Yes, I formula feed my baby!

If you’d like to criticize me for feeding my baby formula, take a ticket and get inline.

There’s currently a campaign making the rounds on social media in regards to normalizing breast feeding in public and how important feeding your baby breast milk is. You will find mamas posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding their child, followed by a lengthy post about how incredible their body is for producing ‘liquid gold’ or ‘nature’s food’ for their baby and how important it is for babies to be fed breast milk.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that ‘breast is best’ for babies, and I had planned on feeding my baby this way, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work out the way we plan.

I gave birth to my baby 9 days ago and I’m currently feeding her with formula. Lara is formula fed not because I randomly chose to do this, but because I was having difficulty to feed her from the breast. Do you know how disheartening it is to not be able to produce enough breast milk to feed your child? It is so deflating to not be able to do something your body is naturally supposed to do, especially when your child is screaming with hunger and frustration.

While in hospital we tried so hard to breastfeed. I had the midwives hand expressing me every couple of hours which hurt, and then every time Lara was due to feed I had a midwife trying to get Lara to latch on properly. It resulted in tears for both of us. Lara just wasn’t ‘getting it’ and because she wasn’t suckling properly she ended up damaging both of my nipples to the point they were bleeding. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience for both of us, but everyone kept saying to push through the pain and keep going as we would eventually get there. That’s easy to say, but when you’re doing it, it’s extremely hard!

After 4 days of gritting my teeth through the pain and a broken heart of struggling to feed my baby, we found that Lara wasn’t putting on much weight as she wasn’t getting enough ‘food’. The doctor suggested we needed to ‘top her up’ with formula to help her put on the weight she needed, to which we agreed on.

The day before we were due to go home I told my husband how anxious and nervous I was to go home and tackle this breast feeding journey on my own without the assistance of the midwives. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to express enough and that Lara would again struggle to latch. It wasn’t until one of the night nurses came in to my room and asked if we were formula feeding or breast feeding, and at that moment I told her of my difficulties and that I felt I couldn’t continue with the breastfeeding any longer. This particular nurse was so understanding and supportive and helped us transition to formula. The next feed I fed Lara with a bottle of formula milk and she drank it so easily and comfortably. She slept well because her tummy was nice and full and after a day she had put on 35 grams. And I didn’t have to go through the agony of expressing and the tears of frustration.

So while everyone is campaigning to normalize breastfeeding, I’m here to say let’s normalize formula feeding too! There seems to be so much criticism surrounding formula feeding and it’s really not fair! While breast feeding mothers may get criticized for feeding in public or to ‘cover up’, Formula feeding mothers get criticized for not giving their baby the nutrition it needs or in my experience so far am asked why I’m not breast feeding!

People are just so nosey and really don’t think before they open their mouth. In my opinion, a healthy baby is a fed baby, whether it’s breast milk or formula, and no one should criticize or judge a mother for how she is feeding her baby.

x Jes

My birth story.

We welcomed our little girl, Lara Evelyn into the world on Wednesday evening, two weeks ahead of schedule.

As you may be aware, I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts or if you’ve been following me on social media, I was practicing hypnobirthing techniques for labour and birth. I wanted to follow up on the results of my practice as so many of my readers were very interested in seeing what the outcome was from my preparations.

When it comes to labour and birth, anything can happen and it’s important to always keep an open mind. While my ideal birth didn’t turn out exactly how i envisioned, it was still positive and I’m very happy with the outcome.

Now just like my labour, this may take a while so pop the kettle on and get comfy.

Last Tuesday (31.07.18 at 12:00pm) I was seeing my obstetrician for my 38 week check up when to our surprise we found out I was already 3cm dilated! My obstetrician advised us that we would be meeting our baby within the next 24-48hrs for sure! I couldn’t believe it! I instantly felt excited, anxious and a little nauseas from the anticipation that my baby would be coming very soon! So hubby and I headed home and surprise surprise I started getting gentle ‘waves’ (contractions) a couple of hours later.

From about 3pm I just relaxed at home, listening to my calmbirth meditations, coloured in my coloring book and snacked on some fruit and dry biscuits while hubby attended to tasks around the house. The gentle waves didn’t really bother me, but we timed them every so often just to keep track of where things were at. By 11:30pm the ‘waves’ were averaging 1 minute long and around 3 minutes apart, so we called the hospital and they advised we come in so they could see how I was progressing. The ‘waves’ weren’t painful at all, it just felt like a mild period cramp or what I describe as ‘tightening’. I just applied a heatpack to the area to help with any discomfort.

At the hospital after some monitoring and general observations, around 2:30am the midwife did an internal check and I was still only 3cm dilated. I wasn’t in any discomfort, but I was just tired from being awake in the early hours of the morning, so we decided to head back home to try and get some sleep, with my obstetrician requesting I come back to the hospital at 8am to see how I was progressing.

