Boobing

IMG_6252

Drink and express milk products

Boobing refers to Breastfeeding for those unfamiliar with Milk Meg an Aussie boobing advocate who tirelessly blogs/writes/shares inspiration and supports mamas milk. http://themilkmeg.com

Going back in time to those early days, boobing did not just fall into place for me. There I was expecting myself perched on fluffy clouds with my newborn nestled into my bosom. Instead I had challenges from the medical professionals, who at one point, I kid you not, made me show my naked boobs while they confirmed yes one was bigger than the other resulting in a lack of milk production. WTAF. These  were the tongue tie ‘professionals’ at Kings Hospital, London (name and shame) They sent me home and I vividly remember; baby in sling, rush hour train from Denmark Hill and feeling like a total FAILURE as a mother and a woman. I wept on a packed train.

I now know they were WRONG! At it sickens me because I was so close to giving up. Her birth had been taken out of my hands (emergency C-section) so I was determined to breastfeed. I put myself on a 2 hour schedule. Every 2 bloody hours, feeding or expressing and when not doing those I did skin-on-skin, bathing together and she slept on me. I never knew quite how determined I can be, how quiet 4am is and the beautiful sunrises we get in London.

I threw formula in the bin and I fought for my boobs and very slowly she gained weight.

As it transpires after many weigh ins, her birth weight was wrong. Well come on a 9lb baby? A mixed Asian female baby and I weighed 7.7 at birth, ridiculous. They weighed her and added 2 extra pounds, 2!!! Do I sound angry? I am still.

Back to the topic. Boobing. Cut to 9 months later and we are still boobie mates, more than ever I am grateful to the milk magic my body produces, it has helped a transition to Thailand, where it is not always easy to find clean water and sterilised bottles. It helped on car journeys that she hated with a passion. Yes you can lean over a car seat and pull out a boob, it’s great after the pool and on the beach! It gives us a closeness that I adore and now more than ever with my return to work.

We reconnect via my boobies.

I am fortunate to live near work so after our departing boob in the morning I can make it home, when I get fed amazing Thai food by hubby for lunch and give a boobie desert for baby.

IMG_6255

Curry with sprouted something. Tofu with veggies, fried fish and brown rice (Yummy)

She gets one on my return home and I express when I can. Although I have a Medela breast pump https://www.medela.com/breastfeeding/products/breast-pumps/swing

I have found hand expressing way more effective and weirdly satisfying, although I have to be careful with the right boob as it tends to spray a bit far! I do feel like a cow but have really got the technique down and it’s quick. I get a cha yen, Thai iced tea made with condensed milk as a treat too! (pictured above)

I always make sure there’s a stash in the fridge so the extras I express at lunchtime and afternoon make up one she can drink in the afternoon on the next day with hubby who takes care of her. I’m sure she will drop that feed pretty soon but happy for her to have the comfort. She refuses a bottle so has a sippy cup, I can see she mimics an open mouth similar to breast feeding. We found our rhythm as many mother’s told me we would.

I have also found she eats more in the day and that has resulted in a 6 hour constant sleep record-whoop! Again though I feel I’ve returned to the boobie fight as it is far from easy being a working boobing mum, add in sleep deprivation and a new job but motherhood is a balance and I keep reminding myself ‘this is just a period in time’

Suzi logo

 

The Yoga baby

Screen Shot 2559-05-21 at 21.49.25

Making this one short and sweet as it’s Saturday night and 945pm already which means it’s 45 minutes past my bedtime. That’s how I roll these days..

Earlier today when I felt like I had more energy rather than zapped of my life force as I feel now. I decided to do some yoga practise in the SAME room as my little one. I felt so inspired by these mamas on Instagram* doing down dogs with their children artistically balancing on their backs and the ever so sweet Laura Kasperzak (picture above) who with her gorgeous daughter and matching outfits rock out some incredible asanas.

