Toddler W’s 27 month update 

W turned 2 and a quarter last week and thought I’d write a quick updates the last one was when he turned two.

Stop press alert: he had some new favourites: Paw patrol has overtaken Peppa pig as his favourite cartoon, and I think quiche has now overtaken pasta as his favourite food!

Becoming a big brother

The biggest change since then has been that he’s become a big brother! This has gone better than expected (read our post about preparing him for it!) largely due to leaving him with the childminder four days a week for now, do he doesn’t have too much of a chance to get jealous/frustrated.

When he comes home, he asks for ‘baby cwtch’ straight away. When baby S is in his bouncer he’ll often go up to him to give him a kiss, whether he’s sleeping or awake!! He blocks out the crying most of the time, so all in all he’s handling it very well and we’re giving him lots of praise for it!

Development

His vocabulary continues to go from strength to strength and you can have a good old conversation with him now! 

He’s using his memory, eg if I ask him what he did at the childminder’s today, he can roughly tell me.

He’s using logic, so when my other half said to him the other day ‘shall we go in this shop to look at clothes for dad’, W said ‘no, Dadda got clothes!’ 

He says his ‘please’ and ‘thank you’s and  copies and picks up so many sayings eg ‘careful mamma’, ‘mamma come on!!’ (Said with urgency as he’s trying to drag me somewhere’) and ‘never mind’.

He’s inquisitive ‘what’s Dadda doing?!’ ‘What happened?!’ (The latter often asked after he falls over on purpose ;)) 

Since the last update he can now count up to ten in Welsh and French!! He loves numbers, when we’re out and about he’ll read out numbers when he sees them! He also knows the colours in Welsh.

The last few weeks he’s started to try and sing… He’ll ask us to sing his faves ‘five little Ducks’ or ‘spider’ (incy wincy) and he’ll always try and join in with ‘wheels in the bus’

Behaviour

Overall he’s still a very good boy and we can usually move on from tantrums through a range of distraction techniques!! Over the last month or so he’s become a little more ‘headstrong’ with lots more ‘no’s and ‘no, mine’ creeping in, perhaps in reaction to his baby brother’s arrival, perhaps just picked up from the older girls at the childminder’s.

Routines etc 

He still wakes up about 6.30 and still has a 2 hour nap from about 12-2. We make sure it’s no longer than 2 hours. 

Bedtime has got later, he goes upstairs for bath and stories at 7 and is usually asleep by 8. We managed to ditch his milk bottle for a few days, but that’s crept back in and not the time to fight over it with a newborn in the house!

He usually sleeps through but quite often will wake between midnight and two shouting for ‘dadda’, not upset just over-tired etc!

Still no toilet training yet, we’ll try in September when he has a week off with me.

What we’ve been up to…Before and since his brother’s arrival we’ve made sure he’s had plenty of visits out and about. I wish I had time to write all of these up (or at least have more photos to share with you!) but he’s been to Tredegar park, Dyffryn GardensCardiff bay a few times….

Barry island…

barry island beach fun
Cardiff museum…

cardiff museum rocks 
Heath park miniature railway…

heath park miniature railway

Greenmeadow community farm
greenmeadow community farm

nature day at Forest farm

meadow at forest farm

Amelia trust farm…

amelia trust farm

The new splash pad at Victoria park…

victoria park splashpad
…and the childminder takes them out most days too, so he’s had a good few days out over the last few months! Although he’s just as happy at home with his cars, dinosaurs, animals, books etc…

Let’s see what the next few months bring 😍

Introducing: Rockin’ baby clothes (S/S16 collection)

I love finding quirky clothes for W… Leggings, bright colours, unusual prints…

So I was delighted when Rockin’ baby sent him a T-shirt and shorts outfit from their latest collection. 


This collection features 10 themes and I think we were sent a set from the ‘out of Africa’ range. Other themes are called things like ‘fishy fun’ and ‘high tea’.

I absolutely love the print, so different and so much fun… So colourful! W loves it too… Roaring at the lions, he’s started to pick out which clothes he wants to wear now and loves any clothes with animals on them!


