Advice to my first-time-mummy self #VicksBabyRubChallenge

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Lifestyle Blogger

Dear first-time-mum me,

Congratulations on your new addition! You must be so proud of your new baby boy, and of course, why wouldn’t you be?

You probably have so many thoughts, emotions and feelings about parenting racing through your mind and that’s completely normal… as a matter of fact, that feeling never really goes away completely! People say it gets easier when you have your second child and they are right in some respects but don’t forget – EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. It’s not always smooth sailing with two in tow; it’s double the mess, double the stress, double the tantrums but double the love which makes it all worthwhile.

There will be fantastic moments like all of baby boy’s firsts; first smile, first laugh, first word, first walk… Then, there will be the crappy days like sleepless nights, temper tantrums, colic, nightmares. When sleep deprivation kicks in, it’s going to sting like a B.I.T.C.H, I won’t sugar-coat it but you will start getting your energy back I promise. For you personally, this will happen around the 4-5 month mark when baby boy learns to sleep a little longer and wakes up a little less at night.

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Lifestyle Blogger
Advice for my first-time-parent self for the @Britmums #VicksBabyRubChallenge

While you’re muddling along trying to figure out this parenting stuff with your BabyCentre forums, Doctor Google and Gurgle Magazine articles, here’s some advice I want to give you for the years to come and before you find out you’re having a second child after 2.5 years…

Make time for yourself

This will always be a hard one for you because you keep putting other people first; whether it’s your baby boy, your hubby, family members or friends you keep trying to give up your time to help them (which is good) but you need to give yourself time too otherwise you will end up burning out. Because you’ve always been this way, it will take time before you really learn how to say no but everyone has to start somewhere. Just give baby boy to hubby for the day and get out of the house. Do things that you loved doing before you became a mum ie. drawing, baking, cooking, eating out with friends and you’ll find yourself a much happier person in the long run.

Make sure you get enough sleep

The good thing is that when baby boy has a nap, you will usually have a nap too which will save you from sleep deprivation. However, once you’re up you tend to find it quite difficult to shut off which means sometimes you skip your morning naps with bubba. This then compounds over weeks and then you find yourself really struggling to sleep at night too then start attacking hubby for sleeping and picking arguments for the sake of it. This is not a good route to go down and something you should learn to avoid doing by making sure you let your body rest regularly and fully. You’ll have to remember to get enough sleep when your second one comes along too.

Well done for coping under pressure

The worst memory you’ll have is when baby boy is three and he goes to A&E for jumping off the coffee table, hitting his head on the side and cutting an inch of his head open. He was so strong and only cried for about 5 minutes whilst you comforted him. Let me tell you now, you did amazingly well at making out like it was just a little scratch because secretly underneath, you were dying inside eith guilt for not watching, shaken from the shock of it all and just wanted to cry your eyes out but you didn’t. It’ll the first time he hurt himself that badly. Luckily, he’ll not really feel the pain and after a 3-4 hour wait at the hospital, the doctor will glue the cut together and he’ll be as right as rain in no time.

You’ll be the ‘go-to mum’ for your first-time friends

They will come to you for advice. The reason they’ll like to coming to you is because you don’t judge them and you don’t try to enforce your parenting styles onto them, which they’ll really appreciate.

You’ll try your best to give your mother-to-be friends a balanced view and always present both sides of the coin so that they can make up their own mind for their parenting journey. If they ask you specifically for your view and then you’ll tell them in the most honest and genuine way possible.

All that bedtime reading with your boy really does pay off!

You’ll love reading to your little boy and start doing so when he’s around 3 months old. It will become your little bedtime routine together which you’ll carry on even until he is four. All the reading will make your little boy love books and he will end up being one of the top children in his reception class that can read with little supervision. You’ll occasionally catch him reading to himself with books he’s really interested in ie. Harry and the Bucket full of Dinosaurs.

You dare not to tell any of the mums at school about high advanced reading levels for the fear of being the labelled “the mum that likes to brag about her child” but you will get to share your joy with your family members and close friends.

