Tuesday, 17 December 2013

1 week old

Wow what an amazing/tiring/quick week it's been (or should I say 13 days)

Baby M & I spent 2 days in hospital following his birth and I couldn't wait to get home to Mr M.  Our first night home was awful, baby M wouldn't settle. We tried feeding him, winding him and nothing seemed to work. At 4am we phoned the ward who were brilliant and gave us lots of reassurance, they said that it sounded like baby had very bad wind.  They gave us some tips and said they would phone us back in 2 hours, which they did.  It was so reassuring to know they were only a call away.  They also stated they would ask the midwife to come see us for our visit first thing. 

Our visits from the community midwives haven't been very positive experiences to be honest, there has been conflicting advice, one was just plain rude and another made me feel awful as she arrived as baby was crying.  After 2 seconds in the house she was making judgements about us and made us feel rubbish.  

On a positive note we were discharged from the midwives to our lovely health visitor as baby has gained weight and is doing well. 

One thing I am getting fed up of people asking is "are you in a routine"!!! Really?!? How is a week old baby supposed to have a routine???! Also people are obsessed by how much sleep we are getting.  Some nights are good & he's up every 3-4 hrs for a feed but other nights he won't settle until 4am.  Although we are both shattered I'm not worried, how does a new baby know the difference between day & night?!? We are just going with the flow and taking the lead from baby.

Some people are being pushy about visiting us too, we've been firm so far with regards to a visitor ban but people have ways of making you feel guilty. 

I feel things are going really well, baby seems happy & the fact he has put on 5oz in 5 days shows he is eating well.  We will just continue taking each day as it comes & enjoy our new family


Wow!!! What a week it has been!!!

This time last week I was waiting to find out whether I would be able to have a vaginal birth or whether I would be having a C section.

Last Monday as I was settling down to write my blog posts on being 39 weeks pregnant and whether you can bring on labour, I started to get twinges.  Being a wimp I thought these were just bad Braxton hicks but I had the urge to walk around so I did.  After an hour and the "twinges" getting worse I phoned my mum, I don't think at first she thought anything of what I was saying but as I started to pant down the phone she said she was packing her bag & coming down (my parents live 2 hours away just over the border in Scotland). 

Another hour passed and my pains were beginning to get worse, I phone Mr M at work and told him not to panic or come home but to let his boss know he might not be in tomorrow.  45 minutes later he appeared home.  Neither of us knew what was happening and the internet was a little confusing so we phoned the hospital.  They told us to time the contractions and phone back if they got unmanageable. My mum also text Mr M to say her & my dad were on their way.

I tried walking around and sitting on my exercise ball to help with the contractions, sitting was agony.  I tried lying on my side with Mr M massaging my back - it worked for a while.  My contractions were becoming more painful and more regular and although I wanted to wait for my parents I didn't think I could, at that moment they arrived and we phoned the hospital who told me to come in.  

When we arrived we went to the midwife led unit, I was checked and was 4cm dilated, this baby was coming!! The midwife (Jenny who was amazing!!!) ran the water in the pool & I got in with the gas & air. I had to eat before hand as I had started feeling very sick & hadn't eaten since lunchtime, I nearly choked on the scone my mum gave me.

I found the pool really relaxing and the gas & air helped, my contractions were getting worse but I could manage, although I did want to push.  After 2 hrs in the pool my waters broke, bad news the baby had pooed - not to worry he might not be far off being delivered.  30 minutes later no baby so we get transferred to the delivery suite - everything went downhill from then on.

Once at the delivery suite my contractions were unbearable I was in so much pain, I was given a spinal block - wow it's odd not being able to feel anything from your breasts down!!! 2 hours later I was given an epidural.  My epidural didn't end up being 100% effective as I felt like I had a very bad stitch on my right hand side.  Good news I could start to move my feet and legs again!!

7am (18 hrs after my contractions started at home) the contractions started to slow down.  I was 10cm dilated but the midwife thought baby was in a "funny" position.  The consultant was bleeped.  Following an examination I was put on a drip to get my contractions back to what they were and told they would be back in 2 hrs to check whether baby had changed position.  2 hrs later I was told to start pushing - which was odd as I couldn't feel my contractions so was reliant on the midwife telling me to push but also because I couldn't feel anything down below and I had no idea whether I was pushing right.

Following 2 hrs of pushing I was examined again - bad news baby was still in a bad position and wouldn't be delivered naturally.  I was told I would be taken to theatre and they would try to deliver him via forceps, however I might have to have a C section.  I signed all the paperwork and we were taken to theatre.  My dad's face was one of pure panic and we left him and my mum.  

In theatre everyone was lovely but efficient.  Mr M had to gown up and they gave me another spinal block - there go my legs again!!!! They examined me and decided a forceps delivery wouldn't work so I was having a C section.  Mr M had to leave the room whilst they got me sorted then came back in, he looked like he was going to pass out.  I tried to reassure him that everything was going to be ok.  

It was very strange having people in my stomach trying to get baby out, there was a lot of pushing and pulling then finally he was out and crying - Mr M and I burst into tears, he was here and he(sounded) ok.  The pediatrician checked him over and gave him the ok, Mr M cut the cord and they wrapped baby in blankets. 

We were so happy that our little bundle of joy was here!!!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Baby Melton has arrived

Apologies for the lack of posts but baby Melton has arrived a little earlier than expected.  He arrived on 10 Dec 2013, 6 days early, following 24hrs labour. 

Due to some issues (to be shared & discussed in another post) baby M was delivered by C Section. Due to the fact I've been unwell in hospital & now home trying to figure our little bundle of joy out I haven't had a chance to post.

I may still be quiet whilst we work things out but I shall be back!!!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Pregnancy Myths - can you bring on labour?

I was actually writing this post when I went into labour, I thought I would still write it though as I'm still not sure whether you can bring on labour.

As your due date nears many people give you advice on how they brought on labour.  

Eating pineapple was a popular method I was told, I ate quite a lot of pineapple with no effect, other than I got quite bad heartburn.

Hot curry is another favourite, again I had 2 hot curries in the 2 weeks before I gave birth, the only effect was that Mr M (who can't really manage his curry) was sweating buckets!!! 

People tell you that sex brings on labour, it's all to do with the chemicals in sperm (apparently!!).  I sure a man came up with this as (personally) I wasn't in the mood for sex and also positions were difficult. There's a huge bump in the way!! 

Raspberry leaf tea is another method, I'm not sure whether this had anything to do with my going into labour 6 days early or not.  I purchased some raspberry leaf tea on the Saturday, I didn't have my first cup until that evening as we had tickets to see Sarah Millican that night at Winter Gardens & I didn't want to miss it so had a cup when we got back.  (Sarah was hilarious by the way I would recommend going to see her shows!).  I had 3 cups on the Sunday then one cup the Monday morning and my contractions started 3 hours later.  This could all be coincidence I know. 

So is there any way to bring on labour?!? I'm still not sure but if I was to get pregnant again I would try the raspberry leaf tea again (I have nearly a full box which someone might get use out of as a few of my friends are pregnant). Is it psychologically or is it just the baby is ready? Who knows!! 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Beebies Baby Store Wish List

With bump's arrival imminent and (hopefully) before Christmas we have been looking at what we would place on a wish list.  Beebies Baby Store is a one stop shop website with a variety of must have items for any parent or parent-to-be.  The great thing is you can find lots of different things you need in one place.  They also offer free delivery which is an added bonus as some websites can charge a fortune to send you items.

