Things that new Mummies and Mummies to be are sick of hearing…

It might not be the same for all women, but you can pretty much guarantee that the second that you announce your pregnancy, comments will start to roll in. Quite often, positive and supportive comments, slowly start to roll into slightly more rude and patronising ‘advice’. I truly believe that most people offering this advice, mean well. However, I am a firm believer that- unless you are asked to give advice OR a baby appears to be at risk due to a new Mother’s uncertainty (even then, there are ways to go about this nicely!) then you shouldn’t feel compelled to launch comments and advice from your mouth, so sternly that it wounds. In fact, really you don’t need to mention anything at all.
Listed below are the comments that have got to me the most, in my nearly year and a half of being both pregnant and being a first time mummy.
“You can’t expect him (the baby’s father) to take an interest in the baby straight away. When the baby starts doing more, he’ll find the baby more interesting and become more involved!”
Okay! SO a man can partake in making a baby, he can do the dirty, the dance with no pants. BUT doesn’t have to commit any responsibility until ‘the baby becomes interesting’? If everybody had this outlook, babies would be solely raised by robots up until the age of around 4/5 months. Important bonds are formed within the first few weeks of a babies life, and although they won’t remember if someone doesn’t play an active role in their life during this time. The people who worked so hard to keep the baby happy and ensured that they were set to flourish, WILL remember.
AND it WILL hurt their feelings.
“Was it planned?”
IT?! IT?!  Regardless if a baby is planned or not, a child should not and cannot be branded as an ‘accident’ or mistake. If a woman has made it clear that she is happy with her pregnancy, referring to her unborn child as “it” is endlessly rude, disrespectful and hurtful.  Due to many issues, including but not limited to; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a right ovary that is believed to not be functioning properly, a cyst in my uterus, taking the contraceptive pill for hormonal control and the intended use. Topped of a with a very large bleed- Conceiving Florence was nothing short of a miracle for my Partner and our families.
This question is rude, hurtful and honestly? The answer is none of your business.
“Better get used to having no sleep!”
Nothing like new parents being filled with fear before the baby has even arrived. I have found this to be a total myth when it comes to my Baby’s sleeping habits, although I think that I am pretty lucky! Florence has slept through the night on and off, from exactly 1 Month Old and takes frequent naps… So no, I haven’t had to adjust to having no sleep YET.
Thank you for your concern.
“You’re not married? What a shame! I thought you were a good girl!”
Helllllllloooo! We are in the 21st Century where, lots of marriages last as long as a clean nappy. You don’t have to be married to have a baby. You don’t have to have a baby if you don not want one. You can use contraception can prevent pregnancy (well its supposed to, but there is enough stories on the baby group to suggest otherwise). You can have a baby if you’re a same sex couple. If a woman decides to keep a baby that was conceived after a one night stand and raise the baby herself? Good on her- A Happy mummy = A happy baby, and really, that is all that matters. We live in an age where families aren’t always ‘conventional’ and I think that it is beautiful. I’m no less of a person for having my daughter when I had her. Married or not.
Your views are outdated, please get with the times.
“Nappies are so gross! Hope you don’t mind yucky things!”
Nappies can be gross. butttttt… so is your sick after drinking too much and your own poop, for that matter. Worse stuff  has happened. I’m just going to leave this one here. It is so childish and so ridiculous.
You too sat in your own wee and poo. So you really have NO room to comment.
“Your body will never be the same again!”
It might bounce back, but it might not. Most women end up with stretch marks whilst pregnant, but some lucky ladies do not. I personally resemble an albino tiger- Pale. pasty and covered in stripes (haha) but you know what? My body is quite literally a temple of life. As shitty as it may be and even if I do hate it sometimes… My womb made a human life. I grew a beautiful, healthy and strong baby girl. I almost died getting her here, but I did it!
Now that, is pretty badass.
“Well, back in my day…”
Or
“Well, I didn’t do *that* and my baby turned out fine.”
I don’t know, I would like my child to turn out a little better than just ‘fine’? Yes, we get it. You weaned your babies at 3/4 months. Some smoked and consumed alcohol whilst pregnant because you had no idea of the risks, no one did! You didn’t have a massive list of foods to avoid whilst pregnant. Amongst many, many other fairly substantial changes, that have been based on research over a very vast time period. Times have changed and even if babies haven’t- Guidelines to keep them safe and healthy has changed too. No, we don’t need your opinions or comments on breastfeeding or formula. Dummy or no dummy. We’ll give you a shout if you need help though! 
Lets face it, we only want the best for our babies- regardless of if they are 23 days, weeks or years old.
Giving birth was a breeze for me, I cannot see what all of the fuss is about?”
Or
“Yes, I know about your experience, but mine was awful.”
Labour was easy for you? Fab! You go girl! Tell me about your experience! Labour was awful for you? Lets talk about it. I can understand your pain. Just because you had a baby and had no issues with labour, it doesn’t mean that everyone has had the same experience. Women need to be kinder to eachother and support one another with this massive life shifting change. Not turn it into some kind of competition between who had it the worst and who had it the easiest.
We’ve all achieved the same incredible result, so where is the love?
“There goes your social life! Wave goodbye to freedom, nights out and time to yourself!”
Haha. I will keep this short, but sweet. I didn’t have much of a social life before my baby. So I can say with confidence, that not much has changed. In fact with baby dates, I’m probably socialising more than ever.
“Everyone from school is having babies and I am over here, planning my next holiday.”
It’s great that you have a desire to travel the world. But, having a baby doesn’t stop you from traveling the world or doing anything else that you want to do. I am very lucky to have gone on numerous holidays a year, to a variety of places when I was growing up. I’ve been 1/5 of the American states and visited several different contries. In no way, do I feel that my baby has restricted my life or the way I wish to live. She has enriched my life tremendously and I couldn’t have welcomed her into my life at a better time.
“I hope that you’re planning on waiting before you have your next baby! You need time to enjoy this one!”
I don’t plan on having another baby right away, as having Florence was quite nearly the death of me. But, if I wanted to have another child so that my children would be close in age, then I would. Your opinions have no weight on how I decide to live my life. Or how anyone else should live theirs, for that matter. If you spent too much time planning for the correct time and suitable age gaps- you’d probably never have a baby, let alone multiple babies. If a women wants to have a baby straight after having two sets of twins… Her body may not like her for it- but that is up to her! Not you! 
You can stop it right now, with your “you two have been busy!” Crap. 
“How do your parents feel about you having a baby? Are they excited?”
My parents have always been incredibly supportive. This hasn’t changed since them knowing that I was pregnant or since having my baby. You know what? I was so ill before being pregnant with Florence, that my parents thought something was seriously wrong. So a baby was almost a relief to them. However, if they weren’t supportive- it wouldn’t change my wanting to keep and care for my baby. I think I speak for most Mums when I say that. You don’t need supportive parents to be a good parent. Ultimately, it matters to some people, to a degree as to what their parents think- but to some it means nothing. 
Having a baby doesn’t have to have anything to do with your parents. Although having amazing Grandparents is lovely for your children.
Oh, and the incessant and constant sharing of pictures showing horrific nappy spillages on to our Facebook walls, with a comment saying “Good luck, lol” needs to STOP. If you haven’t got anything nice or useful to say, don’t say it at all. 
I hope you enjoy reading these and feel a little less alone, in your constant battle against the views and voices of the world around you.