Being on a tight budget makes you a practical spender

This is probably the only good thing about being on a budget all the time. You have no money to buy expensive or unnecessary things. You will soon discover that local Facebook groups have the world of things available second-hand at a cheap price which you’ll love. You’ll also try to keep your spending practical. For example, when your little boy gets sniffly and bunged up, you buy rubs like Snuffle Babe and Vicks BabyRub which really help.

Vicks BabyRub has mild fragrances of lavender, rosemary and aloe vera which is really soothing and gentle enough for you to use on a daily basis. You’ll tend to use it more in the evenings ie. after bathtime or before bedtime.

For nappy creams, you’ll find metanium barrier cream works best. You love buying Pampers nappies and wipes but also found that Sainsbury’s own brand and Asda’s own brand were great alternatives and much cheaper too. You’ll only buy fancy clothes from Next every now and then. For regular clothes, grow-suits etc you’ll find old Asda and Sainsbury’s are the best for that stuff.

Mum and baby classes are great for bonding

You’ll love the baby massage classes you sign up for. You’ll find the massage techniques help with your baby’s colic. You also love the bonding connection between you and your baby. When you’re pregnant with your second, you will have to also think about your health. You will try post-natal pilates after your second child and start your gym membership too.

The library will be one of your favourite places to go with your boy and the rhyme time and story time sessions are so popular, you’ll make a lot of mummy friends from going to them.

Stick to the baby-led weaning!

As soon as your boy becomes ready for weaning onto solids, you’ll do really well with feeding him purees and making your own blended meals for him. You’ll also opt for a flexible baby-led weaning approach because you want your boy to feed himself and learn how to use his cutlery. But as he gets older, you and hubby decide to start spoon-feeding him because he would take an hour to finish his meal or will hardly eat. Where he’s such an active boy, he can’t sit still for long and so you both think spoon feedung will help.

In hindsight, you should’ve stuck to your guns and not listen to hubby with the spoon feeding because at four years old, your boy still struggles to eat properly by himself. It would’ve probably been more difficult and taken longer but I am sure it would’ve workd out for the better. The teachers at school say he eats well but you’re not entirely sure this is true because he doesn’t do it at home. He will also start to refuse eating meat products and opt for a pescatarian diet when he’s 2-3yrs old which is fine but I think if you try to introduce him to more food variety when he’s weaning, that would help him learn to eat foods with different textures and tastes which would help him out when he’s older.

All in all, you’re a great mum!

Keep doing what you’re doing because you are really doing great. You’re learning to find your feet as a first-time-mum.  And while you take into consideration other people’s advice (especially when it comes to unwanted advice from family friends, including the non-parent ones), you make sure you define your own rules to parenting. After all, there’s really no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting, just your way.

And what works for one child might not work for another… You’ll find this out when you have your second child! 🙂

Stay sane. Big hugs and kisses, from your future (second-time-mum) self. xx

The Greenwich Mummy | London Family Lifestyle Blogger


This post is an entry for Britmums #VicksBabyRubChallenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, TEsco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.

BritMums

5 signs that your little one is a wild child!

Now I don’t know about you but my children can be a handful. Sometimes they can play nicely but the majority of the time, they are like feral creatures that require daily taming! As much as it drives me up the wall and cause me unnecessary stress and repeating myself like a broken record, it does give the home a bit of dynamic. 🙂

They are usually the loudest, wildest and playful one in the room. Sometimes they are so confident in the way they play, people can mistaken them for being naughty or cheeky. This is how Baby Girl is – overly confident in everything she does to a point where it makes her look bossy. She plays with her big brother but when she doesn’t get her way she will tease him and intimidate him. LO is such a softie that he ends up in tears if they go head-to-head (bless him!).

If your little one is like my Baby Girl, here’s how to spot the signs..

