Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Happy 2nd Birthday!

BiP just celebrated her 2nd birthday.

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since she arrived and changed our lives forever.

To celebrate I’ve decided to write her a letter, daddy did it last year!

In a few years she’ll be able to read it for herself.

To my darling BiP! 

Happy 2nd birthday darling!  

I had no idea you’d change my life so much. You are my shining light. You are truly my proudest achievement! 

You are a little girl now. No longer a baby. 

And what a character you have! You are really cheeky monkey. You are fearless and agile, you clearly get that from your Daddy

You speak more now, mostly in French which means I have to get up to speed with my own French. You understand both English and French perfectly which is astounding how you are bilingual already! 

Your smile is infectious – your chipped front tooth horrified me at first, but now it suits you. In a few years it will fall out and I hope you take better care of your new tooth 🙂

You still have barely any hair – it looks like it will be really curly. I blame myself because I saw a 2 year old with the same amount of hair when I was pregnant with you and commented that it was a bit odd. LOL! 

Over the last few months you decided you no longer wanted to wear diapers – I guess all the Elimination Communication paid off as you made the decision to only wear “pantpies”.

You are a serious foodie like your parents – perhaps it’s thanks to Baby-Led Weaning. The more spiced up the better for you even if you demand “burger’ and ‘baby-pasta” all the time.

To the horror of a few you are still breastfeeding. You decided on your 2nd birthday that you prefered a book over a cuddle and feed with Mummy. That’s ok, you are growing up. I am delighted that a year on that we can still say that we will wean when WE want to. Although I think you will probably decide before I’m ready. When that day comes I am ready.

Happy 2nd Birthday BiP!

We love you more than words can ever describe.

Mummy xxx 

Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: SINGAPORE

having a baby in Singapore

Crystal's daughters

This week I talk to Crystal who is American. She shares her experience of having baby in the USA and in Singapore as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. Here is her story:


Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old are your children and where did you have them?

I’m 33, and when I’m not doing the wife/mom thing, I give workshops and write about sexuality during pregnancy as well as reconnecting with yourself and your partner after baby. I also love to write fiction, do photography, and bake.

My husband is a 35 year old fellow American (of Indian descent), and although he’s lived abroad many times before (as a child and as an adult), this is my first posting abroad (other than a highly structured program for one month in college). We’ve been married about five and a half years, and have two daughters; Elanor (3) and Rhiannon (born October 2011). Ravi and I are both from Massachusetts, and had been based out of the greater Boston area on and off since we were each in college in the late 90’s/early 00’s.

Elanor was born in our hometown of Boston, Massachusetts in the US and Rhiannon was born in Singapore, where we currently live.

Why did you have your children abroad?

This was an incredibly difficult decision for me to make. I agonized over the choice because Elanor became deathly ill after her birth, and we don’t have answers as to why she got as sick as she did. I’m also high risk (diabetic with pregnancy, and I was in the early stages of developing pre-eclampsia when we elected to induce Ellie’s birth). I knew that my care would require a lot of bells and whistles, and I just wasn’t sure I could find or felt confident about here in Singapore. However, I was very lucky to find a great OB who was willing to email with my OB in the states and adapt my care to simulate what I would have gotten back home (the same tests, the ante-natal assessments, etc). I was given a very thorough private tour of the hospital where I delivered, and they assured me that again, they could customize my care to meet my concerns.


Finally, giving birth in the US would have separated our family for 5 or more months as I can’t fly after 32 weeks, and the baby would need to be 6 weeks old to fly (or older, as getting a passport would have been a much slower process in the US than it was in Singapore). We were willing to do so if my condition had ever indicated that the US was where I needed to be, but thankfully while not an easy pregnancy, I remained stable enough to deliver in Singapore, and to remain with my husband and elder daughter while waiting for the younger to arrive.


What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?

In Singapore, once you find the right provider (I went through 5 OB’s–I found that the older, male OB’s in particular were very authoritarian and were not forthcoming with information—my OB is a younger woman, which I think had a lot to do with our connection and her flexibility), the care you receive is incredibly personal and customizable. Few people have insurance, so there’s no one dictating how frequently you see your OB, how often you get an ultrasound, or exactly what tests you HAVE to have. It’s between you and your provider to decide.


