The Motherhood Lessons Series- Part I: The Most Overrated Baby Items. (& the items that you can’t live without!)

The Motherhood Lessons Series- Part I: The Most Overrated Baby Items. (& the items that you can’t live without!)

Negotiating the ocean of baby products that are available on the market can be quite suffocating! Add to that the tides of “advice” and “recommendations” from everyone and their Nan- “Buy this!” “Buy that!” “This helped my LO sleep!” “This contraption is all singing and dancing!” “Buying this product will make you a better parent…” … you get the picture.

I didn’t ask for advice but I was lumbered with it in every direction I turned. I was one of those Mother’s who never picked up a baby book throughout my entire pregnancy because I believe (and still do nearly 8 months down the line of Motherhood) that babies can not come with a manual… they come with a Mother… who learns best the systems that work for her and her child! Don’t try and force your square baby into a round hole (what a strange image! I hope if there is anything you take away after reading this piece is this silly analogy; you have a little smile to yourself at the lunacy of suggesting squishing babies into different shaped crevices, then remember how individual and wonderful your own child is and appreciate all their idiosyncrasies, their love for you and how YOU too are as individual as a Mother!) #DoYouBooBoo!

If my parenting was analysed by textbooks I think it could be labelled “attachment parenting” and I am sure a lot of people would tell me what I was doing was wrong. But so far; there have been no scares and Beatrice and I work together to get through babyhood and Motherhood respectively!

It has taken some time, and a cloak of bravado to finally have confidence in my decisions as a Mummy. And judging by the Little Person who accompanies me on this journey daily, I am now confident in my ability as a ruddy good Momma Bear. And you are too! Did you feed your child enough today? Did you change them when they needed? Did you give them cuddles that sent them into soft slumber?… you did? Then you my friend have done a good job today!

But I digress… this post is primarily targeted at Momma’s-To-Be to ensure that your purchases are streamline, smart and save you money! You may be tempted to go all in, and a lot of recommendations will have suited the child of that particular Mummy. My main message is to stock up on the essentials and take the time to find out what products can be adapted to your personal lifestyle.

It is hair raising how much you could potentially save yourself. I believe a lot of baby companies are capitalising on New-Mother fear or even the fear of being a Mother to another child in this time. Perhaps there has been a 5 year gap between this child and the older child who didn’t have the wealth of products available in 2013 and in that time laws and parenting rules seemed to have changed over, and over so it can be overwhelming and quite confusing! Bam! In sweeps a retail giant with false promises of a happier baby. If they use this version of a rattle their cognitive abilities will advance three fold… blah blah blah.

A lot of products take up space and burn a hole in your pocket, so I also learnt that shopping second hand is not to be sniffed at! The quality is often so high because babies grow so fast that many items are used just a handful of times. It turns out also that one of Bea’s favourite toys was a £5 animal carousel that can be stuck on the highchair or just popped on the floor, that she bashes to spin and it features some adorable, colourful animals (including a tiger, lion, monkey, zebra and bee.) #CheapAndCheerful.

This is my own personal experience and list, but I hope it may help you make decisions at to what you want to include as part of your baby arsenal. I have also taken the liberty of including the savings to be made from either not including these items on your shopping list, or opting for less expensive alternatives.

So first things first…

1) Moses Basket.

Admittedly we had a much longer shelf life with our purchase because our tiny, preemie baby came home with us just over 5 and a half pounds and grew at a slower rate! This meant that she was still comfortably fitting in the Moses basket at 4 months old, by which time we were in the position to replace this sleeping arrangement with a more IMG_8242permanent solution (which has been a very USEFUL transition piece before getting Bea into her own room! More about this shortly!)

Moses baskets are most aesthetically pleasing and will look adorable… for a few weeks! We had been very lucky that a friend was selling her Clair De Lune Noah Moses Pod (RRP £110 and often these are sold without the stands! Madness!) and we snapped it up for just £35 which was a complete steal!

Knowing the lunacy of the market for these we sold the pod on again for £70 so we never lost money on this purchase, but if I were to “do over” the initial baby shopping experience I would have never opted for a Moses Basket in the first place. Instead the best bet is to spend out on a crib or next to you solution as it can be used until such time as you move your baby out of your room. 7 months of co-sleeping (the definition I use here is baby in same room), so for us the Babystyle Oyster SnuggleCrib has been invaluable!

I was lucky enough to have won this bedside crib through my hobby (some may call it addiction) of entering Facebook and Instagram competitions! So again this saved me over £70. I would however suggest that if you want to invest in a great piece of sleep kit then go for a Next To You style crib like the Chicco Next 2 Me. This is for longevity and is also very useful when breastfeeding.

Saving- £75 on the Moses Basket.

Saving- £80 on the Snuggle Crib.

£35 profit on selling Moses Basket on.

Money in my pocket- £190!!!


2) Sleepyhead of Sweden Deluxe.

I would describe this piece of luxury baby kit as style over substance. Yes… it’s very pretty and makes for some very cute photo opportunities but it is an extortionate price to pay!

The three occasions that we actually used the SleepyHead!

If you have been living under a rock and are unfamiliar with the Sleepy Head is essentially a pod that can be used as a bed or mat for supervised play or Tummy Time, but it is touted by famous people and those with more money than sense!

I barely used ours and it ended up taking up space in the living room. Sure it is more aesthetically pleasing than your standard, gaudy kiddy pillows or mats but you pay through the nose for that privilege! It is oh so hip, Indie and Scandi and a lovely “prop” to have if you are lucky enough to have a spare £130 knocking around… but in reality that is a sum that most Mothers-To-Be do not have!

