Still addicted to my iPhone?

A week ago I set myself the challenge of cutting down on my iPhone usage as I was finding myself getting addicted to checking things like Facebook and Twitter a million times a day!

So how did I get on?

  • By leaving my phone in a different room for most of the day and only checking it during naptime I am definitely using it less – the temptation has gone!
  • However, I realised how much I use it for other things like the camera, notebook and baby apps  – so I’m using an old school notebook and pen – old school, I love it!
  • I unfollowed some of the parenting groups that I’m a member of, on Facebook – if I ever have a bored half hour I can check them, but they won’t clog up my feed (it turns out these are the only updates I ever seem to get as most non-parents are in work or living their lives lol!)
  • Although I don’t think I’m missing much on Facebook, I do miss getting involved in some of the Twitter banter with other mums etc!
  • First thing in the morning is the hardest – baby W has taken to getting us up at 7-7.30 and I’m like a zombie til about 10 – my usual fix is breakfast TV, the Wright Stuff, lots of tea and my phone – that’s been the hardest habit to break
  • I still find myself checking it when I go to bed… this is bad for ‘sleep hygiene’ and I’m tempted to leave it downstairs but it does come in handy for nightfeeds so we’ll see…

Overall result? I like to think I’m slightly less addicted, and if baby W is old enough to take note I hope he has noticed :)

Have you tried cutting down too? Any tips you can share with us?!

Posted in opinion, parenting | 1 Comment

Planting trees for babies in Wales

I had an amazing bit of post last week, possibly one of my favourite pieces ever (it’s up there with penpal letters in my teens, concert tickets in my twenties and wedding invites in my thirties!)

The Welsh Government, has planted not one, but two trees for baby W! One is in a forest in Wales, the other is in a family’s garden in Uganda to help them to try and grow crops and make a living….

Our tree certificate from Plant

Our tree certificate from Plant

The name of the scheme is ‘Plant’ which conveniently translates into the Welsh word for ‘children’. They sent us this certificate which you can see, and also an accompanying letter telling us a bit more about the scheme including the grid reference details for baby W’s tree in South Wales!

Why was it one of my favourite pieces of post?

  • I like to think I care about the environment, and helping poorer countries like those in Uganda…. but I am lazy… this allows me to help these causes while not lifting a finger!
  • What a special present for our baby – his own tree! I can’t wait to go and see it in a few years time when he’s old enough to realise :)
  • For both of those reasons above, opening this bit of post gave me such a feelgood factor! Especially considering it’s from the Government – I pay my taxes and in theory get a feelgood factor from having access to free health, education etc but the reality is we take these for granted. This, on the other hand is a cute use of taxes – a small, tangible, important and meaningful gift for every baby in Wales – thank you! Diolch!

Further reading if you’re interested:

  • The official website that tells you more about the scheme
  • a BBC article I found about it which says it was a schoolgirl’s idea, not a politician or civil servant’s :)

 

So what do you think about this? Do they run anything similar in your area? If not would you like them to or do you think it’s a waste of money?! I’d love to hear your thoughts….

Small print: I wasn’t asked by anyone to write this post, I just love the scheme and wanted to spread the word!

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW: Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump

When I was pregnant I remember researching breast pumps and wondering if I would end up using one, if I would end up breastfeeding etc.

During my research, one pump came into online conversation time and time again, which was the Medela swing. Everywhere from Facebook groups to forums hail this as la crème de la crème of breast pumps so I couldn’t wait to try it!

Medela Swing in its packaging

Medela Swing in its packaging

When it arrived even the packaging lived up to its expectations, I love the Medela branding and colours etc. To me it shouts quality and oozes a bit of class! I know I’m already starting to annoy you, but even the instructions were amazing… Why don’t more brands use photos/diagrams, colours and a decent sized font in their instructions?!

Great instruction manual with the Medela swing!

Great instruction manual with the Medela swing!

Anyway I digress, let’s get back to the main event…

How it works/how I use it

The pump comes in a few parts – 4 pieces make up the pump/bottle then you have 2 leads plus the main unit….

Medela Swing parts

Medela Swing parts

It’s easy to put together, helped by clear instructions…. the bottle has a valve system inside it…

Medela swing pump - nearly ready-to-go!

