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Saturday, 31 December 2016

1 week Post Partum Update

mum and baby update 1 week post partum

All about Mum:


  • After-pains - oh my gosh these were horrific! They certainly do get worse after each baby, that is for sure. More painful than birth? Well, probably. The birth lasted minutes whereas the afterpains can go on and during feeds. I had to hold Rob's hand during the first night.
  • Post-partum bleeding -  is quite light and I wonder whether the raspberry leaf tea has helped. I am still drinking a cup or tea here and there.
  • Recovery - I started taking arnica once Freyja was born and it could be that it is helping, or that I got away lightly even with such a rapid birth
  • Breastfeeding - my milk came in on day 3 and I've experienced shivers and vasospasm already. my back occasionally hurts from the new size of my boobs and sometimes I can't even sit upright without some degree of pain. A short amount of pain with the initial latch but Freyja feeds like a pro.
All about Baby:

  • Freyja was born at a healthy 8 lb 10 oz and by day 3 had lost ~5% down to 8 lb 6 oz. By day 5 once my milk had come in she had gained 100g so she will be right back up to her birthweight very soon.
  • She has a remarkable suck reflex which was apparent from the moment she came out - she sported a suck blister on her right hand and kept making enthusiastic sucking sounds after delivery too. She latched straight away which was brilliant. She loves to suck but we have introduced a dummy to use if necessary, as if she uses me to comfort suck she ends up vomiting with all the milk overload
  • By day 3 we realised that Freyja sleeps really well on her front, so we have a sound and movement monitor for peace of mind for whilst she sleeps in the Bed Nest. We also bedshare depending on how the night pans out.
  • She gives lost of windy smiles which is the cutest thing, even though it is due to wind!
  • On day 5 the umbilical cord fell off and we are waiting for it to completely heal and dry up before her first bath experience.

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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Hypnobirthing with the Belly Buds

I've started really trying to dedicate a portion of my evening to just chilling out and listening to some music which I believe will help me during the labour and birth of my third baby, Baby Bee. With my last two experiences I just used my Creative Zen MP3 player, but this time I have the additional use of the WavHello Belly Buds which allow Baby Bee to listen in too!

The Belly Buds are a unique speaker system specially designed for the baby to experience the same track you are listening to, in utero. Gentle adhesive pads on the speakers are easy to apply to the skin and thankfully are also simple to remove - and retain their stickiness for further uses. An audio splitter allows mum to plug in her MP3 player/iPod and also the Belly Bud speakers and the volume can be varied for the bump too. They are very simple to use and also feel very secure, so they can be used on the go. I prefer to use these when I'm laying down, in an attempt to relax the both of us as much as possible and get into a very relaxed state of mind. When I have finished I stick both BellyBuds speakers together and slip everything into the little green storage pouch. I will certainly be utilising all of this kit during the labour and birth of Baby Bee, whether it be at home or at hospital - everything will be ready to throw into the grab and go back if necessary. I'd hate to be without it.


Now I will share with you some of my favourite tracks to get my mind and body into a state of relaxation and calm. In my last post Hypnobirthing and Me, I mentioned a track by Incubus.Those of you who are aware of their usual genre (nu/alternative/rock/metal) will probably be a bit confused, but they do have an absolute gem of a chill-out track which I have tried and tested for the labour and delivery of my two children. Aqueous Transmission features the Chinese pipa instrument and a few minutes of frogs croaking at the very end of the track. When I listen to this track I manage to get into a peaceful state quite quickly, probably because I have used it before. I imagine that I am kneeling on a paddle board and floating down a river, gliding over little waves and trailing my fingers through the water.


A new track which I need to add to my Creative Zen is Outro by M83, which are a French electronic band. If you watched the BBC's Versailles you will recognise that this track was the opening theme music.


I also have been enjoying listening to Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez, and any chilled out track by Coldplay and Pink Floyd - which I usually associate with interrupted teenage lie-ins!

As for hypnatal/hypnobirthing tracks, I favour Glove Relaxation and Endorphin Release by Callie Copeman-Bryant of BirthSense. Her voice is very soothing and I usually feel very cosy and sleepy after listening to the fairly long track. Rainbow Relaxation by Marie Mongan is also great to listen to.

In bed with the BellyBuds
Is that a melon or a baby bump!?

