Almost three and half years into this parenting gig and I’m still learning things every day. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to not get caught up in what you “think motherhood should be like”. Those daydreams set me up to fail, hard. It’s the nitty gritty and often taboo topics around motherhood that people shy away from talking about, which is exactly what I did at the beginning of my motherhood journey. Looking back I wish I had the guts to talk to people about what was really going on, so here is a letter to myself full of truths that I would have loved to hear if I magically could turn back the clock.Read More
In a matter of seconds, I kind of lost it today. Not in the crazy throw shit around kind of way, but went from feeling ok to feeling exhausted, frustrated, mad, anxious, sad and teary all at the same time. I had a little bit of a rant on my Instagram story as I am a firm believer in venting, but I still held back.Read More
Weaning was something I was worried about but looking forward too all at the same time. After a few initial bumps in the road I found the process of breast-feeding reasonably easy, but didn't really enjoy like a lot of mums do. The boys were two hourly feeders for a long time and I felt like I constantly had them attached to me, for them then to go and puke all that milk back up - thanks reflux! I basically felt like I was on a roundabout of feeding that I couldn't get off. So after 6 months I was done with it, I wanted to get to a year but it just wasn't something that made me happy anymore. I was told the easiest way to wean was to drop a feed every week/few days or day, whatever time frame worked with you. I started with the night-time feeds as those I already liked to share with Jay by pumping and us feeding them with bottles, it also one of the feeds that is "most comforting" to the boys, so would be the hardest to get them to give up if I left that till last. Over the course of their sixth month I dropped a feed once a week till eventually I was just feeding them in the morning. The morning feeds lasted for a few weeks then one day they just weren't interested in the boob anymore and that's it, off they went on their happy way to their new relationship with the bottle...and OH MY is it a deep and loving relationship!
I have to say it was a relief when it was done and it wasn't a battle, I had had enough battles with Collic and Reflux! So nice to have some personal space back and not two wriggly babies grappling for my boobs!
The boys are 2.5 now and for the last 2 years those Nuggets have LOVED their bottles. More than they loved my boobs, which was another huge love at that! Bot Bot's as they are commonly referred to in our household have been a life saver in so many situations.
From 6 months till a year the boys drank Heinz Nuture formula, but as you know it's expensive so as soon as they hit 1 I moved them onto cows milk. We were lucky again the boys loved cows milk and were happy to ditch the formula right away. We started the boys on Silver Top Anchor milk as it is partially non-homogenised, which means it's closer to it's original form and full of fat, great for growing boys! Farmer backgrounds on Jay's side of the family were very happy with this decesion as it wasn't something that had occured to me utnill they mentioned it.
At about a year and a half I toyed with the idea of dropping bottles all together, all the articles I read said it would be easiest to do it at this stage rather than waiting and that they didn't need them anymore. BUT I was far too scared to do it, the bottle was such a source of comfort for them. If they woke in the night and I couldn't settle them (which was very often) the bottle would calm them right down and off they would go back to sleep. Who wants to give that up? Not this twin mama, sleep and calming tools are so important to me! Looking back now we probably should have done it, as the boys are still obsessed with their bottles and there is no way we will be getting rid of them anytime soon.Which makes me feel guilty like I didn't make the right decesion and I should have gone through the hard yards then, as now it will be MUCH harder as they can talk and demand a Bot Bot. The boys go through on average between 9-11 litres of milk a week! We have a second fridge in the garage that is devoted to holding all their milk. We moved to Anchor Blue when they hit 2 as they decided they liked to have their milk cold (fussy little men) if they had it during the day. The fatty cream in the Silver Top meant that it wouldn't flow through they bottles if it wasn't warm.
Bottles is one of those crutches they have now that I flip-flop between feeling bad about or not caring. I mean it's a great way for them to get a big dose of calcium, when they are whiny and having an off day I can give them a bottle and get 10 minutes of peace (great for my sanity), it settles them in the night if they are having a bad sleep and well, we never had dummies so it's not like they have lots of other crutches we have to get rid of. But at the same time I stress about it thinking are they too old to be having bottles, is it bad for their teeth, the added cost to our weekly shops, cleaning all the bloody bottles, is it just a habit and could it get worse? I just generally have the typical mum guilt thinking the main reasons I want to keep the bottles is because it makes MY life better. Funny the internal battles we have right? Doesn't make it any easier when you get the "oh they are still having bottles!" comments!
So for now the bot bots stay, screw what people think as they do make my life easier and the boys love them. Can't be that bad right? Have you had bottle loving kids and how did you get them off them? Weaning from bottles is going to be way harder than it was weaning from the boobs!
Last week I went to the launch of "Dear Mummy, You're Important Too" a self published book by mummy of two, Tui Fleming. She isn't an expert and this book isn't you're usual parenting book filled with tips on turning your children into angels with 10 easy steps (yeah right?!). This book is all about you, the mummy, you are at the heart this book. What I love about Tui's book is that it's all about giving mums permission to put themselves first. Because we mums have to put ourselves first and look after ourselves so we can be the best mothers to our children, wives/partners to our significant others and the best versions of ourselves. As Tui writes "We need to be selfish to be selfless". This was a line that really stood out to me when I first sat down to read the book as it's something I really put into practice when the boys were 6 months old after dealing with a half year of reflux and collic.
I don't know about you but "me time" is as important to me as oxygen. I need a little alone time, otherwise I slowly stop functioning properly and my mothering to the Nuggets starts to slide, I don't have the energy for it or I'm snappy and not engaged properly with them. If I have had a little bit alone time then I am energised, I'm more "me" and I'm that one step closer to being the best "me" I can be; that is a much better scenario for my family.
During the launch there was a panel discussion with Tui and Jo Pilkington owner of @firstscene, Melissa Jack of @thebestnest and Lorraine Scans of @pregnancyexercise (instagram handles). They discussed a number of trials us mums deal with. One of which is guilt. A lot of the chat was that mums do feel a lot of guilt, especially with making this alone time for themselves or putting themselves first. I was sitting there thinking how I have become very good at taking time for myself and not feeling guilty about it...and unbelievably I started to feel GUILTY that I didn't feel guilt like some of these others mothers. My crazy little mind started whirling, do I not love my children as much as these woman do etc etc, is that why I don't feel guilty? Nuts right?! I had to snap myself out of it, feeling guilty because I didn't feel guilty? Crazy stuff Anna! It struck me how powerful this little bastard guilt can be, it can even pop up at the most ridiculous time when it is completely un warranted.
This is why this book is such a good tool for all the mums out there. There are thousands of books that are written to help guide you through parenthood, but very few that are there to support you, the mother. So if you want a book that helps you find your "you" after giving birth, guides you into giving your self permission to take time out, helps you let go of that little, but often negative, voice in your head then this is something you need to read.
Dear Mummy, You're Important Too is $29.99 and available here