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7 weeks – Things we love…

We have almost made it through the first two months of life with a baby and a toddler, there have been a few things have been instrumental in maintaining my sanity levels during these past few weeks…

Nipple Shields and bottles – these have been the main reason I’m still able to feed. There is so much advice around that tries to dissuade us from using shields (without them I know I wouldn’t have been able to continue as I would have been upset at my inability to occupy and entertain Ted while I struggled) and from introducing bottles too early but in my experience doing both these things has enabled me to continue feeding Cora. They have meant that from week 2 I have had the chance to get some rest while Daddy takes over a feeding shift or two, leaving me with energy to look after the two little ones all day…all credit to you sole feeders out there, it is such hard work.

Lanolin – the nipple saviour, I need say no more!

Aldi Nappies and Wipes – bargains and never a leak, I can’t recommend them enough and just think about what you can treat yourself to with the savings! I recommend…

Origins Vitazing tinted moisturiser – it’s like a magic wand for my face! That and Laura Mercier Eyebrow Definer eyebrow gel mean I look vaguely human in a couple of minutes and we all know time is of the essence!

Cbeebies – one of my ‘I will never…’ claims I hold my hands up to breaking, Mr Bloom and Bing bunny are my toddler sitters during Cora’s morning feed and I’m not even sorry, sometimes they mean I even get to drink a hot cup of coffee too!

A cosy baby Blanket – once feeding is complete if Cbeebies is still working it’s magic I get Cora all cosy in her lovely soft mokee blanket and sit back for a sofa snuggle with my boy. I love the colours, the peach makes it feminine without it being pink and sickly, something that is often difficult to find for baby girls, it is also lightweight but cosy and is perfect to keep her warm in the car seat too – thank you to Mokee for sending it for Cora.

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Close Caboo – I’m far from a religious sling wearer but I do love the flexibility of choice and some situations are made a lot harder by a buggy, for these times the Close Caboo is perfect, Daddy can join in too!

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Ted hated being in a buggy as soon as he could walk so a double was never going to be a justifiable investment for us however the compact single/scooter/buggy board/sling mix and match seems to be working for us so far!

A biiiig baby bag – I only want to be taking one bag with me so I need it to be big enough to store all the essentials that a mum of two will need…

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I love my Tiba and Marl bag – so much space and a variety of cool designs.

Wellies – regardless of the weather, fresh air and the release of some toddler energy makes everything easier so wellies have been an essential for us both. One day last week we only made it as far as the quiet puddle covered gravel car park at the end of our road but we both got soaked and had lots of fun while Cora slept next to us!

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Coffee/Babychino – if the rain is torrential we have the fall back option of a Babychino date, although an almost two year old that chants Babychino with glee is embarrassingly precocious (and a little bit funny)!

Friends/Playdates – the ultimate sanity saver, friends. It’s great meeting up with those that have their own children so they can all play but equally it’s lovely seeing those without who love to lavish attention on mine and give me the chance to have 1:1 time with either of them or like last week spoil me with the chance to slip away for an indulgent, undisturbed shower and hair wash – now that’s a friend!

Photos – in this sleep deprived haze I have little chance of remembering these times very clearly so I’m loving photos and keepsakes (even more than normal) to jog my memory and to show the children when they’re older. We had a professional at home shoot with Nicola Streader and were so pleased with the natural pictures she captured.

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We have also used Memory Makers to create 3d prints of Cora’s hand and foot, we will be able to collect these in the new year and can’t wait to have them on the wall next to Ted’s.

As Cora’s early days have also coincided with the festive season we visited our local craft centre Poppies and had fun decorating a plate – we will definitely return each year now and build a collection.

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And today we did the obligatory Santa visit complete with real reindeer,  pretty grotto and family shot with the big guy himself. We would highly recommend Stewarts Garden Centre.

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We have a second date with Father Christmas on Christmas Eve, Breakfast with the man himself at Fair Oak Garden Centre.
The garden centres definitely seem to be the places to go for reasonably priced festive fun but booking what seems crazily early is essential, the Christmas Eve sessions sold out within hours of sales opening in September!

Sleep (Inc naptime) – who remembers that? We have been spoilt with a couple of 5 hour stints over the past week and it feels amazing to wake without a headache and stinging eyes, here’s hoping for more! Ted still naps at the moment so most days I get an hour and a half to two hours with just Cora unfortunately for her (and me) this is the time I have to use to run around like a crazy person trying to maintain some sort of order in the house, talking to her and/or bouncing her about as I go!

An awesome husband – credit where it’s due, it wouldn’t be fair to not give my partner in crime, OK less crime or trouble these days and more poo, sleep deprivation and toddler management but my partner none the less and I couldn’t do it without him!

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I’m not sure if things will get easier or just different, either way I think we’re adapting OK and it feels now like our little lady has always been here and we’re enjoying every second.

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And then there were 4…

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Our beautiful daughter, Cora completed our family with her safe arrival on Friday 30th October at 9.28pm. She weighed a dinky 5lb 4oz but is perfectly healthy.

