Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Member of the Breastfeeding Mafia

How time flies!! Olivia Isabella is 6 months old tommorow, I really can't believe how quickly that has flown by. I can't believe how much my life has changed in 6 short months. Having this gorgeous little beauty in my life has altered things so much. Definately for the better.

And now that she has reached 6 months, I feel that i have accomplished a massive achivement - the '6 month Breastfeeding Milestone'! Ive been looking forward to this day for so long, sometimes unsure if I was ever going to get here, but i have. Olivia is a very frequent feeder. Averaging about 10 breastfeeds a day, but ranging from anything between 8-12.

I feel like im entering into a elite club, only 2% of mums carry on breastfeeding past the age of 6 months. Am i carrying on?? HELL YEAH!

Im sure people will have thier opinions about how long you should breastfeed for, I know that a lot of people think that as soon as food is able to be introduced, then babies dont need it anymore. Ask me 5 years ago, and i would have said 'as soon as baby has teeth, then no!'. Ask me 3 years ago, and i would have said 'As soon as they can ask for it, then no.' My answer now... 'She will get it as long as she wants it' (well, within reason!).

Don't get me wrong, breastfeeding isn't without its disadvantages. If, like me, your baby is completely head-over-heels in love with your breastmilk, then you may have a hard time getting them off! And i have found, that Olivia loves feeding so much, even the faintest whiff of a silicone bottle teat is enough to send her into hysterics! She downright refuses the bottle, which doesnt really bother me, but it could be useful if she would have an odd bottle of expressed milk, once in a while! For example, my mum looked after her for 30 mins one afternoon, while i went to the dentist. I took a small bottle of expressed milk with me, incase she would feed for my mum because i wasnt there. I swear i heard her screams half way down the street! As far as she was concerned, Mummy had ran away, took her boobies with her, and was never coming back! (Little did she know i would be coming back shortly, albeit one wisdom tooth less) And naughty nana was trying to poison her with lukewarm arsenic. It didnt matter that the milk was the same, that it tasted the same, It wasnt mummys boobies.

After that, I stopped even trying to attempt the bottle. At 4 months old i introduced a little cooled boiled water in a Tommee Tippee beaker which she took unknowingly, and she also sipped for the lip of a Steady Co cup. But this is no use for milk!! I have accepted that I dont get a break. Sometimes all i want to do is lock myself in a room, childless, and just read a magazine, or, dare i say it, have a nap! But at the end of the day, Olivia is only little once. I dont want to regret things, like I did with Erica. I stopped breastfeeding her at 2 weeks, and I regret it to this day.

I think sometimes as a mum, you make very specific sacrifices, ones, that only mothers in the exact same position as you, understand too. All mums sacrifice sleep, and time with friends, time with thier partners, and a little of thier sanity. But Breastfeeding mums, especially ones with boob-addict babies like mine, we sacrifice something a little more - the ability to give your baby to daddy or to nana, just for that little bit of time that allows you to do the simple things like have a hot shower, or have a glass of wine or 2!

There is one more sacrifice that has to be made too - The ability to wear an underwired bra!!

Thank you Olivia for being such an amazing baby to feed. I look forward to the next 6 months. X

Monday, 20 September 2010


Firstly, I must apologise for the very late birth announcement! Turns out, 2 kids... no time!
Anyway, Olivia Isabella was born in july, on her due date, after an induction for pre-eclampsia. Pre-clampsia is a condition that affects a large amount of pregnant women (but still the minority), your blood pressure raises and there becomes large amounts of protien in your urine, which are all indicator that this condition is causing problems to your liver. The only cure.. delivery of the placenta (and the baby that is attached to it!)

Im so on top of the world right now, my new daughter is beautiful and so contented! Im very proud and actually, couldnt ask for more!!

Her sister Erica, is taking the new addition very well. She is very loving towards her, sometimes a bit too loving!! I have to be super careful that she doesnt squish her! But so far, so good!!