There is also hot debate as to whether this pod actually meets the standards of Safe Sleep as defined by the Lullaby Trust etc as it only definitely meets the standards of  a pillow which it is not being used as, it is being promoted as a sleeping environment replacement and I would NEVER recommend it as such! The only truly safe sleep environment is a basket/bassinet/cot crib with fitted sheet and NO loose blankets, pillows, cot bumpers or teddies.

Influencers all over social media praise the SleepyHead but I personally found that Bea would not sleep on it any way and an activity mat provided more comfort, play opportunity and she would even fall asleep better on an activity mat after a good twenty minute kick about.

Luckily the SleepyHead was a prize I won in my mad, comping spree before going into labour! This saved me £130 of my own money!

The claims the proponents make about it are slightly ludicrous, especially when they say use it as a changing mat… this boggles my mind! Why would you use a white surface if there is the imminent threat of a PooNami?! Sure the covers are machine washable but I wouldn’t want to get any kind of unwanted staining on this overpriced pillow.

You could quite happily have your child propped on a decent Boppy Pillow at the fraction of the price!

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In the first six months there is very little sleep observed by your LO and Bea maybe napped for her 20 minute stints two or three times in the SleepyHead as she much preferred to nap on me!

I would certainly suggest doing your own research on these types of products but I feel like they are marketed to provide a solution for all your worries as a parent and prey on those unwelcome insecurities. Believe that you are able to provide the best comfort for your child without having to part with your cash over it. Not having a SleepyHead will not compromise the care of your child.

I would even go as far as to say that if it does work for your child, it is an excuse for lazy parenting!

To have Bea sleep in the day I would mostly just move my Moses Basket into the living room or have her sleep on me as she never slept/nor sleeps now for longer than an hour and a half at one time. Tummy time was hosted on an activity mat (Bea hated being on her tummy way up until her fifth month!) and changing was and continues to be done here, there and everywhere!

I feel like the SleepyHead very much is a statement to be made about being a fashionable/luxe Momma (that I am not!) and is very nice but not a must have! It is not as functional as the company try to make you believe and it is a bit gimmicky that it only lasts up to 6/8 months before your have to upgrade your Duluxe to the Grand (throwing more money at SleepyHead!!)

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When your little one has grown out of their Deluxe…why not spend another hundred or so on essentially the same item again…but with a different name… *rolls eyes*

Here’s a Boppy Pillow that you could use in exactly the same ways stated in the SleepyHead blurb (“around the house”, “changing”, “playing”, “bonding”, “co sleeping”, “lounging” & “resting” which are clearly not exclusive to this product!) and save you over £95! Sure it’s not as beautiful but it means that you can spend out for other products to use alongside it for the play & tummy time aspect.


3) Burping Cloths.

Luckily our little Bea was not a sicky baby so had I had an experience where she was covering myself and our home in vomit then I may have a different opinion on the matter, but as it is I can not recall a time I have ever used a burp cloth.

Instead just ensure you have a good stock of muslins which are hands down the most useful items to have at your disposal and invest in (other than the essential nappies/wipes). We particularly love the large muslins as they can be used in so many more ways.

We particularly love our Aiden and Anais Disney Aristocat 3 pack. They look so stylish mopping up food spills or sick!

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4) Nappy Stacker.

As a busy parent, I don’t understand why you would allocate time to removing nappies from their perfectly adequate packaging to organise/stack them in an “organiser”. They are not conducive to bleary-eyed night changes, attempting to grab at a nappy for a prompt response time. In the dark and state of confusion it is likely that you will rifle through and cause disarray to your precisely stacked nappies that can remain in perfect formation in the day time!


4.5) Nappy Bin.

In a similar pooey fashion the idea of a nappy bin disturbs me! Surely it is not hygienic to have poopy sausages festering away for a week?! Why not just make a poo run to the regular bin once or twice a day?


5) An expensive steriliser.

Again I don’t know if this is because I was primarily breastfeeding and it may have been different had I been formula feeding  for the majority of the time, but a fancy steriliser took up valuable kitchen top space and was a bit of a bind to maintain. Who knew these sterilisers had to be descaled so often which takes another 20 valuable minutes up of your time when you are running around trying to do 800 other tasks?!

I had the Tommee Tippee “Closer To Nature” 5 bottle steriliser (RRP £58.99) and it was fab because it is literally a push-button-and-go system. Though, I found that its condition deteriorated pretty fast (I initially had no clue about the need to de scale your steriliser on a 3/4 weekly basis!) so think money could have been better spent using the Tommee Tippee Essentials 2-in-1 Steriliser for just £12.99! I would always highly recommend  the Tommee Tippee products as I found that their electric pump worked better for me than the Medela Swing!


One thing that many people will argue is an item to avoid purchasing is a changing table as you do become a pro at Ninja Changing on all and any surface. You often just have the baby whipped down to their nappy in seconds on your lap!

However, I have a massive soft spot for my changing station as it was lovingly re-purposed by Nannie H. I paid nothing for the changing station (which was not the most beautiful piece of furniture in its past state!) and my Mum took it on as a fixer-upper project as part of my Baby Shower Gift. She lovingly laboured away on that piece over a series of evenings after work. She sanded it down, painted it, sorted out the shelving and then decorated it with the nursery theme in mind, and it makes a stunning focal point in Bea’s nursery.

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I try to use it every few days as part of our Bath, Book, Bottle, Bed routine, but I must confess it is not something I used every day, but I would never say it is an overrated item. I love that changing table with all my heart. I would highly recommend taken on a cheap piece of furniture and doing a little DIY project as it will save you a whole chunk of Baby Budget.

Other things that could be a drain on the purse: designer dummies (you will still lose these like regular dummies!), a wipe warmer, bath thermometer (just use your own judgement! Surely you know the acceptable range of temperature for the water!), baby shoes and one for the Mummies- stretch mark creams (regular lotions works exactly the same!)

