World Breastfeeding week – Blog March – My Experience

From the 1st to the 7th August is world breastfeeding week. As a member of Irish Parenting Bloggers group we discuss all things breastfeeding one of them. So we thought we would do a blog march to celebrate World Breastfeeding week, share our experiences and hopefully help other mama’s and mama’s to be

Breastfeeding symbol
Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My decision…When I was pregnant on my first I decided I was going to give breastfeeding a go as being a first time mum I read the pregnancy books cover to cover and learned that anything is better than nothing as the first few days after giving birth you produce colostrum and that is really good for baby. I was quite young (under 20 anyway) and so young mothers breastfeeding isn’t something I’d seen or heard a lot of. I remember telling people I was going to try breastfeeding and their faces would almost turn to disgust, and the confusion on some of their faces was priceless lol ‘Oh, why would you want to do that?” like as if I said I was going to feed the baby drugs when they were born? or ”Sure there’s formula now why would you bother?” Like what a question to ask? There is no right or wrong with whatever any woman’s decision is whether to breastfeed or formula feed, none is more strange or weird that the other. Also what surprised me was a lot of the women saying this were the older generation? Then there were other who looked like they wanted to hide at the mention of the word ‘breast’ lol! A lot of mixed reactions and mostly all not the one I was looking for! I wish bad attitudes towards breastfeeding would change.

I think we need more breast feeding ads just to encourage women to try or an ad to say there are breastfeeding support groups, I’ve never seen an ad to do with breastfeeding on t.v? Only ads for formula milk? It would just be nice for there to be an even positive balance in the media

Baby no.1 2007 I remember first getting my little girl to latch and just felt pain I could feel my womb contracting, again I knew it was normal from the books. Then a midwife came in one day and brought back in with about 3 other trainees to show what good latching looked like. I was chuffed to say the least and thought ”this is going great!” .
When home about 5 days later the problems started. The tiredness and soreness were in full swing. She seemed to constantly cry looking back now I think she had very bad colic.. I was exhausted and falling asleep while holding her which scared the crap outta me one night! By day 7 I had to stop as I was so tired living on just 3 hours sleep a night and my nipples were very raw and cracked even after I tried the creams and nipple shields etc.They also felt really heavy and full and I wasn’t used to that with my less than A cup boobs!
I was also going through one of the most stressful periods of my life. So there was a combination of things that just made going on to the bottle less stressful for me. After I stopped breastfeeding she slept a little longer between each feed but was still a crier :/

Baby no 2. 2011 I said I’d try again, the pain was very bad though from day one.Again I was told his latch was fine but I found the breastfeeding nurse in the hospital not very understanding, when I told her my pain and that Id like to give him a bottle she very helpfully told me to lie down put my little boy on my boob and said there look he’s fine. I knew he was but I wasn’t! By day 3 when I was home I was sitting crying while feeding him 🙁 every suck felt like a constant flow of needles piercing through my nipples and I felt bad for crying while feeding him, I just wanted to be happy and enjoy him. I gave him a bottle at his next feed and cried while giving him that, I felt so awful and hated my boobs I thought maybe if they were bigger they’d have worked better and it would have been as sore? I cried for a few days after I stopped, I felt so sad. I also have/had no family to help out when I needed a break or just needed a to get some housework done or to take the 4-year-old off my hands for a bit so that added to me in a way having to stop while my partner was at work.

So would I try again and why? Yep if I have another baby I’ll try again, I think the first few days when you have colostrum is very good for baby, it’s full of antibodies, protein, vitamins, minerals, and helps clear out baby’s system of meconium (them first few yucky poops from baba!) I feel then at least I can say I tried and if it works great! If it doesn’t well I’ll feel they got some benefit and I think it really help with bonding too. All I’ll say is I’d love every new mother to even just try it and not be scared or put off by other people, then if you don’t feel it’s for you that’s fine and perfectly normal too

Next time….I wonder if I could do anything different, maybe a breast pump would have helped? I never got one on either of mine as I was worried I wouldn’t keep it up and it would be a waste of money and wasn’t sure if they’d help ease the pain? Also I should have gone to a support group, I was nervous though I’m shy about my body especially my teeny tiny boobs! But everyone has said the groups are so helpful and not judgy at all like I thought. I do think though it would be harder when I have two other kids to take care of and a lot more housework to look after on my own with no one to give me a hand (a wee nap haha) during the day and with school runs etc.

I don’t want to put myself under pressure and not enjoy a new baby or my other children so all I can do is how things go when the time comes and listen to my body and mind it’s all any of us can do.

Each day, the Irish Parenting Bloggers Group will be bringing you posts from members of the Irish Parenting Bloggers community. Please join us as we highlight our varied experiences and opinions on breastfeeding.

Maybelline Falsies Lash Mascara Review

Mascara is my all time favourite makeup product but sometimes finding the right one is so difficult. Either the wand/brush isn‘t right ot the mascara itself is too watery or flakey.