You’re doing a great job. 

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Reviewing 2018

Recently it’s safe to say  my life has been a whirlwind, after all…I wouldn’t be me if my life was drama free, and as 2018 approaches an end I’ve looked back at everything this year has thrown at me. Friendships, Relationships, Illness, Drama the list is endless.

Lets start with the friendships. I’ve lost some, I’ve made some. I’ve wrecked some, I’ve earned some but the loyalty of my friends this year has kept me sane. The ones that have stayed awake messaging me till late at night, the ones that helped me find me when I couldn’t. The ones who still messaged me while on holiday because they knew I was at a low point, or the one who drove 80 miles to pick me up for the weekend, how about the ones who visited me in hospital. They have helped me more than ever this year, and for them. I am eternally grateful.

Relationships? Pffft, after nearly a year of being single I’ve discovered so much and learned so much about myself, and the most important thing I have discovered is I do not need a man to define me. I never have and never will need a man to complete me. It’s safe to say I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly with men this year and looking back I don’t know why I allowed myself to pay any of them the slightest bit of attention. Not to mention getting hooked on a guy for the best part of 6 months, who really wasn’t phased by my existence *insert eye roll here* Maybe 2019 will hold a relationship for me, but I can honestly say I am not phased in the slightest whether it does or doesn’t. It has taken the best part of a year but I have finally come to acknowledge that I am better off without a relationship, and when the time comes, it will be with someone I deserve.

Illness…Well 2018 has seen it’s fair share. My step-father has become terminally Ill with heart failure and kidney failure. I was diagnosed with BPD alongside having endometriosis and PCOS, with the double suicide attempt back in September, this year has been insane. poor Oliver has endured measles, tonsilitis and hand-foot and mouth ( but he does go to nursery so he was bound to catch them at some point) so 2018 has been a bit of a weird one for Illness, and my recent surgery showed me that no matter what this life throws at me I can overcome it.

Drama, Ah, the thing that makes me well…me. I am the biggest drama queen ( which I will admit with no shame at all) Drama follows me where ago, and 99% of the time I don’t look for it, it comes looking for me. 2018 kept up with tradition with drama surrounding me everywhere I looked. Fortunately I feel I’m at a stage in my life where I can laugh about it, and nothing really surprises me anymore. 2018 started with me splitting with my fiance and the father of my son, with court hearings, surgery and drama filled events continuing the year. Hopefully 2019 can be ” Drama free ” but, I don’t think that would be very me. It’s not that I enjoy the drama, it’s just there. Like a shadow- very dramatic description.

Last but not least, Mummykind. When I had the idea for Mummykind I never in my wildest dreams expected it to blow up the way it did, within a year we have worked with brands, expanded with new mums joining the team and our little ones have got bigger by the day and my love and pride for Mummykind grows daily.

So 2018 has been…well s**t to say the least, but it’s also allowed me to learn a lot, from not liking Sushi to discovering I have a determined personality. I’ve learned that Oliver is the most magical boy, and every day he warms my heart with his adorable personality ( also learned he has an incredible talent to make me want to rip my hair out in record breaking time and is far too sassy for my liking sometimes) but all this aside, I’m excited for 2019 – however I will not be doing a “new year, new me” I plan on being the same Sassy, drama filled Amy you all know and love after all…that’s why you all read my posts…right?

