16 Oct 2017

Today is a duvet day for most of people in Ireland. On the other side of our windows strong lady hurricane with lovely name Ophelia is passing by. We stay very calm inside. Humble looking what is going on. Z. fall asleep over an hour ago. Recently she has one nap around noon, sometimes second short on late afternoon. But it just depends on her mood...

Sometimes I feel so bad, because I have never had any particular times for naps, meals and snacks. It actually did not work. I know Z. and her nanny has their own routine which works most of the week, but when we spend time together it is totally different. We try just to be together and next to each other. She get her breakfast with us and is usually same as ours just without salt and sugar: porridge, pancakes, scrambled eggs, shakshuka, variations with eggs and avocados. Usually she will try it, sometimes will dig into and eat like a little piggy, other day will just touch it and rather ask for breast. I asked myself so many times if that is normal and tried to trust my instinct. Eventually I decided to let it go. She miss us all week and I believe when we are together she just want to catch up, have some extra cuddles and milk every time she wants. So she does. It is frustrating especially when I will cook for her something special like healthy baby soup or super food muffin and she will not even touch it. More to say she is not a big fan of defrosted food or any leftovers from day before. If one day she loves curry for dinner probably she will not eat any leftovers for lunch. 
The only way I can make her eat is BLW. We introduce solids half year ago this method, but I never forced her to eat only this way. She tried everything. Spoon feeding and mashy purees also. And yes she likes those, but only when feeding by nanny. With us she wants mostly to have fun and eat by herself. Obviously making a little mess around. But she eats everything! Has broccoli, pumpkin or spinach days and most of our holidays in Sicily she ate delicious tomatoes. But I am not surprised as I loved them myself so much! 
I got few books about BLW and they were helpful, but mostly on the beginning, when I was not sure how should we start. Every bigger bite of banana made me thrilled as I nearly saw her choking. I had few scary situations, but I trusted to my baby, her instincts and first aid course for parents which I had done even before she was born. Nothing anyway happened and BLW was always very safe and great fun for us. 
Did Z. changed our menu? Not as much as I supposed. We always tried to eat healthy so we just go on! Being working parent means for us we are very busy and try to make something from scratch which is quick and wholesome. We add salt to our meals just at the end, on our plates, but I must say we sometimes forget! When in our tiredness we just cook super processed and frozen I make her quick avocado salad and I know she gets all nutritious which she needs. Or sometimes I use up some organic baby food sachets stash, but I know she would prefer avocado! Or if something will go wrong, she will be too tired, too fussy there is always a solution for us. Or even two!

The wind just has blown stronger, she opened one eye, looked at me, turned her head towards and stayed on breast. Lucky us we can spend this cuddly day in bed.

4 Oct 2017

It took me a while to find a balance. Still thinking if that is it. I still have better and much worse days. And poor confidence. Asking myself why? I was so strong woman a year ago waiting for my bunch of joy. I was stronger when hardly walking we came back first time with Z. home. I found myself in every moment of a day. Every sleepless night which was like a blessing. And when time came to come back to new reality I failed. That is how I felt.
Since I am working mum I feel I am loosing all the time. I loose precious moments when my tiny baby grows into small girl. I loose her dreamful naps, loose her smiles and hugs. And on the other hand I am just so scared of her, our life, of change, of risk...
Sometimes I feel like a little girl, just few years older than my Z. Sometimes I feel like an old stubborn woman. And I am full of tears when I think it has been already a year. The year!
She is now a girl. A toddler who wants to discover everything, who cries when loose my hand when tries to walk. Empties my cupboards and kitchen drawers. Still prefers to hug and drink mum's milk for breakfast than any other porridge. Loves music and dancing. She can say "dad" and "kitty" in Polish and make few animals' sounds. I am amazed by her character and can not wait for her every little step and milestone. I am so proud today.

