Would you… Express?

Hardly as controversial as the title sounds, today I’m looking for a bit of advice.

So far (10 weeks in,) I haven’t expressed any breast milk at all. I haven’t had any need to or wanted to really – I’m quite happy feeding her myself, although I can imagine I might have tried sooner if she wasn’t sleeping as well! The only thing that has tempted me is the thought of an ‘emergency’ and the benefits of having a stored milk supply. This week I also have a work meeting to attend in the evening which I will have to take Bea along to, and I’m starting to see how much easier it would be to be able to leave her with daddy for 2 hours, worry free.

I didn’t buy a pump at first as I knew I could buy one quickly if I needed it (I know some people use them early for babies that won’t latch properly, or to build supply etc…) and I planned to follow the advice on not expressing until your milk supply is stable. So now I have 2 questions: Can you recommend a pump and do you have any advice on when/how to pump and store/re-use?

I’m also thinking ahead a little here as Bea already refuses a dummy and I’m worried will refuse a bottle. It’s not an issue now but I will be going back to work at around 8 months and if all is well at that point with the breast feeding still, I would express at work for what she needs on top of solids she is taking. (I don’t even know anything about this! How much of her requirements would be met by food at this stage? I’m guessing not so much?) So I need her to be taking a bottle well before then to minimise back to work stress.

Thanks in advance for your advice and thoughts readers! :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Essentials for the first 6 weeks…

This is an epic post as an update to the one I wrote before Bea arrived. There’s a lot of information around on what you NEED for a baby and I thought it would be useful to document with what we managed with. These are the things we had and actually used for the first 6 weeks. Bookmark it for the future and if you are already a mum and can add an essential that you found invaluable (because this is what worked for us and I fully acknowledge everyone is different,) please do add it in the comments. I have linked to products we used and discussed what and why below.

Travelling
Car Seat
Car mirror for rear seat rest
Wrap Sling
Pram, plus 2 sheets that fit the pram
Changing bag
Giant muslins x 3 (ALDI)

Bathing
Baby Bath
Baby shampoo and body wash
Baby sponge
Baby towel (or hand towel)
Baby nail clippers or scissors (+/- hair brush)

Changing
Changing mat
Cotton wool pads (not pleats or balls)
Bowl for water
Nappies (6 x 24 lasted us 2 weeks)
WaterWipes for out and about

Clothes
Sleepsuits x 12 (2 x NEXT first size, 7 x JL/M&S newborn, 3 x NEXT 0-1m)
Short sleeve vests x 7 (H&M baby, George at ASDA, GAP)
For hospital: Hat for first 24h, optional scratch mitts.
Blankets: 1 for the pram, 1 for car seat, 1 for around the house. (But you could easily have the same one for all of these.)

Sleeping
Grobag Swaddle x1
2 x Cellular blankets (ALDI)
Crib/moses basket/cot
2 x fitted sheets for crib
Pampers Changemats

(Breast) Feeding
Breast Feeding App
Lansinoh Nipple cream
Lansinoh Breast Pads
Muslins x 11 (5x M&S, 6 x ALDI)

For you
Maternity pads
Giant knickers
Something to wear to feed in at night
H&M stretchy vests for day
Snacks
Braun Thermometer

Travelling
This really depends on what kind of person you are but if you were looking to save money you could make do with just a wrap sling. We also had the Ergobaby but this was invaluable and I would say should be a pre-baby purchase for all parents to be as it’s so useful around the house too. Don’t forget sheets for your pram (we did,) or we use giant muslins doubled over and tucked in like a sheet (as I still haven’t got around to buying more fitted sheets!)
A changing bag could be seen as a luxury but I love our Pacapod and it makes life so easy leaving the house when it is ready packed. I just empty and top it up when nappies have been used or clothes changed in the evening and when we need to go out we just pick it up and go.
We also found as soon as we were taking Bea out and about in the car we wanted a mirror to be able to check on her from the front seat while on the move. This one doubles as a seat back iPad holder for later!

