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Baby Wearing with Fibromyalgia

Baby wearing has many benefits for baby in addition to keeping mum’s hands free. My second son basically lived in our frontpack due to his reflux. It kept him happier and helped me spread the distribution of his weight. With my third son, I have delved even deeper into baby wearing. I have tried several now and can recommend a few.

Baby wearing with fibromyalgia

Benefits of baby wearing:

  • Helps baby feel secure (my son didn’t even startle when I used the blender when he was sleeping in the wrap)
  • Promotes breastfeeding
  • Enables baby get more rest
  • Babies who are carried cry less
  • Aids in bonding between mama and baby
  • Can help with colic and reflux

What to look for:

  • Holds baby close to your body for optimum comfort
  • Keeps baby high to your chest, you should be able to kiss baby’s head
  • Keep baby’s face clear
  • Protect baby’s hips
  • Get help putting it on when you are learning
  • Don’t overdress baby as they get super warm all cuddled up

Tips for wearing with fibromyalgia:

  • Baby is close to your body
  • Check the straps do not sit at high pain points
  • Maintain good posture
  • Sit when you can
  • Try to alternate between carrying and other means of keeping baby happy
  • Avoid one-sided carriers

Types of carriers

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of these links are affiliate links and I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase using these links. Every little bit helps me make these resources. 

Wrap

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The stretchy wrap, one long piece of fabric that you tie up was so amazing for our newborn/fourth trimester stage. It seems tricky but after watching a YouTube instruction video twice, I had the hang of it. Plus, you set it up before putting baby in, so it is safer when you are a newbie. It keeps baby close to your body which really helps with back and neck issues. I found this super comfortable to wear.

 

Semi-Structured

20190304_103619Once the stretchy wrap became a bit too stretchy for his weight, we moved to a semi-structured wrap, like this one. Again, it looks fussy, but one YouTube video and I was a pro. It did take some getting used to as you have to hold baby while tying the wrap up. It keeps baby closer than the below option so is useful for back problems. My picture looks a bit fussier than it needs to be as I wrapped it one last time to tie at the front rather than the back so I could sit down comfortably once he was asleep.

Fully Structured

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This is the simplest of all baby carriers I have ever tried and my favourite for bigger babies. You can use it from 3kg and there is no need for an infant insert, which means all of my children were big enough from birth (we carried baby legs in initially). My second son lived in this carrier due to his reflux. It was his happy place. My husband was also happy to use this one. Whereas the others he had no interest in at all. It is as simple as clicking the waist belt, putting baby in and putting your arms in the arm holes and clicking the back belt. It takes about a minute! It doesn’t hold baby as closely as the other two options so it is tricky for me to hold for an entire nap but it is so great to throw on when we are doing the kindy run and I have a four year old, two year old and the baby to wrangle.

I never tried a ring sling as it is too one sided for my shoulders to handle, but it could be worth a try. I didn’t bother with any that weren’t suitable from birth to toddlerhood, but you can get some structured carriers that require infant inserts for the littlest babies.

Did you baby wear? I’d love to hear your favourites. 

If you are considering grabbing your baby carrier or any other baby product from Amazon, you might like to sign up for the baby registry – it’s like the world’s most portable registry! 


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Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent

There are a multitude of nursery items and almost as many articles about which ones are necessary. Here’s my recommendations for a fibro parent, or really, any parent!

Some of my links are affiliate links, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you purchase using these links. I never promote anything I don’t 100% support myself.

necessary baby items whether you have fibromyalgia or not

Below are some the items I found indispensable for a mama with Fibromyalgia:

My boy in his bouncy when he was teeny tiny
My boy in his bouncy when he was teeny tiny

Cot. With an easy to put up and down side, or an opening in the front.

Bassinet. We tried a different option with each baby. Both were easy to move and that was very helpful. I wished for a beside bassinet with fold down side so I didn’t have to get in and out of bed so much and to make co-sleeping a safe option. This 3-in-1 is a great idea, it is a bedside crib and a pack and play.

Changing table. We weren’t going to buy one, I had thought that I could get by without one. But, being given one has been a lifesaver. I have everything I need to change them on the shelf and can lay them down at the right height for changing. You could even use a set of drawers that are the right height with a change mat on the top and the top drawer full of your supplies.

