On Tandem Nursing and Adjusting to a Little Sister…

Elia is 3 weeks old today. 3 whole weeks! Time has flown by so quickly. I knew it would – it seems like yesterday Stevie was this small. And I’m literally pinching myself every day, trying to remember every single moment, because I know that, in the blink of an eye, it’ll be June and I’ll be going back to work, missing my now-chaotic little household.

But I will be completely honest – adjusting to having two children, and also tandem feeding and letting Stevie adjust, hasn’t been the easiest – and I didn’t expect it to be.

Right now, Stevie is about 90% in love with her little sister (maybe more like 95%, actually – her love grows day g day and it’s wonderful!) but 5-10% jealous and trying to get used to not being the centre of our attention all the time. Thank god for tandem nursing!

Baby bums!

Tandem nursing has been our saving grace, but also my biggest adjustment. Stevie loves sharing her booby with her baby sister, but I’ve been trying to limit Stevie’s intake still. Which may turn out to have been a silly idea – from tomorrow, I’m going to let my girls have a lot more control over their routines. The hardest thing for me has been adjusting to having two creatures demanding not just my time, but my body. But then I sit and think how small they both still are (even though Stevie now feels giant) and I just melt. I love feeding both my girls, so I’m going to do it as they want it. Besides, Elia’s already put on 700g (900g if you count from her lowest weight) so I’m obviously doing something right!

Sorry for my slightly ranting, verbal vomit post, but I like to keep people informed. I know tandem feeding is a controversial subject, but I see nothing controversial about it for my family.

Tandem Feeding Info

Holiday Ponderings… AKA Thoughts by the Pool

Stevie is fast asleep. She was in the pool from about 8.30am until about 45 minutes ago. I knew Pisces children were ‘fish,’ but I honestly didn’t take it that seriously. I’ve learnt my lesson – and I’m VERY glad we have a pool fence at home. Otherwise my pregnant self would be having a heart attack every half an hour.

Holiday may seem like a strange time to write a blog post on the state of your pregnant body, but when I’m the only one in and I’m alone by the pool in a bikini with my ridiculously hot sister-in-law as my company, it’s natural I start thinking about it.

My job has made me possibly more conscious of my body than usual, and this time, second pregnancy, it’s interesting to note how different things can be.

We all know no two babies and pregnancies are the same. I’ve said before that I put on more than 20kg with Stevie – but that 20kg number was after she was born. Tall people can possibly carry more, but even so, for someone with a low BMI (if you believe in that sort of thing) the recommended maximum amount of weight is 18kg.

Pregnant with Stevie at 28 weeks – I’d been eating all the food for a while here. You just can’t see my enormous behind!

This time, I’ve been determined to do things differently – and I can already feel (and, thankfully, see) the difference. I can still fit in my pre-pregnancy jeans – if only actually closing them wasn’t such a big deal for me! I can take a photo and not worry about looking like a different person – which was the biggest deal in my last pregnancy, for me. I didn’t look (or feel) like myself.

I’ve been working out (gently) throughout. Now we’re on holiday, I’m in the pool with my little fish every single moment. I have a tan, which obviously helps. But the main thing is – I’m eating exactly the same as I did before I got pregnant!

Generally speaking, a pregnant woman does not need any more calories in the first trimester than usual, and she only needs an additional 340 calories a day in the second trimester (where I am now). That’s the equivalent of a large smoothie, or half a bar of chocolate – not a lot, when you think about it. In the third trimester, that goes up to 450 calories per day, which equates to a large snack or an extra small meal. So much for the ‘eating for two’ I did in my first pregnancy!

In other news, my bump is enormous and I’ve got terrible reflux. I’m fairly sure the two are connected (reflux occurs when baby pushes all the organs up towards the diaphragm). Is my bump bigger because I’ve put less weight on this time? Possibly – but every pregnancy is, after all, different. Maybe this baby is bigger? Who knows – we’ll find out when he/she arrives!

What do you think I’m having? Has anyone had suck hugely different pregnancies before? Let me know – I love feedback!

The Family Unit

Recently, I’ve been considering going back to work much sooner, after this baby, than I did after Stevie. Much as I hate to admit it to myself, my job and my independence are quite important to me.

Quite a few of my close friends and family have ‘warned’ me that, once the baby arrives, Stevie will become a lot closer to her Daddy. Now, for your standard life, this may well be completely true. And it’s not at all a bad thing – fathers or father figures (or just plain, simple parental figures who are not mum) are so important to children’s welfare.

