I came across this post below on my WP feed and it’s just what I needed to hear today. Rosemary is the owner of Soul Essence and she writes about all things mindfulness. If you need a little calm in your life every now and then, make sure you have a read at some of her very useful posts.
If you’re not sure which S word I’m on about, it’s SEX. I wasn’t keen on using it in the title because my boy can read fluently now and I’m not ready to start the whole birds and the bees convo with him just yet. He’s already been asking where babies come from and how they’re made and I’ve just about managed to dodge it for now. He’s 7 by the way.
Let’s talk about S E X
Let’s talk about it. For me, it still feels a little taboo even though we’re online and I’m just writing all of this. I was brought up by very strict Asian parents so any talk that’s even remotely associated with sex and the sorts was banned. Luckily for them I wasn’t too much of a curious soul.
Sex since Lockdown 1.0 has not really been that different for us. We’d usually do it in the wee hours of the morning or at night when the kids are in deep sleep. However, there have been moments when we struggled with getting it on.
Your contraception can be a (libido) killer
Our sex life is pretty okay. We’re active and perhaps a little more now than in previous years. That may sound strange but I think it’s because I came off the injection (female hormonal contraception).
I loved being on the injection and used it for many years and between my pregnancies. I’m quite fertile and it just worked really well. I only needed one jab every three months which made it all convenient. I tried the implant and it left me with adult acne and the patch was great but it ended up irritating my skin. I tried the pill once when I was younger but could never remember to take it on time.
Apparently a common side effect for using the injection is loss of libido. I literally had no sex drive. I hated being touched. I was grouchy all the time. And down there was as dry as the Sahara desert no matter how much he tried to get me going. It wasn’t working.
That lockdown loving…
Naturally, I blamed it on stress. But when Lockdown 1.0 hit and I was unable to get an appointment my body started to ease up as it reverted back to its pre-contraceptive state. Being off any kind of contraception brought my libido back. I loved it. I finally felt like a human being again. That’s when I knew it had to be the contraception.
So now I’ve decided to give the hormonal pill a go again and it seems to be going well. My sex drive is pretty much back to normal and we’re getting it on a few times a month which works out to roughly once a week. We’re too tired and lazy to even attempt to do it anymore than that. Sex is tiring, you know!!
The stresses of lockdown, isolation, working from home, parenting can all get too much. As a result your sex life can suffer from it. So if you and your partner aren’t getting it on as much anymore, try to think why that might be. Have a talk about it as you might find that your reasons are not the same. If there’s one thing I learnt about our relationship (we’ve been together for 14 years) is that communication really is key. We talk a lot more about things we never did before. And being comfortable talking to each other about sex is one of them.
What if the sex is boring?
Sex doesn’t have to be a chore. Especially if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, having sex with each other can get boring. It happens! But there’s things you can do to help each other bring it back. Just remember to keep it down – I’m sure the kids and the neighbours don’t want to hear what’s going on after hours…
What if your partner’s not up for it?
This is a tricky one because it involves understanding how your partner is feeling and what their reasons are for not having sex with you. It could just be stress. It could be something more. YOU HAVE TO TALK TO EACH OTHER. It’s really the only way unless you’re psychic and don’t have to ask. I highly doubt that otherwise you wouldn’t be lacking in sex.
Even when we THINK we know what our partners are feeling, we don’t actually know so it’s crucial to talk to each other. If they’re not one to easily open up, find a way to be able to get through to them. If it still doesn’t work, perhaps speaking to a counsellor or therapist could help you both out.
PS. Don’t forget, it’s Valentine’s Day on February 14th – make an effort as we’re not able to go anywhere, you might as well make the most of it in the bedroom!
Your mini-guide to lockdown loving:
TALK IT OUT. The simplest of them all. Let each other know that the flame is burning out. That way, you’re both acknowledging that there’s something missing. Sometimes when we get too caught up in our own things, we assume our partner knows there’s something lacking but in actual fact, they don’t know sh*t all. So talk it out. Figure out what’s missing.
TRY SOMETHING NEW. This can be anything from buying sexy lingerie to introducing something new into the bedroom ie. a sex toy, oral sex, anal sex whatever you both fancy. It could even just be trying out a new lube for the first time! Whatever it is, find something that make you both feel good doing it. Being a selfish lover is never any good so make sure that you are both being pleasured – it doesn’t have to be simultaneously but it shouldn’t be one-sided.
PICK A NEW ROOM. Never tried it in the kitchen? Or always thought about it in the bathroom? How about outdoors? Be careful with that last one because, you know, lockdown and all but if you have a private garden or balcony it could be possible. The thrill of doing it in a new location can be quite exciting and is sure to be fun as long as you’re both up to it. Just be considerate of your neighbours or who’s around if you’re planning on venturing out.
