Outspoken and honest mum and blogger Tiarne Straatman from Your Mummy Blogger, talks to Milkbar Breastpumps about motherhood, breastfeeding and expressing and preparing from baby number two!
When did you first become a mum and what was the most challenging aspect for you?
I first became a mum at the age of nineteen; we welcomed Charlie into the world in March 2014. The most challenging thing for me would have been juggling all the different aspects of who I am.
Overnight I had become a mother, but I still had to continue to be a supportive partner, a friend who makes an effort as well as a daughter and sister. Juggling my relationship with Shane was the most difficult of all. We had spent the previous three years just ourselves, then there was a tiny little human crying for every second of our attention. I also struggled with being intimate, sharing my body with my child by breastfeeding and then, if Shane and I had some time to ourselves, attempting to be intimate kind of shook me up a bit; I felt like I could only share myself with one of them and obviously I chose to feed my son.
Nineteen is young to become a mum, in what ways was your youth an asset as a mum?
It is young and it wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Knowing I can watch my children grow and continue to grow and succeed in life with them means the world to me. I don’t believe age or youth changes you as a mother. The level of maturity shines through; the reasons for beginning a family need to be your roots. Your values and morals are to me, what are the important aspects of being a parent. One huge asset I have on my side is stability, which I owe to my partner.
When did you begin blogging and what was reason you got started?
I began writing my blog when Charlie was around 3 months old, I was constantly searching the Internet and forums to try and find out the facts. None of this rosy parenting stuff, I wanted to see that I wasn’t alone; that the struggles I was facing were real and others were experiencing them too. So I began my own blog, to try and give mothers a place to vent, a place full of the blunt honest parenting I was striving to read about.
I found your blogs to be very honest and real in a sea of “perfect mummies” and “mummy judgement” – what sort of response have you had to your realistic style of writing?
There are always going to be those mums who claim to be perfect; always posting at 9am how the house is spotless, they have done exercise, baking and already put their child down for a nap. Whereas I at 9am, am onto my third coffee with a child who has turned my house upside down since he awoke at 6am. Some of those mothers comment and say they can’t relate to me, but I don’t believe them. The majority of the responses have been amazing, it fills my heart with joy to see mothers reading, commenting and sharing their own experiences with me.
You are about to become a mum for the second time – congratulations! How is it different for you this time around?
Thank you! In regards to the pregnancy it has flown by, being distracted by a toddler may have helped time to pass. It’s beginning to become hard, I can’t keep up with Charlie like I could before and he gets frustrated because he doesn’t understand why; whereas during my first pregnancy I lazed around and relaxed as much as I pleased.
You breastfed Charlie for 7 months – was this by choice or circumstance and what are you hoping to do with the new little one?
If a seven month old could have a discussion, I would tell you we made a mutual agreement. I loved breastfeeding and I hope to for even longer with this new little bundle.
But I believe Charlie and I were ready, I had suffered blocked milk ducts twice with one of those times almost occurring mastitis. I struggled through and we managed. Charlie was at the stage of self-weaning; he loved solid food and was a piggy!
Did you exclusively breastfeed or did you express as well?
I exclusively breast fed, I had a manual breast pump which I attempted to use on two occasions but I couldn’t work out how to juggle my feeding routine whilst also expressing. It’s something I really want to look more into for this time around. I believe it will be really beneficial to my own mental health to be able to seek help from Shane in regards to feeding whilst having two children.
How important do you think a good breast pump is to establishing a successful feeding routine?
I believe a breast pump, when used correctly and suited to your needs, is quite important. Using one between feeds can help boost and maintain your supply; as well as creating a little stash of milk, which can be helpful if you need a break.
What was the most important lesson you learned from breastfeeding that you’ll use again?
Relax and breathe, both you and your newborn are learning. Attachment and latching takes time, it will happen. But bub can sense your stress; don’t be afraid to have a break. The first two weeks will be the hardest; if you can push through them, you will succeed. A lot of women say it’s too painful to breastfeed; if it hurts stop and relatch. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful.
How do you think expressing more this time round will benefit you and Bub?
Even though I am greedy and I don’t want to share my special bonding time with bub, if I can express then I am able to allow Shane to feed Baby if Charlie wants mum time. I also have a lot coming up in the months surrounding the birth so being able to breastfeed and express during busy times, rather than resorting to formula, would benefit both me and the baby.
What has been your most challenging breastfeeding moment and what has been your favourite breastfeeding moment?
My most challenging moment was I think he was about 2 weeks old, he was crying well screaming and it was about 3am… He wouldn’t latch on; he was so worked up and wouldn’t calm down. So here I was, nineteen years old, crying, baby crying and hubby blissfully unaware in the other room. I couldn’t help him and I said, “I wish I had formula”. My favourite moment was whilst being in a daze after Charlie was delivered, I was able to breastfeed him, he opened his eyes and we gazed at each other. It was pure magic.
Thank you so much for your time Tiarne!
Tiarne Straatman writes an incredible blog that tracks her journey through motherhood in all its joy, tears, frustration and love. See Tiarne’s blogs at Your Mummy Blogger.
What have been your most challenging and favourite breastfeeding moments? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.