Can I have my boobs back please?

I started breastfeeding on the 6th of September 2006 and I’m still doing it. That’s almost seven years! My poor old boobs, they really could do with some time off for good behavior, they’ve “done us proud”, as someone might say if they were from the East End and very pleased with my breast’s achievements. But you know what? I think I’m done. It’s time to pack away the now grey and frayed nursing bras, and bring out the new pretty push-ups! Oh but I can’t, can I, because Isabelle is obsessed with breastfeeding.

Our word for it is dudu, which apparently is what they call milk in some parts of India. My dad was born in Burma and that’s what he used to call milk when he was little, it was therefore what we called milk when I was little and has now stuck for us. Unfortunately Izzy has also stuck, stuck to my knockers! Whenever she wants some she lies prostrate across my lap and squeaks, “dudu, dudu” just in case I’m not sure what she wants.

I thought when I went away to Sheffield for a few days, (with Mum for her op) that she might simply forget about the joys of dudu. Fat chance! For the first few hours of my return she didn’t ask for any, but then it was like she suddenly remembered what she’d been missing and demanded some right there and then. To be fair, I’m now only breastfeeding her three times a day (that’s still quite a lot isn’t it?) which is less than previously, but really I’d like to have stopped completely by the time she’s two.

The question is, how do I stop? With my other two I stopped breastfeeding at 14 and 19 months and it just sort of seemed quite natural. But with Izzy, I just can’t see an end. If I try to deny her she FREAKS OUT and not mildly, oh no. She SCREAMS and SCRATCHES and HITS and ROLLS ABOUT (too many caps?). We’ve tried formula with which we’ve had limited success but at the end of the day she just likes the real deal.

Really though, who can blame her? As the youngest of 3 kids she has to fight for my attention all the time, so I guess it’s her way of having me all to herself. I can’t really say I hate it either, she’s so cuddly and sweet and she is my last baby. I just hope she’s ready to give up before she starts school…

Any time, any place, any where. Literally.

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Planning your finances with a new baby.

This is a guest post from Sainsbury’s Bank which has some great advice about all the possible costs of having a baby and tools like the baby cost calculator (right at the end of the link it takes you to). Before we had any kids, Ferg and I had a spreadsheet with all our predicted baby costs listed on, (we love a good spreadsheet). We would add to it and take away from with it great glee, never for a moment imagining that my baby clothing obsession would blow all predictions out of the water! Anyway, enjoy! Em x

Planning your finances with a new baby

A new child is a very special and exciting event that is embraced with joy and also a certain level of anxiety. With so much to consider, becoming a parent will change your life, including your financial life.

The average family will spend £3000 on a child in their first year on a variety of items, according to babycentre.co.uk.

It’s possible that finances may be stretched, with the arrival of a baby but consider spending time before the birth to prioritise which items are essential, and, which can wait.

The costs of a new baby
There is an endless array of items that you could buy for your new baby and once your little bundle of joy has arrived, there may not be time to decide which items are a priority.

Planning which items you need beforehand could make life easier to manage and leave you with more time to enjoy being a new parent.

Here are just some of the things that might be considered for new baby:

Transport : Car seats, prams
Nursery: Cot, crib, Moses basket, blankets, monitors
Feeding: pumps, bottles, cloths, bibs, bowls
Clothing: One piece suits, pyjamas, leggings, booties, socks
Bath time: Toys, tubs, body wash, washcloths, thermometer
Accessories: Pacifiers, toys, books, mobiles
Baby change: Changing table, nappies, ointment, baby wipes

Calculating your own baby costs.
If you are still not sure where to start or what you need, there are many baby cost calculators online to help you identify how much it may cost for the items that you would like. Alternatively, you could always create a simple spreadsheet.

Some of the things to consider:

Income: Salary, benefits, childcare contributions
Outgoings: Living expenses, bills, savings
Potential outgoings: Baby expenses, one off expenses

Once you have identified the potential costs, you can start to plan ahead.

Second hand baby items
The costs for a new baby can soon add up but it is not always essential to buy everything brand new. Many parents turn to second hand baby resources for ideas and advice on how and where to buy.

Some items should always be bought brand new such as car seats, as there is no way of knowing if the item has been in a crash before or been dropped, damaged or weakened.

Short term loans
All new parents want the best for their child and there may be some items that you would like but would prefer to spread the cost of. You might want to start putting money aside each month or consider a short term.

Planning in this way could ease the stress and pressure that comes with a newborn baby. There are many ways to save costs or spread payments when planning for a new baby, however you decide to approach the potential extra bill in baby’s first year, easing the worry could be as simple as forward planning.

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Hi. My name is Emma and I’m a gym-a-holic.

I’m currently sitting in the café of David Lloyd Gym, Cambridge. The kids are playing in the mini play-barn after a busy morning in the crèche for the girls and a swimming lesson for Sam. Sam also had the pleasure of watching me do a Zumba class whilst also playing on my iPad – he had a lovely time. Half way through the class he whispered for me to come over and said in his most earnest voice, “good work mum.” Bless.

So what’s happened to me? Why this sudden burst of activity? Well, it all started at the school gates when I got chatting to a mum who was looking fantastic. She’d joined the gym and was getting visible results. To be honest, I’ve always hated going to the gym but was getting to the point where I was really fed up with being wobbly. I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding for the past 7 years and after nearly 2 years of Izzy not sleeping properly I felt like it was time to start feeling alive again, not just existing through days of exhaustion. I also wanted to feel good about my body again, simple really. I’m not sure why this time the decision to get fit has stuck, but I’m feeling good and slowly losing inches.

For me the most rewarding thing has been the sense of well-being I feel. Excercise really is making me feel better. I’m fitter and stronger than I’ve been in years and even though I’ve still got lots of weight to lose, I feel in control because I know I’m actually doing something about it.

There are loads of classes here and my favorite class is Body Attack. Believe me, you really do feel like you’ve been attacked after it, but it’s high energy and great for fitness and weight loss. The best bit about this gym though is that there’s a crèche so I don’t have to go out in the evenings when I’m knackered but can go in the mornings instead when I have the most energy. I also got a 3 month membership for the kids over the summer so we can all come here loads during the holidays, to swim mostly, as they have an outside pool which has been fantastic with the good weather.

So, I’ve become a gym bunny, well perhaps that’s slightly over-ambitious, I’m probably more of a gym gerbil, but you get the idea. I’m doing something rather than feeling rubbish about myself and it feels great.

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