Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011: My best year yet

Even if nothing else had happened the year my beautifuldaughter was born was always going to be a pretty amazing one. Other wonderful things were having a goodpregnancy, buying my first house with my lovely partner, getting theopportunity to do my ideal job and my family and friends being generallyhealthy and incredibly supportive to me.
And to top it off last week I won the lottery. A whole £10!

I’m going to have to try pretty hard to make 2012 beatit. It’s a challenge I’m looking forwardto.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Quickly Kid-Proof Your House for Christmas | Gizmodo UK

Quickly Kid-Proof Your House for Christmas | Gizmodo UK:

'via Blog this'

A confession

I'm a bad mum when I'm tired:

I'm more likely to sit Baby M in front of baby tv so I can have caffeine and food.
I spend less time playing and interacting with her.
At night I'm more likely to delay feeding her when she is starting to stir (this usually backfires and results in less sleep).
I'm likely to stay in all day rather than go somewhere stimulating.
I have less patience and I find myself getting annoyed with Baby M when she crys even though I know she is only doing it because she is in pain or she wants something.
And I consider giving up breastfeeding so I can leave Baby M for a night and get sleep (although I would hate giving up breastfeeding, and I haven't managed to spend more than a few hours away from Baby M since she was born because I miss her too much)

I'm also a bad partner when I'm tired:
I snap and get easily irritated, especially when I don't feel I'm being supported (like right now when I can hear J watching tv while I'm trying to settle an unhappy baby).
I hand Baby M over because I need a break and then take her back quickly (and get annoyed) because J isn't managing to settle her due to having less practice.
I won't get around to housework or cooking
I don't care that J is tired too and has to go to work all day where he has no options of naps.
I try and share the misery: I have been known to wake J up when I've been up half the night.

J is generally a brilliant Dad and supportive partner.  He helps out a lot, but on work days his sleep is a priority.
Baby M is usually a good baby and I usually get enough sleep.

I know I need to have the inner strength to keep calm and patient when I am over tired.  I know a lot of things, but knowledge alone is useless without action.

Tonight I promise I: will raid my stash of chocolate, count to 10, try not to judge and I will make an effort.

In return please can I get at least 6 hours sleep?
Baby M asleep.  I wish she was right now

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Time for bed

Last night (or more accurately this morning) Baby M decided she would be awake between 1 and 5 am. She was either 'talking' to me loudly, crying or feeding.
Tonight I'm going to bed early.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Products I love by a breastfeeding new mum

I have been really lucky to be given lots of really useful things by my friends and family (many second hand). This has meant I have been able to spend my money on luxuries I might not have been able to afford. I hate wasting my money on things that don't work or aren't needed so I thought I would share what I have found useful*. For each great product below there are several items I should have left in the shop.

Lansinoh Lanolin (aka the expensive purple tube).
I have tried using a few similar products but none of them have compared with this. Applied liberally after nursing it keeps my nipples soft meaning they are less likely to crack or be sore. I still had cracked and bleeding nipples in the early days, but this magical stuff has helped hugely. My first tube lasted about 6 weeks and I was applying it several times each day
Top tip: it can be hard to get out of the tube, so I sit on it while nursing. This melts it a bit and makes it squeeze out easily.

yes my room is a state. I don't care
I've never been one for PJs as I get too hot and uncomfortable in bed, but as it's winter I need something to keep my arms warm during night feeds. I bought a Cyberjammies nightshirt from (sign up to receive their emails and they often send out discounts of 20 to 30%).
I leave the shirt slightly unbuttoned to allow for quick boob access. It keeps me warm and it's long enough so I can answer the door to the postman without flashing him. I'm going to have to buy some more as I manage a maximum of 2 nights before it gets covered in regurgitated milk.

I suspect any type of comforter would do the same job, but I love our cuski. I slept with it for a couple of nights and now Baby M cuddles up to it at night.  I think it definitely helped settle her when I wasn't there at bedtime because it smelt of me. It's designed to be breathable so it's completely safe. I have the one made from organic bamboo, but they come in other materials and colours.
£16.99 (cotton is cheaper)

Movement sensor
I'm one of those mums that constantly check their child is still breathing so this product gives me piece of mind.  It consists of a baby monitor and a mat that goes under the mattress to detect movement. 
We have the Angelcare AC401 movement and sound monitor.  I have used it for just sound (when she wouldn't sleep in her basket), just movement (at night when she is sleeping in her cot next to me) and with both movement and sound (when she's asleep upstairs and we are in another room).
We have used it with both the Moses basket and the cot and haven't had any problems with it.

