My husband David, 34, and I have two children – Amélie, two, and Louis, five months. I’m currently on maternity leave from my full-time job as a Brand Manager. I breastfeed almost exclusively, but some evenings DH feeds DS a bottle of formula or my expressed milk if I’ve had the energy to pump.
I love the bonding experience of breastfeeding and I was determined to breastfeed Louis from the start, because I couldn’t do that for DD. After a traumatic birth, she was in NICU and I needed surgery and, sadly, breastfeeding wasn’t possible for the first few days.
Thankfully we didn’t have this issue with DS but we had other challenges to overcome. He had wind and reflux which made him scream and vomit during and after feeds. We were so worried that we took him to hospital and he was prescribed medication which has helped, although he’s still often sick.
Louis feeds seven or eight times a day – more than Amélie did – and I feel exhausted at times. We don’t follow a strict routine but it can be hard giving DD attention when I’m feeding DS so I often feel guilty.
Like everyone, we’ve been affected by lockdown. DH is working from home, but it’s intense being indoors with the kids with nowhere to go. It’s hard not having the usual family support around us and I miss meeting up with my old NCT group and friends who have babies.
What’s the one thing that you think all feeding mums should know?
Everyone’s feeding journey is so different – breast or bottle fed, it doesn’t matter as long as you and baby are happy and healthy. If you do decide to breastfeed, the main bit of advice I would give is to persevere and stay relaxed as it doesn’t come easily to lots of mums.
Is there a product you couldn’t live without?
For the times when Louis has a bottle, we use the MAM Easy Start Bottle Set. It’s handy as the bottles are easy to sterilise in the microwave and there are different sized bottles and teats that you can change as your baby grows.
We also couldn’t live without MAM Soothers – they’re the only dummies that instantly soothe Louis during the day and get him to sleep if he wakes at night. The teats are the perfect size and they’re easy to sterilise as they come in a little microwavable box.
Disclaimer: This diary is an accurate representation of a week in the life of a real parent. All products linked to are products that have been used throughout the seven-day period. Mumsnet champions and supports breastfeeding and its benefits, but we also know that many mothers and parents on Mumsnet feed their babies in other ways, and we champion and support those parents too. Please see UNICEF and NHS guidelines on the benefits of breastfeeding, and NHS guidance on safe mixed feeding.
3am: I wake and hear Louis stirring in his cot but it’s too early for a feed so I pop his soother in his mouth and he drops straight off again.
5am: He’s awake again so I bring him into bed with me for a breastfeed.
8am: Everyone’s awake now, including Amélie, so we have breakfast and I feed Louis again. My right breast has started aching, but I’m hoping it’s just a blocked duct that should ease up, rather than mastitis, which I’ve suffered from in the past.
9am: It’s a challenge getting DD dressed so that DH can take her out to the playground during a break in his morning work Zoom calls. She keeps running away and the whole process takes about half an hour – it’s free entertainment for DS though, who keeps laughing.
11am: DD is back from her walk with Daddy, covered in mud. As I get her changed, she keeps trying to climb into DS’s cot. Meanwhile, he’s crying and hungry again so I give him a feed and then he’s sick down himself and me. All a bit stressful!
12.30pm: Before I have my lunch, I feed DS – and he clamps down on my nipple… ouch! He’s probably teething as he’s been chewing on his teething toy a lot this week. He’s sick again, but luckily I have a muslin ready to catch it. I carry muslins around with me everywhere!
2.30pm: DS is awake after his nap and I feed him because he’s hungry again. Once again, he’s sick.
6pm: DD is home from nursery so I let her watch some TV after she’s eaten, while DH is finishing work. It gives me the chance to feed DS before bathtime. Surprise, surprise, he’s sick again so there’s another load of clothes to add to the washing pile.
6.30pm: DH helps with bathtime – the kids love sharing a bath – and then he puts DD to bed while I feed DS and settle him.
7.30pm: Both kids are asleep so it’s time to make dinner and chill.
5am: After stirring at 3am and settling back to sleep with his dummy, Louis wakes again and this time he’s hungry so I give him the first feed of the day. Then I stay awake, listening to his little babbles.
7am: It’s my birthday today so DH takes the kids downstairs and I stay in bed, dozing, until 8am. It’s funny how your sleep standards drastically change as a parent.
11am: DH looks after Amélie between work calls so that I can give Louis a proper feed without distractions. He then falls asleep. Win!
12pm: While DS naps, I make lunch and have a Zoom catch up with work friends. My parents appear on our doorstep as a surprise to say a quick ‘happy birthday’ – socially distanced, obviously.
1pm: After a mammoth two-hour nap, DS wakes up very hungry. DD is napping so I can feed him without distraction and spend some time bonding.
4pm: Following another feed, we head out to the playground as a whole family. Luckily, DH has finished work early.
6pm: Dinner for DD and then bed and bath for both kids.
8pm: DS is asleep after feeding, but both the children wake up shortly afterwards. Typical – just when we’re about to tuck into a delicious Thai takeaway!
6am: Louis is awake and I feed him, feeling exhausted as both kids were awake during the night and wouldn’t settle.
