Thursday, 2 November 2017

differences between first pregnancy and second


Just over a year after giving birth and a week after celebrating the baby boy’s first birthday, I found out I was pregnant again. The idea of two babies under two was suddenly a reality and one that just as suddenly terrified me. But first of all, I have to deal with being pregnant with a baby in tow. I thought being pregnant the first time around was hard but I had no idea just how different it would the second time. For me, these are the main differences between my first and second pregnancy:

Me time

First time around, I could pamper myself, have a rest and put my feet up whenever I wanted.

Second time, the only time I have a chance to put my feet up is once the baby boy is in bed (or napping). And then, I have a million other things I should be doing – washing for the millionth time, cleaning, clearing toys.

Googling

First time around, I googled EVERYTHING. And I mean, EVERYTHING. Strange twinge in side? Googled it. Gassy feeling or movement? Googled it. What can I eat/not eat? Googled.

Second time, I barely have time to respond to texts these days – Google is a distant memory.

Worrying

Sort of the same thing. But first time around, I worried about everything.

Second time, did I mention that I just don’t have the time?! If I stop and think for a moment, then I do start to worry about things again. But this is one of the few advantages of the second time around, that I don’t really have too much time to worry about the baby. Sorry number 2 – I have a feeling this might be a sign of things to come.

The bump

First time around, I could have hidden my pregnancy for at least four months without anyone realising there was a baby growing in there!

Second time, yeah, there was no hiding the bump this time! By 13 weeks it was already well and truly there and the maternity jeans were busted out.

Awareness

First time around, all I could think about was the baby growing inside me.

Second time, I suddenly catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and am surprised by the bump and have to remind myself I’m pregnant.

Expectations

First time around, I was so so naïve. I thought I’d sail blissfully through pregnancy with a wonderful glow. I was shocked when I was sick almost constantly for the first 20 or so weeks. I was shocked when my legs, feet, hands, fingers and everywhere else swelled to massive proportions nearing the end of my pregnancy. I was shocked when my birth plan went out of the window within minutes of arriving at the hospital. Essentially, I was totally unprepared.

Second time, I know what to expect and actually, it feels so much easier. So far. But I’m not under any illusions that come the third trimester I won’t be huge and exhausted and grumpy. But I’m prepared. I know what to expect this time.

Read the rest of the post at Selfish Mother, here.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

my breastfeeding story #celebratebreastfeeding


As it’s National Breastfeeding Celebration Week I figured that for once I might jump on the bandwagon and talk about my breastfeeding journey. It also seems fairly timely too that this weekend I will have been breastfeeding my baby boy for a whole year.

Before I continue I want to acknowledge that all too often conversations about breastfeeding descend into guilt, blame and judgement. Regardless of how you feed your baby, you’re doing the very best you can for your child. The problem for me is, that those mothers who want to breastfeed are not necessarily being enabled to do so (according to official figures, eight out of 10 women stop breastfeeding before they want to). And as a result, the UK now has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed before I even had children. While I was pregnant, I remember being asked by my midwife on numerous occasions who I intended to feed my baby and I always said that I wanted to try to breastfeed. I had many friends who wanted to breastfeed and for whatever reason – lack of support, tongue tie, etc – were unable to continue. I never felt confident that I would breastfeed but I knew I wanted to try. My reasons for wanting to try weren’t all that altruistic, yes, sure I knew it was good for the baby but also, it was free and quick – what can I say, I’m lazy and imagining being woken umpteen times a night sounded bloody awful, without having to also make up a bottle.

But I’ll be honest, I didn’t really give breastfeeding much more thought than that. And then suddenly after an exhausting induced labour, followed by an emergency caesarean, I had my baby boy in my arms and no clue what to do with him!

I was lucky and he latched fairly quickly – we just had a few tries and then we were away. It felt weird. So weird. And then within days, it hurt. So much. Coupled with a healing c-section wound, I felt utterly dejected. I remember feeling so uncomfortable in the final hot weeks of my pregnancy and eagerly looking forward to giving birth and suddenly getting my body back again. But that just didn’t happen. And I hated it.

It was hot and sticky and breastfeeding made me sweat more and I had a tiny little person attached to me for much of the day. My husband could only look on (and thank goodness that he had some time to himself while the baby fed – All. The. Bloody. Time!!).

For me, in the early days, breastfeeding felt lonely, painful and draining.

