‘I Need To Drink More Fish’

I apologise it’s been a few weeks since my last post but between recovery, several medical appointments, health visitors and family coming and going time just ran away from me. Let’s get underway with this weeks blog topic: Breastfeeding – A topic which is always in the spotlight.

YUP, this is a sentence I said out loud when trying to make a decision about what to have for tea one day. Safe to say, lately it definitely feels like my baby is sucking all of my smart out. Turns out whilst breastfeeding you can get baby brain just as you did during pregnancy. This would explain why my brain cannot retain information for longer than half an hour, I can’t remember simple tasks or instructions or really understand anything post 9pm. Still totally worth it!

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When a baby’s gotta eat, a baby’s gotta eat!

Breastfeeding is one of those wonderful natural things. It is totally magic. Each woman’s milk is tailored to their baby providing the perfect cocktail of nutrition and support to help their baby grow. It can help strengthen the bond between a mother and baby. It’s also one of the hardest things you face as a mother; just knowing you’re solely producing the food that’s keeping your little bundle of joy alive… So why is it one of these crappy taboos!? When did someone decide somewhere that this topic needed to split the nation in two!? Why do you have to be either pro breastfeeding and nothing else or all anti-breastfeed?! There is that subcategory of people who think breastfeeding is repulsive and you feel the need to shame the mamas that are confident in feeding their child in public BUT we won’t include them in this discussion as they’re super mean – NO MAMA SHOULD EVER BE SHAMED. EVER. Whatever your own personal decision is, it should be just that: PERSONAL. Somewhere in the middle of this ‘breast or formula?’ discussion there is those mama’s who are stepping forwards paving the way for future attitudes by being confident and comfortable (LIKE EVERY MAMA SHOULD) about both breastfeeding and not breastfeeding. Sometimes this is through choice but other times thus choice is made for you. Some mothers are unable to breastfeed, others find it difficult and some have been shamed for it. There are some super mama’s out there breaking down those taboos about breastfeeding and formula feeding and today I’m going to talk about our personal experience with breastfeeding and formula feeding and what we did to make it work for us and how we made sure we are all happy and healthy whilst doing so.

For me, breastfeeding didn’t start off all plain sailing. It didn’t come naturally and was difficult. Little Rory was very fussy and it left us both rather distressed 99.99% of the time. Every attempt ended in intense screaming, trashing around and tears – my daydreams of bonding with my little boy seemed very far away at this point. We continued to try feeding which was hard but eventually it lead to latching on which unfortunately lead to falling asleep having after having a feed for all of two seconds – NOT IDEAL. Despite this, I chose persevere which was a really difficult decision to make. We took all advise offered and engaged in many hours of skin to skin which resulted in a few feeds but not really enough. After everything that’s drilled into you by either family member, friends or midwifes around ‘breast being best’, you can’t help but feel rather uneasy when the word ‘formula’ is mentioned. Why is it that you instantly feel like you’re failing when breastfeeding doesn’t pan out like you imagine!? With such lack of information around what breastfeeding can really be like in the beginning, I feel many like myself are left feeling a little unprepared. Luckily for me, the midwives who cared for me whilst I was in hospital spent every moment reassuring me I was doing all the right things and that I should keep plodding on and Rory would eventually just ‘get it’. This is when I decided to stuff feeling like I wasn’t enough. My body was doing all it could so I took a deep breathe and took that formula in my stride. I never went for the tin of powder you mix yourself and heat and wait and TOO MUCH FAFFING – My inner lazy-gal went straight for the ready-made small 70ml bottles complete with steralised teat. Safe to say within seconds of assembling the two parts, he was guzzling down the formula at lightening speed – YAY! The happiness you get when your baby is finally feeding, whichever method you chose, is unreal. He only had a small amount of that bottle to start with but he slept like a dream afterwards. This left me time to express my colostrum to syringe feed him in between formula feeds and then my milk when it came in on day 4. I was not giving up without a fight, I really wanted breastfeeding to happen for us and I wanted to at least try every option and combination to help get there.