Bathing
We didn’t bath Bea for 2 weeks (top and tailed instead,) and the first time we did was in the sink but I felt it was very hard for her to be lying in and as a result we have used the IKEA baby bath since, which she loves kicking around in. She has also been in the bath with me so you don’t ‘need’ a special bath, it’s just a preference. Also, you can use a baby bath anywhere (kitchen worktops, floor, the warmest room etc,) and we fill ours pretty deep to keep her warm and let her kick around, which would take a lot more water in the big bath. We forgot to buy baby wash stuff or a sponge which you obviously need, although you could use a soft flannel if you have one. Equally, you don’t ‘need’ a special baby towel but I included it here because I like the little hood on them that keeps their head warm as soon as they come out of the bath. :) Scissors or nail clippers are a must to avoid scratched faces! (We didn’t bother with scratch mitts as she didn’t need them but she did cut her face a couple of times grabbing her face until the nails were dealt with.) We also have a bath thermometer which I don’t feel I need to use but Pete much prefers to, so that’s an individual preference too.

Changing
You don’t need a changing mat but you do need something waterproof to put baby on to change them in case of sneaky wee’s when the nappy is off or nappy explosions! We opted for cotton wool pads to prevent cotton wool fluff getting in all the creases and WaterWipes were a saviour when out and about as they don’t irritate sensitive newborn bottoms yet make life super easy.

Clothes
We keep Bea in sleepsuits most of the time. As she was a summer baby we also used to dress her in bubble or romper suits a lot because it was hot and I thought they were super cute ;) She was 6lb 5oz when she was born, and even the tiny baby stuff was big on her. By 6 weeks she had grown out of those but she is still comfortably wearing her newborn and 0-1m size baby stuff and 0-3 is still drowning her (at her current weight of 9lbs). We had more sleepsuits than vests as we didn’t always use them, plus initially we needed to change her outer layer more often than the vest. You will probably need equal numbers for a baby at any other time of year though. As I said, we didn’t use scratch mitts, booties or socks as her feet were covered (all sleepsuits seems to have built in scratch mitts now too.) We used a hat in hospital for the first 24 hours only then it was too hot. It’s a little known fact (I think) that babies thermoregulate to the external temperature after 48 hours so don’t need to be wrapped in a million layers, plus not allowing them to overheat is part of the safe sleep guidance.
We had a lot of blankets as we bought 2, and were given some too. I love our aden + anais swaddle blanket which we don’t use for swaddling (although we could) but made a perfect blanket when it was warmer and we now use on the car seat. I prefer having a few as we spread them out on the floor to put her down and it saves hunting for ‘the blanket’ when you’re going out if there is always one ready.

Sleeping
For sleeping we use our Grobag Swaddle every night. We swaddle Bea under the arms as she doesn’t like having them tucked in and she kicks her legs free every night but it stays on her body and better than a blanket. At other times (when the swaddle is in the wash) we use a single cellular blanket doubled over and tucked in on all three sides. At almost 9 weeks, think we will be graduating to a Grobag at 3 months as she is almost getting too long for the swaddle.
One of my best discoveries has been Pampers Changemats (you can buy these in many forms, these are just the ones we picked up.) We kept having to wash our crib mattress cover (that zips off) along with the bedding as Bea would be a little bit sick in the night and we would find it wet. It was quite thick and took ages to dry so couldn’t be done in a day but then I found these lifesavers. Now we have them on the crib mattress and the pram and it means if she is sick we just change the sheet which is so much easier to dry quickly and replace.

Breast Feeding
I was told Lansinoh Breast pads were the best so bought them, but found out for myself when I forgot some on a trip home and had to buy Tesco’s own. It’s hard to explain the difference but I guess it’s the difference between an old fashioned or cheap sanitary towel and Always! They are more absorbent, don’t leak, stay put and keep you dry. Don’t bother with anything else! I had 2 tubes of Lansinoh cream and was very lucky in that I didn’t have any soreness so only used the cream after every feed for about 2 weeks, then morning and evening thereafter until about 2 weeks ago. Now I don’t use it at all and for that amount of use I’ve only gone through 1 tube, but I liked having one to hand in my BF box and one upstairs with the fresh pads.