The fabric seems really high quality… Soft but strong🙂 Hopefully they wash ok and the colours don’t run! 

The other bonus is that Rockin’ Baby donate to charity… For every item of clothing sold from this collection, they donate an item to a child in need. They’re on target to donate 250,000 pieces of clothing over the next year!

Now the only negative I could find about these clothes is the sizing. We were sent size 2-3 which should fit W but both the top and bottom were too big and I don’t think he’ll fit into them til next summer now which is a shame!

The shorts waistline was ok as it was elasticated, but they were too long. They are fab though, really well-made pocket and button detail…


The t-shirt was too big overall, here it is overlaid with another t-shirt he wears age 2-3.

So I would recommend you buy a size smaller than what you need. The range is available at rockinbaby.com with prices starting at £10… I can see that some items are now 50% off so do check them out and let me know what you think! 

Overall I’m chuffed to find a new brand to dress the boys in, that you won’t find on the high-street, and that donates to charity! 

Disclaimer: I was sent these items in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

My breastfeeding story… Second time around

Before I had W, I was given lots of breastfeeding advice… Mostly that it was likely to hurt, wasn’t always easy and that I should stock up on nipple cream and cabbages😉

I thought I’d give it a shot but was quite pragmatic that if I couldn’t do it I wouldn’t be overly bothered – I didn’t put myself under any pressure to do it. As it turns out, W was a dream to breastfeed – his journey was so straightforward that my best friend who’s also a breastfeeding peer support says i was only 1 of 2 people she knew that hasn’t faced any issues with breastfeeding. Another peer support friend was also amazed at how easy is had it, and even admitted to some jealousy over it! (Breastfeeding does that to you ;)) 


First few days of breastfeeding

So cue baby S and I planned to breastfeed again. However, baby S had other ideas. Straight away he didn’t seem to latch on properly, but I was woozy from blood loss so it was all a bit of a blur. During our hospital stay I got a couple of the midwives to help me with his latch, and we also expressed colostrum and gave it to him via a syringe. 

I could have stayed in til I knew that breastfeeding was established, but I wanted to get home… You know how it is!

The first night home was horrendous. S screamed a lot. Screamed when I tried to latch him on, screamed when he wasn’t latched on, etc.

When my midwife came over the next day, she again helped with his latch and also suggested hand expressing… And sent a breastfeeding specialist to see me the next day….

This lady said my positioning was all wrong, and helped me with that. She suspected I was finding it harder second time around because my last memory of it was with W when he was much bigger than a newborn…. A newborn needed much more guidance!

At this time my milk had come in so it was much easier (so I thought!!) S was still taking a long time to latch every time and usually crying/screaming every time but eventually would settle down and start suckling. In hindsight I don’t think he was ever latched on properly as he still wasn’t putting weight on. 

First two weeks of feeding 

For his first two weeks I had either a midwife or breastfeeding support visiting every other day to weigh him and when he was still -10% at 2.5 weeks they suggested I see the specialist boss lady at a breastfeeding support group.
I arrived early and glad I did as they put me on an extreme pumping plan for the weekend and watched him latch, before lots of tearful, stressed-out, sleep-deprived mums turned up wanting help and probably feeling like failures. I don’t think I’ve ever seen/felt such raw emotion in one room. 

It’s a hugely evocative feeling when you’re struggling to feed your baby. I’m so, so glad I had managed ok with W because I kept thinking ‘I’ve done it once, if I can’t do it again that’s fine!’ Whereas I dread to think how I would have handled all of this as a first time mum.

After a full weekend of breastfeeding, expressing (using the excellent Medela Swing pump) and bottle-feeding expressed milk, S had gone and lost further weight and was down to -11%.

I physically couldn’t do any more than I had been doing. 

I said to the specialist straight away that we were going to have to introduce fomula, as I couldn’t do any more and I was getting concerned about his weight. She agreed with me, and told my other half to get me a bottle of wine while he was buying formula as I deserved a night off!

They were all at a loss as to why he kept losing weight as he was pooing plenty, and seemed to be latching ok, but as I said earlier he must have not actually been taking much in when he was latched on. One of the ladies did say it might be a ‘small mouth, big nipple’ issue!

