Newborn favourites

My little baby is 20 weeks old already! I can’t believe how fast time seems to be moving, even my eldest said ‘how is she rolling over already, you just had her!’ I wrote this post a while ago and thought I should publish it now before she starts to outgrow things. After having a few babies, I’ve tried and tested lots of baby products and thought I’d write a post of some of my favourites and what we’re using at the moment. With this baby I didn’t want to buy a lot of unnecessary things and try to have essential and practical items that we’d use everyday.

Clothing

Front fastening bodysuits and sleep-suits are a must for me, they’re so much easier to put on and take off a newborn baby, especially in the early days. They’re a lot less fiddly than putting ones over their head and also makes it easier during check-ups and appointments. I’ve used various bodysuits including Engel, Zara and H&M which are always good. I particularly love the terry towelling Mothercare white sleep-suits which are lovely and cosy for newborns.

Baby clothes are so cute and it’s easy to over buy and then not use a lot of them, as they grow so fast! I’ve tried to be selective of my favourite’s, choosing quality over quantity and not over buy in each size. We’ve really managed to get quite a lot of wear out of all her clothing so far this time around. I’ve chosen practical cosy clothing with minimal ironing, I think bloomers and rompers look cute on babies and I found some lovely knitted booties/scratch mitts, hats and head bands on Etsy which we’ve had lots of use out of. It will be almost time to pack away her winter woollens and get out the summer outfits!

Sleeping

I use the same Moses basket I’ve used with previous babies and ordered a lovely floral mattress sheet to use this time from Tiny Toes and Bedclothes. It has a rocking stand with a fabric shelf at the bottom which is really useful for storing nappies, wipes, muslins, blankets and a spare sleep-suit if needed during the night. Also because we had a winter baby, I sometimes line her basket with a sheepskin to make it cosy and warm. The sheepskin can also be used in the pram or indoors to lay on, so it’s quite versatile, it’s the same one I used with my first born who is 14! (Kaiser babylamm)

I’ve found a cosy wool Disana sleeping bag to be really cute and useful to keep baby warm and not have to worry about loose covers. I used a cellular blanket and a couple of swaddle blankets in the early days, I like a couple I have from Fine Little Day and Little Unicorn. We have a sleep sack to use during warmer weather too, which was on sale at the time from BOXXkids on Etsy.

We have a Lajlo baby nest, which is padded, soft and portable, they have some nice fabrics available to choose from and are larger than some, suitable from birth-age 2. There are some questions on the safety of baby nests and I’m only using it for supervised day time naps.

Monitor/Camera

Baby monitors can be expensive, we’re using a ‘EZVIZ mini O indoor WiFi camera’ with does a really good job and costs around £35-£40. You can move it between rooms, depending where baby is, it’s magnetic and you can also screw it to a wall. You can download an app onto your phone or computer and watch live from anywhere. It has two way audio and night vision.

Muslins & Bibs

We go through so many muslins/bibs and use them in the pram and Moses basket as liners as-well as for burping. I’ve found thicker ones to be better absorbent and longer lasting. I really like Konges Slojd muslins and love the colours, quality and thickness of Cam Cam Copenhagen cloths/bibs. I prefer bibs with ‘side’ press-stud fastening which are easier to put on and take off and Velcro ones tend to stick to other things in the washing machine, so I try to avoid those now. I have some good banana style bibs too which fasten at the back from H&M and Yoga Sprout.

Pom Pom baskets to store bodysuits & sleep-suits

Playtime

We’ve used a play-mat and play-gym from the beginning and use it everyday, it’s somewhere cosy for baby to lay and entertain herself. We’re using a small padded quilt and a Heimess colourful wooden gym.

One item I’ve re-used with all babies is a swing! It’s a cradle ‘n swing and I like it because it’s higher off the ground and can swing in two different directions, they’ve all napped in it during the day and it’s given me chance to do some housework!

She has a couple of Jellycat toys, which are so soft & loveable for newborns. She really likes twinkly lights so we bought a light projector that shines onto the ceiling and wall, it also has a static setting so can be used as a dim light for night feeds too. She also likes a wooden teething toy which belonged to my eldest and a small teddykompaniet rattle which belonged to my son.

Bath-Time

We love the schnuggle bath. It’s suitable from birth and I’ve found it so much easier to use than bending over a big bath and baby prefers it too! It’s one of our best baby buys.

A couple of small hooded towels are useful for after bath time, I found a lovely snuggly one in the Zara home sale.

I love Mustela baby bath products and nappy cream which I’ve also used in the past, the smell brings back happy memories.

Out & About

My favourite pram/pushchair is a bugaboo chameleon which has been used with previous babies. I use car seat adapters to attach a car seat and I like that you can change the fabrics if you’d like to customise with a different colour. They’re sturdy, interchangeable, adaptable to different types of terrain and replacement parts can be easily found.