This romantic view of yoga with your baby is just that, romantic, rose tinted and with my little energy ball, firecracker child completely unachievable. Firstly she crawls under my down dog and slaps my boobs wondering, obviously, why they are not available to her right now. She crawls on me, pulls my hair and nibbles on me which is really quite distracting. I did however manage about 45 mins of practise with her tootling around, then she did a poo. sigh. Finally I got to meditating and there was the silence…

IMG_4144

That baby silence when all you can think is “oh no what has she found and eaten” so with one eye opened I said 3 oms and practised gratitude for this amazing little person who now constantly buzzes around me!

*pictures of us doing full scorpions with matching outfits will be posted on my Instagram never. There is a picture of me doing yoga when she would just lie on the mat 31 weeks ago…

Screen Shot 2559-05-21 at 22.16.48.png

https://www.instagram.com/suzi_pt_yogi/

Suzi logo

Herding (teaching)

Unknown

Teaching a group of twenty five 3 year olds is a combination of 30% teaching, 10% repetitively saying “sit down” and 60% herding.

Herding a group of very slippery, wondering, daydreaming jellyfish.

Herding from assembly, to the toilet, lunch, playground (if I convince my co teacher to go) Here the children also take their shoes off in the classroom so add in another challenge of getting said 3 years olds to put on/off their own shoes, they do this pretty well, it’s impressive. Although I do see a lot of shoes on the wrong feet but hey they’re 3 years old and I’m sleep deprived.

Did I mention I’m a mama?

Although coming home to one, only one, little baby is bliss and that’s when I realise I’ve spent all day being on high alert; where is that one going to, why is such and such standing on a chair, oh nooooooooo don’t stand in the puke/pee/water/sweets/chalk.

and why oh why must a 3 year old copy his/her mate? If one walks on the wall coming back from lunch it becomes a life threatening imperative that they ALL have to do it and it takes FOREVER!

The English they have learnt this week

sit down

stand up

line up

shoes on

(great)

They also all know sleeping bunnies as it’s the only way I can achieve silence even for a few seconds! Finally, my first week of actual teaching is done, although it was only 3 days due to a Buddhist holiday tomorrow.

Only 3 days…how a full week of 5 will feel?

It has got better as the week progressed and today I had a particularly successful class using a box full of random stuff like rubber ducks, pegs, a dinosaur and monkey masks that they found completely HYSTERICAL. When I said 30% teaching I actually mean 20% of that is being a performer/clown.

Life now feels like a juggling act, but motherhood seems to feel like that. This could be why women are so good at multi tasking. I have also added a daily commute on my bicycle in raging HEAT, 3 journeys totalling 1 hr. But if you know me, you’ll know that’s standard (wink)

I am happy though, mummy Hall back in London asked today out of 10 I said 8, it makes such a HUGE difference that people are just simply nice here. They smile at you, greet you and seem genuine. My husband is also feeding me insanely delicious local food that is so spicy I cough on my bike back to school. I love my home, I adore returning to a gorgeous baby who is so excited to see me, I cherish those moments feeding her and snuggling her at night. My school seems great and co teachers are awesome, very fortunate!

I’m not so keen on my polyester work blouses because if I wasn’t a hot, sweaty mess already, add in a bike ride and an outdoor assembly. I think a kid sniffed me today, I wouldn’t be surprised if I smelled.

I’m finding my way gradually into teaching, the experience I am gaining will only serve me (It HAS To) and I love the moments when it all comes together, like today, I  had so much fun doing the hokey pokey. I’m lucky that I love children. Always have! They also look like angels when they sleep.

On that note I should sleep as my little one has no awareness of days off and lie ins.

* I googled sheep herding for an image and my first thought….nah these sheep are way too orderly to represent my kids. I searched again adding ‘crazy wondering about’ sheep.

Suzi logo

 

Back to school

Tomorrow I go back to work.

IMG_4240

I use the term ‘going back to work’ loosely as previous to baby I was teaching yoga full time and when I use the term ‘full time’ I mean a yoga once or twice daily and doing a couple of massages a week. Living on a tropical island 9 months out of the year this was all I needed to get by.

Tomorrow I start teaching in a school FULL TIME. Monday – Friday. The last time I worked full time was at Runner’s World Magazine, where I was a designer. Once I left there for the greener pastures of freelance Personal Training, I never looked back. I swore off office life and so here I am instead working with very small people all day, I can’t see there being much sitting down or predictable days ahead and that makes me very happy.