We arrived back at the hospital at 8am on Wednesday (01.08.18) after not really having any sleep due to excitement and anticipation to find out I was now 4cm dilated. My obstetrician admitted us as she said we would definitely be having a baby today!

Hubby and I were taken up to the birthing suite where we settled in and made the space our own. I had my essential oil diffuser on, affirmation cards out and started listening to some calming music and meditations to get in my ‘zone’. The ‘waves’ at this point were starting to take more of my attention but were still quite manageable, just using simple calm breathing techniques and changing up my positions to get through.

At 12:00pm my obstetrician came in and broke my waters to help get things moving. I had hoped that this would happen naturally, but with complete trust in my obstetrician I agreed.

Around 2pm I got into the bath which was such a relief on my body. The warm water really helped with my lower back ache and to help me feel more relaxed. The ‘waves’ began to really intensify by this stage, however time passed quickly here and before I knew it i had been in the bath for 4 hours.

It was 6pm on Wednesday now. My obstetrician was curious at this point to see how I was progressing, and after an internal check she advised I was now 5cm dilated. After hearing this I felt a bit deflated as I had been in labour for over 24 hours now and I was feeling quite exhausted. I really thought I would have been much further along than 5cm, but the midwives and my obstetrician assured me I was doing great, and that my body had already done the hardest part of opening up. They suggested I get back into the bath and we would see how things were progressing in 2 hours time. Those 2 hours felt like the longest 2 hours of my life… The ‘waves’ were really taking my focus away at this point and I really had to concentrate to breathe and move through them as they were coming every 30 seconds and lasting approximately 1 minute long.

The ‘waves’ were strong and made me feel a little nauseated when they peaked, but I sipped on ginger ale and water and snacked on dry biscuits and mints which helped me to not be sick. I also kept having hot flushes and used cold face washers on my neck and forehead to help cool me down.

8pm eventually came around and the midwives helped me out from the bath. I laid on the bed while my obstetrician checked me over and told me I was now 6cm dilated. At this moment I cried and just felt so frustrated that I had been laboring for this long now and was only 6cm. I felt that the ‘waves’ were so strong and close together that I had no energy or stamina left in me to even breathe through them. I really wanted to birth without drugs but at that moment I just wanted the ‘waves’ to stop! With hesitation and disappointment I agreed to having an epidural as I felt I just lost my mindset and was fearful it would still be another 6 or so hours of intense laboring ahead. My obstetrician put a drip in to help with my fluids and called the anesthetist for the epidural.

As I lay there on the bed praying the anesthetist would hurry up and take this ‘pressure and tightening’ away, I had a ‘wave’ come that felt different than usual. I felt this immense pressure in my bottom and I even voiced out to everyone that I felt like I was about to do a poo on the bed. The midwife came over to quickly check me and to everyone’s surprise I was fully dilated. This was it, no time for an epidural, there was a baby coming!

Everything seemed to be happening so quickly at that moment, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to have the epidural, I felt scared, and I felt excited knowing we were almost at the finish line.

With assistance, I got up on my knees with my upper body draped over the head of the bed and breathed baby down the birth canal with each intense ‘wave’. I could feel the adrenaline in my body, and I tried to remember to relax and just breathe slowly. The sensation felt so strange, as I actually felt like the baby was going to come out of my bottom. Soon enough my legs gave way as my body was completely exhausted and I had no strength left to hold myself up. The midwives helped flip me over so I was sitting upright instead, and this way my obstetrician could do her part efficiently.

My obstetrician was incredible in guiding me through breathing and pushing. As soon as I felt a ‘wave’ come I would say ‘here it comes’ to mentally prepare myself to get though. Everyone helped remind me to breathe properly and when to give my everything with each push, while cold face washers were draped around my head and neck and water and ice chips helped replenish me in between the ‘waves’.

I could feel absolutely everything, and just went with my body.

I was told I had my eyes closed the entire time and that I didn’t really make any sound except deep breathing and a deep sigh of relief after some of the strong and hard pushes. I just focused on my obstetricians voice and trusted her guidance. I didn’t pay attention to anyone else in the room.

I remember her asking me if I wanted to touch the baby’s head as it came out to which I said no. She then told me to have my hands out ready to receive my baby, to which I hesitated. I just couldn’t comprehend that my baby was just seconds away from being born and so my husband stepped in and grabbed our little girl and placed her on my chest.

It took me a few moments before I could even touch her or look at her as I was just in complete shock of what just happened. When I did look down at her she had her eyes open and was just staring at me. She was so quiet, not a single noise apart from a little gurgle. I even said ‘is she alive?’ because she was so calm, still and quiet.

We waited until the cord stopped pulsating before my husband did the honors of cutting it as we believe in the benefits of delayed cord clamping. I also delivered the placenta naturally and easily after 10 minutes.

