The Milk Maid

The Milk Maid

In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, here is my #brelfie! I’ve fed her at home, at other people’s homes such as friends and family, at the tennis court, at a cafe, at church and now also online.

I’m not one of those mums. You know, the stereotype white middle class mum who wants to do it ‘all natural’, breastfeeds, wears her baby like it’s a cult thing, doesn’t vaccinate, introduces solids a la Rapley and basically makes a big deal out of everything whilst trying to convince everyone and -perhaps mainly- herself that her exhausting way of parenting is the way to do it perfectly. After all, there’s a chance she gave up her career for this. If that’s how she wants to do it, all peace to her. After all, she probably didn’t choose her perfectionism, just like I didn’t choose my ADHD. My only objection is that this fictional mother (with a grain of truth) tends to be part of the mum wars. (Check this video).

I am white middle class-ish, I do breastfeed, I do baby wear (because it’s fun and easy), I do vaccinate and while BB will be learning to eat the old fashioned mushy mushy way, it’s probably good for her to try and chew on a carrot from time to time. And I have muddled in mum wars, mainly to point out that there’s no such thing as the perfect way to raise your child. And because I’m impulsive and say things when I probably should just shut up. But there’s one thing I do want to ‘preach’ -also as a professional-… and that is breastfeeding.

It really wasn’t much of a ‘choice’. I never even considered formula. Babies drink breast milk, that’s just the way it should be. Formula is life saving stuff for babies whose mums can not breastfeed. But I see absolutely no valid reason for me to give my child a somewhat inferior substitute if I can give her the real thing. It doesn’t matter if we don’t live in a developing country. It doesn’t matter if there’s research stating that it doesn’t matter that much… My objection to almost every article I’ve seen is that the breastfed group was also receiving formula under the age of 2..

But research and stuff is one thing.

Practice is the other.
So this is my experience after almost 5 months of breastfeeding with a difficult start.

  •  When she was 3 weeks old, I got sick. Something flu-like. Had she gotten sick as well she would probably have ended up in hospital. I was so worried! But nothing. She got the antibodies as I was making them.
  • Just a few weeks ago the other baby at her minder had a cold for a full two weeks. I figured BB would be sniffling soon. She was. It lasted a full day and a half, and wasn’t even bad enough to give her trouble breathing or drinking. She was just fussy and drooly.
  • She sleeps through the night usually. But when she doesn’t, I am forever grateful for not having to get up and make a bottle. I simply pick her up, put her next to me, support my back with a pillow and snooze until she’s done. Yes. That’s right. I sleep while feeding her.
  • I’m just going to say it again: I can feed her in my sleep. I am a very rested mum!
  • She doesn’t like drinking from a bottle. She can, but she won’t sometimes. She knows better, that’s all! No better place for a baby than their mum’s breast.
  • It’s the most natural thing in the world.
  • It’s a very loving act. Even the bible mentions nursing mothers as a comparison to God’s love. I mean, wow.
  • As long as she’s being nursed, I don’t have to worry about her nutrition. She takes care of that herself. I don’t have to worry about getting more time between feeds, I don’t have to worry about over feeding her… and with her bottle issues I don’t have to worry about that either because she can just catch up in the evening when I’m home. When she starts solids, I don’t have to worry about her eating enough either.
  • It’s easy, and I always have a hand free to read or play with my phone. And I needn’t even clean up.
  • It’s quick, after the first few months. Takes me 5-10 minutes unless she’s just suckling to calm herself down. Which, in itself, is also useful since she thinks dummies are chew toys.
  • I get a boost of feel-good hormones. Why would anyone pass on that?
  • You know those evenings with a very young baby? Bottle babies have hours in which they just cry. Breastfed babies can cluster feed. I used to hate cluster feeding time, but I am sure I’d hate having to deal with a crying baby even more.
  • It’s amazing to see how much she’s grown, and my body was fully responsible for that.
  • I can’t forget my boobs. I can forget my keys, my purse, her nappies, wipes, clean clothes, entire nappy bag, parts of my breast pump, bottles… possible even her… but I can’t forget to bring along two of my organs.
  • Actually, my nr 1 tip for future mums with ADHD would be to breastfeed. You just have to respond to your baby, no planning involved. Nothing you can forget.
  • The only down side is pumping at work…
  • …and it takes some time to figure it out. Just like everything does if you have a baby.
  • Edited to add: those moments when you can’t figure out what is wrong but the boob seems to fix it…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to feed the baby!