Deirdre (Freddie the firefly)
This must be one of the most popular of the Lamaze toys based on how many people I know with one. In the first few weeks Baby M was fascinated with the black and white patterns on the back of the wings and now she is starting to reach out and hold on to it. It has lots of textures which are great for development.
We call this Deirdre because my OH decided it was a dragonfly.

My bugaboo bee
This buggy is not perfect. We had one of the batch with the dodgy wheels so it kept jamming, but despite the wheels I love it.  It's great because it's small and light (faced with stairs I can just pick it up and carry it). I've been using it with the cocoon which allows Baby M to lie flat, but is also lovely and cosy: perfect for the winter weather. It also works with my Maxi Cosi carseat (with adaptors).
Finally it has a special edition black frame so it is a bit different to all the other bugaboo bee's I see.  

Bebe au lait
I've never been one to get my boobs out in public and this hasn't changed since I had Baby M.  For anyone comfortable feeding in public: fantastic.  I'm only comfortable under covers.  The Bebe au lait is brilliant as it allows me to feed Baby M wherever she wants feeding. It is big enough that I can sort everything out without fear of revealing anything and it has the added benefit of a stiff neckline which means I can look down and see what is going on.
Several times whilst using this is cafes I've had people approaching me and asking where I got it.  
You can get it online from lots of places, but I was given it by a friend who is full of amazing mum knowledge.  Check out her blog:

Milk drunk face
Tommee tippee milk feeding bibs
These bibs have a thick, soft, absorbent collar that goes around the baby's neck.  I think it’s designed for bottle feeding to prevent the milk dribbling down.  As my little one frequently has her food reappearing and dribbling down her chin these bibs catch most of the vomit and prevents all her clothes getting soaked.  I strongly recommend them.
£4.99 for 2

Gro egg
Any room thermometer is useful to ensure babies are the right temperature when they sleep. I like the gro egg though because I can see at a glance if the room is the right temperature even without my glasses on by the colour of the egg.

Sleeping bags 
I tried swaddling Baby M when she was small, but I never successfully managed it as she is such a wriggler.  When I try to use blankets she ends up kicking them off within minutes.  Sleeping bags are great because they allow Baby M to wriggle to her heart’s content, yet she stays warm.  They also have the advantage that the covers wont go over her face.
I have some Gro Baby Sleep Bags second hand from a friend and some from Mothercare (own brand).  I like them equally.  All of them have buttons to ensure they fit small heads (ie the baby’s head shouldn’t go through the neck hole once done up).  The Mothercare ones are cheaper.
Before buying any make sure you go for the right tog for the temperature of your room (I'm currently using 2.5 tog).  
A friend (mentioned above) recommends slightly more expensive merino ones from Merino kids.  These can be used all year round and are bigger so can be used for longer.
£22.99 - £33

Disposable Bed/changing mats
I frequently use these disposable mats. Pampers do some, but I'm also a fan of Asda Little Angels Bed Mats as they are cheaper and bigger.  These mats are absorbent with a plastic backing.  I have used them on my bed (under the sheet) when co sleeping, when massaging Baby M with her nappy off and when she is on her play mat.  It prevents any leaks getting where they shouldn't keeping everything clean and dry.
£3 - £5

Feme pads
These are available from a range of places on line, but I was given some bought from Mothercare.  They are gel pads that can be chilled and used to cool your bits providing much needed relief.  I had an episiotomy and these really helped with the pain, but it would probably help anyone who had a VB.
Top tip: Cool in freezer, put on 2 pairs of pants with the pad in the middle (this keeps them in place and allows you to wear a thin maternity pad as well).  If placing directly on skin chill in the fridge.

I never leave home without one.  I never even pass Baby M to anyone to hold without one.  They wipe up dribble and vomit and are easy to wash.  Available everywhere, but if you find them for less than £1 per muslin you are doing well.

Clever Mama Towel
These are similar to the Cuddle Dry Towels, but cheaper.  They have poppers so they can be worn round your neck like an apron during bath time.  On the other end they have a hood so you can scoop baby up out of the bath and hold her to you.  It keeps me dry and baby M warm and safe.  They aren't exactly thick plush towelling, but they do the job well at a good price.
c £17

That's all for now.