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Big brother Ted thinks she’s pretty cool and we’re all very pleased to have her home now.

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Hopefully sometime soon I’ll have time between feeds to share the story of her arrival and the fortnight before – it wasn’t quite as simple and straightforward as first time around but with an equally perfect outcome.

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Off for more baby snuggles now…Lots of love xx

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31 Week Update – signs I really am having a(nother) baby!

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I think I’ve been slightly in denial but this week and the arrival into the 30’s has been a reality check…it has dawned on me that I really am having another baby and pretty soon!

Aside from the obvious bump, the fact I’m now being forcefully kicked a quite frankly unreasonable amount of the time and that flopping down on the sofa in the evening doesn’t include a glass of wine currently the big eye openers for me this week were…

– The pram top arrived for the new buggy…

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– The birthing pool being delivered and sitting in the corner of the room staring at me…

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– Hypnotherapy classes beginning and starting my own lunchtime relaxation time. I will do full post on these in the near future.

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– Essential DIY work has been completed – out with the horrible old carpet…

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And in with the lovely new laminate! Much more practical for a house that is going to have even more food and bodily fluids flying around it in a few weeks!

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Sickness, aahhh just like their big brother was this little one is cramped and refuses to share space with my meals, so is kicking them straight back out again. It’s exhausting.

– Nesting has commenced…Lots of organising, cleaning and purchasing of very boring things like new mops, brushes and dustpans – what’s happened to me?!

Oh that’s right…I really am having a(nother) baby!

On a more positive note, things I’ve loved this week:

Naps – any excuse to crawl back into bed when Ted does is taken!

My little helper – everybody needs a personal moisturiser!!

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Feeling organised – although I’m hoping this little one isn’t planning on springing a surprise early arrival on us I’m organised enough (or almost) that we’d be OK!

Pregnant Friends – I have a handful of friends with due dates four weeks either side of mine and it’s great having people to share the highs and lows with who are in the same position/ level of discomfort!

See you at 33 Weeks.

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They bring their love…

As I’m now in my thirties, baby news is everywhere…a week barely goes by without another announcement. I’m also finding myself in the middle of this new ‘Mummy World’ where every second person is growing one too!! With it all around me, naturally I’ve recently found myself reflecting on my own experience.

Pregnancy is an amazing miracle but it is also ridiculously scary, at least it was for me. Everybody’s experiences are so completely different but for me, the physical changes were fine – I was worried how I’d cope with gaining weight and my changing shape but actually I quite liked my pregnancy body (not quite so sure about my post pregnancy one though!!)

The hormones however were a completely different thing all together and a factor I stupidly don’t think I’d really thought of before. I was sad a lot, I cried more than I think I ever have before and I felt so alone and scared, which is ridiculous as I have the most amazingly supportive husband and a great family and group of friends.

Let me go back to the crying, I’m not talking about a few tears, I’m talking full body wrenching sobs, puffy eyes and streams of snot – most days! I was paranoid and completely void of any perspective, Rich literally cowered as he said things as my reactions were so unpredictable, it was terrifying for both of us.

Since I was about 9 years old all I’ve really wanted was to be a Mummy but I’m also a complete control freak so being surprised by our news threw me and my newly acquired hormones somewhat. I was so worried that I wasn’t ready, that I wouldn’t be good enough and that I’d constantly feel like I was ‘missing out’ on my old life and these doubts plus the baby chemicals working their way around my system made things so hard.

Rich, as I’m sure you’ve gathered by now is pretty much 1 in a million and although he understandably struggled with the stranger he was suddenly not only living with but now married to, he helped me to deal with it all so well. He reassured me about both my abilities as a mother and my sanity returning when Baby Green arrived. His most used phrase during those 9 months was, “I can’t wait to have my wife back”!

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Somebody very wise (and not normally sentimental at all) once told me; “Babies bring their love with them” and it’s the best thing I could possibly pass on to an expectant Mummy who is struggling. They don’t just bring a little bit either they bring so much that everything else pales into insignificance – all the things I doubted I’d be able to do before are becoming achieveable and all the things I thought I’d miss just seem inconsequential,  we can still do the odd grown up thing and the infequency just makes things we used to take for granted exciting and special again.

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All my concerns seem silly now because I have new, current ones…is he too hot? Too cold? Hungry? Tired? Bored?…The list continues, for the next 20 years I believe!

Advice From The Heart
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Mummy time!

Yesterday evening I left Ted in the capable hands of his Daddy and headed for an afternoon and evening of fun with my friends…It goes without saying that as I left, my stomach was in knots and I was racked with the guilt I’m told will be a constant feature in my life from now on.

I tried to run through the list of things Ted likes and how the rest of his day should pan out between my departure and bedtime, this was entirely for my benefit, Rich spends a lot of time with the little guy and is more than able to work out his needs now. My darling husband offered me words of comfort such as “We were on our own for 37 minutes last week without incident, don’t panic” cue nervous laughter and internal despair!