Obviously this list is not the definitive list of useless items (there are some really bizarre items that can be found on the internet!) and I am sure people will disagree with the list and had a much better experience with the products I have listed.

It all comes back to the point that I initially made that we will find what works for us, so I would hope that this tongue in cheek piece does not serve as an instructional piece. Do your own reading, find what makes you and your baby happy. Just make sure you have the basics and you will have a happy baby.

Remember: a baby doesn’t need THINGS! It just needs you. #FreeHugs

What do you feel like you wasted the most money on? What’s been your Best Buy? Do you buy baby items second hand too?

#StaySweet

-Bea’s Mummy x

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The Baby In the Mirror: A Reflection on Loss.

The Baby In the Mirror: A Reflection on Loss.

Nothing brings me more joy in this world than watching our little Bea explore it; curiously and fiercely. I love how unburdened she is. A tiny package of innocence and pure love. It makes my heart swell, then it drops… when I think about the other little person that could have been in our lives. I always say could now rather than should…because I could not imagine my life without our beautiful Bea and if Mylo were here then she would not be. In a perfect world I would have BOTH our children. But the world is not perfect. However, my life with Bea is.

We now hold her up to the mirror and she is fascinated by the face that stares back quizzically at her! She loves to “kiss the mirror baby”. Slobbery mouth touching the glass, she coos and looks back at us to make sure that we are finding her utterly hilarious (which we always do!) as we chorus “awww do you love mirror baby?”And Bea throws her head back in laughter and delight.

Then I get to overthinking and the imagery of a “Mirror Baby” ties an awful knot in the very pit of my stomach and my heart breaks for the baby boy that is not in my arms today, a one year old bouncing boy who also loves to laugh a his funny little sister.

I wonder if Bea is the image of her big brother. She has been the baby that has lived all the milestones so far that Mylo never did. From their scan pictures alone, I assume Bea is Mylo’s little feminine double. At my 12 week scan it surprised me just how much Bea looked like her big brother.

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This post comes at the beginning of a difficult couple of months for our little family as the 1st birthday’s of Bea’s cousins approach. This year I asked for birthday cards for Mylo and it stung when only 6 turned up. This year there will be the obligatory birthday announcements and messages for the cousins who were born after Mylo and these first birthdays (quite rightly) will be celebrated. But we could have been celebrating three first birthdays in a row- October through to December. Instead I will watch the other two babies become a year older as our little boy remains ageless.

It’s almost as if there are two other Mirror Babies of Mylo that I watch, full of utter adoration yet sadness that Mylo was not in the 2017 1st Christmas photos of the other two dressed as elves, and not in a 1st birthday photo with his cousins. I completely adore my niece and nephew to bits and watching them both grow offered me comfort and a sense of healing as we came to terms with the loss of our little boy.

In one sense though, it was particularly hard as I had spent lots of time with my sister in law as our bellies grew and we talked about how our babies would grow up together. But the reality is they will not. My body gave Mylo up to the world in  June 2017 and my sister in law kept cooking her little lady away until December. I am sure she felt guilty that she continued with her pregnancy in relative ease. But I have never felt bitter.

A lot of Parents Of Loss have admitted that they feel negative emotions towards others who are pregnant/have had their baby, and that is a perfectly valid emotion to experience whilst navigating the journey of Baby Loss; but I never let myself project feelings of hurt, jealousy or anger on to other families. Babies are a blessing and as such every successful pregnancy should be celebrated. I knew our time was to come, so as hard as it was I would enjoy other people’s joy. It brought me comfort.

The joy comes from seeing life flourish and seeing a little of what Mylo could have become (especially watching his cousin Fred whom I imagine he would have caused great havoc with!) Being able to enjoy (for better lack of a word) the life of another baby is not a betrayal to the memory of your lost child. I learn this every day as Bea becomes her own little person and we tick off her list of firsts.

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No, I will never stop thinking that Mylo not being here is astronomically unfair. It will always hurt a little when I see his cousins do all the things he will never get to do… but then I have the utter joy of living these things with our little Bea and that means the world to me.

The imagery of a mirror is beautifully poetic and apt. I see Mylo reflected in our little Bea but she’s sees herself staring back and she will know herself as Bea; not just Mylo’s little sister because she is loved irrespective of the circumstances of her conception (as a Rainbow Baby.)

Mylo will always be a part of all our lives but I want more than anything for Bea to know that she is our entire world. There is no Magical Mirror realm where we can pull Mylo back into being but he will be reflected in my heart and thoughts for a lifetime, whilst we move forward (but never forget) as Bea becomes the little person she is.

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

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Combi Feeding For Sanity & Beyond!

Combi Feeding For Sanity & Beyond!

This post contains an affiliate link so at no extra cost to you, if you purchase the Tommee Tippee 6 pack of Closer to Nature bottles through this link I may earn comission. I am part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme. I only add links of products that I have personally used and would recommend.

It has been just over two months since Bea and I took to combination feeding with great trepidation and lots of misinformation and a huge dollop of “Mum Guilt” on my part!

Have a read of my first post about combination feeding here!

Luckily I haven’t had physiological issues that have prevented me from breastfeeding; though I know my supply is drying up as more time passes and my time feeding is split breast to bottle (most days it is more bottle now!) but I am attempting to ignore any pressure to “do more” to remedy my dwindling supply.

Naively, throughout pregnancy I had believed that it was some kind of inherent eventuality that I would be a Milky Goddess and sustain my child with my own elixir of life alone. Pumping took its toll on me. It is no life, or at least not the life for me. (I have so much respect for those Momma’s that are able to express breast milk feed their babies on the daily! It is such a beautiful thing and you should be so proud of yourself and your body for being able to do this!) I however started to lose my identity and feel more and more like a dairy cow, day by day… pump by pump…

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A beautiful black and white snap.