5 Apr 2017

I look at mish-mash on my instagram. That is how my life looks like recently. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. In one second blossom trees, another heavy rain, warm smell of cake, sip of coffee, quiet babbling of her, run over morning, routine in evening singing... Just wondered why I did not write for so long. Maybe the reason was I greedy wanted to keep  our moments just for ourselves. I scroll thousand beautiful pictures and tap hearts. One by one, one by one. I check offer of another baby shop and watch how quickly all those beautiful tiny clothes are too small for her. I make a plan of sewing a hat. Checking patterns and then I ask myself "when?". I think so often about coming back to work. And I cry. I am devastated. I am furious about the world, which shouted at me about attachment parenting, skin to skin, co-sleeping, baby wearing, baby massage, mum and baby yoga, feeding on demand and now the very same world after 6 months tells me I am needed somewhere else. What a bullshit! Why oh why I have to leave her? Making in my head scenario of the day zero when morning routine will be a luxury, when I will wave my hand and leave her for time which will be for me like eternity. I cried when my mum brought me for the very first time to creche and I will cry when I will leave my daughter. I feel weak and unprepared. Like teared in half. I am like a fool.
Forgive my tone. Just cannot say anything else tonight.

9 Mar 2017

I have been waiting such long time to write this post. Every day, day by day, minute after minute, feeding after feeding was for me different. Remember when I was pregnant decision to breastfeed my baby was so natural and obvious that it just happened. I was pretty much shocked when I found Ireland as a country where breastfeeding is an achievement and great mum's sacrifice. In Poland it is default. In my mind was also. And after five months of that milky journey I am very happy and satisfied I have been able to produce precious food for my baby.

I always looked at nursing women in public. They did not bother me as it became recently very common issue. I was rather curious how this feel like. Maybe it sounds weird, but is it not a little bit like a magic? We can grow a baby and then feed it. And now I can say that the feeling is not like anything else. It is so different than any other touch. It is not like breast check for lumps. Not like accidentally touch. It is not even like gently suck during a foreplay.

I have read so many milky stories and research during my preparations to become a mum. I talked with my friends, whom babies devastated their breast. And oh my! I am so lucky my milky way has been very smooth.

When baby Z. was born, I tried to breastfeed. But to be fair I have never done it before. So she did not latch properly. I was lost. I felt so panicky, full of tears and thanks God not full yet of milk. She could not suck. She was such a sleepy head after a few trials she was falling asleep. Someone showed me trick with rubbing her chick, someone asked me to strip her down, someone touch her with wet wipe. And nothing worked. She was hungry and upset. I was terrified I will not be able to provide her food. When I was struggling for few night hours after birth and on morning I was found by "formula midwife", who just left a bottle of artificial milk on my table. But I knew it was just matter of time and appropriate person to help me. So it happened. Very young midwife, which name I do not remember came to me. She took my baby so gently, lied on me upright. She checked my breasts and they were full of colostrum. I did not do much work, did not spend hours on pumping or so as I was advised by my friends. I just wanted to feed her and those thought were all the time in my mind. The midwife found for us a position and after a while we got that. It was so new. It was so beautiful. Little trustful face relied on me. What if I would fail? I did not want to disappoint anyone: myself, my husband, but the most - my baby. So I decided to stay at hospital 24 hours more just to be sure everything was ok. Day after we were ready to go. Feeding on demand with her own pattern.

I had a chart where I supposed to write when I feed, for how long and which breast. But that was so much instinctively I could not remembered to fill down those times and numbers. She slept great, she fed good. Spitting as a baby, which was on the beginning a bit scary for us. Day three found me with enormous breasts, full so much of milk I could not imagine. But that was temporary and pain just bearable. I was so happy everything were going just fine and natural.

But milky way sometimes means ups and downs. We spent every growth spurt on breast. And it was hard, but I had always in my mind this kind of satisfaction for being able to grow my baby. I could not imagine sterilizing bottles, mixing powder and water. I am so grateful my body did it. I am amazed by nature.

If you have a choice and not sure which way of feeding your baby is better, google it. Go to La Leche League meeting, talk with midwife or maybe a friend. Do not expect to see commercial in tv. As this what is best for your little is just for free.

And maybe you want to go step forward and became a milk donor as I did? One night decided I want to share my joy and help someone else. Happy to express milk I just finished my donation and will send it to Human Milk Bank, which is running very low on its supply. If you need more info you will find it here.