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Happy Mother’s Day 

To all fellow mothers: I hope all of you had nothing but kindness. 

My first Mother’s Day was spent with the in laws. My own mother is abroad at the moment and TDH didn’t think to make a gesture in Busy Baby’s name. Then muttered something about commercialism. Gestures can be free. 

Anyhow. I perhaps haven’t been a mum for long enough, I don’t feel like it fully applies to me yet. 

Busy baby behaved like a champ while we were there and she pooped on me for Mother’s Day. I took a bath with her, she started furiously searching for the nipple and TDH said to let her drink because she enjoys it so much. My objection was the poop risk. 

Oh well. I will wash my hair tomorrow then….

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Posted by on May 8, 2016 in Busy Baby, Dear Diary


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I’m somebody’s mother….

I’m somebody’s mother….

… It’s very real!

Busy Baby (BB) was born on March 5. She was born at home, she came too quickly for us to make it to the hospital. Or, we weren’t willing to try and make it as I was 9cm dilated when the midwife came. I’m forever grateful for my midwife!! 

Having BB was the hardest thing I have ever done. She’s 6 weeks old tomorrow. And yes, I do love her. She’s doing well and I am recovering like a champ. The reality of being a new mother isn’t something anyone could have ever prepared me for. Pregnancy and childbirth -even an unmedicated birth like mine- are the easy part. 

At first it’s surreal. And painful. They put her on me and left her there till after she nursed. My head couldn’t wrap itself around it: this pink slippery thing, covered in vernix, amniotic fluid and a bit of my blood was my daughter. The pain was worst on the second day: muscles hurt, I had 4 stitches in my underworld (given my push time of 12 minutes for a first baby it could have been so much worse)… And my pelvic floor was both useless and painful. It took me a few days to be able to walk down the stairs! 

We had a postpartum nurse. That’s one of the best parts of Dutch maternity care: you get a nurse for 8 days post partum, who is at your house for 6 hours a day. She was lovely. And she took good care of us, and taught us stuff about BB without being pushy. 

Still. Between hormones (Hello Baby Blues) and adjusting to having a newborn who is completely dependent upon you… I cried about every other day. There were times when I just wanted to leave. Or throw her in the bin almost. It was almost too much for me to bear. I felt trapped: all I did was mother this little monster. Remember, I am used to working hard. And here I was, nursing and doing nothing else. It got better after I got sick when she was 3 weeks old. I was so scared that she would get sick too. Breast milk protected her. I started feeling that motherly love then. 

Don’t worry. She still drives me nuts ever so often. I don’t know how she knows to start crying just as I want to get something to eat. Or how it’s even possible that she wants to be held the entire day. 

I don’t think anyone can prepare you for the reality of breastfeeding. It was hell in the beginning. I was crying from the pain, and everyone has something to say. It got better. Mostly it’s easier than formula. Just whip out a boob and baby is happy. 

I didn’t expect to be closer to my mum after having a baby. She’s the only one who could relate to my breastfeeding issues. That, and she’s in love with BB. Of course, BB already knows to behave with her grandma and saves her drama for us. 

TDH is a fantastic father. I can’t imagine doing this without him. He bathes her, takes care of her when I want to go out or simply because he’s her dad. He changes nappies, talks to her, plays with her and feeds her bottles of pumped milk. 