Olivia is taking everything in her stride. She hardly crys and has been a natural breastfeeder from day one. She has a huge appetite which finds her attached to my boobs about 12 times a day, but, at nealrly 10 weeks old, im loving it still!!

The only thing that I have majorly noticed is how much work i have to do!! Washing and cleaning and, because i spend half my time stuck to the sofa with Olivia, Erica runs riot and gets out every single toy she owns! Not to play with them, but just because mummy is preoccupied!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Clothes Confusion!

I was asked by a friend, who is expecting in august, how many outfits a newborn needs. She stated how she had a whole range of clothes in size 0-3 months, and would this be enough.
Bless her, I then had to break her little heart and say that her baby would NOT fit into these for a while, unless she gave birth so a baby thats 11lb+! All the lovely outfits she thought would fit at birth, on hold until the baby is older. She was truely baffled by the prospect of not just the size 'newborn' but 'tiny baby', 'first size' and even 'up to 1 month'. She couldn't get her head around the fact that size 0-3 months, doesnt mean from birth.

The fact of the matter is, every store uses different sizing. And different names for thier clothes. Some say newborn, some say new baby. Some say early baby, some say small baby. It varies massively. And as we have learnt to dress and shop for ourselves, by finding that particular shops have better sizes for us, personally, you will develop the same sense for your baby. Me, I dress Erica in a lot of Next clothes. I find that thier fit suits her, as shes a very small build, but she still needs a size below her age, because even though thier clothes fit her frame shape, they are quite generous sizes. Don't be tempted to buy purely for 'age' as most of the time, baby is not going to match them. They are there mainly as a guideline, the younger ranges (up to 18 months-ish) use weights on thier labels, these can be more accurate, but not fool proof.

When Erica was born, she was in teeny newborn sizes. But we had to be very careful as, for the size of her, she had very long feet! So whilst we found things to fit her body, her little toes used to curl up in the end of many sleepsuits. But as she got older, and put more weight on, it all evened out nicely.

Here is an 'estimate' of the ages (and weights) that a lot of companies use.

  • Tiny Baby - very newborn, approximately 6-7lb. Probably wont last any longer than 2 weeks, but worth it if baby is petite at birth.
  • Newborn/First Size - Approximately 7/8lb up to 9/10lb. This size can vary greatly, but it is likely that your baby will spend a few weeks in this size. Sleepsuits in this size are very handy as they have lots of room for baby to move if they are slightly larger.
  • Up to 1 month - This is the transitional size from 'newborn' to 0-3 months. Not always available, but useful if baby is smaller. To be perfectly honest, most brands cater from first size straight to 0-3 months with not much fuss.
  • 0-3 months - The actual sizes of these clothes can vary greatly, some brands will fit at a few weeks old, some are bigger and will wait more till 2 months. But by the point where you need this size, you will know your baby enough to know when she or he is uncomfortable in a smaller size. Some 0-3 sizes take smaller babies to 5 months+!

Never worry that your baby isnt progressing through the stages fast enough, as long as your baby is gaining weight at a regular pace, and the health visitor is happy, then so should you be. Just like adults, some babies are smaller and some are bigger. Some are shorter and some are longer. Trust in yourself to know what to look out for, your baby will soon let you know if thier clothes are too tight or uncomfortable. You will come to trust in your favourite brands for your children, just as you do for yourself. And soon enough, you will wonder why you were ever worried in the first place.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Shoot me. Please just shoot me now!

In a few days time, I will be 32 weeks pregnant. This has always seemed as quite a milestone, because its not 'just gone 30 weeks' and it also means that there is just 2 months till my baby is due. 32 weeks. 32. How the hell have i managed to 'live' pregnant for 32 weeks!?

All the books say how pregnancy is a magical time, and how that during the middle section, that you will bloom and blossom into this amazing pregnant goddess. So, why is it, that I wake up every day, having lost 2 hours sleep just going to the toilet multiple times?! And that just getting off the sofa to go and have a shower is hard work? Im exhausted. Throughly, utterly, exhausted. And keep feeling so, even though my new standard bedtime is between 9pm and 9.30.

