8 tips to cope with children, symphysis pubis disorder and fibromyalgia

How to Cope with Two Tiny Children, Symphysis Pubis Disorder and Fibromyalgia

As my third pregnancy progresses and the symphysis pubis disorder reduces my mobility and increases my pain, it is getting more difficult to manage everything else. Namely the two tiny children and the fibromyalgia.

In case other fibro parents are struggling, I thought I’d share how I’m managing. This is not to say I’m doing amazingly, I get discouraged and disappointed with my limitations. But I acknowledge I am doing my best thanks to several things.

8 tips to cope with children, symphysis pubis disorder and fibromyalgia

  1. I wholly believe I am coping this well this time due to sleep – or the low dose naltrexone helping me sleep. It may be disrupted by pain and pee, but it is more restorative than before. Sleep is king.
  2. Meditation– I cannot nap but the fatigue has been creeping higher so I am eternally grateful for guided meditation to help me achieve 30 or so minutes of deep rest to keep me going.
  3. Routine – my boys and I are creatures of routine. We have the same morning and evening framework daily and set plans during the week. They expect the routine and I can provide it even when greatly diminished.
  4. Flexibility – within this routine there is flexibility. For example, some evenings when husband is at work and I’m exhausted we will do a fish and chip, movie evening. Some nights we skip the shower.
  5. Time saving – I bunch jobs. I make their lunches at the same time. I throw dinner in the pressure cooker or slow cooker in a gap in the day. I shower the boys together (Wyatt adores showering with big brother). We sing a family song together at bedtime and they are going to bed around the same time.
  6. Help – we have kept them in their routine from when I was able to work. Noah does kindy two mornings and they both go to their carer’s for two school hour days. This enables me to get to appointments, cleaning, cooking and resting, which I was not managing while at work.
  7. Easy activities – I keep a snap lock bag with crayons and a scrapbook to get out on a whim. There’s a tub of outdoor chalk in the lean-to outside. A box of play dough and supplies lives in the cupboard. We have a trampoline and small slide structure for backyard fun. I keep a rotation of toys going in the lounge so they don’t get stale, the boys both love blocks. Indoor parks are great in wet weather too. And books, they both have their favourites. Don’t underestimate balloons! My boys will play balloon for ages. (Actually I can and will write a whole post on this, look out for it!)
  8. Television – at that time of day when the kids are tired and I need a break, we will sit and snuggle and watch the tele. No mama guilt y’all.

Do you have any other tips?


If you want to learn more:

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia free miro coursesee the video for the free micro course here, it has the link for the free workbook too!

You vs Fibromyalgia

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Surviving the newborn period and baby care log printable

Surviving the Newborn Period and Baby Care Log Printable

When I was a brand new mama, waddling after my episiotomy with an unsettled windy baby, I took real solace in having a miniature framework to follow at home.

Surviving the newborn period and baby care log printable

Frameworks for the Newborn Period

I am a big fan of frameworks over rigid routines, not that newborns are into routines either.

At first it was just feeding 2-3 hourly and taking medicine at 6-8 hour intervals. This was enough to keep me feeling tethered.

A quick note on feeding in those early days (first 12 weeks): 2-3 hourly tends to be a good guide but both my boys cluster fed in the evenings and look out for growth spurts. I don’t believe in “stretching out” to a certain length between feeds until baby is bigger.

I created a chart that I populated for several months. I am a pretty chart person as opposed to an app person. But apps do the job too.

By the time my second baby came along I had learnt many good things. Including the magic of appropriate wake times per age. So my chart became augmented not just logging sleep but helping to pre-empt when it was due. It made a huge difference not letting baby get overtired. Who knew you had to tell a baby they needed sleep?

It also helped as I mix fed my second, so I had to track feeding physically and formula and expressing. It was crazy, this alone took most of my day!