Once again, luckily for me when my milk came in, Rory became less fussy and latched on like a dream… BUT only for all of 5 minutes. My thought process immediately went to ‘hopefully we have started the route towards successful feeds!’ – At this point we were alternating between the boob and the bottle meaning I could pump when he had the bottle and dear Daddy could join in whilst feeding too which he really enjoyed (even at 4am!). Our aim was to eventually swap the bottles for breast milk in bottles in hope that the breastfeeding would become more regular and then only be breastfeeding. This was an open ended plan with no time frame but we managed to achieve this within a matter of three weeks, which was a dream! He knew exactly what he wanted and finally the boobs were the answer. I’m sure like many, even though we had lift off and a great result with breastfeeding, in the beginning it was rather uncomfortable. It stings, throbs and is sometimes just god damn uncomfortable. Why is it whilst feeding on one boob your other boob feels left out so you get the sensation of feeding in both? And can we talk about the leaking?! Even with breast pads in, there are many times where I have been caught out with overactive milk supply leaking through pads, bra and even my top – Just what you want whilst taking a countryside stroll with no spares, no privacy and no shops!

My journey taken to get us where we are now hasn’t been an easy one. Looking back now there’s a lot of advise I would give myself: I’d start with ‘it is all going to be ok’ and that each day will get better and yes it will hurt and yes you’ll have good days and bad days and yes it’s easy to give in and find an easier route but just bring it in and really focus on you and your baby and do what is best for you. At the end of the day no one can tell you what will work best for you.

 

What have I learnt from my journey into breastfeeding?  So. Many. Things. Here’s my top 5:

  1. Don’t fret or worry. Things didn’t start off easy for me but worrying about it didn’t help at all. Which leads us on to…
  2. Don’t be afraid to seek help. I spoke to my midwife, my health visitor, had a call from the nursery nurse from my local children’s centre and even researched Facebook groups and Mother and Baby groups in the area. You are never alone!
  3. Pumps are handy to have. Even if you can’t bare the thought of pumping in between feeds, all it takes is one extra long nap for your boobs to fill up to the point of explosion. They are fantastic for relief and there are so many to choose from. Plus you never know, it mighty come in handy when you finally get a night off!
  4. Be prepared! Carry extra supplies – I now keep extra breast pads in my handbag or the nappy bag for when life loves to surprise me.
  5. FEED WHEREVER YOU PLEASE. Even if formula or breast DO NOT let anyone let you think feeding your baby is something for behind closed doors. If your baby is hungry when you’re out shopping or, yes you can find the nearest family room to feed or you can go for the nearest bench/seated area. Wrap or no wrap, you feed your baby however you want!

What are my preferences? I LOVE my Tommee Tippee manual pump. It’s comfy, easy to use and comes with a microwavable sterilising box. It was one of my many bargain buys brought on sale for 10.99 down from 21.99! You can find it here at Boots online – http://www.boots.com/tommee-tippee-closer-to-nature-manual-breast-pump-10205689It’s currently on sale! (This may change. Price true to date of published post)

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Who has inspired me? Instagram has me hooked! These ladies are my heroes and inspiration. They are my daily reminder that it’s ok to have problems, ok to power through, ok to breastfeed wherever whenever and to never shy away. A reminder that every mama should be a proud mama!

(Photographs are screenshots / I OWN NO COPYRIGHT / all originals are copyrighted and owned by said women)
  1. TESS HOLLIDAY (@TESSHOLLIDAY)
    https://www.instagram.com/tessholliday/?hl=en

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  2. EDEN GRINSHPAN (@EDENEATS)
    https://www.instagram.com/edeneats/?hl=en

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  3. KAT (@LITTLEBIRDDOULA)
    https://www.instagram.com/littlebirddoula/?hl=en

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We have reached the other side. Our breastfeeding problems are slowly but surely disappearing and we have bonded with every feed. We’ve overcome every difficulty thrown at us and learnt that FORMULA IS OUR FRIEND but that breast is what is best for us.

ALL FEEDING IS GOOD FEEDING.

Love to all!

One Curious Mother x

 

Disclaimer: All instagram screenshot images are NOT owned by One Curious Mother. All original images featured are copyrighted and owned by @tessholliday, @edeneats & @littlebirddoula. Please follow links provided to see their profiles.

His Grand Arrival – The Birth Story

As we gently tiptoe across the three week old mark, I finally feel ready to write about my experience of labour and how our precious boy Rory Fitzsimons arrived into the world.

I want to start by praising the NHS and every one who had an involvement in my care at Great Western Hospital in Swindon. The care I received was outstanding and each and everyone of the members of staff I came into contact with seemed to go above and beyond to make my journey and stay at GWH as best as it could be under the circumstances I faced. I find people are all too quick to complain about our health service but are too shy to praise – They saved us and helped us get through a very difficult journey and that I will always be grateful for.

