Mummy’s new wardrobe – Oasis haul

As you know, I packed away my maternity clothes a few weeks ago. My staple uniform since little W arrived has been the stereotypical breastfeeding mum uniform of jeans and loose/comfy T-shirts. (Or sometimes my PJ’s/dressing gown if I’m not leaving the house!)

So I was very excited to try and find some new things to wear from my favourite clothes shop, Oasis. The aim was to look a bit more yummy mummy (and a bit less frumpy mummy!)

Although I was excited, I was also slightly nervous – I didn’t know what size I would be and whether things would fit me properly like they did pre-baby. And I’m not great at clothes shopping at the best of times – I tend to stick to plain, classic stuff.

So here’s what I bought…

1 – Stripey vest

Bit of a safe bet this one (I have a few stripey tops!) but the best value in terms of getting wear out of it – I’ve worn it with jeans for a few of our days out already. Because the bottom half is a little bit loose, it’s great for breastfeeding! It also has 2 layers – a thin navy vest layer underneath (again, great for feeding as it could mop up some spills although this hasn’t happened to me….yet!)

Stripey racer back vest top from Oasis
Stripey racer back vest top from Oasis

2 – Floral blouse

I haven’t worn this yet but love the fabric, print and shape. I think it will be lovely for a summer’s evening with a pair of jeans and heels or flats. I could wear it to work when I go back too. As I’m petite, these small prints tend to suit me.

Flower power blouse with gold buttons from Oasis
Flower power blouse with gold buttons from Oasis
Extreme close-up of the blouse fabric
Extreme close-up of the blouse fabric

3 – Palm print dress

Bit of a random one, and the photo doesn’t do it justice but I love the palm print stuff and this is a really flattering fit. The fabric is also nice and comfy, quite thick so again perfect for a summer’s evening. Not sure when I’ll get the chance to wear it but I do have a girl’s day/night out in August.. and hopefully our first family holiday in September 🙂

Palm print dress from Oasis
Palm print dress from Oasis

4 – Coral blouse

I normally stick to quite plain, dark colours so to move me out of my comfort zone I went for this coral blouse and I love it! I think it’s perfect for summer and is a nice cheerful colour. I’ve worn it with jeans and gladiator sandals a couple of evenings out already and paired it with a new skirt (below). I love the buttons and ruffle details on it. it’s a bit see-through so got to wear a vest underneath it!

Coral blouse with gold button detail from Oasis
Coral blouse with gold button detail from Oasis

5 – Floral, knee-length skirt

As I said, I live in jeans so I wanted to get something different for my bottom half and I’m not sure I would get away with those pyjama-style trousers that everyone’s wearing. I have short legs (and my thighs are large in proportion to the rest of me!) so I tend to avoid skinny jeans and very short/long skirts which make me look shorter. So this skirt was perfect in terms of length for me 🙂 Again, being petite I tend to go for smaller prints, so it ticks that box too. Oh and I plan to wear it with tights in the winter – perfect for work!

Black and white print skirt from Oasis
Black and white print skirt from Oasis
Close-up of the skirt from Oasis
Close-up of the skirt from Oasis

I teamed up the skirt with the coral blouse (and gold gladiator sandals) for the girly lunch I went on last week. I’m not entirely sure they go, but I thought it looked ok… and it was SO nice to dress up a bit and peel myself out of my jeans!

Apologies for the awful selfies – I need practice and I need a full-length mirror! (And to learn how to crop photos on wordpress.com!)

 

A bad selfie of my new outfit from Oasis!
A bad selfie of my new outfit from Oasis!
Another bad selfie of me in my new Oasis outfit
Another bad selfie of me in my new Oasis outfit

I have purposefully forgotten how much these add up to as I paid full price for them, but you’ll be pleased to know that most of these are in their sale now!

So there we have it – mummy’s new wardrobe. They met my brief of glamming me up a bit and making me feel a bit more yummy! Did you treat yourself to anything new once baby had arrived?

 

 

 

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REVIEW – Philips Avent Comfort Breast Shells

In all my shopping for baby and motherhood, I’d never heard of these bad boys… a friend told me about them when I told her I had an abundant milk supply. She suggested these as an easy way to ‘catch’ excess milk, so I thought I’d give them a shot.

Review: Avent Breast Shell set
Review: Avent Breast Shell set

What they are: basically a plastic ‘shell’ (with silicone backing) with a hole in them for where your nipple goes…. you pop them into your bra and et voila, you can catch milk as it leaks!

I see faces...
I see faces…

How did they work for me?

I decided the best way to use these is to pop one in your bra while you’re feeding off the other breast (when I get the most leakage).

The first time I tried this, most of it leaked and I was ready to write a scathing review!

The second time I tried it, I managed to catch a load of milk without leakage! (I’d say 10-20ml)

The third time, I caught a load of milk but I spilt some as I was moving around too much!

Milk caught in the Avent breast shell
Milk caught in the Avent breast shell

I’ve used them plenty of times since, and honestly the leakage only happens if you manage to fill the shell; if you move around too much and/or if you’ve positioned it slightly wrong.

I should add that you need to wash and sterilise them before and after using. I should also add that I don’t think you would catch much by wearing them day in, day out. You need to be ready to pop one in when your ‘let down’ is about to start so maybe as your breasts start feeling hard and full!

My verdict?

I think these are fab! I haven’t precisely measured how much they can catch, but based on the milk storage bags I use, I’d estimate around 20ml each time.

So this is a really easy way of getting milk for your fridge/freezer supplies and topping up expressed milk – it’s practically effortless!