26 Jan 2017

Most of my friends are counting days and hours to 5pm Friday. Weekend. Good morning hangover! Do I remember any of those?
Instead I am wondering day by day how it happened baby Z is nearly 4 months. I just woke up, set kettle for a coffee and it is already evening.
Unbelievable dark view behind the window. Winter. Depressing time. Husband is away, traveling across country at work. Someone has to pay our bills. And I am at home like millions of new mums.
Just a while ago I watched online short video from Channel 4 about loneliness of new mums. That is so much truth.
Day by day. Morning after morning. Smile after smile. Fight for every minute of joy. Making plans which day I will wash my hair or which I will cut my nails. I am a mum and I do really enjoy my occupation. I think that was always my calling to be fulfilled and complete as a parent. Lucky me. It is just sometimes so overwhelming, full of sacrifice. I am not this type of mum I complain I can not go to toilet by myself. Sometimes I go. Even when I am with my baby alone at home. I still have my comfort zone and I do care about it. It is small, that is right. And some days happens when she may sleep all day and I can read a book. But why oh why the world and most of people think I died?
I catch myself all the time: "when I had proper conversation?". And I feel a huge need to talk. My friends were verified very soon after I have had baby.
Yes we do have different priorities now. If I have a choice of party or her smile and cuddly evening I will still choose the second.

Do you think we can talk only about poos, feedings, cooing? Well we, new mums, do talk about those, but between ourselves. I love that someone is able to share with me priceless experience and I love to do the same. But we do also talk as normal people. About current affairs, books, movies... Sad but true - we have sometimes only each other, this small ghetto or enclave for our conversation. That is sad most of our friends just forgot about us. But we are here, probably in greater need to talk with.

Thanks God for all events which are available for mum&baby. That is such a relief, you can get out not only for meaningless stroll, but also you can meet someone else, just like you. I mention below only few of them, which I attended and you can do so even when your baby is still very small. Hope you will find it helpful!

La Leche League Trinity College

That was one of my first social group where I went. Z. was one week old at that time. No troubles with feeding, but I just wanted to get out and find other mums. I still like to go there. See all babies are growing, check what I can expect in few months and if I have any doubts just ask- someone will have a solution for sore nipples, sticky eye or expressing milk- for sure! Those meetings are priceless. I can talk and listen and Z. can sleep and play whenever she likes!

Tots and Tums

One of my first exercises after giving birth. It is a postnatal class for babies and mums. You can practice your pelvic floor and check how you getting on with tummy muscles. I found it very helpful and supportive. Also I met few mums who has children in very same age. It was actually few minutes from our place on Cork Street in Bru Chaomhin - handy! It is just one class, once per month and free of charge.

Mum&baby yoga

Many yoga studios has in an offer such classes for you. I went few times and... left very sweaty. Unfortunately studio when I did my pregnancy yoga is far away and trip for us would take ages, so I decided for place in city centre. I caught an idea and Z. did also. Now we have few great exercises we can do together or sometimes we just jump into studio for a class. It is great fun and hard work. I do prefer lighter attitude in yoga, focus on body not workout, so this place did not really work for me, but sometimes you need a push and sweat over your back to feel better. I also learn funny nursery rhymes!

Bring along baby in National Concert Hall

Music and babies are for me perfect combination. So we do play guitar with Z., listen to music. She even has one melody which will calm her down every time or her music box which will make her smile. It is like a magic. So are those concerts. I would say it is very intimate, but audience is large! Toddlers, babies, mums and dads. That is just  amazing to gather whole families in lunchtime! There was only two musicians, playing classical music and actually just enough. As far we heard the music it was quiet. All children were so much interested, calm I could not believe it actually happened! Obviously when concert ended everything came back to normal and children made same noise as before. But that hour of music was just priceless! Real must go, but

5 Jan 2017

Mum&baby venue guide

Shopping, shopping, shopping. Sometimes I am afraid wintertime is all about that. First - before Christmas thousands of pilgrims buy presents. And then in January - trips and travels to sales destinations. I visited few shops in those times, but did not get crazy about buying. I just hate crowds, queues, battles over a pair of trousers or striving to changing rooms. And as a breastfeeding mother I get hungry so fast! So thanks God for spots just in the middle of crazy aisles.

Kilkenny Shop Cafe & Restaurant

15 Nassau St, D2

Opening hours:
Mon-Sat 8:30 - 17
Sun 10-17

Well-known place to buy Christmas tree decorations, Orla Kiely's bags, Irish crafts or just souvenirs. Did you know upstairs you can get a cup of coffee and lunch? Oh well! Not only those! They do Irish breakfast, brunch with live jazz music on weekend, hot and cold lunches, but they also have great selection of cakes, scones, pastries. They are always busy, so especially in December is hard to get a table, but if you will you won't regret. Affordable prices. Good old Irish cuisine with a twist and old fashion darker roast of coffee. It is not my favorite, but a mug of steamy filter and a plate with breakfast goodies never disappointed. They do not have a lift and stairs are rather significant barrier. But there is always a security guy next to the door ready to help. Who would not give a hand with buggy? Upstairs you will find roughly 10 high chairs, changing facilities. They will help you with baby food and if your toddler is into toasties they are ready to make you special sandwich. Staff is very nice, so let them help you with a tray. Seating area has small and bigger family tables and if your little one will fall asleep you can just watch through big window life passing by or just stare at Trinity College. Definitely worth a visit after shopping expedition!