My decision to incorporate formula into our feeding routine was mostly a shove by  a rather stoney-faced and judgmental woman (who I actually found out recently was not a health visitor but a nurse) at my local Weigh In clinic. “So you’re still only breastfeeding?” “She hasn’t put on that much weight”… it all of a sudden made me distrust my ability to feed my child “naturally” and I realised that for their records and because Bea was moving forward at a slower pace than other babies (baring in mind she arrived seven weeks early so was going to be much smaller than an average baby), they were keen to push a formula agenda.

(Edit: when I mention that the lady is a nurse this is not to belittle her profession or rank health care professionals in any sort of order. It is to express my surprise that I have not had not had access to Health Visitors at weigh ins who may have different advice to offer and other experience that informs said advice. It felt like this woman was not going by my baby as an individual… more a set of new guidelines.)

I promised myself that I would maybe introduce a few bottles to “beef her up a bit” because I knew it would artificially lay down some weight at speed; then the “health professionals” would leave me alone if I got Bea performing in the growth department and charting those darn centiles! I knew that for my sins I wanted to continue breastfeeding. This week I made it to 6 months breastfeeding in some form! So I am part of the Sapphire Boobs Club #boobieawards!B35DCAD6-FA6D-40EB-9761-10EE028B67C4

I feel that combination feeding has actually ensured that I have continued breastfeeding for longer! We have recently been combating 4 Month Sleep Regression which has turned the house upside-down. In my desperate search for the answer to sleep, the exhaustion of which I had not experienced since newborn stage in the hospital I thought “is formula the magic bullet for my sleep solace and sanity?” So I started making up more formula bottles around her fussy times and the early evening.

I don’t know why I felt so guilty… I just wanted to make sure my baby was the healthiest she could be, but I couldn’t help but think of myself from the perspective of the crazy, militant Boobing Momma I had created as part of my Mum-Identity and I felt like a phoney for all those times on social media I had really pushed breastfeeding as the right decision for me and better for babies! For better or worse there is such an emphasis on doing more, trying harder, buying this, that and the other to enhance the breastfeeding experience. I trawled the online forums and found a chorus of “have you tried this?“have you tried that?” “Buy these supplements/lactation teas/ all singing all dancing electric pumps”. In all honesty sometimes the breastfeeding culture really does ask a little too much of us Mumma’s.

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(Edit: Looking back at the pictures of Bea breastfeeding I wish I had taken more photos along the way, but I felt very discouraged to do so after some negativity on Social Media.)

At my most exhausted and my breaking point I didn’t feel like I could physically DO MORE. And I finally gave in to making things less taxing on my body that is still trying to heal itself after a traumatic loss, followed closely by a daunting premature birth. I felt like I had literally given everything I had to my babies. And I would never begrudge that. They do after all deserve the very best, but I started to feel like I could not be at the top of my game if all I ever did was put so much pressure on my mind and body.

Breastfeeding will always put an extra burden on you as a Momma, no matter how supportive your Husband/partner may be. In the exclusive breastfeeding period as I prepped Bea and I for a feed in the early hours of the morning (I have been a member of the 2am Club since the start of this parenting journey!) I would look over at my peacefully snoozing Husband and curse him for his useless nipples! I was so jealous of his extra slumber. The saying is incorrect about sleeping like a baby… it should be revised to “Sleeping like a Daddy”… there have been countless occasions where my Hubby innocently looks over in the morning and mentions how well Bea slept through the night. He had no idea that I had been up every hour Boobing. My nights were super active and exhausting… especially the Cluster Feeds.

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Grab your “Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Clear Bottles, 260 ml, 6 Count ” for a bargain price of £12.99 today!

For over a month I was in constant fear of  my supply drying up. There is nothing more demoralising than completing a 40 minute pumping sesh then only have 3oz to show for this labour of love. I can’t even count the amount of time I had Mom Tantrums & threw my metaphorical toys out the pram or more accurately the pump down the stairs in a fit of rage. There were days I was literally crying over spilt milk. “That’s it I am giving up!” I would threaten… often three or four times a day at the most challenging points and my poor Husband would dutifully remind me how fantastically I had done to get this far. And I would carry on and detest the hard times but truly love the good times with all my heart. There is nothing quite like a Sleepy Boob Feed.

But I would become overcome with the utter fear of losing my supply and pushed through almost 2 whole challenging months with no support because you are made to feel like the breastfeeding experience is all or nothing and that sucks in my opinion. No middle ground is offered and I found that combi feeding has done wonders for my sanity and relationship with my daughter. It is nice to not just feel like a snack bar 24/7. We can spend beautiful moments just snuggling under the covers and me not just having to be her source of sustenance. She loves me for the comfort I can provide in spite of my own milk (or not!)

Initially it was so hard to take on “doing less” and I was terrified of judgement. There seemed to be a huge amount of kudos to be found when other Mums at the baby groups would say how well Bea was looking then instantly follow up with “are you breastfeeding?” For those exclusive breastfeeding months I would say yes and the response would always be so positive “you go Mamma!” … but what now of combi feeding? Would the response still be the same?! I think that’s what I was afraid of at first as I started experiencing a new kind of freedom… but could this be seen as lazy? Would it be detrimental to my child to give her formula?

Whatever you seem to do as a Momma you will feel judged, but I think it is about going confidently in your own direction and trusting your body, decisions and baby. I am slowly learning to do this. Bea is thriving day by day and it makes me trust my own inner voice much more. I think we should be doing more to empower each other as Mothers, Care Givers & Goddesses on Earth.