I think what blew me away the most was how personal the care was. When I needed to be rehydrated (I had hyperemesis and threw up constantly), I just went to my OB’s office and she inserted the IV herself. When I had a fall and needed to go see labor and delivery triage, she came in from home to check on me and the baby herself. There was never any question if she’d be the one to deliver my baby once she checked her calendar to ensure she wouldn’t be out of town near my due date. When my condition warranted close monitoring, we didn’t have to argue with “policy”–we just agreed that I would be seen more often. When I was hospitalized for early labor, and again after my daughter was born, my doctor dropped by my room daily (sometimes twice daily). I never questioned who would deliver my baby, or who would look after me…I knew it would be the doctor I’d picked and felt safe with.


As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?

Like I said, I had a lot of initial anxiety. Boston is known for being one of the best places to receive medical care in the world, and having had a medical pregnancy, I was worried that I couldn’t get the level of care in Singapore that I’d become accustomed to in Boston. Imagine my surprise, then, that by the end of the pregnancy there were plenty of things I liked *better* about Singaporean care!


The OB I chose allowed me to have a lot of say in my care. This had its pluses (such as specifying which ante-natal tests I wanted) and its minuses (when we were deciding when to induce, I would have preferred less say and more objective science as to whether or not I should deliver on a given day). She was also really awesome about letting my former OB in the US have a lot of say regarding testing, and she also was given input when my condition began to deteriorate and we were making the decision regarding how much longer to allow my pregnancy to progress (I had Rhiannon at 35w 3d because of pre-eclampsia).


Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?

Well, I did get in trouble with an auntie (older woman) one time when I was visibly pregnant for drinking iced water. Many Asian cultures (including the Chinese, whom are the dominant ethnic group in Singapore) believe that pregnant women should only drink warm water, and that cold water is bad for you.


I’m also flouting convention a bit in not staying home for the first month after having a baby, and I’ve had strangers tell me that I have no business being out with the baby so soon. There’s a local practice called the “confinement month” where a confinement nurse comes over and prepares special foods for you and gives personal care to help restore balance to the body. I think there are aspects of the confinement month that are really cool (such as the only thing you should be doing is bonding with your baby) but there’s plenty that just doesn’t vibe with my American ways (not washing your hair for 40 days? No thanks!).

Breastfeeding is not popular in Singapore, where in the US there’s almost the suggestion that you’re a bad mom for not breastfeeding (which was hard for me as my breastfeeding relationship with Elanor didn’t work out). This has pluses and minuses. If you’re ambivalent about nursing or if you don’t want to/can’t, there isn’t all the mommy judgment and attitude that gets thrown your way in the US. As a mom who was on the receiving end of that judgment (Elanor couldn’t nurse for a long list of reasons) I was relieved to know that I would be spared that this time around if things didn’t work out with Rhiannon and breastfeeding. On the flip side, as a mom who *does* breastfeed my daughter, it was really frustrating to have nurses at the hospital suggest formula to help with weight gain and blood sugar, when both were within the acceptable limits of our pediatrician. There is support, but you have to really seek it out, which might make it tougher for women who don’t have as supportive a pediatrician as we do (she’s a mom who breastfed both her boys for over 2 years each).


There’s not the culture of fear in Singapore that there is in the US. I went home while pregnant (while some stuff about Singapore rocks, the markup on baby stuff does not…I made a special trip home to stock up on things that were too expensive or that I couldn’t find here…) and I was taken aback at the culture of fear in the US surrounding parenting. All of those “THINGS THAT ARE HURTING KIDS on News at 11” and the constant news about toy recalls (I haven’t heard about ONE recall since we moved here), and articles about all the things I should be worried about was pretty exhausting. I remember being annoyed by it when I lived there, but after being absent form it, it was really overwhelming. I like that in Singapore there’s this basic assumption that your kids are going to be fine (okay, they’re a bit nuts about extra schooling and that sort of thing, but we’re still a few years away from that).