When Potty Training Finally Falls Into Place

I wrote a few months ago about how much my family was struggling with the lack of progress with potty training in “When Potty Training Doesn’t Go to Plan”.

Writing that piece cleared my head and I was completely happy to put my son back into his nappies for however long he needed until he was ready to do this. As it happens, that wasn’t very long at all!

It all fell into place very suddenly when my darling boy decided that he would go butt naked out into the garden (which backs onto a road) and stand at the gate and talk to ALL THE NEIGHBOURS.  Now, I’m not particularly prudish but there are 47 houses that can see into my garden (yes, I counted) and I only know 3 of them. So naturally, I grabbed the first thing to hand to cover him up a little and on went the big boy pants.

I fully expected them to be soaked within minutes or poo’d in fairly soon but it didn’t happen… at all. 

He has been dry in the day since that moment.

Before I had my very own toddler, I believed people who said that they just stopped wearing nappies one day and that was that and after all the struggling and convincing and coaxing and crying I actually started to resent them with firm and bitter disbelief. I came to believe it was always going to be a huge uphill battle, but here I am, a few months after reaching breaking point with it as one of “those people”. 
This experience has really highlighted to me the importance of waiting until a child is ready for potty training and letting them lead. There is no potty training age – some kids do it sooner and others need a little more time. My son is still struggling to poo on the potty and he is not dry at night yet but we all feel a lot calmer about it. When he needs to poo he asks for a nappy on and lays down nicely. I always ask if he’d rather do it on the potty or big toilet and he always declines but now I know he’ll let me know when he’s ready. 
So, if it hasn’t happened in your family yet, take a deep breath and wait for it – in the mean time, think about being a mile from the nearest toilet and a two year old in a sling on your back tells you he needs a wee… 

Being a chronically ill parent

So it’s no secret that at 16 years of age I was diagnosed with endometriosis and a year later I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Now I’ve always been very open in discussing my health as I always try to raise awareness of Endometriosis.

Before I go any further I should probably give a brief outline as to what endometriosis is, this being said I’ve decided to  include Endometriosis UK’s take on endo.

Endometriosis (pronounced en- doh – mee – tree – oh – sis) is the name given to the condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body.
Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.
It is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, regardless of race or ethnicity” For more information, please feel free to click the link above which takes you to Endometriosis Uk’s page.
Endometriosishas always had a hold on my life, with frequent hospital trips and stays, but I never once stopped to think how it would affect me being a parent, after all I never thought I would have a child of my own naturally, and it was always something that played on my mind.
My pregnancy with Oliver was far from easy as I’ve mentioned in other posts, but I still had countless doctors say to me, “there is a myth that pregnancy can cure endometriosis”, which gave me hope, except it was just that…a myth. Oliver was about 3 months old when I had my first severe flare up following his birth and I remember sitting in an arm chair with one paramedic tending to me, and the other entertaining Oliver. “Your little boy is fine Amy, don’t worry. Focus on yourself and take deep breaths”. I was doubled over in pain crying, and I had Entonox (gas and air). I was admitted to hospital and spent my first few nights without my son, except not for positive reasons. My mother-in-law at the time was supportive, helped take care of Oliver and even brought him up to see me. I remember laying in my hospital bed thinking, “I have no idea how I’m going to make this work”, as Oliver cuddled up to me in bed playing with my IV lines.
A year on and this blog post today is brought to you by me sat at home after being sent home from work due to a flare up. I can’t begin to describe a flare up…it’s one of those – if you know, then you know – sort of things. When having a flare up, my body is left drained. I’m left feeling sore, empty, nauseous, tired and in horrible pain. I could sleep 12 hours straight with a flare up and still wake up feeling like I’ve barely slept, and with a 1 year old thrown into the mix, the challenges are insane, Though I am very fortunate in the sense that Oliver is a really good boy and will happily cuddle up with me and watch Disney films, as well as having incredible family members and amazing friends who always offer to help. So here are some top tips for being chronically Ill and a mother.
1)      Take your time, try not to rush around as this will stress you and baby out…resulting in the flare up getting worse ( we all know stress is the biggest cause of feeling unwell or run down)
2)      Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, being a mother is challenging enough let alone with a chronic illness.
3)      Find a good support group. I’m part of a few support groups for my health and always find it comforting knowing there are people going through similar situations and they can sometimes give suggestions to what things work for them.
I think the thing I struggle with is stepping back and admitting some days that I’m not well and that I need help. I have oramorph (liquid morphine), Morphine patches, Tramadol and diazepam prescribed for my flare ups, however I really don’t like taking it when Oliver is with me, because the minute I take it, I need someone to help me with Oliver.
Although being a chronically ill parent is far from ideal, it just makes me that little bit stronger, a little more determined and ultimately more accomplished. I won’t ever let my illnesses affect my parenting skills, though when I’m older I do 100% expect Oliver to let me live with him where he can cook me breakfast everyday and drive me everywhere when I don’t feel well.
So to all you chronically ill mums out there, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep pushing forward because you’ve got this, your health does not and will not define who you are as a parent.