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Baby Changing Out and About | Ideas for Baby Number Three



1.Black backpack style Elwood changing bag / Tiba and Marl
2. Logan and Lenora Wet and Dry Nappy Clutch / Fill Your Pants
3. StorkSak NOA changing bag in Chestnut Grey / StorkSak
4. Farg and Form Folding Changing Mat in Grey Cloud / This Modern Life
5. TotsBots EasyFit Star reusable nappy in Annabella Floral / TotsBots
6. WaterWipes / WaterWipes
7. Noe and Zoe swaddle muslin / This Modern Life

Just a little wishlist of ideas I have compiled. I'm glad that rucksack style changing bags are becoming more popular. They are ideal for babywearing. I can't handle being lopsided with a loaded bag across my body as well as a newborn, and as long as I know that the contents of my bag are secure I will be a happy mama. As a mum intending on using cloth nappies ( ah, Joules and TotsBots, swoon!) a wet and dry bag is a nifty piece of kit to have in the changing bag and has a plethora of other uses too; for storing wet or dirty clothes too whether they be Baby Bee's or Alexander's. A fold up changing mat with minimal velcro tabs is great for throwing out on the changing table one handed and if your baby (like my kids) hates the cold clamminess of the wipe-clean material don't forget to lay down a muslin blanket. WaterWipes will always be handy, whether they be for wiping the toddler's face, my hands, or just simply for changing Baby Bee.

What were your absolute essentials?
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

January Kitchen Essentials for Healthy Eating

Collaborative post; all opinions and ideas expressed are my own
January 2017 will soon be upon us and for many of us the beginning of a new year involves turning over a new leaf, implementing goals, resolutions or strategies. 

One of the most popular goal is based on lifestyle, for some it may be a 'dry' January, signing up at the gym or changing eating habits.
For us at least last January saw us eating a lot more asian-inspired dishes; lots of quick meals incorporating little ingredients but with maximum flavour, such as stir-fries and teriyaki salmon. I wonder if that will happen in 2017. I will be a new mum again by then, so I will see!

Here is a little list of kitchen essentials which could make your healthier eating plan a lot easier and simpler:

kitchen essentials to make healthier eating simpler

1. My Kitchen Food Dehydrator Lakeland / 2. Joseph Joseph Spoonbase Utensil Rest in Grey Debenhams / 3. Glass food container with lid IKEA /4. Slow-speed juicer Panasonic / 5. Tefal Cook4Me Intelligent Multicooker Argos / 6. simplehuman Compact Sensor Soap Dispenser John Lewis / 7. Cuisipro Set of 6 Snap-fit ice lolly moulds Steamer Trading Cookshop

One way of enjoying fruit could be to dehydrate it, leaving behind a tasty snack which adults and kids can both enjoy. Almost all of my family love fruit, so perhaps cutting discs of fruit into shapes with cutters could convert my picky son into a fruit bat!

Make life a little easier for yourself and clean up as you go whilst cooking; use a spoon rest or stand to avoid getting spills and drips on your counter tops, especially those hard to remove tomato or curry based stains which can get ingrained into work surfaces.

It is always a good idea to cook how much you need so waste is minimal, but in the event of having leftovers, storage in glass containers is generally better than in plastic tupperware. Plus glass storage containers are often microwave and dishwasher safe which is really handy.

Slow-speed juicers eliminate juice separation, which is something I always observed with my inexpensive juicer which suggests that I wasn't benefiting from the complete goodness of the fruit and vegetables. Panasonic juicers are capable of extracting more nutrients than a super high-speed blender and can even create frozen desserts which I know my children would adore.

I own a slowcooker already which whilst basic, can create great meals throughout the course of the day. However, the Tefal Cook4Me is so much more advanced and doesn't take hours. From risottos to currys, it has 50 pre-set recipe functions to choose from, so just prepare the sides of veg and you are good to go!

Let's not forget that January is still winter and horrible lurgies will be afoot especially once everyone returns to work and places of study following some well-needed time off. Make sure hands are washed regularly, especially when you are feeling run-down and particularly when you are preparing food. A sensor soap dispenser means you don't have to even touch the handpump which could be a way of transferring germs.

It may be cold in January but that shouldn't stop desserts being exciting, or rather chilly. Using the juice prepared using a juicer, create some rocket lollies to entice the children. Or even if you have a sore throat, you will be pleased to get some vitamins as well as a soothing treat.

So those are my ideas for kitchen essentials which could make for simpler, healthier eating and living in January 2017. Let me know if you have tried any of them!


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Enjoying the #Sleepie Cuddles

With just over 1 week to go until Baby Bee *should* put in an appearance, I am getting pretty impatient and longing for the tender, newborn cuddles.

With my eldest child I almost became part of the sofa, I spent so much time on it establishing feeding and then wondering how on earth I'd get off it to put baby Lily down. Usually by the time I'd worked out a tactic she'd have woken up and started feeding again!