The thing that’s been hardest to adjust to, though, is that Singapore is very much a closed society in some regards. There are very strict gender roles and not a lot of acceptance for homosexuality. We are very liberal on these issues, and when I found out I was having another girl, I was relieved…my husband has long hair, but if a son of ours wanted long hair as well, he get in trouble in school for it! I have a lot of LGBT friends and I identify as bi-sexual myself…I definitely worry about the impact of living in a homosexuality-negative country if either of my girls turned out to be lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. We make a point of reading LGBT friendly books to the girls, and emphasizing that they can love whomever they want (which might sound silly given their ages) because it’s important to us to pass along these values, which are not consistent with our current home country.


What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?

I think finding the right OB is the most important thing here in Singapore. Knowing what you want and discussing those goals with the OB up front is very important. Making sure that you’re informed about what all of your choices are and then advocating for yourself is important, regardless of where you give birth. Once you find the right person to work with, it’s a great country in which to give birth.

Crystal is a wife and mom who writes and does part time sexuality education. Someday, when she has “free time,” she’d love to go back to school and learn to be a pastry chef just for fun…a desire influenced by far too many hours spent watching cake making shows on Food Network. She writes about life in Singapore, her adjustment to the expat life, and her two girls on her Blog. You can also follow her on Twitter.



Want to share your story? Get in touch: ameena@mummyinprovence.com

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Special Breastfeeding Comments

Here is my 5 minute brain dump as part of this great series. Here goes …

I’ve had my fair share of “special” comments over the last 18 months regarding breastfeeding. Some are more “special” than others:

  • Someone dared to say that formula was “far superior” to my breast milk (BiP was 6wks old)
  • “You are making her needy by not giving her the bottle” (BiP was 8 weeks old)
  • I’ve been told that I was only breastfeeding my baby for my selfish wants and needs (BiP was 3m old)
  • Apparently I was “abnormal” to be still breastfeeding a baby of 8 months (thank you ultrasound lady)
  • When BiP was approaching her first birthday a lot said that “I’ve done my bit but enough’s enough”

Now most people don’t bother saying anything – I’m a lost cause.

My favourite recent comment actually can from a guy and I’m putting in bold because I think it’s “great“:

“Umm … isn’t BiP a bit too old to still be breastfed? I mean, I’d get it if she was a boy”

What do you say to that? *insert eye roll*

There, I promised you a “special” comment.

Any of your own you’d like to share?


This is my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post at all.things.fadra.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Excusez-moi Madame? Where are you from?

breastfeeding in franceToday BiP had an appointment at the pediatricians. It was just a general check up.

In France there are a number of required check ups and this was BiP’s 16 month check up (she’s 17 months old now).

We saw a different pediatrician from our usual one because I’d discovered he was possibly more pro-breastfeeding than my regular pediatrician. As I’ve written before, breast isn’t always best if you live in France. So it’s important for me to find someone supportive.

Everything was going great until the subject of vitamins came up. He said it was time BiP took some different vitamins which were to be dissolved in a bottle of juice or milk.

The following conversation is translated from French (obviously) –

Me: “But BiP doesn’t drink juice or milk”

Pediatrician: “WHAT? What does she drink then?”

Me: “Water?”

Pediatrician: “But what does she drink for MILK?”

Me: “Umm, she drinks my milk”

Pediatrician: “STILL?!?” He shrieks, almost falling off his chair.

Me: “Yes, I have no good reason to stop, she loves it.”

Pediatrician: rubs his forehead “What about yogurt?”

Me: “No, she doesn’t eat yogurt.”

Pediatrician: “Why?”

Me: “Well, I believe that cows milk is for baby cows” (I couldn’t find the word for calf in French) “AND my milk is for MY baby”

Pediatrician: SIGHS Loudly “Excuse me Madame? Where are you from?”

Me: “I’m half English, half Egyptian”

Pediatrician: Nods knowingly “Ok, good. See you next time!”

I guess my ridiculous answers come from the fact that I am OBVIOUSLY not French!

The experience reminded me of a clip from the movie Grown Ups … Check it out …

Are Hospital Goodie Bags Sabotaging Breastfeeding?

Are the freebies you are given in hospital when your baby is born sabotaging breastfeeding?

Some people are campaigning for hospitals to remove the freebies new mother’s are given when they have their baby.

Free things for the babySo, what are usually contained in these goodie bags?