Then comes along the Maybelline Falsies Lash in the post. I generally get on well with Maybelline mascaras so I was looking foward to trying it.

The Claims

  • Ophthalmologist tested, suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lenses.
  • Instant Lash Lift Effect: Better than a Salon Lash Lift (LVL) all in a tube!!
  • Fibre Infused Formula: Lifts and coats all lashes giving your lashes the salon lash lift effect but without the hassle and for a fraction of the price!
  • Double Curved Brush: Unique brush made especially to lengthen and volumise lashes
  • Dramatic Length & Volume: Different to all the other mascara’s this locks dramatic length instantly due to the double-curved brush and fibre infused formula.
  • All-day wear: Just remove with your favourite makeup remover, suitable for contact lens wearers and sensitive eyes

How to use

Step 1: For best results, hold the brush against lashes and sweep from root to tip.
Step 2: Repeat until the desired look is achieved.

Top Tip: Do not let dry between coats

Before and After

As you can see the difference is huge is the before and after. My lashes are curled and there is more length added.

Maybelline Falsies Lash Mascara Review

Maybelling Falsies Lash Lift Mascara on left. Top right picture of eye with no mascara on. Bottom right after pucture of same eye with mascara on and lashes looking much longer and lifted.

Maybelline Falsies Lash Lift Mascara – Before & After

The brush is a perfect size for grabbing the lashes and getting a good lift on them. I found the product goes on smooth; not too drying or clumpy. No flaking throughout the day either.

I’ve had the LVL lash lift before and really loved the results. They were curled up and looked longer, making me appear to have a bit of mascara on. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the patience or time to sit there so I haven’t had it done again. It’s time-consuming and with just 2 and a half hours free to myself with kids in school, I’d rather do something else with my time 😉

I also have sensitive eyes and certain mascaras make them sting but no stinging with this even when removing.

So I highly recommend giving this one a go. I think it’s my new holy grail mascara and the RRP at €11.99 makes very affordable.

You can buy the mascara from most pharmacies, Amazon or from Boots here

Vegetarian Lentil Chilli Recipe

Vegetarian Lentil Chilli Recipe

Anyone who knows me knows I love spicy foods especially chilli con carne. It’s just so simple to make and so so tasty. Very versatile too, as once you have a big pot made you could make nachos, chilli chips, tacos, wraps or just have a healthy option with brown rice!

I’ve been trying to cut down on how much meat we eat in my family so I said I’d make my usual chilli with lentils instead of beans. I really enjoyed it, so did the kids 🙂 Himself on the other hand said he missed the chewy texture of the meat! Can never please everyone lol!

 

Vegetarian Lentil Chilli Recipe

Ingredients

Red split lentils (haven’t a clue of how much I use I’m one for guessing lol! ABout half a 500g bag!)
1-2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Tin of kidney beans
Chopped red or green pepper…or both
Chopped Onion
1-2 cloves crushed/chopped garlic more if you love garlic
2-4 teaspoons chilli powder*
1 teaspoon of cumin & cayenne pepper*
Tabasco sauce*
Salt
Pepper

*If you’re making this for kids use your own judgement on how much chilli powder to use. I also add cumin and cayenne pepper usually about a teaspoon of each…I never follow recipes for these things I throw in a bit of this and that lol! Also when I’m making ours I don’t add the tabasco sauce to the whole pan, just on the adults servings.

Method
Wash and rinse the lentils well then boil for 10 mins and simmer for 15
Fry onions in some olive oil
Fry the peppers for a bit or add later if you want them crunchy
Then add your lentils, chopped tomatoes, spices, garlic,kidney beans, salt & pepper.
Leave to simmer for about 20 mins and your ready to eat.

If you have a slow cooker I’m sure you could bang them all in that too!

To serve
I serve this with either chips or if I want to be really healthy some crackers or McCambridges stone ground bread will do with some cheese! Yum!

Depression: Do you ever really recover?

I’m in one of them pondering thoughtful moods today so be warned 🙂 Mainly it’s because I’m feeling a bit scared at the moment.

I’ve suffered from depression since my early teens along with eating disorders, anxiety and self harm, slowly over time between and general life stresses and circumstances, it got worse and harder to mange alone and I’ve been on anti-depressants since my teens. A good decade now I’d say. It took a lot of trial and error to find ones right for me. Some make you incredibly drowsy and not all there, lights are on nobody is home kind of thing, others make you feel worse than ever. Aggressive and give have suicidal thoughts.

It’s a scary road but I eventually found the ones right for me, they still make me feel a bit more ‘slow’ than usual but it’s a better side effect than not being able to get out of the bed right?

In the past I’ve regularly tried to come off them thinking I was ‘better’ and didn’t need them any more only to relapse. The same feelings of despair and gloominess would come back and hit me like a ton of bricks within about a month. Back to not being able to get out of the bed and forcing a smile on my face for the kids sake. Depression is exhausting. It also knocks your self esteem to an all time low.
Sometimes coming off them really messes with your head too and ends up with bad results when you’re not thinking clearly at all so I learned not to do it again and have stayed on them exclusively for years now.