I have put muslins in this category as I use them to tuck under my boob (between my folded down bra and skin) to catch dribbles and squirts when feeding. Realistically however you can use them for so many things – burp cloths, swaddles, blankets, to wipe up with… and my favourite use is in the cot or pram folded in half and tucked in across the head area, again to keep the sheet clean and swiftly/easily change instead of the whole sheet coming off. We only have 11 which has surprised some people but they drive me mad being all over the house so I have a system of replacing them daily (different patterns help to differentiate with this!) and keeping one on the bed upstairs and one with me downstairs, then one clean one in the changing bag although I often grab the one I have and take that out too. I find I’m washing that often that this is just enough, but I could easily use another 5, particularly when you have a day that burns through them with leaks and sick etc! The ALDI ones are actually softer but nothing beats aden + anais.
I haven’t expressed yet as I haven’t wanted or needed to and we didn’t buy a pump or bottles, and I can’t comment on the requirements for bottle feeding as obviously I have no experience of it!

For Mum
Lastly, there’s you to think about in those first few weeks too! I think it’s really tough planning what you will need as you don’t know how you will feel or what kind of delivery you will have. These are the things you will definitely need though. Big knickers are a must – probably labelled ‘full briefs’ I bought 8 pairs, 4 black and 4 patterned from Primark. You will need them if you end up with a C-section but you also need them for the giant maternity pads as they simply don’t fit normal knickers. Speaking of maternity pads, they’re not glamorous but they sure do work. They are extremely absorbent and without going into too much detail, I found when I really needed them they worked brilliantly, despite my skepticism and with no leakage despite their lack of ‘wings’. I bought Boots own.

In the day time, initially I lived in H&M mama or normal vests which I pulled down to feed in. Use a muslin to cover the top half of your boob and chest if you feel self conscious. You do need to give some thought to feeding at night though – I have been through a a variety of things – specially designed nursing nighties, stretchy nighties to pull down, crop top sports bra’s and just my normal nursing bra. My Boobs are still huge, and as a result the biggest problem I’ve had is keeping my boobs in place inside the bra (as I lie on my side,) so the pad can prevent leaking. The best thing for this has been my normal bra’s and a soft sports bra I have from Primark. I did buy their crop top style bra’s but they were far too small even in the large (I’m about a 34E currently.) On colder nights now I’m using low cut jersey tops pulled down over my usual bra. In the winter I imagine I’ll keep a cardigan to hand to throw over my shoulders or feed lying down.

I also added a baby thermometer here for 2 reasons. Number one, as a GP it drives me mad when people say their child is feverish or has a temperature when they haven’t actually checked it. Children feeling hot and having a temperature are 2 different things – a baby can feel hot but not have a temperature and vice versa so it’s worth being able to tell unequivocally one way or the other. Secondly, if you are nervous they are too hot (and I have even done this,) when you check their temperature it will give you instant peace of mind, or conversely alert you that they need medical attention.

As a last note, the absolute best thing you can give new parents is food. Bake a cake or take food with you to visit and don’t expect to eat it with them or bring things that still need cooking other than just shoving in the oven. Lasagna, cannelloni, shepards pie or similar are perfect. Think carby all-in-one meals that need minimum effort and perhaps consider avoiding spicy things – I haven’t had problems with Bea but some people feel spicy foods affect their breast milk and hence the baby’s digestive system too. I promise, nothing will be better received than a meal!

Please do add any essentials that you couldn’t have lived without if I haven’t included it here!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

2 months with Bea

Wow. Where did the last 8 weeks go? Seeing your little baby grow is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying – time is going so fast!

So much has changed already in the last month. Last time I updated you all Bea was a tiny newborn, all snoozy and helpless. In the last month she has grown feisty and smiley and like a tiny best friend I always have around. :)

I was recommended The Wonder Weeks App just after Bea was born and was a bit sceptical – it talks about babies all having developmental ‘leaps’ (where they learn how to do something new,) at certain ages. The night before Bea was 5 weeks she was way fussier than usual and fed more, in a really out of character way and I was clueless as to the cause. Then the next morning she woke up and smiled at me! It was the best thing ever and now Pete says he will do absolutely anything to make her smile. (I also bought the book but admit I haven’t had much chance to read it! – The Wonder Weeks. ) The smiles were a bit hit and miss at first but from 6 weeks we reliably get them every day, always best in the morning.

That 6 week mark was a real turning point for us. After the smiles started we noticed Bea seems so much more alert and awake. Now it’s like she sees us when she looks at us and she looks for my voice and smiles when she hears it. She’s so much more sturdy now and looks around all the time at things when we’re out and about. Her sleep patterns are changing too, with longer and longer stretches at night, we’re now onto one ‘night’ feed between 3 and 5am then another morning feed between 6 and 9am which is pretty great. Those long ‘wake’ periods she had in the night have also settled thankfully.