Because of the silicone backing, they’re comfy and you can easily forget you’re wearing them (although I feel a nice, funny sensation when the milk starts pouring in – not sure if that’s normal :)) The silicone helps them to almost stick to you – they don’t move around (or shouldn’t!)

Obviously these only work if you have a good, active milk supply. If you do, like me, these could also save you a bit of money on breast pads and cut down on how often you need to wash (or buy new!) bras!

Downsides

I don’t use them as often as I could as I’m quite often bra-less around the house so the only downside I can think of is that you need to wear a bra to use them! 🙂

At first I thought they were a bit pricey at £12 for essentially bits of plastic – but I don’t think anybody else makes them, and I do think they’re worth the money as it’s such an easy, lazy way of catching milk. Although I just said they are just ‘bits of plastic’ they are high quality and strong – I think they’ll last a long time if not forever!

Other info

They also come with 2 shells with ventilation holes in them to soothe cracked nipples by avoiding chaffing, but I didn’t use these as I didn’t need to. Once you add those in, they become even better value for money!

Was this useful? Let me know in the comments below and if you found it useful, why not share it with a breastfeeding mummy? thank you!

Disclaimer: I wasn’t asked to review these by anyone, I bought them myself and wanted to share my thoughts!

 

 

Family Fever

Week 10 of becoming a mummy – the case of a missing shoe

Last week was busy. Daddy was going away for work for a few nights so we decided that baby W and me would go and stay with my parents for 3 nights…

Sunday – spent the morning emptying my boot and packing the car (who knew I had so much space in my boot when all the random junk is taken out?!), hit the road about lunchtime and travelled across half of Wales to get to my childhood home in Mid Wales, calling with my auntie then my nan on the way – lovely to see them as always and they absolutely loved seeing how much W had grown but it was a tiring day!

Homeward bound - a reservoir in the Elan Valley, mid Wales (instagrammed)
Homeward bound – a reservoir in the Elan Valley, mid Wales (instagrammed)

Monday – after yesterday’s marathon drive and visiting session, W and I had a nice relaxed day watching Tour de France while my parents were both out. W had a long afternoon nap (3-4 hours) which was funny to see as he has long naps when we go out in the day (sleeps very well in the pram/car) but didn’t know he was capable of them indoors too!

Tuesday – we all went to nearby beautiful, Georgian Aberaeron and had a delicious lunch in ‘Hive on the Quay’ before a short walk around the town where we lost one of W’s shoes (I’ll come back to that later). We caught up with a friend and W fell asleep about 8pm in my dad’s arms which was a lovely treat as he’s normally a bit grouchy around that time in the evenings!

Aberaeron harbour (instagrammed)
Aberaeron harbour (instagrammed)

Wednesday – caught up with another friend before heading home to Cardiff, daddy arrived home shortly afterwards so we were reunited and had survived our 3 nights apart and W’s first overnight stay away from home!

Thursday – as it was ‘strike day’ W and I went for a big family lunch with his nan, great auntie, auntie and cousins – lots of cwtches and behaved like a dream in the pub before his long afternoon nap, and nice and chilled again in the evening 🙂

Friday – this momma went for a girly lunch an hour away in Swansea to celebrate the start of a friend’s hen weekend. We had a lovely lunch in the Grape and Olive (I treated myself to scallops then lobster!) and it was great to dress up a bit and be something other than a mummy after a busy few days with W! Daddy was out Friday night and I’m not sure if W was missing him or annoyed with me for going out in the day but he was back to his usual grouchy-ness and didn’t go to sleep til 11pm! I actually used a dummy for the first time to calm him down which did help a bit – haven’t needed to use it since 🙂

View from Grape and Olive, Swansea
View from Grape and Olive, Swansea

Saturday – As Daddy had gone out the night before, I took W for his usual Swimkidz swimming lesson and I spent a lovely half hour with him in doing so, however when it came to it I couldn’t dunk him underwater like his daddy does! And then…. chill!

The missing shoe

So we lost one of W’s first shoes in Aberaeron. It was funny – I posted it in a local Facebook group a couple of days later and it had been spotted by 3 people on a windowsill but by the next day it had disappeared again so it really is lost now… I’m not a particularly emotional or sentimental person but losing the shoe did make me feel a bit of both…. his first shoe…. gone….. I guess it got me thinking about how quickly he is growing, how many of his little first things we will lose along the way as he kicks them off and throws them… how he will never wear that shoe again! It got me thinking about what items we’ll keep and what we won’t… these shoes we definitely would have kept…. they were so cute…. and his FIRST shoes!

W's first shoe - has anyone seen the missing one?
W’s first shoe – has anyone seen the missing one?

*Sighs* So to cheer myself up I’ve bought him exactly the same pair, in the White Company sale (£12) but the only size they had left is 6-9 months… and turns out they’re slippers not shoes! Obviously it won’t be the same as if we’d have found his first shoe, but at least I will think of every time he wears his new slippers 🙂

In other news…. W continues to get cuter by the week with his smiles, coos and chats. He’s now grabbing toys in his playgym. He loves….. smiling and chatting to the owl in his bouncer….. being held so that he can see what’s going on…. still loves his teddy/comforter… trips out so he can nap…..