Advent Calendar Day 7: A cute little robin. Awwww!

*I have not been paid or asked to publicise any of these products and all opinions are my own. I have linked to the companies website where they exist to provide more information, but I would recommend shopping around if you do want to buy any of them as big savings can often be found. The prices shown are what appear to be RRP ie the maximum price you should pay.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

24/7 Support

Having a newborn baby can be a lonely time. The first few weeks there is a rush of wellwishers (many bringing gifts), but soon everyone moves on with their own livesand you suddenly realise that who you thought your friends were and no longer who you see and talk to.

My friends now fall into 4 main groups:
The Busy Bees
Baby M is now 10 weeks old and there are some of my goodfriends who haven’t yet met her. I guessit goes back beyond that: there are some of my ‘good’ friends who I haven’tseen since I stopped feeling up to going to the pub in the evening duringpregnancy. I admit I haven’t made a hugeeffort to arrange meet ups, but when I do they often cancel or don’t commit toa time.
The Persistent Singles
I have a small number of friends who keep asking me out: tothe cinema, to the pub etc. Whilst Iappreciate the thought they only ask me to events that aren’t suitable forbabies. I have to choose between stayingwith my beautiful baby or expressing some milk, arranging a baby sitter,missing bedtime and getting less sleep. Thereare very few films which could compete.
The Friendly Parents
The people I know who have children. I have grown closer to these friends as theyhave been supportive throughout my pregnancy and beyond. They have offered help, advice andinvitations are to places (and at times) that are suitable to bring babies along.
The New Mums
Since my NCT classes 5(?) months ago I have continued tomeet up with the other mum’s in my group at least once a week. This means that in the last 10 weeks I haveseen them more than nearly anyone else. Including family.
I have alsostarted to make friends at various baby groups I go to. These mum’s are having similar experiences tome and don’t mind that I have essentially one topic of conversation thesedays. I suspect that this group willbecome my closest friends for many years to come (or at least until I go backto work in April).

In addition there is a 5th group that has beeninvaluable:
Virtual mums on twitter
These guys have been amazing. They live all over the world and are either new or experienced mums. They prevented me giving up breastfeeding. They have kept me company. They have made me laugh. And hopefully they appreciate me too.
Advent calendar watch day 6: 2 men and a sheep.  Enough said

25 clever ideas to make life easier

Some of these ideas are genius. I'm definitely doing the bedding one.

25 clever ideas to make life easier:

'via Blog this'

Monday, 5 December 2011

eBay Addict

Over the last few months I have spent a lot of time breastfeeding. Hours and hours some days. I believe that breastfeeding is a wonderfuland bonding experience, but I have found that I need something to entertain me(and keep me awake) during some of the longer feeds.

I started off reading facebook and Twitter and then moved onto reading various blogs. During a weekwith a lot of feeding (growth spurt, cluster feeding, call it what you will) I needed something else. I started internet shopping. Babies need a lot of things. Ok babies don’t need much, but Mummies like alot of nice things for their daughters. Itwas during one of these nursing shopping sessions that I started browsing eBay.

As I was browsing on my iPhone I was kindly informed therewas “an app for that”. The eBay app wassoon downloaded and I had my very own eBay and paypal accounts. Over the last few weeks I have come to know mypostman very well.

Fortunately for my bank balance I received an email from Ebaya week ago. They advised me that theyhad a free listing weekend so why not sign up to sell as well? Selling on Ebay is even more addictive thanbuying. For a week my phone kept onpinging to tell me people had bid on my items. Everything is now sold and I took them to the Post Office today.

Currently I have just about earned more than I spent. As the good gambling advice says: now wouldbe a good time to walk away...
But I just ordered some plastic postage envelopes...
And I’m mentally scanning the house for what else I can sell...

Does that mean I can start looking for more things to buy?

Today in Baby M's advent calendar there was a robin. Much more Christmassy than a dog's head. I however had a chocolate Christmas tree. yum x

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Me Time

Today I had an hour and a half alone at home whilst J went to a Baby Massage Class for Dad's. This is the first time alone at home since I had Baby M.

So what did I do with this rare luxury? Did I have a bath? A nap? Treat myself?