At 7 weeks we had to go for her first injection – in Manchester all babies get a BCG (TB vaccination) as newborns and I was surprisingly (to myself at least) nervous about it. The thought of my little baby being hurt was awful and she did cry, but it was over in a second and she settled straight away. I managed not to cry, but it was a close call!

At just 8 weeks now she seems so big (although she is still wearing all newborn or 0-1 month clothes.) She is so much more vocal about what she does and doesn’t like now – often whinging a bit when she needs a cuddle to get off to sleep. Her sleeping has got better and better and we have had 2 nights where she has slept straight through but to be honest I prefer when she doesn’t, as a ‘full night’ means she wakes at 7 after a late 11ish feed and I get less sleep in total that way. The first time gave me the fright of my life though when the alarm went off and I realised she hadn’t woken me at all! I’m also seeing daytime patterns emerge with 2 sleeps in the morning and 2 in the afternoon before what I call ‘the witching hour’ starts and the evening cluster feeding begins.

The other big change this month has been her interaction with Pete and I. Since Pete went back to work there is a definite difference in the way she responds to both of us and when she is tired or fussy it’s me she wants and settles better with. I feel in equal measure disappointed and delighted by this – after all it’s selfishly so lovely to be her favourite person, but I always wanted Pete to be a completely equal partner in parenting and interchangeable with me. I suppose that was naive looking back as with maternity leave and breast feeding I was bound to have the upper hand at this stage and I hope in the future she will love spending time with Daddy just as much. For now though, when Pete is home, he’s left ‘holding the baby’ – it means I end up cooking often or doing housework instead but its worth it for him to have quality time with Bea and work on his quota of smiles. ;)

In some ways it has also been a month of adjustment. Although I have no desire to do anything else right now, it has been a big mental shift towards becoming a ‘Mum’. Now I’m at home I feel under pressure (although not from Pete, only myself,) to keep the house in order too, doing housework and preparing meals or shopping. I have at times felt insignificant in the world knowing I have so little impact in a wider sense as Bea and I go about our daily business together, despite my belief that mothering itself is an unmeasurable contribution to society as a whole. It has been a passing thought though and I’m finally getting into my groove of balancing all the different aspects of this new stay-at-home life.

I hope you have enjoyed the update and perhaps some of you can identify with my thoughts?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Would you… Use a Dummy?

One of Bea’s most/least endearing behaviours is her vast repertoire of noises, made mostly when asleep in her crib, leaving me wide awake at night. She doesn’t do it as much in the day as she is often either in my arms or in the sling and having listened to these noises extensively over the last 7 weeks, they seem to mainly be made when she is getting herself to sleep or in light sleep. It’s probably the only thing about having her that has been a challenge so far, as it’s so frustrating to listen to when I’m trying to get a couple of hours sleep before the next feed!

When I was little I had a dummy, so did my sister and like so many things pre-baby, I never really had a problem with them before. I still don’t on other children. The only time I register it really is when you see some kids with a dummy in 24/7, but really, each to their own. One long night listening to her I thought, I wonder if a dummy will keep her quiet? She’s not a particularly ‘sucky’ baby and doesn’t for example need to fall asleep on the breast, she will happily be rocked off cuddling or in the last week or two in her crib by herself at night. But, if you put a finger in her mouth she will also drift off sucking that too and even better, soundlessly!

There’s a lot of chatter about dummies – some people just don’t like them, there’s the ongoing debate over whether it can cause ‘nipple confusion‘ in breast feeding babies and also if it can reduce feeding demand because the suck reflex is overused. It’s often recommended that you don’t use them before a certain age (6 weeks minimum) too. On top of all that is the whole dummy versus thumb discussion and which is better for a developing mouth and teeth? (FYI – Bea has found her thumb and does suck it but not at any particular time or as a comforter particularly…) I actually bought some dummies before Bea arrived and now I kind of don’t want to use them. Pete is dead against it as he feels it is too early and we’ll never get her to give the dummy up. Typically Pete’s judgement isn’t coloured by lack of sleep as he has ear plugs in when he is working the next day! My thoughts were that it would simply be a night time thing to get her to keep quiet (if it worked at all!) and drift off quicker so I could get more sleep. But would it then become something she was dependent on to sleep and cause her to wake if it fell out etc? Would I be making a rod for my own back?

