Products I’d recommend…4 month update

Now that Adam has hit the 4 month mark I’m in a bit of a better position to give my opinion on what products we actually couldn’t have lived without and what we probably could probably have saved on.

Feeding

I’ve recently published a post about the MAM bottles and Breastfeeding starter set so if you’d like to know more about what bottles we’ve used and then I’d recommend giving that post a read but in a nutshell, Mam bottles are self sterilising so we’ve literally bunged them in his changing bag and had them sterilized in restaurants and cafes when out shopping, anywhere that has a microwave and you’re sorted.  Their anti-colic technology has worked wonders for Adam and the silk teat has meant we’ve easily transitioned from bottle to breast and back again with absolutely no issues.  When you’re a first time parent its hard to decipher what will be useful and what will work for your baby and we’d never heard of Mam before so we took a chance but it has majorly paid off for us and I will continue using Mam products for any future babies we may have too.  I’d just like to put it out there that we are in no way sponsored or endorsed by Mam, we just really love what they do.

Another product I couldn’t have survived breastfeeding without is the Medela Symphony I rented from the Medela website.  I’ve tried a fair few breast pumps (Mam manual pump, Tommee Tippee Electric pump, Ardo Calypso, Medela Swing and Medela Symphony) and this has to be by far the best pump I’ve used.  It helped when I was having major breastfeeding issues in keeping up my supply and filling up my freezer with milk.  The symphony was the easiest and quickest and it was so quiet I could express in the middle of the night while Adam slept and it didn’t disturb him at all.  If I could do it all again I wouldn’t have bothered buying any of the other pumps but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Baby Clothing

When I first found I was pregnant I didn’t buy any clothes for Adam, although it physically pained me I restrained myself until I was about 28-30 weeks gone and then I picked up everything I liked in ages 3-6 months.  We were also lucky enough to recieve lots of clothes from family and friends and I didn’t really need to buy much anyway.  When he was born he was so tiny that none of his clothes fit him, even the newborn and first size bits were literally hanging off him and in true first time mummy fashion I went out and picked up lots of tiny baby clothes.  They lasted him about a week before he grew out of them and he hadn’t really needed them in the end.  My favourite clothes on him are the Next sleepsuits, they just look and feel so comfortable and have the nicest designs but I found they just didn’t wash as well as the Mamas and Papas ones.  He got the most use out of his Mamas and Papas vests and sleepsuits as he literally wore them from birth until just a week or two ago when they eventually grew too small.  I’d definitely recommend them as they seem to get slightly looser with every wash hence why they still fit him for so long whereas I’ve found the Next sleepsuits tend to get a little bit smaller with every wash and he’s grown out of them much quicker.

Maternity and Nursing clothes

If you’re anything like me and had been dreaming of being pregnant for as long as you could remember you probably got just as excited about maternity clothes as I did!  I remember finding out I was pregnant when I was just 5 weeks gone and my bump was non existent but I spent hours in Topshop maternity picking up a whole new wardrobe…I bought new jeans, tops, bump bands from Asda, fancy nursing clothes and in reality I didn’t put on enough weight throughout my pregnancy to fit into 95% of everything I bought.  If I could go back now I’d say wait it out and stretch it out as much as you can.  Maternity clothes are extortionate because companies know that women will spend the extra bit of money for fancy maternity clothes.  At the very end of my pregnancy I just bought regular clothes is a size or two bigger and I still wear them to this day as the loose fit makes nursing much easier.

The only thing I would advise picking up is some nursing tops and bras if you’re planning on breastfeeding and lots of cheap leggings, you’ll spend most of your pregnancy in them!  I’ve tried nursing bras from Asda, M&S and H&M and I’ve found the H&M ones to be the softest and most comfortable and have the most room for movement when you’re a little bit fuller before a feed.  Also I found they were a good size during the day and had enough stretch after a night of no feeding with room to grow.  All the others always become too tight and I wake up ready to burst, LITERALLY!

