Growing Up

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve caught myself looking at V and thinking, ‘Why does he look so grown up all of a sudden?’ and ‘When did he get so big?’

There are a number of things that have happened over the last couple of months that make him appear more grown up.

1. No more pacifier.  *sigh of relief*

2. We had our first trip to the doctor AND for a haircut (on the same day) and there was no screaming or crying (not even one tear) at either appointment.  It’s amazing what the promise of chocolate milk can do, isn’t it?

3. We went swimming twice last week and he got into the pool very happily without making any fuss.  And it was our first time in four or five months, so I was expecting fussiness!

4. He’s more aware of Christmas and Santa.  Last year he was terrified of Santa (though he still wanted presents).  This year it’s all ‘Santa, Santa, Santa’.  We’ve even written Santa a letter.  He’s singing Christmas songs non-stop as well!

5. He has dropped his afternoon nap.  While I know this means he’s growing up, it also means that I don’t get my afternoon nap any more!

He’s getting big – but there’s one last step he has to take before he reaches ‘bigness’.  And it’s not his fault he has to do it – but mine…

He still drinks formula (SMA Toddler Milk) and he still drinks it out of a bottle.  AND he still wakes in the night for it.  I know, I know *embarrassed face*  I should have stopped it a long time ago.

When we went to Bali last year, we took three tins of SMA with us (as they don’t stock it there).  When we went to Dubai earlier this year, we took the SMA with us (finding it isn’t always easy).  Let’s keep in mind, also, that the SMA in Lagos costs double the price that it does in the UK.

My mum wanted to try and ‘wean him off it’ during our last trip, but I wouldn’t let her.  I didn’t want him to get used to drinking fresh milk and then come back here and have to readjust to UHT.  It just sounds like more of a hassle than it has to be!

Now that we’re leaving again in a couple of weeks, my mum said not to bring any SMA with us and let him just deal.  That sounds a bit mean to me, but I’ve been considering it.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine recently had a baby.  Her first child has just turned three.  She said that before she left London to come back here with the baby, they had a ‘bottle ceremony’.  She explained to her daughter that she was a big girl now and that she was a big sister, and that she had to say goodbye to her bottles, etc.  What did they do?  The little girl threw all her bottles off the balcony (into the garden below) and now drinks regular milk from a regular glass!

I told V all about his friend and what a big girl she was now (even though a couple of months younger than him) and how we will do the same for his bottles.  He looked at me horrified.  Then he crouched down on the ground and said, ‘But mama, see myself.  I’m small!  I need to drink from a bottle.’

So funny.  But so irritating!

I kept bringing it up in conversation, and he kept resisting.

Then one fine day he said, ‘Mama when my milk finishes I’m going to throw my bottles from the balcony and I’m going to drink cow’s milk from a glass.’

EH?  Where did this come from?  I was so excited!

We decided we’d go out and buy a special cup for him to drink his milk from (we haven’t done that yet).

But…  But yesterday he was going through all the cupboards looking for something, and he found a new SMA tin!  He was ever so excited – so now we may have to wait for that to finish first!

Santa replied to V’s letter and has told him that he will bring him an airplane, a London bus and a book about birds.  But only when he starts drinking cow’s milk!

Fingers crossed for a smooth transition.


Breast Wasn’t Best For Me

Last week was National Breastfeeding Awareness week.  Many ladies blogged about their breastfeeding experiences – some good, some bad – and I enjoyed reading all their posts.  It took me a while to decide on whether I wanted to share my story…  Mostly because it’s such a ‘hot’ topic.  And also, to be honest, I didn’t want to be judged. 

Please know that if you breastfed your babies, or are still breastfeeding – I admire you and I will always support you.  But…

I didn’t breastfeed my baby.  There.  I said it.

I was prepared to.  I had bought nursing bras, breast pump, nursing pyjamas and tops, breastfeeding pillow, the lot.  I was scared.  I had heard so many horror stories from so many people and quite frankly, it terrified me.  I wasn’t too worried about what would happen if I couldn’t.  I’d switch to formula.  No problem.  Voicing that opened up a whole can of worms.  Hub and his brother were breastfed, so he was very keen that I nurse.  My in-laws were very keen that I breastfeed (and repeatedly said so).  My brother-in-law kept going on about how I must breastfeed.  And I started feeling a little stressed out.  It was too much pressure!  And the baby wasn’t even born yet and I was still worrying about the birth!  I wasn’t even sure if I would actually *be able* to due to a surgery I’d had ten years previously.   I was nervous, but I was definitely going to try. 

When Vindoo was born, he was underweight.  He was 2.5kgs (5.8lbs).  The doctor said that he should have formula for his first two feeds before I started nursing.  They whisked him away.  And while they were stitching me up, the midwife gave Vindoo his first feed.


I gave him his second feed.  I couldn’t stop staring at him and marvelling at how perfect he was.  This is the little baby that grew inside me for nine months and finally I was holding him!  This is the little baby who kicked when he heard ‘Oh My Gosh’ by Usher.  This is the little baby that ‘made’ me eat all that McDonalds.  It was at that moment that I decided I didn’t want to breastfeed him.  I don’t know what it was, I don’t know what happened…  But I bottled it (no pun intended). 

Many will think I did the wrong thing by him.  I know about all the health benefits for baby and mum.  I *know*.  But I also knew that I was doing what was best for both of us at that time.  If I didn’t *want* to do it, then neither I or my baby would be happy. 

Hub was disappointed, but he stood by me (eventually).  I wasn’t breastfed and neither were my sister or brother (and we are all perfectly healthy).  Someone asked why I didn’t want to do what was best for my son.  The day after he was born.  While I was still in hospital.  I wasn’t starving him!  He was clearly happy and content!  I was doing what was best for him.  This pressure and ‘line of questioning’ continued for a day or two and then stopped.  (Thank God – I didn’t know how much more I could take).

All the midwives in the hospital were great.  No one made me feel guilty at all.  I realise how lucky I was.  I was worried about going home and having midwives and health visitors coming to our home and making me feel like a failure for not feeding.  Again, I was extremely lucky.  They were all great!  What frustrated me was that EVERY single person that came to visit asked if I was nursing.  Every single one.  And each one of them wanted to know why I had chosen not to.  Or they asked if it was because I wasn’t ‘getting any milk’.  Maybe it annoyed me because I felt a little guilty?

We came back to Lagos when Vindoo was 12 weeks old.  They are *very* big on breastfeeding here.  VERY.  I avoided taking him into school to see colleagues because I knew they would ask me if I was still nursing (which they would fully expect).  And when I did take him – when he was four months old, I was surprised only two or three people asked.  I just said, ‘no’ – rather than, ‘No.  And I never did’.  I thought I’d save myself some explaining which I knew would fall on deaf ears.  Even with just saying, ‘No’ – I got a lecture or two.

It took me a while to realise, to *really* realise and understand that choosing to breastfeed (or not) is a woman’s choice.  No one can make you do it.  Not Hub, not parents, not in-laws, no one.  They can’t force you.  And that you have to do what you have to do.  My boy and I have a strong bond.  We are close.  He is strong, happy and healthy (touch wood).  I love him more than anything in the world.  I would do anything for him.  And I didn’t have to breastfeed him to form that bond.