Seasonal zombies

Today I’m going with the ‘dark circles / puffy eyed’ look because Anne was totally over-tired and a new sleeping environment equals practically zero sleep for her mummy.

That’s my girl

Neil, Anne, and I were out on the weekend, and we were pushing Anne around in the buggy at the Swindon Designer Outlet because she’d fallen asleep, and all parents know what I mean when I say we’ll walk around aimlessly for an hour if that’s what it takes for the baby to have a good nap. So we get to Gap, which is having a sale. As I can’t help myself, we go in. Anne woke up as I was looking at some 6-12 month stuff, and Neil was carrying her around. I held up two possible candidates: a denim dungaree dress and a pair of jeans, and asked her, “Which one do you like?” She immediately reached for the jeans. *proud*

Battle of the cookbooks

Seriously. But not really, since Hugh beat Jamie without any real effort.

Thanks to my mother doing so much cooking while she was here, we realised how much money we were spending eating out, since I hate cooking. So we decided that we should definitely try to cook and eat at home more often than not. Mum left a bunch of recipes and we were doing okay, then the race to be Christmas’ number one cookbook began.

(When Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals was published, it stayed at the number one spot for what felt like months. It consistently sold thousands every week. I bought a copy — Kristen wanted one.)

We went to the bookshop to check out Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals, because the series looked interesting enough. But I also wanted to check out Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate. Neil made the decision in favour of Hugh — the recipes looked more achievable and he thinks Jamie Oliver puts it on a little too much.

Of the handful of recipes we’ve tried so far, my favourites have been halloumi, asparagus, and potatoes, as well as pasta, blue cheese, and tomatoes.

Tangent: Neil took over the cooking of the pasta dish after I did the prep. Anne took my hand and shoved my finger in her mouth for a good chew. She wasn’t expecting to taste garlic. The look on her face was pretty priceless — the very picture of distaste.

(What the hell has happened to me?)

Total breastfeeding Wipeout

The artist's rendition of a boob

A couple of weeks ago, I was woken up in the middle of the night — it wasn’t Anne but the pain of engorgement due to a milk blister, of the ‘skin growing over the hole’ variety. Unfortunately, there was no real help to be had, as even the doctor I saw was hesitant to go to the extreme step of piercing it with a sterilised needle. The advice was to ‘feed through the pain’, which I did (holy fuck did it hurt), and Anne managed to soften and tear off enough of the skin to clear the blockage.*

Phew!

And then late yesterday afternoon, I noticed engorgement in the same area again, but there was no new blister, and Anne was pulling off and crying when I tried to feed her from that side. After lots of frantic Internet searching (I even contemplated that she may be refusing the right side altogether, or that she may have an ear infection), I realised that I am now probably quite prone to those ducts being blocked. Cue lots of frantic (and unsuccessful) hand expressing and pumping. I’d read about ‘dangle feeding‘ and ‘feeding around the nipple clock‘, so I tried that, but the cheeky little monkey thought we were playing a game and only gurgled, laughed, and kicked me in the boob (she also punches me in the face and steals my glasses on a daily basis — if breastfeeding, short-sighted mums aren’t the perfect target market for laser eye surgery, I don’t know what other demographic would be). I finally managed to get Anne latched on (not too well, but something’s better than nothing) by feeding her standing up — and bouncing.

Tangent: she’s never latched on quite right to that boob, and especially poorly after the blister. I’d been too lazy to correct it. That was stupid of me.

Cue Neil coming home from work to a frazzled and increasingly desperate serialdeviant. He did what he could to help (taking over holding Anne, making dinner — not at the same time — handing me hot towels while I tried to pump and express for a second time, again with no luck). I finally gave up and went to bed, hoping Anne would be able to sleepily clear it overnight.

At around 2am (I think), I woke up to feed Anne and the boob only felt marginally better after, but the other one was full. Cue insomnia due to the fear of two engorged and sore boobs. So I got up, got my book, and headed to the living room. Basically, I had to pump the non-painful boob as dry as I could, and keep trying with the blocked one. At four I went back to bed.

Consolation: this is the most reading I’ve done in five months.

This morning, it had cleared. Hallelujah and praise the baby’s sucking reflexes! So now I have to work on her latch on both sides to make sure that she keeps the milk flowing.

* So I guess she’s had her first solid food. Human skin. That’s something to tell the grandkids.