Personal appearance has completely taken the back burner in my life at the moment. But at least I have the excuse of SPD to get away with staying in my nighty until dinnertime! After all, I am practically housebound...

Having a toddler isn't easy at the best of times. But the terrible twos in late pregnancy... thats just a whole new level of crazy! I sometimes wake up and think that I must be absolutely mental to have another baby, when Erica takes up so much of my time, but I wouldn't like her to be left out of all the benfits having a sibling can offer. So, whilst at the moment, and probably for the next few years, I feel like a walking zombie, thats only good for providing food and then cleaning up the mess the food makes, I know that in the long run it will be worth it. I've never experienced anything so rewarding as having Erica, even though I actually feel like I could lock her in a cage sometimes! And im sure that I will feel exactly the same about the new arrival.

I always check on Erica, before I go to bed. Check that shes asleep and tucked up, so she doesn't get cold. And its times like that, when shes quiet and peaceful, that I really realise how lucky I am (not that I dont any other time!!), and how wonderful and amazing she makes my life. And how, no matter how difficult it can be sometimes, I wouldn't change it for the world.

However, ask me if I feel the same in the midst of a screaming hissy fit, and I can not say that I would say the same thing!

So many things, for such a small baby!

I think one of the most daunting things as a new parent, is how much kit a baby comes with! I once got told that a baby can 'live in a basket in the corner'... The woman who said that, seriously deranged!

Yes, a baby may be small, but the equipment needed to care for that baby, not so small. And not so cheap either!

You may feel pressurised to buy all the top of the range gadgets and gismos during your pregnancy. But the reality is, its just not always nessacary. Don't get me wrong, I dont know a single parent that has bought just the bare minimum for thier baby and nothing else. Everyone indulges in a few little luxuries at some point! But figuring out what is nessacary and whats just a commodity, can be challenging for someone whos never had any exposure to babies before!

So, I have compiled a list of items that, in MY opinion, are essential, and if they aren't essential, make your life a little bit easier!

  • Moses Basket/Crib
  • Bedding (sheets x 4, blankets x 5)
  • Pram
  • Car seat
  • Car sunshades
  • Changing Bag
  • Bouncer or swing
  • Play gym or other similar toy
  • Top and tail bowl
  • Cotton Wool balls or pleats
  • Nappies
  • Nappy bags
  • Baby wipes
  • Sudocrem or similar barrier cream
  • Sponge
  • Baby toiletries (baby bath, shampoo, etc)
  • Nail scissors
  • Hairbrush
  • Cuddle robes/baby towels (x3)
  • Muslin Squares (as many as you can get your hands on! minimum of 10)
  • Bibs (x 10)
  • Bottles (x4, if bottle feeding)
  • Sterilising equipment (if bottle feeding or expressing)
  • Breast pump (if breast feeding)
  • Bottle Brush (if needed)

This list doesn't include clothes, as clothing can be a confusing issue, and I would rather go into more depth at another time. But I would definately say that these items are bare nessacities as far as general baby care is concerned.

If your trying to save a few quid, try checking out nearly new sales, car boot sales, and local newspapers for second hand items. These can be invaluble if your trying to find a second hand pram or crib, and want to be able to thoroughly check the product first. DO NOT buy second hand car seats, and if your offered one from a family member, be 100% certain that its not been involved in any accident, no matter how small. Even small bumps can damage the internal parts of the car seat with no visual damage, and this can compromise the safety of the seat.

I guess, in the end, it all depends on your budget, and what you want. You may want the latest touch sensitive baby monitor that has an alarm if baby's breathing pattern changes, but you may be like me, and be able to hear your baby no matter what room in the house you are in!! So, it is all about personal preference. Have fun searching for your baby items, take pleasure in the art of 'nesting', and enjoy those last few shopping trips before your baby gets here. They will never be the same again!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Invasion of the 'It-Mum'

We are being taken over. They are everywhere. Up the high street, in ur local supermarket, even walking past your house. The It-Mum.

