1

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.

16

27 Week Update

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The approach to 27 weeks has been a really busy one!

We have spent time away in Cornwall, staying at the fab Cornwall Hotel and Spa (details here), had a great day out at the Eden Project (see Ted’s photo diary here!).

I returned from our break to a full week of old school nanny work – It’s been over 19 months since I’ve done any and it was lovely but so tiring, I was extremely grateful for the 8.30am starts Ted gifted me with over the weekend!

I have been really surprised this week at different reactions to my bump, it depends on clothing a lot but I seem able to make myself look very pregnant or just a little bit rounder than normal with ease at the moment…give me another couple of weeks though and I’m sure it’ll be all change!

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Looking quite 'bumpy' here!

Movements have increased quite a lot over the past few days and although this baby is a lot quieter than Ted I am really aware of their presence now and am beginning to notice a definite pattern to the squirming which is reassuring. This time I am really noticing how low the baby is though and often feel like he/she is trying to escape feet first!!

On Tuesday I finally have another Midwife appointment – I’ve been really disappointed with the care this time, with Ted I felt so looked after and supported by my midwife but this time I’ve hardly seen anyone and when I have it has always been a different person so I’ve just felt like I’m repeating myself…fingers crossed on Tuesday I’ll get to see the lady I actually booked the appointment with.

This week I’m loving…

Tiba and Marl bags 💕 Check them out!! I only discovered them this week but I signed up to the waiting list for a Lime Green Mabel Bag straight away – bright, fun, practical and stylish…I need this bag in my life!

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The Lime Mabel isn’t available until January (I’m not sure I can wait that long!!) However, the rest of the range releases next month but be quick as I’m sure they won’t be around for long! The ladies behind the company are real #mumboss(es) so not only can you grab yourself an awesome piece but you can support some fellow yummy mummies trying to make it without returning to the 9-5 grind too!

My new Pregnancy Pillow...the lovely people at http://www.pregnancypillow.net sent me one of their amazing U – shaped Pillows and WOW, it is awesome!

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Ted was impressed as soon as we collected it and had his very own soft play session on the front lawn!

I was amazed when I opened it and saw how big it was and quickly decided that fate was telling me I should have a lunchtime nap when Ted did – I sent Rich this selfie (excuse the quality!) with the caption “I may never have been happier”

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See my full review here!

And finally…EBay!
It has been quite the revelation for me – I appreciate I’m just a few years behind here!
I have managed to grab some real bargains, maternity dresses and jeans that still have tags on for a fraction of their original cost plus larger items I’ve been coverting that I’ve made great savings on.

This week was my best find yet, I knew I wanted an Armadillo Flip XT from Mamas and Papas as soon as I saw it – stylish, light and compact it ticked all the boxes for us and will be easy to travel with.

I was obviously just planning to take a trip to M&P to purchase and then I popped the description into the eBay search bar! It is a new model that has been out less than a year so I was surprised to see them pop up reasonably regularly and really pleased to find most were being offered brand new.

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I purchased a brand new Navy and Tan one for an almost £200 saving – this was an unwanted gift and had never been pushed outside, amazing!

A full XT review will follow…just as soon as I have the accessories, oh and a baby to put in it!

I’ll see you again at 29 weeks for another update…lots of love x

MaternityMondays
The Twinkle Diaries
7

Review – Pregnancy Pillow Love 💕

The lovely people at Pregnancy Pilllows kindly sent me one of their bestselling U shaped Pillows this week and I am extremely grateful they did!

Firstly because the parcel provided some much appreciated toddler distraction while I unloaded the shopping from the car…

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But then due to it’s desired purpose!

I was amazed by the sheer size of the pillow once it was unwrapped -at this point I already knew this was going to be a game changer, I might need to rehouse the husband though!

As it was almost lunchtime it seemed as though fate was telling me to take a nap and test this baby out!

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Never happier!

The first thing I loved was the soft cover…it isn’t like a normal pillowcase, it has a soft velvety finish and is so cosy to snuggle up to.

As you can see, it takes up a large amount of space on our Super King size bed and makes my old pillow look quite insignificant!

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But, this is all part of it’s magical charm!

Pregnancy Pilllows tell us that –

“With support in all the right places, the ultra-cosy U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow relieves pressure, alleviates aches & pains and helps you sleep comfortably on your side, just as the doctor ordered.

With a cleverly simple ergonomic design, the U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow follows the natural contours around the body encouraging you to sleep on your side, maintaining healthy blood and nutrient flow, which is good for both mummy and baby. It expertly aligns the spine, shoulders and hips and cradles the head, bump, back, hips and legs all cradled at once, even if you change positions during the night.