RECONSIDER YOUR CONTRACEPTION. If you’ve lost your libido like I did, ask yourself if it could be your contraception. If so, would you be able to consider another method. You have to find a method that works for you so I wouldn’t promote any form of contraception over the other. You know your body best so if you’re unsure of what you can switch to, ask your GP or a sexual health advisor.
STRESS LESS. Most likely, if you’re not getting enough sex it’s because you’re stressed, or tired, or both. Exhaustion and irritation can be manifestations of stress which increases your cortisol levels. This will leave you feeling fatigue and you could experience a loss of libido because of it. Stress is also not good for the body, in fact it’s actually really taxing on your body as it puts it in a constant state of ‘fight-or-flight’.
So chill out. Give yourself some time. Have a hot bath soak. Listen to some music. Read a book. Do some yoga. Get some downtime in to really calm your mind and body.
KNOW YOUR BODY. Sounds pretty simple. You see your body every day, you know what it looks like therefore you know your body right? But do you know how it feels like? Self-love is not just about loving yourself from the outside in. It’s also about loving what your amazing body can do, how it can feel… and sometimes we have to discover that intimacy with ourselves first.
If you’ve never tried exploring yourself before and you want to, you to give it a go. I know not everyone approves of this so it’s up to you but if you want to, try it. Some women are unable to orgasm with a partner but when they’re touching themselves, they’re able to orgasm multiple times. And if you know your body well and know how to make it feel that way, you can help your partner figure it out too.
WATCH PORN. I wasn’t sure if I should list this one or if it falls under the ‘try something new’ heading but sometimes a good porn can get you both going. Or at least the one of you who’s watching. Watching porn together is something I don’t do – I still find that weird and it’s something we like doing separately, in our own time. It is easier to get aroused after watching porn so it could be an easy place to start, and it’s mostly free nowadays too. Woop woop!
Last week was the week of National Breastfeeding Week. It’s been sooo long since I’ve breastfed but can still remember the anxiety that it gave me both times. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with breastfeeding in public, it should be more encouraged but it’s the not-knowing of how other people might take it but you know what? SOD THEM!
Do what you need to do. Feed your baby, don’t feel ashamed to do your duty.
While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a baby, many mothers feel nervous about doing it in public. A recent study by breastfeeding company, Lansinoh (who’s been supporting breastfeeding mums for over 35 years!), found that three quarters of mums feel more cautious about breastfeeding in public, as a direct result of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions.
To help all new mums feel more confident about breastfeeding in public post-lockdown, Lansinoh teamed up with midwife and antenatal educator, Marley Hall, who shares her top tips for new mums:
Tip #1 – Go out with a breastfeeding mum
With lockdown measures easing slightly more, you can now meet up with several people outside your household so why not go out with a friend who is also breastfeeding? As the saying goes, there’s ‘safety in numbers’, and having another breastfeeding mum with you can help to give you the confidence to feed your little one in public for the first time.
Alternatively, if you don’t have any breastfeeding friends living nearby why not visit a baby-friendly café, where there’s more chance of being around other breastfeeding mums. There are also local NCT baby groups that you could join – check out your local community to see if there is one near you.
Tip #2. Know your rights
Many new mums who have given birth in the months since March will have never breastfed their child in public before. So it’s important to know your rights. The UK law gives mums the right to breastfeed their babies in any public place, such as shops, hotels and restaurants. You are also covered by the law to feed in cinemas, theatres, petrol stations, and hospitals.
While it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will question you for breastfeeding your child in public, this can often be a cause of worry for new mums who have yet to breastfeed in public, so it might be worthwhile to have a response prepared should the situation arise.
Tip #3. Plan your outfit beforehand
Make sure your clothing is as comfortable as possible, whilst also being easily accessible. Planning your outfit beforehand can make breastfeeding in public much more convenient, and also a lot more discrete for any mums feeling slightly nervous.
You don’t need to splash out on a new wardrobe either – you’ll most likely already have items in your wardrobe that will come in handy, such as tops and dresses with buttons or zips, wrap cardigans and stretchy tops, which you can easily pull down and back up again. A good breastfeeding bra with clips can also help to make breastfeeding easier.
My Emma Jane nursing bra was one of the best investments I gave myself as a new mum. It was super comfy, affordable and had those magical clips to make breastfeeding life easier. If you want a prettier style, these brands do some seriously nice nursing bras that can even match your outfit of the day.