A rocking chair. My husband and I clashed about this one. He didn’t think it was necessary. I believed with all my heart that it was. I ended up getting a second hand one and it has been so useful. For nursing, expressing or just rocking when you’re too tired to stand, it was worth it. Nursing for a mama with Fibromyalgia can be tricky, so a comfortable place to nurse is a good idea – check out my post on nursing with Fibromyalgia here.

Other parenting posts:
Pumping or Expressing for Your Baby: Parenting (Fibromyalgia or Not)

Pregnancy Diaries 2018: The First Trimester of Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia
Coping with a Toddler (Fibro or not!)
Fibro Mama Interviews: Natalie from Surviving Lifes Hurdles

Pushchair. We loved the City Mini Baby Jogger (we have it in black). I found it very easy to steer and lightweight to put up and down. You can also get the universal baby jogger parent console for phones and drink bottles, this goes over the handle. I have recommended this pushchair to everyone, but especially fibro parents as it is so easy to lift, put up and down and steer. I am so sad that we got the last of the old model which means the handle is shorter so we can’t employ the glider board – it would have gotten so much use as each time we had a new baby the older one was not quite old enough to walk everywhere.

IMG_5471
Out and about with our City Mini

  • Infant capsule seat with folding pushchair frame. We didn’t get one before Noah was born because I thought it would be too heavy for me to lift. I was right, very quickly it became a real burden to carry. However, with the frame and the fact that Noah was not a good napper, it turned out to be invaluable. At some stage early on I noticed that he was tired by about 9 in the morning, but struggled to get to sleep. So we began leaving the house (rain or shine) either via the car or walking. He learned to nap this way. The seat and frame meant that I could seamlessly move from car to shops to car to home easily.
  • A Boppy pillow/feeding pillow. I loved this, it was so useful for nursing and to let the boppy feeding pillowbaby’s lie down and watch the world go by. It was a real lifesaver when the boys were small to sit them on it and let them watch me potter around the living area. It was also great for Wyatt with his reflux, he took some of his naps on it. We always used it with supervision because there is a chance of baby slipping down and cutting their airway off by pushing their chin forward.
  • A front pack. This is a difficult one. On the one hand, you are going to hold the weight anyway, so why not distribute it more evenly. On the other, from about six months my little guys became too heavy for my shoulders to bear for too long. I absolutely loved having the Boba wrap with number three and I was so sad that I hadn’t heard of it for the first two. For more about baby wearing see this post.

I loved the Gemini Beco – it goes from 7 pounds/3kg, which both of my babies started off at!

A bath seat. This has meant that I don’t have to hold their weight while they were in the bath and it’s far more easy to wash them.

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Noah enjoying his bathseat

Jolly Jumper. We used this once his neck was strong, at about four months. This was lovely for me when he was super fussy and I was super tired. It gave me ten minutes of time out from holding him.

One thing they can use to pull themselves up with. When he started to develop the ability to pull himself up, we got a table type toy where he can stand and play. This is a useful thing to let them stand without you holding them.

We got one similar to this. Again, this lasted for both of our boys.

Baby seat. This was something I wanted but didn’t purchase until he was already baby bumbo seatsitting on his own. It would have been useful before this as he loved to sit and see so it could have bought me more non holding time. Now we use it, strapped to a chair as his highchair. We can also take it when we go away. He will be able to use this until he’s tall enough to sit on a chair at the table, without the space a highchair takes.

We used a seat very much like this. We bought it for Noah and have used it for both Wyatt and Nathaniel.

Bouncinette/Electronic Rocker. This was one of those things that buys you some non holding time that you so desperately need when they’re clingy or your sore or you need to get stuff done.

Breast pump. This was a lifesaver for me with nursing my children. I had to exclusively express for my first and then expressed a fair amount for my second. For my third, I have chosen the Avent breast pump in the above link because I will only express once or twice a day – with three children four years old and under, I won’t have the ability or energy to express more. Our favourite bottles were Avent too – because the teats were shaped more like breasts and therefore helped us to avoid nipple confusion.

IMG_20140716_130256
Noah in his electronic rocker

Something to make baby food with. My nutribullet has been a lifesaver for the puree stage. It is so easy to steam up some fruit and vegetables (say, silverbeet, apple and kumara) and then puree it in the nutribullet with some of the cooking water. I also use it for my plant based milks too so it is far more than just a baby essential.

