Thursday, 30 August 2012

Tongue- tied

Breastfeeding that is.
Most folk who know me know I've been pregnant or breastfeeding or both for the last 7 years. I've been lucky enough to not have any bother feeding the girls, but it seems with No 3 my luck has run out.
Just to back track a bit, I've always felt lucky to get a good start at breastfeeding- it took a couple of days to get a blood transfusion, and that meant being able to get reassurance and help for every feed, night and day for 3 days. I suspect if I'd headed home quicker I wouldn't have had the confidence all was well, and we'd have stopped fairly soon.

Jumping back forward to my third pregnancy and feeling so ill, that blood transfusion(my hb drop was unexplained) was probably to do with low ferritin which has only been picked up 6 yrs later as the NHS doesn't routinely check it.

Ah, the good old NHS. It provides my family with an income, but for healthcare/treatments I'm beginning to feel let down.

This pregnancy I realised something important to me is knowing who'd be there when I was in labour. Unfortunately that would take having a lot more midwives to manage the on-call. A friend who is one thought they could possibly manage to be available if I laboured during the day, but I'd feel uncomfortable getting a favour when other women may well want that kind of care, and who knows when I'd labour? I certainly didn't expect it to be during the day!
So we went with the alternative as the NHS couldn't meet my needs, and hired an Independant Midwife. Susan's been fabulous, even more helpful and wonderful than I could have imagined, but we've also had to pay about 1/4 of my annual income this year to have her wonderful support. Next year her job becomes illegal as the government believes indemnity insurance makes good practitioners (personally i believe passion, education and experience is more useful).
Anyway, my lovely challenging third pregnancy has duly evolved into a lovely beautiful third child, but the challenges haven't stopped.
I could go on about nappies and elimination communication, but those challenges have been tiny compared to the last few weeks feeding.
It all started fine, just his latch didn't seem great- he'd start well but slip off a bit more easily than I'd expect, but no pain. A little less weight gain the first week, but I made a point of sitting up for night feeds and it seemed to be ok. At 3 weeks things still weren't great, so I went to babycafe in case some positioning support might do the trick. Hmm, I was already doing pretty much everything suggested, but I planned to try a bit harder.It wasn't hurting much then. At 4 weeks I had a stomach bug so I wasn't concentrating on anything much, but when he was 5 weeks I went back to babycafe sure we had a problem, but no idea what it was. I have nephews with a tongue tie/ cleft palate and my sister had warned me back with my first child to be aware of these things, so I asked for tongue tie to be ruled out. Ah, but there was something. Not a 'proper' tongue tie, but his tongue is slightly tethered at the back. Who they refer to wouldn't divide it, so the advice was getting good positioning and possibly trying cranial-sacral therapy. I came away feeling vindicated- there is a structural reason I'm in pain, but gradually realising I pretty much have to just put up with it.
Now luckily for me I was aware of other help out there- I know Analytical Armadillo and was vaguely aware of reading stuff about tongue ties some consultants won't treat impacting on breastfeeding. Also, her kids benefitted from osteopathy- so if nothing else she could hopefully recommend someone local. My friend very kindly assessed Little Man, and was sure what she could see and feel would affect breastfeeding. Her colleague had a check too, and assessed it as an 80% tongue tie, which she could divide that day.
At this point I was a little overwhelmed- 2 days prior I'd found out there was a real problem, but only minor, and now it was definately enough to treat...I needed more time to think it all through, and ensure we had the money (I'd've felt awful if we'd gone ahead but not been able to pay straight away- we're careful to avoid debt).
I've spent the last 5 days on internet forums,a facebook group, and most importantly to me saw a couple of folk in real-life yesterday who've had children with undiagnosed/late diagnosed tongue ties, and then been on the ball with subsequent children for early division.

I've been back to babycafe again just to be very sure- the local NHS guy definately won't touch it, and they haven't anything else to offer.