6 week update: Where are we now

So after 2 weeks of breast milk, he’s now been on pretty much 6 weeks of formula. I’ve been trying to express enough to give him one bottle of expressed milk a day, but my supply has been drying up… I know I can get it back by increased pumping etc… I need to make the time for it! 

I’ve tried a few times since to get him to latch on again but he hasn’t seemed overly bothered. Now he’s used to bottles I’ve bought nipple shields to try and fool him into thinking that my boobs are bottles but again need to make the time for it on top of his actual bottle feeds… I don’t want to do when he’s hungry and needs his food ASAP but then if I try when he’s not hungry I suspect he won’t bother trying! 

It would be lovely (for me!) if I can get him to breastfeed again, and I’m sure it’s possible with perseverance, but if he doesn’t, he doesn’t and at least we tried.

And that’s all we can do right? Is try. I blogged about it before.. I’m 100% pro-breastfeeding and think everyone should try. 

But now I fall into this pot of people for whom it doesn’t work out… So how do I feel about it?

The emotions behind not breastfeeding any more 

  • Gutted, but I can’t let it get to me, I’m not going to dwell on it
  • Surprised – having done it once, I assumed second time would be easy. I suspect most people struggle first time round, not second!
  • Jealous when I see anyone breastfeeding but I just have to remember that I’ve been lucky enough to do it once before, stress-free 
  • Grateful for all the support that was available to me. I think Cardiff and the Vale NHS trust do a pretty good job, I had support in hospital, at home and they run three drop-in groups every week. It’s really important with all the austerity funding cuts that these services aren’t cut.
  • Thankful for the wider support whether that be practical and moral support from peer-support friends or speaking to other people in Facebook groups who were having similar issues… As always.. A problem shared is a problem halved 
  • Relieved that S took to a bottle easily (as that can be a struggle to so many!)
  • Pleased that I can wear what I want (although I still default to my mummy-esque baggy t-shirts!)
  • Glad that other people can help with the feeding. (Especially handy with a toddler in tow!!!)
  • Tired and sleep-deprived, i’d say that night feeds are much easier when you’re breastfeeding as you don’t need to worry about making up bottles/how long bottles have been made up for… Oh and it’s bollocks that all formula fed sleep longer – S still wakes up every 2-3 hours
  • Guilty – I think subconsciously I used to look at mums bottle feeding their babies and wonder why they weren’t breastfeeding. I’ve learnt the hard way that however someone is feeding their baby, we have no idea what struggles they might have had to get there
  • Selfless – I could have kept on perservering with the latch issue, but it would have been for me, not S. He needed feeding up. He took to the bottle straight away, and is thriving on it.
  • Bonded – when moving to bottles of formula I worried I’d never bond with S like I did with W. I needn’t have worried. When I cwtch S in tight and his big eyes are looking up at me, I know we’ll be OK :) 

So there we have it. Two baby boys, two very different breastfeeding journeys. I might not be lucky enough to breastfeed again but I’d encourage everyone to give it a try. By sharing my stories I hope I can help to normalise breastfeeding in Britain – we need to see it, talk about it, support it! 

How to break a world record… This summer!

Have you ever broken a world record?! I have and it was an awesome feeling… 

Nearly 10 years ago, I was one of thousands of Joneses who held the coveted record of being in the largest gathering of people with the surname!

I believe another group of people broke our record… So next weekend I have the chance to break a similar, but different, record….

I could be part of the largest gathering of people dressed as elephants!!!

As a family, we’re elephant-mad, ever since my other half and I saw them in the wild in Sri Lanka… I think every room in our house has an elephant in so I don’t need much persuading to join a gathering of them!


So some details if you’d like to join us:

Where and when: Saturday August 13th 2016, Millenium Stadium, Cardiff starting at 2pm

Rules: you must be dressed head to toe as an elephant. There are strict rules about the costume eligibility: check them here before you attend! 

Why elephants?: the event is being organised by child bereavement charity 2wishuponastar and the elephants represent:

  • The charity’s mascot as elephants never forget, and neither do bereaved parents
  • The elephant in the room  – ‘child bereavement is something people are understandably afraid to discuss, but if we are to improve support for bereaved parents, it’s an issue that needs to be tackled.’