Did you know that Amazon has a baby registry? You can sign up here Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry It’s basically a mobile registry (available anywhere!)and you will be eligible for discounts and rewards. If you’re going to purchase some of your items from Amazon, you may as well sign up.

Is there anything else to add? Was there one awesome thing you would not do without?


For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

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definitive edition pregnancy and fibro
My book is everything I have researched and learnt over two pregnancies.

Some of my links are affiliate links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you purchase using these links. I never promote anything I don’t 100% support myself.

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Nursing with Fibromyalgia: My Experience and Some Research

Like many areas of living with Fibromyalgia, I have found there to be little information on nursing with Fibromyalgia.

The Research

There are a few articles, like this one on Fibromyalgia Symptoms that mentions research but provides no links, “Numerous studies have been done evaluating how fibromyalgia influences breastfeeding. These studies all indicate that it is very hard to breastfeed with fibromyalgia.”Nursing with Fibromyalgia

The Fibromyalgia Health Center on WebMD posted an article in 2004 referencing a new study about nursing with Fibromyalgia.  This study was very small, with just nine mothers included:

“All nine women felt that they were not successful in their attempts to breastfeed, and felt frustrated,” Schaefer writes. Difficulties included muscle soreness, pain, and stiffness; fatigue; a perceived shortage of breast milk; and sore nipples.”

The article lists a few tips from the study which includes good nutrition, proper rest and paying attention to where and how you are nursing.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Fibromyalgia (2018 Edition)

Navigating Pain Relief in Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent

The Survey

Please do remember that we are all unique, how we experience fibromyalgia and how we experience pregnancy or nursing. My story will not reflect yours. Before I give you my experiences, I’d like to show you some information from a survey I undertook when I was writing my book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia.

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you, every little bit helps me create these resources. 

In response to the question, did you manage to nurse? 40% responded that they did for 12 months or more! 20% managed for both 12 month and 6 month periods (that’s 40% for 6-12 months!). 15% didn’t manage to nurse. 5% exclusively expressed. There were 20 respondents, so the sample size was small, but these are encouraging results.

table showing how long women with fibromyalgia nursed for
Survey results: How long respondents with Fibromyalgia nursed

Some advice from a respondent about nursing:

“The two hardest things for me have been lack of sleep, and being forced to sit in the same position for long periods of time while nursing, or while my son slept. I kept five different pillows on the couch, and used them to prop myself and him up at every angle. Really helped.”

My Experiences

Having had three children now, I thought I would share my experience. As with all areas of this illness, my experience may not be the same as another’s with Fibromyalgia, so my difficulties do not translate to all women with Fibromyalgia.

I found nursing extremely painful with my first two children, I had cracked and sore nipples from the second day cluster feeding with both babies. Both times, it took a long time for them to recover. Expressing was less painful, but still resulted in sore breasts.

The differences in situations were extreme.nursing with fibromyalgia

Baby One

With Nu, we found he was excessively windy and by week two we were going back and forward to doctors at the after hours centre. At last, at week three, we were sent to the hospital and there they found that he had pyloric stenosis – a thickened sphincter that wouldn’t let food out of the stomach to be digested, so it was forced back up and out of his mouth in projectile vomiting. After several days in hospital and a small operation, we came home and found that he doubled the amount he was taking at each feed. My supply couldn’t keep up, despite pumping three hourly the entire time he was in the hospital, my supply decreased in real numbers and relative numbers. I managed to keep him exclusively on breast milk until eight weeks. At this point whenever it was time to express, I would cry, so I knew it was time to finish up. I was just tired and sore and Nu was not a very settled baby and so cried the entire time I tried to express.

I was so relieved when parenting no longer needed to include my breasts. I am proud that I managed to give him such a good start in life, but I also wish I had given up sooner, but the pressure on mothers to breastfeed is enormous, even my expressing rather than feeding directly was seen as failure. My doctor and my Plunket Nurse were both supportive as they understood the Fibromyalgia and how hard I had tried.

Baby Two

With W I managed to persevere a little longer. My right breast got so sore and cracked from the second day cluster feeding that when I first tried to express, I expressed blood in the milk, it was a frightening sight! I persevered with the one side for another week before that became too sore (this guy is a rough feeder and liked to pull away with it clenched between his gums). I expressed four hourly during the day and once in the middle of the night (that was hard to leave baby sleeping after giving him a bottle and stay awake). My supply stayed static no matter what I did to try to increase it, so by week four, I was only just producing enough from both breasts for one feed. Luckily I had a lot of frozen milk from the first weeks of expressing.