So readers, I thought this was a good topic for discussion today… would you or have you given your child a dummy? Are you happy with that decision? Why did you give it and did it work? I’d love to hear your experiences…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Would you… wear your baby?

Since having a little one I’ve been slowly getting to grips with getting around with a baby and all the stuff they require. Because we live somewhere so handy for those with children, the few weeks I spent not driving weren’t a hardship at all and I pushed the pram out often when we went on walks or for coffee or visiting local friends. When we drove I had Pete acting as Jeeves, which included getting the bags buggy. However, when by myself I quickly realised that lugging a pram around can be a royal pain in the behind and often opt to use our baby carrier. (This isn’t strictly news to me – I anticipated I would feel the same about being hands free and more mobile as I’m quite a ‘busy’ person.) Quite a few of you have asked so I thought I’d share my thoughts and ask your opinions on baby wearing too.

For this of you who haven’t heard of it, baby wearing is simply the practice of carrying your baby or child in a fabric or specially made sling or baby carrier. They range from technical contraptions to simple stretchy wraps and costs vary hugely. It’s a centuries old practice and women around the world wear their babies, with well known and accepted benefits to both baby and the adult carrying them. In short, babies are happier and cry less. Parents are more confident as a result and less frazzled as they can get on with their daily lives. Sold? I was.

We opted for the Ergobaby 360 – a new carrier on the market by Ergobaby and had to wait for it to come out. It’s not cheap – £139.95 at John Lewis and we had to buy the infant insert to make it suitable from birth too, for an additional £20. However we justified it with the knowledge this allowed us to carry Bea (and any future babies) right through to toddler and beyond as it allows baby to be carried facing inwards or outwards on the front, on the hip or later on on your back. We chose it over a BabyBjorn as it is supposed to be better for hip development by seating baby in an ergonomic frog leg position.

Once I started using it I loved the freedom, just like I expected. On my first excursion out of Chorlton on my own I took Bea in the Ergobaby on the tram (super easy not having to find space for the pram) to the sling library in Sale (most places have local sling libraries where you can try and rent out slings before buying your own and meet other mums too,) and back. The best thing about it is how convenient it is and that she sleeps in it much of the time she’s in there (much like a car seat,) due to the movement and her being all snug and cozy next to me. We have only used it front facing inwards as thats the only position suitable for her age right now, but it feels secure, brilliantly made and even at this stage is flexible to allow for her position and size.

The major downside for me is the weight of the actual Ergobaby itself – I do get backache wearing it, though I’m not sure if that is due to my ligaments still being stretchy post pregnancy. The Ergobaby has a waist strap and shoulder straps much like a large rucksack you would use for hiking or D of E in school and so the weight is well distributed and it’s comfortable otherwise. I don’t see this as a major negative as we bought it mainly for Pete to wear and for us to use when going places where it wasn’t convenient to take the buggy, and it’s perfect for that as well as the future hopefully.

The other negative I felt was it’s bulk and as Bea woke up out of her newborn haze, she started to get less keen on being put down unless she was in just the perfect stage of deep sleep. One thing that kept her happy of course was being held and I started to get frustrated that I couldn’t get anything done, particularly when Pete went back to work and I had to get on with normal life. I decided to look into a wrap style (this site was a really useful resource in finding more about the different types, as was the site of my local sling library,) to keep her close and happy whilst being light and cheaper, given our initial Ergobaby outlay.

After looking into the various wraps I chose a Victoria Slinglady, (very similar to Moby or Karime wraps), mainly because it’s brilliantly priced (£14.95 on eBay). Baby carrying is very individual and there are loads of different wraps out there but this was perfect for me and I have used it loads since. I did look into DIYing a stretchy wrap (there are lots of tutorials online) but the cost of the jersey was more than this ready made one and as the sling library helpers pointed out, this way I know the fabric dyes are safe if she starts chewing them. Since then we have been out for dinner using it and this post was written with her in it too. I love having my hands back and having her so close!

So, have you got a baby carrier. Do you use it? Or has it always seemed a bit hippyish for you to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts on baby wearing and reviews of the various options and types available…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Resources:
Little Possums sling shop
Sale Sling Library (also known as Harmony Babywearing)

*This post is the beginning of a new series to encourage discussion and promote the sharing of opinion on a wide variety of motherhood subjects. Please share your thoughts and knowledge in the comments!