Nobody else is in my shoes-I don't have blood and wounds showing, baby is gaining weight well. The only problem is the one I can feel, and I know feeding doesn't have to be painful. I'm also aware that the thought of feeding like this longterm is not possible- I would have to stop and be incredibly upset if I had to stop.
So, again, an aspect of the NHS isn't meeting our needs. This one is to do with Little Man's longterm health -artificially fed babies are more likely to be ill and cost the NHS more, as well a parent needing time off work for caring for them- if you want references please go the Analytical Armadillo's blog, but even better read The Politics of Breastfeeding by Gabrielle Palmer.Don't let the title put you off (it did put me off, I didn't read it until I'd been a parent for about 4 years) its really about how advertising and governments have affected out culture and infant feeding in general (even more relevant to parents who use artificial milk, tbh), but I can't think of a snappy title for it :) My copy is out on loan somewhere, I think- if you have it can I have it back to pass on to someone else?

So, I feel my best option is to pay to have the tongue tie divided, go to an osteopath, and hope feeding improves. If it doesn't and I have to stop- well, I truly feel I can say I've done my best with the information I have now. In months or years to come I may learn something different, but you can only do your best with the information available at the time- I hope to leave parent guilt behind.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Weekend Away

the entrance gate with our tent

approx 5 bell tents and 4 tipis .....

We've had a marvellous weekend away at Spoonfest. Utterly brilliant time had by all. I hoped to watch and listen and enjoy the atmosphere (which I did) but I even got to carve most of a spoon.

Arare sighting of me not holding Little Man, getting to carve instead!

Little Man showing off his T-shirt
The girls made new friends and loved that the village playground was within the Spoonfest site, happily finding us when hungry- occasionally!

DH was able to watch and listen, but didn't manage to get into a queue in time to sign up for a workshop when he tried.

Sunday's workshop sign up queue

engraving workshop- I daren't try that with my track record for injuries!

 Wonderful free demonstrations and talks were fascinating for us grown ups, and of course tons of lovely wood, lots of space to work and chat and share ideas with others. So many circles of carving, chatting people all over was wonderful to watch and occasionally be part of.

Mr 'Flying Shavings' Richard Law working away
It was really great to chat with other greenwood people we've met over the years, and meet new people- all happy to talk 'wood' for more than 5 minutes. Coming back to 'real life' its so sad how folk tend to glaze over, and on a practical level seeing kids hanging around on the streets- I've been itching to spend 10 minutes getting them doing something more productive with a knife and peice of wood.

someone to talk spoons and home ed with- it doesn't get much better than this!

I didn't get to partake much as Little Man was happy in the sling on my front, or feeding all weekend :) Of couse I could have put him on my back out of the way, but the small amount of sleep I get didn't have me feeling terribly safe with sharp tools- so I didn't want to risk an injury and spoil things.
We managed our evening meal on Saturday at the 'bring and burn' communal bbq- with the girls staying up terribly late but we got to enjoy ourselves. Have I worn out the word fabulous yet?

There were plenty of people doing workshops (only £10 for 1.5 hrs with an expert in a small group) and free demonstrations. I missed the Friday evening talk by Jogge Sundqvist, but DH recorded the audio for me (he had slides so it doesn't quite make up for it!). I did get to see most of his Sat am demo,

 Mike Abbott's lumberhorse demo, half of Sean Hellman's sharpening demo, and part of Martin Hazel's talk Sunday morning about the possible patron saint of spoon carvers. Little Man was rather loud when he had needs to be met, so I couldn't just stay and feed him- I had to scoot off so everyone else could still hear. Jared Stonedahl had come from the US and was doing workshops and a demonstration on making knife sheaths with bark and roots- fabulous! We were even able to buy one of his spoons :)

 An osteopath Terence McSweeney did an abreviated demo on ergonomic work (he had a workshop going I wish I could have attended) which was amazing. I hope he'll repeat it next year!
Terence McSweeney's demo

 In my work we're warned about working 'safely' but noone has explained to me which fingers provided  the 'power' for a grip, I just knew we use 'fine motor' muscles to provide too much pressure. Anyway, his brief explanation on how to use an axe not only will help me axe without hurting my muscles, but hopefully help me scan without damaging myself much more also. I want to know more about osteopaths now! DH noticed how many of the professional woodworkers managed to be around for his free demo and were listening very carefully.

pre-spoonfest- Fritiof's course did the first pass-along spoon carving- 10 individual spoon made by teamwork

The gallery of work was far too intimidating for us to add to- the idea was everyone is included but the contributions I saw were all of a very high standard. I am inspired to improve my spoons!
There was also an exhibition of an extensive spoon collection- utterly amazing. I suppose the only enhancement I wish for is just a little more information about the spoon collection/various spoons on display- some had numbers on which intrigued me, but I didn't find out what they meant.