So where to start our wishlist?!? There is definitely a great choice of items to choose from you can easily spend hours pondering what to buy (if you're like me!!)

Firstly I would choose Original Poodle Pod - Night owls which is £29.99.  I have only recently discovered Poodle Pod and think they are a great idea.  Baby looks so comfortable but also well supported.  You know that baby is safe (although you would never leave the baby alone).  I love the owl print, I think it is something a little different and something I think bump would enjoy.

Next on our wish life is the Parent Kneeling Mat, which costs £13.99.  We rent our house and the bathroom floor is not very pretty and it's tile.  In the middle of the floor there is a mosaic (don't ask!).  I can see it is going to be very uncomfortable kneeling on the floor to give bump a bath.  This kneeling mat would help solve that whilst also giving us a little height to be able to reach bump easier.  I love the multi-coloured look too, makes it a little more exciting

I love the Koo-di Sleep Sack (small), which is priced at £21.99.  I love the bright colours.  Having read alot of information about where/how to sleep baby I think this would be a great investment.  A Sleep Sack means he won't be able to kick of the covers and get himself tangled up.  2.5 tog is a good all year round tog meaning baby won't need any other layers.  As he will be born in the winter he will get good use of it.

We have been looking into letters for the nursery.  Our favourite name for bump is quite unusual and we won't be able to walk into a shop and buy things with his name on.  We want the first letter of his name for the wall, the Decorative Letter in Funky is just what we are looking for!!  For £10 I think it is well worth it!

Although bump won't be going into his cot initially (we have a moses basket) when he does we want it to be an area in which he can relax and sleep but also where he can entertain himself if need be.  The Caterpillar crib and cot toy costing £12.99 fits the bill.  Bump will be able to see himself and play with the toy but it isn't too big or stimulating that it will disturb his sleep.
No Christmas wish list would be complete without My First Christmas bauble (£4.99).  The great thing about this bauble is that even if bump is late we can use it next year.  I really want to buy him an outfit but that will have to wait until he is here.  We can keep the bauble as a memento and will have it on the tree every year.  My parents still have my first Christmas bauble on their tree!! 

Why not check out Beebie Baby Store yourself and see what you would like, why not create your own #AVeryBeebiesChristmas wish list

38 weeks midwife appointment

Today we had our 38 week midwife appointment.  Was hoping to hear that bump was engaged!!

As usual the appointment started off with her checking my urine (all fine) and doing my blood pressure.  At first she used the machine, which I don't trust.  I've had too many odd readings throughout my career that I always do it manually.  When my BP came up on the machine as 130/70 I was a little concerned, thats high for me! I then explained my distrust of the machines and she did it manually, which came back as 90/50, much more like it.

I explained all my niggles - the feelings of pressure and pain between my legs, my swelling feet, etc.  I also voiced my concerns that although I have had some braxton hicks I haven't had many and those I have seem to be during the night.  My midwife reassured me that this is all normal at my stage of pregnancy (phew!).  She then felt bump and commented on the fact he seems to be all on my left side.  She then stated that maybe due to the pressure and weight on my left side I am compensating with my right leg and this is why my right foot is swelling.   My midwife checked to see whether bump was engaged - NO!!! He's still sitting on the brim of the pelvis.  I honestly could have burst into tears at that moment.  She tried to reassure me that once contractions start he could move down or as soon as he moved down contractions will start.  I was still disappointed.  Bump didn't like what she'd done to see if he was engaged as he then wouldn't stop wriggling, it took her a while to find his heartbeat but once she did she assured us he sounded fine.

We then discussed my next appointment and a sweep.  There were no appointments left for 2 weeks time so she asked whether I would come at the end of the clinic for a sweep.  I asked whether it would be possible for me to have one earlier in the week as I will already be 4 days over by that point.  At first she appeared reluctant but then after probably seeing the begging look in my eyes and after checking her diary she stated she could come and see me at home on 17th Dec then discuss with me then about going again after the clinic on the 19th.  I could have given her a hug!!! I agreed that sounds like a good idea.  She will phone me before hand to check a suitable time with me. 

I'm glad that everything is ok with bump and hes obviously very comfy where he is.  Hopefully I won't need the sweeps but its peace of mind that I know when they will happen.  

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Nursing Bras - how do you choose?

As I want to try breastfeeding I thought I should buy myself some nursing bras, but where do you start??!

There are sooo many to choose from!! And such a difference in price as well from about £9 to over £30 and that's for one bra!  Do I want to spend that much when I don't know if breastfeeding will work??

During my student days I worked in a well known lingerie store so have been trained in measuring bras.  It is definitely worth going to get yourself measured for your nursing bra as your breasts will get heavy and sore and you need to make sure you are well supported by a well fitting bra.  It is recommended that you get fitted for your nursing bra between weeks 36-37 as this is apparently when your ribs are at their widest.

You need a bra that you can unfasten easily and isn't too fiddly.  You need to make sure that your breast is easily accessible once you have unfastened the bra.  As with maternity bras it is recommended that you get an non-wired bra as underwired bras can cause your milk ducts to get blocked.  I also thought about getting bras I can wear during the day as well as sleeping bras for the night.

I scoured the internet looking into all the different bras there are available and decided that I didn't want to spend too much money due to the fact I wasn't sure if breastfeeding would be a success.  I decided to buy 2 day bras (one black and one white) and I bought a sleeping bra (nude).  I also won a bra which is more of a sleeping bra so will use that too.  If breastfeeding is a success then I will definitely be investing in good quality nursing bras. 

I have put one of my nursing bras in my hospital bag ready to be used after birth.  The dilemma of nursing tops has also caused me to spend hours scouring the internet but I have decided to buy some vest tops in big sizes to wear under tops I already have and my mum has given me some shirts of hers to borrow.  Again, if breastfeeding is a success I will invest in some tops that I can wear for breastfeeding as I am normally a dress girl and don't really own anything suitable.  Money is tight and I don't want to be buying things I don't end up using.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Breastfeeding Support

I have been really lucky in the support I have been offered from services throughout my pregnancy.  I had a home visit from the breastfeeding support nurse, I was supposed to go to a group that she runs but due to my hip and back pain it hadn't been possible so she said she would visit me at home

Firstly the nurse seemed lovely!!! I felt like we got on really well from the start, which I think will definitely help when bump arrives.

The nurse brought along a breastfeeding doll and asked me what my main worries or questions were.  I explained my main worry was whether he would latch on and what position I am supposed to hold him.  We discussed the first hour after birth and how this is important to get baby feeding.  We discussed the kind of birth I am hoping for.  We then went on to discuss skin to skin contact and what ques bump will give that he is hungry.  Apparently baby can swallow mucus during labour and this can fill their belly, as it tastes horrid them might not want to eat.  When I notice bump nodding his head this is a cue he is trying to find the breast (like a bird pecking at the ground for worms).  I was shown how to move baby onto my breast and to ensure he is firmly attached.

We then discussed expressing, both by hand and with a pump.  Whilst I won't be expressing to feed bump until breastfeeding is established I might need to express a little if my breast gets full or to use a little breast milk to get baby interested in feeding.

We then discussed massaging the breast and what to do if I have have any lumps, this sounds painful!!

I then got my feeding pillow out and we talked about other positions that can be helpful, using the doll.

Some of the advice given to me:

- if you don't feel comfortable being topless after the birth wear a baggy tshirt or very loose nighty so you can put the baby on your skin whilst maintaining dignity.