I hoovered (well Dysoned) and dusted the house and cleaned the kitchen. Whilst this might seem like a bit of a waste I felt better for doing it. And the added benefit of doing it whilst no one was here? It meant it stayed clean for a whole hour. Now that is a definite luxury.

(For anyone following Baby M's advent calendar: yesterday it had a dog's head, and today a gypsy with wings. I'm starting to think it might not be suitable for children).

Friday, 2 December 2011

My Model Baby

On Thursday we had a busy day:

After being awake for a couple of hours it was nap time and Baby M decided she was happy to sleep in her cot (unlike for the whole of the night before) giving me the opportunity to be productive. So I had a nap too.

When we were up and fed it was time to rush to Mothercare for our free PixiFoto photo session (courtesy of Bounty). When I arrived I was advised that as our session hadn't been confirmed (they tried calling me once, but didn't leave a message) they had arranged for someone to come view their pictures in my slot. I then spent the next 20 minutes waiting. Luckily Baby M was happily having a nap.

The first picture taken was our free picture. This picture could be retaken until we were happy with it, but the old picture had to be deleted before a new one was taken. As I didn't know how long it would be before Baby M burst into tears or vomited down her dress this involved a bit of a gamble.
The rest of the photo shoot involved a variety of poses designed to help me part with my hard earned cash. The photographer managed this successfully, but quiet, don't tell my other half.

At one point whilst posing on a small box Baby M demonstrated a new skill: rolling from her front to back (she's only 9 1/2 weeks). Fortunately she didn't roll off the box, but I suspect it's only a matter of time before she rolls onto the floor.

PixiFoto photographs are surprisingly cheap for professional photographs. They have various packages which thoroughly confused me, but for £205 you can get a couple of big prints and 5 or something small ones. By small they mean 12 x 10 inches. That is nearly twice the size of the standard pictures at some other professional photographers I've been to. I decided to get all but one of my pictures unframed as I suspect I can get frames cheaper online.  They'll be available for collection in 2 weeks and I will be giving most of my family one for Christmas whether they want one or not. Very excited.

Newly bankrupt we had to go to the post office (via a drive through MaccyD's) to pick up a big box of baby clothes bought for a bargain on eBay and then a short drive to pick up a Vtech walker from another eBay seller (more about my new eBay addiction another time).

Then onto Creative Biscuit to pick up our painted pottery (see my last post).

We eventually got home for a bit of playtime before the bedtime routine (relaxing bath, massage, feed and then completely wide awake time) and over to her Dad.

Yesterday, for the first time in nearly a year, I went out.  I got dressed up, wore heels and make up and got just a little bit tipsy. I was really nervous as it was my first proper time away from Baby M, but I had left a huge amount of expressed milk in the fridge and her Dad really should be capable to look after her for a night.
I had a fabulous evening with the girls from my NCT group. It's so rare to eat my dinner with both hands and no interruptions.  Back home I was welcomed by Baby M asleep in her cot and my OH saying "I don't know what the fuss is all about, she's been perfect". She slept from when I left until time for a feed and then went down in her cot. The first sleep was in her sling (Caboo baby carrier) and my OH didn't manage anything other than rice crackers and bread for dinner so he didn't have it too easy.

An expensive, but lovely day.

Making a mess

On Tuesday we went to a local cafe where you can decorate pottery and then they glaze it for you. As it's nearly Christmas I decided it was perfect to make some Christmas presents for her Dad and Grandparents.
I was hoping to put hand and footprints on some played etc. Have you ever tried to persuade a baby to open their hand to allow it to be painted and then put it in a location of your choice? It's difficult. Fortunately you can wipe off the paint and start again. And again. And again. And I still didn't manage it.
But feet are different. Babies can't curl their feet into a fist so it's a lot easier to do footprints. Baby M seemed to love having get feet painted too.

We had a brilliant afternoon painting and eating cake at Creative Biscuit ( Yesterday I went to pick up everything after it was fired and I think they look great.
Good work Baby M.

PS today's advent calendar door had a Christmas tree

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Happy December

It's December which means many things, but the most immediate is advent calendars.
A tasty Hotel Chocolat one for me (40% cocoa solids milk chocolate, yum) purchased as a surprise by my wonderful partner.
An advent calendar card for Baby M sent to her from her great grandmother. It's a shame it's not chocolate as I would have enjoyed eating her chocolates.
Today she had a picture of a donkey