4. Make sure to have a drink on hand
When you are out and about, ensure you have a drink and snacks handy. Breastfeeding can be thirsty work and there’s nothing worse than being thirsty or hungry when not in close proximity to a shop. It’s also very easy for both mum and baby to become dehydrated especially in the hotter, humid summer months so have a bottle in your bag.
If you want to be a little fancy, you can infuse your water with lemon slices and mint for a light refreshing taste. The smell of fresh mint too is delicious!
5. Focus on enjoying the moment
You might be surprised to hear that most people don’t notice when a mum is feeding her baby at all but, if you notice someone watching you feed, try not to worry or feel uncomfortable. It’s most likely they are simply intrigued by what you are doing. Just try to continue to focus on feeding your baby and enjoy the moment with your little one.
If you think you will still feel uncomfortable, bring a spare muslin cloth with you and throw it over your shoulder as you’re feeding to give you and baby a little more privacy. There are also cool nursing covers that you can buy – they look like an apron and you just put it on over your neck and there’s plenty of breathing space for baby to feed comfortably underneath. Do be aware with either of these things on a windy day as they can easily blow around.
Feeding baby in a sling is also another method but you’ll have to make sure you follow Tip #3.
Practice makes progress!
A good latch is vital for achieving a smooth breastfeeding experience, and this comes down to practise. Finding a comfortable position for both you and your baby will help to ensure that they are getting enough breast milk and prevent you from developing sore nipples. If you do have sore or cracked nipples lanolin cream is one of the best things you can put on. Lansinoh’s nipple cream is amazing and one of my top 5 breastfeeding products I couldn’t live without.
Some mums prefer to raise their baby to breast height, whilst other mums prefer to hold their babies diagonally across their bodies. To make sure that you feel comfortable and familiar with getting into position in public, make sure to try out a few positions at home and practice until you find the position that works best for you.
Congratulations on your new addition! You must be so proud of your new baby boy, and of course, why wouldn’t you be?
You probably have so many thoughts, emotions and feelings about parenting racing through your mind and that’s completely normal… as a matter of fact, that feeling never really goes away completely! People say it gets easier when you have your second child and they are right in some respects but don’t forget – EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. It’s not always smooth sailing with two in tow; it’s double the mess, double the stress, double the tantrums but double the love which makes it all worthwhile.
There will be fantastic moments like all of baby boy’s firsts; first smile, first laugh, first word, first walk… Then, there will be the crappy days like sleepless nights, temper tantrums, colic, nightmares. When sleep deprivation kicks in, it’s going to sting like a B.I.T.C.H, I won’t sugar-coat it but you will start getting your energy back I promise. For you personally, this will happen around the 4-5 month mark when baby boy learns to sleep a little longer and wakes up a little less at night.
While you’re muddling along trying to figure out this parenting stuff with your BabyCentre forums, Doctor Google and Gurgle Magazine articles, here’s some advice I want to give you for the years to come and before you find out you’re having a second child after 2.5 years…
Make time for yourself
This will always be a hard one for you because you keep putting other people first; whether it’s your baby boy, your hubby, family members or friends you keep trying to give up your time to help them (which is good) but you need to give yourself time too otherwise you will end up burning out. Because you’ve always been this way, it will take time before you really learn how to say no but everyone has to start somewhere. Just give baby boy to hubby for the day and get out of the house. Do things that you loved doing before you became a mum ie. drawing, baking, cooking, eating out with friends and you’ll find yourself a much happier person in the long run.
Make sure you get enough sleep
The good thing is that when baby boy has a nap, you will usually have a nap too which will save you from sleep deprivation. However, once you’re up you tend to find it quite difficult to shut off which means sometimes you skip your morning naps with bubba. This then compounds over weeks and then you find yourself really struggling to sleep at night too then start attacking hubby for sleeping and picking arguments for the sake of it. This is not a good route to go down and something you should learn to avoid doing by making sure you let your body rest regularly and fully. You’ll have to remember to get enough sleep when your second one comes along too.
Well done for coping under pressure
The worst memory you’ll have is when baby boy is three and he goes to A&E for jumping off the coffee table, hitting his head on the side and cutting an inch of his head open. He was so strong and only cried for about 5 minutes whilst you comforted him. Let me tell you now, you did amazingly well at making out like it was just a little scratch because secretly underneath, you were dying inside eith guilt for not watching, shaken from the shock of it all and just wanted to cry your eyes out but you didn’t. It’ll the first time he hurt himself that badly. Luckily, he’ll not really feel the pain and after a 3-4 hour wait at the hospital, the doctor will glue the cut together and he’ll be as right as rain in no time.