Combi Feeding has given me a new feeling of freedom. I am not locked away behind closed doors prepping lactation smoothies and power pumping every 20 minutes to up my supply between feeds. I am not judging this way of feeding and routine, but I am far too unorganised to maintain anything that resembles this kind of structure. If you can I truly commend you. Combi Feeding has meant that I can hand a bottle over to my Husband to take off some of the pressure on me after a twelve hour day of caring for our little whirlwind (she is intense!!!) or I have the utter freedom that so many of my Fully Boobing friends don’t have where their little one will not take a bottle so can not spend extended periods of time with other family members. I am always thankful that I can pack up her bits and bobs and quite happily send Bea off to her Nannies’ for the day; safe in the knowledge she will be well fed.

I guess my message is, if you choose to not exclusively breastfeed it is of no detriment to your baby. Combi Feeding has meant there has been (a bit) less pressure on my body so there is more enjoyment when we breastfeed. It means that out session is much more casual and I am not highly strung about whether I have been able to produce enough milk. I just “go with the flow”… or more precisely my milk flow. Having the option to bottle feed has meant that I am not worrying about creating a crazy “milk stash”! Sometimes with freezing your milk the high lipase levels turn the taste utterly disgusting for your baby! After hospital I never had the patience again to pump and freeze ounces and ounces of milk. I usually only found myself ahead two or three bottles of expressed milk at the most. I quickly regulated to this output and found that if I pumped in between it would suck me dry and make for a distressed Bea when it came to feeds as she gets easily upset when she has to work harder to get her milk. (In terms of Combi Feeding I have personally not found there to be any nipple/teat confusion; more a case of different preferences on different days! Obviously the bottle flow is faster. Bea never took kindly to the slow flow teats we put on her bottles!)

I have found that Combi Feeding offered me some much needed rest. Breastfeeding isn’t all or nothing so is not another reason to question your ability as a Mum! I continue to breastfeed Bea in harmony with bottle feeding.

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This little Sass Pot likes to feed herself now!

I don’t know how much longer I will be breastfeeding. Initially it seemed like an improbable future for Bea and I so every day longer that we breastfeed is an utter bonus! I feel like I gave Bea the best start in life. I sacrificed a lot to get is both to this point now. As it currently stands, Feeding is the least of my worries at the moment! There are other issues that we are working on but at least I know when all is said she done, Bea WILL have a full belly every day. It doesn’t matter how it is done provided I get to see her beautiful smiles each day!

Have you chosen to Combi Feed? Are you finding it beneficial to your relationship with your child and self? Have you felt pressure from The Breastfeeding Community?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

 

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The Baby Box Debate.

The Baby Box Debate.

In my humble opinion, any initiative that raises awareness of SIDS is not to be ignored. In the UK, sadly 300 babies a year pass away due to unexplained death and these numbers could potentially be avoided by putting simple (but effective) guidelines in place to protect your baby.

The Baby Boxes (popularised in Finland that have been given to the new member of a family since the 1930’s) had been rolled out in Scotland for all babies born after August this year, but now (as with many topics surrounding babies and parenting) there seems to be a new voice of doubt from researchers; particularly Professor Peter Blair from Bristol University, who have penned a letter to the British Medical Journal to suggest baby boxes should only be used as a temporary measure and are not necessarily any safer than cots (as there is no evidence as yet to suggest that they minimise the numbers of babies that die from SIDS.)

I believe any sensible parent will realise that these boxes are not suitable long term and are certainly not a “substitute”- more an additional item in the Baby arsenal! Babies grow so fast even for regular sleep environments (bassinets/Moses baskets.) Prof Blair says the boxes are too small for babies over 3 months old but I highly suspect parents will not be attempting to jam their quarter of a year olds into what is essentially a cardboard box!!! Clearly they are not fit for purpose at this point, just like other traditional products so this seems like a rather pointless argument!

I believe the Royal College of Midwives understand the real value to these baby boxes. These pieces of kit could be invaluable to parents (particularly in more economically deprived areas) who may not be able to provide their child a cot straight away. There is no surprise there is a causal link between SIDS and poverty. Baby boxes give the opportunity for “an equal start in life” – as they have done in Finland for decades. This duty of care to new patents is a refreshing notion and I think it is important for new mothers to feel supported and that they have been provided tools to be responsible and loving caregivers.

My post today is in response to this mornings piece covered by BBC News here.

(Other BBC articles about Finnish Baby Boxes- 2nd August 2018 and August 15th 2018.)

I fully understand that any healthcare scheme requires rigorous testing and on one hand support that it is useful to get a better understanding of how families are using these boxes and any safety implications, but I more strongly believe (that as a Mother) you can’t really gain insight or perspective from science alone.

If just one at-risk Baby is saved by this initiative then I would describe Baby Boxes as an overall success. As a parent of loss, I can categorically confirm that nothing has ever (or I suspect shall ever) be as painful as losing a child. Our Nordic/Scandi European cousins are certainly socially more advanced and this impacts on excellent overall wellbeing. Finland has very low numbers of SIDS death, although this can’t be solely attributed to the boxes I think the levels of compassion and care available for families is undoubtedly contributing to a healthier and happier society and thriving children.

The bizarre arguments against baby boxes include: low airflow because of the high sides, parents having to look directly over the box to view child, flammable lids, risk from pets and siblings when boxes are left on the floor and questionable durability in wet and cold.

Now correct me if I am wrong but a) the box containing sleeping child will not be exposed to the elements/left outside to get wet and cold. b) if there is a risk of fire a cot will be just as susceptible to flame damage as a cardboard box. c) a responsible parent will not leave a child sleeping unattended for long periods of time and would be checking on their child regardless of what they were sleeping in and how the visible the material surrounding their child may be.

I was blown away by the Baby Box offerings whilst looking into essential baby products: in particular the My First Baby Box as it seemed the best value for money compared to other brands (although I did fall in love the Moomin design Finnish Baby Box as it is so whimsical and reminded me of my own childhood love of the Moomins!!) There is a link to it in case you have been inspired to go #ProBabyBox and enhance your babies first few, formative weeks as part of their new family unit.