  • Free diapers
  • Free samples of baby wash
  • Formula samples and/or coupons
  • Coupons for other baby products

Some say the formula coupons and samples are sabotaging breastfeeding. I’m not so sure.

I could argue that giving free diapers is also sabotaging cloth diapering. Is it?

As new mothers we do have the right to choose. We also have the obligation to educate ourselves about breastfeeding.

Personally I was given a lot of formula coupons – in France formula feeding is the norm. Did these coupons ever entice me? No. Did I keep them? No.

Did I read about breastfeeding? Yes.

Even in France where the number of women breastfeeding past 3months is the lowest in Europe (in spite of having the highest birthrate) there were free classes provided by midwives on breastfeeding leading up to the birth.

We have access to information. A lot of information.

Shouldn’t we be educating pregnant mothers about breastfeeding rather than blaming the hospitals for giving goodie bags?

Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: INDIA

Having baby abroad indiaThis week I talk nmaha who is Indian but grew up in Dubai and had her daughter in India as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. She talks about the differences and the similarities between having a baby in Dubai vs. India. Here is her story:

Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old is your daughter and where did you her?

I’m a Chartered Accountant and currently run a healthcare business with my husband. Though I’m basically from India, I spent the first 24 years of my life in the Middle-East (Dubai) and still consider it my home. I have one daughter (she turned three in April this year) who I had in India.

Why did you have your daughter abroad?

Technically, India isn’t abroad for me, however, all the birth stories I could relate to were based in the Gulf. My mom had my brother there, 20 odd years back, and all my friends (the ones who had children at that point) had delivered their babies there as well.

I had initially planned to have the baby in Dubai, however, the logistics of having my husband there were too many and we finally opted for India as the more viable option.

What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?

Well, the one glaring benefit was the focus on a natural birth. Of all the stories I had heard, the common factor seemed to be that any delay in a delivery in the Middle-East resulted in an induction at a minimum or a C-section. They didn’t give the natural route too much off a chance. (I did end up having to be induced, but that was after two days of no progress.)

As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?

Well, back in Dubai most working women actually work till their delivery date. Expecting mothers also drive themselves around till they need to go to the hospital. It’s completely acceptable and even encouraged. In India, I was forced to work from home for the last month and a half, even though I refused to completely stop working. (What would I do with all that free time). Plus, I had to stop driving on the day my pregnancy was confirmed! I ended up feeling extremely claustrophobic and a little big smothered.

Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?

Like I discussed before the approach to pregnancy and parenting is a lot more wholesome in India. It’s an advanced version of the modern attachment parenting style. The doctors are also a whole lot more laid-back and prefer to let nature run it’s course.

I have a diagnosed back problem and on good days suffer from serious back-pain. Anticipating the difficulties of a natural delivery (which I wanted), I pre-warned the doctor that I would need an epidural and my husband even signed on the forms in advance. I was in labour for about 2 days and by the time they got round to putting in the epidural, it was too late to administer it. I had the most excruciating delivery back-pains.

The natural approach to parenting also meant that I wasn’t given much choice about breast-feeding. For seven months I exclusively breastfed my daughter with no supplements, not even water! Though it was great for mother-daughter bonding, I was physically drained by the end of each day. Plus, we followed an on demand feeding schedule that finally left me feeling depressed.

I also co-slept with the baby, which had me up at all hours worried that I would suffocate her, though I loved the extra cuddle time.

On the good side, with all that breast-feeding I lost all my baby weight within 6 weeks of delivery! I also had the benefits of a masseuse who came home everyday and a physio-therapist who helped me strengthen my post-delivery body pretty quickly.

People here expect the father to relax and visit the child at fixed times, rather than playing an active role in childcare. My husband had to jump over hurdles when he wanted to help me out and share some of the responsibility.

What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?

Do your research before you make any decisions on pregnancy, birthing or parenting. There are innumerable methods and options out there and every opinion has an alternative, even your doctor’s. Be a 100% comfortable with your choices and don’t let people tell you that the child is primarily the mother’s responsibility. Keeping it natural is great (and I wouldn’t have changed to much), however, there is no ultimate right or wrong way, each child and mother is different.