Spoon Club
The weekend finished up with Spoon Club- everyone working in teams to make spoons- 5 minutes each then passing it on to the left... we weren't able to stay to the end but it looked something amazing to be part of.

It was a wonderful experience just getting to Spoonfest with Little Man being so new. I'm amazed at how much we were able to get out from it- and really enjoyed meeting new people and chatting 'spoons'. Hmmm, though this means next year will probably be even harder with a 13 month old...

someone found a good place for a hammock overnight! not so great when the kids start playing early, I imagine....

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

face paint and a sling

 Yesterday we played with face paint. Today Big One didn't want to make breakfast, but did want to try wearing Little Man while I did that for her. She really enjoyed showing off her baby to her friends- slinging him for 45 mins in the end!
This is a costa rica hoppediz ring sling conversion for those who are interested- DHs favourite sling from Little One.
 I got to enjoy some hands free time knitting in the park- fresh air and sunshine all round- makes it all that little bit easier.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

back to baby...

Little Man has been meeting people, getting out and about...

just the odd cuddle with big sis!

with friends

first coffee morning with grandad

its a hard life!

getting sunburn- oops :(

Big One having fun, but the bike wouldn't go fast enough for her!
spent her own pennies on it, too.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

I do still like craft, honest!

Today we bumped into Flying Shavings, and a couple of people I've been on various courses with in Edale with Robin Wood.

Apologies craft people, I can see my blog is going to be baby orientated for a good few months at least. Seeing folk face to face makes me realise how boring it must be when you're looking to see what crafting someone is up to...
Mrs Flying Shavings (not sure if you like your name out and about on t'internet) was asking about a programme I caught up with the other day,Britain's heritage heroes- so here's the link for you (Robin Wood is about 20 mins in, but Portland Works is just before that which is interesting, DH and I had a look around when the redevelopment was still threatening). I realise I'd better put the link here, as I'm not all that sure I have your email address...
We bought a lovely bowl from Mr. Flying Shavings. Yes I can carve them, but it would mean waiting a year or so, and it is nice to appreciate the craftmanship of a friend (he's got a heck of a lot more experience than me, and it shows!).I do feel a bit guilty about the bargain we got- but one day hopefully we can return the favour- if we make summat he'd like!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Newborn Sleep

Firstly, just to say I’m writing and sharing this for two reasons. One, so I’ve got a record of how I think things are going now (and family and friends who are interested can know too!) and secondly for the random mum/mum to be who might be interested in some information. This isn’t advice- I’m not telling anyone what to do. This is just what is happening and perhaps its useful for someone else out there.

Little Man and I sleep together.There, I’ve said it. Apparently not many parents admit to sleeping with their children, even if it does happen regularly. This time we didn’t plan for baby to sleep anywhere else. He’s almost 4 weeks old now and it seems to be working great for us.

I didn’t even consider our bed to be an option with Big One- all the NHS info tells you how dangerous it is, and especially NOT to do it certain circumstances (smoking, drink, drugs, excessively tired- basically anything that might interfere with you responding to babies needs) but not how to do it safely if you haven’t any risk factors. With Big One we got ALOT less sleep. It didn’t help I read some more mainstream parenting books. Guess what- the baby didn’t and didn’t fit the patterns ‘expected’.

When Little One was born my reading and experience and awareness of attachment parenting was a bit higher, so we shared a bed from very early days. I quickly realised I wasn’t mucking about waking everyone up trying to get baby to sleep in the moses basket-my baby had its own ideas and I was too tired to argue. When I didn’t fight it, wow- we all were well rested. Brilliant! However, I didn’t read ‘Three in a Bed’ by Deborah Jackson until she was about 5 months old, and then realised we’d been doing things dangerously. I’m all for going with the flow, but I wish I’d been able to easily find some safe co-sleeping tips back then(Sharing the adult bed with baby gets called cosleeping). I would have still co-slept, but not with a big duvet, lots of pillows, etc. We were all fine, and 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing- I was doing the best I could with the information I could find at the time- same as I’ve done with each child.