I also made it a point to track my rest and medicines so it wasn’t all about baby. “Rest” includes a nap (if you can), meditation, restorative yoga, a hot bath or shower etc. Things that are nourishing for you. As in pregnancy, the postpartum period is not a time to forget mama’s quality of life.

Baby Care Log Printables

As I anticipate my third baby, I have reincarnated my chart, but not just for me this time, it is now available in my Etsy store! So head on over and pick yourself up one too. As an aside, being off work due to severe pelvis issues that left me requiring crutches to walk, I found that I really enjoyed creating templates and helpful products for those of us fighting fibromyalgia and being mamas!

I created the New Mama Daily Log which includes baby feeding and sleeps, with your own self-care such as mama meds and self-care/rest tracking. The Breastfeeding and Expressing Log is for those who want to carefully track these, this is handy for mix feeding and exclusive expressing too. The Baby Care Log has the choice of simple and complex logging – baby feeding, nappies, sleeps, expressing and bottle feeding with a log that enables more detail when you need it and one for less detail (when you’re tired?).

More Information About the Newborn Period

For more information on wake times by age, I love this article with this chart.

For more information about nursing see my article about it here and about expressing/pumping for your baby here.

I like this article on the fourth trimester (aka the first three months).

I like these tips for newborns from the author of The Gentle Sleep Book.

Did you have a framework you followed in those early days? How did you track feeding, sleeping (and other baby stuff) and your medicines and other stuff?


pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed angleFor more about pregnancy and fibromyalgia, from fertility through to coping with toddlers, grab my book.

Please note that the above link is an affiliate link and if you make a purchase I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you would like to come and join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook community – we’d love to have you.

If you are serious about digging in and learning about fighting fibromyalgia while pregnant and during the postpartum period, you might like my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Workbook – it will take you through the information and help you to make a pain management plan as well as plans for coping during the third trimester, delivery and the first six weeks. It also goes through nursing with fibromyalgia.

pumping or expressing for your baby

Pumping or Expressing for Your Baby: Parenting (Fibromyalgia or Not)

The one thing I disliked about the antenatal classes that we attended, is that they were not allowed to talk about bottles or expressing at all. I had to learn the hard way that mix feeding is a very good option to help your baby get some of that precious liquid gold.

In my Nursing with Fibromyalgia article, I recount my first two experiences with nursing. After three awful days with my son, during which I had to hand express onto a spoon while he screamed next to me while alone (they refused to let my husband stay and the night midwives didn’t want to help as I wouldn’t have their help at home *sigh*) the midwives showed me to the expressing machine. I didn’t even know that expressing was an option. My mum nursed all of her five children and if babies weren’t nursed they had formula, I hadn’t heard of this middle ground!

Video: Pumping/Expressing for your Baby

I wish I’d known about this middle ground so I didn’t have to take a crash course when so sleep deprived and sore.

Other articles you might like:

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia The First Trimester Diaries

Navigating Pain Relief in Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent

Now I always include expressing/pumping as an option when I discuss nursing with Fibromyalgia because my number one tip with coping postpartum is to express early, go to bed early and then have a support person give the baby the next feed. As someone who cannot nap, I need those precious hours of sleep at night. So, I would express at 9pm, go to bed right after and then my husband would do the next one or two feeds (depending how early on it was and if he was going to work the next day). I would then wake after a few hours sleep in a row to deal with the baby for the rest of the night. We couldn’t do this for our second because his reflux was so bad that we had to keep each other company to get through the scream-filled evenings. And I suffered for it. There were nights when I fell asleep upright while feeding him.

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Breast Pump and Supplies

For the first two I used a heavy duty hospital grade electric pump (Unimom, not currently available on Amazon UK or US). This is necessary if you are looking at exclusively expressing or regularly expressing.Avent single eletric

If you are going to express semi-regularly, say a few times a day (at work perhaps) then a double electric breast pump, like this Avent one, is a good idea.