What would I give to experience a newborn cuddle with my two children, Lily and Alexander. The newborn phase goes by in a flash, usually in a sleep-deprived blur with a scent of copious dry shampoo and nappies. So, when Baby Bee arrives I really want to make the most of it and lap it all up and make time slow down.

sleepy selfie, Sophie and Lily
Sophie and Lily (~5 weeks) in a #sleepie selfie

According to recent research commissioned by WaterWipes, 'when baby fell asleep on me' was voted one of the best moments experienced with their baby. I can absolutely relate to this, as well as catching a glimpse of the first gummy smile (wind-related or not!). Sometimes life can run at a faster, busier pace than you'd like, so it can be hard to allow ourselves the opportunity to truly enjoy this treasured moment with our baby. For me, I will be plunged straight into the deep-end what with expecting a baby three days before Christmas Day and the associated chores and festivities. And then
not long before I have to adjust to getting everyone ready for the school run. I will certainly feel pulled in different directions, but I will certainly make sure that I achieve some kind of restorative balance. After all, time is precious; the days are long but the years are short.

sleeping baby Alexander
Baby Alexander fell asleep after a feed and I managed to transfer him to the sofa cushion just beside me. I think it was a fluke to be honest!

With 72 'twenty minute slots' each day, of which approximately 48 are in waking hours, WaterWipes is encouraging mums and dads to take advantage of a 'twenty-minute lap' break and use one of these slops to enjoy a quiet 'sleepie' snuggle with your baby. Simply attempt to take a step back from the chaos of Christmas planning, readjusting the toddler-decorated Christmas tree (the joys!) and enjoy a quiet moment full of pure love which will positively restore your soul and well-being.

Enjoying sleepie snuggles with a baby is all well and good, until you find that another child needs attention, or the oven needs turning off, so here may begin the touch and go efforts of ...

Transferring the Sleeping Baby

Likely problems:

  • Your dominant hand and arm has gone numb or got horrendous pins and needles deeming it completely useless. Cue flexing your hand for as long as you can without disturbing the baby before even attempting to move
  • You have got as far as laying the baby back into the moses basket/crib/cot and realise that one of your hands is trapped beneath the babies back and you need to slide it away. Good luck with that!
  • You have the baby in the carrier and it is snoring softly away. Do you a) keep it on and try to go to the bathroom when nature calls or do you b) attempt to unbuckle or loosen the carrier knowing that the baby will sense the lack of cosy bodywarmth and wake up?
Alexander in the woven rainbow wrap asleep
Woven wraps involve a bit more work than a simple unclip, but babies are wise to separation especially if they are happy and cosy right beside you, feeling your warmth and heart beat. A cot? I don't think so, mama!

With Baby Bee I am going to try a few different tactics to aid sleep, including the use of a bedside crib (Alexander was in with us for 14 months!), naps in the cot during the day and before coming into our room around 10pm. I think I will invest in a Sleepyhead pod to create a cosy cocoon in the crib and cot and I'm even contemplating using a dummy. We shall see what works when he or she arrives. I will definitely continue to use a stretchy wrap as it could be my saving grace! As to a sure fire method of putting a sleeping baby down, I am none the wiser, even after two children! 
If you have any advice, please do pass it on. Thanks for reading :)

Collaborative post: all opinions expressed are my own.

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Evening Primrose Oil & Labour

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, just a mum who has done a little bit of research...


I have to say that my labour with Alexander was a bit stop and start. One minute I was breathing through what I though were the 'real-deal' contractions in bed with a warm lavender and wheat-filled bunny rabbit, or bouncing on my birthing ball and then it just...fizzled out. This led to Lily being collected by family to be taken care of on the Sunday when I was 38+4 days pregnant because I was definitely feeling like something was about to happen. Plus many friends said that once Lily had left that my body would relax so much more so I gave her a final kiss and a cuddle before she became a big sister and no longer my only child.

I made plans with friends who had driven a long way to meet up but in the end I had to message them whilst rolling my pelvis and doing hypnobirthing breathing on the birthing ball to let them know it would be unlikely.

I'd eaten pineapple to the point my tongue felt tingly and slightly bobbly and we'd gone for long walks up the canal (and a few strangers advised us not to go too far!) but we didn't visit the Siam House for a green Thai curry which could have brought Lily's arrival on earlier than anticipated. I think the reflux and indigestion I was experiencing just put me off the idea of spicy food which would irritate my body in more ways than one - and I was planning a home birth with a pool if you get my drift!

One of my friends recommended using evening primrose oil.I had completely forgotten about EPO! I took 2000mg a day orally when pregnant with Lily, although I can't remember when I started! Women take EPO for a variety of reasons, such as for PMT or whilst trying to conceive, so after a bit of research I decided to go for it on Monday night. I can't remember what dosage the capsule were, but I used two internally before bed and again on the Tuesday night. I went into labour and had baby Alexander on Wednesday morning at 39 weeks, so could they have worked?