Sleeping

Adam has always been a snuggly sleeper.  When he was very small his sleep was always much better when he was swaddled but when he got too big for a regular blanket swaddle he’d break free in the night, his bastard moro startle reflex would kick in and he’d be awake screaming.  So I did a bit of research and found a product called a woombie.  I literally want to kiss the person who invented this because the second he went into it he started sleeping through the night without even waking for a feed until early morning (hence the need for stretchy bras!).  I ordered my woombie from JoJo Maman BeBe as it seems to be the cheapest place to sell them and although we joke that it looks like a straight jacket for babies, it saved us hours of night time rocking back to sleep.  The material is stretchy so Adam always had room to stretch but he couldn’t break out of it and if he did startle in the night he’d immediately fall back asleep and the vented section at the front meant he didn’t overheat while asleep.  This works best for newborns and now that Adam can roll onto his side I’ve transitioned him into a normal sleeping bag which he sleeps in just as well.  This just happens to be the one I picked up from Marks and Spencer but there are hundreds out there, just be sure you dress your little one appropriately for the tog rating of your bag.

 

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Baby bath time…

When I was pregnant I envisioned what bath time would be like with a newborn.  I pictured holding my tiny little human all wrapped up in a big fluffy towel and gently trickling water over him while he peacefully stared into my eyes…Boy was I in for a shocker! As soon as his clothes and nappy came off he screamed, when I picked him up he screamed, as soon as the water touched him he screamed, he pee’d all over me and basically didn’t stop screaming until he was out of the water, dried and fully clothed again.

Since that day I dreaded bath time with Adam and put it off as much as I could.  I really wanted him to enjoy splashing around in the bath but he hated it.  Once he was past the two month mark I made it my mission to bath him everyday as part of getting him into a bedtime routine and he now actually seems to enjoy splashing around in the water.  I try and make it as fun as possible, stick some music on and go over the top with lots of dramatic praise while he just lies there bemused.  As a newborn I didn’t feel comfortable using anything on Adam’s delicate skin but after a few weeks I began using Child’s Farm bubble bath in the water and the hair and body wash on his hair and thankfully his skin has loved the products as much as I have.  After his bath we use a bit of the nappy cream on his bottom and the sensitive lotion everywhere else.  He started getting dry flaky patches on his face and head so I’ve even used these on those and it’s cleared up almost instantly.

Originally it was the eye catching packaging, the words organic, sensitive and the fact they were suitable from birth that attracted me to the range as I’d never heard of them before but a little bit of googling bought me to Joanna Jensen’s story and how she came to develop the range and that is when I knew I’d be using these products on my baby.

Being a new mum is hard enough without having to deal with worrying about what products are safe and what aren’t skincare wise and Child’s Farm have just taken the stress out of it completely.  I know I can trust that any mother who has developed something specifically for their own child will only be using the best ingredients and safest ethos which is why I will be continuing with Child’s farm for the foreseeable future.

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Mam….Product review

I’d never heard of Mam until I got pregnant.  When we began baby shopping I was fully prepared to buy bottles.  Not because I didn’t want to breastfeed but because I had already planned to express some milk and share the responsibility of feeding with my husband.  I also didn’t realise I’d become so obsessed and emotional about breastfeeding when everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I am also of the belief that as beautiful as it is for a mother and baby to bond over breastfeeding, fathers should be able to get in on some of that bonding time too and I know hubby has enjoyed doing some of the feeds too.

So because I was fully prepared to express and bottle feed we went in search of a feeding set that contained a pump, steriliser and bottles and from previous research I’d found a Tommee Tippee set that we’d decided we were going to buy however when we got to Babies’R’Us the sales assistance steered us in the direction of the Mam Breastfeeding starter set and told us it was actually much more popular, half the price and had rave reviews.  We’d never heard of Mam and were a bit sceptical at first but we were swayed and picked it up.  I never expected that we’d get so much use out of the bottles in the beginning but if you’ve read my breastfeeding journey post you’ll know we did have a few teething issues and I don’t know where we would have been without them.  I even, in my sleep deprived and emotional state microwaved the handle of the breast pump which clearly isn’t microwave safe and ended up with a melted, totally unusable pump meaning hubby had to make a quick dash for Argos to pick up another set which also included milk storage pots and more bottles.