- whilst you are in the shower get your partner to have skin to skin contact.  Again if he doesn't feel comfortable being topless make sure he has a baggy tshirt or shirt

- when in hospital if baby stirs try and put them on the breast - don't ssshh them to sleep

- don't hold the baby as you would if you were bottle feeding, have them facing you and make sure their nose is level with your nipple and they tilt back their head with a wide open mouth

- if you use a feeding pillow make sure it doesn't put the baby to high on your breast, push the pillow away from you a little if it does

- if you need to express use the heat of a bath or shower to get the milk flowing.  Heat compress also works

- as soon as you notice any redness or lumps massage these out of your breast, the longer you leave it the more painful it gets

I was then given a website with videos on to have a look at.   There is a group on a Friday morning which is for mums to get together, talk about breastfeeding but they also have people to come and talk about various topics.  It sounds really interesting and a great way for me and baby to get out and meet other people

I felt that the hour flew by and I learned loads and feel reassured that there is support available for me.  I am going to give it my best shot and see what happens

Monday, 2 December 2013

38 weeks

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant, only 2 weeks to go!!! I keep giving bump pep talks to tell him not to be late!

Apparently bump now weighs about 3kg, he will not grow anymore in length but will continue to put on weight and build his fat stores.  He is about 50cm long (which is the same as a leek).

I think that my bump has definitely grown over the past week!! This was reinforced when I met 2 different friends who both commented that my bump was much bigger.  I also think it is rounder and fuller at the bottom, hopefully this means bump is making his way downwards.

I have been experiencing more Braxton Hicks, these seem to be more in the evening and night than any other time of the day.  I have also been experiencing a swollen right foot, this seems to ease when I have it elevated so I'm trying to keep mobile to get blood flowing but when I am sitting down put my foot up.  I am also drinking lots of water.  I am trying to use my exercise ball when I can to tilt my pelvis to help bump engage.

My sleep is still pretty rubbish, I now have to sleep upright in bed which isn't the best.  I can feel bump moving around but his movements have changed from forceful kicks to wriggles, probably due to the fact he has much less space to move about. 

We have the midwife on Thursday so I am hoping she will tell us he is more engaged and I had a visit from the breastfeeding support nurse today (see tomorrow's post).  Things are definitely moving along, I just want him here!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

With a little help from my friends

The past few days I have been really grateful to my friends for their help, support and understanding.

People say that their friends and family can be a hindrance throughout pregnancy, don't get me wrong I have had some try to give me helpful/preaching advice which makes you feel like they think you aren't going to manage but in general my friends have been a great support.

Some of my so called friends have vanished off the face of the planet since I told them I was pregnant, their choice not mine, I have tried contacting them with no luck, its sad that something as exciting as a new person coming into the world can make people decide they don't want any contact with you anymore.  Most of our friends have been super excited, some even more than family members!!

One of my friends lives nearby and has been great support with relation to what is available in our local area once bump has arrived, she is even going to go to some of the groups with me when she can with her little girl.  She has also been great for advice and support with things we might need and things we haven't thought of.

My friend who is overdue has also been a great sounding board, with us both going through pregnancy at the same time there have been many messages and conversations about how we are both feeling and giving each other reassurance. 

My friends are also aware of my worry about getting to the hospital if my mum isn't here as Mr M can't drive and many have offered their services to take us if needs be (although I'm still not convinced people will appreciate a 2am phone call!!)

On Friday my right foot went very swollen which caused me to go into a panic.  I hadn't noticed it before and whilst Mr M did his best to reassure me and try and keep me away from Google an internet search got me in even more of a panic with words such as blood clot and preeclampsia popping up.  I turned to my friends for advice and support and they didn't let me down!!  Within minutes they were giving me advice and reassurance and telling me of tales from their own pregnancies.  I decided to follow their advice and if there was no change I would contact the hospital.  Obviously their advice worked and my foot went back to normal.  It has continued to swell on occasion but having it elevated and drinking fluids has helped it go back to normal. 

I have my midwife appointment this week so will mention it to her.  I feel so lucky and grateful that I have such a great network of friends and I can't wait for bump to meet them all!!!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Mother & Baby Awards

Last night was the Mother & Baby awards, these awards are the result of tests carried out by real mums and dads so great for getting tips and looking at products if you can't make up your mind

Each award is split into Gold, Silver and Bronze. 

In the best sleep product category The Gro Company won gold for their GroBag, having heard so many positive things from friends I think we will definitely buy some of these for bump.  Best Bouncy chair, rocker or seat category, gold was given to BabaBling for their RockOut chair, to be honest I hadn't heard of this so will be looking into this in more detail.  In the Innovation of the Year category Boots received gold for their non-contact thermometer, what a great idea!!  You don't have to wake baby if they are sleeping and if baby isn't feeling well they probably won't be very cooperative, again worth a further look into this I think.

We have purchased the Britax Affinity Travel System for bump, we did A LOT of research when we were looking into travel systems but you still worry could you have got a different one, was there something you missed.  Britax Affinity won gold for both their travel system and their pushchair so I feel very reassured we made the right choice.  Joie stages car seat won gold in best mutistage car seat, another brand I don't know that much about so will be looking into them further when we need to be thinking of our next car seat. 

I have a Pink Lining changing bag, I fell in love with them even before I found out I was pregnant!  They received Silver in the changing bag category, gold was given to Rosebud.  Rosebud also seem to be half the price of Pink Lining so great if you don't want to spend too much money on a bag!  Gold in the best baby carrier, sling or back carrier category was given to BabyBjorn, again I have heard nothing but praise for this brand.

We have bought the Fisher Price Kick and Play Piano gym for bump, it was a really good deal on Amazon.  It was awarded silver in the best baby toy under 12 months category.  Gold was given to Sophie La Girafe teether, I've seen a few people mention this on social media so think I will look into it further.  Gold for best product for a newborn was given to Ewan the dream sheep, I really need to get one of these for bump!

Gold in the best reusable nappy category went to TotsBots Easyfit whilst gold in the best disposable nappy category went to Aldi Mamia range.  Best Breastfeeding top/bra gold award went to Frugi for their Pointelle top, if I am successful at breastfeeding I may invest in one of these.  Gold in the best product for breastfeeding went to Lactaline for their double electronic breast pump whilst gold in the best product for bottle feeding went to MAM for their milk powder box.

The awards have definitely given me lots to think about and I will definitely be looking into some of these products in more detail.  I am also really happy  with products we have purchased already.

Check out all the winners yourself! These still plenty of categories I haven't covered. 

Homemade Fudge

As I have been looking for something new to feed my sweet cravings I decided to have a look and see what I could make at home.  Buying lots of chocolate is costly! I stumbled across a recipe for peanut butter fudge, sounds delicious!!!

For the recipe you need icing sugar, butter, peanut butter (I went for smooth but it doesn't specify so up to you if you want crunchy fudge) and vanilla.  I forgot the vanilla when I went to the shop, so made the fudge without it.

Measure out 225g butter - this is nearly a whole block, use what you have left to grease your tray.  Next measure 200g peanut butter.  Place the butter and peanut butter in a bowl and put in microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Whilst this is melting measure 450g icing sugar.  After the 2 minutes stir your butter/peanut butter mixture then put in microwave on high for another 2 minutes.

Add your peanut butter/butter mixture (and vanilla) to the icing sugar and stir well with a wooden spoon.  Once it's stirred in (I had to get Mr M to help with that part as I'm a wimp and couldn't stir it well enough) place the mixture in your tray which should be lined with waxed paper.  I used tin foil.  Remember to grease your lining with butter so it doesn't stick!