In total it took about 40 minutes of nudging baby down and pushing her out. I also had no tearing or damage and didn’t require any intervention.

I still can’t believe I laboured and gave birth without any medication, and no vomiting. (Vomiting was a huge fear of mine during labour) I felt completely normal after the birth, and am recovering so well. The midwifes were all so surprised at how well I am, and didn’t even ask for panadol.

I really believe all my pre-birth preparations made my experience what it was. While there were moments I felt I couldn’t go on, the breathing techniques and affirmations really helped keep me grounded. It’s like I had all these inner resources imprinted in me and my subconscious just knew how to access it.

It also helped that I had such a great team around me and that the hospital really supported my birthing preferences.

While my labour was long and enduring, I still would say I had a positive birth experience. The baby was never distressed during labour and I believe that came down to myself being in a calm state. Even now, just 4 days after birth, Lara is such a quiet and content baby, and even the midwives have commented on this.

I would definitely use the same techniques for my next pregnancy and birth, and I feel so confident within my body and its capabilities that I could once again do it without medication.

I feel amazing, joyous and happy and Lara is such a content and beautiful baby! I believe this outcome has contributed from such a positive birth experience and I would highly recommend every woman and/or couple to learn hypnobirthing or calm birth techniques. Knowledge is power, and the more you understand how the female body works during labour and birth and how your emotions affect your hormones, you can better understand how to work with your body rather than against it.

X Jes

Pregnancy progress and the stuff no one tells you about.

Well it’s been quite a few weeks since I posted any progress on my pregnancy, so I thought why not let you in on what’s been going on in my world as of late.

Now I wish I could write about how care free, relaxed and easy this pregnancy has been, but unfortunately I haven’t quite settled into this role as easily as I thought I would. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you can’t really prepare for how your body will react and how your mind will adapt.

Pregnancy will be different for every woman, some have an easy ride, while others suffer the entire 9 months. While I personally have struggled, I am trying to see the light in the dark and sharing my experiences on my blog helps me to understand that there’s other pregnant sisters out there going through the same thing.

I’m three quarters through the second trimester now, and there’s been some things going on that I didn’t expect, and that’s because no one tells you about it.

Well, here’s a heads up for all you mamas to be…

Beware of the white top! 

Let’s talk nipples! One of the first ‘symptoms’ of pregnancy for me was changes to my nipples. They get big, real big, and a whole lot darker! At about 15 weeks it was clear my boobs had grown and my bras were just not fitting me anymore, so my husband took me shopping to get fitted for some new maternity bra’s. Turns out I had gone up two cup sizes which just blew my mind! Anyway… The next day I put on my new white maternity bra and wore a white fitted singlet over the top. Hubby and I were out and about for the whole day, until I caught my reflection in a window and noticed two dark spots on my top – It was my nipples! My white bra and white singlet couldn’t even hide these bad boys, and yet I had been out all day flashing these big brown babies to everyone. No wonder the old man at the petrol station was so happy to see me that day!

Sneezing may cause leakage freakage. 

Have you ever pee’d yourself in public? I hadn’t, except for when I was in prep and I wet myself on the basketball court because I was too scared of the grade 6’s hanging out in the toilets… but when you’re a 30 year old woman, you don’t expect it to happen to you. The first time (yes it has happened more than once now) hubby and I were down at the park with our pooches having a glorious time, until I got heyfever and began to sneeze. Next minute I had wee running down my leg. I imediatley walked awkwardly up to hubby and said ‘babe, we need to go home, I’ve had an accident’. Now I carry spare undies in my handbag.

Burn baby burn.

I feel there’s so many stages of pregnancy, first I was sick and couldn’t eat, then I got hungry for anything and everything, and now I can’t eat much at all without getting full really quickly. It’s so weird! In the last couple weeks I’ve been getting heart burn after most meals which in my eyes is nearly as bad as morning sickness. The constant feeling of needing to burp, but if you try force a burp you end up vomitting. Or the burning acid taste in the back of your throat. The worst was when I had tomato soup for dinner and then laid down on the couch just after. After about a minute tomato soup was nearly all over the floor. Hello acid reflux! I often have to get my husband to ‘burp’ me like you would a new born after they’ve guzzled milk – funnily enough as kind of weird as it is, it actually works!

Weird dreams.

I can guarantee that every night I will have a bizarre dream. Like I mean my dreams involve some crazy and twisted stuff. Like the time I gave birth to a dashound. Or the time I was a professional rapper, and I was famous! Last night I dreamt of eating curry while riding on a dolphin at sea world! I don’t know where these dreams come from, but damn! I usually wake up just thinking ‘what the?!’

Leg cramps sent from the devil. 