Nobody really warned me about the confusion associated with the various parenting maffias. I just want to know how to get something done. I don’t believe there is a ‘best’ way for most things. It started when I emailed the breastfeeding centre to ask about a pump… And getting a telling off as a response: not supposed to pump in the first six weeks, and if it’s necessary I need to rent a hospital grade pump. Oh glory. It won’t end any time soon. It’s impossible to find straight forward information on anything. And I simply don’t have the patience to do hour long searches on dummies or deal with people who are shocked that I give her 100ml in a bottle if she’s that hungry. 

Oh. I also didn’t fully realise what a post partum body would be like. I knew, I am a doctor. But never during the phase of “yay no periods for 9 months” did I realise I’d have a period for 6 weeks to make up for that. Or, how painful ill-fitting bras can be in the early weeks of breastfeeding…. And how impossible it is to find comfortable ones if you ended up with a 32H… Or how you still don’t fit in normal clothes…. Despite looking like you should. Oh. Did I mention there’s milk coming out of my boobs? And I am hungry all the time? 

It’s as if I am only fully ‘grown up’ after having BB. It has changed me. As if it’s in my nature as a woman to be a mother. If that makes sense. 

Little BB, TDH and I are figuring out this whole thing.  For the past 6 weeks I only thought ‘never again’. But we survived, and who knows, we might even be stupid enough to do it again. 

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Posted by on April 15, 2016 in Busy Baby, Random, Relationships


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Third Trimester

So we’ve reached 33 weeks of pregnancy. I’m 13 kilo’s heavier, tire halfway through what I’d normally be able to do, and can still wear my engagement ring. I’d want to post more often, but work and everything, you know.

The ring, by the way, is not entirely accurate any more. TDH and I got married on January 5th, without a wedding. We went to the town hall (of another town) at 9:15 in the morning, me wearing a black pregnancy number, and got married for free. Don’t worry, there will be a party. I suppose that makes me Mrs Darling-Dark Handsome. I didn’t think that one through when I came up with the nicknames.

The Busy Baby is still alive and kicking and growing so fast now. She’s head down and tends to drop in, only to un-drop a few days later. You’d think I’d have some extra space when she drops… but you haven’t met my daughter. Whenever there is some extra space, she uses it to stretch her little legs a bit. I’m pretty sure she has my endless legs!

My maternity leave starts in a week and I am looking forward to it. Work is getting exhausting and I am beginning to feel out of place. I just want to go home and make our little nest. Our messy home is irritating me, and I want to search for the ‘perfect’ stuff for my little lady. Baby’s room isn’t really done yet, but we have a bed so that counts. We also have about 100 nappies… all gifted. I didn’t think this part of pregnancy would actually happen to me!

Otherwise I am doing well. The midwife was surprised to see how well I was holding up, given my history, she even called me a ‘power lady’. Perhaps I am just good at this, perhaps I have been through enough to be able to handle this. Perhaps you really do come out stronger? My mood is actually stable and in general I feel good. Some things are actually better now than during my second trimester: I am only doing day shifts which has a great effect on my sleep quality and my alertness, I am actually feeling some of my familiar restlessness again. I’m walking easier now, I suppose my stretchy joints and muscles gave their problems early enough in pregnancy to allow for my body and my muscles to adapt and get stronger. Even my reflux isn’t as bad as it was.

Of course, some things are worse than they were: my belly is pretty big! The floor is getting further away every day and that doesn’t combine too well with pregnancy related clumsiness! Seriously, I’ve dropped my phone perhaps once or twice before pregnancy. Now it gets dropped about daily! Shoes are getting harder to put on too… And sleeping is sometimes a bit challenging. I wake up several times each night, but so far so good.