Should I give my baby a dummy?

Ah, this is one question that possibly all new parents consider at least once! In fact, I’m considering it right now as my daughter screams her head off, refusing to go to sleep, and she’s nearly 2! However, when you’re a first-time mum, there’s a lot of overwhelming information about why you shouldn’t give babies dummies, or how long they should have them for, etc. etc.

So, here is the story of how my daughter came to have a dummy, and how she came to stop using it!

Day 1

8.5 hour labour.
Distressed baby.
Breastfeeding ALLLLLLLL night.
Screaming ALLLLLLLLLL night.

Luckily enough we were the only family on the ward at the time, but my god was I so exhausted. The following morning, the midwife did her rounds and asked how we were.

“Why won’t she sleep?” I said, “isn’t she supposed to be tired, too?”

She sort of smirked at me, and while you may appreciate that it was a bit of a daft question, my baby had literally not slept a wink that day/night. My NCT classes had equipped me with the information that labour and birth would be equally as hard and sometimes traumatic for the baby as it is for us, so they should be doing a lot of sleeping in those first 48 hours.

  I told the midwife that Olivia had been latching on and off all night and then she said the words that would change everything for me and my baby.

 “She’s too sucky, she needs a dummy.”

I was confused. I’d heard all about teat confusion and asked her if it would cause problems with me breastfeeding. She said no, and repeated that my baby was too sucky and needed one. Exhausted and acting on the advice of a professional, my partner Jamie went down to the hospital shop to find one, which she wouldn’t take. I remember feeling relieved. I never wanted to use a dummy for her. In my mind it meant that she’d have it for years and that she’d end up as a toddler with a speech impediment and still using a dummy. Of course, that was completely irrational, but I wanted to avoid them as a matter of personal preference.

Day 2

We were allowed to go home, and amongst the many gifts we had been given were some tommee tippee dummies.

Amid more screaming and constant breastfeeding during the night, and a baby who wanted to constantly not only be on me but be latched onto me ALL. NIGHT. LONG…

(Again, I know you’re reading this thinking “well what did you expect, you stupid cow?” The truth is, I have no bloody idea what I expected. It was my first time in that situation. I didn’t read any books or blogs or prepare myself in any way other than going to NCT classes, especially having been told that parenting books were a waste of time. So what I expected was nothing. I knew absolutely nothing.) 

We tried again with the dummy, and eventually after a few nights she began to settle with it and took it quite well. Breastfeeding was going well, and she was gaining weight well too. There were no issues with teat confusion at all and everything seemed perfectly fine.

Week 8

Her weight began to drop very steadily with no reason at all. She had a little bit of reflux but no other signs that she wasn’t taking enough milk. I was expressing regularly as well as giving her regular feeds. Teat confusion still wasn’t a problem at all – we were able to alternate very easily between tommy tippee bottles, avent bottles, dummy and breast. I remember feeling incredibly lucky compared with other mums I knew whose babies were very fussy with teats. We had a very good eating and sleeping routine and seemed to have found our little groove together.

I was told to go to a local breastfeeding group, where the lactation consultant told me my latch was wrong, and, oh yes, attacked me for giving my baby a dummy.

The very fact that Olivia had a dummy meant that the real problem went unnoticed for a further 3 weeks.

This is the reason why, with hindsight, I wish I had stuck to my guns and never given her one in the first place.

Week 11

Olivia was diagnosed with a tongue tie, and finally referred to a specialist tongue tie clinic in London. This was also the last week that I was able to exclusively breastfeed my baby girl, and I had to introduce formula. Up until that point, her tongue tie hadn’t stopped her from breastfeeding, even though it was an anterior tongue tie and she couldn’t move her tongue from side to side! If you want to know more about breastfeeding a baby with tongue tie, click here.

I was sobbing in Tesco, putting the Cow & Gate through the checkout. I know how stupid that seems. It’s made no difference to her development whatsoever – she’s still as clever as she always would have been, but it’s just so devastating that it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I wanted her to get her nourishment from me, not an artificial replacement of me… But she had plummeted from the 75th percentile to the 0.9th, so what other choice did I have?

Week 14

Unable to stop using bottles, we sacrificed dummies. She adjusted instantly, and didn’t miss it at all. In a way, I am glad that we had to stop using dummies at that stage. I honestly believe that once babies begin to have a proper awareness of what it is and what it’s for, it would be so much more difficult to take it away, and then my dreaded fears of having a toddler with a dummy would have been realised! There’s nothing wrong with that if it’s your choice, but, for me, I just don’t like them, and the truth is they really can affect speech development if they are used for too long.

So, all in all, dummies have their ups and downs. My main concern if I ever had another baby (which I don’t plan on doing) would be that I would have a similar issue. It was never fair for the lactation consultant to attack MY choice as a mother to give my baby a dummy, and I just couldn’t face that judgemental attitude again if I had a second baby with a tongue tie.

If you’re planning on breastfeeding, I would really recommend waiting to see if you can go without one. Teat confusion IS a thing, and although Olivia wasn’t affected by it, she is pretty much the only baby I know who can easily adapt between different teats and the boob. In my mind, they’re not worth the hassle of trying to take them away when your little one gets older, and although every baby needs comfort, they can get it just as easily from you, a teddy, or even a little blanket with far less complicated issues that can come up.