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*PLEASE BE AWARE Some details in this blog may make for distressing reading so please bear this in mind*

It hit 9:45pm on Friday 17th and this wave of pain surged through my lower back forcing me to sit down. As ‘damn what the hell was that’ flew out my mouth, of which my other half reassured me that it was probably pain related to the weight of my bump. Within 10 minutes the pain arrived again – this was no regular back pain. As the pains were irregular and at this point and not unmanageable, I took myself off to bed with a hot wheat bag and put a film on for distraction. Within just 2 hours the pain had intensified and I was keeled over in the bathroom uncontrollably shaking reaching for the phone. By 1:30am I was lying on a bed waiting to be assessed in the delivery suite. With each pulse of my contractions feeling stronger and stronger I was assessed and at 2cm – next move was a 3am referral to the antenatal ward. Clinging on to my phone to press ‘start’ on my contraction counter, I continued to pace the maternity ward for 13 hours until I was finally at 4 cm and ready to be taken through to the delivery suite. Shaking profusely, it had suddenly dawned on me that after growing a baby for 9 months, he could be in my arms within hours – a terrifying but exciting thought!

In the end I decided against having a birth plan however in a moment’s pain I took the plunge and went straight in for the epidural without a second thought. Full of nerves and exhaustion, no one argued with my decision and the boyfriend was my rock and so incredibly supportive throughout. In less than 20 minutes the anaesthetist was explaining the process and the risks whilst I moved to the edge of the bed and hunched over. The epidural was the least painful and most stress-free part of my labour experience which took me completely by surprise – for some reason I had worked myself up into thinking it was going to be painful. At this point I was still in a state and became worked up as the fear of the unknown and complete and utter exhaustion collided. From here on out it was a waiting game. My body was doing its thing, just very very slowly. By 3am and I reached 7 cms and things were still going slow and I was given a hormone drip to speed things up… this didn’t really work too well.

Fast forward to 5:30am – 10cms had finally been reached! The sudden feeling of ‘OMG YES my body is actually doing this all on its own – and I can’t feel a thing!’ had arrived with the words ‘I think you’re ready to start pushing now’. For a split second time stood still. It was like looking at the finish line from a distance and not knowing if you were hurtling towards it or it was getting further away! Unaware of the strain my body was feeling, this continued for 4 hours with a hormone drip. As the sun began shining on Sunday morning I was greeted by my third change of midwife, 2 doctors, my anaesthetist and a surgeon… Yup you guessed – after 4 hours of pushing and getting no further, the word ‘caesarean’ surfaced. I had a tonne of drugs being pumped through my system so wasn’t really 100% sure of what was going on but as the midwife handed the boyfriend his very own pair of blue scrubs I figured that surgery had become my only option. Turns out our little man had turned to be back against my back and there was a chance the cord was now under his arm being squeezed every time a contraction came around – not ideal! Before I knew it I was being wheeled down to theatre and being rubbed with iodine and pumped with more drugs. I was terrified at this stage but these are professionals whose jobs are to deliver babies safely – I had to trust them. I had no preconceived ideas of what a c-section would entail even after watching the NHS ‘Guide To’ video online months back, I honestly naively believed it wouldn’t happen to me. As the room filled with around 8 to 10 people, all with their own individual jobs, my surgery began. Completely petrified as my dear boyfriend coached me through my tears and fears, it barely seemed like 5 minutes before someone commented ‘your baby is about to be born’…

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… And there he was! Perfect, all pink and screaming – the midwives whisked him over to the scales to be weighed and put a knitted hat on his little round head. Our little son was posted down the top of my gown for our first bit of skin to skin. Tears began to stream down my face as I looked across to his daddy with face beaming – our baby had arrived and all safe and sound!  It’s no secret that what people say is true; the moment you lay eyes on your baby you’ll wonder how you ever lived not knowing their face, that one look at them creates this unconditional love. He was 8lb and 3 ounces of beautiful.

