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Hi!, I started this blog quite selfishly and yet not. I had just become a new mum and I needed a space to air out my thoughts. I’ve neve...

Aug 25, 2014

What I wish I knew..

My little one is almost a year old! I simply cannot believe it. That means I have been a parent for a year! And survived :D..lol

Ive been thinking of all the things I’ve learnt and all the things I wish I had known BEFORE I became a mummy. Ive talked about this with some mummy friends and on one of my favorite FB mummy groups there was recently a discussion around this too… there are so many myths and mysteries about being a first time mummy perhaps a mummy fact sheet should be handed out to everyone at the same time your first ultrasound.
Well here goes., below are the ramblings of a first mama on what I wish I knew before embarking on the most wonderful journey ever.

1. The First few weeks
The first few weeks are insane.holding my baby for the first time is magical. The arrival of a little one is generally life altering in the best possible way. And then we get home from the hospital and it gets real. Baby may needs to eat every 3 hours for instance and Baby needs you every single moment. Its terrifying and exhausting and I guess I wasn’t ready for that.

2. Bleeding,
now I know you’re automatically thinking oh, the operation or delivery or something along those lines but you’re all wrong. AFTER you have your wonderful baby you have what seems to be an incessant period which honestly regular pads couldn’t cover. Seems like most mummys I know needed the super maxi pads to get through the first few weeks

3. Emotional roller coasters
Please don’t under estimate this. After baby arrives your hormones basically decide to mess with you and leave you euphoric, scared, insecure, giggly at times going through all of those within one hour. It can be unnerving to have the greatest little baby in your arms and feel terribly sad, don’t worry its totally normal. Depression can also creep in, so try as best as you can to talk to someone and accept help.

4. Prunes are you friends :D
Seems for mummys that had a c section like me and natural birth all felt the about same thing. The anesthesia for the operation stops everything..I mean everything, when you wake up youe insides wake up even slower and doing a number 2 becomes the greatest challenge of ALL time. Plus, you’re awesomely sore down in your lady bits any way, so you don’t want to be applying extra pressure..so, laxitives and Prunes, go for it at will, you might end up swiging the liquid ones by the end of day one.

5. Invest in ONE good baby carrier
I know this is not always possible but I’ve ended up with 4 baby carriers and one was all I needed. Try to visit other mommas and see how it fits, try it on in store and basically what worked for me was the carrier that’s light, ergonomically sound, allows me to carry baby on my chest , on my back and hip without too much effort. The Ergo worked for me and I would totally recommend it

6. Breastfeeding; the journey
If you’ve been following my blog you know this is a biggie. My experience is mine but I’ve spoken to a few mums and its important that someone tells you it can hurt like hell!..some clearly don’t have such a rough time, but I had bleeding and crack nipples, struggles with baby latching etc etc etc..best to read up and expect to have to work at it because at the end its totally worth it.
Ps- Lansinoh is an awesome nipple cream, paired with nipple shields you’ll be prepared to face the challenge.

7. Get a baby thermometer
I know it’s a bit weird but you’re rather jumpy the first weeks and always afraid baby is ill, not breathing or not eating ..and taking the temperature easily calms mummys nerves and reassures that baby is generally perfectly fine.

8. Beware of colic.
Almost all babies suffer from this gassy hell called colic and although there are many treatments, and you have to find the one that suits you best. Its something that is best prepared for. Babies can cry for hours and hours and no Dr will take you in because ‘its just colic and it will pass’. Honestly after 12 sleepless nights you loose your mind so read up, look up massaging techniques and medication that seems to work well for other mums.

9. Feed Mummy
Once baby arrives parents forget that they will need to eat, nor will they seem to have the time to cook or shop for grocerys .So you can befriend an awesome takeout place or cook lots of meals, freeze and just reheat as needed.

10. Feeling fat
99.9percent of people believe breastfeeding will automatically help you shed the baby fat. Truth is it does for some people and not for others. And adjusting to the new you, body shape and weight can be hard. Be prepared , every mummy and baby class you attend will feel a little like the first day of class as you compare your belly to thiers. I personally gained huge amounts of weight after I delivered, then invested in a belly belt which helped and now that I’m stopping breastfeeding I’m loosing weight (without diet or exercise,go figure!)