So over this last week he’s definitely been more chilled in the evenings, despite last week’s update suggesting I might need to use some medicine, there was no need this week! The nights are still tough – he is still waking up every 1hr 30 – 2 hours although it has been absolutely boiling in our room! On the plus side, I essentially ‘dream feed’ him through the night, he doesn’t wake up properly so no tears or screams! (I do this so well that at 5am the other morning by OH (sleeping next to me) said ‘wow has he slept through?!’ and I was like ‘no, we’ve been up 3 times already!’ It would be nice to get some more sleep though – any ideas?!! Oh, he also did his first proper ‘up the back’ poo – I was actually secretly proud (!)… not so much so when he did it for the second time a day or two later 🙂

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Weeks 8-9 of becoming a mummy – weight gain, jabs and yoga

Our little baby W turned 9 weeks on Saturday and as usual we’ve had a fab, busy few weeks: W’s development

  • At his 8week weigh-in, his first for over a month he weighed in at a whopping 11lb 14 oz…. He’s jumped from the 25th percentile to the 75th! The doctor checked his reflexes etc and everything’s good… We were all chuffed with his weight!
  • Last week he had his first jabs, the nurses were fab… One on each side while I held him and they were very quick and soothing! He cried for a minute or so then slept for hours!
  • We started using his jungle play gym for the first time last week…. It’s fab seeing him looking up and around at all the various toys, and he’s sort of trying to grab stuff
Hiding in the fisherprice jungle play gym!
Hiding in the fisherprice jungle play gym!
  • Talking of grabbing, he has a teddy/comforter that he now loves to bits… So cute how he holds on to it while sleeping, feeding, playing and trying to use it to cover his face when he’s tired!
  • We’ve started chatting! When he coos, we coo back at him and it turns into little chats… Again, so cute!!
  • Sleep? Generally he sleeps for 3 hours between about 12 and 3am, then wakes up every couple of hours, but only for short feeds (about 10 mins) so hoping this means he’s getting closer to sleeping through… And he always has a big feed about 10-11pm. A couple of times he’s slept for 4 hours so I think we’re getting there slowly…. Not entirely sure if he’s hungry in the early hours as the feeds are quite short or whether he just wants comfort so not sure if a dummy would get him back to sleep just as easily?
  • Every evening he has a grouchy hour or two when he cries whether he’s feeding or not… The health visitor suggested I might be a bit dehydrated and he’s crying when feeding as he’s not getting what he needs…. I’ve tried drinking more but doesn’t seem to have made a huge difference. His wind is at its worst this time of day too so I’m tempted to try something like infacol but haven’t succumbed to it yet. Any tips anyone?!

What else we’ve been up to…

  • We went to our first mother and baby yoga group last week and loved it… My back’s been in bits for weeks so enjoyed the stretches, which we did over our babies so tickling them on the way up/down… Much fun! We did some moves on our little ones… I was mortified as I don’t the know the words to any of the nursery rhymes they use! The other 4 mums there were lovely and it’s in a perfect location (beautiful insole court, Cardiff) so I will definitely go back 🙂
Lovely view from our yoga mat, Insole court, Cardiff
Lovely view from our yoga mat, Insole court, Cardiff
  • He still goes to Swimkidz every Saturday morning and on his 9week birthday he was let go underwater twice... Eek! He’s very calm in the water which is a great start!
  • Lots more trips out… Shopping with mummy and aunty in the local designer outlet (cr*p celeb spot: Daniella Westbrook!), family day out to Margam park for the first time (lovely, defo will go back!), a coffee with mummy’s boss, his nanna’s retirement drinks in a busy pub on a Friday after-work… And he slept through all of these!!

Purchases

  • New clothes for me from Oasis (post to follow!)
  • A haul for W from a NCT nearly new sale (post to follow!)
  • 100 thank you cards from Vistaprint!

 

Co-sleeping – a common reality and guilty secret?

NICE announced their new guidelines this morning, recommending against co-sleeping in baby’s first year due to the increased risk of SIDS.

I’m no expert on SIDS and I have no idea on how many precious babies die because of co-sleeping.

I am, however, a new mum and it was made very clear to us during pregnancy and these first couple of months that babies must sleep on their backs and NOT co-sleep, whether that be from midwives, health visitors, antenatal classes, books, magazines, apps….

‘No problem!’ I thought, when W came along, he’ll sleep in his moses basket next to me. I went mad with my OH if he brought W into bed with us or had a nap on the sofa with him. Then sleep deprivation and reality hit in – W settles ok in his basket ’til about 3/4/5am but then gets difficult to settle so I tend to bring him into bed with us.

At first I felt awful about this, and nervous, and scared. Then something strange happened – whenever I sheepishly mentioned this to family/ friends/ colleagues/ other bloggers and tweeters it turns out I wasn’t alone and I’d say 90% of them admitted to co-sleeping at some point or another… to comfort their babies and get some much-needed sleep.

I’m sure I’ve read that sleep deprivation has the same impact on reflexes as drinking a load of alcohol. So what’s riskier – co-sleeping for a few hours? or being in charge of a baby on very little or no sleep??

As I said, I’m no expert and I’m not disagreeing with the guidelines. What I’d like to suggest is that the experts at NICE and the NHS recognise that a large number of parents co-sleep, and give guidance on how to do it as safely as possible.

In my experience, co-sleeping is a common reality, but at the moment feels like a huge guilty secret. Again, could we reduce risk by making it less of a taboo?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – do you agree with me, or do you think more should be done to stop people co-sleeping?

Bye bye maternity clothes – a journey through my maternity wardrobe

My maternity wardrobe and things I learnt about maternity clothes along the way…

8 weeks post-labour and I can fit into (most of) my pre-pregnancy clothes so it’s with mixed emotions that I pack away my maternity clothes.