This time I knew it didn’t have to be all or nothing (this is an important message for all mamas, you can mix feed!), I had more knowledge and therefore more power. I also ignored any messages of my being deficient or not trying hard enough. I managed to add in a physical feed each evening after he had spent the previous few hours having more regular bottles in his nightly cluster feed, this meant I didn’t have to worry about him not getting enough and he got some comfort from it at the end of a long day. It hurt, but swapping which breast I gave him each night helped me to cope. I worked with my midwife to reduce to a few feeds a day of my milk and add in formula for the shortfall. My plan was to give him whatever breast milk I could, for as long as I could.

As we know, plans do not always work out. Little W developed reflux and vomited my milk and got very sore. Through long weeks of trial and error we found that I could feed him directly (my measly 40 ml or so) followed immediately by a bottle of thickened formula, reducing the vomiting to spills and the gas pains greatly decreased. At seven weeks I was still managing to mix feed, with the miniscule supply I produced.

Due to the very different positions in my health and a lot more knowledge and confidence, I believe it was slightly easier the second time around. However, by 12 weeks my supply had completely dried up. I was really happy that I had been able to provide him with these vital nutrients for that long. I was also happy to not have to deal with expressing, feeding and bottles – it had begun to feel like my whole life revolved around his feeding. And at this time my life turned to revolving around his sleep, or lack of!

Pumping

One thing that helped me both times was my breast-pump. I used the Unimom Hospital Grade Double Expressing Machine (not currently available in US or UK Amazon) for these two. With my third, I have decided that I will not be able to express more than once or twice a day given that I have two other children four and under so I have the Avent Electric Pump (single, but you can get double) on my Amazon Baby Registry. FYI: Did you know that Amazon has a baby registry? You can sign up here Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry It’s basically a mobile registry (available anywhere!) and you will be eligible for discounts and rewards. If you’re going to purchase some of your items from Amazon, you may as well sign up (I did).

pumping or expressing for your babyFor a big guide on pumping for your baby see this post! 

I also only used Avent bottles because I liked the teat shape (it mimics the breast-shape) and found that helped my boys to avoid nipple confusion. We introduced bottles of expressed milk very early, so please don’t worry when people talk about waiting until breastfeeding is “fully established” – because of all the women I have heard of who have done this, they never got their baby to take a bottle. This may be alright for you, but for me, I needed that ability to leave someone else to do a feed.

Baby Three (2019 update)

I have finally got a more successful story for you! After a much more comfortable pregnancy (even with severe pelvis issues that resulted in my being put off work at week 23 and on crutches and is still causing trouble at nine months postpartum) nursing was not such a kick in the pants. I had gotten my health into a much better place prior to pregnancy and reaped the rewards in pregnancy and nursing. This was due to low dose naltrexone and my ability to sleep in more than one hour blocks. You can find my post here about LDN.

My doctor and I agreed I would stay on it because the potential risks were minimal and the benefit of my sleeping and managing my pain were astounding. That was a personal decision, made by reading the research, listening to other women’s experiences and talking with my doctor.

We did have a bumpy start with the nursing. For three months we battled thrush and it was so distressing as in those early months every time I nursed I would have to stomp my feet and grit my teeth with the initial pain. I had to really push for people to take me seriously and realise it was not just me (or the fibromyalgia). So please do explore continued pain when breastfeeding. If I weren’t so committed to my personal goal of three months (at that stage) I would definitely have given up in those early weeks. I also got mastitis. I felt suddenly worse and I thought the fibromyalgia was just catching up with me, thankfully I went to the doctor and realised I had a bad case and needed antibiotics immediately.

We got through all of this and at about four months I realised that there was no trepidation about having to feed him and no pain! We nursed exclusively until he started solids and were still going at 9.5 months (August 2019). I have no end date in mind. We will see how it goes.