Let me know how you managed to get rid of dummies or why you decided to use or not to use them in the first place!

Mental Health Monday: 5 ways to cope with stress!

Stress!

The one thing we parents seem to have in abundance! Unfortunately, I haven’t yet discovered how to live a completely stress-free life, so instead, here are my top 5 tricks on how to cope with stress!

1. Copious amounts of tea

Ever heard the saying that none of the world’s problems cannot be solved with tea? Well, I am a firm believer! Particularly if your problems are stress-related. I know it can be hard to drink a hot drink while it’s still hot these days, but make sure you grab the opportunity when it presents itself! There’s not much else that’s better than enjoying a hot, caffeinated drink and putting your feet up for a minute while you do!

2. Play dough

This may sound daft, but this is ridiculously stress-relieving. Come on, mummies, whose kiddies do not have play dough lying around somewhere? (If not, you can check out the way to make your own here!)

If they do, and if the colours aren’t all mushed up together in some form of absolute ANARCHY, then I seriously recommend just twiddling it for a while and feeling all of your stress leaving your body as you do!

3. Yoga

Again, I know that finding time is difficult, but it could actually be the best thing you do that day to get out of the house and going to a yoga class! If not, you could easily pull up a youtube tutorial for some yoga breathing exercises. It’s incredibly calming and whenever I’ve done it, I LITERALLY feel lighter having done so. You can physically feel the tension being lifted and the positivity seeping back into where it used to be, once upon a time.

4. Classical music

I know what you’re thinking. “She’s gone mad”, “how old is she?” etc. etc.

But I am serious! Music defines our emotions so much more than we think. If all you listen to is high tempo, upbeat pop music, you might feel happier but it’s still energetic and active. I’m not suggesting you listen to Bach, Mozart or Beethoven (I mean, you can if you want to), but just go onto Spotify, pop your headphones in, and stick on a classical playlist.

My favourite contemporary classical composer is Yiruma – a Japanese artist. His music is just hauntingly beautiful, and I always feel calm and relaxed when I listen to it.

This tip could probably apply to any music you find relaxes you, but if you haven’t tried it, I definitely recommend listening to a bit of pure piano magic.

5. Scream into a pillow

You really do think I’m mad now, don’t you? But I’m serious… In the same way that sometimes you need a good old cry to just get it out of your system, sometimes releasing all of that pent-up anger, upset and frustration is best done by burying your face in a pillow, and screaming loudly. You’d be surprised how much better you can feel afterwards!

So there you have it, my 5 TOP TIPS to cope with stress, and make life just a little bit more manageable!

Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips that you swear by to keep your cool!

Mummies Waiting

6 tips to help your toddler through a cold

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Winter is here and it brought my son the gift of a snotty nose and a sore throat. Toddlers end up suffering colds so badly because they don’t understand what is happening and they can’t dose up on cold and flu medicine.

1. Honey and lemon

This classic cold remedy is brilliant once your little one is over a year old.  If they are under one year old this is isn’t suitable because honey contains Clostridium Botulinum. Paired with their immature guts, there is a (very low) risk of them developing botulism.
The honey is good for sore throats because of its antibacterial and potentially antiviral properties and the lemon packs a nice punch of Vitamin C.

I struggled for ages to make it the right temperature quickly without making it taste gross. The answer? Frozen lemon. Buy a few lemons, quarter them and freeze them. Pop one or two slices into a hot water and honey mixture and wait a couple of minutes. Give them a little squeeze and voila! Perfect toddler temperature honey and lemon. We pop ours in a sippy cup with a lid so the lemon can stay in the drink without getting in the way.

2. Vapour rub

Maybe it’s obvious, but vapour rub is brilliant. Don’t just buy the normal strength one though, make sure you get the kids one; the adult one can be a little bit too potent. Most baby ones are fine from six months, but always check the label.

3. Vapour Oil

There are child strength ones available but they are just diluted versions of the normal one. We use Olbas oil  which has instructions for use with children from six months, they also make a children’s one which has a different ‘dosage’. As long as you follow the instructions either is fine.  When my son was still in his cot it we were able to put Olbas in his room in a bowl of boiling water but now he is in a bed we can’t do that. My solution is to put a drop or two on a little square of cotton or a tissue and put it under his mattress so he can’t get to it. It’s strong stuff so it will definitely work through that many layers. Please contact a qualified aromatherapist for advice if you have pets in the home as some essential oils can be harmful to animals.

4. Paracetamol

I try to avoid turning to infant paracetamol regularly, but I always have it on hand for those times it’s unavoidable. If his colds get really awful I know his sinuses are going to be hurting, easing one symptom can really help manage the others.

5. Muslins or Handkerchiefs

Tissues are a huge waste of time, resources and money just to make your nose sting when you blow it. We all know how sore your nose can get with a cold, now imagine if you had super delicate baby skin? Ouch. We opt for the muslins my son had as a baby – now he doesn’t spit up they may as well get some use. They are soft, gentle and reusable. We’re totally cool about germs, we’ve all been exposed to them if someone in the house has a cold but if it concerns you, a 15 minute soak in sterilising fluid or a 60 degree wash will kill any lurking nasties. If it’s a bug rather than a cold you’ll likely be doing some hot washes anyway.