1. There’s mess EVERYWHERE!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - 5 signs your child is a wild one
1: your child lives and breathes mess

… I mean everywhere! My house constantly looks like it’s been hit by a hurricane. In the bedroom it only takes her a few seconds to pull open her drawers and pull out all her clothes, pull all the laundry on the bottom drying rack off and throw all her stuffed toys in the cot onto the floor. In the living room and kitchen (why do new builds love open-plan kitchens? They are not practical for a young family!) my books and paperwork on my desk constantly end up on the floor in a large pile and all the plates and tupperware in the kitchen gets scattered on the floor. When her big brother gets involved too, it’s double trouble and endless cleaning.

Advice: Watch out for that small but deadly piece of lego on the floor when you come round to mine!

2. House floods become a possibility

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - 5 signs your child is a wild one
2: He/she puts your home at risk of flooding

Baby Girl can reach the door handles now and one of the things she loves doing most is opening closed doors. The only door we keep closed in the house is the bathroom and when we’re not watching her like a hawk she will sneak to open the bathroom door, climb onto the toilet seat and play with the tap water. The other night we were seconds away from a flood I would’ve had to call an emergency plumber like these guys to help. Baby Girl had clogged up the bathroom sink with toilet tissue and cotton pads then ran the tap full blast. Luckily I walked in just as the sink filled (almost) to the brim. That would’ve been a costly call out! *hides face*

3. She/he has mastered the art of selective hearing

The Greenwich Mummy Blog
3: your bubba has graduated in selective hearing

Baby Girl – I’m sure – has selective hearing (I think she’s picked it up from her brother) and will choose when she wants to listen to me. She doesn’t want anyone to get in the way of her having fun so she’s conjured up a few games for herself which is not the most safe such as playing with the kitchen drawers and cupboards. She likes to sit in the bottom drawer and play with her and LO’s plastic plates and bowls. It’s not bad until she gets overly excited then ends up shutting her fingers in the drawer. Her second favourite game in the kitchen is to rummage through mummy’s spice cupboard and drink the soy sauce or munch on the oxo cubes… yuck. I think I need some child-proof locks in the kitchen pronto!

4. Everything is edible in their eyes

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - 5 signs your baby is a wild child
4: your child believes everything is edible

Parents, your child can’t truly certify as a wild child unless she/he has ticked this box – eating anything and everything they can get their hands on. From crayons and watercolour paints to rubber balls, sand and cigarettes Baby Girl has gotten her taste of it all. The photo above was taken after I found her sitting happily on my desk with my mini watercolour palette in her hand. It seemed that she had taken a liking to the orange-red paint brick and decided to munch on it however that’s not the worst thing she’d ate. Oh no… the worst thing by far has to be Daddy P’s cigarettes.

Funnily enough, when I was a little girl I also ate my dad’s cigarette in an attempt to what I thought was smoking it… although I was 5-6yrs old and clearly was being stupid whereas Baby Girl is only 18 months with a taste (pun intended) for trying new things.

5. They do not stop/stay still!

5: your child is always on the move

Okay so this last sign is a bit wishy-washy as every baby loves to be on the move but seriously, Baby Girl just doesn’t know when to stop… or maybe she does and just doesn’t want to stop! She is forever exploring every bit of the house, trying to find something new or inventing a new game for herself which is great until I have to tell her to stop and she still carries on. I’ll leave the kids to play in the living room and sneak off to the bedroom to rest and will find that she’s sneaked off to the bathroom AGAIN for the fourth time (I need an outside bolt on the door!) Throughout the day she’ll be screeching, screaming, shouting (getting to know her voice as babies do) and running and climbing everywhere.