The story behind 2wishuponastar is incredibly sad… The founder lost her son, then her husband… And set up the charity to improve bereavement services in hospitals across Wales.

So as well as the chance to dress like an elephant, you get to (hopefully!) break a world record and raise awareness of a great charity – see you there! 
Disclosure: I wasn’t paid to write this, I wrote it for free as I think it’s a great event and great charity! 

My second birth story 

A week past my due date, at 41 wks I had my 3rd sweep. I was getting the odd contraction which I’d had for a few days. By late afternoon/early evening they were getting more intense so we sent toddler W off to his nan’s and I got in the bath for a bit. 

Even though it was my second, because W was induced I really didn’t know what to expect at home – while in the bath, through contractions, I was reading baby books on when you should go into hospital – I didn’t want to go too late but didn’t want to go too early and get sent home!

All this time I was just trying to breathe through the contractions, plus trying to stay relaxed and think of tropical peaceful beaches!

second birth story
I was still in the bath when my OH came home after dropping W off. We worked out my contractions were about 6-7 minutes apart so he phoned the delivery ward and they told us to come in…

I put the TENS on for the car journey, and luckily as it was early evening the traffic was light and I only had one contraction in the car!

As soon as we got to the ward my allocated midwife was there waiting for us and I asked for gas and air before we’d even got into the room! I think my subconscious was like ‘right, you’ve done alright through breathing, now you’re here you can get on the gas and air!’ 

The midwife examined me straight away and we were all surprised and delighted that I was 6-7cm dilated already! So chuffed that I’d got that far without any pain relief… 

My waters broke 10 mins later (so lucky they didn’t go in the car 😂) I got hooked up to the monitor and straight on the gas and air (amazing stuff) and had some pretty strong contractions… Couple of times hitting over 100 on the machine whatever that means. As with last time my OH was brilliant helping me with the gas and air and getting me to use it properly (how to breathe using it always seems to confuse me!)

At some point a doctor came in and noted how ‘serene’ it was in the room.. I remember at that point, I had zoned out a bit… Like they say animals want peace and quiet in labour, I think I was going through a similar stage! 

Just 30-40 minutes after arriving in hospital, it wasn’t long before I had the urge to push… 3 or 4 pushes and he was out! 

We got to the hospital at 8pm and baby S was born at 9.02pm, weighing in at 7lb. Honestly can’t believe how quick it was!

He was placed on me straight away but I was wearing a t-shirt so not sure if we had that true skin-on-skin moment… It’s all a bit hazy as…

I hadn’t torn this time but while the midwife was doing the agpar tests, I remember feeling so woozy, and I was still getting painful contractions. She got the doctor in and between them they removed some blood clots from my womb which is what was causing the pain. My OH said this was worse to see than the birth or placenta!!

Because of these clots I lost over 1.5litres of blood, so was on iron straight away (even though they should have waited 3 days apparently) and hooked up to a hormone for 4 hours (can’t remember why!) in the recovery ward. 

S hadn’t latched straight away like W did, and he cried a fair bit but also slept a fair bit. We moved down to the main ward about 6am where we chilled out for the day. A couple of times they helped me get him to latch and we also gave him colostrum via a syringe.

Even though I wasn’t quite convinced that breastfeeding was established, and could have stayed in, I wanted to come home and so we did about 5-6pm and he got to meet his big brother W, and auntie🙂

Overall, it was a much quicker experience than my first, much less pain/discomfort post-birth but also we got this huge sense of relief that he was ok, after all the scare warnings we’d had during pregnancy and the small chance that he might have a genetic disorder…. Our gorgeous second-born boy was here… And healthy… And perfect 😍

Baby S is 1 month old!

S turns a month old today… Unbelievable! I know we always say that time goes quickly but honestly, he still feels like a little newborn as he suffered from quite a big weight loss and we’ve been catching up since!


Weight and feeding

As I said in our last update, S struggled with latching and feeding in his first couple of weeks so lost quite a bit of weight. By his 3rd week update he was over his birth weight (at 7lb 3) which was great news! A week on and I hope he’s getting close to the 8lb mark.