My tips for nursing with Fibromyalgia are what most nursing women are told:

  • Try to rest as much as you can
  • Eat as well as you can
  • Drink lots of water
  • Make yourself as comfortable as possible when you feed
  • Know that whatever you manage to give your baby is awesome and that you cannot fail. You will be a great mama whether you feed physically, by expressed breast milk or by formula. A fed baby and a happy mama are both minimum requirements. (Your well being counts as much as baby’s and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!)
  • Advocate for yourself – check out any pain (do not just chalk it up to the fibromyalgia – sure, it might be, but check it out)

I’d love to hear about your experiences with nursing with Fibromaylgia, if only so that others have something to read when they Google about it.


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What Every New Mama Needs

Whether you have a chronic illness or not, there is one thing a new mama seems to need…Reassurance that it will get better.

What every new mama needs fibromyalgia or not

And it will.

It may not be at six weeks, or three months, or whatever magic age you hear touted. But it will get better.

One day they will sleep through the night, they’ll eat by themselves, they’ll play independently.

You’re in the trenches of motherhood, knee deep in milk and poop and tears, for such a short time. One day you’ll look up and realise it’s over. It’s better.

Your baby will learn to self settle when they’re ready. They’ll get the hang of feeding. They’ll cry less.

Enjoy those smiles that light up even the darkest of sleepless days. Enjoy the soft baby skin, the chubby cheeks, the sweet wrist rolls. I am!

Coping with a Toddler (Fibro or not!)

Pumping or Expressing for Your Baby: Parenting (Fibromyalgia or Not)

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia The First Trimester Diaries

For more information see my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia resources page.

I created the Mama Notes Diary printable for pregnant mamas to track their busy lives during pregnancy.

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Spirited Toddler

My boy is 15 months old! I’m shocked at his growth. It seems like he is mastering new skills daily. He will babble to himself while turning the pages of his favourite books. He gets his shoes when we ask for them. His eating has finally gotten better, he is eating a lot more and more widely.

For better or for worse, there have been more than a few alarming signs that he’s turned into a high-spirited toddler:

*The plank when we try to put him into the pushchair or carseat
*The tantrum when he doesn’t get something he wants
*Only one nap
*Feeding time resembles the zoo more than a civilised dinner table – there is food on the floor, wall, table and down my sleeve
*He has more energy than me
*Toys hold appeal for about 30 seconds
*He gets bored when we go for a walk with the pushchair
*He is super excited by couch cushions on the floor

Here are some things I’ve found to help cope with a (super) busy toddler:

*Encourage physical activity – let them walk outside, take them to a park or find a cafe with a play area suitable for younger toddlers. My guy loves it when I put the couch cushions on the floor, he will throw himself on them and roll around happily.
*Take multiple things to keep hands busy when you have to go out (walks, lunches, supermarket) from food to toys.
*Preempt bad behaviour -notice what sets them off and avoid it, plan ahead and don’t give in to tantrums, even in public (we had a situation in the chemist but I held my ground and let people look while I strapped him in and distracted him).
*Have a safe zone, our lounge is almost “no free”, he has plenty of toys and there is little damage he can do while I go to the bathroom (if he doesn’t come too!) etc.
*Sensory play can be helpful. Water, bubbles, squishy balls, anything to utilise the senses.
*Take rest for yourself. It’s tempting (read: I always do) to squish the chores or things you need to get done into that blessed one hour or so of nap, but you’ll feel nicer if you rest. I also like to spend some time on the floor, letting him play around, while I read – mental time out.

Have you got anything to add to this list?

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It All Goes So Fast

It is all borrowed time. He grows. I have to work.Noah March

My beautiful baby is rapidly approaching toddlerhood. I am loving seeing him fly by these developmental milestones; clapping, crawling, walking, eating.

As intense and hard as it was, it was precious. This delicious creature whooshed into my life (well, no whooshing, pregnancy and labour took forever) but he came bowling in. He taught me so much.

I love. I strive. I plan. I do. All for him.

It’s all for him, now.

And as he slides towards his first birthday, leaving babyhood behind, I’m a little sad.

It’s time.

I must work. And that will sap my limited energy levels.

So it has started to feel like borrowed time.

We have been turning quiet afternoons into mini dance parties. We savour the cuddles. I watch. I listen. I smile at his perfection.

I still can’t believe how much motherhood alters your existence. Your priorities, your time, your energy, your wishes, dreams and goals, your everything changes. And it’s such a gift.

So I’m thankful, in addition to sad, that this time in our lives is coming to a close. But I’m so excited for what comes next.

