There’s No Such Thing As ‘Tough Love’

Heather Wolf — ‘There is no such thing as tough love. Love is kind, love is compassionate, love is tender.”

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When it comes to babies, there is no such thing as ‘tough love’.

The closest thing to ‘tough love‘ I can think of is taking control of all finances whilst your partner who is a gambling addict gets help with his addiction.

When babies are in the mix there is either responding to your babies cues or there isn’t. I hate the phrase ‘tough love’ when referring to babies as if ignoring a babies cries is in their best interest?!

Babies have no idea how to manipulate their parents, as clever as babies are they aren’t THAT clever. Sometimes they cry for attention, and that’s okay. Needing attention is as much of a legitimate need as needing a drink.

And there is TONS of research proving that ignoring your children’s cries CAN be detrimental to their health. I don’t want to hear that you left your darling Peter to cry and he turned out fine. My grandad smoked 30 cigarettes a day for most of his life and he lived until 88. Doesn’t take away the fact that thousands of people die from smoking every single day.

Older children however, I have no idea as I haven’t reached that milestone yet, but if you ever hear me say that I’m leaving my 5 year old to cry himself to sleep then I give you permission to drop-kick me in the face.

‘But the more you respond to them the more they will cry for attention’ I hear you say. Well yeah. Obviously. Is it really such an awful thing that a baby trusts their parents to answer their cries? If you ignore your babies cries then they will eventually stop crying. It doesn’t mean they no longer need cuddling or attention, it just means they know there’s no point in crying as no one is going to come.

So yes, the cry-it-out method does work, I 100% agree with you on that, it doesn’t mean its ethical, loving or right though.

Before you get your knickers in a twist, I wholeheartedly believe that there is a massive difference between chucking your baby in a cot at 7pm and ignoring them all night because YOU think they should be asleep and putting your baby in a safe place for 2 minutes whilst you calm down, cry, get your shit together or call someone over to help you on a bad day.

Humans crave attention, we all like to feel loved and wanted. When we are babies, toddlers, children and adults. It’s normal.

 

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‘Your Baby Is Healthy, That’s All That Matters’

top 10.pngAnyone who has suffered with post-birth trauma has probably had this phrase chucked at them along with a handful of other unhelpful and isolating phrases.

Yes-ultimately, giving birth to a healthy baby is the main goal, but mum’s feelings are incredibly important too. If a mum doesn’t get the birth experience she longed for, if things went wrong during labour, or even if the birth went to plan; she can still suffer with a post natal mental health illness and she has every bloody right to feel sad and mournful, even if you don’t see ‘what the big deal is’.

Every woman has the right to make an informed decision on her birth plan and if her wishes and desires are ignored, belittled or have to change in an emergency then this can have a great impact on her mental health.

For example some mums want a home birth, some mums want a water birth, some mums want an epidural, some mums opt for a caesarean due to previous birth trauma, some mums want to free birth and if their plan is hindered then it can cause feelings of failure, guilt, grief, anger, isolation and in some cases it can even make a mum feel like she doesn’t love her child. (It is important to note that just because someone is suffering with PND or post natal trauma then it does not mean they don’t love their baby or that they have ill feelings towards their baby.)

Most of the time these feelings can be resolved within weeks or months at most with the correct support, information, therapy and love. But recovery and bonding with their baby can actually be pro longed if they feel isolated and are being made to feel worse than they already do.

I asked some women online about phrases that really affected them and made them feel worse and also prevented some from seeking help as they felt ashamed and guilty.

  • “Oh, other people would kill to be in your position!”
  • “Just put him on a bottle, you’ll get more sleep and feel better”
  • “These things happen”
  • “Well, at least they let you do things the easy way with the c-section”.
  • “My friend had pnd she found going for a walk really helped”
  • “He shouldn’t be with you if you’re feeling like that”
  • “You had an easy birth compared to some people, you should be happy!”

 

Every single birth and birth plan is different and no one should be made to feel ashamed for their feelings if they didn’t have the birth they wanted.

When my son was a newborn I couldn’t even think about the emergency caesarean without crying and feeling huge pangs of guilt. I felt like I had failed him. I don’t know why I felt this as I look up to other mums who have had caesareans and think they are amazing as the healing and recovery is awful.

I remember waking up when Freddie was 2 days old, we were back home by this point and I woke up in so much pain, I couldn’t even describe it. I waddled to the toilet balling my eyes out, I felt like I couldn’t survive. Those feelings probably seem so dramatic to some people but that doesn’t make my experience any less valid.

