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Tongue Ties // Our Experience 

I don’t think I’d ever heard of a tongue tie until we were told that Darcie had one. It’s not something I’d thought to research which is why I thought I would share our experience to help any other parents out there who are expecting a baby soon or who have been told their baby has one and are making the decision about whether or not to have it cut.

A tongue tie is basically when the bit of skin connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is too short, meaning that they cannot open their mouth fully. There is a scale of severity of tongue tie and for a lot of babies it is so minor that it is unlikely to cause them any problems later on in life. I can’t remember the exact number that Darcie’s was but she was somewhere around the middle of the scale. If you are planning on breastfeeding your baby, the tongue tie is more likely to present a problem as you are going to need them to be able to open their mouth as wide as possible to avoid added pain during feeding in those early days and so they can get sufficient milk.

Although Darcie took to feeding well, after a day or so it was clear that I was in more pain from it than is considered ‘normal’ and that she was having to work extra hard to feed. After having many midwives and a lactation consultant check her latch and watch us feed, her tongue tie was reassessed and they suggested that if we had it cut then feeding would become much easier for us both. When you have given birth less than 48 hours ago, you haven’t slept, your nipples are bleeding and your emotions are all over the place, having to decide whether to get your newborns tongue tie cut is not an easy decision. 

After much deliberation and stress, we decided to go ahead with it and thanks to the amazing staff and facilities at The Birth Centre we were able to have it done quickly when she was only two days old. They gave us the option to come in with her or to wait outside, and as much as I didn’t want to watch I knew I would feel worse for not going in. So we stood in there trying not to cry as they made the cut. There are very few nerve endings in that area and so they can perform the cut without any anaesthetic. I believe for older babies and children they do use anaesthetic just to prevent them from biting down during the procedure. One midwife held Darcie still while the other lady opened her mouth and snipped the bit of skin. She cried instantly but they tell you to breastfeed straight away and that instantly calmed her down. Within five minutes she had forgotten all about it. 

It felt horrible at the time, I know we both felt so guilty at making that decision but I am so glad we did. That couple of minutes of discomfort made such a difference for both Darcie and I. We hadn’t realised that she wasn’t able to open her mouth fully as it was so tiny anyway but straight away she was able to open it almost twice as wide and breastfeeding was so much easier instantly. I’m glad we had it done while she was so young; as cruel as it felt at the time I think it’s better to get it done sooner rather than later. If you don’t have it cut they have a possibility of difficulties with speech later on which I’m glad we shouldn’t now have to deal with.

For about a week afterwards she had a kind of scab over the area that had been cut but it really didn’t seem to bother her. We had to keep an eye on it to just check no infection developed but with all the antibodies and healing properties in breastmilk it was absolutely fine and healed over very quickly. 

It’s always going to be a difficult decision to make but I know that we made the right one. I don’t know if we would have been able to carry on breastfeeding if we hadn’t had it done and I’m happy it was dealt with so early on on her life that she will have no recollection of it. 

On Father’s Day

This feels like Dan’s first Father’s Day, we hardly celebrated the day last year as we were still very much in the frazzled newborn haze. I managed to organise a card for him but I think that’s where the festivities began and ended. So this year I want to do it properly, I want him to know how much we appreciate his hard work and commitment to his role as Darcie’s Daddy. So this ones for you Dan, maybe this will be the first of my posts that you read to the end…

I know that I’m biased but I don’t think there could be a better little girl to be a Daddy to than our Darcie May, she deserves the very best and luckily you step up to the mark. I know you doubt your ability as a Father, the way that we all sometimes struggle to feel comfortable in our new role as parents, but how can you doubt yourself when you see how she is with you? When you see how ecstatic she is when you walk through the door after work? When you hear her say ‘Dadadada’ over and over again to get your attention or to acknowledge your presence.

You’re a great Father for the things that you don’t see too. You’re a great Father for the fact that once she has had her dinner she just wants to stand in the window waiting for you to come home. For the fact that she will crawl around the house quite obviously looking for you, hoping you’ll appear to chase her while she sprint-crawls away from you chuckling. 

You were a great Father even before she was born, I bought you those ‘Best Daddy in the World’ socks for a reason. I find it hard to imagine how it feels to be an expectant Father, for me I could feel her presence constantly. She wriggled for me everyday, everywhere I went I had her with me, my little companion and even though I had never seen her face I felt I knew her entirely just from her funny little movements. The particular times of day she was likely to get hiccups and the way she would always be extra squirmy when I drank Chocolate Milk. It must have been hard for you to feel as connected to her as I did, but you like to be fully involved in everything and you didn’t disappoint when you took a full and complete interest in my pregnancy and her development. You didn’t miss a single appointment, scan or ‘how not to screw up being a parent’ class. I nicknamed you ‘the pregnancy police’ because you were so viligant in your role of taking care of our unborn child and I. I joked that it was stressful ‘living with the pregnancy police’ but I wouldn’t of had it any other way. You were a great Father even then, by looking after me you were looking after her. Everytime you reminded me to rest or to eat, you were doing all you could to be the best Daddy you could be to her at that time.