Our high-quality support pillow is great for getting a full night’s sleep while pregnant or nursing newborns. It is also great for easing the discomfort of other ailments such as Fibromyalgia, Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, Arthritis, Upper and Lower body pains.”

After trialling it for a few nights I can feel how supportive it is and found it most comfortable when I was snuggled on my side into one half, with the other ‘arm’ acting as a support behind my back, it’s often been my back that I’ve suffered with in the mornings so it is great to have something that offers support for that too.

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Please excuse my rapidly expanding behind!!

After night one I woke quite achey, but in a good ‘I just had a massage’ type way, everything was looser and I definitely slept better (even with the 2am reappearance of an intoxicated husband!)
Each subsequent morning I have really noticed how much better I feel.

I have suffered a lot with extreme indigestion and GERD even before pregnancy and having the pillow to support me in a slightly more upright position when required has really helped to reduce the symptoms, keep me more comfortable and allowed me to get back to sleep faster.

It has certainly charmed somebody else too as a snuggly place to chill out after a bath…

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I’m sure I will get further use from it once the new baby arrives too, for feeding especially.

The U shaped pillows are, in my opinion an absolute bargain starting at £22.50.
They come in 7 colours to complement your bedroom decor and are available unscented or with a lavender aroma.

If the U shaped is too big for you (it is massive), take a look at their V – Shaped pillow instead.

I was lucky enough to be sent the pillow free of charge, however this review is honest and reflective of my experience with the product.

Family Fever
7

Traveling with a Toddler #5 – Coming Home and the dreaded Jet Lag!

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Oh hello Jet Lag you horrible, horrible beast!

Why fight it?
Get up…sort all the washing then start all over again!

In my midnight googling desperation I found very little information that helped with little people and jet lag so now we’re through the other side, I thought I’d write my top tips to hopefully help anyone else suffering.

I write in hindsight (what a wonderful thing that is!)…read how I struggled initially here.

*Be patient. Disruptions for the length you are away at a minimum are likely and the body clock generally takes a day to adjust to every hour of change e.g.) 8 hour time difference = approx 8 days to adjust.

* Lower your expectations and try not to get too stressed – your baby is just as tired and confused as you!

*Do not withhold naps, sleep breeds sleep – try to return to your pre holiday napping schedule as quickly as possible to help your baby to adjust.

*After the first day or so, try to get day to day life back to normal as much as possible, don’t lay in too late (no matter how tempting), get outside in the daylight plenty and go to groups and activities you would normally attend – this helps reset the body but also helps the day along when all you want to do is curl up in a ball on the sofa and sob in sleep deprived desperation!!

*Follow your instincts and your knowledge of your baby and offer them understanding and TLC.

*Rest when your little one does, keep topped up with coffee and remember, this too will pass!

*Look at your holiday photos and in those ‘never again’ moments remind yourself it was all worth it for the fun you had and the memories made.

Come on…you can do this, slowly, gently, lovingly with patience and understanding and hopefully, minimal tears from everyone!

Good luck, I’m sending sleepy thoughts.

x

P.S…if anybody else has any words of wisdom – I’d love to hear them.
My final ones are:
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Packing my Suitcase
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Useless Mummy Alert!

I know every single one of us feels like this sometimes but the last week has been incredibly tough for me, mainly because my apparent area of expertise has been tested and by all accounts I’m a miserable failure!

Jet lag and toddlers – Wow!

Why was I naive enough to think that as Ted had never previously struggled with any sleep situation he would breeze through this too?

Why did I not realise that he has no idea why he’s wide awake at midnight and screaming through sheer frustration?

Why did I try to settle him back to sleep for hours on end when really, to his body it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon?

Why was I inconsistent and desperately trying anything for short periods of time when I know, better than anyone that consistency is the key?

Why did I expect instant results when we’ve been away, in a different time zone for 2 weeks?

Why was I completely void of perspective and unable to follow advice I would give out?

Because…this isn’t a job, this is me being Mummy and as I’ve told every single Mum I’ve ever worked for, “It’s different when they’re yours”.

As the saying goes; “Knowledge can be dangerous”  and that has certainly been my problem this week. So paranoid about loosing my amazing sleeper forever (and a few months before baby number two arrives) I have applied too much theory and not enough love and this hasn’t sat right with my instincts, leaving me feeling upset and guilty.

On Saturday I stopped, I followed my heart, I cuddled my boy, I let him get up (the biggest text book no-no ever) and then I took him back upstairs, gave him more milk and resettled him again.