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My First Baby Box – Essential Collection

 

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It is quite obvious that there has not yet been enough time utilising this initiative to have any quantitative data available, but until such time as there is a fatality that is a direct consequence of a box, I see no harm in enjoying the potential benefits of a Baby Box and I hope that this post will also get parents talking about the very real and tragic consequences of SIDS. It is good practice to have any scheme in place (whether it is successful in itself or not) that gets people talking about how best they can protect their baby.

Here are some potentially lifesaving tips to minimise the risk of SIDS-

1) Sleep baby on their back (not side or tummy.) If they roll over and you are able to do so return them to the back sleeping position.

2) Ensure the head and face are uncovered. (Be mindful of a Safe Sleep environment- no loose fitting sheets blankets, avoid using cot bumpers and make sure sleep space is not cluttered with teddies or cushions.)

3) If possible keep your home a smoke free area.

4) Put baby to bed in their own, safe environment and ideally in the same room as caregiver for the first 6-12 months.

5) If possible it is great to breastfeed baby in early weeks. (Obviously this may be a contentious point. I am not suggesting that formula fed babies are at more risk of SIDS but there is research that suggests breastfeeding may prevent SIDS for the immune benefits that can not be replaced by formula.)

The Lullaby Trust
Description: This poster provides an ABC approach to safer sleeping for babies, as a way of preventing SIDS. Resource details Publisher: The Lullaby Trust Date: 2017 Subject: Accident Prevention Language: English Format: Text/Images A4 poster

I think a debate about the benefits of a Baby Box is not required at this point in time. They have been championed by health professionals and at this moment in time are considered safe and have benefits that outweigh any negatives so far. I will be keeping an eye out for any information that suggests there has been no benefit to them but any awareness that improves the care of our children can only be seen as a good thing and I think Prof Blair forgets the human element; that these boxes are creating confident caregivers and providing the best possible sleep environment if homes are not equipped for a newborn.

Would you use a Baby Box as a sleep environment for your little one? Have you personally used a Baby Box? (I would love to see pictures of them in use and any testimonials are greatly appreciated).

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

 

I am Part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme so if you purchase a product through any of my links I earn commission on that sale (at no extra cost to you!) but it will help me to keep my blog relevant and get hold of the most up to date products to review!

 

Dear Bea…

Dear Bea…

Dear Bea,

Our bundle of energy, joy, distraction from all the shit in this world…

Today is your half birthday.

What an adventure it has been so far! I never could have imagined that you would fill up all my little cracks and help me feel alive again.684E7048-8183-479C-9754-71819C4BE675

You came along when I needed you.

Like a gift. To me. To your Father. To our family. And dare I say it; to the world.

You are destined for great things. Until then I will hold you, and love you and teach you how to make the most of this world. I wanted to teach you about the world but so far you have really taught the world about you!

You tumbled into our lives- chaotically. In true Bea fashion… you did it “Your Way!” I wasn’t ready, as you made me double over with what I thought was “just back pain!” at first… but you were announcing that you were ready to BE! I was always so connected to you from the start. Your cord was not just a biological structure, it has joined us together and bound us for the rest of my life.

I always wondered why you punished my body throughout my pregnancy. My body had never been tested to the limits as much as the seven months I carried you. Some days it was almost impossible to get out of bed. I think only other Mothers will understand this. It is exhausting incubating and cultivating a tiny life force inside you on the daily!

I was scared every…day…. 99DD2D41-AAAE-4E6C-9E93-AF82F2BBDE1BScared that I wouldn’t get to meet you. Scared that my body would fail you. I was terrified every scan appointment that I wouldn’t see that flicker of a heartbeat on screen or hear your response to my call. “Are you there little one” “Yes I am!” you would triumphantly announce. And I could breathe again… and tick off another calendar day. Counting down to “V Day” (or your viability day at 24 weeks!)

I was sick more than I care to remember. Morning….elevens’s…afternoon…evening sick! The sickness was indiscriminate and it came whenever it felt like it!

The first trimester was the hardest. The fatigue gripped my whole body. Your vessel. At your whim. Everything was controlled by you. But I lived for those times you would pummel me. I felt you roll and respond to hot drinks, changing my body position to (try and) get comfy or when I slowed down enough to make sure you were still okay if I had encountered a stressful day at work. You were there.

I loved getting in the bath and watching you wriggle. I loved calling myself a Human Submarine. It made me chuckle every time. I am sure it wore thin with Mr G. It was almost like an alien creature was inside… ready to burst out! You whirled and flipped. You were a night owl. I felt you most between The Witching  Hours… you woke me up every morning between 2&4am!

I hated the times I had to rush into the triage unit because you were having a “lazy moment”. We practically lived in the hospital for the last few weeks that you were in my tummy!! I knew that you would come early. You were ready to meet me. You were ready to explore the world. I don’t think I was ready for you though.

I have never known such a strong yet tiny person. You refused to stay put for your second set of steroid injections! But your body was more developed than we could have imagined. You were a medical marvel and the junior doctors would visit you on their rounds every morning. You were quite the star on the ward! They even wrote a medical case study on you!

The moment you were placed on my chest  I fell in the deepest love I have ever known. You were tiny but fierce. You were a perfectly formed human in a more condensed space. 4lbs 8.5oz! You let out your battle cry to prove that you were a little warrior and you would take on this world. I was lucky that we were able to do delayed cord clamping (which would have been on the birth plan I never got the chance to write for you) so we were connected just that little bit longer…

It was hard to let you go… metaphorically and physically.IMG_2879

You were whisked away to the NICU after twenty minutes. I was greedy and wanted MORE time with you. I was so worried that you wouldn’t love me if you couldn’t be with me straight away. It was the hardest thing to be wheeled off to the Transitional Care Ward without you.

