2018 had brought this little blog much success – a big thank you to all my readers!
I documented my Curly Girl Method hair journey at the end of 2017 to beginning of 2018 which brought a lot of you to my blog. I created a series of follow-up posts of to show you my progress throughout the year and I will continue to do so for 2019.
I also had the opportunity to work with a lot of big brands and companies this year, including Royal Museums Greenwich, Lewisham Shopping Centre, Noughty Hair care, ToucanBox, Bills Restaurants and Peninsular Park West (Ikea Greenwich opening up real soon!). Thank you to you all for selecting me to collaborate with you, I am extremely grateful and it’s been a privilege.
What’s in store on the blog for 2019?
Hair & Beauty: I will be posting a bit more about hair and beauty which like I mentioned above, be about my hair journey, hair hacks and I will try to do more on beauty skincare as I’m back in the spa now. These will include How To posts on skincare hacks, beauty products, etc 🙂
Fitness: I am determined to post more on my fitness journey and on my yoga teacher journey. You can expect family yoga poses and games of the month.
Food: More food reviews, recipes, healthy food inspo and anything else to do with good ol’ food!
I will still of course blog about our family lifestyle, that’s what The Greenwich Mummy has always been about and always will be. 🙂
Our family’s #bestnine2018 highlight:
My 2018 highlights:
- Seeing my two kids grow closer to each other every day
- My hair changing from straight to wavy (and getting to work with my fave UK brand Noughty because of it!)
- Completing my Family Yoga Teacher training and creating many happy moments for families
- Leading the “Yoga Babies” family yoga session with the book illustrator, Sheena Dempsey
- Seeing the blog view stats almost double!
- Daddy P and I had our 12th year anniversary – our night out celebration is still pending as we’ve been busy with work lol
And the blog’s best nine posts of 2018 are…
- The Curly Girl Method: from straight to wavy hair
- 6 months update: My Curly Girl Method hair journey
- My haircut experience at Rush hair salon Greenwich review
- My 2017 review on Stylist Live London
- The Curious Comb Greenwich hair salon review
- My type 2 wavy hair care routine
- Flyte; Natural and clean energy drink review
- Hotel Chocolat tasting club subscription review
- Liz Earle botanical skincare review
(listed in order of page views)
I look forward to what 2019 brings for myself, my family and my blog! x
Happy New Year!
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.
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
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.
There are so many things to teach your children. Whether it’s how to handle money, the importance of emotional intelligence or staying safe in public, parenting has to cover a lot ground. One important area that can sometimes be neglected is chores. While these may be just simple day-to-day tasks, ensuring that your child is both competent in them and understands their importance is absolutely vital.
In this article we give a few reasons why children should get involved in a range of household chores from learning how to defrost a freezer step by step to properly putting out the recycling. And for anyone out there whose children are less than excited about this idea, here are also a few top tips of how to get your kids enthusiastic about their domestic duties!
Honing useful practical skills
The first reason why it’s important to get your little ones involved in household chores is so they learn useful practical skills. As a child you are learning everything from scratch so whatever you are doing will contribute to your development. For example, if a child learns how to defrost a freezer not only will they get specific skills in this task, but also start learning about food storage and safety.
Learning the importance of personal responsibility
As overstressed parents we often think we need to do everything for our kids, but anyone living in a home has a responsibility to contribute it. Involving your kids in day-to-day tasks will help them understand their responsibilities as members of the family. After doing a few chores they’ll probably appreciate all your work a whole lot more too.
Making them better housemates and partners
Finally, when children are brought up as hard-workers, helping to clean and tidy a house from a young age they make much better housemates and partners after leaving home. This is absolutely vital to the maintenance of friendships and relationships in early adulthood when they are likely to be sharing accommodation for a good few years. Teaching good habits early will pay dividends down the line.
How do you get kids involved in household chores?
Incentivise the task: A controversial strategy, but a fail-safe one. If your child is reticent to help out, link their pocket money to their efforts. This will get the average youngster up and cleaning in no time.
Make it fun: Chores don’t have to be boring. If your kids aren’t keen to get involved, make the tasks fun. Turn vacuuming into a dance party, take the rubbish out while wearing funny wigs… Anything to get them enthused.
Give them responsibility: We all know how much more satisfying it is to do a task when we have actual responsibility for it. Give each of your children an area of the house for the week and ask them to take responsibility for all the chores. They will soon learn to take pride in their work.
Getting your kids involved in household chores is a great way to make them responsible, hard-working adults. Find ways to make it fun and engaging and in no time at all you’ll have a few busy worker bees helping with your daily tasks.
A guest post by freelance writer, Joana from Cleanipedia
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!
… 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
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
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
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!
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! 🙂
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 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
If 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
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
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
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. 🙂
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.
I came across a post on Sunday which resonated deeply within me.
