Swaddling, Babywearing & Other Newborn Stuff

I don’t think I fall into a category or type of parent. I’ve read the *whispers* Gina Ford books recently (well 2 of them) and the rest of the time I wing it.
I have done aspects from all over – I’ve co-slept with Gina, worn her in a carrier for about a year (but I can’t stand wrap slings as I just find them impossible), I have tried the 7 minute crying method, I have also let her fall asleep on me. Depending on her mood, my mood and the situation I do what feels right for us.
Only this year have I enforced a routine which has already changed twice to suit our needs – this was because she was waking up in the night constantly for months, and staying awake for hours. We were all exhausted, moody and TRMan & I were at our wits end. In the last few weeks, I’ve completely cut out her daytime nap which I can admit is not easy at times and downright hard work at others BUT she now sleeps through the night MOST nights and we are all getting a better nights sleep and waking up in happier moods.

happy baby

 

This post is about a few things that I have heard mentioned since being pregnant again, the choices and options available and what I will be doing myself. It isn’t a manual or a rule book. It’s just me giving my opinion combined with any necessary facts. There are many things I have done or allowed that are frowned upon somewhere and not advised.I’m not telling anyone to go against that advise – I just did what worked best for Gina and myself.

Swaddling, options & how to:
When Gina was newborn, I swaddled her. Not with anything made specifically for swaddling but with her blanket. It lasted for a few weeks until she decided she wanted to sleep on her side and then on her front (note: not advised). I like swaddling. For anyone not comfortable with baby sleeping on them (something else I also did and don’t regret)swaddling is a great way for baby to feel secure and safe; a similar feeling to being in the womb still.
There are many options for swaddling including blankets called swaddle wraps, swaddle shells & extra large muslins made ideally for lightweight swaddling. Aside from the specifics, you can use a normal blanket if you know what you’re doing and it works just as well (in my case but I did have my mum to show me what to do). Each of the specific swaddle items have their own ways to help swaddling:
Swaddle wraps are made in a specific shape to help you swaddle in about 4 simple steps.
Swaddle shells have a zip on the front, take 2 steps to use and are my favourite choice for Baby L this time, although I am not keen on the zip.
Large muslins are really like using a blanket to swaddle, but are really lightweight like any other muslin which some people prefer.

There is a lot of information about swaddling – some negative and some positive. It’s up to each person to make their own informed choice. If it is something you are interested in, I’m providing this NCT link on information about swaddling and how to do it. I think you can find most of the information you need to know there.

Baby carriers, wraps and slings:
Baby wearing is a term I only learnt after having Gina. To me, it was just putting a baby in a carrier because it’s sometimes easier than taking the pushchair out etc. I went on to learn some people “wear” their babies around the home etc to get things done. A lot of baby’s like to be carried around this way as it keeps them close to their parents, providing comfort and lots of skin to skin contact.

Since having Gina, I’ve learnt that the carrier I used wasn’t good for her hips although we had no issues because of it. I will be using a carrier again with Baby L but know now that the best carrier’s will come underneath to near enough babies knee’s, providing more support and keeping baby in a better position. There are quite a few options to choose from for me personally, but have found they all cost over £100. My personal favourites are the Stokke MyCarrier, the Manduca carrier and the ErgoBaby carrier.

I can’t provide much information on wraps or slings as I haven’t had much experience with either. I do have one stretchy wrap carrier which I got quite late on with Gina and I found it to be the hardest, most frustrating thing I ever tried to do. I believe it would probably be a lot better with a small baby but I just don’t think it’s worth the hassle.
Again, I don’t know much about slings except there are many choices and I like the look ofring slings if I was to use one.

I love the Babywearing UK website as it’s informative and laid-back. Take a look for information and resources on babywearing, plus pictures of all of the above mentioned ways to babywear.