When she arrived you were an endless source of comfort and support for us both. You helped me as I struggled with breastfeeding, knowing that it was important to me to succeed and important for her to get the nutrients she needed. You took the night shift when I was more tired than I knew was humanly possible. You stayed up all night only waking me when she needed a feed, watching David Attenborough with her, and then in the morning you would proudly tell me how she had liked the frogs or disliked the lizards. When you went back to work after Paternity Leave you fully took on board the role of ‘sole earner’, you work harder than anyone I know and I will never stop being grateful for the fact that you enable me to stay at home with Darcie. 

I know you’ll continue to be a great Father too. We joke that you’ll never allow her to have a boyfriend and I know that right now you’re reading this and saying ‘I’m not joking’ but I love that you’re so protective of her. You were thrilled to have a girl, a little girl to be ‘Daddy’s Little Princess’ and you have taken the role of protector seriously from the moment you first held her in your arms. I’m sure that as she grows up there will be times that she wishes you weren’t so protective of her but I will always be thankful that my daughter has a Father like you. Someone to pick her up from wherever she need at 3am, someone to wait up until you know she is safe, someone that will love and cherish her no matter what direction she chooses in life.

Every time you ring from work just to see how our day is going or every time we race up the stairs after her naptime to be the first one she sees through the door, I’m reminded of how lucky we both are to have you. You’re the Daddy that actually builds the treehouse, and it means so much to me and to everyone who loves our daughter that you are the way that you are. 

That’s the soppiness over so now I’d just like to deflate your ego and remind you that there is always room for improvement. Do the dishes more often, take your turn with bedtime and for the love of god stop leaving your dirty socks on the stairs and then maybe I won’t trade you for a newer model.

Enjoy your day, you deserve it Daddio.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

I’ve received a lot of parenting advice over the last year, from the downright ridiculous to the insanely helpful. Some things I’ll be wholeheartedly ignoring but one thing that has really stuck with me is when people have told me to pick my battles and learn to let the little things go. 

This advice is so important and is almost certainly the key to not losing your mind as a first time Mum. Sometimes you just have to think ‘is it really worth stressing about this?’ Or ‘will this matter tomorrow?’ And if the answer is no, then just let it go. Save yourself the stress and focus your time and energy on something more important or enjoyable.

For example, I spent a good few weeks battling with Darcie to wear socks around the house and definitely when we were going out anywhere. I’m not sure why, I suppose it’s the socially acceptable thing to do to have socks on, but if you have met my headstrong daughter then you will appreciate how challenging it was to get these damn tiny things to stay on her feet. If I did manage to get her to wear them out of the house then I would inevitably end up with people chasing me around the supermarket to return a little lost sock. One day I realised, she doesn’t actually need to wear socks all of the time, in fact most of the time there is no reason for me to be fighting with this barefooted little queen about it at all. So I let it go, it’s only a small detail of the day but it’s one less thing causing us stress. It’s hard enough being a Mum, don’t make it any more difficult than it needs to be.

If it’s not harming your child or anyone around them, not hindering their development, not a life lesson they need to learn or vital for their health, then don’t add it to your already overflowing list of things to think about. Focus that energy on something more positive and productive. You can apply this to all areas of your life. Is it really going to matter if you don’t manage to hoover today? Or is it actually going to affect your child’s development if you don’t get out of the house in time to get to baby group? If the answer is no, then don’t let it cause you any unnecessary stress or worry.

We all have certain things we won’t let go, and standards that we are not prepared to drop but I guarantee there will be a few things you can let go of. Cut yourself some slack, give yourself a break. Put the kettle on and clear up some headspace for the more important things in life.

What could you let go of today?

Why I Love Being A Stay At Home Mum

IMG_7897I’ll be the first to admit that some days I don’t want to be a stay at home Mum, it’s definitely not the easy ride that a lot of people perceive it to be and nothing grinds my gears more than when stay at home mums are talked about in a derogatory way. There are days when I would love to swan off to work in the morning, wear smart clothes, drink hot coffee and talk to adults and then come home to my beautiful daughter who has been worn out all day by somebody else. Ninety percent of the time though, I absolutely love being a stay at home Mum and these are some of the reasons why. Continue reading

Confidence in Motherhood// Getting Personal

It’s funny how Motherhood changes you. I was ready for the physical changes, I was expecting stretch marks, saggy skin, bags under my eyes and I was bracing myself for a blow to my body confidence. Miraculously I seem to have got away pretty easily as far as the physical changes go but that hasn’t meant I’ve come out the other side with my confidence in tact. I’m not talking body confidence or confidence in myself as a Mother, that’s a whole different issue, I’m talking the main stage, real deal kind of confidence. Your basic ‘Who am I and what do I even want?!’ kind of situation.
Disclaimer: If you’re not in the mood for a pretty deep, soul searching kind of post then I would suggest you click away now, if you are planning on sticking around then I would suggest a large glass of wine and a good pile of snacks.