After chatting (read: breaking down) with the midwife 10 days in, I decided to set myself small, manageable targets. First, I would get to two weeks, then a month, then two. My mum kept telling me that one day soon I would look down and realise that I actually enjoyed it. I was incredulous. Enjoy it?! But she was right. About five or six weeks in and I looked down at this tiny little boy, feeding away happily and realised that not only did I enjoy it, I was beginning to love it. Even then, I felt that six months would be long enough.

Very nearly 12 months later and we’re still feeding. It’s down to one feed a day but neither of us is completely ready to give that feed up yet and I’m fine to wait a while.

The initial weaning at about seven months was my decision but it was based more on circumstance than emotion. I returned to work when the baby boy was eight months old and so knew that about a month before that I would need to start reducing his daytime feeding. I also got to a point where I could no longer face night time feeds. Since then we’ve been nursing first thing in the morning and at bedtime, but over the past couple of weeks we’ve dropped our morning feed.

I now feel as if I’m reaching a point where I wouldn’t mind if it came to an end. I’ll be sad not to have our quiet time together but I know we’ll still have cuddles.

There were many times that I nearly gave up in those early weeks, when my nipples were sore, when both the baby and I got thrust, when I was so tired and it felt like he’d never stop feeding. But now, a year on, I’m so glad I persevered.

Monday, 26 June 2017

style: breastfeeding friendly outfits

At the start of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week, I thought I would run a series of breastfeeding posts - beginning with a post on breastfeeding friendly outfits.

When I started breastfeeding (a year ago this weekend!) I had no idea what to wear without being completely naked! Over the past year, I've found my feet with dressing for breastfeeding and I've pulled together four of the best outfits for keeping stylish and nursing you're baby.

button downs

Right away, shirts seemed like the best option for breastfeeding - as well as shirt dresses.

bardot style tops

I'll confess that I've not actually worn a bardot style top or dress - they just don't suit me - but they do look ideal for feeding.

zips

Like buttons, zips are also perfect for easy access.

wrap front

Finally, how about a wrap front (or v-neck)? Just make sure if it's a jersey fabric that it's not too thin and won't lose its shape when you keep moving it aside for feeding.

Of course, if you fancy checking out specific nursing wear, many high street stores now stock ranges, including H&M, New Look, Asos and others.

If you're after more breastfeeding friendly outfits, check out the Facebook group, "Can I breastfeed in it? UK" which has lots and lots of great ideas.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

can I take baby food on a flight as hand luggage? and other questions when flying with a baby


Ahead of our first flight with our baby boy, I had so many questions and reservations. This was our first trip abroad since the baby boy arrived nearly 10 and a half months ago. I was so nervous about our trip, I had no idea how the baby boy would cope with the flight, how I would fit everything in the suitcase, would I forget something vitally important, would we be able to do the things we usually enjoyed?

We had a wonderful holiday and didn't feel like we had to give up doing all of the things we used to enjoy. If anything, we did more and actually relaxed a little more too - due to the baby boy's bedtime. However, I did start writing this in our Airbnb in Copenhagen but like most things these days, I never had a chance to finish it.

  1. First things first, if you are taking baby food in your hand luggage make sure that you separate out any pouches/jars. You'll need those that are over 100g and those under 100g, grouped separately. You can still take bigger amounts but you'll save time if they're not in a bag with smaller jars/pouches. (Learn from my mistake!!) When I checked online, it said that I could take enough for the journey. I actually took three meals worth and got through fine but they were Aldi pouches so I wouldn't have been heartbroken if I'd had to leave one behind.
  2. Ask airline staff for extras. Our flight out was an evening flight so I fed the baby boy on take-off and he snoozed and fed in my arms for the entire flight. It wasn't until the flight home that the staff offered me pillows and blankets. Lesson learned, next time I will ask for these straight away. Worst case scenario, they don't have them but if they do, bonus!
  3. A baby carrier is a must. On our way out we were able to keep our buggy until the gate but even then, it was invaluable being able to put the baby into the carrier to get on the aeroplane. And on our return journey, we had to check in the buggy with our suitcases, making the carrier even more of an essential.
  4. If your little one if old enough, bring snacks and toys and anything else you can think of to entertain them. I think a flight is the one time you need to throw caution to the wind and use whatever tactics possible to make it as stress free for everyone involved. A shout out to SAS airlines who we flew with - they provided a lovely little picture book and soft toy for the baby boy to play with (and take home after) - such a nice touch.
  5. Finally, don't stress out if your little one does cry or get upset or doesn't sleep. Our plan on the way out was for the baby boy to feed as we took off, sleep for the flight and then transfer to his buggy and he'd sleep again on the journey to our apartment. In reality, he slept for about half an hour and was awake for the rest of the time! But it was fine. We went with it and tried not to sweat it too much!
Anyone else got any tips for flying with little ones? We're flying with our little boy later in the year and this time I don't think he'll be quite so immobile which I think might be a little more of a challenge - any tips for that gratefully received!!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

