better, maybe he is just also quote full? Who knows?! Babies are so confusing. I'll keep you all in the loop!
Oh and before I forget. Fireworks was a success! Kind of. I think Rafe was overwhelmed with the amount of people around and by the time they started he was pretty tired so he had a bit of a cry. To be fair, he probably didn't have a clue what was going on! But all is all, a nice little family day out. He still won't be going out to see a display without me when he is older though, haha.
Till next time,
P.s Christmas! I need some inspiration! What are you getting your little ones? Obviously don't want to go over the top, just a few gifts and stocking fillers.
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.