Eventually, if I do manage to get more than 5 mins rest, the sound of running water from the bathroom will surely wake me up! So if your little one is anything like mine, it’s possible you have a wild child on your hands… good luck! 🙂

Linking up with:
You Baby Me Mummy

My top 5 breastfeeding products I couldn’t have lived without

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Top 5 Breasfeeding Products I couldn't live without
Photo Credit: BabyCentre

It feels like so long ago since I was nursing Baby Girl and even longer with LO. Unfortunately with Baby Girl, I only managed to exclusively breastfeed for two months as she started to become very colicky and constipated. So I made the decision then to switch her on to formula and it worked well for us. When I had LO I was able to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months before he decided to start yanking at the nipple – that’s when I decided he needs to start getting onto the bottle so I expressed for a month or two then moved him onto formula after that.

During my first pregnancy, I literally bought everything there was to buy for a new mum and baby from changing units to swaddle blankets and nursing apron covers. Some were very convenient to use and some were more of a one-off thing for me. There are a few products that I know I couldn’t live without during my nursing days and if you’re a new mum looking for products to invest in, here are five that I highly recommend you consider ( you may even already have them!)…

1. Nursing pillow
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Top 5 Breastfeeding Nursing ProductsThe nursing pillow is my all-time favourite breastfeeding item. It’s perfect for propping baby onto when you’re breastfeeding and makes a great neck pillow. I stopped breastfeeding when Baby Girl was 2 months but to this day, I still using the nursing pillow for myself.

If you’re expecting, you can also use the nursing pillow when you’re pregnant as a leg pillow if you tend to sleep on your side. Place in between your legs when you’re sleeping or resting and it can help to reduce any pelvic or lower body discomfort (very common if you’re in your third term).

Nursing pillows also make great baby shower gifts that not many people think about so keep that in mind for when you’ve got another baby shower coming up.

2. Lanolin nipple cream

Top 5 breastfeeding nursing products - The Greenwich Mummy BloggerIf you’re a first-time mum, get ready to learn something new today. If you’ve had a bubba before, what I write next may bring back some painful memories… literally. The first two weeks of breastfeeding are HELL – I am not going to pussy-foot around or lie to you. You need to mentally prepare yourself. As long as baby has a good latch and your milk is letting down, it’ll only be two weeks of hell.

The feeling of breastfeeding can’t really be explained but I’ll try my best. The suction is something you can’t really compare it to – it’s strong and powerful and if baby’s latch is not a good one it can be extremely painful. (More about baby’s latch later.) Some women experience soreness, cracked nipples, bleeding nipples, sometimes a combination of all these things. Your best friend will be a really good nipple cream. Sometimes the nipple cream might not be enough and you may have to think about nipple guards or even expressing breastmilk to feed baby to give your poor nipps a break.

Lansinoh nipple cream is made of pure lanolin – it’s thick and the best thing is you just put a generous amount on the nipple after every feed to help them repair. You don’t have to worry about baby swallowing/eating it as it’s a natural product that doesn’t harm baby if consumed.

Baby’s latch: how do you know if the latch is a good one? You will be able to see that baby is getting enough milk (or colustrum in the first few days of feeding as the body is making the milk supply) as the cheeks are rounded and full and baby’s head is tilted back enough to take in the milk. If you hear a clicking sound, this could be a sign of a poor latch or tongue-tie. To correct a poor latch, use your small finger to break the latch. Make sure the finger is clean before doing so.

A poor latch can cause baby to not take enough milk and cause you to stress but try not to worry. Simply see your HV as soon as you can if you are worried about your baby having tongue-tie, a poor latch, baby not feeding enough or a low milk supply. Remember that the milk supply doesn’t come into full swing until about day 5-6.

3. Emma Jane nursing bra

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | My top 5 essential breastfeeding and nursing products

This nursing bra is my favourite. It’s not pretty but really does the job. The cotton is lovely and soft, the sizing was spot-on and very generous in terms of accommodating to milk-filled boobies which can one minute be as big and hard as watermelons then as shrivelled and soft as prunes after feeding. The bra comes in three colours; white, black and nude. I had the white and nude colour but the black looked great – they just never had my size. You can find these for around £8-15 and are sold everwhere including Amazon, Ebay, Mothercare and most parent and baby stores. I bought mine online. For mums who prefer a wired nursing bra, check out ThirdLove for some bra ideas on what’s out there.