The emergency caesarean stopped me from bonding with my son for a while and if it wasn’t for breastfeeding him then I’m not sure how long it would have taken to bond with him! I felt good knowing that he NEEDED my milk to stay alive and that’s what got me through. When he was a few weeks old an overwhelming sense of love just hit me in the face and I knew right then that I loved him more than anything.

Don’t let anyone brush your feelings aside as if they do not matter. Because they DO. You matter, your birth matters and most of all the relationship between you and your baby matters.

 

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Things That REALLY Matter Post-Birth

People so often go on about the things that aren’t really essential post-birth, they may be helpful and make things slightly easier like bouncers and swings but no one talks about what really matters. They may not be essential to some people but they’re all things that have been proved to improve the health and recovery for mum and baby.

Things That REALLY Matter Post-Birth

Delayed cord clamping

Fortunately, this is now becoming common practise in the UK, however mums can decline it if they wish and sometimes in emergencies delayed cord clamping is not an option. I had an emergency caesarean and the cord was cut straight away. With future babies I will definitely be delaying cord clamping.

Delaying cord clamping promotes better blood volume in the baby and it keeps the mother and baby together as 1.

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Skin to Skin

Skin to skin is sooo important for mum and baby, and also for daddy too.

If you’re breastfeeding it helps trigger your oxytocin levels which triggers your milk to let-down. Even if you’re not breastfeeding it’s still very important, if not more so important. It promotes bonding and research has shown that mums who have frequent skin to skin with baby are less likely to get PND. (Click here to see the study)

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Breastfeeding

I think most people know how important breast milk is for a baby, however the support and correct information is still lacking for many mums and they give up sooner than intended or don’t even try at all.

Obviously, infant feeding is always a mothers choice but it should be an informed choice and unfortunately many mums don’t get to make an informed choice. They make the choice based on what their friends and family do or based on myths perpetrated. For example, not breastfeeding because family members have been unable to so mum assumes that she can’t either. Only 2% of mums can’t physically breastfeed but a whole lot more of mums ‘can’t’ breastfeed simply due to lack of support.

If you are on medication, check with Wendy Jones who is a pharmacist and specialises in breastmilk and medication to see if your medication is compatible with breastfeeding. Unfortunately Dr’s and Nurses aren’t trained in breastmilk and medication so they often say you can’t breastfeed on certain medications to be ‘on the safe side’.

If you are struggling then please please seek help! Here is a list of Lactation Consultants in the UK (just enter your post code and it will find your local ones for you!), and here is a list of Breastfeeding Support Groups in the UK. You can also search here for local NCT Latch on groups near you and they can also organise for a breastfeeding specialist or peer supporter to see you.

If you cannot breastfeed or you need more milk whilst building up supply or whathaveyou then Human Milk For Human Babies is a brilliant source to find donor milk near you!

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Bonding

You would have thought this was a fairly obvious one. Every mum knows that bonding with baby is important, right? Well, yes they may do BUT they don’t realise what bonding entails. Skin to skin is a massive factor, but also just spending time with one another without having people interrupting and having you play host whilst they sit on the sofa passing baby around like a bloody parcel. If you must have visitors then tell them to bloody well bring round some shopping or a takeaway, oh and do the dishes whilst they’re at it too! You should not have to run around after anyone at such a precious time. Which leads me on to my next point…

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Relax

I wrote about this before, why the bloody hell do women rush to get back to normality and routine after having a baby?! Just chill!! I know it’s probably easier said than done when you have other kids to tend to but get your partner to take over for a while. Or if you don’t have a partner then get a close friend or relative to come round whenever possible to give you time to relax.

If you don’t have other kids to tend to then you have no excuse! *bossy voice!* It’s not to say that you’re chained to the house, but just take your time and go with the flow. Even after the most simple and natural birth it’s important to give your body time to heal and every woman deserves to be treated like a Goddess post-birth.

I usually HATE the phrase Happy Mummy Happy Baby (read about that here!)as it’s so overused now but I think in cases like these, when the mum is taking time to relax and care for her well being it makes it easier to bond with the baby and give 100% of your attention and care to your baby which in turn means that your baby is happy and is having all their needs met on demand.

 

 

Can you think of anything else that REALLY matters post-birth?

 

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In The Grand Scheme Of Things, Does It Really Matter?