I’ll write about our breastfeeding struggles separately but S is currently 100% bottle fed. Most of that is formula but one bottle a day is expressed breast milk.

Because of the weight issue we took a feeding on demand approach, he’s a bit of a grazer so lots of little feeds but just the last few days he’s started being able to take about 4oz/120ml in one feed so starting today I’m gonna try keeping track of how much he had etc!


Routine – sleep or lack thereof!

We have none! Day and night he generally doesn’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a time… Sometimes longer if we’re out and about. Some nights he’s woken up every hour or so 😁

At night he sleeps in his Sleepyhead and in the day I’m getting him to sleep in his bouncer, so he starts differentiating day and night.

He’s generally pretty chilled out at the mo, when he’s awake he loves nosing around and only cries if he has wind or is over-tired.

Quite often he’ll only fall asleep on me with me patting his back and then I transfer him to the bouncer/sleepyhead. At night I try not to let him sleep on me as I’m so tired I worry about falling asleep too, so he uses a dummy occasionally if he’s struggling to settle.

Looks 
I’d love to share some photos with you but as I keep my boys off my blog you’ll have to make do with this one of his big mop of gorgeous hair!


He’s all hair, long arms and long legs… Little monkey!! His big eyes have started turning blue… I think he’ll end up looking quite similar to W 😍

What we’ve been up to

I’ve been enjoying a very lazy few weeks with him… I’ve taken him into town (Cardiff) for a look round the shops, to catch up with colleagues and see the Welsh football team! I’ve walked over to the shops a couple of times with him but other than that not a lot, but plenty of family and friends (and midwives/health visitors) have visited and kept our diary full🙂

We’ve had a couple of family trips.. One to our local shopping outlet where we take W for a play and wagamamas! And last weekend we finally checked out Cardiff museum which W loved and S slept through. Oh we also went to cafe junior so W could get his hair cut and have a run around.

I had my first ‘night out’ on Friday… 4 beers with an old friend… Any more and I would have been rough on Saturday! My OH has done the night feeds every Friday night which has been great for letting me catch up with sleep and building up sleep reserves for the other 6 nights!

That’s it for now, gotta go and have some more newborn cuddles now🙂 On the one hand I’m wishing away time so we can have more sleep, on the other I’m trying to cherish these moments of funny noises and stretches… And the cwtches! 

Introducing the Silver Cross luxury sleepsuit (part of the ‘To the moon and back’ nursery range)

We’d fancied a Silver Cross pram before W was born, they’re a well-established, high quality British brand… But I never knew they made other products like bedding….

I was kindly sent a Silver Cross sleepsuit/sleeping bag for baby S from their new ‘to the moon and back’ range.

It will still be a good few weeks til baby S can use it as the minimum weight is 8lb 8oz and he’s probably about a pound away from that at the moment! I’ll do a proper review once he’s using it but I wanted to let you know about it sooner rather than later so you can check it out on the Silver Cross website.

It’s such a beautiful, luxurious sleeping bag, I can’t wait to try it out…

As per the name of the range, the design features a moon and lots of stars… Lovely neutral colours which would suit any nursery and any girl or boy!


The fabric feels fantastic and tactile… It’s quilted cotton with jersey lining on the inside, making our babies even more cuddly than usual🙂

silver cross sleepsuit
silver cross sleepsuit

The rest of the Moon and back range includes: 

  • Luxury musical cot mobile
  • Luxury cot bed quilt
  • Luxury coverlet 
  • Luxury changing mattress
  • Luxury padded bumper
  • Co-ordinating tie backs

It’s worth checking out, especially if you’re getting a nursery ready for a baby or looking for nice gifts… Like I said, very neutral and gender-neutral and perfect for little dreamers!

If the quality of the sleepsuit is anything to go by, I’m sure the rest of the range is just as high quality! I’ll be back to do a full review (will be interesting to see how it comes out after a wash!) in a few weeks so enjoy browsing until then!

Disclosure: I was sent this sleeping bag in exchange for a review but as always opinions are my own!

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