Other things I’ve learnt in the last 3 years:

  • We won’t be using a cot bumper this time around as I’ve learnt they can be very dangerous and it also drove me mad last time to be honest. Here’s a link for more information on safe cot sleeping via NCT.
  • We will be co-sleeping and using a moses basket with Baby L as I did with Gina. For more information on co-sleeping, I found these links from BabyCentre & Mumsnetuseful. Once again, please try to remember that what works for one baby or person doesn’t work for everyone.
  • We are still deciding on 2 different brands of bottle for formula feeding. After a very failed attempt at breast feeding Gina and the problems it caused for a few weeks afterwards, I’m 98% certain I will be formula feeding Baby L from the get go. I toyed with the idea of giving the first feed from breast and then going onto formula, but I don’t want to encourage my milk production so will be speaking to my midwife about this at the next midwife appointment in a few weeks.

TRMan has been really open to ideas and suggestions and we generally agree on pretty much everything. He’s very accommodating to not just what is best for baby, but what is best for me as well which I really love and appreciate.

I hope this post has provided some information and insight into just a small selection of the many choices to be made when it comes to babies and parenting. Feel free to comment if I missed anything out or you have any information available about anything mentioned!

Ride Time!

We went on an amazing tour around the Bay Area, we had so much fun.

My family and I just spent a day visiting Muir Woods, followed by a Sonoma Wine Tour. It was a great day! We were picked up right on time at a hotel right across the street from my brother’s apartment. We picked up a few other passengers at nearby hotels and then hit the road to Muir Woods. Along the way, Alan pointed out various points of interest and shared very interesting stories. When we arrived at Muir Woods, Alan told us just what we needed to do to follow a trail that would allow us to enjoy the beauty of Muir Woods, but also get us back to his shuttle in time to depart on schedule. After a fabulous 90 minute hike through the trees, we hit the road again and headed to Sonoma. We visited three wineries – Cline Cellars, Larson Family Winery, and Jacuzzi Family Winery. Alan made sure we had supreme service at each of the wineries. He also made sure to tell us to pop into The Olive Press at Jacuzzi and taste test their olive oils.

In between wineries, we stopped at Sonoma Cheese Factory for lunch. It was pretty busy there, as we seemed to arrive at the same time as another tour group. We got in line and placed our order immediately, but our number was 96 and the grill was only on 76. It was moving pretty slow, so we were worried we wouldn’t make it back to the shuttle in time…or we wouldn’t get to eat! Alan just happened to pass by our table as we were waiting for our food and my aunt mentioned our concern to him – more in a “please don’t leave us, ha, ha, ha” tone, but Alan immediately got on it and before we knew it, we had our food!

After the last winery, we headed back to the city. On the way, as we approached the Golden Gate Bridge, Alan took a turn off the road and took us to a great spot to get a good view of the bridge. He gave us a few minutes to get out and snap some pics then took each group back to their hotel. When he dropped my family off, he dropped us off right at the door to my brother’s apartment.  It was a great time and something I would definitely do again.

Fleas Out of Control

As you know our dog is great, we love her to death but the fleas are out of control.  We tried some things from here and they worked great.  This biggest thing was the Comfortis, they dropped like a rock.   It’s been amazing for our dog, she has stopped itching like crazy and is in a way happier mood.  I can’t believe the difference.

Other things you gotta do is cleanup like crazy after you do the treatment.  You gotta make sure to vacuum everything in site! Get that dog bed cleaned and just do an overall super clean.   That’s what worked for us, if you have any suggestions please let us know for sure.

Journey To Myself

I am slowly exploring me.

Who I am. Who I want to be. What can stay. Who needs to go.

It’s a slow process. Sometimes confusing. But definitely worthwhile.

My mind is in about 1000 different places at once and my ability to concentrate for a long period of time is poor because my mind is constantly wandering.

