With baby number five I felt confident about nursing and fully expected to get on with it and have a healthy, satisfied baby on my hands, so when I went in to get her routinely weighed at the local baby clinic, I was surprised to find she hadn't been gaining enough weight.
On answering some pointed questions from the health visitor I realised that I had been doing everything right for the baby: feeding her on demand and topping up with the bottle. What I hadn't been doing was the right things for myself which impacted on her.
I lost a lot of weight in a short time and was keen not to overeat and most of the time I was too busy running around to eat properly. I was also stressed at trying to keep the house in order and keep up with the kids (this coming from someone who was working with four kids and complementing a Masters degree). I suddenly seem to be slower, more forgetful and a lot more confused. I think I might be suffering from baby brain.
Anyway, I had to admit my diet was terrible, I was not remembering to take my vitamins, I couldn't stop feeling sleepy and I was not doing my little one any favours.
The health visitor instructed me on diet and agreed a plan for feeding the baby and I will be going back in two weeks to see if her weight gain has picked up. She also mentioned that breastfeeding is affected by a mothers mood and stress levels and that the hormones that encourage milk production are called the “Happy Hormones” – so a happy mum is better placed to nurse her child when she is happy and relaxed.
So I have been making an effort to sit down and eat properly including having a proper breakfast. The other thing I am doing is let go of my need for order. The mess and clutter in the house distracts me and makes me less productive, but I am dealing with it a little at a time instead of trying to tame the whole beast every day. I am also accepting that a house with five kids can be less than perfect (it has always been a matter of pride for me to keep the house tidy and I feel like a failure when it is not). Hubby has been supportive mash’Allah and the one thing we agree on is that if we have less possessions we could free up time for more important things, so that is something I am working on.