11. Hairloss
Seriously , our hair falls out a bit or a lot thanks to hormones, so no fear it will grow back.

12. Remembering that there are two parents in this whole situation
I think it was the hormones but I often felt the pressure to be an all round super mummy even when daddy was right there to help. There is a little person now pretty much consistently between you and your husband. This can cause friction or distance and frustration. Be prepared to be patient and remember that this is a unique situation and the first few months are the toughest.
A dad told me once that in their prenatal class, they were told that 50percent of the couples will divorce by the babys first birthday!.TERRIFYING

13. This too shall pass
This should be every mothers motto, seriously.. sleepless nights, painful breasts, toddler tantrums, colic, tired arms, everything. So do whats best for you and your family, And that’s the best you can do

Aug 16, 2014

Her Heritage

I recently had a conversation with a friend about how lovely it is to come from one little town, with most of your family within close proximity. To have one shared culture and be content. It sounded pretty idillic.

I am Malian - Gambian - French, currently living in Stockholm. My husband is Gambian. We speak three languages at home and now swedish words have creaped into our daily vocabulary, making our total home languages to four!

Although i know my daughters' nationality , I wonder how she will feel ethnically and culturally. She is born in Sweden, will go to a regular swedish school and more often than not be the only brown person in her group ( lets leave that for another blog post).

The idea of identity is pretty fluid for me at least.. from what I've read, people of mixed ethnicity, often belong to neither, the studies show that instead, they merge parts of their culture transferred by their parents and create a totally new cultural identity.

I have three ethnicities and i certainly don't feel like one overpowered the other, neither do i feel like a Malian, or Gambian or french person will ever look at me and say "hey, you are one of us" lol :D It is , what it is but its come to mind more through pregnancy and having a baby, cultural norms and values come to the fore.. In Gambia and Mali there are many to-dos and not-to dos around children and I feel like i'm constantly in a balancing act , managing my cultural heritage, plus my husbands and our western notions.
When something happens, i call mum, midwife,google, online mum forums and then decide :p

Here is one example.. When my little one started teething my mum gave is a beaded necklace that is traditionally supposed to soothe the baby and aid the teething transition. I cannot even begin to tell you how many questions i've had to answer around why she has it..some people worry she will choke herself, others worry about the germs it will gather, others think its a fashion statement etc etc etc...
I personally don't believe in it but i believe in my mum , so she wears it.. (try explaining that to the hubby ..totally logical :) ) funnily enough i googled teething beads and it seems , in some parts of Europe there is a tradition of giving babies a very similar necklace , only the beads are made of amber and this mystically supposedly soothes babys teething periods! HA!

The necklace is just one example, theres feeding styles, weaning,when baby should stand,, how to massage the baby, what to do when baby is sick! aie ..cultural parenthood is a minefield..

My little girl got her ears pierced at 4 weeks old, i know thats early for Europe ( the norm being 18yrs) but in Africa thats late ! its generally done at birth!! She also has beads around her teeny tiny waist just like many little african babies ,just because its pretty :p

I suppose what I'm getting at is, I'm increasingly aware of the value of what my parents handed me as culture , which I want to hand down to my child, as soon as I've learnt how to blend it evenly with hubbys too :)

Aug 9, 2014

The end of an era.. well almost

It is finally time.
Ella is 11 months. .shes independent and loves solid food. Last week she even put her food in a spoon and popped the spoon in her mouth!
My baby is a baby no more
With all this regular food taking precedence my milk supply is dwindling and well im feeling ready for breastfeeding to be over.

I wont say she doesn't need it anymore. .its more that its function has changed . Lately we breastfeeding less for nutrition and more  for bonding.
She will breastfeed if really upset to soothe herself or nurse to sleep..but even that is becoming problematic.  Some nights she wakes 3/4times  to breastfeed. Basically i have become a living breathing pacifier as she's refused to take one from birth!

I should be returning to work in a month so it feels even more important to me that she doesn't need me in that way.

Seems to me quitting is going to be just as hard as starting was! Ive tried to reduce feeds especially at night and that has led to inceased pitchy screams ! Aie..

I dont know how long it will take for her to be 100% weaned..at this rate could be a week or a month!