Place your tray in the fridge to cool, I left mine for 1 hour 30 minutes to be sure.  Turn your fudge out of the tray and cut into pieces, it was quite crumbly so they won't be perfect squares but who cares as long as it tastes good!  Place your fudge in airtight container(s) and you can store it for a week.  I have put mine in the fridge to store as well but it doesn't say you need to do that. 

Taste test - wow!!! The fudge melts in your mouth! It is very peanut buttery too, yum!!  It is very moreish, I woke up this morning feeling a tad sick so have decided to kindly donate some to Mr M's work as Mr M can't have any due to it pretty much being sugar.  I was thinking that this would be great to keep in the house for when we have visitors to see bump when he arrives, it doesn't take much effort to make and it saves on going out to buy biscuits!!  

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Review: Brabantia Flatback Fingerprint Proof Bin

I recently won this bin in a competition on Facebook.  Our bin was in much need of being replaced and Brabantia are a well known and reputable brand, I was excited to receive my winning bin

The bin I won was the Flatback+ 30 litre Matte Steel Fingerprint Proof Bin.  The bin is flat backed to make it space efficient, which is great for us as we have limited space in our kitchen where we can put a bin.  We put it up against the wall near a cupboard.  The bin came with 20 Brabantia bin liners.  When first putting these in the bin they were a little tight but I suppose this means they won't slip off or fall into the bin

The bin has a silent closing due to MotionControl technology and is easy to open with the large pedal. If you lift the lid open it will stay open until you press it to close, which is handy when peeling potatoes.  The lid also doesn't hit the wall when you open it! The bin is easy to move about as it has a belt grip at the back.  This is great for me at the moment as I can easily move the bin around when I need to hoover or mop the floor. 

Inside the bin there is a bucket with grips, this makes it easy to remove the bucket and change the bin, no more struggling to get the bin bag and bucket out like with previous bins.

I have to say I was intrigued by the claim that it was fingerprint proof, with bump on the way and knowing that my friends children put their hands on EVERYTHING I was curious as to whether this was true or just a gimmick.  I am not sure whether it is 100% fingerprint proof, when you lift the bin lid for example there is the tiniest of marks but the bin is definitely easy to wipe, once I used a wet wipe on the bin to clean it there were no marks of any kind.  The biggest test will come when bump gets mobile!

The bin can be found in the Brabantia new collection.  It retails at £125, which in my opinion is a lot of money for a bin.  It is a very good quality bin and does everything that it promises to do but I still feel the price is a little much.  The bin bags that go with the bin are £51 for 240 liners which works out at 21p per bin bag which again might seem a little pricey but you are guaranteed that the liner fits your bin perfectly and you won't have any accidents.  The bin bags are thick too and I haven't had one rip, yet.

I would definitely recommend this bin, the price is the only off putting part about it

Disclosure:  I won the bin through a competition, at no point was there an expectation I would review product.  My views are my own.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Pregnancy Apps

I love using apps on my phone and when I found out I was pregnant I hurried to find the best apps to help me through the pregnancy.  I have found some really useful and others I only used once or twice before deleting.  Everyone has their personal preference and what they are looking to get out of using an app but these are the ones I found the best

This app is run by Bounty, the same company who provide mum-to-be bags and are in hospitals to give you benefit forms and can offer to take baby photos.  The Bounty website has loads of helpful advice for mums-to-be as well as information on baby, toddler and family health.  You can register either through the app or on the website, it asks you for your due date or date of last period to calculate how many weeks pregnant you are.  Each week there is a main "find out more" area which tells you about the week in general.  The week is also split into 6 days, each day with a different topic - for example contractions, nursery know how and breech baby.  Each of these days gives you specific information about the topic.  There are also links which take you to the Bounty website for even more information.  The app also has a journal where you can record things such as baby movement and cravings, although to be honest I haven't used this part that much.  There is also a gallery for you to store photos.

Emma's Diary
Emma's Diary is another great app linked with a website.  Emma's Diary also provide mum-to-be packs.  The website has loads of information from trying to conceive to baby at 18 months, they also have an online shop, family zone and FAQs.   Again with this app you can register with the website and once you log onto the app it remembers the information you used to register.  You have a "My Status" bar which will take you to your specific week of pregnancy and gives you information on what to expect during that week.  There is also a "Medical Information" section which is broken into preconception, pregnancy, giving birth and baby ages in months from 0-6 to 7-18 months.  In these further sections you are given more specific information.  There is also a photo journal and an option to read Emma's Diary.  To be honest I just use this app for the weekly information.  I have utilised the Medical Information section but I read most of the parts that interested me in a oner rather than as things cropped up, although its good to know the information is there should I need a refresher and I don't have to trawl through the weeks like you would have to with the Bounty App.

The BabyBump app isn't linked with any website.  This is probably one of the apps I use the most, I check it every day.  Once you download the app you register your details.  Each day you are told how many weeks pregnant you are and how many days you have left.  You get a daily tip and also weekly information about the pregnancy.  At the bottom of the app you can store weekly bump photos, I like this part of the app as the photos slide from one to the other so you can see any developments in bumps growth.  At the top of the app is the option to join groups and a store button - the store button however only works in USA.  The main downside of this app is that it is American so sometimes the information doesn't happen here (for example Strep B testing).  I still enjoy using it though

This is another app I use on a daily basis.  The app is linked with BabyCentre website which you can register with.  Again the website has loads of information from getting pregnant to toddlers and also has a blog and shop section.  The app tells you how many weeks pregnant you are and gives you different information each day.  At the start of each week the information is about your baby and you, often there is a video and a picture to show the developing baby, which I like.  Each week has "Feel Good Activity" for you to carry out, this can be going to the cinema or getting your hair done.  There is a box for you to tick once you've done the activity.  There is also information each week about what is safe for you to do, eating well and health.  At the top of the app you can go to the checklist which is where the activities are recorded as well as the option to join your birth club.  I really enjoy this app as it gives you lots of information daily and is UK based.

Totally Pregnant
I only recently discovered this app when it came up on my Facebook timeline as a recommendation.  Mr M thinks the name is hilarious as how else would you be pregnant other than totally (men!).  There is a Totally Pregnant website that gives you more information on the app and blogs  but it isn't as detailed as the others above.  I have the free version, you can pay for more in depth information if you want and to watch the videos.  You do get a limited amount of time to try the app for free and you can watch the 4D videos, which I find interesting.  The app is based around a coloured wheel, you have the My Week option which tells you about your week.  There is a shop and an opportunity to ask experts a question, or see what people in your week have asked.  There is the video section which covers a different topic each week and My Album where you can store photos. 

As I have already said these are the apps I have found the most useful, other people might have found others that they liked.  The best thing to do is have a look and see what is available and what you want out of an app  I only downloaded free apps but there may be great apps out there you have to pay for. 

Neurotic Pregnancy Moments

As my pregnancy is coming towards the end I find myself being neurotic AGAIN!

At the start of the pregnancy my worries before my 12 week scan were centred around the fact that when we went for the scan, would the baby be healthy and growing as it should.  One of my good friends and also a work colleague had miscarriages so this was always at the back of my mind.

Following the 12 week scan and finding out everything was ok (phew!) I was then bombarded by people telling me what I should or shouldn't eat, what I should or shouldn't do, even what shampoo I should or shouldn't use.  It was an overwhelming minefield of information!!  I had a few issues at my work as well which didn't help matters as my boss (a man) didn't understand when I told him there were some roles and some clients I wouldn't be able to undertake or see.