'The word discipline comes from the word disciple. Disciples lead by example. What example do you teach a child by hitting them-.pngYou know what pisses me off? How so-called gentle parents who preach about the importance of being gentle to your children seem to be the ones always jumping on posts throwing insults and chucking in their 2 pence whenever possible.
I know no one can MAKE you feel anything but sometimes it doesn’t matter how positive and at peace you are with your parenting, people can still make you feel like absolute bollocks if you are clearly berating their parenting and I think most of the time that is their aim.

I’m not on about people giving you factual information and still feeling guilty or defensive over it.
I’m on about mums who think that just because THEY do things a certain way means that every other mum who don’t do those stupid things that don’t even really matter are wrong.

Like in the grand scheme of things does it really matter if you occasionally par your child off to their grandparents for a couple of hours so you can have some down time by yourself or with your partner? To me, it doesn’t matter. As long as your baby or child is HAPPY with this arrangement then who gives a shit? If it’s the difference between your mental health and flying off the handle because you’re so stressed and tired and THIS close to punching someone then I know what arrangement I’d be happier with!

In the grand scheme of things does it really matter that your child had chips and beans for tea for the 3rd night running? No it really doesn’t matter. If they usually have a balanced and varied diet then having beans and chips isn’t going to hurt them. Maybe you’re waiting to get paid so you can buy some moderately healthy food and in the mean time you’re trying to use whatever you can find in the freezer and cupboards. I know I’ve had plenty of those moments.
In the grand scheme of things does it really matter that you only use cloth nappies occasionally? To be honest, it probably does matter yes as disposable nappies aren’t ideal at all. But you know what? We tried cloth nappies and Freddie pissed through every single one of them and they made his bum go red. We were in no financial position to spend a big chunk of money outright to get a different brand of cloth nappies that may not even mix well with him so we’ve been using Aldi nappies ever since and I LOVE them.

Information is great, and informing other mums is brilliant too. But there is a way to inform mums without sounding like a massive dick head. No one is going to listen to you or take you seriously if you jump on someone who is giving their 4 week old breastfed baby a dummy and telling them that they’re going to ruin their breastfeeding relationship and that in a few months it will get easier and because you coped perfectly fine without giving your baby a dummy it means that every other fucker should too. To a new mum, a few months is a bloody long time and a mum should NOT have to struggle on for months at a time keeping her fingers crossed that things will get better just because Fanny Anne from the internet coped perfectly fine. She should be helped and supported and for some mums a dummy is the thing that stops her quitting breastfeeding.

This isn’t about justifying shitty parenting styles. Because lets be honest; some people make awful, selfish and ridiculous parenting choices. But for the most part, if mums are trying their best, if they are responsive to their babies and children’s physical and emotional needs, if they are mostly trying to do better than the day before, then isn’t THAT what matters? Not who feeds their baby tofu and grated carrots for tea every night.

I think everyone just needs to relax a little and CALM THE F*CK DOWN.

In order to educate about the importance of being gentle towards our children, We must be gentle towards other parents

 

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Things Midwives Forget To Tell Mothers

Things

  • It’s okay to co sleep, your baby might not settle in their moses basket and that’s perfectly normal. Here are the co sleeping safety guidelines.
  • You have a choice. You don’t HAVE to be induced,  you don’t HAVE to have a hospital birth, you don’t HAVE to do x,y,z.
  • Cluster feeding is normal when breastfeeding. Your baby has a tiny tiny stomach so feeding every 10 minutes is normal. Tiring. But normal.

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  • It’s normal for your baby to wake up often. Babies take a while to adjust to day time and night time. Waking up often lowers the risk of SIDs.
  • It’s okay to feel emotional. Baby blues can last longer than 3-5 days. If you’re still emotional after a couple of weeks then tell a health care professional.
  • Instinct has been around longer than a book. Trust your instinct, always.
  • If you have had children before then you may get worse after pains.
  • It’s okay to feel hungry all the time, you have just grown a baby for 9 months and now you are keeping it alive with your boobs. Eat all the food.
  • It’s okay to say no to visitors. You don’t owe anyone anything. If people must visit then tell them to bring shopping and wash the dishes.
  • Breastfeeding can be hard to begin with, but after a few weeks it’s completely worth it.
  • You will sweat like a motherfucker. It’s fine.
  • You might get piles. Don’t be embarrassed, just see a Dr asap to prescribe some cream and eat lots of fibre and drink lots of water.
  • Keep baby close, skin to skin as much as possible, its okay to leave the chores to everyone else.
  • Its okay to respond to your baby when they make the slightest whimper, your instinct is to pick them up and keep them near. Read more here.