WOW! I have never experienced leg cramps like I have in the recent weeks. Leg cramps so bad you can’t even straighten your foot out to stand up. And they last for a good 20 minutes. There’s nothing quite like being all cozy in bed and you roll over or stretch out and then BAM! and you think ‘This is it, this is how it ends!’

I can also advise, do not, I repeat do not check your weight on the scales. I’ve hit the 10kg mark and I’ve told my husband I don’t want to know anymore! Its hard to see your weight hitting numbers you’ve never been before in your life!

The hormones are definitely raging at the moment, because I will literally cry at anything. Especially when I fluff in front of my hubby! Oh yes, no one tells you that you become a farty mc fart bum when pregnant!

Things seem to be really moving along quite quickly, In just a couple weeks i’l be in the third trimester! We’ve had our hospital admission interview, booked in our birthing classes, and my babyshower is currently being organised. I wish time would slow down, I need more time to prepare myself, I still feel like I’m just getting my head around it all.

I’m still so fearful of the birth, but I’m trying to be open minded about it all. I’m looking forward to attending a calm birth workshop we booked in a few weeks time, I really feel I will benefit a lot from it. Not sure it will ease the thoughts about pooping during delivery though!

Apart from all the ugly stuff, knowing I’m healthy and that bub is growing well and everything is looking very normal and good, makes me feel at ease. My obstetrician is so lovely and all the midwives at the hospital seem incredibly patient, caring and helpful so I know I’m in good hands.

I’m feeling baby move more and more every week as she grows bigger, sometimes it’s a little freaky and uncomfortable, especially when it feels like she’s kicking my cervix, but it’s a nice feeling knowing that there is actually a person growing inside of you. It makes all the icky stuff worth it.

X Jes

The Universe will always give you what you need.

I can not preach this any more than I do already. The Universe works in mysterious ways, and whether or not you are spiritually awakened to see her magic before your very own eyes, trust me when I say the Universe always has your back!

I have so many stories that I could share about the many different ways the Universe has worked her magic into my life, but there’s one story I really want to share with you today and that’s my pregnancy. Yes, you read it right, I’m pregnant!

In April 2017, I had just returned from an overseas adventure and went to see a clairvoyant to help clarify a few things going on in my life. Everything that came up in my reading has now come true. During my reading she picked up on my secret elopement marriage that was taking place in October, and also told me of two spirits hovering above me. The two spirits are my unborn children she advised. She told me all about their personalities, and what kind of people they will be. She mentioned that once my husband and I were ready to start a family that it would happen very quickly and easily because the spirits of my children are ready and waiting.

Once October rolled around and my now husband and I got married, I began to focus my thoughts and intentions on starting a family. I would pray, I started preparing my body with the right nutrition and vitamins and even began to create ‘space’ in my life by decluttering and removing things that no longer served me.

November arrived, and one evening I found myself sitting in a Yin Yoga class. During the last pose called Savasana, which is where you lay flat on your back with your eyes closed. This pose is basically like a form of meditation, where you tap into your unconcious thoughts in a semi-meditative state. The pose is held for around five minutes, so not enough time to fall asleep, but enough time to surrender and let your body sink into the ground. During savasana that evening, I had the most vivid dream. A dream that felt so real that tears fell from eyes. This dream just came to me, I didn’t think about it or plan on going there… It just happened!

In my dream, as I was laying on the floor, thick green leafy vines began to wrap themselves around my legs and arms, rooting me to the ground where I felt safe and held. From my stomach a stem started to form, and grew tall reaching for the sky. A huge, magnificent flower bloomed from the stem, and sitting inside the flower was the most beautiful, happy baby I had ever seen in my life. I had never felt so much love or emotion, it was so intense. Looking at this child brang tears to my closed eyes, I was inlove. The petals of the flower began to slowly close over and wrapped up the baby so delicately and safely. The stem then decended straight down into my stomach and the vines began to unravel themselves. In that moment, Savasana was over and it was end of class.

I knew it was a message for me, because I could feel it deep in my soul.

The days following my yoga class I had numerology signs showing up everywhere. 1111, 222 and 444, all indicating my prayers have been heard and everything is in place, that I’m on the right path, and the angels are by my side.

Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant.

I know there would be people who would read this and think I’m delusional or just don’t believe in anything spiritual. But for me, this has been the most magical and incredible thing I’ve ever experienced and my faith has only grown stronger. Being spiritually awakened means you are more intune with your life, soul, spirit and the universe which allows you to see and understand the wonderful plan that’s in place for you.

The universe has a plan for everyone, it’s just up to you whether you choose to tap into that energy, let go of control, surrender and just be guided. Nothing will change if you’re gripping on so tight and want to be in control of every situation, it’s not how it works.

All in all, My husband and I are very excited to meet our daughter in August this year.

I’d love to hear your story or experience of the universe delivering abundance in your life. Leave your comments below.

XX Jes