Initially I was hoping not to buy ANY maternity clothes as I just planned to buy everything a size bigger than normal, that I’d be able to wear post-labour too… (thought maternity clothes were a waste of money)

Then a friend lent me a big bag of maternity clothes and I learnt my first lessons:

  • how comfy maternity jeans are
  • how flattering maternity tops/dresses can be around your bump (as opposed to just buying bigger sizes in non-maternity)

That was around January (5 months pregnant) and in Feb we booked a late deal to Tenerife. Panic ensued as:
-I didn’t fit into any of my shorts or summer dresses!
-Shops were only just starting to sell summer-wear eek!

So my first experience of buying maternity wear was a few holiday items….

Maternity holiday clothes - Tankini and Denim shorts from JoJo MamanLeBebe
Maternity holiday clothes – Tankini and Denim shorts from JoJo MamanLeBebe
Maternity bikini bottoms vs pre-maternity!
Maternity bikini bottoms vs pre-maternity!

 

Tankini from JoJo Maman LeBeBe on babymoon in Tenerife!Tankini from JoJo Maman LeBeBe on babymoon in Tenerife!
Tankini from JoJo Maman LeBeBe on babymoon in Tenerife!Tankini from JoJo Maman LeBeBe on babymoon in Tenerife!

While I was shopping for these, I decided to bite the bullet and get some maternity items and here’s some of my faves…

My maternity essentials - jeans from H&M
My maternity essentials – jeans from H and M

It’s lucky I bought the jeans as when I left for Tenerife I was still in my ‘normal’ jeans, but by the time I left (helped by all-inclusive food!) I couldn’t get into them! I wore these for about 95% of the rest of my pregnancy days (my workplace has a casual dress code)… love them!

My fave maternity tops - (L) New Look, (R) Red Herring at Debenhams
My fave maternity tops – (L) New Look, (R) Red Herring at Debenhams
canal-side Bean at 38+1 weeks
Bean wearing Red Herring butterfly top, canal side!

These were my staple tops to go with the jeans, both very flattering, comfy and functional and to mix it up I could accessorise with different scarves etc.. the one below I loved as well, I’m a fan of Hello Kitty and loads of people thought I’d bought a Hello kitty top! I also bought some basic vests from H&M which I could wear with various non-maternity cardies.

Cat print maternity top from Red Herring @ Debenhams
Cat print maternity top from Red Herring @ Debenhams
Red Herring maternity top - fabric close-up
Red Herring maternity top – fabric close-up

I loved these prints at Red Herring – as well as the butterfly print top, I got the dress in the same print – the fabric on the dress was much thicker, so very good quality – would last a long time and wish I had worn it a few more times now….

Red Herring (Debenhams) butterfly print maternity dress
Red Herring (Debenhams) butterfly print maternity dress
butterfly dress from Red Herring
butterfly dress from Red Herring

Those items are the only new items I bought (I did buy a few non-maternity items in larger sizes too)… total cost of those items was probably about £150 but then did get slightly addicted to eBay as I was too tight to buy any more new items! I spent about £60 on the following items…

Here’s some of my fave eBay items:

Fave eBay purchases (L) Mothercare jumper (R) T-shirt from New Look
Fave eBay purchases (L) Mothercare jumper (R) T-shirt from New Look

This summer dress was a perfect beach/cover-up dress for our babymoon – very comfy! I had packed it in my hospital bag as a comfy coming home outfit but wore my pj bottoms in the end!

Summer maternity dress from Mammas and Papas via eBay
Summer maternity dress from Mammas and Papas via eBay

This Dorothy Perkins dress was fine for work… I loved the fabric (you can’t see it in this bad photo sorry!) but always had to wear a cardie over it as I didn’t like the puffy shoulders. The Red Herring dress was a fave, perfect for our holiday and I wish I’d worn it more post-holiday 😦

Maternity dresses from eBay - L (Dorothy Perkins) - R (Red Herring at Debenhams)
Maternity dresses from eBay – L (Dorothy Perkins) – R (Red Herring at Debenhams)
I LOVE the fabric and sequin detail on the Red Herring dress
I LOVE the fabric and sequin detail on the Red Herring dress

This T-shirt is another fave – I ended up wearing it throughout my labour! Excellent quality, love the print and the cut was not too tight.

Maternity t-shirt from ebay (Next)
Maternity t-shirt from ebay (Next)

And some poor decisions – dresses I didn’t wear as the weather wasn’t as nice as hoped by May!

Maternity dresses from eBay I didn't wear: (L) Asos (R) Mothercare
Maternity dresses from eBay I didn’t wear: (L) Asos (R) Mothercare

The cape- style coat looked awful on me and this was one lesson I learnt about maternity clothes:
Things that don’t suit you pre-maternity probably won’t suit you during maternity!

New Look maternity cape coat - lovely and great quality but would never suit me!
New Look maternity cape coat – lovely and great quality but would never suit me!

Other thoughts I had:

  • Why don’t retailers sell jeans in different length sizes? Do we suddenly all become the same height when pregnant? (No, I had to pay to get those H&M jeans taken up!!)
  • On all those dresses above, I found the bottom half unflattering, they all allowed plenty of room for my expanding bum but in doing so made it look bigger than it was! (Whereas the jeans were v flattering which is probably why I lived in them!)
  • I know I didn’t buy a large amount and there’s lots more available (at a price perhaps) but I did find the choices quite limited and boring… Lots of stripes, lots of plain stuff, not enough quirky/cool prints (more of those butterfly fabrics for example)… when some of the shops like New Look tried to use nice prints, I felt that the fabrics felt a bit cheap (you can’t win!). As you can see from above -I think Red Herring do this well, so more from them would be great!