Amongst all the madness, I have stability. I’ve slowly realised that no matter what has been lost, it would never compare to losing my world and my motivation – Shiloh. I am abundantly blessed with this little person who is growing in intelligence everyday. New words, new sentences, new behaviour. She’s amazing. Resilient. Determined. Stubborn. Exciting. Interesting. And genuinely beautiful. All she wants to do is play and talk all day – I don’t think she would care if the house was always a mess as long as she was able to play and have her family play with her whenever she wanted.

She’s in a bedtime routine now and sleeps from 7pm through til 7.30am which makes my life a lot easier. She decided this herself by having meltdowns after 7pm and begging to sleep so I decided to just alter the bedtime hour.

Life is good. I have no complaints. Every day is new. Every day sure isn’t perfect. But it’s good enough for us.

I’m still here. Just finding me.

Week 24 Cookie update

This post actually counts as my #100HappyDays Day 2 as well as I already mentioned on my Instagram.

Today, I’m 24 weeks pregnant and kind of used to it now LOL. I realised today I can’t see my feet and I’m not sure when that happened! I’m 5 and a half months pregnant now and feel like time is going both fast and slow – I cannot wait to meet this little bubba and feel impatient to do so, but I know time is going to fly with the amount that needs to happen before October.

 

Baby:
It’s an important milestone today as it marks viability – 20 to 35 percent of babies born at 23 weeks of gestation survive, while 50 to 70 percent of babies born at 24 to 25 weeks which means Baby L’s survival chances have more than doubled in a week. A baby in my October Due Date group was born in the small hours of this morning – our first birth and is doing as well as could be in NICU.
Since my 19 week update, I’ve had 3 scans: anomaly, private & growth scan. Baby M is doing great and well on target. The movement I feel is pretty amazing and in places I wouldn’t expect yet – as far as I know, baby is transverse already so I hope and pray they stay that way!

Body:
My sciatica seemed to have disappeared but has returned in the last couple of days with a vengeance – the pain is immense and shoots down my right leg as well. It’s not fun but I expected it and just have to learn to live with it because I know I will have it long after baby is born.

Birth Plan:
I’ve started writing up my birth plan and have included a few important things that I probably didn’t last time including delayed cord clamping – TRMan and I have discussed it and he is happy to go ahead with it unless circumstances make it impossible. It was something I wanted to do with Shy but I was so exhausted by the end of my labour I really didn’t care – I also hadn’t discussed my plan with my mum who was my birthing partner to ensure she could enforce anything I couldn’t be bothered to. This time, I have discussed it all with TRMan and will be making him read it so he knows what should be happening and can ensure it does.

That’s all for this weeks update but I have quite a few posts in the pipeline, just waiting to be completed. Keep an eye open!

Five things you don’t want to hear when trying to conceive!

As you all know by now, after a miscarriage in November I didn’t think I would be trying again for quite some time. But this month just seemed like a good time and place to start – here’s looking at us I guess! As long as it takes is as long as we will try until we get our little rainbow baby… *sprinkle baby dust here*

babydust

 

What I have learnt is that once people find out you are trying, everyone has something to say. Whether you’re part of a forum or support group, a network of hopeful mums or it could even be friends and family – once people know, there’s always something to be shared, read or learnt.

This is my top 5 list of things you’re bound to here once announcing your baby dancing efforts:

  1. When to try and conceive: you can get apps, you can research old wives tales, your mum/sister/nan/aunty has an opinion, OPKs can tell you something different. My mum always said to me 10-14 days after the first day of your last period is generally the danger zone… my favourite ovulation app predicted days 15-20 from the first day of my last period… I’m yet to try OPKs and in my group I have heard anything from the first day after the last day of your period to the first day after the day you ovulate! It can be confusing and conflicting and in all honesty you just need to get to know your own body – I believe learning your CM (cervical mucus) is a good indicator for sure. That’s all I will advise because I don’t want to add to anyone’s confusion.
  2. Someone else’s turbulent journey: There will always be someone somewhere who has been trying for anything between 18-36 months with no success and 5 miscarriages. There will be someone who conceives and then miscarrieswithin days. Someone who has started cramping and their hCG level is dropping. It’s not nice and it is scary. So scary that it’s hard to see past all of these scary stories and remember all the good ones – the people who miscarried and are now 34 weeks pregnant; or went on to have 3 healthy babies. You have to decide what’s best for your own sanity: do you continue talking to these people, remain in the groups etc and get the support alongside the fear or do you leave it alone until you are strong enough to deal with it or until you have conceived and are at a stage you feel secure enough to venture into the currents? Fear isn’t healthy and can affect your fertility if you stress too much!