Baby Carriers are useful, I have a Baby Bjorn carrier which I’ve had since my second baby and find that easy to use during outdoor walks. This time I’ve also tried a baby wrap, I thought they looked complicated in the past, but they’re straight forward once you follow a video tutorial and have a practice, they’re really soft and comfortable to wear, it’s also great for around the house when baby won’t settle, you can carry them hands free and get a few jobs done at the same time. There’s a lot of lovely fabrics to choose from, I really like pastel shades and stripes at the moment.

I haven’t bought a baby change bag yet and have been using a handbag which is big enough to fit the essentials in, including an insulated bottle holder I already had, which I use to store a bottle in when we go out. It only holds one bottle and I’ve thought about buying a double one.

I have a couple of fabric changing mats, which you can also fold up and take out with you, one from Cam Cam Copenhagen and one which my mum made.

Feeding

I’m doing combination feeding (breast and formula) and tried a few different bottles, but settled on Avent natural which suited our baby best (these also suited her better than the Avent classic we used previously)

I couldn’t of managed without Avent nipple shields (I’ve tried others but prefer these) and lanolin cream during the first few weeks to help me continue with breast feeding.

I know there’s advice out there not to use nipple shields because it could effect milk supply and not to use bottles while breast feeding because it could cause nipple confusion, but we’ve found it works for us.

I’ve re-used an Avent manual breast pump and purchased a new space-saving Avent electric steam steriliser (I haven’t tried any other brands) but an electric pump might make life easier.

I’m using a tomee tipee bottle warmer for night feeds. It works well but the knob seems a bit fiddly (can’t get a very good grip on it) We use a cool bag with ice blocks during the night to store milk and keep it cold, which is really simple & practical.

Breast milk storage bags are great for storing milk when you have an over supply in the early days or if you’re expressing feeds. You can store breast milk in the back of the fridge for 3-5 days and in the freezer for 6-12 months depending on temperatures. (Breast milk guidelines can vary slightly on different websites, I usually use mine within 3 days from the fridge and 6 months from the freezer). I also like using the Avent sealing discs, which covert a bottle to a breast milk storage container.

I’ve used a breastfeeding pillow in the past, but haven’t as of yet, but I’ve been considering it recently as baby is feeling heavier to hold.

I also plan on getting a mirror for the back seat and some sun shades for the rear windows in the car.

Hope you find this useful and I’d like to hear about your favourite’s and what you can’t live without 🙂

(None of the content of this post is sponsored or gifted)

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Pregnancy at 40 after placental abruption

Beliefs are a funny thing, I wonder where they come from, maybe we’re conditioned that way by society or by other people’s opinions.

I believed Quinn was my last chance of having a fourth child, I conceived him at age 39. I was age 40 and 38 weeks pregnant, I felt relieved we’d made it to the end, I thought we’d done it and were expecting his arrival any day. I pictured our time together and our life with him in it, then suddenly at 38+4 without warning everything changed and he was gone forever. We’d tried for a few years to get to that point and suffered a miscarriage before him, I felt like my hope was gone.

Quinn

Prior to this I believed in my body to go into labour and know what to do, but my placenta completely detached early and I couldn’t understand why it did that and I still don’t. Why would my baby’s life line that had kept him alive for over 38 weeks just stop working when he was perfect, ready to be born and live life on the outside. After this I lost trust in my body to do the right thing anymore and to keep my baby alive. I felt like my mind and body were two separate things and I have no control over what my body does.

I was devastated my baby died and also at the thought of not having another chance. I felt like I was mourning him and the end of having another baby. I believed I wouldn’t be able to try again after what my body went through during the abruption. I lost an excessive amount of blood, it was touch and go with my life, my body went into shock and I was minutes away from a life saving hysterectomy, but wonderful medical staff managed to save me and my uterus, aswell as doing everything they could for Quinn. I was in surgery for hours and very poorly, after surgery I was in critical care receiving more blood transfusions and antibiotics as there was concern I may have sepsis, while also visiting Quinn in the neonatal unit and being advised of his treatments and prognosis.

After Quinn’s death a consultant came to speak to us and mentioned if I was to conceive again I’d be under consultant care, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and felt I had hope.

Age 40 played a lot on my mind during trying to conceive and during Quinn’s pregnancy. I worried about what other people would think, their opinions of ‘being to old’ and when he died people’s first reactions would be ‘was it your age’. From my online research since Quinn’s death, connecting with others and reading real-life stories about baby loss, placental abruption and trying for a baby in your 40’s, I haven’t found that baby’s who have died usually have mothers over 40. There’s also a lot of statistics out there and it can all sound a bit gloomy, but I preferred to talk to people with real life experiences and things usually sounded much more positive.