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How I Decided to Have a Second Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Having a baby is a tremendous (and rewarding) undertaking, particularly when you have chronic pain and fatigue. My first pregnancy with fibromyalgia was extremely difficult. It was so hard that I really didn’t think I would have a second (let alone a third baby!)
This post was written prior to having my second baby and I have since had a third, I have edited it a little but it retains much of it’s original text.
how i decided to have a second baby: pregnancy with fibromyalgia

There are plenty of things I want to do before I consider trying again:

  • I want to conduct some research and find some professionals who know about pregnancy with fibromyalgia.
  • I want to go to a new doctor and ask for a proper diagnosis process, just to be sure.
  • I’d like to write about all this here on the blog and potentially put it into an e book to get the information out there.

I totally managed to write about it all on the blog and put it into an eBook! Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book is now available! Affiliate notice: This is an affiliate link and I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase using my link. All of my tips for coping in the first, second and third trimester, along with delivery and the early weeks are in there!


IF I decide to have another baby I will be making my physical decisions.

I need to be free to make the decision to have a second baby myself. Pregnancy, labour and sleepless nights are physically harder for someone with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. So I need to be trusted to make the decisions that will help me cope.

Why should I just cope with life? Can’t I enjoy my babies? I don’t understand the rationale of “getting it over and done with” and I don’t hold with it for my situation. Two (plus) super hard years are still super hard years, whether I give myself enough time to recover or not!

There are a few guidelines (pre research) I will follow if I go ahead with another pregnancy with fibromyalgia:

Pregnancy:

  • My boy will be at an age where he is more self-sufficient, preferably in preschool (at least three years old) so that he will get enough attention and stimulation and I would get time alone with the baby. I can’t imagine anything worse than trying to deal with another baby while my boy is still a baby himself. He has been a pretty challenging baby!
  • Feel somewhat physically prepared, I would have the ability to plan and get my body into a place where I am more prepared than last time. For example, I would build my iron levels and keep an eye on them so that I don’t run out of stores at week 28.
  • Keep up a core few resistance based exercises throughout the pregnancy to keep my strength up.
  • Stop working in the third trimester, if I am struggling like I was last time, and I would need at least six months off afterwards.
  • Attempt to find a team, or at least a few health professionals who understand both fibromyalgia and pregnancy. After a pregnancy with only a physio (who was pregnant herself and unable to treat me in the last trimester) who understood, I need people to support me.
  • Utilise acupuncture for morning sickness in the first trimester and general wellness during pregnancy.
  • Get more done in the second trimester, so that the third trimester could be more restful and I could rest in the fact that we are prepared.
  • Do my absolute best to avoid stress throughout the pregnancy.
  • Take the belly support belt if I needed it, I avoided it last time at the advice of my physio, but I think it would have helped more than it would have hindered. The pain was too bad to endure again.
  • Use an obstetrician, barring complications, my husband would be my key coach. My husband would know and (better) advocate for me. I would try to avoid an epidural.

After:

  • I would plan a babymoon, I would try to make the first month after labour a time for me and baby to just be, together.
  • This follows from the above guide, but I would treat the first three months like the “fourth trimester” as I have seen written about. I’d want the baby to be close to me, I’d utilise a sling and, especially in the first days, have baby mainly held by my husband and myself.
  • Plan and enforce the visitor rules and how to schedule family support. For example, I would have the immediate family there for only short times in the first few weeks. I wouldn’t invite other visitors for a few weeks.
  • Definitely make use of the organic cotton swaddle blankets again (our favourite brand was Aden and Anais).
  • I would purchase a portacot with the built in bassinet– we made do with a carry cot last time, but I have often wished we had invested in the portacot.
  • Purchase a proper pushchair, I would invest in this key piece of baby ware, a swanky, comfortable, convertible infant seat, carry cot, baby seat combo. We actually ended up purchasing a City Mini Jogger when my first was 12 months old and used it through our second and third babies, it is my favourite and I recommend it to everyone! See my post Essential Baby Items.
  • My husband would be just as involved as the first time. He would stay with us from the beginning (unlike the first time, when I was abandoned from 9pm – 9am) due to the rules of the birthing center. He would take turns with me, he would feed baby (hence the bottle use) and he would bond with baby, as he did with our boy. Their relationship is beautiful and it creates a sense of space for me. It’s parenthood, it takes two, especially when one has chronic pain and fatigue.
  • Be more gentle with myself and advocate more strongly for myself, particularly in the babymoon phase.
  • Document and enjoy it as much as the first. I don’t want a marked decrease in pictures and scrapbooks because I have double the children taking up my time.
This list is long but not exhaustive, I just thought that I could share it, in case my hard gained knowledge helped another in their pregnancy and/or planning. Also, because this has become a place in which to express my views and not deal with people, who don’t understand the fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue element at all, commenting.