The trickiest thing about leaving Ted and Rich together was how torn I felt, (beware, this might make me sound like a complete bitch…) I wanted them both to be OK obviously and to have a lovely time together…However, I didn’t want it to be too easy!

It’s tough being a full time mum, we all know that and the last thing I wanted to come back to was stories of how amazing and straightforward their day had been – that would just make my inability to do anything more than feed and change us both some days look like a complete failure!

I can thankfully report that boys day was a success,  they went to the local café (I’m pretty sure Ted’s latte was coffee free though), popped to the DIY shop for manly essentials, had a snuggly naptime and lots of fun splishing and splashing in the bath. I can also report that comments like “he needs a lot of entertaining doesn’t he?” and “he can’t wait at all can he?” and my personal favourite “He knows gaffer is away and went ape shit” all served to reassure me that their quality time together both acted as a lovely bonding experience and a reaffirming reminder that babies are hard work – thank goodness for that, it’s not just me doing everything wrong!

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It’s getting easier

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I can’t believe my baby boy is three months old already, the time really has flown by in a haze of sleepless nights and disappearing days.

The first six weeks were difficult and tiring, trying to recover fully myself, adapt to a new life centred around this new little person, surviving on little to no broken sleep and constantly doubting that I’m good enough or up to the job.

Thankfully, during the following six weeks things gradually have got easier, I feel we understand each other a lot better now…we laugh and play, we gargle and babble, we get excited and most excitingly…we SLEEP!! Sometimes we even sleep for nine or ten hours!

I am very lucky, Ted is a really chilled, happy little guy and my husband is an awesome hands on Daddy. This means that although I often look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards, my hair is always clean and I manage to have a bath everyday and today I have come to the local coffee shop, ordered a hot drink (and enjoyed it while it still was) and written all about my journey so far while my beautiful smiley little three month old has snoozed besides me, this has been both a luxury and very therapeutic. I love being ‘Ted’s Mummy’ but for two wonderful hours today I’ve been Laura, who writes and at some point, hopefully in the not too distant future I’ll get to be her again and although I’m looking forward to that time…I’m also really looking forward to Ted waking up and smiling his big gummy grin up at me while I give him a big cuddle.

It’s getting easier but I’m also vowing to make life easier on myself, if Ted falls asleep on me, I’ll cuddle him in tight, sniff his wonderful baby smelling head and refuse to feel guilty about it because before I know it this time will be gone – everything else can wait!

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Reality check…Breastfeeding is really tough!

Babies are cute and cuddly, they’re adorable and amazing, they’re precious and gorgeous…all of these things are true and I loved my baby boy as soon as I saw his big blue eyes and his long slim fingers wrapped themselves around mine. 

However, babies are also helpless and tiny, sleep stealing and time consuming, confusing and complicated…I thought I knew this and to an extent I did but all the years of working with babies has really done very little to prepare me for being a Mummy myself, I don’t want to use all the cliches but they exist for a reason and it really is ‘different when they’re yours’.

i had my heart set on breastfeeding and I was determined I would feed Ted and I did but in all honesty at the expense of my sanity in the early days, Ted lost too much weight in the first few days, as he was only small anyway the midwives weren’t happy with this and after midnight dashes to the birthing centre for support, lots and lots of tears from both Ted and I (his out of hunger, mine out of tiredness, frustration and an enormous sense of failure) we were advised to supplement him with formula, but not to use a bottle as this may deter him from feeding from me so every time he ate, I would feed him myself for approx 30 -60 minutes and then we’d top him up with 30mls of formula using a cup or syringe, this would normally take another 30 to 40 minutes and then we started the process again, never allowing him to go more than three hours. The frequency of the feeds was tough but I was prepared for that, I knew he’d want to feed lots but the syringe and cup use was sole destroying and made me feel like I was failing every time. When we went to have him weighed on day 5, I felt as though I was entering an exam hall, had I done ‘well enough’? Was he gaining weight? Would he be taken into hospital? 

Things got a little bit easier and with the use of nipple shields I managed to get him feeding solely from me by day ten (I stopped supplementing against advice in the end as the formula was filling him up too much to be ready to eat again after three hours), I had two amazing friends who successfully breastfeed their babies who came and sat with me, advised me and made me feel like just trying as hard as I was, was succeeding in itself and I’m so thankful for them. 

The shields that were the solution at the beginning became the problem at the end, Ted wouldn’t feed without them and that was fine when he was a tiny still baby but my wriggly bigger baby would knock them off, get frustrated at them taking a few extra sucks to start and before long feed times were hours spent with one or other of us crying, I then got mastitis first on one side, then the other so at 10 weeks I decided that our breastfeeding journey was over. I also decided I would feel proud of myself for getting as far as I could but also proud of myself for stopping when was right for me and Ted.

I am now happier, more relaxed and enjoying being a Mummy much more. Ted is a settled, smiley, healthy baby and  I am determined to be grateful for that not berate myself for not achieving the longer breastfeeding journey I hoped for.Image