I was a Mother with no baby in my arms. Instead you were being held by the nurses  in NICU. And you were connected to machines with wires to help your underdeveloped lA833B9D8-50B4-49AA-B686-B9C45EAFC846ungs.

Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.

I hated seeing you in your tiny incubator. Your see through box. Like a tiny doll kept in a toy box. You were under phototherapy lights to treat your jaundice so you wore a tiny blindfold to protect your eyes. You were connected to an IV drip. They wedged a cannula in your fragile arm. It looked so painful. I winced for you. Our poorly little Bubba. And all we could do was watch you from the outside.

You surprised us all by how fast you sped out of NICU and Special Care. There was nothing wrong with the inside of your body. Luckily the X-ray didn’t come back with anything unnerving after there was a grey spot found on a scan. It was a tense time. All I thought about were all the horrible eventualities of a preterm body that was just too little to survive. But you did. You thrived!

18 days trapped in the hospital was tough… but you were tougher and you pulled me through my biggest trials and tribulations. It made me realise that I was cut out to be a Mummy and a bloody good one at that!

These 6 months have been the hardest but the best times (so far!) and I have learnt so much about myself. I had just no idea how overwhelming it would all be especially as I had never factored in such a premature birth. As well as learning to “Mum” I also had to learn how to be a NICU Mum. I had to learn how to feed you through your tube which was very daunting. So many things could have gone wrong (especially in my sleep deprived state)… but they didn’t. And we worked together to get each other home!

Your early days were not easy. No version of Motherhood is easy. It is not for the faint of heart that’s for sure! But our sense of “nornal” was particularly peculiar. We muddled through. On one hand I couldn’t enjoy the guilty pleasures of newborn time where Mummies may ordinarily have time to catch up on terrible day time TV because I was on crazy pump/feed/care schedule for YOU. Everything I did was for you. I learnt true altruism during our hospital stay. I no longer mattered.9C32A726-162C-4146-BD5E-F880C37B3E1C.jpeg

The start our my journey as a Mother didn’t go quite to plan. It was hard. I cried, and cried and cried. For nearly 3 weeks there were times I didn’t know what day it was. Was it 1,3 or 5am? It didn’t really matter because for three torturous days I was without you. I couldn’t hold you and rock you. Go cheek to cheek with you. Blow raspberries on your soft belly skin. All I could do was watch you and pump milk for you. I hoped that you knew I was sat there, up all night just looking at you and loving you into full health.

I didn’t want to put clothes on you for those early days because I was scared that I would break you. Your limbs could have easily snapped- or at least it looked that way!

You grew and you continued to develop your hilarious personality. It has not been easy but it has been worth it. You have been difficult. Those developmental leaps have knocked me flying on several occasions. On those cluster feeds I literally thought my body could give you no more. But we started to get comfortable in a routine of no-routine. I wanted to spend as much time with you in the way you chose to do so because there are years to enforce an adult regime. I am not disciplined enough to stick to a routine nor would I expect you to be a little robot. You are my sassy, switched-on, funny and loving little girl. I respect you as your own person, and what a person you are becoming.

6 months in and I am exhausted yet overjoyed. Overwhelmed but not just in a negative way…. overwhelmed with feelings of bliss and love. Some days are good, some days are great, some days are bad and some are normal, but ordinary days are little blessings and times to take stock of all I now have as a Mummy.

You make me proud every day. You keep me on my toes. You drive me crazy. I want to spend every minute of the day with you but sometimes I want to run away, but then I feel so guilty because you flash me your gummy smile and it turns me to mush. Your laughs fill up my soul and I realise that I was meant for this life and we will navigate this journey together. You are mine and I am yours!

You are certainly my daughter. You are stubborn, you are wild and you love life. It wasn’t the easiest start kid but I wouldn’t have changed anything (well maybe I would kept you in a bit longer to cook if my body would allow it!) it would have meant you wouldn’t have had to experience the discomfort of a NICU start. I hope you don’t remember the beginning and the trauma hasn’t lasted. It doesn’t seem like this is the case.

I feel so lucky because your default setting is “smiles”!

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Other Mums have said their little ones do not smile like you. You were a smiler from the start. (I knew it wasn’t just gas!!!)

I can’t wait to see what the next six months bring. More love. More laughter. More milestones. I will support you and make each day a happy one as best I can. You are the centre of my universe. I revolve around you. I hope you know. I hope one day you will look back and appreciate what I have done for you or at least just know I loved you with my whole being.

You made me a Mummy again, and you made me a better person. Thank you for the memories so far.

Happy half birthday Darling. My pocket rocket! My reason to get up and attack every day with gusto and love in my heart.

I love you to the moon and back.

Your Momma Bear x

ZippyUp!: Review

ZippyUp!: Review

This piece has been written in collaboration with ZippyUp and also contains affiliate links. This means that if you love these ZippyUp’s as much as I do and you purchase through my links below I get a commission from the sale with no extra cost to you! So you can help support the blog further as I will invest in items that you want to see reviewed!

It’s all very well having quaint, fussy and buttoned clothing for your mini (heck! I have a whole section dedicated to babywear come doll like creations in Bea’s wardrobe!) but 44061636_559599001142330_5058356058796326912_nafter the Newborn stage you very swiftly come to the realisation that you actually have a little person on your hands who is just that… a little person! And they don’t appreciate being fussed; and very much, like us, find aspects of their day to be quite the annoyance ie: getting dressed in the morning and getting dressed after a relaxing bath to name but a few situations. This means that the highly aesthetic pieces that you like to play dress up with are pretty much obsolete and hang in the wardrobe for situations where you feel that you can muster enough fight to battle these garments on to your child!