Third Space Smithfield

14, 7 Smithfield
Arran Quay

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 7:30 - 19
Sat-Sun 9-15

I got there actually totally by accident. And I was quite surprised! It is a place of decent tuna panini, which reminds me time when I moved into Dublin. There is good selection of homemade salads, sandwiches and frittatas. Humble fast food. Inexpensive and very simple. Coffee from Badger and Dodo seems to be also well prepared. But the most important is the space. Quite enough room between tables gives chance to squeeze buggy. No lie, when I was there I think I saw at least three mothers. They have changing unit in toilet, few high chairs. And huge shelving with enormous amounts of books! So just imagine - good toasted sandwich, hot cuppa, sleeping baby and book of your choice. Sounds like home! It is fast paced environment, but I bet you can find a little sanctuary for yourself.

26 Dec 2016

Quiet house. It's dark morning. St. Stephens day. For me is second day of Christmas. I am laying between my two lovely sleepy heads and my stomach is killing me. I am getting older.
I realized I do not know much about Irish Christmas. I know you buy turkey, cook cranberry sauce and open presents beside tree on Christmas morning...
It is such a challenge to keep traditon. Not even Irish, Polish or any other, but it is hard in general. Maybe it is caused by fast living, running around our lives. Or maybe we are just lazy after all and nobody wants to run again to reach the tradition finishing-line.
I was lucky this year. Did not have to go to work. Even my husband has had few days off so we could really focus on slow Christmas. Especially we had one more reason, our little baby Z. I was a little bit affraid how we will manage feedings, changings or so with all cooking and cleaning. But we just jumped into that and once again let it go. I have dirty windows. It is such a serious thing in Poland to have them cleaned and sparkling for Christmas! Nope, not me, not this year.
I planned to bake a special coffee cake for Christmas and I did not. Well I have home made mince pies, poppy seed strudel, fruit cake with sherry, gingerbread cookies and ginger bread bundt cake with guiness. I think it may be enough...
Polish Christmas is so much prep! Celebrations begin actually on Christmas Eve. We cook 12 dishes! Family recipes are priceless. So here you go: dumplings with mushroom and sauerkraut, borscht, carp fish, fish a'la greek, mushroom ravioli, dried fruit compote drink, salads, cakes, beans with marjoram and prunes... It is quite heavy but also delicious and reminds me so much about my family home. Every Polish region is slightly different and those dishes may obviosly vary.
So I think I spent 2 or 3 days in kitchen. But not entire days! It was slowly cooking, planning with a culmination on 24th. And honestly does not matter how many days it will be I will never be on time with the supper. But I love that! It is such a fun to make dumplings together, share frying of carp- "you fry this now, I will get dress and swap you".
So finally. Traditionally we start when first star will light up on the sky. This year it was 6pm. And I was starving! Suppering last quite long. So there was us 4- our family and our great friend, 12 dishes + extra milk for baby, a tiny wafer, which we share and say wishes to each other, one empty plate for a stranger who might come this night, computer to connect with family in Poland, christmas tree and presents brought by Star Man (Gwiazdor) instead of Santa which we usually open after supper. Everyone has to try every dish, otherwise there will be no luck in next year. So I tried. And I did it again yesterday! Auch!
I serve big breakfast with all leftovers and roast on 25th and make festive dinner on 26th. But we just ate all day long! Auch! With a break for a walk. And there was on streets only couples with buggies.
Love our laziness, all chats, playing with little Z., watching movies. And I love that we did not drowned in this run for presents and consumerism. In my head and heart is small newborn baby, poor and cold, lied down in a crib, scared and trustful mum just after delivery and carying, fearful dad. I do see more now the carnal aspect of Christmas which hapened tousands years ago and try to imagine them.
And I still need to believe in the magic and miracle.

Happy Christmas my dear friends!