I then felt like everything settled down and I began to enjoy my pregnancy, especially feeling bump kick and wriggle about, that is definitely my favorite part about being pregnant!! Especially when I poke him and he pushes back at me, I have in my head he's giving me imaginary high five's (although it's more likely he's telling me to leave him alone!)

A friend of mine is 3 weeks further into her pregnancy than me and its been great having her to talk through things with.  She is now at her due date and has been for a sweep (which sounds utterly delightful).  She has also been tested for Strep B due to having to go into hospital at one point in her pregnancy and was found to be positive, my midwife just brushes off my concerns when I ask her about this, which is a worry.  What if I am positive and no-one (including me) knows!!

Another thing the midwife tells you is that if there is a decrease in movement to contact the hospital.  Bump has active days, very active days and sleepy days.  On his sleepy days I get myself in a panic thinking should I contact the hospital or not.  Discussing this with my friend her baby doesn't appear to have any regular movement pattern either.  I usually give him a prod and a poke to get him to move and stop my panicking.  Also I have experienced Braxton Hicks but not that many (that I am aware of).  Is this normal?! Should I be experiencing more?  I'm also getting myself in a panic about getting to hospital, especially if he decides to show up at Christmas, we can't expect our friends to drop everything to help us out.  

We bought a fetal heart monitor near the beginning of the pregnancy, we used it quite a lot at the start and recorded bump's heartbeat to send to family and close friends who don't live close by.  We haven't used it for months though, but now I find myself thinking about getting it out just to check bump is ok. 

I'm hoping these are normal worries for a first time mum, I know I am being daft most of the time but I can't stop the thoughts from coming into my head.  Maybe its the fact that this is all unknown and I have no control over anything that happens that makes it worse.

I must remember to enjoy these last few weeks and BREATHE!!!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Date Day

Mr M & I have always tried to have date nights throughout our relationship but we've found these even more important since I have been pregnant.  It's also something we would like to carry on when bump arrives.  We both think it is important to spend time just the 2 of us and at the moment we are making the most of it as when bump arrives that will change.

We had our date day on Saturday.  Each time we have a date day or date night we do something different, it isn't something extravagant and other people might think "what's special about that" but it's what feels special to us.

On Saturday we went for a lovely walk, living by the sea we always have a lovely walk along the beach.  A walk gives us chance to talk, whether it be about bump, us or silly things like football and tv shows.  When we got back to the house we watched some of our shows on the planner and some football, luckily for Mr M I love football - it's always on in our house and I sometimes wish Sky just did a subscription to Sky Sports as not many other channels get used!!

We then both got dressed up for a lovely meal.  We always both make an effort and I did my nails and put on a dress I could fit into.  Mr M looked dapper in his shirt and jeans.  We cooked a lovely meal together and enjoyed the fruits of our labour.  We then retired to cosy on the sofa watching Dr Who with a glass of Schloer for me and a beer for Mr M. 

It was a lovely way to spend the day together.  As I get bigger I'm not as mobile so we chose to have a relaxing day but also do something that gets us out of the house for a bit.  We hope to fit in another date day/night before bump arrives but that depends on when he comes as we have a few things on for the next few weekends with friends and family. 

37 weeks

Today I am 37 weeks pregnant, only 3 weeks to go (we hope!!).  Bump is now classed as full term so he can arrive anytime and his lungs and internal organs should be fully developed and able to function.  We had told bump a number of times that we can't wait to see him and he can now feel free to arrive anytime. 

Apparently bump is 48.6cm long which is the same as a stalk of Swiss Chard.  I don't know about anyone else but I had no idea what that was, its a kind of spinach plant.  He weighs about 2.8kg.  He could also have a lovely head of hair, if the old wives tale is right about indigestion and hair then I think he might!

I haven't slept well the past 2 nights, I used to be able to get comfy lying on my left side but the past 2 nights whenever I do that I have felt cramps and feelings of pressure down below.  Last night even lying on my side for a matter of seconds the feeling of pressure was too much.  I have had to prop myself upright with a mountain of pillows (or my throne as Mr M calls it) and sleep in a sitting position.  I thought this morning when I woke up and looked in the mirror that my bump had lowered but after my shower I looked again and I wasn't so sure it had.  It is also quite uncomfortable for me to move around.  I have been trying to walk about as that is supposed to help bump engage but I've been having to sit down to ease the pressure feelings.

I have also been doing the cat/cow exercise to see if that helps him engage and tonight Mr M is going to blow up my exercise ball as its become a little flat and I'm going to do figure of 8 exercises on that.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Review: Tangle Teezer

I have wanted a Tangle Teezer for a while but have never got round to buying one.  I recently won a competition in which the prize was a voucher for LookFantastic.com.  Here was my opportunity to buy a Tangle Teezer at last!!

Unfortunately the website had sold out of the pink Tangle Teezer but I also liked the blue one so purchased that.  I was very excited to try it when it arrived.

Following my morning shower I used my Tangle Teezer on my wet hair, there was no tugging! I brushed my hair a few times to allow the little teeth the run through my hair.  On the first few occasions I wasn't sure whether it was brushing my hair but then it glided smoothly through my hair.  There was no hair in the brush either which doesn't happen with my normal brush as there are usually clumps of hair.  I then dried my hair with the hairdryer.  Usually after I dry my hair it is knotty again following been blown about.  Again after a few runs through my hair the Tangle Teeer had brushed out the knots with no pain and without pulling out my hair.  My hair felt so smooth and soft!

There are different Tangle Teezer products on the market, I bought the Original Tangle Teezer.  You can also get Salon Elite which has a concave design, Aqua Splash which you can use in water and Compact Styler which is great for keeping in your bag.  The Compact Styler has a removable cover which means the teeth are protected from fluff and dirt.

I love my Original Tangle Teezer, my hair feels so soft and smooth, I would also consider buying the Compact Styler as when I am out and about my hair sometimes looks like I've gone through a hedge backwards.

Disclosure:  I won the voucher through a competition, at no point was there an expectation I would review products I bought with this voucher.  I purchased this products because I liked it and thought I would benefit from its use.  No review was expected from the seller.  My views are my own.

Baby Shower or Wish list

Baby Shower's seem to be gaining in popularity in the UK as we follow the trend from the USA.  I have had a discussion with my friends, some of which are pregnant and others who have young children to find out how they feel about this trend.

Everyone said they felt that having a baby shower was an excuse to get people to buy you presents.  Everyone felt that they didn't want friends and family to feel like they have to buy the baby a present and you are having a party for this purpose.  My married friends stated they felt that having invited people to their wedding and had presents bought for them for this occasion that it would be rude to have a baby shower and expect more gifts.  My unmarried friends were also not keen on baby showers due to the expectation of gifts despite not having a wedding or occasion where people had bought them and their partner gifts.

 All my friends stated that if people wanted to buy a gift for the baby once they were born that this was their decision.  Everyone said they were happy for friends and family to visit their new baby and if they brought a gift that was a nice thought.

We then discussed whether everyone thought a wish list was a good idea.  We talked about this from the view of new parents and friends and family.  Most stated that they want to get people gifts that they want or need rather than wasting their money on something they already have or don't want.  From the view of a new parent though everyone stated they felt a little anxious about sending wish lists as they weren't sure how they would be received by others and they didn't want to appear pushy.