Another up side of pregnancy: most pregnant women suffer from pregnancy brain…. with me I’m not sure if it’s pregnancy or ADHD but it’s not worse than I normally am! Except people can’t tell the difference and for once in my life I am ‘normal’! (And that strong nesting drive is sort of helping me focus…)

TDH is being very caring, but impatient for his little princess to arrive. He is, like many dads, worrying about money and providing. He wants his business to thrive so he can provide. It’s just very interesting to see how this works: the initial plan was for me to provide and him to be the primary caregiver, but as it is at the moment we’ll be working equal hours. He is also very much in love with BB’s crib mobile… but doesn’t understand my drive to want to make everything pretty.

That drive is rather simple. Style and creativity is a part of who I am, and I don’t feel like myself in all of this. I know motherhood changes you, but I want to make things look good, and I want to look good and I want to make the baby look good because it makes me feel more ‘home’. I need that ‘X factor’. I miss that part of me. And the mismatching nappy bag and pram irritates me.



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Posted by on January 23, 2016 in ADHD in women, adult ADHD, Busy Baby, Health


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Pram perils and other preparations

Pram perils and other preparations

Third trimester is here, which means Busy Baby is growing fast and the due date is no longer a vague distant future thing. I’m 28 weeks today and I want to have everything ready before 38 weeks, given the family history of fast baking ovens. The little lady is alive and very much kicking. It’s going to be weird to have my belly stay in one place again!

TDH and I are starting to prepare for things. We’ve been doing so for a few weeks, taking things easy. The nursery is painted, we’ve received and borrowed a bunch of baby stuff and bought a few things. The nursery may be painted, but actually it’s still filled with the sofa and TDH’s computer. The sofa can only get out of there once we removed the old sofa from the living room, which we will do as soon as we figured out where to make a play area for the pet rat. The rat hangs out on the old sofa… Life is complicated. 

Another complicated thing is the combination of our house and getting in and out and around with a mini me. I don’t think I ever sketched our situation! We live in one of the bigger cities of the country, in a ‘bovenwoning’ built in the 1930s. Essentially this comes down to an apartment on the 2nd floor with no lift. Instead, we have a charming set of stone stairs leading to the front door of our and 3 neighbours’ front doors. Behind our front door we have a tiny (80cm wide!) hall and another set of narrow stairs, leading to the rest of our home. I’ll get to the rest of that later.  We decided to tackle this combining a lightweight, compact travel system and baby wearing. 

I still haven’t decided how to go about the baby wearing, given how expensive proper ergonomic stuff is. The pram, however, is finally sorted out. We needed something compact and lightweight with a carry cot that can easily be removed. Oh, and not too expensive. Regardless of the space in our house and the boot of our Nissan Micra, a wide pram is impractical in European cities. 

So we looked up stuff about prams, drove to two large baby stores and tried out a few dozen prams. The idea was to buy second hand. We had one winner, and one runner up. The winner was the Maxi Cosi Stella, at some point I even used it to compare the others to. The runner up was an X-adventure pram which I couldn’t find online really. 

So we set out to get a second hand Stella. 

And discovered that we fell in love with the newest, fresh off the press model. (Two weeks ago a sales lady told me the red one was already sold out…). It also happens to cost 750 euros. Which is too much for something you’re going to use far less than average because it still is far easier to tie the baby to your body than it is to dismantle and reassemble the pram every time you leave or come home. I know you can use the pram till they’re at least 2, but a lightweight stroller makes far more sense for us! I don’t mind an investment, but it has to make sense!

TDH found brand new discontinued Maxi Cosi prams online. We thought about it, weighed the pros and cons, and ordered the Maxi Cosy Streety Plus. (As a gift from the Handsome grandparents for Busy Baby!) It is a discontinued model, and we got it for the same price we would pay for a second hand one. It was a bit scary: you don’t really know what you’re getting!

It arrived yesterday. 

It’s red!