Follow nmaha’s blog



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Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: AUSTRALIA and UNITED KINGDOM

having a baby in IndiaThis week I talk Mrs B who is Estonian and had first son in Australia and her second in the UK as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. She talks about the differences and the similarities between Estonia, Australia and the UK. Here is her story:

Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old are your children and where did you have them?
I am from Estonia, but at the age of 17 I won a scholarship to study in the States for a year and my expat life started.  Now 18 years later, I have lived in the US, Germany, Australia and since early 2006 in the UK (interestingly, this is the first time I’ve done the math and as a result realised that I have now been away from Estonia for longer than I lived there – time flies!).

I studied languages but have been working in web development for the past 10 years.  At the moment I work 4 days a week in the city while my live-in mother looks after my two sons, my 6-year old who was born in Australia and my 2-year old who was born in the UK.

Why did you have your children abroad?
I had my first son in Australia because I had lived there for 5 years by then, had an Aussie husband, felt very comfortable with the system and travelling to Estonia for the birth was just not an option due to the distance.

My second son was born after we’d been living in London for 4 years.  Knowing what a busy and overcrowded city it is, I did think about travelling to Estonia for more one-on-one attention pre- and post birth, but in the end I decided to stay here to make sure that my husband wouldn’t miss the birth.


having a baby in Australia and UK

Mrs B's sons

What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
Compared to Estonia, I’m glad that both countries that I’ve given birth in let me work until 2 weeks before the birth.  In Estonia women go on maternity leave 70-30 days before the due date meaning they HAVE TO stay at home from 36 weeks.  I would have been so bored and anxious sitting at home all that time, I think being busy and active as long as possible is much nicer.

I think that it’s also less stressful to have a baby in the country that you live in, that way you don’t have to travel with a young baby and there’s no stress of having to get a passport quickly to be able to go back “home”, etc.

As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?

I consider myself lucky to have had my first child in Australia.  Australians are very much into natural delivery and breastfeeding, and felt that I received a lot of very useful information and guidance throughout my pregnancy.  Once I was in labour, the midwives were exceptionally encouraging and calming.  I sent them both a huge bouquet of flowers afterwards, they made me feel very special.

After the birth they visited my room often to ensure that breastfeeding was going well, offering to help almost at every feeding.  Also, I was very happy that I was able to stay in the hospital for 4 days and that by the time I went home, the feeding was going well.

Once I was at home, I visited the local baby clinic almost every week initially.  It was a great environment to have a bit of one-on-one time with the nurse and get reassurance that everything was alright.

In England the situation was a bit different.  Every step of the way I felt like I was on a conveyor belt, being rushed through every appointment.  Thankfully I was having my second child so I didn’t mind too much because I was already equipped with a lot of information.

However, my second birth didn’t go very well at all. There is no point in blaming the country or the system, perhaps the planets just didn’t align that day.  Even after the long and traumatic birth, the aftercare was minimal.  That could have been because I had had my second one and maybe the opinion was that I didn’t need any support as I’d done it all before.  I really missed being able to stay in the hospital for more than 24 hours, the personal aftercare appointments and the general natural/breastfeeding promoting/baby wearing attitudes of the Aussies.

Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
As mentioned already, Australia and Estonia are both very breastfeeding friendly.  The UK doesn’t seem to be there yet and it really saddens me when a new mother is not guided enough to establish breastfeeding before she leaves the hospital.

My boys were both born with tongue ties so feeding them was a bit tricky in the beginning.  Thankfully I had been taught a good method in Australia so by the time I got annoyed looks by the UK midwives for holding my second son in the “wrong position” I just told them to bugger off (as nicely as I could a day after giving birth 🙂 )

In regard to the tongue ties, in Estonia they would have probably be snipped at birth, just like they snipped my own when I was born.  Neither in Australia nor in the UK though did they think that was necessary.  I would have preferred for this minor surgery to be performed as soon as possible, I wasn’t keen to wait and see whether they’d have speech problems.  I couldn’t find a willing surgeon to perform these simple snips in neither country though so the boys had their tongues fixed in Estonia during our visits. We waited perhaps a bit too long with the oldest as he did require speech therapy later on.