He slept for 11 and a half hours.

They weren’t necessarily at the ideal time but I’m hoping that slowly we can edge back and get into sync again, it will take time but we’ll get there.

The number one piece of advice I always gave parents was never do anything that doesn’t feel right, if somebody suggests something and your instinct is that it isn’t for you and your little person, then don’t go there.

I couldn’t follow it myself though, if anybody had come to me within a week of returning from an eight hour time zone change fed up their baby was out of sync I would have;

*urged them to be patient and to expect disruptions for the length they were away at a minimum.

* told them to lower their expectations and to not get too stressed.

*told them not to withhold naps as sleep breeds sleep.

I failed to listen to or follow any of that advice out of fear of starting bad habits when all my baby needs at the moment is a bit of understanding and some TLC.

**Cue stern talking to self, a nap while Ted naps, a much needed coffee and a fresh outlook!**

Come on…we can do this, slowly, gently, lovingly with patience and understanding and hopefully, minimal tears from us all!

Wish me luck x

16

Sleep!

So…at some point I had to write about this topic.

Sleep.

As a parent few things are desired or talked about more and as a pre Ted sleep consultant it’s something that comes up in conversation a lot for me.

Firstly, this is based solely on my experiences (professional and personal) and opinion – I don’t think I’m ‘right’ or my way is the only way and am in no way judging anybody who does or thinks differently.

I’m useless!

I think this revelation of what a softy I am is going to please all the Mummies I’ve previously worked for no end…I need one of them to come and do what I taught them because tending to somebody else’s baby is so much easier than tending to your own – I know I’ve always told you all this but now I’m the living, breathing proof!!

I won’t ignore my baby’s cry. I can’t.

However, it is important to me that we create good habits that mean all three of us get to sleep and are therefore happy and refreshed people, not walking/shuffling zombies!

Ted is now 8 months old and happily sleeping in his cot most of the time. We have a video monitor which in my opinion is one of the best things we ever bought and means if he stirs I can watch to see him, if he’s up on all fours or rubbing his face a lot, we know he’s going to need one of us, if he’s rolling about there’s a chance he will settle in a few seconds, either way if there is noise coming from him we’re poised to react.

If within 30 seconds he’s still crying (and i’m talking crying, not chatting or moaning) in we go, we’ll rest a hand on his chest or back dependant on how he’s positioned and gently sshh or sing a calming song, he’ll often wrap his fingers around ours and calm down but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to be left – We gradually move away in a series of about 5 stages and if he protests (sometimes protests=screaming), we go back a step. Sometimes this takes 5 minutes, others it takes 45 and yes of course sometimes this is frustrating but our baby needs us and that’s what we signed up to.

This is not easy. It’s flipping bloody tough.

I’m his Mummy and Rich is his Daddy, our roles are to love him, protect him, care for him, prepare him and educate him.

Sleep, in my opinion is something, like everything else in life he needs to be shown how to do – however at 1am last week when he’d been up and down for 3 hours and my husband was on a night shift, bringing him into my bed seemed like the easy option but it wasn’t…It was just a quick fix.

The next night he wanted that again and I’ve always been strongly of the opinion that inconsistency isn’t fair on little people so I had to have a firm word with myself (as did my husband!)

Ted is bigger and cleverer (is that even a word?!) now so it is so important we give him consistent responses so he knows he can rely and trust in us.

Two days back on track and last night he went down like a dream, stirred at 11.15pm but just needed the reassurance of my hand on his back for 20 seconds, went silent as soon as he felt it and then drifted off peacefully until 6.30am this morning.

I’m sure for some, this is too indulgent and they think we should leave him to cry but when I suffered with insomnia in the third trimester, Rich sat up with me at night caring for me, I knew then that I would never feel happy to leave my baby to cope alone when I, a grown adult had been given such love and support.

Others no doubt feel we should cuddle him until he’s fast asleep or have him in our bed all night but the sleep consultant in me does want to create good habits too and on the odd occasions we’ve had Ted in our bed we certainly haven’t relaxed enough to rest.

I think we’ve found a middle ground we’re all happy with, that works for us and I guess that’s all any of us is aiming for really…survival with the minimum amount of parental guilt attached!

*I have to give my husband the credit he deserves here…he has constantly reminded me what I’ve told him about my job over the years and kept me on track, I fear without him I’d be a shell of a sleep deprived Mummy by now!!*

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Oh no...this wasn't part of the plan!!

Advice From The Heart
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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!