But…tonight I plan to cuddle up to my little one extra snuggly as tomorrow is the first day I will leave her for more than 2 hours. Luckily here in Thailand we have teacher week, without the little people present so I can enjoy a calmer transition back into a new job and workplace with new colleagues.

It honestly feels so very hard, I am extremely attached to my baby girl. She breastfeeds on demand and at the moment whenever she spots my boobs she’s racing over to latch on for a snack attack! We are lucky though she will be at home with another one of her favourite people, her daddy.

I am relinquishing control, although we’ve had serious chats about sugar intake and watching TV as that seems to be a preferred form of entertainment for children here. No riding on motorbikes, no salt, cows milk, raw carrots or apples. I have no idea how it’s going to go, but I know for sure I will be very happy once 3pm comes around and I can see her little face again.

Suzi logo

Travelling Thai Style

Today we got bored, after cleaning, napping, lunch and playing hideaway under my desk. It was about 430pm when I decided to go swimming. I thought the late afternoon sun would be much kinder than the stark, scorching sun we experienced a few days ago.

I knew it was a risk trying to get a songhtaew but I have faith even though my husband doesn’t.

We took our golf umbrella and only waited 5 minutes. I was so chuffed I called the other half and boasted. Until we parked up, the driver got out, mumbled something at me and then sat on the curb with his mate shooting the breeze. His mate was also a songthaew driver which is why the f there are never any.

We sat 5 minutes…10 minutes…15 minutes by this point my daughter who at nearly 9 months is displaying ‘interesting’ behaviour when she gets bored or wants something. I call it attack mummy mode. She pinches my urhmm bingo wings (I am a personal trainer but have NO time to do triceps dips, I know, I know I could do them on the stairs with her in the sling but I barely manage makeup most days) She also thrusts her fingers into my nose and mouth pulling at my teeth, my hair too, all the while arching her back-it’s an onslaught and a bid for freedom.

So I disembarked and the drivers noticed, said something in Thai to which I replied in my taxi Thai, I have a baby, she is bored.

We were told to get into another vehicle- sigh. It’s now 25 minutes since we left home and we’ve travelled what would take me 5 minutes to walk! But we move and then we stop outside the mall for another 15 minutes while the driver beeps his horn to rally up customers, the little sprog is getting very hot by this point. I considered jacking the swimming idea in for the mall, but know how much she loves the pool and the mall just involves a lot of people that want to pull and pinch her while calling me a ferang. Can’t do it today.

We move slowly and finally reach the Twin Lotus hotel, where to pool is,  nearly missing our stop due to being so hot and I’m crouched so low I can’t see shit.

We made the pool 1 hour and 10 minutes after leaving the house-7km journey! It was well worth it though, she squealed and laughed, swam and drank a load of pool water. Which I know isn’t good but she gets really overexcited and is practically trying to swim out of my arms!

The pool was busy, whomever said swimming pools are just for ferangs clearly needs to visit this one on a Sunday.

Suzi logo

p.s we came back by taxi

Nappy Land Chapter 1

IMG_6048

Happy Baby!

After my recent nappy purchase I was keen to get our little one’s bum into the soft cotton goodness. I’ve been thinking about cotton nappies since she was born, partly as I hate throwing away so many nappies and because it would seem I have nothing better to think about these days. Thailand presented a great opportunity to try them out, we have warm, actually SCORCHING HOT weather here for drying stuff and tiled floors for weeing on.

I looked online for a tutorial and it looked easy, these are the ‘old school’ squares of cotton you fold and pin together!!

IMG_6014

I was quite pleased with my first attempt.
I got excited for her first pee and felt it on my leg as I sat writing, nice. I asked her daddy to change her, cue 15minutes of him trying to fold one way, another way and then comically trying to get our fidget monkey daughter to stay still while he put the pin in (and this is why Velcro was invented)

This was day one. Quite uneventful.

Day two not so much.

IMG_6049

Velcro nappy and liners £4 bargain!