What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
If giving birth in Australia, I would recommend going private – it does not cost very much if you have private health insurance (which almost everyone does have over there) and it ensures that you have your own room and can stay for up to 5 days.  I would also recommend going to the antenatal classes, even if you’ve had kids before in other countries – the information they share there about you anatomy and the process of labour was excellent and very useful once in labour.

After birth, definitely visit the baby clinics and the new mother’s groups that are set up in your area.  They are both very nice and reassuring environments to ask questions, get help if needed or just vent.

If giving birth in the UK, I would recommend choosing the opposite – the midwife led programme.  I had chosen the obstetrician led program, simply because it seemed similar to the Australian system, but in the end it meant that the midwives changed very often (too often) during labour and since no one had seen me before I felt that they just rushed through their shift and treated me like a number.

If I ever have another child, I would choose the midwife option to establish a good relationship with the women who are going to help me labour.  Although, I might have to go to a completely new country to give birth altogether in since so far every single member of our family has their very own and different birth country 🙂

Mrs B has blogged at www.crankymonkeys.com/blog since she became a mother, writing about the good and the bad – severe sleep deprivation, “sleep schools” in Australia, sunny Aussie life, moving to the UK, travelling, job hunting, settling into the life of a working mom, missed miscarriage, secondary infertility and post-natal depression and lately more and more positive stuff.


You can also find Mrs B on Twitter


Want to share your story? Get in touch: ameena@mummyinprovence.com



Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: FRANCE

PigletinFrance and Baby PigletThis week I talk to Sharon who is British and had her baby daughter in France as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. She talks about the importance of family values in France, the challenges of breastfeeding past 3 months (it’s not really “done” in France and following your heart. Here is her story:


Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old is your daughter and where did you have her?
I’m a 30 year old British expat living in the North Isere, France with my French husband, my daughter and my two cats. I moved to France from the UK aged 16 as I was an Ice Dancer and Lyons had the best training facilities in Europe. It was daunting arriving in a foreign country alone so young, especially as I didn’t speak any French. However, I soon picked up the language skills and France became my home.

My daughter was born in Valence, France in April 2011. I was living in Lyon and had planned to give birth in the Croix Rousse Hospital in Lyon as it had an excellent reputation and many of my friends had given birth there. Unfortunately due to my Husband and I moving area and a delay in our house purchase, I was unable to give birth where I had planned and ended up having a very difficult birth and after birth in Valence’s public hospital which left me in bed for a month post partum.

Why did you have your daughter abroad?
I didn’t specifically choose to have my daughter abroad. Living in France happened naturally for me and it seemed logical to have my baby here. My Husband and I had spent a few years in the UK together long before we decided to have children and we had both said at the time that if we do have children one day we would like to raise them in France.

France places much more value on Family Values in my opinion than the UK does. I love how meal times are family affairs here and how frequently families get together and make efforts to stay in touch. My Husband and I are as close to some of his French family members as we are to our friends and we want that for our children as well. I know that parents influence the education of their children but I also believe culture does too and I really respect the French culture for the importance they place on family.

What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
Having moved to France at such a young age I consider that I already know some of the benefits as I’d experienced growing up in a foreign country myself. Access to a second language and different cultures for a child is fantastic and part of their life education. Aside from the benefits for my baby I don’t think there was really any benefit to me but that is probably because I had a very difficult birth experience and often when things go wrong you want to be in your own country.

As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
Initially, I was quite blasé about the whole thing and felt that the French placed a lot of drama around such a natural experience. Everything in France is very medicalised and I can remember being told off as I hadn’t had any check ups before my 12 week scan. I had opted not to have any early check ups as I had miscarried the year before and had been through a circus of check ups that led to nothing but stress. Some women find the constant check ups re-assuring but I chose to let nature decide what to do and was at peace with my decision but the Drs didn’t understand.
I also chose to be followed solely by a midwife rather than an Obstetrician which is rare in France and my French friends and family thought I was mad. Despite the difficulties I encountered with the birth and after birth (which were largely due to the medical incompetence of the Obstetrician) I am still happy with how I managed my pregnancy and would opt to be followed by a midwife again. I would even consider having a home birth which is quite rare in France.

Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
Aside from my choice of not wishing to have my pregnancy over medicalised, I haven’t encountered too many differences as yet as my daughter is still very young. A lot of my friends and French family seem surprised that I am still breastfeeding my daughter (she is 3 months old). It seems as if it is automatically assumed that she would be on formula by this age.

What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
Thankfully I am fluent in French so I was able to make my wishes understood but even then (especially after the birth whilst I was in dreadful pain) I sometimes wished I could explain how I felt and ask my questions in English, just for re-assurance that I was being understood. If you’re not fluent in the local language I would definitely recommend either finding a Dr that speaks your language or finding someone to help with translation.

Also, go with your heart. Just because something is the “done thing” in the country you’re giving birth in doesn’t mean to say it is the right or best thing for your baby. I do a lot based on instinct and will continue to do this as I have a contented baby so must be doing something right!


Connect with Sharon on Twitter and on facebook also check out her blog for, often hilarious, stories about living in France

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10 Truths about Breastfeeding a Toddler

www.growingyourbabyThis post was inspired by Jessica from TheLeakyBoob’s post on Toddler Breastfeeding – it was great to realise that I was not alone in finding breastfeeding a toddler an emotional roller-coaster; it’s harder than nursing a baby, it’s perhaps more rewarding and it really means you have to defend your position more than ever.

Many see it as crunch time for us … BiP is almost 15 months old, she has been walking for 4.5 months, she now suddenly has 12 teeth, she eats more than I do (seriously) and she can say “Mama”, “Daddy” and “A-BOOB”! Time to wean I hear people say! Well, I‘ve said we’ll wean when we want to before – here are 10 straight up home truths about breastfeeding a toddler:

1 – Your clothes need to be more easy access than ever as your begin to realise just how strong your dermined toddler is to get to the source. Necklines on your tops will be stretched beyond recognition if you do not oblige.

2 – Be prepared for raised eyebrows and the “you are STILL breastfeeding?” when you nurse in public.  You can tell people that it’s actually recommended by the World Health Organisation to breastfeed for 2 years.

3 – To prepare yourself for breastfeeding a toddler you might consider watching wrestling matches for some interesting holds. Exciteable toddlers want to run, jump, talk, laugh and feed at the same time. That’s a lot for one small nipple to handle.

4 – Get ready for the possible social embarrassment of your toddler asking to be fed. I have memories of one little girl screaming “I want BREASTY” in the middle of a supermarket. By now it’s too late to change the word for it – BiP already calls it “A-BOOB” and if I don’t give it to her I get “A-Boob-oob-oob-boob!” No one in our area of France knows what she is saying but I do find it funny and incredibly cute.

5 – The level of cute is so hard to describe. When BiP know’s she’s going to get her “A-Boob” she gasps in delight, sometimes even grabs the side of her head with excitement – It melts my heart. Every. Single. Time.

6 – It’s the best first aid kit in the world! Every toddler falls, some falls are more spectacular than others but one thing is guaranteed, no amount of cuddles, singing, distraction or chocolate will work as fast as the breast at calming a hurt toddler.

7 – Tantrum Free Zone … well, kind of. One of the best way of avoiding tantrums is to create a diversion or a distraction – yes, parenting a toddler seems to involve skills of a magician, a circus monkey and an acrobat. If you see a tantrum on the horizon breastfeeding your toddler can often avoid it altogether.

8 – Breastfeeding your toddler will not make them clingy or “needy”. What’s the big rush to make them super independent before their 2nd birthday anyway?

9 – Contrary to what many say, after 12 months your breast milk does NOT turn to water. The nutritional properties change but as KellyMom reports 448ml of breast milk contains over 60% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C plus many other nutritional benefits.

10 – Running around after a toddler is exhausting! But! Be prepared that every time you sit down your toddler will think that it’s time to feed!  Honestly, if it means I get to sit quietly for a few minutes let’s do it … here’s your A-Boob!

There are obviously so many more benefits to breastfeeding a toddler as outlined by La Leche League International but these are just some personal ones. At the end of the day our children grow up so fast – the bond a breastfeeding mother has with her child, no matter how long the journey is, is so special – for those of us who choose to continue remember, it’s YOUR child and YOUR breast.

What are you thoughts on breastfeeding a toddler? Have you done it? Are you doing it? Would you do it?