Medela swing pump – nearly ready-to-go!

You need to make sure you wash and sterilise the parts before you put it together as per the instructions. Once you’ve set it up, plug it in and hit the power button :)

As with using a manual pump, I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of how it would feel but it felt fine – painless and comfortable! It has a ‘2-phase’ method so it starts pumping as if a baby was suckling, then kicks into the expression mode 2 minutes later – but if your milk/let-down starts flowing within that 2 minutes, you press a button to go into expressing mode early. It has + and – buttons to increase/decrease the vacuum effect – I tend to use the + button to encourage the milk a bit when I’m struggling… and conversely I’ve used it when the milk is flowing well and can go quicker!

Result? In a good session when I have lots of milk in, I can easily express about 400ml of milk. While it’s not hands-free, you only need one hand to operate it so you can be reading/scrolling through the internet/ reading a magazine etc while you use it – essentially it does all the hard work for you!

 

Result! Pumped milk in the medela swing!

Result! Pumped milk in the medela swing!

A couple of times I’ve looked down and realised my nipple is no longer moving so it’s stopped working – it usually means a bit of my clothing has got in the way which stops the ‘vacuum’ effect from working. Once I realised I hadn’t plugged the cable in – doh!

Pros

Easy-to-use, light equipment, comfortable and very effective in expressing milk in an effortless way (especially compared to a manual pump!)

You can use it with batteries, and the main unit has a clip on it – so you could walk around the house doing it etc (you’d just need to keep your hand on the ‘breastshield’ (the funnel-looking bit!) as you do if you’re sat down i.e. it’s not hands-free!)

Cons

Probably just me being an idiot but I couldn’t get the UK adaptor bit to fit, so I’m using it with an adaptor plug instead!

If the bottle tilts a bit too much I have had a little bit of leakage – I think this is down to me not closing it tight enough rather than being a design fault but thought I’d mention it so you make sure yours is always closed tight, and always use the stand it comes with when you’re placing it down on a surface!

Other bits

Medela swing bag and accessories

Medela swing bag and accessories

The set also comes with a handy drawstring bag for when you’re out and about (I’ve not taken it out so not used this yet, but you can see from the photo that it’s a decent size – more than enough room for the main unit and all the accessories!)

As I said, you can use it with batteries so in theory is transportable but I’m not sure how discreet it is – I wouldn’t say it’s loud but I wouldn’t say it’s really quiet either – I wonder how mums get on with it when they’re pumping in work etc?

The set also comes with a Medela Calma teat to use as with the bottle. I’ve not used this as we’d got baby used to the Tommee Tippee bottles and I don’t want to confuse him, but I’ve heard good things about the Calma as it’s supposed to mimic the way a baby breastfeeds.

Overall result

I love the Medela swing – I now use it daily so it’s become an essential part of our routine and so much easier than using a manual pump. Even when I had a cold and my milk dried up a little, I managed to express a little using the Swing – although I have no idea how effective it is, if you have problems breastfeeding – hopefully it can help!

The Medela swing retails at around £130 and I don’t think it’s discounted often (or ever!) – this is likely to be a big chunk of your baby budget, but if you’re exclusively breastfeeding then it’s the money saved from not buying formula milk! You can buy it in places like Mothercare and Boots so maybe you could ask family and friends for vouchers towards it :) Also, I think some of these retailers (and NCT) have rental options.

I hope you found this useful, have you tried the Medela swing or any other electric pumps? How did you get on?

Disclaimer: I was given this product in exchange for a review, but views and opinions are my own! 

 

 

Posted in breastfeeding, parenting, reviews | 1 Comment

Addicted to my iPhone

My name’s Heledd and I’m addicted to my smartphone…

I think it all started when baby W was a wee newborn and we’d have some epic feeds… 1 or 2 hours glued to the sofa or bed and as much as I love staring at his gorgeous face , I needed something else… Something to keep me awake…

Scroll, scroll, scroll, swipe, swipe, swipe……

He’s now nearly 4 months old and I feel addicted…. I am constantly checking Facebook and twitter! Facebook used to be where I kept in touch and up-to-date with friends. It still is but now I’m also a member of about 10 mummy groups where there’s always dramas, people to help, people to ask for advice…

Ditto twitter, i set up a new account to go with this blog, and so my feed is 99% parenting-related, obviously v useful to a new mum like me! I can check both a gazillion times in a few minutes, and I can guarantee that not much will have it happened since I last checked!