Today I’ve quickly looked on the internet and I have found some co-sleeping guidelines, but jeepers- reading them still sounds pretty scary, something not safe to do. I feel really lucky I have/had friends online and in real life who helped me realise that co-sleeping is safe, normal and most importantly, makes life easier. No getting out of bed to see to baby’s needs, no wondering if they’re quiet and I should be worrying about that, I can tell if too hot or too cold because they’re touching me.

Its normal in many cultures around the globe - Japan for example. Sticking with Japan, they also have incredibly low incidence of cot death. I can only guess its too hard for the NHS to ensure the advice they give regarding co-sleeping is specific for each family situation. Of course some situations aren’t right for co-sleeping. We might be set up for safe co-sleeping this time around, but if one of us is ill, has a few drinks, etc then we’d change things a little to keep things safe.

Co-sleeping is easier for parents (if done routinely, occasional co-sleeping kids apparently can be hard work). If done safely, reduces risk of cot death (really!), promotes independence in the child, promotes healthy sleep patterns, helps with bonding for parents out at work all day (thats mums or dads) and I think its lovely.
Kids seem to like it- I know Big One (and other preschool age kids who had their own rooms) use the relentless logic of ‘you and daddy share (or you, daddy and baby share), why do I have to sleep alone? Its lonely.’

There is evidence to back up what I’m saying, its not all ‘just’ my opinion. The book I mentioned before ‘Three in a Bed’ isn’t a ‘how to’ guide. Its an extensively referenced (4.5 pages of tiny writing bibliography including several pages of referenced published research). If you are considering having a child, I suggest you read this book so you can make an informed choice with your sleeping arrangements. The ‘easy to find’ info, the government (and FSIDS) safe sleeping advice isn’t the whole truth. I wish I’d come across this book much earlier in my parenting.

The only equipment we’re using is a Hippichick cot size waterproof sheet across where he sleeps, and a sheet or towel on top of that (Hippichick is the least sweaty type of waterproof sheet I’ve come across- not a crinkly noisy one either). We have a large waterproof sheet under our bedding from when bigger kids sleep with us, but I prefer to have a smaller amount of washing for leaks and spills. We do have the cot from the other two- it makes a good shelf for nappies, birth pool, sling room in it for a baby!

Anyway, how are we today? Well, we’re starting to get the hang of breastfeeding lying down so he’s feeding through the night, yet I’m getting about 5 hrs sleep in a row, plus a couple more shorter stretches. From my other children I recall getting a 4hr stretch making a huge difference for my ability to function/cope, and today has been pretty good. Long may it last!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Three weeks old

Little man is 3 weeks old now, and this last week has gone quickly. I'm starting to feel better, which is fabulous. Looking back, its like my brain has been wrapped in cotton wool- I've not been able to think things through, plan, or stand up for long. Now DH says I'm harder to live with (I see jobs that need doing and put them on the task list, remind him, have suggestions, etc!) and I'm using some of the time DH is getting cuddles with Little Man to do Useful Things. I've been to the supermarket without DH (the ability to remember what I need to  buy and feeling confident I can stand long enough to queue have been limiting factors) but instead the extra stress was figuring out getting Little Man out of the sling, extracting a boob (without showing more flesh than I'm comfortable with)- whilst at the checkouts and the checkout operator was completely ignoring the fact I had a baby with me, let alone feeding. Um, yes, today I WOULD like help packing please!
DH has been able to get on with a couple of jobs we've been intending to do for months as well, which is great. One day we'll even get around to putting the caravan up for sale....

Apologies if you've had a vague telephone conversation with me. Part of knowing I'm not completely better is noticing I can't filter noise as I normally would, so can't concentrate on the phone conversation whilst life carries on around me. I'm the same in busy, noisy places, so just trying to avoid them for the short term.
Oldest meets youngest- Great Grandma with Little Man. Nearly a century between them (but not quite!)

Little One happily busy

Sometimes he will have a lie down by himself for a few minutes

Even nappies are important for Little One to help with

Multi-tasking- potty and feeding works quite well. Less nappies to wash!

Big sister jiggling

quick pic of today