And I am pretty excited about it. It’s actually pretty comparable to the Stella in functionality. The Stella is a bit prettier, lighter and probably has better wheels (which are still available) but we can buy at least 3 Streetys for the price of one Stella and it’s almost as good as the Stella. We tested the Streety on the pavement. I could easily get it up and down the stairs, and push it around. Kerbs were no issue. I even tested it in the house, it’s promising for shops when we actually use it. Let’s just hope it lasts!

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Posted by on December 19, 2015 in Busy Baby


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Pregnancy and ADHD…

You know that thing called pregnancy brain? You know that thing called ADHD?

In general, my state is the love child of the two of them. I feel hazy most of the time. I lose time, not knowing where it went and what I did with it. I forget things. I have trouble getting anything significant done. I am distracted.

And my hyperactivity is nowhere to be found. I feel hazy and a bit lethargic. I’m more tired than usual, I suppose that’s part of the why.

Class is a nightmare. I spend the day just trying to not fall asleep or fall off my chair. I can’t focus one bit.  Their way of educating me is still not a way in which I can learn… and I leave with muscle aches and a horrible mood.

I mean, I don’t want to complain too much and generally my mood is good, but there’s just this one part that is frustrating.

Next time I’m going to make sure to enter pregnancy with a better level of physical fitness.

Next time I’m going to have more of a plan set up before hand. Hah. Hah. Hah.

Next time I probably won’t be working irregular shifts though, that will help a lot.

Irregular shifts don’t help me at all, despite not doing nights. Having to plan every single day doesn’t work for me. I need some sort of structure in my week, so I can spend my scarce mental focus doing more important things than figuring out how and when I’m going to get my exercise in this week, for example, because most of my options are screwed over because of work.

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Posted by on November 23, 2015 in ADHD, ADHD in women, adult ADHD, Busy Baby, Work


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A Supergirl!

A Supergirl!

The Busy Baby is a girl. 

Daddy’s little princess and mum’s supergirl. 

I’m having a little girl. I’m thrilled. Not that I wouldn’t have liked a boy too, but it’s a girl and I am happy about it. Then I realised what a responsibility raising a girl is. I think many people think of girls as soft and pink and sweet (have you seen baby stores and even toy stores?). Thing is: I know better. This little lady will look at me to see what being a woman is. She will come into a world where she is still told -more than boys- to be the princess. It’s up to us to teach her that princesses grow up to be queens, and that boys play super heroes but girls can be super heroes. And also that she doesn’t have to be a super hero. It also means I have to model healthy womanhood to her, despite my history of anorexia and other stuff. I don’t want her to have to go through that. I can feel her ‘presence’, sort of how you know someone is in the room without looking. I think she’s a strong one. Raising a strong girl is going to be a tough but rewarding task. 

I bought her her first skirt, because I felt like I had to. Everyone else will be dressing my child for the first 6 months or so! It’s dark grey with bright flowers and she won’t fit it as a newborn. Skirts and dresses are fun! I was a but disappointed in Dutch brand Lief! They used to sell pink baby clothes that said ‘lief!’ (sweet) on them for girls and ‘stoer’ (tough) for boys in bright light blue. They no longer have them. From the moment I first saw them, I wanted to dress my future baby girl in a ‘stoer’ shirt. Because girls are tough and because it’s fun. 

Announcing the gender to the future grandparents was fun. We had a get together with both sets and I made very very pink cupcakes that were white on the outside. (I forgot to take a pic of them!) I had to search the entire city for food colouring because essentially the Dutch don’t know how to kitchen. When I found it I went for light pink but it was a tad stronger than I thought so I ended up with raspberry pink cupcakes and a small cake (recipe was enough for a small cake, it said…). Anyhow. My mum was harassing me about the gender since we had the sonogram and begged for a cupcake all the way to TDH’s parents’ place. She was so disappointed when I finally unpacked white cupcakes!  Everyone was excited to discover that she’s a girl. Not that everyone needed a pink and white cupcake to know the gender: TDH’s mum had already bought a girls’ romper suit!
And this is me at 20 weeks.  



Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Busy Baby


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