But like I said, I guess it’s habit… A habit that’s just gotten worse (like most habits I guess?)

This all sounds petty… Why does it matter?

Before W came along I’d always said I wouldn’t want my children addicted to iPads and phones like so many kids seem to be. So with me being addicted to my phone, I’m not giving him the best start am I ?! When I mentioned my addiction in baby group last week, a mum to a 6month old said her baby was already wanting to/asking to play with her phone. This mum, and another, both admitted to sneaking a look at their phone while feeding/ playing with their babies, like I do!

Each to their own, but for me, it’s laziness… I might have messages that I haven’t replied to for weeks, but scrolling and swiping are so easy… So lazy! I don’t want baby W to inherit a lazy habit… and I don’t want to miss a thing while he’s awake! Don’t get me wrong – I’m  sure he will end up playing with iPads and iPhones – but in moderation, not all the time like his mummy!

Today it stops. My challenge for the week ahead is to leave my phone in another room to the one I’m in. I will only check my phone when baby is napping (so about 3 times a day) I will check it when daddy comes home and takes over for an hour. I will then check it again before bed. This will be similar to my blogging rules – I only blog when baby W is napping in the day… Evening time is time for me and my other half and weekends are family time.

I don’t really check it when I’m out and about – it’s more of a sofa habit.

 

Find out in a week how I get on… Will my right hand hurt any less? Will I miss out on anything? Will I feel like I’m missing a limb?!

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Weeks 15-16 of being a mummy – baby’s first night in a hotel…. and first tooth!!!

Well the last 2 weeks has been a game of two halves… the first week my OH was off work, the second week we had baby’s first tooth cut through and with it all the fun of teething… way earlier than planned! Read on…

Week off

So yes my other half had a week off last week, and it was lovely. His job is busy, and he’s studying for a professional qualification on the side… so we both managed to catch up with some much-needed rest (I finally got rid of that lingering cold!!), he caught up with some of his studies…. and most importantly he got to spend some quality time with baby W especially when he’s at his cutest, full of smiles and chats in the mornings!

The week flew by, my parents were also holidaying nearby so we saw them a few times… we went down to Cardiff Bay one day, quaint Cowbridge another day… and we also took W for his first night in a hotel!

First night in a hotel

We didn’t go far, we’d got a living social deal for us and my OH’s parents to stay at the Court Colman manor.

Gorgeous place, little bit shabby on the sides but for the £50 a night we paid I couldn’t complain! So we did our usual bath and bottle routine with W, and once he was asleep in his basket we carried him down the restaurant and he slept through our dinner – phew!

While that bit was great, he still woke up twice for his nightfeeds and we realised then that we probably wouldn’t go abroad on holiday til he’s sleeping through all night – the 3 of us confined in a hotel room for a week could be pretty stressful! We might go to Center Parcs or somewhere where we get a bit of space!

These were the views from our room in the morning – gorgeous :)

View from our room in Court Colman manor

Mummy’s second big night out

I first went out on a big night out when W was just 7 weeks old, on a work party! Last weekend I went out with some of my best friends and had a great time – I took W over to see them for brunch, then we regrouped for afternoon tea in Park Plaza later in the afternoon although it was afternoon tea with a twist…. Gentleman’s afternoon tea…. so miniature burgers, Yorkshire pud, scotch egg etc  – it was delicious! Food, chats, champagne, cocktails and lager – great mix and I stayed relatively sensible so I avoided a hangover the next day :)

Gentleman's afternoon tea, Park Plaza, Cardiff

Gentleman’s afternoon tea, Park Plaza, Cardiff

Ladies enjoying afternoon tea :)

Ladies enjoying afternoon tea :0

Baby’s first tooth – Teething at 15 weeks!