You’ll be the ‘go-to mum’ for your first-time friends
They will come to you for advice. The reason they’ll like to coming to you is because you don’t judge them and you don’t try to enforce your parenting styles onto them, which they’ll really appreciate.
You’ll try your best to give your mother-to-be friends a balanced view and always present both sides of the coin so that they can make up their own mind for their parenting journey. If they ask you specifically for your view and then you’ll tell them in the most honest and genuine way possible.
All that bedtime reading with your boy really does pay off!
You’ll love reading to your little boy and start doing so when he’s around 3 months old. It will become your little bedtime routine together which you’ll carry on even until he is four. All the reading will make your little boy love books and he will end up being one of the top children in his reception class that can read with little supervision. You’ll occasionally catch him reading to himself with books he’s really interested in ie. Harry and the Bucket full of Dinosaurs.
You dare not to tell any of the mums at school about high advanced reading levels for the fear of being the labelled “the mum that likes to brag about her child” but you will get to share your joy with your family members and close friends.
Being on a tight budget makes you a practical spender
This is probably the only good thing about being on a budget all the time. You have no money to buy expensive or unnecessary things. You will soon discover that local Facebook groups have the world of things available second-hand at a cheap price which you’ll love. You’ll also try to keep your spending practical. For example, when your little boy gets sniffly and bunged up, you buy rubs like Snuffle Babe and Vicks BabyRub which really help.
Vicks BabyRub has mild fragrances of lavender, rosemary and aloe vera which is really soothing and gentle enough for you to use on a daily basis. You’ll tend to use it more in the evenings ie. after bathtime or before bedtime.
For nappy creams, you’ll find metanium barrier cream works best. You love buying Pampers nappies and wipes but also found that Sainsbury’s own brand and Asda’s own brand were great alternatives and much cheaper too. You’ll only buy fancy clothes from Next every now and then. For regular clothes, grow-suits etc you’ll find old Asda and Sainsbury’s are the best for that stuff.
Mum and baby classes are great for bonding
You’ll love the baby massage classes you sign up for. You’ll find the massage techniques help with your baby’s colic. You also love the bonding connection between you and your baby. When you’re pregnant with your second, you will have to also think about your health. You will try post-natal pilates after your second child and start your gym membership too.
The library will be one of your favourite places to go with your boy and the rhyme time and story time sessions are so popular, you’ll make a lot of mummy friends from going to them.
Stick to the baby-led weaning!
As soon as your boy becomes ready for weaning onto solids, you’ll do really well with feeding him purees and making your own blended meals for him. You’ll also opt for a flexible baby-led weaning approach because you want your boy to feed himself and learn how to use his cutlery. But as he gets older, you and hubby decide to start spoon-feeding him because he would take an hour to finish his meal or will hardly eat. Where he’s such an active boy, he can’t sit still for long and so you both think spoon feedung will help.
In hindsight, you should’ve stuck to your guns and not listen to hubby with the spoon feeding because at four years old, your boy still struggles to eat properly by himself. It would’ve probably been more difficult and taken longer but I am sure it would’ve workd out for the better. The teachers at school say he eats well but you’re not entirely sure this is true because he doesn’t do it at home. He will also start to refuse eating meat products and opt for a pescatarian diet when he’s 2-3yrs old which is fine but I think if you try to introduce him to more food variety when he’s weaning, that would help him learn to eat foods with different textures and tastes which would help him out when he’s older.
All in all, you’re a great mum!
Keep doing what you’re doing because you are really doing great. You’re learning to find your feet as a first-time-mum. And while you take into consideration other people’s advice (especially when it comes to unwanted advice from family friends, including the non-parent ones), you make sure you define your own rules to parenting. After all, there’s really no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting, just yourway.
And what works for one child might not work for another… You’ll find this out when you have your second child! 🙂
Stay sane. Big hugs and kisses, from your future (second-time-mum) self. xx
This post is an entry for Britmums #VicksBabyRubChallenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, TEsco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.
The words I never, ever wanted to hear myself say but alas, it has become the inevitable. I call it ‘mothermorphosis’.
mother = a woman in relation to her child or children morphosis = the manner in which an organism or any of its parts changes form or undergoes development
There comes a time in our lives as mothers that we start to follow a path that is all too similar… The path of our own mothers. This may or may not be a route we wish to follow but sometimes it happens. Sometimes it’s a good thing, other times not so good.