So there we have it, end of an era, it’s all going up to the loft… Apart from those jeans ( still SO comfy!!) and my special purchase… The t-shirt I ended up wearing for labour… Has too many memories to go into the loft and still looks ok as a loose t-shirt!

How did you find maternity clothes? How much did you spend? What were your favourite maternity shops?!

Weeks 6-7 update – becoming a mummy – smiles, pelvic floors and cocktails

Apologies it’s been a while since my last update… it’s been busy!  Baby W – turned 7 weeks old on Saturday… lots more ‘first’s’ since I last blogged…

First smiles – the last week or so he’s been smiling, cooing and trying out new noises a lot… much fun and very very cute!,

First 4 hour sleep – about a week ago he slept for a full 4 hours in the night.. ‘hallelujah’ I thought… ‘we must be getting close to sleeping through…’ Alas, the next night he woke up for a feed ever hour!

Just the last few days he’s been awake a lot more in the daytime, so hopefully we’ll see some longer night-time sleeps soon. We’re lucky in that once he’s had his night-time feeds he goes back to sleep pretty well. I should add that in the day too, his feeds have become a lot shorter and more frequent (perhaps increased thirst due to the hot weather?)… can’t work out if this is easier than longer feeds – they both have their pros and cons!

He’s become grouchier in the evenings, a lot more wind and tears… this seems pretty normal I think but we’re seeing the health visitor this week so I’ll ask about things like infacol just in case…

First Father’s Day – a special day for his daddy! We didn’t actually do much, as daddy’s been out for a few beers the day before and W was going though a grouchy few days but we did spoil him with a Moonpig card, his fave chocolates, personalised hankies (don’t ask!), the World Cup sticker album…. and a BabyBjorn carrier which he’d been fancying for a while 🙂

First expressed-bottle feed – a week ago, he took his first bottle from his daddy. I will blog about it separately in more detail but it was a very proud, bittersweet moment – so proud to see him taking the bottle without a problem… so nice to see him being fed by his dad…. but also slightly sad as I guess it’s already the beginning of the end of his beautiful relationship with my breasts!

Getting bottles ready for mummy's first night out!
Getting bottles ready for mummy’s first night out!

First night out for mummy – so with all that expressed breast milk, on his 7-week birthday this momma went out to a big work’s party (Olly Murs being the headline act) and drank a few too many Cosmo’s…. I wasn’t planning on getting quite so tipsy but I got totally over-excited by seeing so many of my colleagues, it was a great night! We had no idea how long the milk would last but it took him right through the night feeds and to an 8am feed… so by the time I needed to feed him the cocktails were long gone from my system, and my boobs were very full and sore! Obviously I missed the little one (and the night feeds as I was in the spare room!) but it was really nice to have a decent break away from him although I’m sure I talked about him all night 🙂

First pelvic floor class – this has to be one of the most surreal moments of my life but due to the ‘perineal trauma’ from my labour, I was invited to a pelvic floor workshop in the hospital… cue a handful of us sitting in a hot room for an hour being shown diagrams and demonstrations of our muscles ‘down there’ and how to heal them… I learnt a couple of new things but overall it was very random!

The rest of the fortnight…

  • met friends and colleagues for lunch/coffees (which has involved more unplanned feeding in public, due to his aforementioned increased thirst!)
  • washing machine died – every new mum’s worst nightmare 😉
  • car exhaust died
  • carried on with baby W’s swimming lessons
  • mummy went clothes shopping (blog post to follow!)

Overall, as he’s getting busier I’m finding myself with less spare time which is fine… but trying to balance chilling out at home with getting out and about, and staying busy… I hope for us to start some classes next week, so that might help give us a bit more routine to work around….

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My birth story

Here we go… grab a cuppa as this is likely to be a long one… It’s taken me nearly 7 weeks to write 😉

If you were following my pregnancy updates, you’ll know:
– I was suffering from high blood pressure
– I was hoping for as natural a birth as possible

Routine high blood pressure check

So at 39+6 (may 1st 2014) I went for a regular BP check and consultant appointment at the hospital (3pm). My other half was with me, and unusually we’d gone in 1 car rather than meeting there in separate cars…. handy because… my blood pressure was ‘through the roof’ (I think it was about 180/110)…..
Suddenly from a routine check, we were in a small, hot room with about 5 staff telling me I needed to get my BP down… funnily enough, that had the opposite effect so after a quick chat with the doctor (which randomly included her checking my reflexes!) I was put in a wheelchair (more randomness as I was still feeling absolutely fine!!) and wheeled up to a delivery suite in the consultant-led unit!

Induction #1

Despite me telling my OH over the last few weeks that I wouldn’t let them keep me in, and I didn’t want to get induced as it was unnatural… when I was hooked up and was being told by a consultant and midwife that they wanted to induce me because of the risks to my health if I went home (fit/stroke if it turned into pre-eclampsia) I really felt like I couldn’t say no and that this was the best result all round.

I remember saying to her that I’d never get through labour if I couldn’t handle the pain of the sweep, but she explained that my cervix was still tucked up well out of reach and wasn’t quite soft yet hence the uncomfortable feeling (which passed immediately after).  (I’d also been given Lobetemol tablets to reduce my blood pressure)

 

Lol @ 'vaginal delivery system'!
Lol @ ‘vaginal delivery system’!