But in our family, this is already happening. I went back to work when Stevie was 9 months old (yes, it was a very long maternity leave – that’s why I’d like to half it this time). So, from 9 months old, Daddy has looked after Stevie at least once a month without me.

I refuse to say he babysits – she’s his daughter, she’s as much his responsibility as she is mine, and therefore he is just looking after her solo.

I won’t be sad to leave my kids (yep, plural) with their daddy when I go back to work. I have no worries that they will love Daddy more than me, or that they’ll resent me. I don’t worry about him seeing more milestones than I will – because these are his children, too. I am so, so lucky to be married to a man who is happy to let me go to work, to let me earn some money, and who is happy to look after the kids, to nurture them and provide for them, and pace-feed them breastmilk in a bottle.

I know how privileged I am to be in this position. And I’m very aware that families are different – but this works so well for mine. I know some mothers struggle, and this isn’t meant to be smug. I am fully aware of how golden this situation is, and this is just a post of gratitude.

If anyone wants to follow my beautiful hubby on Instagram, his account is @petebolton07

A little bit ‘taboo’

So here’s something only my friends know about me…

I’m still breastfeeding my toddler. Yup, you heard it right, my two-year-old still latches herself onto my (sore, swollen) nipples every night before bed. Now, she doesn’t fall asleep on there anymore (apart from last night, since she’s poorly), she just has a 5 min comfort suckle.

Why does nobody know about this, you may ask? Because it’s still, somehow, taboo.

Baby needed boobie, apparently

Just this week, I’ve had judgement. Mostly, it comes from people who are ‘concerned’ that Stevie is too old for her boobie. Well, in the words of my lovely hubby, if she was too old, she wouldn’t have it any more. These are the worst kinds of people. There is no basis to this claim, other than it makes them feel uncomfortable. I do have an issue with this – Stevie only feeds at bedtime, these days, and barely then, so who, exactly, is it offending? It’s nobody’s business how I put her to bed.

The other type of people are genuinely concerned about the safety of breastfeeding whilst pregnant. Some people, not incorrectly, are curious whether I still have milk left for her. Well the straight answer is ‘no.’ My body has been producing colostrum since 13 weeks (I travelled for a job, so had the luxury of seeing what I expressed). And it’s perfectly safe to feed whilst pregnant, as long as you have a healthy, low risk pregnancy. I have been very lucky, both times now, to carry children with ease. Long story short, if you can have sex, you can breastfeed.

Stevie’s first latch

Breastfeeding was the most wonderful child-rearing tool for me, with Stevie. It’s something just she and I have to share, it’s all ours, and I hope to have the same experience with the growing babby. It also helped me to lose all my breastfeeding weight and be back in shape by 6 months post partum.

6 months PP

I’m sharing this story because it was World Breastfeeding Week recently, and I wasn’t sure how to say what I wanted to. But here it is. I’m proudly breastfeeding a toddler while I’m pregnant. So there!

All breastfeeding information can be found on the Kelly Momand La Leche League websites.

Little rant…

I'm thinking of numbering these rants – what with all the pregnancy hormones whizzing around my body, there'll be a few…

Here's the latest:

The Pigeon Pair

I understand that, 50 plus years ago, having a boy was important to the family. It was pivotal that the family name was passed on. And, because you had to wish for a boy, there was the wish for the girl afterwards, so a parent could 'experience both.'

But this is the 21st century. If Princess Charlotte had been born before Prince George, she would've been queen of England before he was king. So why is everyone still so obsessed with whether another family then their own is having a boy to go with their girl, the 'perfect pigeon pair?'

I grew up the eldest of three sisters. Due to complications in childbirth with me, which resulted in an emergency section, my mum had scheduled Caesers with my sisters. When the surgeon delivered my youngest sister, he apologised, as he handed her to him, for her lack of penis. I paraphrase, as it's just from memory, but it was something along the lines of
"I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Holmes, but you've got another girl…"
My dad always said that he had to work not to injure the poor man, for apologising for a healthy child. He asked to see her ten fingers and ten toes, and said he didn't care because he had three perfect (yes, the man was nuts) healthy children – and we all just happen to be female.

The primary question, when we tell someone we're expecting our second, has been
"Oh, you must be dying for a boy!"
Well no, actually, I'm not. I would be so genuinely, genuinely happy with either sex. I have my reasons for being excited for either, but I don't feel I have to justify them to anybody. Men, generally, say to Pete that he must be keen to pass on the family name. Cue eye roll. Women, with sons or without, tell me I just must experience a son's love for his mother. Well, as one of three girls, I can tell you, is be surprised if any boys love their mother than we girls love ours.

But what really gets my goat, really gets on my nerves, is people who don't believe Pete or I when we tell them, honestly, that we don't give a s**t.