The first month with Bea…

Yesterday my gorgeous precious tiny girl was 1 month old. 1 month! 31 days of her being in our lives. Just over 4 weeks since I couldn’t imagine having a baby and now I can’t imagine life without her.

So how has it been?I’m tempted to run off a list of cliches… magical, amazing, exhausting, but I don’t think my experience so far has fitted in with the usual comments as much as I expected. The first 2 weeks were in equal parts blissful and stressful. I was so happy to have this little thing in my arms and many an hour was lost just staring at her little face, marvelling at her perfect mouth or tiny fingernails. We spent a lot of time in those early days just being together, having skin to skin time and establishing feeding. I am breastfeeding, which is giving me an immense amount of pleasure. It was something I really wanted to do – for many reasons, but mainly non-emotional ones like the ease it would give me at night or when travelling and freedom to go anywhere with minimal baggage. We have been extremely lucky that it has just worked for us and I take no credit for that, Bea was born rooting and fed immediately in recovery after my c-section. She has basically shown me how it’s done and so far, touch wood, there have been no problems at all. Looking back now over the last month, thinking about her getting everything she needs from me is very special and I love the time we spend together feeding, the little faces she pulls and the cuddles we share.

The stressful part of those first 2 weeks was managing visitors – it was quite overwhelming having so many people and whilst on the one hand we wanted to show Bea off, I really wasn’t ready to share her yet, nor was I (with the benefit of hindsight) really that fit for visitors. Of course people brought help and food, but it really was hard for me. Possibly because we really didn’t have any control over it – I know some people limit visits from friends or even family in the early days or weeks while they get settled in as a new family but I didn’t have it in me to stop people seeing her as I didn’t feel it would be fair. Although he didn’t complain or seem to mind I think it was hardest on Pete as I had guaranteed cuddles when she fed, whereas it was him who missed out as she was passed around and he looked after me and visitors.

She has been a good baby, no question and so these early weeks have been kind to us. Don’t get me wrong, we have had our moments – one midwife told me to expect one unsettled day or night per week (which I thought was pretty optimistic at the time,) and I’d say we have had about 36 hours worth a week of feeding more and waking more that ha been difficult but fortunately she doesn’t cry much at all. Like lots of babies Bea tends to feed more in the evening from about 5 or 6 until 10 or 11 and then only wakes once in the night and once early morning, after which we go back to sleep until late morning and the next feed. I’m not sure how that’s going to work out long term as I’m not usually up until 11 and I need to be getting out to baby groups but the biggest thing I have learned this last month is to go with the flow. Those couple of hours when she just won’t go back to sleep at 3 or 4 am? I now settle myself down to feed and read and it doesn’t seem so bad. The most annoying thing is that she grunts so loudly, just after she’s got to sleep and when she’s about to wake up, but it can be for an hour or more and it drives me mad keeping me awake too when she is often asleep herself! We went through phases thinking it was colic or wind but it just seems to be her as she’s not uncomfortable with it at all.

Week three was definitely the hardest. Tiredness caught up with me, I was still sore but doing more physically than before and didn’t really understand Bea’s cues yet – apart from when she was hungry I was clueless and it was that week that I accepted, 2 nights of the same feeding pattern did not make for a routine and I just had to go with it.

Now we’re at 4 weeks I’m definitely seeing more patterns emerge. Bea has a wake, feed, play/awake, sleep cycle at least twice a day (the rest is just eat/sleep!) and I know when she is fussy because she is tired and ready to sleep instead of just hungry. It has actually helped being alone with her more (Pete’s Paternity leave was messed up due to my early c-section so he was off for the first, third and fourth weeks after she arrived and only recently went back to work,) as I can’t do anything else but focus on her and learn what she needs, without anyone else who doesn’t know her as well misinterpreting her. (One night in the early weeks my mum was holding her and she was crying. Normally I would have assumed she was hungry but my Mum thought it was wind so we persevered trying to wind her, until eventually I took her upstairs to cuddle and try feeding her – she immediately quietened down and it was then I really believed Mum knows best.) In some ways though it’s getting way harder… she won’t stay asleep in her crib or pram unless she is put down at the perfect stage of deep sleep – often far from convenient and so it is taking me an age to get anything done – even getting dressed in the morning! I’ve just bought a sling to wear around the house for the same reason (I’ll be writing more about that next week) and have high hopes for regaining the use of both hands!

