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Shopping second hand

I’ve got a confession – before having Eddie I was a bit of a second hand snob! I hardly ever purchased clothes from charity shops or nearly new sales, and wouldn’t have even thought of buying anything for the house from them. It’s not that I thought they were bad or dirty, I guess I had the cash and always wanted things shiny and new!

Well that has certainly changed now we have our little Eddie-munchkin. Maternity leave lack of pay has hit us hard. AND we’ve still got another 7 months to go until we’re back to being a two salary household….. AND even then we’ll have an astonishingly huge amount to pay for nursery. (seriously – astonishing! how anyone can afford to go back to work when they have two children amazes me).

So I decided to go to a maternity & baby nearly new sale with a friend last weekend… I wasn’t sure what to expect – but the mahoosive queue outside was a surprise! Speaking to a few people they advised to get it clear in our heads what we needed – and then browse for other stuff. Ok… activity table for me and jumperoo for my friend – and we were off…

Once in the hall, I was AMAZED at the amount of baby stuff in there – clothes, toys, cots, prams, maternity clothes, books – the lot! I spotted an activity table for £4 and grabbed it, thinking that it was cheap and I’d put up with any damage….. but there was no damage at all! I then went on to have a rummage through the clothes and got a beautiful pram suit without a mark on it, and also nabbed some clothes, small toys and lovely childrens books. All in all, I spent about £28 on what would have cost me over £140 new! Bargain bargain bargain!

I’m crying a little inside about the money I spent on new things before Eddie was born – and what I could have saved on bigger items like the moses basket and pushchair.

Since then I’ve joined two local facebook groups (Kiddibits being one of them) of mums selling second hand items – and have managed to bag a jumperoo with RRP of £120 for £20 and a travel cot with RRP of £140 for £35.

All in all, I am thoroughly impressed with the second hand items out there – yes you have to search a bit to find what you want, and invest in some antibacterial wipes (just in case!) but there are mega savings to be had… guilt free shopping (well, nearly!)

Will I buy new again? most probably – but not without checking the local nearly new sale first to see if I can get it cheaper!! xxx

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Baby Swimming

I’m one of those mums who is determined to get out of the house and try out activities with my little one – to help his development but also so I don’t go stir crazy!

One activity that we started when he was 10 weeks old was baby swimming, with a company called waterbabies. There are lots of different classes and companies out there – but we chose waterbabies as they were recommended by friends.

I must admit, I was slightly worried before I started… and mainly by the mixed messages! On their website NHS England states that babies can go swimming from any age, but the nurse at our GP said to wait until after all Eddie’s vaccinations. My baby book said not to take him until at least 6 months old and that there is a risk of ear infections and stomach upsets, but when I asked my health visitor she said to throw the book in the bin and jump in the pool! Argh head spin!

So a very nervous mummy and oblivious Eddie headed to the pool one Friday afternoon. I wasn’t sure what to expect – so here are a few tips and highlights for anyone contemplating going swimming with their little one…

  1. swim-1All the mums and dads are in the same boat at the start! Excited, nervous and hoping their little one doesn’t scream. All the people in my class are really friendly and we have a good chat in the changing room.
  2. Take two towels for your little one, if they are like Eddie they will most likely pee all over the first towel so a back up is useful!
  3. Give yourself plenty of time before the lesson to arrive, change, change baby, rock baby, feed baby (especially if they are still on milk) etc etc! I tend to get there half an hour before the lesson to allow myself time to do all of the above without getting in a complete tiz!
  4. swim-2Give baby a top up feed if breastfeeding about 15-30 minutes before the lesson… prevents a sudden “I’m hungry” screaming fit in the middle of the pool!
  5. Don’t worry if your little one starts screaming – they all do at some point and in our class, because of the little ones ages (some are quite young when they started – around 5 weeks) they are all grizzly and tired after the first 15 minutes!
  6. Slowly but surely they will build up confidence, with a slight backwards step every now and again. The first lesson Eddie screamed his head off and I thought I had made a very expensive mistake booking the classes – but the second session he didn’t scream and just looked confused, and by the fourth he was starting to smile and enjoy his time in the pool. In my opinion age makes the difference – it seems to be when the babies hit 3 months or older they really start to enjoy the water rather than cry or seem confused by the whole experience!
  7. Underwater swimming is more scary for the parents than the baby! Eddie does not seem to mind at all, other than looking slightly perplxed when he resurfaces, but I’m slightly nervous each time he goes under! swim-3

All in all, I would definitely recommend swimming with your baby. Our classes are focussed on skills to help the babies if they ever fall in water – now whether they do that or not I have my doubts…. I think the babies might be a bit too young to know what “hold on” means(!) but its definitely a fun activity, strengthens baby’s muscles and gives you something to look forward to each week! xxx

Nothing is quite as it seems…

We tried for a baby for years. We had a miscarriage in 2011, and all I could think about for a long while was how I had been deprived of being a mum, what I would be missing and the stages of life that child would be at as the years progressed. We were so lucky to get pregnant on our first go at IVF in 2015, and so much more lucky to have a healthy baby boy, my darling Eddie, born in June this year.