Don’t forget to get yourself some breastfeeding pads (I recommend the Lansinoh ones for softness, comfort and absorption), leaky boobs are common especially around your usual feeding time or when your boobs are too full. Either feed baby an extra feed, express the milk or if you’re at home use a hot flannel or have a hot bath to encourage milk let-down and drain some of the milk to reduce pain, the boob going hard, and mastitis.

4. Muslin cloths

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Top 10 Buys Kiddicare Wishlist

An overall life-saving product. They’re great for placing around baby for discreet nursing, wiping away milk possets and even using as an alternative blanket during those hot and humid summer days when a cellular blanket is too warm to use. My favourite brand is aden + anais and I completely recommend them. They are made from 100% cotton and are the softest muslin cloths I’ve tried. I bought mine from TK Maxx for a bargain – get the swaddle ones as they’re much larger than normal muslin square cloths.

Muslin cloths can so make great teething soothers – simply tie a knot at one of the corners and voila! Babies love chewing on it! 🙂

5. Manual hand pump

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | My top 5 essential breastfeeding and nursing products

If you’re a mum content on exclusively breastfeeding you may feel like expressing is just a cop-out way for feeding baby but this is the wrong mindset. Of course you want to give baby the best ad you don’t want to confuse baby with breast and bottle (teat) but if you are having problems breastfeeding, or your nipples are so cracked that nursing feels like torture or if you’re just so damn tired you can’t cope, a day or two of expressing may just provide you with that little bit of relief mentally and physically. I think sometimes there is just too much pressure on women to exclusively breastfeed but remember we are not “one size fits all” so do what is best for you, your baby, and your current situation.

Don’t force yourself to feel like you need to measure up to what another mum is doing, just do you! You have to take care of yourself as well as baby and your wellbeing is just as important so remember that. I had a really hard time breastfeeding Baby Girl because my nipple was too large for her mouth she kept gagging on it which is the reason why she had a bad latch. She was also constipated on breastmilk (yes, it can happen) so I had to make the decision after two months to just give it up. I and Baby Girl both felt much better after that, her poos were regular and soft and I got back some of my sanity.

For those thinking about expressing there’s plenty of tips on how to express successfully. If you’re contemplating on whether to go for a manual or electric pump I think it depends on your personal preference. I had both and I much preferred my manual one, it actually took near enough the same amount of time to express (I think electric was just 5mins faster for me). My favourite pump is the Medela one. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and the bottles are bigger than some others so more milk storage.

That’s my top 5 essential breastfeeding/nursing products!

I hope this post has helped you out in considering what to buy for your breastfeeding and nursing needs. 🙂

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: WPC
Baby Girl seconds after she was just born (2016)

Other breastfeeding tips and advice:

  • Make sure you express a little bit of milk if your boobs are too full, a hot bath or warm flannel over the breast can help encourage the milk let-down
  • Milk storage: Any expressed breastmilk can be kept unrfriderated for 1-2hrs then must be discarded, in the top shelf at the back of a refridgerator for up to 5 days, in the fridge ice compartment for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months
  • If you want to feed discreetly in public, make sure your muslin cloth is long enough. If you want something specific, think about purchasing a breastfeeding apron.
  • Another nursing trick is to wear two tops; a low-scoop vest inside and a loose top over it. This way you can pull the vest below the breast and the loose top over the breast to feed baby. It should give baby enough ‘boobage’ but still keep you nicely covered and you don’t have to fuss with buying other equipment.

Review: My Mother & Baby Pilates class with Bing Pilates Greenwich

I made a vow to myself that I would get fit once I had my baby and I’ve been trying to stay true to my words so when I got an email from the team at Bing Pilates Greenwich to collaborate and try out one of their classes I couldn’t say no. (I’ve also got a exclusive July offer for you below!)