If you are going to express once or twice a day, like I plan to with number three, then a single electric breast pump, like this Avent one, is a good idea. This is actually on my Amazon Baby Registry, and as a third time mama not many things are on my to-buy list.

If you only plan to express occasionally, a manual pump, like this Avent one, may be the way to go. I didn’t like manual pumps, they hurt me to use (I only tried two brands that were given to me by the hospital to use when my son was sick), but the Unimom hand pump was the best for me for a tight spot.

I want to try this Hakaa manual pump this time, this is more for catching let down from the other side while nursing or helping you out between feeds if you find yourself without a baby or a pump.

The reason I am so amped about using Avent this time is because their bottles are our favourite, we have used them for both of our first two and will use them for our third. I believe the shape of the teat helped Wyatt to avoid nipple confusion and enabled mix feeding. The anti colic bottles are what we used. Don’t forget to start off with the newborn teat size! We had no idea there were different flows with our first baby and that was terrible at first (far too fast a flow does not help wind!).

You can buy the Avent steam steriliser, which would make things easier, but we were on a budget with our first and found that a basic tub that we filled with water and put sterilising tablets in did the job. You should sterilise all bottles, teats and dummies for at least the first six months.

There are special bottle warmers that some people swear by, but we found a jug of hot water to be sufficient. Please don’t microwave your milk to reheat it, it may heat unevenly and burn baby.

The process

  • If you are exclusively expressing then you need to express as often as the baby would feed, approximately three hourly. You will need to do this until your supply is established at around six weeks. After this you can try reducing the frequency (say once overnight) or four hourly or both. The trick with expressing exclusively seems to be keeping up with what baby consumes, you may need to express more often than they feed to keep up with the growing amounts they consume.alarm-alarm-clock-analog-1162967 attribution fre
  • If you are mix feeding, then you choose which feeds you are replacing to express (say 9pm). If baby is due for a feed near the same time, then you can choose to pump before or after according to your comfort level or routine. This is best while you’re establishing your supply.
  • You may be able to just always use formula at the late feed and your supply adjusts, just don’t do that with more than one feed at a time or you may find your supply reduced.
  • Sit as comfortably as possible, if you have a good pump then you just sit upright and time yourself for the 10-15 minutes.
  • To get started it helps to massage your breast and it can help to look at baby or a picture of them to encourage letdown. Start on a lower suction level and gently work your way up (without getting too strong).
  • I was advised to pump for no more than 15 minutes at a time with my hospital grade electric double pump, check what the recommendation for yours is.
  • If you’re feeling a bit lumpy or sore (like a clogged duct) a hot flannel on the breast can help as does massaging down toward the pump to help clear it out. I also gave myself a good massage in a hot shower when I had that blocked/lumpy feeling.
  • It’s also good to treat expressing like nursing directly and have a big glass of water and a snack. Hydration is important as is adequate nourishment.
  • When you are finished you can store the milk in a milk storage bag, like this, label it and put it in the freezer. They are useful with the zip close top for reopening if you are putting in multiple expressions before freezing.

A few tips

  • If you are expressing exclusively, or regularly that day, you can place all of the pump parts in a snap lock bag in the fridge between expressing sessions (so you don’t have to wash them all every time).
  • You can keep one milk storage bag in the fridge and put it into the freezer when full (or at the end of the day).
  • Generally you can keep milk in the fridge for three days and in the freezer for up to six months. This was great for me as I made an abundance of milk for my first baby very early on and was able to keep him exclusively breast milk fed for another four weeks after I stopped expressing. For more information about storage, see this article.
  • breast milk storage.PNGIf you want to use previously frozen breast milk, put the milk storage bag in the fridge overnight. Use the thawed milk within 24 hours.
  • It takes several weeks for breast feeding to be established, but once this point has been reached you can generally reduce the expressing frequency. With my second I expressed four hourly during the day and once overnight to mimic how baby fed – but I did stop making the total amount he fed and that was OK because he had to have thickened formula for the bulk of his milk anyway.