They are the kind of women that you can't help but envy. The kind of women you can't help but secretly despise inside. Why? Because they show you what you should be. It's not realistic of course, but it doesn't mean you don't feel that way!

You see them, with thier top of the range pushchairs, and thier OiOi change bags and their cute little kiddies dressed in designer gear, but this is NOT why you hate them. Oh no. You hate THEM. How on earth a mother can get up in a morning, and by the time they have make bottles, cleaned up, scraped the baby rice off the kitchen wall, how can they actually be bothered to make themselves look like they have just walked out of a beauty salon?! Its beyond me!

Now I know that a lot of mothers 'make and effort'. It goes without saying, but most of them still have that slightly exhausted shadow floating behind them. To me, that is normal. Its expected. Its part of the life you sacrifice when you first see those little pink lines on the pregnancy test.
But no, It-mums walk around in their skinny topshop jeans and boots, with thier perfectly styled locks, manicured nails and flawless complexion. And even tho they probably aren't, you feel like they are looking at you and laughing! Christ, it was a lot of effort just to actually pry a comb through your own birds-nest barnet this morning, never mind attack yourself with a blowdryer and straightners! But it doesnt stop at 'admiring' there attire does it?! You know that underneath thier perfectly pressed outfits they are sporting a delicious emsemble of Hot Milk underwear and a skillfully preened bikini line also. Of course you dont actually know this. But it doesnt stop you thinking it! (It does help to imagine them wearing a massive pair of bridget-jones' and a washed out wireless bra)

You can guarantee that whenever you look your worst, you will run into EVERYONE. Its an unwritten rule. Even I have taken steps to ensure that everytime I go to Asda i have a full face of make-up on and am not wearing my usual staples of jogging bottoms and a vest top. But why does it become less 'acceptable' the older your baby gets? Everyone expects you to look dishevelled and sleep deprived in the first few weeks, hell, its expected that you will. And if for some reason you don't, you're not seen as 'normal'. I found myself fairly 'together' after Ericas birth, but a year or so down the line is when I found myself at my most exhausted. But by that point, people expect you to be used to it, so a sudden drop in appearance suddenly means youve dropped your standards. When they are there. Just hidden. Because you have more to do that worry about the size of your pores in a morning.

Maybe the reason we hate these It-mums so much isnt them, maybe its our own insecurities coming out in the form of jealousy. Because even tho you'd hate to admit it, thats what it is. You are completely and utterly jealous. So, you tell yourself it is them who MUST have help and maybe a live-in nanny, to make yourself feel better. After all, physical appearance isn't based on happiness.

So, walk tall, and proud, you may be unkempt, but your a brilliant mother!! After all, if these women are spending so much time on thier appearance, they must spend less time on thier babies! Ok, thats not exactly true, but bugger it, it makes me feel a whole lot better!

Baby's got some new wheels

The Pram. The pushchair, the buggy, whatever you want to call it, WILL be one of the most important purchases you make for your little bundle. For me, personally, it's one of the most exciting parts of becoming a new parent. Some people get excited about going shopping for cars, some people get excited about going shopping for an outfit for a night out. Me, I am a pram FREAK!!

It's a bloody good job I haven't won the lottery in my life, I would have a garage just for prams! One for everyday of the week!

When your looking for your first pram, there are a few considerations you need to think about before you even set foot into the shop. One, budget. Prams can range from anything from £100 for an entire travel system, to around £2000 for the latest carbon-fibre design. You need to work out a budget that is suitable for you. Secondly, do you want a travel system? This basically consists of a pram/pushchair with a compatible car seat that, can some how, attach itself to the either the bare chassis, or the seat unit. A lot of models have a removable seat unit and the car seat can just 'click' into place. This is especially useful for very short journeys, such as a quick trip to the supermarket, as baby does not need to be disturbed or woken in the transfer from the car to the pram.

