Mundane is amazing.

Supermarket shopping made my Saturday.

I stood in the cleaning aisle of my local Tesco, and I had one of those moments. A ‘grin like a lunatic, sing to yourself and start skipping’ moment.

There I was, my 11 month old sitting in the trolley, looking at bin liners and the complete normalness of the situation overwhelmed me.

Mundane is amazing.

Boring is great.

The bread and butter of everyday life is what makes the world such a great place.

I’ve started to notice things more now. I don’t mean that in a hippy, look at the sky and the flowers and hear the birds way. I mean this. I notice life. I notice all the little things about family life that I do everyday. I notice the opening of the curtains in the morning and the pop of the toaster. I notice when I am stuck in traffic listening to the radio and I notice when I get the bus to town to meet Mummy friends for lunch.

The small things matter.

I love noticing them and I love the fact that they happen to me.

No.

I love the fact that I make them happen.

I’m leading a normal life and doing normal things. Mundane things. Yay. Go me.

The Breastfeeding essential that your wife didn’t know she needed.

It takes 2 to breastfeed – Mum and baby.

There is very little else you need. Baby stores and franchises will try to sell you gizmos and gadgets galore, claiming to make breastfeeding easier for all. In reality, although many of these things are indeed useful, they are not essential.

There is one essential though, it’s cheap, it’s easy, and it can make or break Mummy’s breastfeeding experience.

YOU.

The support you give changes everything.

It takes 2 to breastfeed, but it takes 3 to make a breastfeeding happy family.

Studies show that women with supportive partners are more likely to breastfeed to six months and beyond.

So, here are my top tips, from a Mum to a Dad.

BEFORE BABY

Learn with her
Breastfeeding is hardwork. There is so much I didn’t know about it before having a baby that I now laugh at my uneducated and unaware self. Read together, take classes together and make it your business as much as hers.

Prepare her
Or rather, help her understand that she will never really be prepared. Yes you should read, yes you should learn, but in reality when baby is here everything is different. Reassure her that you will help her through it- regardless.

THE EARLY DAYS
Prompt her and guide her
So, baby is here and the woman you love most in the world is physically and emotionally drained. Put your arm around her and help her latch baby. Work together to find that perfect latch and share a moment you will remember forever as your child takes their first few sips.

Protect her
If she complains of pain then you must take her seriously. Question every professional you can until it is sorted. This could be down to so many things that they can not all be listed here, but make sure you ask a professional to check for tongue tie and get your partner as much support as is physically possible.
(Protect her from discomfort in practical ways too- stock up on cushions!)

Feed her
In those first few days your new creation will spend more time on those boobs than you have in your relationship so far! Your partner needs food. Breastfeeding requires more calories than pregnancy, cake and chocolate are a must. Oaty foods such as flapjack can help increase supply if this is needed. She’ll need hot meals too, so make sure her food is cut up into small.chunks, eating one handed will soon become her superpower. Make this possible..

Water her
Make sure that there is a drink within reach at all times. And make sure she is drinking it. Dehydration is not a friend of a new Mum.

Rest her
Allow her a toilet break and a bath. Skin to skin with Daddy can calm baby and give Mum 20 valuable minutes of bathtime peace. Perhaps take baby for a walk in the pram while Mummy has a power nap.

Entertain her
It can be incredibly dull sitting down with a baby on your boob all day. Make sure she has the television remote to hand, stock up on magazines and box sets of her favourite series.

Reassure her
Yes, its OK that baby is feeding all the time. They are growing. No, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have enough milk, it just means that baby is making sense of the new world.

Praise her
She is amazing! Tell her that, tell her often. Her hormones will be all over the place, you have not met a hormonal lady until you live with a new mother when her milk comes in. (approx day 4) Keep telling her you love her and thanking her for the fabulous and priceless gift she is giving your child.

Believe in her
She can do it. There will be many many times when she doubts herself, your belief must be her constant in this emotionally draining world.