baby life: pre-baby vs post-baby Bank Holiday weekend



Bank Holidays are a little lot different since becoming parents. Where we would previously have taken advantage of the extra day or two off work and gone away, spent an extra day/night out, safe in the knowledge of an extra lie in, we now have no security of a lie in and so the long weekend looked rather different. This post by Hurrah for Gin sums it up, I think...





Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, I would have woken up late on Friday morning. I would have languished in bed with my iPad - perusing social media. The hubby and I might have gone for a long leisurely brunch.


Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, we were woken at 6.30 to the sound of baby babble. The baby boy is a chatterbox! Followed by a breastfeed and then on with the day. Which included sitting in the car with my iPhone - perusing social media. While the baby boy slept. Followed by a walk and a quick coffee and cake before the baby boy got too restless. 




Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, might have involved a boozy lunch, followed by an afternoon in a beer garden, or a walk with the hubby and a stop at a pub on the way home.


Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, and we celebrate getting through the day and bedtime with a G&T at home. Just the one. To be honest, I'm more likely to have another on a "school night" as a day in the office is less hard work these days!




Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, we I would have enjoyed another lie in on Saturday morning. I'll be honest, the hubby isn't the best at lying in but he is good at bringing coffee and breakfast in bed! We might then have taken a day trip to explore a nearby town and have lunch out.


Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, wasn't too different! We didn't enjoy a lie in but I did have coffee brought to me in bed while giving the baby boy a breastfeed. We then took a walk in the park and spotted steam trains! Followed by lunch out.





Some things don't change... Dessert of dreams...!!




The baby boy had lots of fun playing on the vintage tractor at the lunch venue.




Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, even getting dressed looked a lot different! I'd have been donning my glad rags in anticipation of catching up with my girlfriends over cocktails, or date night with the hubby. Maybe a jumpsuit with a pair of heels and statement earrings (oh how I dream of a big pair of statement earrings these days but I dare not wear them as the baby boy wants to grab everything!).


Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, my attire is a little more practical - think wipe clean coated jeans (genius for mummies!!), a pair of trainers for running around after babies and the obligatory mummy-uniform striped top.


Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, Easter Sunday would have been spent eating my body weight in chocolate eggs and then snoozing it off in the afternoon, followed by a trip to the pub or out for dinner.


Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, Easter Sunday was spent eating a lot of chocolate (maybe not quite as much as previously) and then getting the baby boy to snooze in the afternoon, followed by some playtime and then dinner for the baby boy before bed. Then the hubby and I snoozed on the sofa before an early night!



Pre- or post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, the Monday night blues are still very real! We had such a lovely weekend with our little Easter bunny and makes going back to work so much harder. But it's only four days until the weekend again!

*Disclaimer: This post is an entry in a competition for the Next Blogger Network.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

#3things: to look forward to about being back at work


Today I survived my first day back at work after my maternity leave. After spending 8 months at home with my baby boy, I am now officially a working mum. Let the mum guilt begin!

In an effort to remind myself why it's not so bad to be back in the office, I've compiled my top three reasons why being at work isn't so terrible after all:


  1. The commute. Yep, it starts before I'm even at work. I get to listen to the radio and music without any crying or shouting. 
  2. Hot coffee. Whenever I want. This is a revelation. At home with the baby boy, I usually end up making a coffee about three hours after I actually first wanted one and then manage to drink it around 30-45 minutes later, cold. At work, I can make a coffee practically any time I want and drink it hot.
  3. Lunch break. Again, lunch is usually something thrown down me about 3pm, if I remember! Today I ate when I was hungry and even had a walk into town and a mooch around the shops, on my own without a tired and cranky baby.


All that said, I couldn't wait to get home to my baby and give him his dinner and bedtime bath and have a cuddle and play together.