Mr M & I have created a wish list on Amazon.  Our reason for doing this was that we have been really organised and bought bump items throughout the pregnancy, we have also bought things when we have seen them on sale to save us some money.  Friends and family have been asking us what we need and whilst we have told them they don't have to buy him a gift we thought a gift list would be a good way of showing people the things we like and give them a wide choice of gifts.  We also said in the email we distributed that people don't have to buy anything off the list.

It is a difficult decision to make and everyone is different and do what makes you feel comfortable.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

36 Week Midwife Appointment

We have just got home from our 36 week appointment with the midwife.  My urine is fine again and they took a blood sample (thankfully my last) to check my blood count and iron levels.  I expect this to be fine as my iron level at 28 weeks was pretty much the same as my booking appointment and I take supplements every day.

My blood pressure continues to be low and I have felt a little bit dizzy today when standing up but I just have to take my time and make sure I rest.  Bump is definitely lying in the right direction with his head down which is great news.  His heart beat was really strong, we always love listening to his heart beat as its the next best thing to seeing him.

The midwife felt around my pubic bone to check whether bump is engaged, my god it was painful!! I don't think I have the best pain threshold and labour worries me because of this but she was having a fair poke and wiggle! As I have been experiencing feelings of pressure down below I thought that bump might be on his way to being engaged however his head is apparently lying on the pelvic brim.  I was a little disappointed when she told us this.  Any other time of year I wouldn't care when he arrived as long as he was healthy but I do not want him to be born on Christmas day!! I don't care if I go over or if he comes early but that one day I don't want him to be born.  I want his birthday to be special and I know that we would make it like that no matter what day he arrived but I don't think anyone else will.  I don't want him missing out on a birthday and Christmas like everyone else.

Unfortunately we didn't plan when we got pregnant, I had been on the pill for so long it took us a while to get pregnant and we were just so happy that it happened.  At the end of the day I know that we will do our best to make sure he has a wonderful birthday whenever he is born but I just don't want him to miss out.  I know I need to focus on the fact that we will have a happy and healthy baby but this worry is always at the back of my mind

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Nursery Trader and Pushchair Trader awards

The results are out for Nursery Trader and Pushchair Trader Best Baby and Toddler Gear Awards 2013.  These are great for mums and dads as the products have been tested by other parents.  As a first time parent it can be difficult to decide which products to buy.  These awards can help you make up your mind as well as find products you might not have even thought of!

I had never heard of the Buggy Tug or Infoband but like the sound of both products and will be looking into them further.  We also want to have fun things in bumps nursery but want them to be educational, I love the sound of the Gro Company height chart stickers.  As you might have read on my previous blog post I am still undecided about which nappies to buy, I have been pointed in the direction of TotsBots easyfit reusable nappies before but the fact they have won the Gold award I think I will definitely give them a try.  I was also very intrigued by all the products in the Most innovative and New to Market categories

Check out the results for yourself, you never know what you might find and you might be surprised by some of the results too

Childcare - it's a minefield

Childcare has been one off our biggest worries, even before we got pregnant.  It is one of the reasons we waited before trying to get pregnant, however sometimes you just have to take the plunge and muddle through.  Neither Mr M or I have any family nearby, my grandparents live about an hour away but as they are in there mid 80's I wouldn't dream of asking them to look after bump.  My parents live 2 hours away and Mr M's live 5 hours away.  Mr M's dad retires from the RAF next November and his parents will have to find accommodation, we did ask them if they wanted to move closer to us but they didn't so that was that.

Not being from the area we weren't really sure what was on offer or where to start looking.  Did we want bump to go to nursery or childminder?  After talking to friends we found out the nursery places in the local area go quickly, there are nurseries further a field but we needed something close by as Mr M can't drive.  We also signed up to Childcare.co.uk to look into local childminders.  Mr M works Monday to Friday 9-5 but my job includes weekend cover, nurseries aren't that keen on shift workers, would we be able to find a nursery who could accommodate us?  Following further investigations some childminders were as inflexible so we decided that we would not put bump into childcare on a Monday and we would alternate taking a Monday off each.  Both of our workplaces operate family friendly hours and flexible working so we could do this without losing hours and without using leave - great!! 

Some people thought we were a little mad looking into childcare just under a year before we would need it but I didn't want to leave it then be rushing trying to find somewhere near the end of my maternity leave and all the good places be gone.  Some childminders on childcare.co.uk were quite dismissive of us being proactive - they went into the "No" pile.  Others however were understanding and knew they would have places so we arranged to go and see them.

One of my friends was having issues with her nursery, the first had been closed down and the current one she was using she wasn't happy with, something just didn't feel right for her.  She discovered that the best nursery in the area was opening a sister nursery and having an open day.  Mr M & I went along with her to check it out.  We were really impressed, not only by the nursery but the staff.  They took us on a tour and had a really good conversation with us.  They told us not to decide after seeing their nursery but to go and see all the nurseries in the area.  They also said not to book an appointment but to turn up, they stated this is a good way of seeing the nursery during its day to day running.  If the nursery tell you they can't show you round then they obviously don't have enough staff, would you want your child there?  Also it means they can't tidy or hide things in preparation of your visit.  Really good advice for any parents out there!!

We picked a day and went to see all the nurseries in the area, which was 5.  There was one that we were really impressed with, the original nursery of the one we had gone to see for the open day.  It was the only nursery in the area that has received an outstanding Ofsted report and the manager was an Ofsted inspector.  The staff were lovely and the children seemed really happy.  Bump could also stay there until he goes to school.  We also spoke about the new nursery that was opening, they were planning on taking the same prinicpals to the new nursery and all staff would be trained at the original nursery so they knew the standards and philosophy, all sounded great.

We went to see the childminders we had made appointments with, they were all lovely people but neither Mr M or I got the same feeling we did when we went to the nursery.  Each childminder had fewer children than the nursery so bump would get more intimate working and they all went to Baby and Toddler groups and fed home cooked meals.  Childminders were cheaper than nursery by £5 a day, which adds up, but our gut instinct was telling us we preferred the nursery.  We decided to go back to the nursery and have another look around

After our second look around we decided to book bump a place.  We were able to get a place at the original nursery as that was our favorite but we would have been happy to take a place at the new nursery.  The nursery stated they will contact us nearer the time and arrange drop in sessions so bump can get used to nursery before I go back to work.  The staff were understanding that this will be an anxious time for us and bump but gave us lots of reassurance.  They also stated they would keep us up-to-date with newsletters and that bump could go and meet Santa when he visits, if bump had arrived by then.  This made us feel much more at ease and part of the nursery family. 

Both of our employers are part of a childcare voucher scheme, these vouchers were accepted by both the childminders we saw and the nurseries.  Basically these are a salary sacrifice scheme, the money for childcare goes from your wage to the childcare provider before tax, meaning you will get taxed less.  According to the HMRC website this would save us over £1000 each year, which is a lot of money!! There is lots of information on the website about tax credits as well as voucher schemes, definitely worth looking at, you might be surprised how much money you could save!

I would recommend parents to go and have a look around as many places as you can.  Whether you choose a childminder or a nursery you will get a gut feeling about somewhere or someone and just go with that instinct.  You know what you are looking for for your child and you have to be happy to leave them.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Delivery Suite Tour

Mr M & I were very keen to take the delivery suite tour offered by our trust.  You can either take the tour as part of your parentcraft classes or as part of the "Stork Walk" which is offered every Sunday.

We were both quite anxious and neither of us really knew what to expect.  I think we had built an image in our head of screaming women and people rushing around in panic.  This wasn't the case!

Our trust has both a delivery suite and a midwife led unit.  The midwife led unit has been open since August 2013 and is supposed to provide a more homely environment.