The picture above is just for reference but our set contained:

  • 5 ounce bottles
  • 9 ounce bottles
  • Manual breast pump
  • Microwave steriliser
  • Bottle cleaning brush
  • Size 1 and 2 teats
  • 2 dummies
  • 2 nipple shields and a steriliser box for them.

Although we’ve now packed away the steriliser and bottles as he’s such a good feeder now, I still use the pump now and then when Adam decides to the sleep through the night and the I become so engorged I can’t sleep anyway.  The nipple shields also came in very handy in the beginning when breastfeeding was pure agony and although Adam still refuses to take a dummy (pacifier), it’s been useful having them for occasions when he just wont settle or when we’re out and it’s not possible to put him directly on the breast quick enough.

I couldn’t recommend Mam products enough, the bottles can be self sterilised so when you just need one bottle you can just put it in the microwave for 3 minutes with a bit of water and it’s clean and ready for use.  This also came in very handy when we were out as I could pop into any restaurant or cafe and have a clean bottle ready for Adam anytime.  I still keep a bottle and carton of formula in his changing bag for emergencies but can happily say I’ve not need them for quite some time, but I know that when we eventually start weaning I’ll happily take my beloved mam bottles out of storage and use them again.

I also ordered some of these milk powder storage pots but managed to wean Adam off the formula before I even got a chance to use them but I know that once he’s weaning and eating solids I can even use these for packing snacks when we’re out and about.

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Making memories… Barrett & Coe Review

As I sit here writing this I find it unbelievably frightening yet wonderfully exciting that Adam will soon be 12 weeks old.  Everyday has been a challenge and each morning I wake to find he has grown just a little bit more.  When he was born 12 weeks seemed so far away and I couldn’t wait for him to grow so that we could play together and I could make him laugh, now that he’s doing all those things I yearn for the tiny baby that was placed in my arms on January 13th. I had all these elaborate plans for capturing all of his milestones but through all the constant feeds and late night nappy changes it saddens me to think I’ve not done as much as I could have done to capture his subtle changes, it’s like I’ve blinked and he’s transformed into this beautiful, happy little mini human and he’s just not my little baby anymore.  I am fully aware I sound as if I’m shipping him off to university tomorrow and he is still very much a baby but it seems time is running away from us and if I could I would stop it.

Since realising I will never get that tiny baby back I’ve made it my mission to take at least one new picture of him everyday, to dress him in something new, to show him the world, to take him for walks and let him explore the world around us and now when he goes down to bed for the night I regret those days in the beginning when I was so sleep deprived I would just will him to sleep because now that he sleeps for hours at a time I actually miss him even though he’s right next to me.

In the name of making new memories we were lucky enough to take Adam for his first professional photo shoot courtesy of Emma’s Diary and Barrett & Coe photography.  It melted my heart watching my little baby have a proper professional shoot and at first I was a bit apprehensive, this was my little baby posing for grown up photos but Peter Evans (our photographer) couldn’t have been more professional.  He instantly took to snapping some unbelievably beautiful photos and put us all at ease with his professionalism, maneuvering Adam into lots of different positions and even accommodating our wishes of having some pictures with Adam’s favourite elephant teddy.  We were even given some time in between shooting to give Adam a quick feed and to have a change of outfits for him.  Due to a cancellation after our shoot we were able to view all the photos straight away in the viewing room with a cup of coffee.  We’ve since received a message from Peter Evans informing us that our photos are almost ready for collection and we can’t wait to see them!  If you’d like more information about Barrett & Coe Essex you can follow them on their Facebook page here and to view some of our pictures take a look at this short video presentation that they’ve made for you to view here.

We’d just like to say a big thank you to Emma’s diary for giving us the opportunity to make new memories with our little boy and to Peter and the Team at Barrett & Coe for having us in the studio.

 

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My Breastfeeding journey so far…

It’s taken me a while to sit down and write this post because it’s taken this long for us to get to grips with breastfeeding.  I feel like we’re still not quite there yet but I wanted to document our journey so far and if it helps just one other mother out there then it is worth it.