That was about 7pm and while she was doing that, dear OH was getting me my bags from home and a McDonald’s for dinner 🙂

Waiting….

Then we had to wait….. my OH went home about 9-10pm and at 11pm I was moved to a ward which they call the ‘induction ward’… nothing was happening so I was hoping for sleep…

Alas, they were waking me up to check my BP every few hours… and I was surprised to hear other women being induced, and then going into labour. There were only a couple of women on the ward but with just curtains between us you could hear everything including the loud, chavvy couple who turned up about midnight and shouted updates out of the window at their family below before going into labour about 3 and moving upstairs at 4….

More waiting…

So Friday morning (due date) nothing had happened and I knew I had to wait til 7pm before they’d induce me again. I sent my OH to work but we had a walk around the hospital before and after work. In the meantime I’d discovered the hospital had free WIFI so I downloaded the Great Gatsby and watched that, downloaded loads of music for labour (didn’t end up listening to any of it!) read some magazines, ate the (surprisingly ok) hospital food and just chilled.

Hospital food!
Hospital food!

Considering the panic when they admitted me the day before, they left me to my own devices on this day and only checked my blood pressure a couple of times!

So far this was all quite surreal – I’d gotten a bit emotional before getting induced as it was all just such a shock and everything had happened so quickly. Despite the bad night’s sleep I was starting to think it was a good idea they’d brought me in as just being in hospital and hearing other women go into labour was at least preparing me for my labour and I guess ‘normalising’ the hospital experience for me (I’d never been in hospital before!)

Induction #2

Friday 7pm, lovely Rachel informed me that she couldn’t induce me again yet as the delivery suites were all busy so we’d have to wait a few hours… She took my pessary out, gave me another sweep and said my cervix had softened slightly but still wasn’t dilated…

So more waiting… can’t even remember much about that evening but again, didn’t get much (any?) sleep and at 2am Rachel woke me to monitor my blood pressure and contractions and then induced me again at 3am (this time was a gel as opposed to a pessary, which can then be given every 6 hours) – by this point I was 1cm dilated and had started losing a bit of my plug.

Heartbeat and Contractions
Heartbeat and Contractions

Here we go……

At 6am, things started happening… I started getting cramps, I had some diarrhoea and as I was on the floor hugging a birth ball, I threw up… my body was getting ready. I called my OH and he arrived in time for me to get an anti- sickness jab about 7am and saw (smelled!) my waters break about 8am. (I was on the bed, I heard a loud pop and then felt a huge gush… very strange feeling!)

From what I remember the next couple of hours were among the toughest – due to being monitored I had to stay on the bed, despite me always having wanted to walk around in the early labour stages. My contractions were getting stronger, but I had to wait to be seen by a doctor… when they’d finally done their rounds and came to see me the paper in the monitoring machine had run out so they had to refill it and wait for longer… aarghhgh!

I think I’d just started on the gas and air when they came back in, checked my monitored results, checked me over and by now I was 3-4cm dilated so they were happy to send me up to delivery. This was about 10am.

TENS, Gas and air

In the delivery suite, we met and clicked straight away with our lovely midwife Laura. The 3 of us seemed to work well as a team, my OH was fantastic – he was in charge of holding the gas and air, and giving me water, rubbing my back etc.

I forgot to say, we’d put a TENS machine on my back a few hours prior – we didn’t really use it properly as after a while I stopped pressing the ‘boost’ button but we left it on during the entire labour on a low setting – it was a strange sensation but I’m pretty sure it took away the lower back pain that I’d started getting when my contractions had started.

At this point I have to tell you I thought gas and air was AMAZING – I never expected it to be so effective but I loved it and loved the slightly woozy/high feeling I got 🙂

If we timed inhaling it right, I could get through a contraction without feeling any pain. If we mis-timed it then I felt it but it wasn’t too bad (I say that now!!). The only issue I had with it, is that in all my yoga classes we’d been practising long breaths out, but using gas and air I was told to take a long breath in and a short breath out, so I did get a bit confused on occasion!

Not long to go…

By 11-11.30am I was 7-8cm dilated (so things had progressed very well and quickly all morning!)…..I asked if I needed any stronger pain relief but the midwife was confident I’d get through it on gas and air as I’d gotten this far. I vaguely remember that every contraction I was getting the urge to push and she kept telling me to hold it back…

By 12/12.30 I was fully dilated and ready to push 🙂

Cue me panicking after holding in the urge for so long… ‘I don’t know how to push!!’

And despite my preparation into calm, natural labour – from somewhere I got this instinct to be pushing as hard as I could (including having my OH in a headlock!) and as loudly as I could (I vaguely remember sounding like a very loud, primal animal!) .

Again, similarly to the induction ward, in the delivery suite I’d been on my back on the bed for the most part hooked up to the machine. (At some point as baby got lower down- I the baby’s head was hooked up with a monitor to mor accurately keep an eye on their heartrate. During this pushing stage she was happy to take me off the monitor, and ecncouraged me to try some different positions. Despite me practising these in yoga, and telling my OH that I didn’t want to give birth lying down, it’s funny how you get hit by a confidence crisis – and as I’d been lying down for so long it felt like the right place to be!

Here he is!

Luckily he got me to stand up so we did some pushing with me leaning on the bed (and him) I’d been pushing for about 40-45 minutes when she told us that the head was about to come out and it might sting a bit… 3more pushes and he was out… our beautiful baby boy was born at 1.35pm – what a wonderful, life-changing feeling! We didn’t know if we were having a girl or boy but had guessed it was a girl all the way through so it was a real surprise that it was a boy 🙂

He was perfect – healthy and gorgeous! (Weighing 7lb 2oz) Me on the other hand….