To be honest though, I’m happy not getting much done. It feels right to just give myself over to this time with her so as long as I stay sane we’ll be doing more of the same. I’ll be on the sofa cuddling my baby if you need me…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The BreastFeeding box

When I had my pseudo-babyshower (I just had a fun day with the girls for a manicure and dinner out, whilst swapping baby tips and advice,) one of my friends gave me a breastfeeding box. She had been given one by her best friend and found it really useful, so she decided to pass it on. It has been one of the most useful things I received pre-baby so I wanted to share the idea with you – either for those mamas out there who may find it handy, or if you want to buy a really useful gift for a mum-to-be. The bits are all stored in a click lock box and the idea is that you always have everything you need for a feed. I wasn’t sure how useful it would be at first but once I sit down to feed Bea I find I’m constantly asking Pete to bring this or that and the other, (invariably a muslin,) and particularly in the early days when I was less mobile and sore, I knew if I had the box, I had everything I needed.

  1. Lansinoh nipple cream – I used this from the first feed and used to apply after every feed, now I just use it twice daily, after a shower then before bed.
  2. Lansinoh Breast pads (disposable) – I was told not to bother with any others, just stick with these as they are the best and I did, until I forgot some when we went away for the night recently and I had to pick up some in Tesco’s, which were dreadful. These have something in the middle that absorbs moisture and sucks it in forming a gel. They can be really heavy with fluid when I replace them so obviously work well as they never soak through. The own brand ones didn’t compare in absorbency and didn’t stay put as well. I tend to change them a couple of times a day or night so keep 6-8 in the box.
  3. Hand cream – For frequent hand washing and because sitting feeding may be the only chance you get to put some cream on yourself.
  4. Lip balm – Because BF makes you thirsty and dehydrated.
  5. Hair bobble and kirby grips – In case you want to get your hair out of your face.
  6. Infacol (or similar if required) – We went through a phase of trying infacol and if you are using it or something similar then it makes sense to keep it in the box then you have it for every feed.
  7. Phone with breast feeding app! – My friend recommended this app – I think there are loads of them and this one is probably similar to others, but it has a lot of features and I find it easy to use. I use it to remind me which side to feed from, and to monitor when she is due a feed or how often she has fed. Hopefully one day it will show me a pattern!

Other things that were in the box I was given:

  • Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 breast therapy – I didn’t use these as I didn’t have too much soreness but they can be used hot or cold and I imagine would be really soothing – I threw mine in the freezer straight away for when I needed them.
  • Washable breast pads – I haven’t progressed onto these yet so I’ve taken them out of the box for now.
  • A pen and notepad could be really useful too.

It wouldn’t fit in my box but two other essentials are a muslin for wiping Bea’s face and for pushing under my breast between my skin and bra to catch any dribbles or drips so my clothes don’t get wet, and a pint glass of water or sports drink bottle to stay hydrated.

I’d love to know if you guys did anything similar or if there is anything you would have put in the box that I haven’t listed here?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Becoming a Mother…


Day 2

This post has been a difficult one to write, in fact I started drafting it as ‘2 weeks with Bea’ and got not much further until now. I haven’t yet written about our new arrival, other than to introduce her because it has taken me time to find the words. How to start? To put my words into context, I would never have described myself as maternal – I don’t get ‘broody’ and I would even extend that statement into my pregnancy. I had very real fears that I wouldn’t like being a mum, or that I might resent my baby for the inevitable changes that were about to take place in my life. That probably sounds like I wasn’t ready to have a baby at all, but I had come to realise (much earlier, before we tried to get pregnant) that I would probably never ‘want’ to give up complete freedom to do what I wanted, lazy beach holidays cocktail in hand swinging in a hammock, regular dinners out or last minute plans. But I knew I didn’t want to go through my life without being a parent and building a family with Pete.


First Bath time // Day 5

So it has taken me by surprise just how different I do feel, now that I have a daughter. I should have seen it coming I guess, as everyone always says they fell in love the minute they set eyes on their child, but equally, some of my more honest friends admitted that becoming a mother was a shock, not least due to the physical ordeal and that it took them days or weeks to fully bond with their baby – I suspected I may be the same. In fact the change in me when I first saw Bea was seismic. I finally found the words yesterday when I realised it was like The Big Bang, everything changed in an instant. A whole new universe began and Bea is my Sun.