8am: David takes Amélie downstairs for breakfast so that I can grab a bit more shut-eye while Louis has another nap. This is the first proper lie-in that I can remember in ages!
10am: DS wakes and I get up and feed him.
1pm: He’s sick after his lunchtime feed, but he isn’t bringing up his milk as often as he used to a few weeks ago, so hopefully things will continue to improve.
3pm: After another feed, DS nods off again, giving me quality time with DD.
6pm: I cook DD a quick dinner and feed DS while she eats so that she’s too busy to try and get involved and distract him.
7pm: Bathtime for both kids while DH cooks a belated birthday dinner. As I read the kids a story in Amélie’s bed, they hold hands. Moments like this make it all worth it.
2am: Louis wakes. I leave him for a few minutes to see if he can self settle, but end up giving him his soother.
5am: Awake again and this time he’s hungry so I feed him and he falls asleep. I love our morning cuddles. Thankfully my right breast has stopped aching after I massaged it regularly and did extra feeds on it, so it must have been a blocked duct.
7am: Amélie wakes and we chill out together before the day begins.
10am: I breastfeed DS before his morning nap. Then I take DD for a walk while DH gets to work with some DIY redecorating in our house.
12pm: It’s lunchtime and I feed DS as we eat, but I’m interrupted by DD. We then Facetime some relatives in Belgium.
2pm: Both kids are napping… the dream! I nip to the supermarket while I have the chance. It feels weird going out alone, as it doesn’t happen often.
3.30pm: DS wakes and I feed him as DD plays.
5pm: Another feed – this boy is always hungry! I decide it’s time to introduce him to solid foods as he’ll soon be six months old.
7.30pm: After dinner, bath (with David’s help) and bed, I feed Louis to sleep. I love quiet moments with him and wish I could hold on to them forever.
9pm: Amélie wakes up which is unusual. I am too tired to deal with her crying, so I let her snuggle with me in bed.
3am: Louis wakes so I give him his soother and he’s soon asleep again.
5am: Now he’s awake and ready for his first feed.
7am: Amélie wakes and we all watch some cartoons in bed on the iPad.
9am: I breastfeed DS again and he’s soon napping. I enjoy some ‘me time’ as DH and DD are getting a takeaway babycino from the local coffee shop.
10am: Playtime with both kids – they’re starting to have fun together now that DS can interact more.
12pm: Feeling stressed as I cook lunch for DD and DS keeps crying. I give him another feed while DD eats.
1pm: I leave DS with DH and his work calls while I drop DD at nursery. She has barely napped so I know already that she will be shattered when she gets home tonight.
3.30pm: DS wakes after napping for two hours. As DD has been at nursery, I’ve got loads done around the house. I give him a feed while having a phone chat with a friend who’s recently had a baby.
6pm: After dinner and another feed for DS, we skip bathtime because DD is tired and tearful.
7pm: DH gives DS a bottle of formula before bed to give me a break. It’s bonding time for them and DS has around 220ml. Once he’s asleep, DH and I have dinner.
7am: Amélie wakes and comes into our bed to watch cartoons. Her new favourite is Curious George, which makes a change from Peppa Pig. I’m glad for a slow start because I was up twice in the night, settling Louis, and then he had his usual 5am feed.
9am: We play in DD's room and I breastfeed DS who quickly drops off.
10am: DH takes DD to the park during a break in work calls. Louis wakes and I give him another quick feed.
11am: I do a workout while DS plays on his mat, before DH and DD get home. I start to batch cook purées for weaning Louis.
12pm: Big moment – I give DS a few spoons of baby rice. He looks confused and pushes it out with his tongue but soon gets the hang of it and reaches to grab the spoon. He has a strong grip for a tiny person.
1pm: DD goes down for her nap and DS falls asleep during his feed, so he doesn’t have a full feed.
3pm: He wakes again, hungry, and smiles up at me as he’s feeding – a heart-melting moment.
7pm: After a family walk and dinner followed by bathtime, DH puts DD to bed and I feed DS to sleep.
8pm: I have a group Zoom Pilates class led by a neighbour and feel great afterwards, as my neck and back muscles have been tight from breastfeeding.
2am: Louis stirs – I dream of the day he will sleep through the night!
4am: He’s awake again and won’t settle so I breastfeed him, feeling half-asleep.
6am: Amélie wakes up. I’m tired and the weather is miserable, so it looks like we’ll be stuck indoors.
9.30am: DH gets DS down for a morning nap, after his feed, giving me some time with Amélie.
10am: His nap didn’t last long as he’s awake already! I give him a quick feed.
1pm: I put DD down for her nap after lunch and then feed DS before his nap. I even have a quick snooze myself as I’m feeling shattered.
4pm: The rain has finally stopped, and the kids have both had long naps, so we nip out for yet another lockdown walk.
6pm: Dinner together and DS has sweet potato purée which he loves, topped up with a breastfeed.
7pm: After bathtime, I read a story to the kids together in DD bed. DS is sick in his sister’s hair and DH is stuck in evening work calls so can’t help me sort them out – such bad timing. I need an early night!
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