Our tour began at the delivery suite.  I think we both expected a ward layout with beds in bays but there were 14 individual rooms.  Some rooms had a bed and a normal bathroom, whilst there were 2 rooms which contained a bed and birthing pools.  These birthing pools were like longer and deeper versions of a bath.  In the delivery suite are the doctors so should you experience any complications they are available.  If you are signposted for consultant led care you will automatically go to the delivery suite.

Each room had a bed, chair and resus table where they carry out the checks on baby once they are born.  There were also CD players and tea/coffee facilities.  Whilst the rooms were quite clinical we both felt at ease.  There were doors to rooms shut meaning they were occupied and we didn't hear any screaming (thankfully!).

We were then taken into the midwife led unit, this only contained 4 rooms, which was a little concerning to me and obviously other mums-to-be as someone asked why there were so few rooms and what would happen if they were all full.  The midwife reassured us stating that since it's opening in August it had yet to be full and that the delivery suite had more pressure on beds.  If the unit was full we would be transferred to the delivery suite.

The midwife led unit contained 2 rooms with beds and 2 rooms with birthing pools.  These pools were much bigger than in the delivery suite and were a clover shape.  In the rooms with the pools there were also birthing chairs, balls and other bizarrely shaped things which you can use through labour.  The gas and air was located next to the pool.  I was a little surprised there wasn't a bed but there were plenty of big chairs.  The rooms with the beds were quite like the delivery suite however better decorated and less clinical.  There was one couple in the midwife led unit whilst we were there and again no screaming was heard!

I have been signposted for midwife led care which means all being well I will hopefully give birth in the midwife led unit.  Prior to the tour I had been sure I wanted to give birth on a bed however I have now put on my birth plan that I would like to try having a water birth.  The rooms on both the delivery suite and midwife led unit were quite big so there was plenty of room for you to walk about and keep mobile, this is also supposed to help with labour and help baby move downwards rather than staying lying down. 

Taking the tour also helped us see how long it might take to get to the hospital, where we can park and the different entrances to the unit, there is a main entrance and an out of hours.

We both felt reassured after the visit and it helped to alleviate some our worries.  As with most things the image you build up in your head is always worse than the actual event, although I'm still convinced the pain of labour will be as bad as I am imagining!!

Parentcraft Classes

Mr M & I decided that we would take up the offer of any classes or assistance offered to us throughout the pregnancy.  We thought the more information we have the better equipped we may be.  Our trust gives you a pack at your booking in appointment which has information on all classes that are available in the area from aquanatal and yoga to parentcraft.  Following our 20 week scan we booked our place on the parentcraft classes.

I didn't really know what to expect, you see in films people sitting around on the floor huffing and puffing.  I don't know what other people's experience of parentcraft classes are but ours wasn't like that in the slightest.  The classes were held in a nearby children's centre, we all sat around a big table like we were back at school.  I've read stories of people making friends during their classes, noone at ours really spoke - each couple pretty much kept themselves to themselves.

 Our first class was all about the early stages of labour and how you can manage at home for as long as possible.  We were given handouts showing different positions which can help with pain as well as massages that partners can give on the lower back.  The midwife discussed the effacing of the cervix, which caused all the men in the room to squirm!  The midwife also brought along items which are used in labour such as epidurals, mouthpieces and cord clamps so we knew what these items were.

Our second class covered active labour, this class was mainly about the different kinds of pain relief that can be used alongside the pros and cons of each.  The midwife also discussed where things might take a diversion from the norm and what will happen in those circumstances.

Our third class was held at the hospital and included the delivery suite tour.  Prior to the tour we sat around another big table and the midwife told us about the third stage of labour where the placenta is delivered.  We also discussed skin to skin contact with baby.  Our trust actively delivers the placenta, this involves mum getting an injection in her leg and the midwife "helping" the placenta be delivered.  Again all the men were squirming in the their seats!

Our final class covered breastfeeding.  Out of the 9 couples that started the classes only 1 didn't come to this class.  This class was given by a STAR buddy rather than a midwife.  She was really knowledgeable and we left the class feeling empowered and informed.

One of the downsides of our parentcraft classes was that the midwife who gave our first class unfortunately took sick leave so every week we had a different midwife giving the class.  We spent the first 20 minutes or so telling the new midwife what we had covered the week before.  We did find the classes useful though and I would encourage any first time parents to go

Monday, 18 November 2013

Maternity Leave - the financial worries

My maternity leave started today, I am now off work for 9 months.  I'm not due back to work until mid August 2014!  When you say it out loud it sounds like a long time but I don't expect it to be a holiday, bump will keep me very busy I'm sure.  The bad part of maternity leave is maternity pay

When we found out we were pregnant I had just been offered a new job, luckily in the same trust I was already working for so my maternity leave allowance wasn't effected.  I have to say I was dreading telling my new boss I was pregnant.  We then had to think about how much time I was going to take off work, after a long hard think we decided it would be best if I took 9 months, as much as I would have loved to have taken a year we just couldn't afford it.

I decided to spread my maternity pay evenly over the 9 months, that way we would know (roughly) how much we would be getting each month.  Unfortunately my first proper months maternity pay is the worst, what happens in Decemeber?!? Yep Christmas!  There was no way we could pay all our bills and buy people Christmas presents like we have done in the past so we had to tell people we wouldn't be buying presents this year.  We explained that we don't expect people to buy us any either and that this would only be for this year.  Everyone was understanding and we have already started receiving presents from people even when we told them they didn't need to buy us anything.  For our Christmas and New Year meals we are only going to buy basics, every year we go mad and buy enough food to feed the whole street.  There is no need and this year we are being good and only buying essentials, since it will only be the 2 of us (plus bump hopefully) there is no need to have an extravagant meal.

We have also been looking around on how we can save money on our household bills.  Sky have reduced our bill for 9 months after we said we were going to leave.  Our electricity and gas is the best deal we could find anyway so we haven't changed that.  We now do our weekly shop at Aldi, we have halved our weekly shopping bill!! Whilst I have often been a bit of a food snob you can't tell the difference from the other main brands and its such a good price!

My biggest expense in my car, although I am planning on walking as many places as I can with bump once he arrives so this will cut down on my petrol use.  We have also told friends and family who live in Scotland and those down south that we won't be visiting them for a while and have asked that they come to us instead.  Again everyone has been understanding.  Not only will this save us petrol money but the thought of a 5 hour journey with a newborn fills me with dread!

I receive Martin Lewis emails every week so check them for ways we can save money.  We put the heating on at the last possible moment (we layered up on jumpers for a while).  When we were thinking about getting pregnant we both started saving in an ISA each so we have some savings should we need to use them but we also have to think about childcare costs, etc.  We are also going to start putting money in a savings account for bump but this will have to wait until I am back to work earning a full time wage again.

People manage every day and we will manage however having a newborn baby can be a stressful time, we don't want to have to worry about paying our bills on top of that, we want to spend our time and energy on enjoying our time with bump.

36 weeks

Today I am 36 weeks pregnant, only 4 more weeks to go (hopefully!!)

Compared to last week my bump appears to have grown outward and there appears more bump at the bottom than there was.

Apparently bump is gaining 28g a day and is now 2.7kg in weight and 47 cm long.  Apparently this is the same length as a romaine lettuce.  The good news is that at the end of this week bump will be considered to be full term so if he comes after Sunday he won't be considered as premature.  Whilst part of me is hoping he comes early I don't think he will appear in the next week.