Now I look back at times I have offered well meaning baby sitting duties to friends with new babies, just to give them time to sleep or shower and they have refused. Now I understand that maybe they didn’t want to be without their baby, even for a minute. I remember trying to reassure chronically fatigued friends that expressing or topping up with formula so their partner could give a bottle while they sleep wasn’t a bad option if it helped them function better. Now I know how they didn’t want anyone else to comfort their baby if they could, even at the expense of their sleep. It shocked me how primal the urge is to hold her sometimes, how much it upsets me when she cries. If I sound crazy, I feel like it at times! I fell hopelessly in love with this little person before I even saw her, the second I heard her cry.

Even now, having written what is here, words fail me. No statement is powerful enough to express how I feel about her or how content I feel with Bea in our lives. I wanted to share these thoughts not just to hear from all the other mothers what they felt in those first heady weeks of becoming a mother, but to reassure those of you who (like I did,) wonder if they will ever be ready or willing to take that unimaginable leap into motherhood.

Tell me, do my words resonate with you or remind you of how you felt? Or do they make you feel more positive about a family in your future one day?

Love
Rebecca
xo

Note: This post is not meant to patronise those of you reading who have never wanted or do not want a family in future, merely to describe how I feel and speak to those who might feel as I did weeks, months and years ago about children in my future.

Triple Temptation: Nursing Bra’s

Possibly the least sexy thing about being pregnant has been the bra’s. Conflicting advice about under wiring do’s and don’t's is confusing enough, without the then hideous selection available. Personally, I needed larger bra’s pretty much from the off and struggled on in my usual ones until about 17 weeks, when I headed off to the shops and spent a necessarily brief (for my sanity) trip scoping out the available options in M&S and John Lewis. I found a selection of twee or cutsy polka dot, floral and generally hideous bra’s and a rude sales woman who flat out refused to sell me an underwired bra ‘because I was pregnant’. Cue me leaving without getting measured and buying a 2 pack of navy and white lace non-underwired, lace bra’s from M&S (36D at the time and they were nursing bra’s – all of the maternity ones were.) The only other bra I have bought in pregnancy has been a strapless nude (heavily underwired) number to see me through events and various stroppy/halterneck tops. (FYI, I went from a 32 C/D pre-pregnancy, to a 34/36 E currently, and that’s pre-feeding.) The other 2 have been on rotation depending on what is not in the wash.


Nursing Bra’s all from Figleaves.com £29-40

So with a new baby and the intention of breast feeding, I figured I’d need more bra’s – to help with the washing and also to try and make me feel better. I’m not obsessive about underwear and it’s certainly been a long time since I was wearing a matching set, but I know I’m going to feel a bit upset about my postpartum body and reckon if there’s anything I can do to make myself feel better, it’s worth shot. Plus, hopefully it’ll be a long stint of breast feeding, so on a cost per wear basis, these bra’s are going to earn their keep. I headed to Figleaves.com (first time customer) to check out their range after seeing a patient wearing a very pretty nursing bra and asking where it was from. It was Panache and I also found Elle McPherson’s range and HOTmilk. I was initially looking for a nude one but I bought all three of the above and sent the HOTmilk back, as it was too big (the others fit but have a little growing room, whereas the HOTmilk was slightly baggy.)

The service was great (free delivery and returns,) as was the range, so I wanted to share my finds. Have you bought any pretty nursing bra’s or can you comment on online sizing? I’d love to hear of any other brands that would be worth checking out…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Nursery: And the Animals came in Two by Two…

The first nursery scheme I posted was a complete contrast to this one, Bright and Bold with neutral accents. Then I spotted and fell in love with this Animals wallpaper from Beware the Moon and had to use it as a base for a nursery mooodboard to see if I could live with the neutrals. I think with enough bright accents, I can make it work… it’s just about finding the right pieces.

I still plan to incorporate lots of brights as accents so the room doesn’t look stark, but the wallpaper was so beautiful I couldn’t let it go unused and I worried the Triangle print would be too busy and full on. This is a great way of adding pattern and texture, without making my eyes turn into triangles too!

We’re finishing the decorating this weekend so hopefully I’ll have something to show you very soon!

Love,
Rebecca
xo