6. Patience

This one can be so difficult, especially if you have a cold as well.

It’s 2am and your toddler is just crying at you, completely inconsolable and not listening to a word you say. They won’t calm down and it’s making them cough and rasp and you can see the more they cry the more upset they become. You’re freezing because you heard a cry, went straight to them without grabbing a dressing gown and you’re tired because…well it’s 2am (and they did this last night as well). It is so easy to get frustrated but I just think about how much I would panic if I woke up not able to breathe. They don’t understand and they don’t realise you’re trying to comfort them. The best thing I’ve found is to try and distract my son. If I can get him to laugh we are half way there. We already know we’ll be exhausted in the morning – that’s inevitable now, so we might as well have a giggle.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Top tips for mums planning a wedding and honeymoon

Weddings take so much planning as they are. When you factor in children things can get messy. Here are some tips to help your day run smoothly.  #Wedding #Bride #FlowerGirl #KidsAtWeddings #WeddingPlanning #Babies #Toddler

Wedding

Last Tuesday I tied the knot and became a wife! Crazy, I know. At the ripe old age of 22, I have taken myself securely off the market… Sorry, lads.

The day was absolutely wonderful, and I am amazed with how well my darling 17 month old daughter coped with all the late nights and lack of sleep. However, having her around did make certain pre-wedding things slightly more stressful, so if you can learn from my experiences, I hope it makes it much easier for anyone else in the same boat!

1. Don’t attempt dress fittings with clingy children…

For my final fitting before the big day, myself and 3 bridesmaids all had to get to the bridal shop for final tweaks and adjustments. You would think that, in this situation, there are enough bridesmaids to go around to entertain the little one while mummy had her fitting. Except 2 of them were 50 minutes late, with no explanation. This is more of a choose reliable bridesmaids tip than a parenting one, but the struggle that occurred while I was in my dress and the baby was screaming for a cuddle (overtired, as usual) was awful and made even the seamstress upset! Both myself and Olivia could have been saved a lot of tears if she had simply been left with Daddy for the day.

2. Try not to upset their routine too much…

After a week of being away from home, Olivia was more than happy to go to her own bed, with her teddy and her nightlight, and went to sleep straight away with no fussing at all. You know how, when you stay in a hotel too long and you can’t wait to get home and sleep in your own bed? Well, it seems like babies feel that too. To avoid spending too long away from home, plan the wedding locally! I think the whole saga would have been far more manageable for us if we had a local wedding and were in our own place right up until the wedding day, with Olivia only spending the honeymoon (4 nights) in a different bed outside of her normal routine.

3. Have clear childcare plans for the wedding night…

You may think this goes without saying, but maybe not for those without kids. If you’re relying on bridesmaids/friends rather than a childminder or babysitter, make sure they know exactly what will need doing. My anxiety was triggered a lot on the wedding day and night, purely through not knowing who was looking after Olivia when, and from having to save her from falling down the stairs multiple times. It also took one of our lovely (fellow parent) guests to swoop in and offer to change her nappy for us, a small act of kindness that saved me deserting the wedding party and wiping a bare bottom in my wedding dress!

4. Have entertainment ready for the morning of the wedding…

Hectic as it is anyway, it’s even more hectic in a small space with a baby running around and 7 bridesmaids. Mum-in-law was quick to the rescue by plonking the little ones in a bath together with bath crayons and bubbles, keeping them entertained for a significant portion of the morning! And, of course, bath time means bedtime! So little Olivia slept for a couple of hours afterwards, leaving us to get ready in peace!

5. Do take your baby to the wedding rehearsal…

I think that Olivia going to the rehearsal with us made her far happier on the day of the wedding. She knew what was where, and we only had one mishap with her attempting an escape route up to the altar! Other than that, she was perfectly behaved, and mainly stayed in the child-friendly area of the church filled with toys!

Honeymoon

My first tip here is not to take the kids with you – we learned that the hard way! But in all seriousness, if, like us, you want to share your holiday as a family, here are some tips and tricks to make the journey as hassle-free as possible!

1. Pay to take your buggy in the hold luggage, or plan to take one with you…

We made the mistake of assuming Olivia would be perfectly fine to walk about everywhere, not factoring in her exhaustion from all of the late nights she had in preparation for the wedding! As soon as we got to Barcelona, we realised that it wasn’t going to work without a buggy. Happy as she is to walk around, the need for sleep caught up with her and Back Pack Baby in Barcelona were saviours in our hour of need!

2. No amount of snacks is enough for the plane…

I bought 5 packets of Heinz baby biscuits, and 3 packets of Olivia’s favourite fruity bear paw prints. Almost all of that was gone on the outward journey, but luckily she found a hobby in opening and shutting the window blind on the plane, sat on Kiera’s lap. The way back was less easy going, due to having 2 grumpy, whiney children. Olivia managed to get about half an hour of sleep on the plane before her ears began popping in her sleep and obviously making her uncomfortable. Once she woke up and had her remaining snacks, she was her normal self, covered in chocolate and kicking to be free from restraint.