What can I say?! We are coming up to Bea’s half Birthday now and I started to sacrifice high style for function and clothes that can be put on and removed with as little fuss as possible. This had me wondering if there are pieces that make it super easy for Mummy to put Miss Fussy Pants in, whilst still looking like I do care about how I present Bea. Can she still look adorable and feel less vexed after the “trauma” of being pulled through tight fitting lacy numbers, kicking her way through pulling up tights then wriggling as she attempts to escape the fumbled attempts of a frustrated mummy and a thousand buttons?!!

(Why do so many baby clothes have buttons? I mean, even huge quantities of poppers are still less than desirable when we reach the point of no return. A red faced baby. A Mum on edge questioning every single choice she has made selecting outfits in the past! I curse my past self!)

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is to always go for ease of the dressing process over how adorable your child looks. Your highly stylised outfits will still end up covered in bodily fluids, bottled milk, random patches of “what-even-is-that?” on a daily basis and when it comes to Poo’splotions the best combination of clothing has to be the classic combo of short sleeve/long sleeve body suit as I am somewhat of an expert now at peeling the short sleeved number down the body to minimise the damage from excrement that shoots triumphantly in all directions of the compass! I am always amazed how it manages to travel up Bea’s back.

But enough of the Poo Talk (which becomes the every day staple of conversation!) I wanted to find a solution for a happy baby and ultimately happy Mummy and to find a clothing compromise. It turns out that you do not have to sacrifice fashion for function! Just take a look at the gorgeous offerings from ZippyUp!

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Buy Your: ZIP BABYGROW ROMPER BODYSUIT NEWBORN – 24M (0-3M, AQUA & WHITE 2 PACK) NOW!!!

ZippyUp came into existence when another lovely Mummy (with two under 2) asked herself the same questions during those 2am nappy changes, whilst looking for that Magic Bullet that could make the bleary-eyed struggle a little kinder. Angela decided that the UK needed affordable zip fronted babygrows. They were very much exclusive to the USA/Australian market and not easy to access here, so Angela set about creating the Original ZippyUp with her background knowledge in design. Angela was the lady to bring us Mummies this much needed solution as she knows the fashion industry and has high standards so rest assured each ZippyUp has been made in her trusted factory with the best materials available.

I was gifted both the original babygrow in aqua/white and the plum/white sweater one piece and I can’t decide which I love more! The first property I noticed of both garments was the stunning quality. Durable yet super soft.

Original Baby Grow- The design ensures a good fit for your baby. There is such discrepancy in sizing in the UK clothing industry; as I have mentioned previously, but the way in which the Original Babygrow has been crafted (it is a 1×1 rib construction and weighs 320gsm) means that there is stretch in the fabric without adding elastane. Elastane can make your little wriggler hotter and the fabric less breathable so the absence of this means a happier baby and more room to grow. It is 100% cotton which I have found is so much better for Bea’s overall well being. We have made a really noticeable move towards totally organic clothing (brands such as Little Green Radicals and Lil Cubs) with similar properties and it has been a resounding success!

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Buy Your: ZIPPYUP Head To Toe Zip Babygrow Romper Onesie Pink Stripe (18-24M) NOW!

We used the Original ZippyUp babygrow as our go-to night wear for a whole week for the testing process. The zips are nylon and cleverly concealed so they never make contact with your babies skin. I just loved the neck tab that protects chubby chin skin making contact with the zip! It looks stylish but there is purpose to every element of design and it is as if Angela has turned every single Mum Worry into the perfect solution. The Original ZippyUp could truly be pulled straight from the dreams of Mummies going GaGa over buttons and poppers!

We attempt a nightly routine (in all honestly it has slipped to every other night due to Bea’s distaste of being undressed/re dressed) of Bath – Book – Bottle or Boob – then Bed, but recently found that we started having to remove the “book” element (which to me is super important) because after the bath there were tantrums! There has not been the intensity of protest to getting dressed after the bath following the introduction of the Original ZippyUp. It has not all together solved the issue, but I would not expect that from one product but it has certainly gone a long way to making changing for bedtime a much more agreeable experience. As the week went on our stress levels at bedtime have certainly reduced and now Bea only exhibits a mild annoyance rather than explosive rage at the inconvenience.

I just love the head to toe zip. It is one swift and solid movement rather than a series of late night changing fails.

Plum/White Sweater One piece- Truly my photography does not do the colour justice! It is the perfect shade for looking dressed up on more “dressed down” kind of days. I can see this romper taking us through Autumn/Winter & into Spring again as it keeps Bea suitably warm but I could imagine it still being wearable as temperatures increase again because it is breathable and I like that it it not full footed like the Original ZippyUp so we utilised it as more of day piece as it looks cute paired with white frilly socks too!

Whats great about both these pieces is that they are machine washable and can be chucked in the tumble dryer! The original also comes in a two pack and there is also a variant of the striped version in charcoal/white. If you would like to see even more colour combinations (I am now eyeing up the rose pink/white bodysuits!) check out their website.

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Angela truly has a gift for design and appreciation of what Mummies are looking for in the products they buy. Maternity pay will stretch that little bit further because the original ZippyUp is only £9.99 (in all colour combinations) and just £15 you get your paws on a 2 pack! The gorgeous striped sweater one piece is £18. Affordable, functional and rather pretty to look at!

These fabulous bodysuits are a must have addition to any babies wardrobe. Bea is looking and feeling good and we are forever Pro Zippy! #BanishTheButtons!

Have you included a fully top to toe zippy bodysuit in your baby wardrobe aresnal? Would you be keen to replace your buttoned and poppers items with zip only items? What other colour combinations would you be keen to see in the ZippyUp Range?

#StaySweet

-Bea’s Mummy x

I am Part of the Amazon Affiliate scheme and have included links that may earn me commission. As always all opinions are my own.