After that lovely week, it was back to a reality with a bang: last Sunday we were with both sets of grandparents and W was proper grouchy. Either that night or the following night, for the first time he wouldn’t settle for bed, took an hour longer than normal.

Tuesday morning he was over at his nan’s and she text us to say his thirst tooth had come through! Haven’t managed to take a photo yet but it’s a tiny little white lump, with the one next to it peeping through too now!

He’s been chomping on his hands, toys and anything else he can get his gums on for a few weeks now but expected his first tooth on a few months time….

He’s been up and down with the pain all week. It’s been really tough so many times this week where he’s been in inconsolable pain and there’s not much I can do! He wants to be picked up a lot more than usual, and calpol and bonjela both seem to help a little bit, as does rubbing his gums…. poor thing :(  

Some of our teething kit!Some of our teething kit!

Other developments – jabs and weigh-in

He had his second jabs this week, screamed for a second but was fine after and a lot sleepier than normal. While we were there we got him weighed for the first time since he was 8 weeks old… He’s now 13lb 8, and back to the lower 25% percentile which is where he was as a newborn., so the health visitor was happy with that (we won’t mention the things she was unhappy with… That’s a whole other blog post! Health visitors tsk!)

He’s still comfy in his 0-3 month old clothes. More presents this update include a knitted hoody, and slipper socks  from his mamgu (my mum); books from his grandparents, family friend and my bestie, and a White Company sleepsuit from his Nanna’s friend, oh and some Mothercare vouchers from a friend. We have so many vouchers to spend – perfect for some nice Christmassy outfits I reckon as we have 3-6 already sorted!

The only things we bought were the teething things – exciting! No other news – yoga and swimming both on a summer break, we finished baby massage this week which I will blog about… and we went to our usual Wednesday baby group where he loved playing with the playgyms!

 

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Weeks 13-14 of being a mummy.. first laugh and formula milk

Just a quick update – I’m still fighting off a cold/chest infection that I’ve now had for 3 weeks… Leaves no energy for a luxury like blogging!

Baby W

After hitting a big milestone in the last update (rolling over, which he hasn’t done since!) he hit another one this week… He laughed for the first time! 

I didn’t even see it as I was bouncing him, facing forward in the relaxation part of our yoga class. Our teacher was bouncing another baby and was pulling faces… And he just couldn’t stop giggling! It was the cutest sound :)

Things he loves

Faces- he’s well into people’s faces at the moment and smiles a lot especially when funny faces are pulled!

playgym mirror – likewise, he likes checking out his own face :) 

owl on his bouncer – loves chatting to the owl that lives on his fisherprice bouncer!

comforter – he’s still obsessed with his comforter and munches on it… A lot!

Keeping busy – I’ve learnt through the baby massage classes that he gets bored pretty easily of being in the same place/position for too long! 

Routine

In my last update we were just starting our bath, bottle, bed routine. Our aim was to calm him down as he was quite often grouchy in the evenings/nights; and also we were hoping to get him to sleep through a bit longer.

It’s worked well so far, he’s asleep by 7, we dreamfeed him about 11, then he still wakes up for at least 2 nightfeeds but most of the time he’s chilled about it and goes back down easily.

It’s lovely having our evenings back, being able to watch TV in peace or have a bath, all in the knowledge that he’s more chilled because of it! 

It is tough for daddy though who sees him a lot less during the week now. Oh, and it’s also very tough at times trying to keep him awake from 4 to 6 so that our routine works! 

Next week will be interesting as daddy has the week off and we’re hoping to go away for a few nights, I think routine will be out the window while we’re having dinner etc… We’ll see what happens then!

He has roughly 3 daytime naps, about half hour each time – mad to think that a few weeks ago most of his days were spent sleeping! It’s absolutely lovely spending all day with him awake, chatting to him, playing with him, pulling funny faces at him but it means a lot less ‘me’ time in the day and I’ve learnt to do everything so much quicker – no faffing about! A half hour nap means a choice between a shower, laundry, dishes, catching up with messages, blogging etc etc…

Feeding

You’ll know that I’ve been lucky enough to breastfeed without problem…. Until now…

My milk supply has slowed down a lot, I think due to this ongoing cold. It’s not too bad when he’s on the breast, but we’re trying to express for the evening feeds so that his dad can feed him, and I had a work keeping in touch day this week where supplies were perilously low. I’ve been trying to keep hydrated and eating plenty of oats (good for milk production apparently) but in the end we got some Aptamil to help us out and to make sure we always have some milk here for him.