3. Have a nappy plan…

After we had to make an unscheduled nappy change in the early hours of this morning, when Olivia decided it would be super fun to pull hers off and wee on the bed (TWICE), we were left nappy-less by the time we boarded the plane. Of course, Olivia being Olivia, she decided that mid-flight was the best time to poo, and so we had a mad dash through passport control to find a pack of nappies that were definitely too small but had to make do until we could get anywhere else! Wherever you’re going, look up baby supplies before you go, and make sure you’re familiar with sizes. I had no idea where to start and thus we were stuck in this predicament!!!

FINAL TIP:

Enjoy it! Even if you may have some horrific moments, try to cherish the good ones and make lasting memories. Not everything goes as planned, but what I’ve realised is
that I’m lucky to have my new husband, who is particularly talented at turning rubbish times into great ones. I love him and our little family, and we all enjoyed our little trip to Barcelona, even if it was a bit hectic!

That’s it from me today! Share your experiences below!

Mummies Waiting
The ladybirds' adventures

The ups and downs of baby led weaning

I began giving her finger foods like cucumber sticks and avocado wedges to munch on, but every time she coughed I was convinced she was choking. My partner must have been sick of my overreacting, but I didn’t see it as that at the time. There was nothing melodramatic, I really thought she wasn’t breathing when she clearly was.

Our weaning journey began what feels like a million years ago, but it was actually only 10 months ago.

My experience of weaning Olivia may have been very different to others’ experiences, but I think that some of the worries and concerns would be the same as any other mum starting to wean their little monster!

At four and a half months old, Olivia was so interested in everyone’s food. She was rolling and pulling herself along the floor, and could sit up all by herself. She also had a habit of putting EVERYTHING in her mouth, and trying ever so hard to pinch my food and eat it, so her hand eye coordination was good enough for weaning too. But I didn’t feel ready.

My baby was giving me all of the signs to say that she was ready to wean, and so the day before she was 5 months old, she had her first rusk. I watched her like a hawk, terrified that she would choke on a bit of it, but she was absolutely fine and she loved it.

That was the beginning, and it started relatively well. I began giving her finger foods like cucumber sticks and avocado wedges to munch on, but every time she coughed I was convinced she was choking. My partner must have been sick of my overreacting, but I didn’t see it as that at the time. There was nothing melodramatic, I really thought she wasn’t breathing when she clearly was.

She was fast approaching six months old, the recommended age for weaning babies, and so pressure from my health visitor was increasing to let her try a variety of foods herself, and I said yes and went along with it. Every mealtime was emotionally traumatic for me. Every mealtime I ended up in tears and snatched the food away from Olivia, throwing it out and replacing it with milk. It was so hard to be sure that she wasn’t choking and that she was fine. Around that time I was re-diagnosed with depression and anxiety having spent two months thinking everything had gone away by itself, and that explained my irrational fear of the little one coughing at mealtimes, but it’s also a common feeling for new, first time mums to feel so worried about choking. I attended all of the save a baby’s life and baby weaning workshops at the local health centres, but it didn’t prepare me for how hard it would be not to assume the worst and overreact at the slightest spluttering.

It didn’t help being told that it was normal and that every new mum gets paranoid, because personally I don’t believe that it’s true. Why are people on the outside so quick to paint as wide a brushstroke as possible to say what is normal? What is normal for me isn’t normal for somebody else. My obsessive anxiety over feeding my daughter was not normal for me, and once I stopped trying to be normal and follow the advice of other mums, my own maternal instinct was allowed to kick in.

I convinced the health visitor that baby led weaning was too hard for me, listening to my partner who didn’t want to see me and our baby crying our eyes out at every meal. I was able to finally speak for myself and access support, not unhelpful advice that clearly wasn’t working for me. She helped me work out a proper feeding schedule, phasing in a ready-brek breakfast, a pureed lunch and a pureed dinner, healthy vegetarian options incorporating different flavours and textures. Choosing not to continue with baby led weaning didn’t mean that Olivia wasn’t going to experience different foods, or that she wasn’t going to learn how to eat (as my partner kept reminding me).

As my confidence grew and my anxiety lessened, we fell back into baby led weaning as if she’d been doing it all along. She took food off my plate, she had fruit and vegetable finger foods, and we switched to toast for breakfast for her to feed herself.

She’s now 15 months old, loves her food, and has absolutely no problems navigating lumps and bumps in her meals. Most foods she feeds herself, some are still semi-mashed up and spoon-fed. Looking back on the first 2/3 months of weaning, it seems silly and unnecessary that I worried so much. I desperately wanted to be able to do something right, after having a ton of trouble breastfeeding I think I wanted to compensate.

There was nothing to compensate for. She was fed, happy, healthy, loved and looked after. Who cares how we do it, as long that’s what we do?

It may take time to find your groove, but it’s there, and everything does click into place in the end.

7 Actual Important Things all Pregnant Women Need to Know…

There are so many practical things no body ever told me when I was pregnant and I never even thought to ask  – You don’t know what you don’t know, right? 

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I see a lot of posts on this subject that focus on the funny side, about how everyone will see your nakedness and you won’t care, about how you’ll get used to being puked on etc etc.  This post isn’t that, there are so many practical things no body ever told me when I was pregnant and I never even thought to ask  – You don’t know what you don’t know, right? 
 
So, here is MY personal list of really important things that I should have been told, I’d love to hear yours in the comments!

