To all the beautiful families at Christmas time,
I know that the end of year is a very busy, and we can so easily think things that are not healthy for our self-image.
So, this is my time with you, and this is what I want to tell you…
- You can bottle feed a breastfed baby.
- Giving a baby a dummy at 2am for sanity will not mean the baby will be walking around the supermarket with a dummy at 5 years of age!
- Using the dryer everyday will not ruin your clothes. Taking shortcuts and doing half jobs is how mothers survive.
- Breastfeeding does not come naturally to everyone. Making breast milk does. Breastfeeding is a learnt skill and takes time.
- Sleeping does not come naturally to all babies. Sometimes they need to be taught and it's our first experience as parents at teaching our babies a life skill. We don't think parenting should start so early, but it does!
- Having a coffee, Berocca or a piece of chocolate cake won't hurt you or your baby - not letting go of 'have-to’ and 'should' might! You could end up stressing way too much about the little things in life when life is about moment after moment, strung up together in a colourful display of bunting flags or fairy lights that flap and sparkle from afar. Don't sweat the small stuff. Do what you must do to survive, as long as it's safe.
- Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are the feel-good hormones. They help you with the 3pm slump. An exercise bike or running machine in the house for cold and wet days is good for that.
- Remember to put flowers on the table.
- Everything in moderation.
- Perspective: sugar, packet mixes, BBQ chickens, frozen meals, disposable nappies, formula etc are all a part of our modern-day survival tool kit. Don't put pressure on yourself to do things the more ideal way - some days you will and some days you won't. It's more important to get through a day and take the wins when they come. Just remember to take the time to enjoy the simple things in life. Cups of tea and coffee is one of them. There will be a time when you can have the eco-friendly - mindful-yoga, save the planet, rainforests and animals’ lifestyle - but maybe not all of it right now.
- If you ask a friend for help, they will more than likely ask you for help in return one day. What goes around comes around - so give it a go!
- Using formula is not a failure. How quick we are to forget that breastfeeding is not taught these days. That, after giving birth, you are discharged from hospital before your milk even comes in! That mothers and grandmothers are not pottering around the kitchen passing on old wives’ tales and the tricks and tips of the trade of mothercraft. That home-help and post-natal care has gone out the door and mothers are pushed out the door for school runs and appointments. Don't blame mothers for formula feeding. Look at the world we live in. We need to fix the systems around them. We need to change the way we dish out simple slogans and messages of how-to mother correctly and look at what we can cope with. Be as kind to yourself as you are with others. I'm going out on a limb here - I love formula! It is just as much a lifesaver for the mother’s soul as it is for baby’s growth. It is fuel, energy, strength and peace and calm for the mother and baby when our overdose of 'should-do's' is not backed up with support and guidance. When breast is not best - fed is best! We are all doing our best.
And one last thing… Caesarean sections are life savers! Have we forgotten that too? It is not taking the easy way out or the unnatural
way. Thank goodness for modern medicine!
PS. I had four vaginal births. I fully breastfed my four babies until they were over one. Never used formula. My children have no allergies. I was and am so lucky. I am no stronger, wiser, determined or patient than any other mum who has done things differently. I've only ever done what I could manage and what was best for myself and my family at the time. That is all.
I hope you feel a little better now. Put the kettle on, put your feet up and smell the roses. It’s a beautiful world we live in. Enjoy it!
- By Summer Breeze Consultancy