Whenever I see anybody, they always say how well I seem, how I seem like a super confident mum, like someone who has got the hang of things. Well, nothing is quite as it seems….

I never thought that, at only 10 weeks after his birth, I’d feel so down. It is actually really hard to admit it, even on here.

The first 6 weeks of Eddie’s life were a blur – visitors, appointments, getting used to nappy changes, sleep patterns, feeding and life with a baby. I hardly had time to sit down, never mind think about how I was feeling! We then went on holiday for two weeks and I thought I had things sussed out – that life was great, and I was on a high. Getting home then was a shock – back to the messy house, the long days with Eddie, the lack of control.

Over the last two weeks, since getting back from holiday, I have felt feel sad, down and not my normal self. It manifests itself through almost constant worry – worrying about a slight rash that Eddie has, worrying about the temperature in our bedroom at night, worrying that I have skin cancer developing, worrying about my husband getting to work on his bike, about nursery…weaning…breastfeeding. All that worry results in guilt – guilt that because I am worrying I am not enjoying my little man as much, that I am not looking after him how I should be. That guilt makes me sad, angry and intensifies the worry.

I have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and I went through cognitive behavioural therapy a few years ago. I was warned that it might come back at times of high stress or change – but I thought I was in control, I thought I was “better”.

Sometimes it feels like I’m in a bubble and I just can’t get a breath. I don’t have time to calm myself or think logically – because caring for my little boy is the most intense full time job – feeding him, or comforting him, or thinking what he might need.

I shouted at my 10 week old baby the other day. He doesn’t understand, he was only crying… but I shouted at him. I wished for my old life back, if only for a second, and it hurts to admit it. A few minutes later he had calmed down and smiled at me, and my heart melted. How could I have shouted at my beautiful baby boy?

I love my son more than anything. He is a beautiful little man, my wish of a long long time. But now he is here, especially in the last few weeks, I have been really struggling to enjoy my time with him.

I see my friends from NCT at least once a week, and other friends as well, and they have no idea how I’m feeling. Why? because I can’t bring myself to admit it to them… and the reason for that is because I feel guilty for having these feelings, guilty for not coping as well as I seem to be. Maybe I should talk to them, and maybe in the future I will.

Some people will judge when they read the above, and thats fine.

My point? It took me balling my eyes out at the health visitor this week to realise that something is wrong.

I spoke to my husband and he said to visit the GP, and to blog – because blogging helped me when going through IVF. Is it my OCD back? Is it postpartum depression? Does the label matter? Basically I need some help.

I need help because I love Eddie, I have wanted him for so long. I need some help to get through this intrusive worrying, and truly enjoy him.

And it’s OK that I need the help – and that is the most difficult thing to accept  xx

 

Holiday (aka packing nightmare!)

We have recently been to the Lake District (a wonderful place in England full of mountains, lakes, forests, beautiful views, wonderful walks, icecream, scones and cream, nice beer, gorgeous pubs…. and no internet or mobile phone signal) for a holiday.

Packing the car for a trip with a 6 week old baby was a NIGHTMARE!! Below are the major items and my thought processes behind each one.

  1. Baby clothes – how many to take? will it be hot? will it be cold? layers seemed to be the answer but then Eddie seems to be able to be in exploding poo mode which means all layers are immediately covered… I managed to half fill an adult sized suitcase with this clothes.
  2. viewSleeping – what will he sleep in? We didn’t have money for a travel cot so maybe a drawer?? In the end we decided on our bassinet for the pram which folds up but is pretty bulky. Then comes the question of blankets, sleeping bag (multiple in case of night time exploding poo).
  3. Eating – so luckily breast feeding requires no extras (my boobs are handily permanently attached) BUT what if I was ill, or wanted to go out and have a family member babysit? So into the case went bottles, sterilising bags, formula, breast pump…
  4. Bathtime – baby bath (big!) in case there is no bath at the hired cottage, baby toiletries, towels (multiple in case of bath time exploding poo)
  5. Toys / Entertainment – Eddie has a playmat which he loves (in the pile it goes!) and a bouncy chair with a toy bar over it (in the pile it goes!). Then I though about tummy time and his toy roll for that, but decided that was maybe going a bit too far and I would use a rolled up towel.
  6. Extras – nappies, changing mat, infacol, gripe water, sun screen…. pause for breath… cotton wool, wipes, muslins, room thermometer, baby monitor, first aid kit…. pause for deeper breath…..pushchair, baby sling, sunscreen, breast pads….boom! brain explodes!