(If you’re not expecting and reading this, here are some great gifts for family members or friends who are)
Expecting a baby whether it’s your first or third is a wonderful experience but it can also be a stressful one. Planning ahead can make things a little easier but from my experience I found that by ‘winging it’ and improvising along the way yields near enough the same results so why add on the extra stress? It’s a bit harder to not stress when it’s your first baby – I remember when I was pregnant with LO I made plans and notes constantly. 1) because of baby brain, I could hardly remember anything and needed constant reminders and 2) I became a little OCD with planning because at the time it felt like it was making a difference and made me feel more in control of my pregnancy.
If you’re a mum to be, you can use this post as a starting point for your wishlist… gifts are what baby showers or baby sprinkles (mini showers for 2nd, 3rd babies) are for! Don’t be shy ladies, everyone who has children knows how hard and expensive raising a child/children can be and we all need a little help from time to time and showers are the time they should be accepted without arguments. Just don’t go crazy and extravagant with your wishlist or your guests may not turn up! 🙂
So I just came across the blog post above thanks to MummaScribble’s #TwinklyTuesday linky and boy am I glad I read it! I had heard snippets on the radio last Saturday night about the whole interview thing Prince William did on Vietnam radio and I am very shocked to hear that people have criticised him for saying that he finds parenting a struggle.
Parenting struggles aren’t means-tested. Whether you are earning £100+ a year or scraping by on £10 a week, you are a human being and entitled to express your feelings, emotions and opinions. This includes members of the Royal family – they are human too! To criticise someone like that because of their social status is disgusting and appalling. Of course having wad loads of money definitely helps when it comes to materialistic things but you know the saying “money can’t buy love” – it also applies to parenting. Just because you have money, you don’t become immune to the challenges of being a parent throws at you.
It’s such an old-school way of thinking. My mum is like that – she believes that if you are from a healthy class you will have no problems in life. She believed it so much that when I first got pregnant she was so disappointed that I didn’t find someone “better” (she means someone white, middle-class and wealthy) instead of a regular ol’ guy.
Personally, I thought the Prince was very brave in coming out and telling the world about it. A bit of a weird place to first mention it though (on Vietnam radio) but maybe no-one has really asked the Prince how he’s felt since he became a second-time dad… who knows. Either way, people need to just chill.
It was announced in August 2016 that a London hospital decided to pilot a scheme that has been a part of the Finnish maternity scheme for over eighty years. I first came across the post on the Baby London website and thought it was such an interesting topic.
Upon digging deeper into the article, I came to realise that the Finnish have been supplying new mums with a ‘baby box’ that is filled with mum and baby products. The baby box is also used as a sleeping place for the newborn replacing the need for a cot, crib or Moses basket.
Apparently, the baby box has been proven to be a really safe place for newborns to sleep as they cannot roll in the box. It’s something that the Finnish have been doing for over 80 years so it’s a big surprise that the UK has only decided to start implementing something like this now. The baby box is also filled with many things a new mum may need from nappies to baby bodysuits to money-off coupons and vouchers for all things baby.
If the pilot is announced as a success, we may see this new maternity scheme rolled out across the UK.
Being a new mum can be a challenge especially in the first twelve months of a baby’s life. Despite this being my second birth I still felt and faced the same things I did when I was a first-time mum; anxiety, newborn worries and challenges (reflux, colic, breastfeeding issues), postpartum problems and body hang-ups, baby blues and generally feeling overwhelmed with everything.
It’s totally common for new mums to find that they get the “baby blues” at some stage in their post-pregnancy life which is completely normal. The majority of the time it will just go away by itself. However, sometimes a little bit of extra support is needed for us mums. I had the baby blues in both pregnancies but this time round found it a little more difficult to cope. Baby Girl was constantly crying and Daddy P was away most of the time. I felt like I was being left alone to defend for myself then having an active toddler on top of that made it even more challenging. Continue reading “The Real World Parenting Awards: Recognising people who go the extra mile”→
Are you an expecting a little one soon or do you know of anyone who is? If the answer is yes then keep reading or share this post with the expecting parents & let them know about this wonderful event.
Mamas & Papas are holding another special Parents-to-be event across the UK. Its 100% free, all you have to do is visit their website to book your place.
What time and where?
It’s on Sunday 22nd November 2015 (London stores) and there are various other places it’s being held too. Just check the link below for the list of locations and to book your place. It’s from 11:00am and lasts for 2 hours.
Probably the same as the one last summer, I’m guessing there’ll be product demos, tips, discounts on products and much more. It should be a brilliant turn out just like the last one so what are you waiting for? Click the link above to find your nearest participating store and book your free ticket!
About Mamas & Papas
Mamas & Papas is the leading brand for prams, pushchairs, car seats, cots, highchairs, nursery furniture, bedding and toys. M&P have 37 independent stores and over 100 specially selected stockists in the UK as well as an extensive online store to shop from.