Last night I definitely experienced Braxton Hicks, wow it was weird!! I have had niggles and period like cramps a few times but not been sure if they were Braxton Hicks or not.  Last night I had a bath as my hip and back were really sore after lots of walking around the day before.  My mum had come to visit for the weekend and we had gone into town for a bit of retail therapy then taken the dog for a walk on the beach.  It was lovely but I paid for it yesterday.  When I got out of the bath my stomach felt odd, it felt like someone was shrinking my stomach or had wrapped it in clingfilm and was pulling it tight, a very odd sensation.  Then later as I was getting into bed it happened again.  Each time this sensation only lasted for a matter of seconds, maybe 10-20 seconds each time, and happened about 4 hours apart.  Thankfully they weren't painful either.

The feeling of Braxton Hicks made me excited that my body is practicing for labour but also a little anxious.  My mum and dad live about 2 hours away just over the border in Scotland, my mum has the week I am due bump off work (just by coincidence) but this sensation made me think about what will happen if I go into labour before or after she comes down.  Mr M is my primary birthing partner obviously but he doesn't drive and this constantly plays on my mind with regards to getting to and from hospital.

With only 4 weeks to go the end is in sight, I just hope our little man doesn't leave us waiting too long

Friday, 15 November 2013

Review: Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine

As it's the weekend many of my friend's Facebook status updates inform me their plans for consuming lots of alcohol.

Before I got pregnant I wasn't a heavy drinker but I could drink quite a bit depending on whose company I was in.  We had a busy social calendar either meeting friends in the pub or going to friends houses.  This has only decreased in the past 2 months or so due to the fact we need to save money.

A friend introduced me to an alcohol free wine at her daughters 1st birthday party, I have no idea what the brand was but it tasted horrid.  I also tried Alcohol Free Pear Kopparberg, again horrid, it was far too sweet for my taste.  I had resigned myself to the fact that I would drink lemonade when we were out and Schloer in the house or at other people's houses.  I was happy with this as I enjoy both.

I then discovered Eisberg Alcohol Free wine at the Baby and Toddler Show at MediaCity.  I have to say I was a little skeptical after my previous encounter with alcohol free wine, however Eisberg state that their wine is made in the same way as normal wine but the final process is the remove the alcohol.

My favourite wine is Rose, I love the fruity taste.  When I had a sip of the Eisberg wine I couldn't believe how much it tasted like normal Rose wine.  Finally something different I could drink!  I also thought that this would be good for Christmas and New Year as I am planning to breast feed bump this would give me something else that I could drink and not need to have alcohol.  Another bonus is that it only contains 34 calories per 125ml, as we all know alcoholic drinks are full of calories. 

I bought 2 bottles of Rose at the show and they lasted me about a month.  I found that my local Morrison's sell it (£3.49 a bottle) so I bought a bottle of Rose and a Chardonnay.  The Chardonnay again tasted like normal white wine, I was again impressed.  These bottles again last me about a month.

To be honest I haven't missed alcohol whilst I have been pregnant and with my plans being to breast feed I have no idea when the next time I will have an alcoholic drink will be, to be honest I'm not that bothered.  I enjoy Eisberg Wine and still have lemonade and Schloer to mix it up, I get bored having the same thing all the time.  It's good to know there are options available.

Disclosure: When I attended the Baby and Toddler Show was not writing my blog, I purchased this product because I liked them and wanted to try it.  No review was expected from the seller.  My views are my own.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Attachment Parenting

There has been some information on Attachment Parenting in the media over the past few days.  Attachment parenting is about building a bond with your baby and responding to their needs in a timely and sensitive way.

It loosely follows the seven Bs:
  • Birth bonding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Baby wearing
  • Bed sharing
  • Belief in the language of your baby’s cry
  • Beware of baby trainers
  • Balance
What I didn't realise until I researched this a little more was that you don't have to follow all of the B's and it isn't about being regimented.  It's about finding out what works for you and YOUR baby.  It is about knowing your child.  At the end of the day no-one will know your child better than you and your partner, yes people will try and help and make suggestions but you will know what your child's cry will mean and you need to trust your instincts.  Attachment parenting isn't about ignoring all that "helpful" advice from others either, its about seeking support for yourself when you need it.

We are planning on both having skin to skin contact with bump after the birth.  I am going to try and breast feed but we also want Mr M to have that skin to skin time, we will continue that at home too.  We have also been trying to bond with him prior to birth by speaking to him and rubbing my belly.

Mr M is very keen to babywear, its not that I'm not keen but I have issues with my back and am not sure whether I will be able to babywear.  I am going to give it a try though but I think Mr M will probably do this more than me.

Bed sharing scares me!! I won't lie.  The thought of the baby in bed and I roll onto him is all I can think about when I consider bed sharing.  Our midwife told us that there are ways to safely bed share but I honestly don't think I will be able to sleep if we did this for fear of hurting him.  I have seen bednests which open up at the side so baby is next to you but separate, these really appeal to me but are expensive.

We have already discussed how we are going to deal with bump crying.  Everyone has their own approach but we want to respond to his crying in a timely manner.  I know that people say you are spoiling them but a newborn baby has no idea what manipulation is, if he is crying there will be a reason and we want to respond to that.  As he gets older we will get to know him and his cries.

I am going to seek support whenever I need it, friends and my mum have already been a great help and I know that will continue once bump is born.  I will also be telling people when to back off as well, I am quite strong minded and I also fester on things, I need to be straight but pleasant with people otherwise I can see myself exploding at them if whatever it is continues.

Balance is very important I think.  We have discussed that we are going to try and do this as a team, obviously when Mr M goes back to work I will be on my own but he says he will help when he is back home.  I can't really ask for more than that.  I have also spoken with friends and plan to go to baby groups so I am meeting other people and not going mad within the 4 walls of the house.  I think that baby groups are great for bump too, anything to help stimulate him.

Attachment parenting isn't for everyone but I do like some of their ideas and principles

Hospital Bag

Not that I am expecting to go into labour early but I want to be prepared so I've packed most of my hospital bag already, I don't want to be rushing about (or asking Mr M to rush about) last minute, we would forget something!!

I feel that my bag might be a little small, which also makes me think I'm forgetting things.  I have compared my bag to lists available on the internet from the likes of Mamas & Papas and Bounty.

In my bag:-

For Me -
- nightie
- 2 pairs PJs
- 1 vest top (incase I have a water birth)
- 5 pairs Primark big pants
- 4 x 2 packs of breast pads
- toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, moisturiser)
- slippers
- hairbrush & 3 bobbles
- pack of 10 maternity pads
- 2 flannels

I still need to put in my coming home outfit and my nursing bras, I ordered the bras yesterday so hopefully they should be here in the next few days.  I also need to remember a camera and my notes.  My notes are in my handbag which I doubt I will take to hospital with me, we might need to put a sign at the front door saying "don't forget notes" as a prompt 

For Bump -
- 3 x vests
- 4 x sleepsuits
- 1 sleepsuit for coming home
- pram suit
- 2 x mittens
- 2 x hats
- 8 nappies
- muslin square

I am also going to make up a little bag of food, this weekend when we go shopping I am going to get some sweets, cereal bars and sugary drinks.  Not only will these be for me but Mr M is type 1 diabetic so he needs to keep an eye on his blood sugars, I don't want him having a hypo as I give birth!  I'm also going to encourage him to make up a bag for himself with some essentials incase we are in hospital for a while, but that's up to him.

If there's anything that I've forgotten please let me know!!