I had also visited Tesco and bought their version of a cotton nappy with velcro sides and liners. Perfect for her daddy who was still struggling as he was fearful of stabbing her with the pin. Perfect as they were only £4 unlike the expensive ones back home. Perfect until sitting down she realised she could take them off herself and that on this particular day when she usually poo’s once or twice a day max, she went all of FIVE f***ing times!

5!

It must’ve been the pumpkin the day before. I felt as though I was cleaning poo all day and kept standing it what I can only assume was wee, which is terrifying here as the tiles get super slippery.

It was a bit like a having a puppy and that is not the first time I’ve thought that as she loves to chew my shoes. Luckily I adore her, poo and all and here we have the toilet spray guns. These are genius contraptions which you either love or hate, I love and miss when in the UK, granted they leave you a bit wet but great for that super fresh clean feeling.

IMG_6045

Fondly referred to as a bum gun

Although trying to hang on to baby, hoover above the loo and spray while cleaning her bum at the same time is as it sounds, a bit tense.

To coincide with trying cotton nappies I am also trying baby led pottying. A great idea especially for my regular as clockwork little lady and because why not just add in another challenge, including going back to work next week.

This is a link to a great website on the concept.

http://www.bornready.uk/how-to-start-baby-led-potty-training.php

IMG_6058

Little Fluffy Clouds

 

This is the seat we got her today!

I made my first ‘catch’ this morning too, which she thought was very amusing. This is when you catch a pee or poo in the loo, it’s very exciting but mainly because you don’t have to clean anything and as I mentioned previously in this post this is the kind of stuff I think about these days.

A friend is posting out some ‘Tots Bots’ nappies soon so expect chapter 2 of this enthralling experience into nappy land. Once I get the hang of these cotton nappies I do expect my full graduation into hippy mum, although that means baking and I’m crap at that!

Suzi logo

 

 

The loneliness of Motherhood

On my cycle tonight, I started thinking about a feeling that has been present since the birth of my little girl, something that was never spoken about.

IMG_3059

My favourite pregnancy picture after picking blackberries on Woolwich common, on my due date (she was 5 days late) At this point I knew nothing!

People warn you of the sleepless nights, they tell you time goes so fast, they try to fit into words the unending love you will suddenly feel although it’s impossible to articulate, but what is never mentioned  is the sheer isolation and loneliness that comes with being a mum.

Today I thought could it be that the hours in the days feel lengthier as you are awake more when previously you would have been sleeping?

Is it that you suddenly know the feeling of 4am, not the ‘staggering home from a night out’ feeling but being woken again and again to an unsettled baby? In these early hours you get to know the silence and the sound of everyone else sleeping. You see the light of the day unfold and know that you have at most 2 hours sleep left and then the daily tasks start again.

Maybe because you are predominantly communicating with a tiny human who is incapable of answering back and if they do in cries most of the time you haven’t got a clue why.

Could be that as a mum you are home more during the day, alone but with your babe or you’re out walking alone. If meeting friends you have the other mums who are empathetic but you start conversations that are never finished because feeding or nappy changes get in the way. Or there are the childless friends who you still adore listening to telling stories of days/nights out but you feel so exhausted right down to your bones you find it hard to focus on them, never mind that you have a fidgety midget to contend with.

If you’re not at home and are a working mum, there’s the vacuum of worry about your little one’s safety, happiness, stimulation and the guilt, the constant mummy guilt, in a workplace where you should be thrilled to be, that can feel so isolating.

Does it feel this way as ‘it’ falls in your lap? It being EVERYTHING, the mum is the beacon of most households and she’s the one who cuddles, nurses, feeds and knows when their getting too big for their baby grows.

Perhaps because the last time you remember having good, interrupted quality time with your partner was when you conceived (slight exaggeration here but you get the gist)

All of these paint a bleak picture and yet are very much the reality of becoming a new mum. I recently added in a language barrier to the challenge so even if I want to talk to the woman 3 doors down about her newborn babe I’m unable and I miss my mum friends in the UK.

This is the secret code of mothers, they will moan amongst themselves but at the same time be acutely aware that some women are unable to have a baby to complain about and I think…

that’s it.

That’s the real reason why no one tells you it’ll be lonely, because as mums we get up and get on and know daily, hourly and by the second just how lucky we are.

 
Suzi logo