3) Gender Picking: “I hope you have a girl/boy”… It happens. Always. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or last, miscarriage or not. People have a preference for whatever reason. In my case,all I want is a baby that sticks around and comes out healthy and I get to raise. Boy or girl. I will take either. As long as I get to keep it! Why does no one ever say, “I hope you have the healthiest baby ever!” (ok, I’m sure if someone said that you would wonder why they think you wouldn’t but you get my jist… wish my luck dammit and go have the boy or girl you want so bad!).

 

4) Did your period come? Now this is controversial. One, you’re partly at fault for announcing your baby making plans to the world. You left yourself open to questions BUT it is a sensitive topic. I personally believe if the person TTC says nothing, then ask nothing. Maybe this month wasn’t their month and they just want to move past it without having to go through it all over again. Monthly disappointments aren’t fun. Be sensitive. Or maybe their period didn’t come but it’s too early to share the news – bottom line, if they have something to share then they will share it. This could be a scary time for them. Be patient but be available if they do want to talk. Do not pry! (just my opinion though…) 

I’m sure it’s been done…

5) Are you sure you did IT enough? Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit too personal? We could have done it on only the days we were “meant to” or every day of the damn month. If we didn’t manage to conceive this month, please don’t add any more pressure. Having sex to conceive is hard enough to keep fun without pressure being piled on. And if we don’t know if we managed to conceive yet, please don’t put doubts into our heads about whether we did the dance enough or properly or on the right days. Believe me, anyone trying to conceive did IT enough if not more than! 

Those are my 5 personal pet peeves that I realized this month. If you have ever been, or currently are trying to conceive, feel free to comment below and let me know what you hear/heard that you really wish you hadn’t or let me know what you heard that you wish everyone would say!

Until next time, have some positivity *sprinkles*; some baby dust (feel free not to catch if not TTC) *throws*; and the most important: Lots of love *unleashes a big truckload”!

Caribbean Style Lamb Stew

Today I planned to cook a lamb stew with some flavour. I ended up cooking it tonight to eat tomorrow (literally finished cooking about 20mins ago) but it came out pretty good!

So, I used a recipe I found online as a guideline and will provide the link at the end of this post. I generally mix and match to suit my taste so that’s what I done here. The original recipe was to feed 6-8 people using 5lbs of lamb – I used just over 2lbs (say 2.2lbs) of lamb and halfed the rest of the ingredients roughly to accomodate this change.

Additional ingredients I added to suit my personal preferences were… Rosemary (dried), a few SMALL drops of hot Encona sauce (if you’re not a heat fan, please be careful or just don’t use at all) and some chilli flakes to mine. I also added some Bistofavourite gravy granules and a bit of All Purpose Seasoning for a bit more of a fuller flavour. None of these were in the original recipe but I know how to cook so I add what I want (LOL). I used fresh thyme, parsley and garlic (generally a fresher taste than dried herbs) along with everything else in the recipe. I would have used more carrots if I’d had more but I ran out unfortunately. The only thing I think is missing is some small dumplings and a bit of pumpkin!

After cooking for the stated time, I felt I would prefer a bit more gravy/juice/liquid with my stew and added a bit more water, brought to the boil for about 7 minutes whilst stirring and voila. Food cooked. The lamb is super tender (just how you want your lamb to be!)and the flavours are well balanced but full.

Job well done.