He’s had it a couple of times now and took to it fine. I had mixed feelings… After breastfeeding exclusively for 3 months I was keen to try and hit 6 months… But ultimately it was about him, not me, I feel like this will keep him happy while my body fights this infection and gets back to normal! 

Purchases and presents

No time for pics but I have bought Sophie the giraffe and baby nail scissors for W. (have not been very successful in cutting his fingernails with my nail scissors!) 

He was given a HUGE bag of 3-6 month clothes from my friend Carys so we won’t need to buy anything else in that size which is fab and has probably saved us a fortune – so grateful!

For me, I treated myself to a scarf covered in cats from a local gift shop, and coral shoes from Dune – expensive but I HAD to have them! (to be fair I don’t think I’ve bought new shoes for at least a year now!!)

 

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Baby clothes haul – NCT nearly new sale

A few weeks ago I went to my first ‘NCT nearly new sale’ and I was so impressed I had to share my buys with you…

By the time I arrived I was pretty much last in the queue so I feared I’d missed most of the bargains but the place was so big I didn’t need to worry – I headed straight for the baby boy 3-6 months section and pretty much had it to myself… in total I spent £23 and here’s what I got….

The top on the right is one of my faves – I love minis! The t-shirt on the left is the worst thing I bought, only because it was slightly bobbly – but at 50p for a Jasper Conran t-shirt I can’t complain!

Jasper Conran T-shirt (50p) and Monsoon long-sleeved T-shirt (£2)

Jasper Conran T-shirt (50p) and Monsoon long-sleeved T-shirt (£2)

 

Next romper suits (£3 for the 2)

Next romper suits (£3 for the 2)

 

Brand new T-shirt from Tu on the left (50p) and one from Next on the right (£1)

Brand new T-shirt from Tu on the left (50p) and one from Next on the right (£1)

We’re hoping to get away for our first family holiday in September so it was great to stock up on these shorts – all in excellent condition and cute details e.g. the john Lewis ones have a lovely red lining to contrast with the blue.

 

Brand new T-shirt from Tu on the left (50p) and one from Next on the right (£1)

Brand new T-shirt from Tu on the left (50p) and one from Next on the right (£1)

 

R: John Lewis Shorts (£1), tommy hilfiger shorts (£1.50)

R: John Lewis Shorts (£1), tommy hilfiger shorts (£1.50)

Baby’s first coat! I love, love, love this – I think it will be perfect for those rainy Autumn days!

Gorgeous jacket from Gap (i think it was £2)

Gorgeous jacket from Gap (i think it was £2)

I had to get these Next T-shirts…. look at the backs!

image

Next T-shirts (£1.50 for both)

Next T-shirts (£1.50 for both)

Baby’s first shirt… I’m sure we’ll find an occasion for him to wear it to!

Mothercare shirt (£1)

Mothercare shirt (£1)

Some of you will know I have a thing for elephants so when I saw this rucksack, I had to have it – hope he likes it by the time he’s old enough to use it!

Elephant rucksack (£1)

Elephant rucksack (£1)

I also have a thing for bees, so I HAD to have this bee outfit – it still had the tags on it too so another great bargain!

Brand new from Tesco (I think it was £1.50)

Brand new from Tesco (I think I paid £1.50)

The above doesn’t quite add up to £23 – the remaining £5 or so I spent on 3 baby books – with textures, sounds etc.

So what a bargain, I was seriously impressed as I wouldn’t normally buy any designer labels for baby, so at this price the haul was a real treat. The quality on most items is really good, they really are nearly new – there’s only one t-shirt that shows a bit of wear/bobliness.

The next NCT sale in Cardiff is on September 26th 2014 – find out if you have one near you on their website. I was only interested in the clothes and books but they sell pretty much anything that’s baby-related! I will definitely be going to the next one…. will you?!

 

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