I’ve tried pilates once before when I was at uni and I absolutely loved it! It’s all about strengthening your core muscles, improving posture and stability which are three of the things I really want to achieve from post-pregnancy exercise. I have been looking for local post-natal exercise classes that are affordable and Bing Pilates seemed to fit the bill.

About the classes

The Greenwich Mummy - Bing Pilates Greenwich
Bingxi Wang: Founder of Bing Pilates (Photo Credit: Bing Pilates)

The classes are run by the lovely Bingxi Wang. She is a qualified teacher and a director of the Pilates Foundation. Alongside her reputable credentials, she has a background in dance and science which really shows in the way she demonstrates the moves and explains why we do them.

The one-hour sessions are held at the following local venues; Manor House library in Lee where I had my session, the New Haddo Centre in Greenwich and The Bridge in East Greenwich (from September). Bingxi offers a wide range of pilates including general mixed abilty classes, pre-natal classes, mother & baby (post-natal), over 70s pilates, pilates at work and also one-to-one sessions.

My first class

I was booked on the mum & baby pilates class which I was told would be performed on mats. I went along morning class held at Manor House library which was easy to locate but as I was running late that day I took an Uber cab there instead. I arrived early so I explored the Manor House Gardens which was stunning. It’s a wonderful location (I’ve not seen the Greenwich location) and has a nice albeit slightly pricey cafe to grab a quick drink before class. There’s even a play area for children right next to the cafe. 

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger - Bing Pilates Greenwich Review
Baby Girl & me on the way to pilates / Instagram

There were four of us mummies including me. I was surprised on how small the class was; I was expecting a much larger group as I know her classes are very popular. Bingxi started off our session with some gentle warm-up exercises then moved us on to the real moves.

We worked on our core muscles and stretching exercises. She then asked each of us what else we wanted to concentrated on and I opted for more core work. As my abs were no longer separated I was allowed to perform mini crunches with my leg lifts. I’m not going to lie… it was a killer! I found it so difficult but weirdly satisfying when I did manage to do it properly. Each of us were at different stages and doing our own exercises which I think was brilliant as I didn’t feel any pressure to go through the moves quickly to keep up with the other mums. Bingxi watched over us individually which made me feel like I had a private one-to-one session instead of a group session. Brilliant! 🙂

Baby Girl was a little fussy but overall pretty good for her first class. Feeding baby (breast or bottle) was encouraged during the session. As I fed my bubba, Bingxi showed me some stretching moves that I could do whilst I was feeding. Our session ended with some more stretch exercises. I was very happy with my first post-pregnancy exercise class and felt so good I went home and slept so well that night! All that stretching was well needed and definitely paid off – probably a little too much as I was a little sore the next day. (I think I did too many reps than I was supposed to!) I’ve already booked my next class – that’s how much I enjoyed it.

A brilliant teacher and a great workout. What’s not to love?

Bingxi is a very gentle and patient teacher. She keeps her classes small (no more than 4-5 students per class) so she can easily dedicate her time and energy to each individual – something you wouldn’t necessarily get in bigger classes. Bing Pilates classes are also reasonably priced and flexible. You can choose to book single classes (£15 -price correct as of 07/07/2016) or save money by booking in blocks of 5 or 10 classes. If you book a block and realise you can’t make it to that session, you can swap it for another day or time – pretty good eh?

Have you tried pilates before?
What do you think of the exercise? Leave your comments below 🙂


| EXCLUSIVE BLOG OFFER |

2 For 1 on your first Pilates class:
Courtesy of Bing Pilates, I have an exclusive blog promo to give to you lovely people. Get 2 tickets for the price of 1 on your first Pilates class which is just £5!

The offer can be redeemed against any pilates class and at any location. All you need to do is simply call or email  and quote “Mummy241” upon booking.

For more news, check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Bing-Pilates


We were given a complimentary introductory pilates class by Bing Pilates. All words, opinions and photos taken by me are my own. The select photos that are not mine have been credited respectively.

LINKING UP WITH:
Diary of an imperfect mum
Fitness 4 Mamas