So considering all of the above, and after adding a suitcase for our own clothes, toileteries, shoes, bags, walking boots, coats, rucksacks (aaaargh!!) and once we had got Eddie and his car seat into the car we looked a little bit like this….

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I was so glad we decided to go on a family holiday in the car rather than flying anywhere!

We had a lovely holiday though, and enjoyed walking in the lakes with our little man and the rest of the family 🙂

End note: This was our first big trip with the little fella, and on reflection I didn’t end up using half the stuff I had taken! Haha ooooops!  xxx

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Eddie & his Fur Brothers

Before Eddie was born (5 weeks ago now – can’t believe it!) my two little fur babies were leading a very contented life.

They had their mum to themselves most days – with lots of cuddles, playtime and ear scratches. They could sleep and play more or less wherever they wanted, and the house was essentially theirs!

Suddenly, when Eddie arrived home, all things changed. I guess from their perspective there is now this weird smelling, twitching, unpredictable, screaming, milky “thing” that their mum & dad are obsessed with. We did as much as we could to prepare them – you can read about that here on my pregnancy blog.

Their first reaction to Eddie was one of extreme suspicion… they would creep into the room Eddie was in, almost on their bellies, and as soon as he moved or made a noise would dash out again. This game was repeated every 30 minutes or so!

I decided after a few days of this to help things along by feeding them treats while I was holding Eddie – which initially they would quickly scoff and then leg it out of the room again. I started holding the treat out to them, and gradually moved the treat closer and closer to Eddie until it was balanced on his leg or tummy so they would have to come right up to the baby to get it! It seemed to help though and slowly but surely they have been building up their confidence around the small man. I would definitely recommend this to other cat owners.

Now, 5 weeks in, they are both “coping” with Eddie in different ways.

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Hendrix having a cautious sniff of the little man

Hendrix has taken a strategy of “if I just ignore the baby, he might just go away” – with an occasional sniff just to check if he is still here! He will happily walk past Eddie, completely blanking him and showing no interest at all. He is a bit more skittish than normal, so obviously isn’t quite settled yet.

Any visitor that comes is almost immediately greeted by a cuddle from Hendrix – poor little mite seems desperate for attention!

I have tried to play with him over the last couple of days to show him that despite the new arrival I still love him to bits! (yep, mad cat lady)

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Gilmour trying to join in!

My other cat Gilmour has taken an entirely different approach! As you can see from the picture he is now trying to join in all baby related activities.

He loves to sit on me when I’m breastfeeding, which is cute but makes the whole exercise  a lot more difficult! He gives Eddie lots of head rubs while I feed him and likes to cuddle right into us.

I love the fact that he seems to like our new member of the family, but I am slightly worried now that he is trying to sit on Eddie – not ideal for a 4kg baby to have a 5kg cat climbing on him!

Looks like I’m going to have to look up some strategies to discourage Gilmour from liking Eddie quite so much… 🙂

One thing I’ve found amazing is their ability to keep sleeping no matter how loudly Eddie is screaming…. it doesn’t seem to bother them at all. I think I need to borrow whatever it is they are using to stuff their ears with!

All in all, I think it’s gone well with the cats and introducing their new brother. There has been no scent marking in the house, no excessive grooming or other problems and they seem to be settling into the new routine (with a few tweaks!).

Hopefully my fur babies will continue to enjoy life with their new brother and Eddie will grow up with two little friends to play with (gently!!). I think there will definitely be some new challenges with the cats when he starts moving and grabbing things!  xxx

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Eddie and Gilmour having a cuddle

 

 

Sleeping success!

Eddie has been testing us, starting from sleeping in stints of only one or two hours a night in the first two weeks or so. Exhausting!

bc4c4576598031682e2fa788d2702d8cWe started to work out that breastfeeding in bed last thing at night seemed to fill his tummy enough to nod off (hooray!) but then begins the careful process of removing him from said breast and getting him into his moses basket, which is next to the bed.

Eddie seems to have a knack of knowing exactly when my husband is about to pick him up, and then sucking furiously on my breast again as if to say “I’m still feeding – don’t you dare move me!” Or, if we did manage to move him he would wake up after about 30 seconds in his basket and then scream until he was back next to me – where he would promptly fall asleep again! Little pesky monkey…. is the polite version of what we were calling him at that point!

Swaddling didn’t work, white noise from his monitor didn’t work, buying a rocking stand for his moses basket didn’t work… we were starting to think he hated the basket and we would have to let him have the bed and we would sleep on the floor!