A post that could’ve been written more or less by myself. So much so that my original post (which I’d deleted) has now been re-written with a dedication to Aleena from Mummy Mama Mum for encouraging me to publish this. Thank you!
For me, if it’s not admitting it then it’s accepting it that’s the problem…
Telling myself that sometimes I’m not OK is a struggle. Like a never-ending battle.
If you haven’t read her post yet… I’m Not OK by Mummy Mama Mum
“I’m turning into my mother.”
The words I never, ever wanted to hear myself say but alas, it has become the inevitable. I call it ‘mothermorphosis’.
mother = a woman in relation to her child or children
morphosis = the manner in which an organism or any of its parts changes form or undergoes development
There comes a time in our lives as mothers that we start to follow a path that is all too similar… The path of our own mothers. This may or may not be a route we wish to follow but sometimes it happens. Sometimes it’s a good thing, other times not so good.
Don’t get me wrong I love my mother but there are some of her traits that I hate. Continue reading “Just like my mum: I call it ‘Mothermorphosis’”
“To all those people criticising Prince William, I say fuck you.”
Source: Is It Right To Criticise Struggling Parents by The Life of Tont
So I just came across the blog post above thanks to MummaScribble’s #TwinklyTuesday linky and boy am I glad I read it! I had heard snippets on the radio last Saturday night about the whole interview thing Prince William did on Vietnam radio and I am very shocked to hear that people have criticised him for saying that he finds parenting a struggle.
Parenting struggles aren’t means-tested. Whether you are earning £100+ a year or scraping by on £10 a week, you are a human being and entitled to express your feelings, emotions and opinions. This includes members of the Royal family – they are human too! To criticise someone like that because of their social status is disgusting and appalling. Of course having wad loads of money definitely helps when it comes to materialistic things but you know the saying “money can’t buy love” – it also applies to parenting. Just because you have money, you don’t become immune to the challenges of being a parent throws at you.
It’s such an old-school way of thinking. My mum is like that – she believes that if you are from a healthy class you will have no problems in life. She believed it so much that when I first got pregnant she was so disappointed that I didn’t find someone “better” (she means someone white, middle-class and wealthy) instead of a regular ol’ guy.
Personally, I thought the Prince was very brave in coming out and telling the world about it. A bit of a weird place to first mention it though (on Vietnam radio) but maybe no-one has really asked the Prince how he’s felt since he became a second-time dad… who knows. Either way, people need to just chill.
That’s just my two cents. 🙂
I just can’t believe this little bundle is already 2 months old. It really doesn’t feel that long ago when I had her… In fact it feels like it was just last week that I had her! Lol 🙂 Continue reading “Baby Girl is two months old today!”
Experts and medical professionals will tell you that the safest place for a baby to sleep in the first six months are in a moses basket or a cot. While this is good advice, sometimes you need something more convenient – this is where co-sleeping can become a new mum’s favourite way of sleeping.
As soon as my little princess was born the midwives encouraged skin-to-skin contact which I gave without hesitation. Babies love being close to their mothers so why should this have to change at night? I remember Baby Girl’s first home visit with the health visitor. She went through all these leaflets about how to care for baby, feed baby, sleep with baby and touched on co-sleeping. Here are some of the co-sleeping safety rules which can also be found on the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) website.
- Make sure your baby can’t fall out of the bed or become trapped between the mattress and the wall
- Keep your baby cool by using sheets and blankets rather than a duvet.
- Ensure bedding does not cover your baby’s face or head
- Always put your baby to sleep on their back rather than their front or side
- Babies don’t need a pillow until they are at least a year old. They should also be kept away from parents’ pillows
- Never risk falling asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair
- Never co-sleep with your baby if you (or your partner) smoke/drink/take drugs that affect awareness
I DON’T co-sleep with Baby Girl when I am overly tired because it’s really dangerous to do so (suffocation, rolling on baby, etc). Who knows what could happen when I am in deep sleep that’s been spurred on from being exhausted and sleep deprived.
If you’re not confident about sharing your bed with your baby there’s really good cots and bassinets you can now buy which you put next to the side of your bed like an extension. I have a standard cot and have one side of the rail really low and next to the bed for easy access.
When co-sleeping is carried out safely, it can be a fantastic way for mother and baby to bond and you get to catch up on your sleep and get decent rest. If you breastfeed then you can do so easily and conveniently. You can even find advice on sleep training for your baby. If you think that co-sleeping is right for you and your baby, definitely give it a go, if you haven’t done so already. 🙂
I am sorry it’s been a little while but just didn’t have any time at all away from Baby Girl to write this until now. So here it is, my birth story…
Baby Girl arrived when I was 38 weeks pregnant at a healthy weight of 6lb 8oz – a little chunky bubba (LO weighed 6lb 2oz and was only 5 days early). I had a natural birth and due to the fast labour on the day, there was no time to have my water birth and gas & air like I originally planned.