1. Group B Strep 

It’s strange, I was asked several times on the maternity ward whether I was Strep B Positive and I always assumed that I must have been tested or they wouldn’t be asking (after all, they nicked enough of my blood for testing over the course of my pregnancy) I also assumed I must have been all clear or they would have told me. WRONG. It wasn’t until Harriet got her results that I found out what it is and why it is so crucial for EVERY mother to be tested in EVERY pregnancy. (Read her story here)
 

2. Your birth might not go according to plan

Okay, thats a pretty obvious one and I guess on some level we all know that but what I mean is that no one told me exactly what it was that could go wrong and how that might be resolved. Nobody prepared me for emergency procedures in theatre. I suppose nobody wants to scare a pregnant woman, well, I’m gonna do it. You might have to have major abdominal surgery. You might have to have your lady bits sliced and diced. Your lady bits might rip and you could lose a lot of blood. If you are pregnant I would strongly advise you to talk to your midwife (or relevant healthcare professional) about what you can expect if you need to have an emergency procedure. What the risks are, why they happen and what you have to sign when they thrust the surgical permission slip at you between contractions. It’s going to be easier to take that information on board when you aren’t 15 hours into labour and drifting in an out of consciousness.
 

3. Packing for hospital stays 

I see a lot of posts about hospital bag essentials. I disregarded most of them because they contain bluetooth speakers, tablets and essential oils. I packed a small bag of actual essentials (clothes for me, clothes for baby, nappies, sports drink, vaseline, maternity pads, granny pants, phone charger, hospital notes) which would have been absolutely fine if my birth had  gone smoothly and my son wasn’t crazy jaundiced. My poor husband was back and forth with clothes and supplies all week. He doesn’t drive so he was walking three miles to the hospital and three miles home (what a trooper). So, pack a bag for if things go to plan. Pack another, bigger bag for if they don’t. Oh, and hospitals don’t give you shampoo. 
 

4. Tongue tie (and other feeding issues)

This is a huge deal to me and I will be talking about it in more detail in another post soon. I did hear tongue ties mentioned when I was pregnant. ONCE. It was in the following context; “You can’t breastfeed a baby with tongue tie because they can’t latch to the breast”. This is possibly the single worst piece of misinformation I was given. My son had a tongue tie and he latched and fed, just not very well. None of the midwives or health visitors picked up on it and I had no idea what to look for. I was supported by amazing local services which are now facing massive budget cuts (see their campaign here) but I wish I had gone to see them when I was pregnant for some advice and again after my son was born before I was told that his behaviour was normal or that it was my fault.
 

5. Nappies

You are going to be changing a LOT of nappies. I decided to use cloth when I was pregnant but my dinky baby didn’t fit in them to start with. If I had realised just how many disposable nappies we’d get through in the first three months (around 900) I would have invested in some smaller sized cloth nappies. Obviously a lot of people told me that it would be a lot but the actual figures still startled me. If you’re in the UK you can find your local cloth nappy library here.

6. How and when to bathe a newborn 

This one was a source of panic for me from around 20 weeks. I asked at an antenatal class but I was shown with a rigid toy doll and no actual water so I was ill prepared. When I was presented with a mucky baby fresh out of the womb I had no idea if I should be washing the gunk off of him and how I might go about that. I avoided it for a while and picked the crispy bits of womb lining out of his perfect hair as best I could. He was eventually washed for first time at a week old by a lovely member of the maternity ward team who talked me through top and tailing. I still had no idea how to give him an actual bath so I just didn’t, for weeks. I’m still not 100% sure but if you’re concerned I hope you find comfort in the fact that it isn’t just you.
 

7. Dressing your baby 

How do you get those tiiiiny little vests over the head of a baby with zero muscle control? (Answer – you put the head hole under the back of their head and pull it gently over the top). As silly as it sounds, no one ever told me or showed me and I had not slept much so how was I to know? It took me a week to figure it out – luckily I have a summer baby. He lived in fully poppered sleepsuits most of the time. Also, everyone kept telling me I needed a going home outfit for him and that is a lie. I needed a clean sleep suit for him to go home in. I did pack an outfit but he was too tiny and I didn’t care one bit, I just wanted to get home.
 
I’m sure I’ve missed some because… well because my son is two and my brain is mush from all the parenting. As a bonus, I asked my husband what he wished he’d known. Apparently he’s quite traumatised. Here is his list:
 

Labour is terrifying

Seeing your partner in labour, in that much pain and not being able to help is awful. Seeing them in theatre and having to hold it together when you’re worried you might lose the woman you love and your child is the scariest thing. 
 

Babies are terrifying

How do you hold them with out breaking them? How do you change nappies? Dress them? Undress them? Put them in the carseat? Pick them up? Put them down? HOW?
 

The weight of the world is terrifying

Your partner just made a small human. She is in no position to do anything much so you’ve just gone from being responsible for yourself to being responsible for you, your wife and your baby… and all of the cooking and cleaning. Two weeks in and you have to work again. It’s a massive adjustment to make and it can be a little overwhelming.

The soft spot is terrifying

Every time you touch the soft spot you think you’ve hurt your child. Absolutely. terrifying. 

 


If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

harriet labour
 
 
sarah birth story
 
tongue tie
 
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