Isla's Naming Day - Part One ...

Even before you were born, we knew that we wanted to do something to celebrate you and your safe arrival. While neither of us are particularly religious, we knew we wanted you to have 'Godparent's' and that we wanted to give you some kind of Christening. That's when the idea for your naming ceremony came about.

We decided to hold a ceremony in the garden at Nanny and Grandad's in Poringland, and have our family friend John Pountain (A lay preacher) reside over the service. We decided to do it on Saturday 17th May when you were almost 9 months old, and somehow picked the nicest day of the year! It was so incredibly warm and sunny - almost too warm! - with bright blue skies and not an ounce of the rain that was predicted.

We had a beautiful ceremony space, complete with the arch under which we said our wedding vows, a marquee, lots of amazing food and drink, the most beautiful setting and the most incredible friends and family to celebrate with.

We invited just shy of 70 guests in total so the garden was pretty full! We had all the tables and chairs set out in different seating areas and different groups of people gathered in each different area. The garden is so stunning, especially at this time of year - we could have been in a hotels grounds - it was so well laid out. We had an areas set out in the shade of one of the bigger trees for all the children - they had a swing and ball bit and a load of noisy brightly coloured toys to play with.

It makes my heart jump into my chest a little bit when I think about just how amazing these people really are. We are so very lucky to have such a wonderful bunch of people to share our lives with.

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My Breastfeeding Journey ...

Before Isla was born, I thought that I wanted to breastfeed. I had nothing against formula feeding, but felt that breastfeeding was something I wanted to do.

In the very early days, Isla couldn't latch on and stay latched on, and didn't seem to want to feed from me. That first day we bought her home, I even sent my Mum out for formula because she just simply wouldn't take ANY milk. I had to express some colustrum onto a teaspoon, in the hope I could get a small drop in her.

That first week was spent expressing and feeding Isla via a bottle, while still trying to get her to feed. Eventually, when she was just under a week old, she completely got the hang of it. And there was no looking back - it was all breast no bottle!

In the first few months, she would feed for ages at a time - usually for at least 45 minutes. In all honesty, these are some of my most favourite memories - us snuggled up on the sofa, Isla feeding, me watching every episode of Grey's Anatomy ever made! Those feeds were not spread out very far at all, but as Isla got older, we gradually started to have larger gaps between each feed.

We did try for ages to get Isla to take a bottle at about 8 weeks, but it just never happened. And it wasn't really too much of a problem! I didn't really have any time away from her, I didn't stop having the odd drink (spacing feeds out around it) we just let it fit into the new lifestyle that we had.

Out of all the close friends I have with babies, I am the only one that has breastfed, certainly for any long period of time. I have only met a few mothers along the way that have breastfed, at different playgroups etc, but those that I have met, seem to have fairly similar experiences to us. I've never had any negative experiences with breastfeeding, and other peoples opinion of it, but ... now that Isla is drawing closer to one, I have found that I am starting to notice more comments from people that are starting to make me feel a bit uncomfortable.

The Health Visitor seemed surprised when I told her I was still feeding, "Oh really? Well, that's well done." (Not said as complimentary as it sounds!) 

"When do you plan to stop feeding her?"

"Oh your still feeding her?!"

I always said that I wanted to feed Isla for at least 6 months if I was able to, but had no set end date. As soon as we got to 6 months, I thought I could make 7, then 8, then 9 ... now we are at 10 months, I would love to carry my breastfeeding journey to 12 months.

Although to be honest with you - it's getting to a point where I am starting to feel a bit ... weary.

Now that Isla is weaned, her feeds during the day, and a bit during the night, have started to drop. We tend to have a feed as soon as she wakes, a feed after breakfast before the first nap, a feed when she wakes, one in the afternoon, one at teatime then one before bed. We often now get away with one, possibly two feeds during the night. So still quite a lot in some peoples opinion I would imagine! But Isla, as with most breastfed babies, doesn't just use the breast for a feed, but also for comfort. She loves to snuggle up against me, feed and nod off to sleep. My favourite is the last feed of the day. Isla's had her tea, her bath and is all dressed in her pi's ready for bed. We turn the monitor and projector on, turn the lights off, say goodnight to Daddy and snuggle up together on the armchair in the nursery. It's feeds like these that I don't want to stop, not just yet. I feel I have no need to! But the feeds that I have stopped, or would like to find a solution to, is the day feeds. Isla is incredibly nosy, very long, and incredibly difficult to feed in public. Her length and her hair also make her look a lot older than she is, so if I do feed in public, I'm starting to feel that people are looking over at me thinking - that baby is old to be being breastfed! I know it doesn't matter what people think, but I am feeling uncomfortable.

There is also another issue ... I go back to work in just over a week (new exciting part time job - yey!) and Isla will not take a bottle. She drinks water from her favourite bottle/sippy cup like a champ (she loves her water which I am so chuffed with!) but I cannot get her to take milk from anything. I've tried every type of bottle, every type of sippy cup, every doidy cup, every type of formula, full fat cows milk, semi skimmed cows milk, flavoured milk, warm milk, cold milk - you name it, we have tried it. And she simply refuses to take it. The only thing she has had from a bottle is a bit of decaf early grey tea! I've been so desperate to get her onto a bottle that it is starting to get a bit stressful!

**Edit ... In the last two days I've finally been able to get her to take a bottle! We've had success with her normal sippy cup and a watered down mix of Aptamil. On Sunday she drank a whole sippy cup of milk and today half a cup! Success!

Breastfeeding Isla has been one of the most amazing parts of my life with her - it's given us a bond that nothing else can replace. Those times when we snuggle and feed together are second to none. And even though I feel that our journey is beginning to come to an end, I know that I will miss these times with her more than anything.

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Isla and Lola ...

Some of us are lucky enough to have friends we have known our whole lives. There is not much more that I want for you in life than good friendships ... I hope this one will be one that lasts forever!

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