Until now.

Since the beginning of January I have been eating better and my mood swings stabilised as well as energy levels being up. I was feeling the best I have done in years so I thought maybe now is a good time to come off them. So I weaned off them and eventually stopped them altogether about 6 weeks ago now.

I was feeling good, really good actually and very proud of my self thinking maybe finally I can function like a ‘normal’ person without tablets….maybe my brain imbalance was finally sorted once and for all! Maybe I’ve finally ‘recovered’

Over the last few days though I’m thinking I was very naive yet again. My anxiety feels heightened, I’m teary and very tired, generally just not feeling very good in myself mentally and for no particular reason at all?

I am really hoping it’s just PMS though and this feeling will pass. I’m probably just nervous and watching my self too closely, reading too much into normal feelings I get when I’m due my period.

There is however still a little voice screaming ‘Yaz you shouldn’t have come off the tablets….it’s coming back, fuck, it’s coming back!! Stop being a martyr and just get back on your tablets you need them to survive, you can’t do it without them!!’

But I don’t want to end up at the start again! Having to go back on tablets. Then the headaches, the sleepiness and all the other side effects that comes with starting on them again. As well as the long-term effects like having slower than normal reactions and not great concentration. I then feel like I’ve failed, like why can’t my brain just be normal without tablets all my life? But I also don’t want to end up in a bad place mentally again, its very very scary and that’s what I’m scared off now. It’s such a catch 22

I’m constantly seeing ads on tv or people in magazines along the lines of ‘I recovered from depression, so can you’ or quotes like ‘You can choose to be happy’ These make me feel like crap if I’m honest.

I feel like then maybe I’m not trying hard enough to be off tablets and that I’m doing something wrong. I really am trying though. I’m thinking more positively, eating better, exercising more so why am I not ‘recovered’. Why am I stuck in this limbo of on tablets, feeling better. Off tablets, feeling disastrous, then back on tablets. It’s frustrating. I feel like I’m going around in circles with depression

Depression

I know that it’s a chemical imbalance in my brain but I thought tablets over time would eventually ‘fix it’ along with a positive attitude and healthy lifestyle. Now I just don’t know. Maybe some people do recover from depression and never get it again but maybe some people just can’t, it’s apart of who we are just like a physical illness that can’t always be cured like diabetes.

Either way I’m not ashamed to have depression, I’m not ashamed to be on tablets.

I would however like to be one of those people who ‘recover’ but maybe it’s not always possible. Everyone is different after all.

Maybe depression is just part of who you are, a lifelong illness that you learn to manage and cope with whether it be with medication, a healthy lifestyle, meditation or a combination or all three.

Maybe it’s time for me to accept I will always have depression but everyone’s definition or way of recovering will different.

In the meantime while I figure out weather this is just a little blip or not I will continue to be positive, eat well, exercise and whatever else helps keeps me manage it better.

Best thing any of us can do is look after our mental health in whatever way we choose, whatever helps us keep it under control better.

Yaz xo

If you need any support with depression there is some brilliant support out there for info or help
Aware.ie
Helpline 1890 303302

Samaritans.ie
Helpline 116 123

Shineonline.ie
Helpline 1890 621 631 (Mon-Fri from 9am-4pm)

Grow.ie
Infoline 1890 474 474.

Seechange.ie
Yourmentalhealth.ie

3 Beautiful Family Road Trips in Ireland – Collaboration With Chill Insurance

If you’re like me you might love Sunday drives with the family. Especially on rainy days I sometimes love packing the kids in the car and just going for a drive. We might even stop off for some chips somewhere along the way.

With the help of Chill Insurance, I’ve listed some places that I think are great for family drives.

1. Phoenix Park

There are a few little roads off the main one in Phoenix park which can be a nice drive through nature, you will most likely see some of Santas reindeer too 😉 My favourite time of year to go for a drive through the park though is Winter time. I remember one time driving through after some snowfall, it was so magical looking with the deer there too. It can also be lovely when it’s frosty, it feels so silent and peaceful. Well worth a drive through if you live nearby like me.

Snowfall in Phoenix Park

2. The Dingle Peninsula

This scenic coast is located in Co. Kerry was voted NO.1 in the Chill Insurance vote for the most beautiful drives in Ireland: see here to download the ebook! The Slea Head drive seems to be most popular in this area. Along this route, there are stunning views, ancient architecture, a beach, some villages and many more.

Slea Head Drive

3. The Antrim Coast

Situated in Co.Antrim, this drive has loads to stop and do for everyone. A distillery, a castle, and of course the famous ‘Giant’s Causeway’. Many ‘Game of Thrones’ scenes were filmed in some locations along this drive
Also, The Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site is full of wonder with the mythical polygonal stones.

Let me know of any other drives you would recommend around Ireland.

Collaboration with Chill Insurance, all words my own.