Epidural and 3rd degree tears

Laura gave me the jab and delivered the placenta while baby was on my chest. I remember seeing the placenta (yuck!) but I don’t remember delivering it – my OH tells me I was in lots of pain. Once the placenta was out, Laura tells me I’ve torn and goes to get a doctor  for a second opinion…

Turns out I had 3rd degree tears – ouch! Again, I don’t really remember the pain and it’s funny that very early on in my pregnancy, tearing was one of my fears but the reality didn’t seem that bad (oh thank you gas and air!)

I had also lost a lot of blood (not sure how much – my records weren’t updated properly) so was starting to feel faint/tired on top of the woozy feeling. To stitch me up they needed to take me into theatre and give me an epidural.

I couldn’t believe the irony! I got through labour just on gas and air, but was now going to be given an epidural!!! Again, going into theatre was another fear… I was in there for an hour and half in total (it takes a while to make sure the epidural has worked) and I must say I had an excellent team in there – they made me feel so at ease, and we were joking around and chatting (I guess they do this to make sure I stay alert etc but for me it was relaxing!)

Finally, I’m stitched up and on a recovery ward where daddy and a hungry baby were waiting for me. On top of worrying about me, daddy had to put a nappy on and clothe our baby while I was in theatre 9he had to run to the car first as the post-labour bag was in there!), and vacate the room with all of our bags… also as baby was hungry he’d been suckling on daddy’s finger, nose and neck, bless!

 

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Finally we were a family, and over the next few hours both sets of grandparents came to visit. I had to stay in overnight, with baby next to me, in a shared ward (so cue 3rd night on no sleep with babies crying!!) – again, a special time just me and him and me feeding and holding him.

I had a catheter in and also had the pleasure of getting cleaned by nurses (by this point I have NO dignity left!) and didn’t get out of bed until the next morning by which point I was desperate to come home – after packing all those toiletries I didn’t use any of them as I just wanted a shower at home! We had to wait a while to be discharged – originally they wanted me to have a ‘bowel movement’ first but I think they wanted the bed just as bad so after handing me a huge bag of medicines, we came home about 3pm – just over 24 hours after giving birth 🙂

Post-labour diet
Post-labour diet

This story is so long it needs a summary!:

  • Everyone tells you this and it’s true – there’s no point having a very prescribed birth plan as anything can happen and you just have to go with the flow!
  • I felt some disappointment at having to use gas and air (who was I kidding that I could just breathe my way through it!) and tearing (did I not push right? Did I not do enough pelvic floors?) even though we think he came out with his hand next to his face so it couldn’t be avoided – anyway, we can’t feel any disappointment – labour isn’t a competition against yourself – once baby is out, safe and sound, forget about the how’s and why’s and just focus on your beautiful little bundle of joy 🙂
  • I think trying to stay calm and stay positive helped me get through labour – I recommend NCT pregnancy yoga for this!
  • Us mums-to-be getting our hospital bags prepared – I guarantee you that you won’t use half of the stuff in there and you will think of stuff you didn’t pack! My essential items were drinking straws (I drank a lot of water all the way through labour), hair bands, face mists and a hanky with lavender oil on which I sniffed regularly during labour.
  • A huge thank you to all the staff at UHW, Cardiff – I feel like I had excellent care and having gone through induction, gas and air and an epidural I feel like I will be ready for anything if I have another baby!
  • An even bigger thank you to my other half – he was the dream birth partner, soothing and motivating me, supporting me and being practical by holding the gas and air, giving me water etc! Thank you and I love you so much x x x

If you’re still reading this, wow! Thanks for reading, if you’d like to read more birth stories check out this round-up of blogger birth stories that I compiled.

My Breastfeeding Story

I was never going to blog about my breastfeeding journey… I’ve had a very easy ride so didn’t think I had much to share… but when Medela sent out a press release about what’s ‘normal’ when breastfeeding, it got me thinking that we should all share our stories and journeys to make sure that the next lot of mums-to-be have a wealth of resources and stories at their fingertips….

Medela's normal breastfeeding graphic
Medela’s normal breastfeeding graphic

My breastfeeding story

So…. before little W came along I’d decided that I’d like to try breastfeeding but if it didn’t work out we’d happily use formula. We didn’t buy any equipment or formula in advance…. we were just going to wing it…. and how lucky we were…. as soon as he was placed on me, he latched on and took his first sip/meal

We were in hospital for just over 24 hours after he was born, which was handy as I was able to check with midwives that he was latching on ok, and they also advised me to take him off if he fell asleep/ stopped feeding… they also taught me to tickle his cheek to wake him up a bit while latched on.

And that was it, we got home and little W wanted feeding every 2-3 hours on average. He’d usually start nibbling on his fingers or fist when he was thirsty/hungry but didn’t always… generally if he cried, it turns out he wanted feeding… even if he’d just had some a few minutes prior…. feeding on demand indeed!