EPO can help ripen the cervix if it is favourable, so many factors play a part. Just like raspberry leaf products and anti-stretchmark cream - for some it works and for some it doesn't.

This time I am planning on popping a pill orally a little bit earlier and later internally. Baby will come when it is ready anyway!

Do you have any experiences of using EPO towards the end of your pregnancy?
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide for Him

Sometimes I find shopping for my academic husband a bit difficult, or I get stuck in a theme (moustaches and beards last year). This year I have compiled a gift guide which if anything has given me some ideas about how to tickle his fancy whilst satisfying his brain cells.

Messenger bag by Oberon Design and by the British Belt Company England

A good few years ago, whilst we were studying at university, I bought Rob a budget version of these much fancier, appealing messenger bags into which he could stuff A4 notepads, folders and his diddy netbook he used at the time. Nowadays as a research scientist he has a Mac book, lab books, diaries and probably a load of research papers to lug around. This bag in field tan and wine by Oberon Design satisfies the artistic streak in my husband, especially with the tree design. Even the colour description of the waxed canvas and bullhide leather bag is just spot on. Not only that, but it is handmade so you can see the distinctive craftmanship. For a shade under £230 which includes the laptop pouch and shipping from the States, this is a substantial investment item.
Minus the handcrafted leather designs, an alternative messenger bag can be sought from The British Belt Company, England. Boasting waxed twill and antique brass hardware, it is a handsome bag which already includes a pouch capable of fitting a laptop of 12" wide. And all at a saving; this one would set you back £175.00 with free standard delivery.

Bill Gate's summer reading list 2016 includes Sapiens and Sevenses

Two books from Bill Gate's summer reading list 2016 include Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and Neal Stephenson's Seveneves which is a science fiction book, getting straight in there with the moon blowing up! We love having a walk through Waterstones and eyeing up all of the new books.

Wake up clocks by Lumie and Philips Light Therapy
By December (not entirely sure when) we will have a newborn who will be sharing our bedroom. Morning routines will have to be reestablished after just getting into the swing of things at the start of the new school term in September, so a light therapy alarm clock could prove really useful. The Lumie Bodyclock ACTIVE 250 not only gently uses gradual light intensity to promote a gentle awakening but can also incorporate white noise, which would be ideal for settling the new addition - and us!  The Philips Wake Up Light HF3520/01 is a little pricier and lacks white noise, but offers five different natural sounds including garden zen and it is capable of filling your room with warm light replicating the sunrise. The Philips Wake Up Light range has been clinically proven to work and thus far is the only wake up light clock to do so. Okay so this gift is something that is used for both partners, but it could be especially suitable when it is so dark in the mornings and inclination to get up in the morning is low, particularly after a broken night's sleep.

Unique men's watches by JORD Wooden Watches and Dreyfuss & Co

Watches can be a stylish and practical accessory to complete an outfit, but quite often Rob has gone without. I think you can tell from some of the other products in this gift guide that he likes unique little statements (such as the visible Dreyfuss & Co mechanisms), and the JORD Frankie zebrawood and navy watch* is no exception. The light, smooth grained zebrawood looks brilliant with his slightly olive skin tone and the strap doesn't catch on his arm hairs (a great feat as many metal straps do this!). It looks very different to the watch on everyone else's wrist that is for sure, and he has had a lot of interest in it already. Despite it being lightweight it definitely feels robust and the handfinished details really portray the high-quality workmanship put into the timepiece; from the sapphire crystal glass watch face to the buckle push clasp. Given the nature of his work, he'd better not get this beauty wet! I will find some lemon or orange oil to clean the natural, pretreated wood. Each JORD wooden watch comes beautifully packaged for delivery within a wooden presentation box upon a hessian pillow plus spare items for repairs. The box closes with the use of discreet magnetic discs and also features a secret drawer which could be ideal for storing cufflinks. Overall, we have both been highly impressed with the wooden unisex watch and if I wasn't going to be spending a great deal of time holding a baby with a soft head I'd be choosing a women's watch!

I've created a little Pinterest Gift Guide too. Thanks for taking a look!

Fancy a wooden watch of your own? JORD are offering an exclusive giveaway to win a $75 e-gift card; just simply fill out this form and tell us what your favourite watch is. Just by entering you will receive a $20 e-gift card!

The contest runs from 30th November - 25th December
*Disclosure: we were sent the JORD wooden watch in return for our honest review
Unique Watch
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