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  • Breastfeeding isn’t just food.
  • If bottle feeding, your baby should still drink little and often; not 6oz every 4 hours. They don’t need hungry baby milk. Read more here.
  • You don’t have to have a sweep. You’re not a chimney.
  • Your estimated due date is just that. They are not late and you don’t need to be induced or have a sweep and go to 4th base with the midwife if you go past the date, the due date was just wrong.

ESTIMATED Due Date:

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  • Baby acne is normal. Just leave it.
  • You don’t need to bath your baby as soon as the umbilical cord falls off. Babies don’t do anything to get them dirty enough for a bath. Waiting for up to 2 weeks (or longer) gives a chance for the vernix (the gooey white stuff they’re covered in) to soak into their skin.
  • Skin to skin is so important and isn’t just something you should do after labour or if your breastfeeding. You can do it as much and as often as you want regardless of feeding method.
  • There’s no such thing as overfeeding a breastfed baby.
  • You DO have enough milk for your baby. The 2 main signs that you don’t have enough milk for your baby is no wet nappies and rapid weight loss/failure to thrive. (Although weight loss is normal after birth)
  • If you have certain drugs in labour, such as IV fluids, then your baby’s birth weight may be inaccurate and may appear to have a big weight loss because of this.  (Read here)

 

 

Was there anything you wish your midwife told you?

 

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Dads Are Not Babysitters, They Are Parents

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we constantly put fathers down.

We assume that they are all clueless about parenting and if they are left in charge of the kids then something will definitely go wrong.

I can safely say that every time I am left in charge of Freddie (every day) something ALWAYS goes wrong. He will fall over, he will get poo on my toe, he will fall head first into his toy box, he will shove a carrot up his nose… the list is endless. But for some reason, whenever these things happen when a dad is left in charge it’s completely different and it’s because he doesn’t have a clue about parenting.

I don’t know about you but I, a mother, am pretty clueless 94% of the time. My son is nearly 1 and I’m still learning every single day and so is my partner.

My partner is as much of a parent as I am. Sure, I am Freddie’s main carer but that’s because my partner is out working and earning money for us to live and without him we would be in a pretty dire situation.

A dad isn’t just an income earner, he is a role model, a snot wiper, a nappy changer, a baby wearer, a tear wiper, a soother. His role is as valid as a mother’s.

I am completely aware that there are many fathers who don’t even deserve the title. It’s easy for a man to get up and run as soon as his partner gets pregnant but lets not forget that MOST men step up and accept as much responsibility as the mum does.

We forget that many fathers stay at home with the kids whilst the mum goes back to work and for your information, that is not babysitting.

Read here about ways dad can bond with their breastfed baby

 

 

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5 Ways To Be Discreet Whilst Breastfeeding

We all know that breastfeeding is a shameful and immodest act. I fear that indiscreet breastfeeding will make men uncomfortable as it’s hard to ogle over boobs when there’s a baby attached. Those poor men.

I’ve written a list of ways to be discreet whilst breastfeeding so we can stop making other people feel uncomfortable. (Because obviously their comfort is more important than your babies.)

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1- Use some sort of cover. A breastfeeding apron is simply not good enough. I recommend buying one of those pop up tents. They’re easy enough to carry around with you and if your baby needs a feed you can just pitch it up in the middle of a shop and sit in there whilst you feed.

2- Carry a ‘warning’ sign around with you and before you sit down to feed your baby place it approximately 5 metres away from you so people have a chance to overt their eyes.

3- If a sign is simply not feasible as your pop up tent is taking up all of the room in your handbag then carry a roll of that bright yellow ‘warning’ tape around with you. That way you can wrap the tape around furniture and isolate yourself in the corner of the cafe or shop.

4- Sing really loudly. That way you will distract the attention from the small amount of skin exposed whilst feeding your child. The perks of this one is that some people may mistake you for a busker and give you money.

5- If the previous 4 tips fail then simply don’t leave the house until your baby no longer breast feeds. If you’re planning to breastfeed until natural term then you may be stuck in for a while so I recommend stocking up your cupboards and making the most of internet shopping.

 

Hopefully these tips will help you become more discreet whilst feeding your baby. After all, feeding your child in the most natural way is not something people should see.

 

Happy pop-up tent boobing!

 

If you enjoyed this article then you may enjoy reading 9 Ways To Create A Rod For Your Own Back!

 

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