I felt angry at myself for waiting so long to ttc after having my third child, the gap was getting bigger between children and I was getting older. I had haemorrhaged after my third baby and that was why I waited longer, I was scared of it happening again and it worried me during Quinn’s pregnancy. It goes to show that every pregnancy is different and with my experiences something else happend rather than the thing I was worrying about. The previous haemorrhage now felt like nothing compared to this.

I hadn’t factored in the possibility of loosing Quinn at this point and I’d previously decided my cut off point for trying for a fourth child should be age 40. I was grateful to conceive before then and thought it must of been meant to be, but now he’d gone I didn’t know what to do and had to re-think my beliefs. I wanted another baby, I wanted the life back I almost had before it was taken away. I was now age 40, back to the beginning, having to start again and wondering why life has to be so hard sometimes. Going through month after month of trying again, the deflation/hope cycle that consumes your mind, but I was grateful to still have options. If I’d had to have a life-saving hysterectomy I wouldn’t have hope, I’d have to accept that was the end to that part of my journey.

Later once I’d recovered more from the surgery, I made an appointment with a consultant at the hospital to discuss Quinn’s death, the placental abruption and possibilities of a future pregnancy. I wanted to get medical advice and facts before doing anything, I didn’t want to put my life at great risk again. The appointment was more positive than anticipated, I was given statistics on the chances of a repeat abruption and told the hardest part would be for me to conceive and it ‘sticking’. She advised delivery at 37 weeks and that I’d be able to have a c-section if wanted. I was so concerned about my age at this point, she said wait at least 6 months post Quinn’s death rather than a minimum of a year (which she thought would be more advisable) I had a long painful recovery after the emergency c-section, I didn’t feel ‘safe’ health-wise straight away, I felt very tired and it felt like having to learn to walk again, I couldn’t imagine or picture myself out walking and climbing hills again. The pain improved more over time and began to go after 8 months. During recovery I started looking after myself, changed my diet, cut out all junk and caffeine and ate healthy. I took a pre-conception vitamin, COQ10, Maca powder smoothies and did yoga/ walking every week.

Baby Girl

I know lots of people go through hard fertility journeys, but I don’t feel experiences are comparable, they are all different and relevant. It doesn’t matter how many children you have, the loss is the same and it doesn’t make it easier to bare or any less, you still want them. Having another baby doesn’t change that either, but another baby has brought a lot of joy into our lives and a happier ending to my motherhood journey. In this pregnancy my age didn’t enter my head once and I had a healthy baby age 41! I felt healthy during pregnancy and haven’t felt overly tired like I thought I would (but that might be because she’s the only baby I’ve had that has been sleeping through the night!) I expected it to feel harder (maybe because that’s what you hear) but I’m enjoying every moment and that could be because my outlook has changed since experiencing having a baby who died.

I’ve read negativity about older mums, people calculating the age of a child when the mother will be a certain age and saying their selfish. Who is guaranteed a long and heathy life? Something could happen to anyone at anytime, nobody is immune from what life can deal you.

Quinn isn’t here but he’s teaching us things everyday, he’s always on my mind and is so wanted and missed and he’ll never know that. I hate what my body did to him but I think it’s amazing that it made two beautiful babies within 18 months of each other. I held onto my hope and dreams, it felt terrifying and risky, but I didn’t want to look back later with regrets and ‘what if’s’

I’ve written this post as it might help somebody else going through similar, reading other peoples stories is what gave me hope. My beliefs weren’t my reality in the end, I’m grateful for what I have, but also forever sad that our son…my children’s brother will never get to be here with us.

A poem to Quinn

On July 4th 2017 I woke up from general anaesthetic wondering if my baby was still alive. What should of been joy turned into a nightmare you don’t wake up from, because it’s real life. It’s hazy & time fades memories but I want to remember everything about him, so I put it into a poem for my son 👼🏻💙

I looked at you
You were looking at me
But your eyes were closed
You never did see
.
My baby boy
Chubby with short fair hair
So it was you in there?
I didn’t know you yet
All I could do was stare
.
There were wires and tubes
You were swollen and bruised
To me you looked like perfection
.
I touched your skin
Then fell tear after tear
My heart felt broken
As I lived out my fear
.
Always together
It was you and me
I wanted you back
How it used to be
.
Your family was there
Filled with sadness & despair
So close to the end
Taken by something that’s rare
.
We said goodbye & held your hand
Why was this happening?
It was never planned
.
We cuddled you tight
Slept beside you all night
Made memories to last us a lifetime
.
So wanted you were
A dream come true
Then taken from us
The missing piece is you
.
An empty space where you belong
We have your pictures, We play your song
In my heart & thoughts, I never let you go
My forever baby, I love you so

Time to pack a hospital bag

I am now coming upto 35 weeks pregnant and with my c-section scheduled for in a couple of weeks time, I’ve made a start on packing my hospital bags. I’ve tried not to over pack and keep it simple with essential and practical items, some of which I’ve used in the past. I was recommended badedas bath gelee by a midwife after the birth of my first born and have used it after the birth of each baby….I use it for it’s recommended healing properties but also for the nostalgic smell! Listed are items I would use in hospital and would continue to use after.