The feeding journey between a mother and her baby is precious and personal, how a mother chooses to nourish her child is and should always be just between her and her baby. Carrying a child for 9 months and giving birth are two of the most brutally life changing experiences in a woman’s life but once those processes are over there comes a whole new wave of emotions and obstacles that nobody really talks about. I feel like there is so much information thrown at pregnant women about the do’s and don’ts during pregnancy, signs of labour, birthing options, pain relief. But nobody speaks about what comes after. The complete lack of sleep and the constant feeding.  After we’d bought Adam home and got him settled it was the first night at home where reality hit me like a tonne of bricks. All he wanted to do was feed, and when he did fall asleep and settle as soon as I put him in his Moses basket he would just wake up screaming again. I was literally exhausted by the second night and by the third I physically couldn’t function. I’d spent three days in bed just feeding myself and Adam and because I’d had some stitching it was almost impossible to sit down. All I wanted to do was lie down and rest my aching back but he still wouldn’t settle. When he was weighed at day 2 he’d lost a significant amount of weight and although his nappies were very wet, he’d had no dirty nappies since leaving hospital. The midwifes just said to carry on and that this was normal and he was just cluster feeding. But it just didn’t feel right. I remember barely getting through the third night of constant feeding and no sleep and just waiting for the sun to come up so that I could send Hubby out to get some formula..

He guzzled the bottle down and settled down for 6 hours! Now obviously I’m well aware that Formula takes a lot longer to digest which is why he was kept fuller for longer and that’s why he slept for so long but it made me feel even worse. All the mum guilt was hitting me like a tonne of bricks. Had I been starving my baby? Was he so hungry he needed the bottle to settle? Why had I given him the ‘evil’ formula when all I was being told was that ‘breast was best’ for my child and by giving him a bottle I’d cause nipple confusion and he would refuse to breastfeed and I’d be dubbed the worst mother on the planet! Obviously when I look back now all of those feelings and thoughts that seemed so important at the time just feel so trivial.  He absolutely didn’t have nipple confusion ( To be honest I think the whole concept of nipple confusion is a load of rubbish anyway!) I’ve had to use nipple shields, had a few days where I was so sore I had to exclusively pump and only give him bottle and as of today we are firmly back on the breast and my beautiful resilient little boy has taken it all in his stride.

We struggled with him gaining weight in the first few weeks and were even told by the GP that he HAD to have at least 2 formula top ups a day which I was not happy about but seeing my baby steadily gaining weight after that and watching him thrive means that I’ve let go of my ‘Breast is Best’ hang ups and am now a firm supporter of the ‘Fed is Best’ approach.  As long as my baby is fed, content and happy I have no problem giving him a bottle every now and then but at this present moment we have managed to tackle breastfeeding as best as we possibly can, and in between feeds I am pumping and freezing whatever breast milk I can for those times when he demands a little bit extra.

I could not have gotten this far with breastfeeding without a few lifesavers…

The Medela Symphony breast pump pictured above.  I’ve tried quite a few pumps now and this is by far the best and gives me the best results.  At certain points in our breastfeeding journey I had to exclusively pump for Adam because I was just too sore to nurse.  I was told by a friend to rent the symphony and it was the best decision for us.  It is a bit pricey at £47 for the first 14 days and then £47 for every 30 days after so I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to justify keeping it but I can’t recommend it enough!

Nipple shields – There’s a lot of controversy over using nipple shields, how they will cause nipple confusion and that you don’t get as much stimulation from the shield so they can cause a drop in milk supply however I know that if I wasn’t able to take a few days break from direct nursing due to the unbelievable soreness I would have given up on the whole thing a long time ago.  I’m a firm advocate for nipple shields now however I wouldn’t recommend long term use and advise weaning off them as soon as your nipples have recovered.

Lanolin – This has been a God send in helping with the soreness.  I’ve used this one from Boots but there are many on the market aside from Lansinoh and actually the Asda Nspa nipple cream has some really great reviews.

My greatest piece of advice is, don’t do what I did.  Don’t let breastfeeding ruin your first few weeks with your precious new baby.  I am well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding which is why I’m still soldiering on with the whole process to this day but if you know in your heart as a mother that you’ve tried and it isn’t working or you’ve made an informed decision to not breastfeed for whatever reason then as long as your child is fed, happy and healthy then know that you’ve done the best for your baby!

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