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After living in that new family bubble, the biggest reality check followed the return of feeling in my body: there is no way in hell a c-section is ever the ‘easy option‘. Having read 101 blogs, forums and Q&A’s c-sections always seem to be a taboo subject, there was an unbelievable amount of shame pushed upon women who didn’t give birth naturally – something I just could not get my head around. HOW could surgery be the easy way out!? I can tell you for free it absolutely was not. My recovery felt and still feels nothing short of a million marathons. I was discharged after just 2 days with an extensive list of drugs to take looking completely swollen much like a party balloon. I couldn’t get in and out of chairs or my bed without assistance and couldn’t stand up straight without a 10 minute slow motion stretch. I slept on the sofa for the first 4 nights as lying down caused me too much pain. Every time I tried to do anything physical – walk to the toilet, take a drink, lift Rory to feed – tears streamed down my face. Even eating became a challenge as utter exhaustion has taken control of my body and mind. BUT luckily for me this started to subside after the first week with the help of my incredible family and support system. The boyfriend along with my parents helped bath me, feed me, do the laundry and dishes along with food shopping all whilst I was sofa bound. Cabin fever is the worst when you’re physically in pain and mentally exhausted but I can promise you that if you are going through this right now, that each day gets a little bit better – I promise. Now 23 days on from the birth of Rory, I can get up and out of bed, cook, bath myself and Rory, go for short walks and just about make it around a (small) supermarket shop without any issues. I did struggle when the boyfriend went back to work a week ago but having my own mother just next door working from home, if I ever have any struggles she’s always there for me – something I will  never be able to thank her enough for. Our families have been the best and we can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done for us already.

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It’s no secret that my experience of birth was a difficult and traumatic one and I’m no longer afraid to admit that. All through my pregnancy I had prepared myself for the possibility of a long labour but never as long as 36 hours long or for it to end in emergency surgery. This journey has taught me so much and when looking back at how far we’ve come it’s so easy to get overwhelmed so to finish off my story I want to share with you all five things I have learnt along the road to recovery:

  1. You should never doubt the power of a woman’s body and mind. Even in the toughest of situations, your body will do its job, it will do what it has to do, you will make some of the hardest decisions and you will overcome extreme unexpected situations and you will thrive! Surgery is seriously tough, no matter what it’s for. Give your body some credit for its hard work and look after yourself.
  2. Don’t give yourself a hard time if things don’t go to plan! Life can spring the unexpected on you at any moment and sometimes you have to be brave and embrace it.
  3. Your support system is one of your most valuable things. In your darkest hour having close family or friends is completely invaluable. They will bring you back to earth and hold your hand the entire time.
  4. It’s OK to cry – and yes at absolutely everything. Whether it’s because you can’t reach to tie your shoes or you’re exhausted from breastfeeding just let it all out, no one is going to judge you.
  5. You won’t look like you – but it won’t always be that way. You might not recognise yourself, you won’t fit back into your old clothes straight away and you’ll still be ‘puffy’ for a little while but it’s not permanent, it’s all part of the journey to the new normal.

Now halfway to my 6 week appointment I feel like a totally different person already – something I would never have believed in the days following Rory’s birth. We are slowly finding our way to the new normal and you will too. My best advice is that you just have to be patient and kind to yourself. You’ll be back on track to finding your new normal before you know it. It really won’t be long before you’ll be enjoying your favourite activities again – PROMISE!

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I’m glad I’ve finally been able to share my journey with you. We are totally in love and can’t imagine life without our little Rory! Thank you for coming back for a read!

One Curious Mother x

There were no sources used for today’s post but if you wish to, you can watch the NHS youtube videos at this link – https://www.youtube.com/user/GreatWesternHospital

The Last Leg!

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Please accept my biggest apologies for the lack of posts over the last week or so – Just 3 words cover my back here: Pregnancy is exhausting! We have finally reached the last leg at almost 38 weeks with numerous appointments, the end of the big nursery build and finally that ‘nesting’ feeling in full swing.

After finishing work almost 4 weeks ago and having little over 2 weeks until the D-DAY, I can only describe my new found restlessness as unbelievably severe impatience. With sleepless nights, a nasty case of PUPPP (Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy – basically a hormone fuelled horrible itchy rash) along with the waddle of an oversized goose, having this little man surprise me before the 40th week is starting to sound like an OK idea but there is no doubt this last leg is proving to be difficult. Between daily hospital visits, building project nearing it’s final days and feeling ever more uncomfortable trying to get my head around everything so lets get talking about these highs and lows and how I’m getting myself together for the big day.