So what did I end up doing?

We ended up having our second baby at the end of 2016 and our third at the end of 2018. I had a much better experience both times for all of my knowledge and experience. So please do search the category bar for “pregnancy” posts. I have shared my whole experience with you. You can find it succinctly in my book too.

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5 Things Not to Say to a Sleep-Deprived New Mama

Here are five things that have been said to me, or are continually said to me and just bum me out! I have provided a tip for what to do instead…
  1. When my baby was young I just “got on with it” (oh, I didn’t think of that?!) – now is the time to sympathize.
  2. He’s just a baby (really?!) – let them have a wee vent, see above.
  3. Have you tried…x y z… – assume they know their baby and they have tried it or know that it doesn’t work for their baby in that moment.
  4. I did…x y z…with multiple babies and it worked – just because it worked on yours, doesn’t mean it is “right” or going to work on any other baby.
  5. He’s hungry – not every cry is due to hunger! Just refrain from commenting when the baby is crying.
I have learnt three immutable truths in child raising:
  1. No baby is the same. No mama is the same. No time is the same. Things change from person to person and generation to generation. There are also multiple factors in every outcome. One single component, does not generate a whole, happy, healthy, well-adjusted person.
  2. Mamas get tired. Even at six months old babies don’t always sleep very well in the night time.
  3. Mamas know their baby best.
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Conquering the Evening

It seems to be generally accepted that babies have kind of witching hour. A period of time in the evening in which they are fussy.

My boy has recently moved in his routine as he approached six months. So the evening has moulded from a mess toward a nice, new routine.

I have been thinking about the things that make the evening nicer…

Change in scene – we have begun going to my bedroom for a while, the late afternoon sun streams in there and he loves practising his rolls on the softer surface. We do lots of laughs and peek-a-boos.

Figure out the milk/food situation – I don’t know about others, but we have been trying to figure out when and how to spread his food and milk so that he is sufficiently full and can sleep from 10-7. Currently, he is having a small bottle at 6 and another at 7, just before bedtime. And a dream feed about 10.

Make the bath a ritual – instead of thinking of the bath as another chore to do, I savour it, as it tends to be his happiest time of the day. We talk and sing our way through the drying and dressing.

Create a nice bedtime routine – we were floating for a while after he cancelled the old system. Now we count about 6.30pm on as wind down time. We do his bath, quietly listen to music, have a bottle, have cuddles. I sing, swaddle him and leave him in bed awake but sleepy.

These have made our evenings infinitely nicer for the last week. I hope he doesn’t change again too soon!

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Six Months of Awesomeness

I’ve had my precious boy for six months.

So I think it’s time to take a minute and recognise how awesome I am for getting here.

I survived pregnancy with symptoms wildly exacerbated by the fibro. I also got married and found out I was severely iron deficient at week 28. The entire third trimester in which my back hurt so much that I couldn’t sit down for long periods of time.

I endured the labour and delivery, which included 20 hours of the worst back pain I’ve ever known. And the physical recovery that spanned further months afterward.

At week three, when my boy went back into hospital with an unknown problem that ended up requiring a minor operation, I coped. The nights that I stayed with him, not sleeping because he was vomiting so forcefully and so regularly. The nights that I stayed at home and expressed every three hours so that I would have food for him when he was ready.

Everything that is part of the new mama experience, not sleeping and not resting enough.

I’ve done it. I’ve conquered it. For many of those days I had a sore neck, headaches, nausea, aching legs and back and shoulders. For more still I was tired right down to my bones. For some I had an upset stomach,  if my neck was super bad I’d also be dizzy.

I am so unbelievably proud of myself.

I’ve also learnt so many things and developed as a person.

If you’re in that battle that is a new baby or pregnancy, know that you can do it. One day at a time, one step at a time. You will get through it. Remember to look after yourself, you need your strength to look after your beautiful baby.

Mama’s who have done the baby journey with additional issues are AMAZING!

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