I strongly believe that I was first in slow labour with Baby Girl as I felt really intense and painful contractions at the start of the week (on the Monday). However, because they weren’t regular and at similar intervals apart, I ignored the signs and dismissed it as really painful Braxton Hicks which is common towards the end of the pregnancy and so I didn’t self-refer myself to Triage or call the labour ward. The rest of that week passed by ‘okay-ish’ and I managed with the contractions that were coming regularly at irregular times throughout the day. I just kept saying to myself “if I can sleep through these contractions then it can’t be real labour”.
On Saturday morning I woke up and hardly felt little movement – I told myself it’s because I am focusing too much on it so once again, I dismissed the signs that it could be real labour. It was also because this day I had organised a day out for LO to the local funfair with a friend so I didn’t want him to miss out. Plus the location of the funfair was opposite the hospital so if anything happens, I can quickly get to the hospital with ease.
We got to the funfair around 1pm and LO went on a few of the rides before wanting to go home. I felt the contractions throughout the day and was sure that was the reasons why I couldn’t feel any movements so didn’t head to the hospital. Instead I headed down to the local Tesco’s to pick up a pack of newborn nappies and some more newborn clothes and maternity pads. I had this feeling at the back of my mind telling me I needed to get these things today otherwise it’ll be too late as my maternity bags were only 80% packed.
It was then 9pm and I had just sat down and realised that the day was almost over and still I hadn’t felt any movement. At that point, I called Triage and asked if it was okay to come in to see someone regarding the movements and the midwife said yes, just to be on the safe side – it was definitely a good thing I went! When I arrived to Triage at 10pm with LO and Daddy P in tow I was hooked up to the machine and left for 30mins as they monitored me. Baby’s heartbeat was found straight away which relieved my initial fears but then those super-painful contractions returned… this time they were coming at regular intervals and I knew at that point I was in labour – it was now real.
Super intense and super fast (I also felt I needed to do a no. 2 so went to the toilet). I passed the bloody, mucus show before finally passing the bowel movement. I waddled back to where I was hooked up and the midwife said she will do an internal examination to see if I am dilated – she was very surprised to find out I was 9cm dilated and ready to push! One of the other midwives commented on how quiet I kept everything. I’m not really a screamer and I think my body just deals with labour pains really well.
Baby Girl arrived at 11:19pm. It was the fastest labour and birth I’ve had so far (30mins it said on my maternity transfer notes) and under what most mums will consider a “perfect birth” with no tears and natural delivery. As it was such a quick birth, my plan of having a water birth went out of the window. I also didn’t have gas & air as the midwives couldn’t get it to me in time. She said if she goes to get it, I could deliver the baby before she gets back so we made the decision to skip it.
Note to self and other mums: a birth plan can be pointless.
Also known as the fourth trimester, this is the period I find really challenging. The breast feeding, post-birth contraction pains, sore nipples, and sleep deprivation. The overnight hospital stay post-birth is also a killer as I always seem to be that new mum with the noisy baby keeping up the ward. Luckily my post-delivery room only consisted of me and one other new mum. I felt sorry for her as Baby Girl was so noisy and her baby was quiet (I don’t she got any rest). *guilty face*
I was discharged from hospital late afternoon the next day which was great. Part of Vietnamese culture a new mum must stay indoors for at least 1 month and banned from leaving the house however in these modern days leaving for essential appointments is possible. Certain foods should also be avoided which I didn’t really stick to this time round as my mum was constantly at work so I didn’t have someone looking over my shoulder to tell me off. 🙂 I tried my hardest not to leave the house so instead of just going out I waited for the days I had to visit the midwives to go out and get some fresh air. I am sure the fresh air also did some good for Baby Girl as she was less irritable when we were out… I guess she doesn’t like being cooped up at home too.
I’ve been super sleep-deprived and exhausted this time round. Baby Girl has problems latching on and is a really colicy baby. She is feeding well which is great as she’s gaining weight well but the colic and fussiness really gets me down – when she cries and screams and there’s nothing I can do to help her stop pains me. She had mild jaundice in the first week which has almost gone now disappeared by herself. Apparently regular feeding and ensuring that she sleeps no longer than 3hrs without a feed helps to get rid of the jaundice. I guess those 4hr periods of no feeds through the night in the first few days came at a price. 😦
Now almost a month old, the colic hasn’t improved so it means a trip to the hospital. The jaundice has gone now but I am shattered from the cluster feeding and constant crying. Hopefully a few months more and she’ll be all better and I’ll be able to get my nights’ sleep back. In the meantime, I rely on her sleeping patterns to get a little catch-up on sleep and rest.
Baby Girl was born April 30th.
She arrived ahead of schedule by two weeks. Now a week old, I have finally found some time to upload this photo 🙂