Further information

For two great sites (I don’t want to overwhelm you with heaps of extra reading, but you can definitely Google “exclusive pumping” or “expressing breast milk”), see Kelly Mom and Exclusive Pumping.

pumping or expressing for your baby

Final notes about pumping or expressing for your baby

I feel like my whole life was taken up by milk for my second baby’s first 12 weeks, between the expressing, the thickened formula (for the reflux) and the direct feeding. When I read the research that suggests even 12 weeks of partial feeding breast milk is protective against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, I felt very proud. So please don’t think it’s all or nothing. If you can give 20ml a bottle like I did (it made the milk too thin if I put more than that in the bottle) – that’s amazing. If you manage to give baby only breast milk for six months, that’s amazing too. If you can’t manage to nurse and you give your baby formula – you’re still amazing.

I found it ridiculous when people tried to say that giving the bottle was more impersonal, I didn’t feed with the baby an arm’s length away – I cradled him as if I were nursing directly and I looked into his eyes, spoke to him and stroked his skin in the same way, however I fed. And as a bonus, my husband was able to feed him about as often as I was and they bonded beautifully too (not that they can’t bond without that!) just a silver lining. The biggest silver lining was that I was better able to bond with my first baby this way, nursing directly was so painful for me and it was such a strain on me physically and emotionally – I was so relieved when parenting no longer included my breasts. Your physical and mental health is vital, your baby needs you more than your breasts.

Please remember that all of my learning shared above is just that, personal learning through a lot of reading and personal experience with two children. Always seek support from a lactation consultant or midwife if you need help, particularly with latching. However, if you feel that those who are supposed to be supporting you are just forcing you to do something you can’t or don’t want to do, I hope the things I share help.


Do come and join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group, we are happy to chat through nursing, expressing, whatever with you.

For more information about Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia you can read my book! pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed angle

Top Posts of 2017: What You Were Looking For

I haven’t done this before, but it’s excessively interesting! Here are the seven most popular posts from 2017.

What Works-

The most popular post of 2017 was What Works: A Round Up. I shared my seven top tips for living well with Fibromyalgia and seven fibro bloggers shared some tips of what works for them.

They talk symptom relief, diet, rest and daily rituals to manage Fibromyalgia.


Pregnancy and Fibro

The second most popular post was the one where I announced my book Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia. It was such a dream come true to write and publish a book and to share this hard earned knowledge.

 


Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)The third was where I shared my research and experience with low dose naltrexone (LDN). It has been such a ride since starting LDN last April. I could never have published my Fibro Mama book or written my Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book (out January 29th). LDN isn’t a stand alone treatment, but it has helped me so much.

 

 


fibro friendly links

I’m a big fan of yoga. I use it in all its forms to manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. In this post I shared My Pain/Fatigue Friendly Yoga Links from bed yoga for spoonies, to yoga for neck pain and full sun salutations.

You can also sign up for access to my free resources page where there is a PDF report Yoga for Fibromyalgia.

 

 

 


A Tricky Parenting SecretI shared A Tricky Parenting Secret after I’d been despairing about how to help my kids have a nice time despite pain and fatigue. It really doesn’t take as much as you’d think.

 

 

 

 


A Confession on Pacing and Boundaries was also popular, it’s a really tricky balance when you have children. It sometimes feels like the biggest battle isn’t to define your boundaries, but to protect them.


I wrote my Pregnancy Diaries when I was pregnant in 2016, last year I edited and posted fibro mama weeks 31-33them. Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries: Weeks 31-33 was rather popular. Looking back, this was the calm before the storm.


So these were my seven most popular posts of 2017. I’d love to hear the topics you have enjoyed the most and would like me to write more about in 2018.

If you like my posts then please feel free to sign up to my newsletter. You’ll also receive my free Microcourse – Arm Yourself with Knowledge (about pregnancy, nursing and parenting with Fibromyalgia)