We do not live in the dark ages any more. The sex of my baby (which we don't know, by the way, and won't until he or she comes to greet us) is none of anybody else's concern. But even if someone did have a deep, vested personal interest, it is awful to think that our friends would be less excited for us because our baby doesn't match THEIR own expectations.

So, when someone tells you they're expecting a child, don't ask them the gender straight away. Congratulate them, tell them you hope everything goes well, wish them luck, and, if it means that much to you, lament their lack of a pigeon pair in your own time…

Little Bit of News…

So here goes – we're having another baby!! I'm currently 20 weeks pregnant with what Stevie calls her 'babby.' It took a few weeks to sink in, but now we, as a family, can't wait.

Pete and I had always spoken about having a big family. I've always liked the idea of having 3 children, and Pete's always wanted 4 (I know, I told him we'll chat after 3). When Stevie hit 2, all of a sudden something struck me – she's not a baby anymore! She'll forever be MY baby, but I missed having this tiny little grub in my arms… oh, and this definitely could have something to do with her breastfeeding less: I miss having someone constantly attached to my boobies, and knowing they're providing fuel!

So we decided it was time. I removed my coil/loop at the end of March and *BOOM* that was that. Maybe it was a good job we had it in the first place…

So Baby Bolton number 2 will be joining us at some point between Xmas and New Year. It seems like such a long way away now, but these last 20 weeks have flown by so quickly. Being pregnant but also having a crazy toddler means you don't actually get time to sit down and think.

I've kept working out throughout – and eating healthily. I'll be posting on this blog a lot more often about health and fitness during pregnancy, so please feel free to share with any pregnant or new mum friends you might have. Pregnancy, like misery, loves company!

Here's to the next 20 weeks ❤️

The ‘Mumming’ Part

This is going to be a longer post than usual. Forgive me if it sounds like a vent, but I assure you it's not.

Recently, more so than usual, I have seen mums, and mums-to-be, judged and questioned for their parenting choices. People, whether they are parents, grandparents or just well-meaning non-parents, seem to want to share their opinion on how you conduct yourself during pregnancy, and how you conduct yourself and your baby during their first, well, 18 years.

Constance Hall, who has long been one of my favourite 'mum-bloggers,' has often spoken of the need for the much-spoken-of 'village' when raising children. And, for the most part, I agree with her. However, when does the village stop being helpful, and become just unhelpful, judgmental, unsolicited advice?

Every woman can read every pregnancy and parenting book under the sun, but she must decide what advice to take, what advice to throw away and what advice, quite simply, doesn't suit her. But why is it deemed okay for other people to insist on their own advice being accepted and blindly taken? I'm on a lot of Facebook mum's groups, and the people giving that advice get incredibly offended when people don't blindly take it.

But, here is my issue. I'm a self-confessed research junkie. I like to know why I'm doing things, before I do them. So why, even though you may tell me that "my kids were fine" doing such and such, must I take that advice blindly, even though it goes against every motherly grain I have?

Without this post going too much off into a tangent, I'll come to the point quicker.

Each parent or parent-to-be knows what type of person they are. No parent deliberately sets out to harm their child (well, apparently some do, but thankfully I've yet to meet that person). We do everything in our power to guide and aid our children into becoming well-rounded, pleasurable adults in the way we know possible.

Somebody, this week, voiced worry that I would be 'that' judgmental mummy, because of my own parenting styles with my own child. But why would I? I know, because trust me when I say I have had plenty of opinions on my parenting, how horrible it is to hear your own ways and decisions questioned. As long as your child is in no danger, I have no views I'm willing to share on how you raise them.

So you breastfed for 2 weeks and didn't enjoy it? Well no problem, at least you tried.
So you gave purées at 4 months? I'm sure your child has a great appetite.
So you let your child cry it out in the hope they'd sleep better? That must've been really hard for you, but I'm sure you feel better for the sleep, now.
So you are blue cheese all the way through your pregnancy? Good for you and I hope you enjoyed it, and I'm super jealous as I haven't! Please have some for me!

These are just 4 examples of parenting styles that differ from my own, but your children are not mine, and I don't know your household to comment.

I wish people, any people, would be respectful of the time, effort and overall guilt that goes into raising a child and offer just their support and well-wishes. It does take a village, but not the sometimes cruel village that seems to be occurring more and more these days.


Parenting is not a competition, and one parent's philosophy is not necessarily any better than the other's. We all need to be more aware of the trouble we are each going through, accept it and embrace each other as parents. No comparisons, no competition. Take that, Sanctimommies!