Mama

Maternity notes

A wash bag including, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, facial cleansing wipes, badedas bath gelee, brush & hair-tie

Small make-up bag with basic make-up (bb cream, concealer, powder, lipstick, mascara)

Lansinoh Lanolin, nipple shields, maternity pads, breast pads (I have some re-usable ones)

Front buttoned night dress’s

Feeding vests and feeding bras

Pj bottoms

Dark coloured briefs/maternity briefs (full briefs so they don’t rub on scar)

Feeding jumpsuit

Socks

Slippers/flip flops

Phone charger (pack on day)

Money/change

Comfy outfit for traveling home (leggings/front buttoned shirt)

Feeding vests/underwear is from H&M

Baby

front fastening Sleepsuits (including some mothercare white terry towelling)

Front fastening bodysuits (vests)

Hat & Scratch mitts

Cellular blanket

Muslin blanket

Dummy

Nappies & wipes

Snowsuit for travelling home

Car seat

Peanut butter chocolate flapjack

A few weeks ago we were at a birthday party and tried some homemade peanut butter flapjack which were so yummy. This week a friend forwarded on a recipe they had tried and said they turned out really good, so yesterday we made some and we all loved them. We followed this quick and easy recipe:

Ingredients

125g Sugar (I used brown)

2 tbsp golden syrup

2 tbsp peanut butter

250g oats

125g butter

200g milk or plain chocolate, depending on preference

Method

Pre-heat the over to approx 175 degrees c.

Melt the butter, sugar, golden syrup, peanut butter in a pan over a low heat.

Turn off the heat and stir in the oats.

Pour the mixture into a greased/lined tin (I used a silicone square cake mound, approx 5cm deep, 20cm square and lined it with greaseproof paper)

Bake for around 20mins or until golden around the edges.

Leave to cool.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of water or in the microwave and then pour evenly over the cooled flapjack, leave it to set then cut into squares.

Enjoy!

Tips:

This amount of oats makes a crunchier flapjack, if you’d prefer it less crunchy, try adding only 200g oats.

If you’d prefer to drizzle the chocolate, only 100g melted chocolate is needed.

‘Bonfire Night’ Toffee Apple’s

Today we made some sticky crunchy toffee apples for bonfire night, which went down well! We used the following recipe which made approx 7 toffee apples.

Ingredients

7 apples

200g caster sugar

175ml water

7 tbsp golden syrup

Knob of butter

Lolly sticks

Method

Lay out some greaseproof paper ready to place the toffee apples onto later and insert lolly sticks into the stalk end of your washed apples (we twisted off the stalks first)

In a saucepan over a medium heat combine sugar, golden syrup, water and a knob of butter until dissolved. Bring to the boil without stirring until the toffee reaches approx 150 degrees C (10-20 minutes – if you drop a small amount of toffee into cold water and it forms brittle threads which break when removed from the water, it’s ready. If it’s still squishy continue to boil for longer)

Once ready, remove from the heat and working quickly hold the apple by the stick, dip into the toffee and turn to coat it evenly (you may need to tilt the pan while doing this) let any excess toffee drip off, then place the apple onto the greaseproof paper to set. You may have to heat the toffee a little again if the temperature drops and it starts to feel too thick to work with.

You could also add sprinkles to your toffee apples to decorate.

Apple Muffins

Last weekend we baked some apple muffins. I was looking for some healthier baking options, to use up some of the cooking apples we have and came across this apple muffin recipe. We ate them for desert with custard & everyone enjoyed them! I used half the mix below to bake 6 muffins, then with the other half of the mix I added a couple of handfuls of frozen blueberries. We used this apple sauce recipe.

Makes approx 12 muffins.

Ingredients

245g plain wholemeal flour

1½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

150g grated apple

120g apple diced into small cubes

5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

8 tbsp honey

2 eggs

115g plain Greek yogurt

125g apple sauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp sugar for sprinkling on top

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, grease your muffin tray with butter or a cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, then stir in the grated and chopped apple.

In another mixing bowl, combine the oil and honey and beat together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then mix in the yogurt, applesauce and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a big spoon, until combined (the batter will be thick) divide the mixture equally into your muffin tray & sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean.

Place them on a cooling rack.