After a few days he had lost 9% of his body weight – totally normal but the midwife suggested I hand express into a breastfeeding cup to top him up, she didn’t want him losing any more weight otherwise we’d have to discuss ‘feeding plans’ etc. This brought out the competitive edge in me – there was no way my baby was going to put on a feeding plan! So I made a conscious effort the next few days to make he was even fuller than normal….. it worked, at 10 days old he was heavier than his birth weight 🙂

So I’ve been very lucky – he’s had no problems latching on, I’ve had no problems with my milk supply, I’ve not needed to use the nipple creams my friend gave me… I feel very lucky and blessed that I’ve been able to feed him in this way, without any problems, as it feels very natural and special to me. I love the look he gives me when he’s latched on, and I love how it’s our private time… just him and me…

I feel so proud that he is growing and thriving purely down to my milk. I feel thankful to his daddy who’s been making sure I’m well fed – he feeds me, I feed baby!

I feel sorry for all the women who struggle with breastfeeding, and even worse than that feel pressures and failures when it doesn’t work out. I feel bad that there’s no advice I can offer any of them as I haven’t encountered any problems. The only tip I can share (if it’s even valid) is to relax… I’m generally relaxed and laid-back, I wonder how much that is passed on to baby who feels comfortable feeding as he can feel the calm vibes?! if you’re struggling and stressing about it, can baby pick up on that? I don’t know but it’s just an idea…

Having said all of this, breastfeeding isn’t some kind of paradise club. Nobody told me how exhausting and messy it is. With an (over-?-)active milk supply, whatever I’m wearing (and our bedding) get covered in milk. (I then use these T-shirts as bed sheets for W to comfort him at night!!).

I downloaded an app called ‘Baby Connect’ (cost: £2.99) to help me track the feeds to see if any trends are emerging… I can tell you:

  • I feed for 5-6 hours in a normal day – so close to a full-time job! I can now see why maternity leave was invented…
  • on average I feed for 25 mins, (Medela say the ‘normal’ range is 12-60 mins) just under every 2 hours
  • on average this works out to about 16 times a day (slightly higher than the ‘normal’ range of 4-13 that Medela suggest)
  • the left side is far more popular than the right! (always was ;)) with about 3/4 of all feeds taking place on the left side
  • Most of our feeds occur in the morning, evening and nights – very few in the afternoon (again, slightly different from Medela’s findings)

Some screenshots from BabyConnect – I recommend this app for tracking feeds (can be used for bottle feeding, tracking sleep, nappy changes, activities etc too)

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The next chapters in my Breastfeeding story will hopefully involve expressing so we can bottle-feed, trying to reduce the nightfeeds eventually and feeding him in public if needs be…. if you’ve enjoyed this post then please follow me on my journey via WordPress, Twitter or Bloglovin.

What’s your Breastfeeding story? How do your findings compare with Medela’s?

(Please note I wasn’t paid by Medela to write this post – I just wanted to support their campaign!)

PS I’ve linked this up to Zena’s suitcase – new linky – Breastfeeding Diaries….

Week 5 update – becoming a mummy – a few firsts this week

Little W is very similar to last week, we’ve had some better sleeps this week but other than that he continues to be extra cute and chilled, getting slightly bigger, louder and stronger by the day and week… This week we had a few firsts to share with you….

  • First swimming lesson! – we had a free taster lesson with Swimkidz, daddy was his swimming partner as I am a wuss in water… And the 3 of us loved it! I was one proud momma especially when he got dunked underwater and didn’t cry! We’ll now book a course and go every week, we’ll keep you posted!
  • First trip to the hairdressers with mummy – I haven’t had my hair done since January so it was a bit of a mess! My hairdresser Maggie at Sweeney’s in Cardiff is a new mum on maternity herself but she was back in for a couple of days so I booked us in…. He would normally have slept through this time of day but he was awake for most of it and I had to do my first breastfeed in public! Then when the Hairdryer was on he finally slept in my arms 🙂 I was very lucky that Maggie and her colleagues were all hugely baby-friendly so I felt at ease the whole time despite his awakeness!
  • First mother/baby group – before having W I knew I wanted to go to groups to keep busy and meet other mums. One of my best friends and her 18-month old go to Jellybabies so I went along with them, it was nice to catch up with them and check out what a mother and baby group is like but it made me realise I’d get more out of them months down the line, not when W is as young as he is now! Although they had a health visitor and sling library set up which could come in handy over the next few weeks…
  • First pub dinner – you’ll know that W has already been out for lunch, but this week he came up with us for a proper pub dinner as my parents were in town for the night, so we had a lovely meal in Cricketers, Cardiff and good little W slept through the entire 3 hours or so… Brilliant!
  • First family walk around Roath park – one of Cardiff’s most popular walks with young families, we used to go there for walks long before W was a twinkle in our eyes, so it was lovely to go there with him and turn into one if those families we used to look at and think ‘aww how cute’!
Roath Park, a sunny Saturday in June
Roath Park, a sunny Saturday in June

Purchases and presents So it was a busy week! On top of that when my parents visited they brought him even more presents, inc. from their friends bless! We still haven’t had to buy him anything since be was born really as he was so spoilt, we did stock up on Bepanthen cream and got a free teddy with it this week, oh and had to buy our first lot of swimming nappies!

Nursery quilt from mamgu (my mum)
Nursery quilt from mamgu (my mum)
Mamgu's (my mum) knitted nursery bunting
Mamgu’s (my mum) knitted nursery bunting
Cuuuute shoes from tadcu (my dad)
Cuuuute shoes from tadcu (my dad)
Lovely outfits from family friends (L-R Mothercare, Next, M&Co)
Lovely outfits from family friends (L-R Mothercare, Next, M&Co)

Like my weekly updates? Follow me on twitter @yummyblogger and never miss out on an update 🙂 Check out last week’s update here  https://yummyblogger.com/2014/06/01/week-4-4th-week-of-being-a-mummy-wind-and-trips-out/