FEEDING TO SIX MONTHS AND BEYOND

Defend her
There will come a time when those around you, be they family or friends, will ask when she is going to stop. Adverts for Follow on milk have incorrectly led many to believe that six months is “time to move on from breastfeeding”. In fact, the World Health Organisation recommends extended breastfeeding to 2 years and beyond. Make sure that you make this clear to anyone who questions her. ANYONE, even your family.

Praise her (even more)
Isn’t it amazing that she has kept going for this long? So few people do. Isn’t she amazing? Tell her again. And tell anyone who will listen. Wonderful.

And good luck to you all.

It’s fabulous.

How to cheer up a woman with post natal depression.

This a question that someone wrote in a search engine to find my blog. They were delivered to my post about mythbusting, but I am sure they would not have found it a satisfactory answer. I am, for no reason in particular, assuming this was a husband, or partner, looking to support the mother of their child.

So, this is my answer.

How can I cheer up a woman with PND?

Don’t Try.

Cheering someone up, by its very nature, belittles the person with PND. Attempting to cheer them up suggests that you think their illness could be cured with a quick joke or funny dance. It can’t, and it is disrespectful to try.

You can however make them smile, understand them and make the cloud overhead clear for just a little while. Maybe the sun might even briefly shine through. You can make a small difference. And a small difference is a huge difference to someone with PND.

I do not pretend to be an expert, but after dark journey into the light I can say what would have given me a glimpse at sun.

Praise. And praise publicly.
Remind them that they are a great mother. Tell them how proud you are of them for bringing such an amazing baby into the world. (However labor went). Make the praise specific. “You are such a good Mum for staying calm during tears”, “We are both very lucky to have someone as selfless as you in our lives”. PND can often involve an intense paranoia that everyone else thinks you are a bad mother, so make this praise public. Tell Facebook how amazing she is, tell your family, tell her family, tell everyone you know. (and those you don’t!)

Small touches
Hugs, smiles, a squeeze of the hand or a nod of the head. All small and easy things that give a moment of reassurance.

Be her biggest defender.
Even when you can’t see that they need it. Be aware and be sensitive to the topics they may feel attacked on and jump to their rescue. (whether you believe they need it or not). If a parenting choice is being discussed then state clearly and without prompting that you are proud of her for her choices and that you agree with them wholeheartedly.

Give her time.
Time to sit, time to stare, time to be. Recognise that she has not made a choice to be ill and that recovery will not be quick.

Talk to her.
About life, about how she feels, about how you feel. About your child, about work and about the mundane. Show her that you care by telling her you love her and telling her that things will be OK. She will be happy again and you will help her get there.

Listen. Really listen.
You may think her reasons are strange, you may find her concerns ridiculous and you may find her anxiety frustrating. But listen as she tell you why they exist. Listen as she explains what her fear is in that moment and listen as she repeats herself over and over. Really listen. And to prove you have heard make sure to act on something she has said.

Be Silent
Allow her to sit and cry. Don’t belittle her emotions with comments. Just sit with her. Hold her hand, make her a drink and give her a kiss. Crying is important. Don’t stop her.

Don’t treat her as you normally would.
Strange advice though this may seem, DON’T just carry on as normal. She needs to be made to feel loved and supported and it is likely that she will be feeling numb to this. Imagine, if you will, that love is a temperature. A woman without PND may start at a warm temperature and love can heat them further. A woman with PND is starting at frozen. They need more love and more sensitivity in order for them to reach the same result.

Don’t talk about other mums and babies.
Right now she may feel like a failure on every count. Give her no excuse or ammunition for comparison. Her baby is the only one that matters.

ASK HER
“How can I support you?” Don’t ask if you can do anything, ask instead what you can do. Ask how she would like you to behave and ask if she wants more support than you are currently giving.

Remember, she is still the same person she was. Love her, understand her, and help her find her happiness again.

Note: This assumes that professional help is already being given. If this is not the case then it must be a priority to visit the GP. Go along with her if she would like you to.