When you first take that anxious step into the pram shop, it can seem very overwhelming. The different models, different colours and the enthusiastic sales women throwing themselves at you in the vain hope of sales commision. It can be very daunting. If you go in just to browse, tell them so. Say your just getting a general idea of what styles you like, and that you are not ready to make a decision. But, on the other hand, if you want thier advice, ask for it. Don't be afraid to ask about all the different functions, and the companies track record for customer service. Some companies are notorious for being known as having bad customer service, some are the exact opposite.

So, your standing there, completely clueless about what you need. What can you invisage yourself doing on a daily basis when baby is born?? Will you be taking casual trips into town to meet friends and go shopping? If so, you may need something fairly lightweight and manouverable, swivel wheels are a good feature for this purpose. If your planning on taking trips out into the countryside, or frequent activities such as dog walking, you will need a pram that can cope with off-road terrain, and maybe something fairly robust. You can get a lot of pushchairs that have extra suspension and inflatable tyres that can help with this. A nippy little buggy is probably not the best idea for these types of activities, as the small wheels can get stuck between rocks and in mud. Perhaps you want something ultra-comfy for baby, and would like to use the pram for basic trips to the shop and round to friends? There are a lot of traditional style chassis' that are compatible with a large carrycot, these tend to be sprung quite well, well padded and are ideal for use in the home as a napper, as well as outside. All carrycots are very useful as it is more comfortable to lie a newborn flat, and they do tend to be well padded. Some pushchairs profess to lay flat but in actual fact, most of them lay at a minimum 10 degree angle.

My personal experiences with prams have been as followed. During my pregnancy with Erica, we decided to purchase a Mamas and Papas o3 sport pushchair, with a matching car seat that can be used as a travel system. Its sporty design and cool black chassis looked fairly modern, and as it was a 3 wheeled pram with air-filled tyres, it was going to be very useful for our planned weekend walks. It also pushed like a dream! So smooth and manouverable. In reality, I hadn't prepared for the fact that it was heavy and quite long, and did tend to take the skin off the back of peoples legs if they walked in front of me and I couldn't stop in time. It wasn't ideal for what I actually needed it for. Yes, I had previously thought about our country walks, but i hadnt considered how it would move round a very busy Boots!
So, I bought a Silver Cross 3d Pramette. It was still fairly heavy, but I loved the fact that Erica could lay flat and I could still see her. It manouvered well, and was uber-stylish, and the pushchair was well padded. I loved it. Ericas dad, however, did not. He much preffered the sporty, 'manly' design of the o3 sport. But with both of our needs covered, we were happy.

That was until, Erica became about a year old, and pushing a heavy pram and a small toddler was a little bit of a challenge. So, we decided to buy a lightweight buggy. And after being so happy with the performance of the Silver Cross, we bought the Silver Cross Pop buggy. We were stood there in Babies 'r' us, talking over how to fold it up and down with an assistant, when Erica dramatically wriggles out of her pram straps and falls out, and her head hit the floor with a stomach-curdling thud. Baby head on marble does NOT sound nice! So, I scoop her up, shes fine, but screaming. Im terribly embarrased, and the assistant just looks on in sheer horror! Needless to say we paid for the buggy and left pretty sharpish! Kids really do know the exact times to do these things!

Handy hint, If your child is figuring out how to wriggle out of thier straps, try crossing them over in an X shape and its pretty damn impossible!

My most recent purchase when it comes to prams, is the latest model from the british company, iCandy. The peach. I chose this purely because I needed something with a carrycot, and a compatible car seat, and also because I'm able to push it one handed (a vital feature with a toddler!). Ive fallen in love with its super cool chrome design and bright colours. For me, its the Porsche of prams!

The most important rule, is just to put a lot of time and effort into your pram choice. You do not want to spend your babys first year dreading every outing. You WILL get what you need out of a pram on any budget too, it can sometimes take some searching, but you're pram is out there. Have a great time looking for it!