As a relatively young Mum at 22, it feels only too recently that I was figuring out all these questions about myself the first time around. It wasn’t an easy ride but I think I’d basically got there, I knew what I liked and what I believed in, I had strong opinions on almost everything and I had at least a rough idea of how I wanted my life to be. I had however fallen into the trap, which I think a lot of us fall into, of defining myself and my identity by various things.

It’s so easy to do and I actually think it’s totally normal to allow some of these things to become an ingrained part of your identity. It could be the type of clothes you wear, how you style your hair and do your make up, what career you choose, what you like to do with your free time, what music makes you happy and what telly you like to watch. But when you become a Mum, one of the main things you lose is time. You find yourself in a position where you might not have the time to style your hair or do anything more to your face than a dash of mascara. You might be happy to get out of the house at all even if you are wearing your oldest jeans and a plain t shirt. You might not always have the time to watch telly or keep up with the music that you love. You might give up your career and your financial independence to stay at home. And when all of these things are taken from you or put on a back burner while you figure out how to raise a human, it’s no wonder that you can lose all confidence in yourself and your identity.

This is definitely what has happened to me. I live for Darcie, she is my world and raising her is my number one priority and blessing above anything else in my life. But I’ve given so much of myself to raising her that I’ve left nothing for myself, let alone anyone else in my life. Now she has had her first birthday, she is well and truly out of the ‘baby stage’, she hardly breastfeeds anymore and is more and more frequently being referred to as a ‘toddler’ (don’t mind me while I just cry into my wine!). She still needs me but not in the same newborn way that she used to. I have more time now to think about what I want to do with my future or to wear clothes that I love or do my hair properly. I can leave her for more than an hour at a time and she’ll be absolutely fine with her Daddy or with some other family member or friend. I can have a life and an identity outside of being a Mum, and that has left me lost, wondering what did I used to be interested in? Who did I used to be? I’ve found myself in a position where I have confidence in my identity as a Mother but not as just plain old me.

The majority of my conversations these days are either to or about Darcie. Darcie can babble back to me and gesture excitedly but you can’t really call it conversation, and as much as I am fascinated by every detail in her development I can feel people switching off as I talk about her naps or what her new favourite food is. I used to talk confidently and passionately about my work, my interests, the holidays I’d been on or the crazy nights out with my friends. I have become boring, my conversation is limited and of little interest to anyone outside of the ‘mum and baby’ world. I seem to have forgotten that I am an intelligent person, I did well in school and enjoyed reading and learning about my interests and the world around me. There is so much more to me than nappy changes and bedtime routines.
A huge issue for me is that I’ve always taken so much pride in being financially independent, always insisting on splitting bills down the middle despite Dan earning more than me. So to lose this independence and freedom and to suddenly be reliant on him has massively knocked my pride and confidence.
Not being able to drive myself from A to B, to take Darcie to the beach on a whim or to a new soft play, makes me feel like a sub par adult and parent and I feel guilty that if I don’t become confident in the road soon it will start to hold back her possibilities not just my own.

Growing up I was the stubborn one, the black sheep of the family, I knew my own mind and I wasn’t afraid to voice it. I have my parents to thank for raising my to be this way, although I know I drove them crazy at times. Throughout my teens I was very headstrong, stubborn and confident in my decisions and opinions, but somewhere in the last few years I’ve lost that girl. I’ve become someone who needs a second opinion before I can make a decision and I allow myself to be limited by things that I never would have given a second thought to before. This isn’t me, I don’t want to be this person and I need to find a way to get the old me back. The good bits of her anyway! If 18 year old me met 23 year old me, I wouldn’t recognise myself. I don’t want anyone to think this is a total pity party, I know I have changed for the better in some ways, I’m more patient and empathetic now and in many ways I am a fantastic mother to Darcie. But I miss the girl I used to be and I want to raise Darcie knowing that girl. The girl who didn’t take no for an answer and was so passionate and thirsty for adventure. How can I raise her to be the best version of herself unless I am showing her the best version of myself?

I’ve allowed myself to become watered down, I’m a lukewarm version of myself. It’s happened so gradually, piece by piece, that although  I’m only really realising it now, I can see that it has been a long time coming. Acknowledgement must be the first step, so this is me acknowledging this problem and committing to finding my way back.

Well done if you made it to the end of that, if you know me in the real world please don’t worry about me or think that I am not okay. I am so okay. I am so happy with my life as it is, but there is always room for improvement and this is what I need to improve right now. We all have things we want to change, I have just chosen to share the inner workings of my mind with the internet. I can’t afford a therapist but this is for sure the next best thing. And if your are reading this in the future Darcie, this is absolutely not your fault, you have improved my life in more ways than you could even imagine and made me happier than I ever knew I could be. I hope you are reading this and thinking ‘that doesn’t sound like my Mum!’