It's safe to say that our little squishy newborn is now a sturdy little baby boy. He's doing so many new things like lifting his head, trying to sit up, smiling and giggling all the time, and he's awake for longer periods of time which is great because we get to enjoy all of the new little habits he has formed. I'm sure everyone says this about their babies but he is such a happy little boy. He's so chilled out and he is a total smiler. Makes me feel good to see him smile so much because as a new mother you generally second guess yourself a lot of the time. We must be doing something right!
Because no coffee date is complete without a selfy with your baby!
A lot has changed since my last update but the most important change has been that we've stopped using nipple shields. Halleluljah! Since Billy was born we have had to use nipple shields because he had problems latching on without them. I had tried lots of different things to try and wean him off them but he had zero interest in feeding without them. I had sort of resigned myself to the fact that we would always use them and at the end of the day he was being breastfed and getting all of the benefits of the breastmilk and that is the most important thing isn't it? And then there came a random Tuesday afternoon two weeks ago. I was feeding him and there was nothing out of the ordinary. As usual I tried him without the shield towards the end of the feed when he was happier and not very hungry and he just latched on! I couldn't believe it. I was actually afraid to move. I thought it was pure fluke and might never happen again so I just stayed still and watched him feeding like a champ. When he finished I decided to try him on the other breast and I knew deep down that he wasn't going to latch on again, but... HE DID! I'll admit that I was so happy that I shed a few tears. That might sound strange to some of you but our breastfeeding journey has had it's rocky moments, and at the beginning I wondered if it would ever work out, so to come this far and be finally breastfeeding without nipple shields is such a joyful thing. I called my mam straight away to tell her and she was delighted for me too. As were all of my friends and family who knew how much I had been trying to help him do this. Since then he has been feeding beautifully and it's become so much easier. For night feeds I don't have to worry about grabbing a sterile nipple shield. I basically never have to worry about anything other than making sure I wear my boobs everyday! I've said it before but I feel the need to say it again because I'm now even more of an advocate for breastfeeding since ditching the shields - I LOVE breastfeeding.
I want to encourage anyone who is even slightly considering breastfeeding to give it a go because it is just the most amazing feeling. It's not for everyone, I know that. But I cannot emphasize enough how easy it is once you get in to the groove of it. It doesn't hurt, it involves no sterilizing or making bottles, it's at the perfect temperature, it's FREE, it's with you all the time so you'll never ever be stuck when you have a hungry baby, and most importantly it is the perfect food for your baby. Your body has done a lot of hard work putting together this really simple way of feeding your baby to give them the best start, so why not use it? I'm not being arrogant about it, because I genuinely was not sure if I was going to breastfeed until Billy was born. But now I can't believe I ever considered not breastfeeding. The first few weeks can pose their challenges but once you get past that it is soooooo easy. I can't stress that enough. The reasons I had for not wanting to breastfeed were others not being able to feed my baby, having to express milk if I was away from the baby, worrying about breastfeeding in public, and worrying that it would hurt. Turns out all of these things are so much worse in your head and there continues to be more and more positives every single day that I embark on this beautiful journey.
The reality is that we have a really low rate of breastfeeding in Ireland. Less than 50% of mothers do it. There is nothing wrong with formula feeding at all, but if I can help to encourage people to breastfeed than I will because it's been such a huge part of my experience as a new mother and it's been responsible for so many positive moments. This post isn't intended to be preachy in any way, because as I said above I was never 100% sure if I was going to breastfeed. You do what works for you.
There is something really cool about knowing that your body alone can keep your baby healthy, growing and thriving . Some of my happiest moments each day involve feeding Billy. I really mean that. Having him snuggled up close to me as he feeds and looks up at me lovingly is just a feeling that I cannot even articulate. It's like an out of body type of feeling, and that's not me being a hippy (which I am a bit of, to be fair), it's just the truth. If anyone needs any information about where they can get breastfeeding support or even just some general information please feel free to mail me and I would be delighted to point you in the right direction. There are books, groups, and resources that I would have definitely benefited from had I looked in to them during pregnancy rather than after the baby was born. In my experience you do not get much help in the hospital during those first few days because the midwives are just too busy to give you the time that you might need. Unfortunately these are the times that people decide to give up and the reality is that once this phase passes it all becomes fantastic. I even had a lactation consultant come out to my house to help me, and it was completely worth it.
So yes, I love breastfeeding! Love love love.
So back to the little man. I keep saying it, but I really cannot believe how quickly time is going. Everyone says it to you when you have a baby. They tell you to enjoy it because it flies by. I remember when Billy was born and literally that very day I felt an air of sadness when I thought about Billy getting big. They are just so tiny and helpless when born. They are perfect and so untouched by anything bad in the world, and the thoughts of him growing up and ever feeling sad, disappointed or basically anything negative just broke my heart. Turns out this is a very normal thing to feel after you've given birth. Before I know it he'll be going out on dates and I already know that no girl will be good enough for my little man. That t-shirt should say Mammy's man...
That being said, watching Billy grow has been far from sad. It has been amazing. He literally changes everyday and if you blink you might just miss something. He is such a "talkative" baby. He sits on our laps and looks at our faces and you can literally see the moment that he realizes who we are. His eyes light up and he makes this little gurgling noise and just smiles and smiles. It's such a special feeling and again no word really does it any justice. Lucky. That's the word I would use. We feel so incredibly blessed to be Billy's parents. What an adventure it has been already. He is such a character already, can you tell?
His Daddy claims that this is the face Billy made when he was told that he supports Leeds United...
Since my last post we brought him for his two month injections and as everyone assured me, it was worse in my head. He cried but only for a second. I cried too... It really is worse for the parents.
We also brought him for his first swim recently which was a great success. We wanted him to have a little taster of what is to come in less than three weeks when we are going on HOLIDAY. We are so so excited for this. We booked this holiday when Billy Byrne was Baby Byrne, and he wasn't due to be born for 10 weeks or so. Best decision ever! To be having our first family holiday when Billy is so small is brilliant because he'll travel easily (we hope) as he isn't mobile yet, we don't have to worry about what he eats because he's still only drinking milk, and he shouldn't (hopefully) have much trouble sleeping. We cannot wait. When we were in Vegas in March we bought lots of cute little summer outfits for Billy and to think that he will be wearing them on holidays in a few weeks is insane. We are going back to Caleta De Fuste in Fuerteventura. We went there last May and we absolutely loved it. It's really family friendly, clean, and everything is so accessible. It ticks all the boxes for us. We are going back to these bungalows which will be super handy as carrying a baby and a pram down steps would just be another worry. We're going for ten days which is ideal because this time with a baby there is a lot more planning and organizing associated with the travel so it means we will have a solid week to completely lap up the holiday vibes. I'll take lots of photos and I'll blog about it of course. Do you have any tips for traveling with a baby? He will be 16 weeks.
He was actually very happy despite this little sulky face! Awwwww.
Oh, and since my last post we also had our first ever night away from Billy. But that's for a different blog post because it was quite a poignant experience for me.
Thirteen weeks in to this journey and I can safely say that motherhood is everything that I hoped for and more. It is a huge life changer, it's not always the easiest job in the world, but I wouldn't change a single thing. We wake up every morning and get to be a little baby's entire universe. It's been the most humbling experience because I am no longer the most important person in my world. He is.
I'll give you a staring competition Mammy....
Labels: Baby, breastfeeding, family, motherhood, parenting, pregnancy, travel