After ranting at the health visitor (and feeling like I was about to tear all my hair out) she suggested taking the mattress out of the basket and feed him on that. The theory being it is all warm and snuggly underneath him… and once he had settled we could then move him on the mattress into his basket. It worked! Finally we were able to transfer him into basket and settle to sleep ourselves…phew!

Now I know I might be getting him into a bad habit falling asleep like that, but if it gets me 3-5 hours straight sleep a night and keeps me sane I’ll happily keep it going for a good while!
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The only problem with Eddie sleeping is the worrying that then started… Is he too hot? Why is he making that noise? Is his breathing OK? Is he too cold? Why is he so quiet? … and so on!

So Eddie was finally sleeping, but I, unfortunately, was not!

After a few nights of constantly checking on him, feeling his chest, listening for sounds that he was still alive – my hubby and I decided enough was enough and looked for a solution.

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After looking at a lot of different products, I finally decided to buy a Snuza hero. It is essentially a breathing monitor that clips to the babies nappy and will vibrate if it doesn’t sense movement after 15 seconds, and sound an alarm if it goes to 20 seconds. It also has a light on it that flashes green for each movement, and orange if the movements are very shallow.

THIS LITTLE DEVICE HAS SAVED MY LIFE!! (and I promise I have received no money to say that!)

I can now sleep at night, looking at that little green flash in the dark, knowing that I will know if something goes wrong. It has allowed me to relax… so it’s something else I won’t be getting rid of soon! No false alarms yet, thank goodness.

So I am sleeping, Eddie is sleeping (at night, haven’t yet found a way to settle him during the day!!) , my husband is sleeping and the cats are sleeping… Nighttime Sleeping success all round! (touch wood!)

xxx

The trials of breastfeeding

Now, obviously, breastfeeding is a natural way to feed a baby. The milk is generated automatically by most ladies who give birth, so it’s hard to argue otherwise…. BUT then, why is it so difficult?!

Of all the ladies I know who have recently given birth (9 in total through friends and our NCT network) after around 3 weeks of motherhood only 2 of us are exclusively breastfeeding! Here’s a little breakdown…

  1. Three had babies who just wouldn’t latch on right from the beginning. Whether it is nipple shape or size, babies sucking technique or some mysterious “lack of correlation between mothers nipple and babies mouth” (that one of my friends was told) it just didn’t work!
  2. One tried for a few days and her baby lost a LOT of weight (about 16%) and so the midwives put her on a feeding plan with formula – her little one loved it so much that she won’t feed from her breasts at all now!
  3. Two more were also told to use formula as part of a feeding plan – so now their little ones are also having at least half of their daily feeds as formula
  4. One got so exhausted from her baby constantly cluster feeding that she decided to replace nighttime feeds with formula so that her partner and mother could help her and she could keep sane.

So thats 7 out of 9, or 78%, who are either using part or all formula feeding. Those mums who have had to formula feed without choice have seemed very down about it, and I can completely understand that. Although from what I have seen they are no less bonded with their babies and their babies are healthy and just as adorable!

I must admit, seeing them being able to get some rest while others help with those nighttime feeds does look very tempting! So why do I feel so guilty about even considering substituting one feed for formula?

I get a lot of satisfaction through feeding Eddie – there is something very bonding about breastfeeding him and looking down and seeing his little face contented as he sucks away! It is knackering though, and painful if the latch doesn’t work well.

All in all, I think what works for the mother or father and their baby is best – and it appears that although breastfeeding is technically “natural”, not all babies are aware of this and will follow their own paths, the stubborn little pests!

xxxx

Please Welcome Eddie…

Our little Eddie was born on the 11th June 2016, weighing 8lb 4oz and with a head circumference in the 98th percentile. Yup that’s right – the 98th!!

In a way, I guess, I’m lucky that I didn’t have to push him out!

The birth was not an easy one, after being admitted into hospital for high blood pressure at 40+2 on Tuesday 7th June they decided to induce me… which didn’t work. Cue lots of delays and issues – after a few days on an induction pessary they finally managed to break my waters on Friday 10th June.

After lots more problems and delays – diamorphine affecting the baby, failed epidural, 11 hours of 2 minute apart contractions but only 3 cm dilated, heartbeat dropping of our little man – it all eventually resulted in an emergency c-section at 4am in the morning to get him out!

A flurry of activity in the corner as he wasn’t breathing – but after 10 minutes I eventually had our little Eddie in my arms, healthy safe and sound.

Part of me thinks that maybe my body just isn’t geared up for childbirth, as it wasn’t geared up for getting pregnant either! We ended up going through IVF to get to this point – you can find my IVF story on my original blog – https://berealisticplanforamiracle.wordpress.com .

So please welcome Eddie into the world – our little pest who we love to pieces! He obviously likes a dramatic entrance! This blog is going to follow his growing up, the challenges and the adventures that we are going to have together xxx

 

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