Now this is a very important part of this post: my recognition for the fantastic National Health Service of the Great Western Hospital in Swindon whom without I wouldn’t know what the hell I was doing and would more than likely be a messy puddle of worry. Between having low movement last week, camping out in the canteen waiting to see dermatology along with having a number of appointments back and fore to keep an eye on my rash and itching, I have to praise the Women’s Day Assessment Unit for their outstanding care and support. I could not fault them at all. With 110% committed to helping you every time, always monitoring your baby and providing first class care whilst smiling the whole time – Happiness makes such a difference when you’re knees deep in worry. This not only goes for the unit but also for our local community midwives too. Having now completed our 3 week antenatal class course at the hospital run by community midwives, we are definitely feeling a little more aware of what to expect and feel we’ve been given a lot of information on how to prepare. This advice has been above and beyond valuable and I think has geared us up for a small taster of what to expect as first time parents.

We have brought just about everything this baby will need until he’s at least 6 months old (you can never been too prepared!), the nursery is built, plastered, painted and waiting for carpet – which is going to be fitted tomorrow (expect photo update!) and all the furniture is waiting in boxes next to my packed hospital bag. I am secretly hoping he’ll make a spur of the moment arrival any day now as I finally feel like I am almost ready to be a mother. Unfortunately  it’s out of my control and is up to him when he would like to make that entrance! I have been basking in the well known old wives tales plastered over the internet. From eating pineapple, bouncing on an exercise ball, eating spicier foods and even taking longer walks (even if that’s mainly around supermarkets as my appetite is huge right now) I am keen to try it all. As you can tell, nothing is working so far but wish me luck and if you have any suggestions please do contact us! We’d love to hear your advice!

Anyway, Let’s look at our beautiful build then! 

SO MANY PHOTOS. It’s definitely been a well documented build thats for sure! It’s been one of the most exciting thing to see happen to our little annex and we are truly lucky to have my parent’s just next door – they’ve been so much more than your average parents… they’ve been more like part-time project managers, builders, decorators, electricians and everything in between! Now we’ve finally reached the last stages of the nursery build, with just the carpet to be fitted tomorrow and furniture to build after, it’s been good to reflect on the whole project. Take a little look at our progress below:

The Demolition Beginning
The Start of Building
Up Go The Walls & On Goes The Roof
Windows In & Walls Plastered
Whitewashed Walls & Cement
‘Custard’ or ‘Cheesecake’?

This build has come on leaps and bounds in just over 4 weeks with amazing man power and help from the all the local builders, plasterers, carpet fitters and everyone else we’ve employed along with all the family too. It’s crazy how quickly the last 37 weeks have gone and I still can’t believe how far we’ve come, how much we’ve done in that time and how far we still have to go. Despite feeling this impatient, I know these last weeks will fly by and he’ll be here before we know it –  just hoping all this excitement brings him into our lives sooner rather than later!

Happy Humpday & Happy St David’s Day! 

Keep an eye out for updates for our finished room or even an update on his grand entrance – who knows which will come first! 

One Curious Mother x

 

Sources:
ALL images are copyright to One Curious Mother ©
If you have any queries about the images used please visit our contact page and drop us an email! 

The Bare Necessities

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‘The simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife’

As a Disney fan, it seems only appropriate that we delve into this Jungle Book style! What better way to sum up the bare necessities you will suddenly need now your bundle of joy is on the way than with a childhood classic!

This post is a much lighter hearted and fun one. If you LOVE to burn a hole in your pocket (like I do) and don’t know how to do this without totally breaking the bank, then look no further as I am about to share the tips and tricks I’ve learnt so far. When I discovered I was pregnant, it didn’t dawn on me for a few months how much stuff I could possibly need. With so much advertising and lists everywhere telling you ‘YOU WILL NEED THIS‘ and ‘YOU SHOULD BUY THAT‘ it can all be a little overwhelming to say the least. I was always aware of the ‘bare necessities’ I would need such as a pram, a cot and changing table but not all the little extras that have now been designed to make your life easier (and apparently a little more cluttered!)

You’re always told you need a multitude of things but what you need vs what you’re told you need, I have found, are very different. Take it from me, this is far from straight forwards for a first-time-mother with no experience of preparing for a baby. So, where do you start once you’ve listed what counts as the bare necessities? For me, I started by making a list of things categorising what I have brought/have left to buy to help me see what I need. Below are mini lists under the categories I have narrowed it down to: Medical, To Sleep, To Wear, To Feed and To Entertain/Go Out. Let’s see what I’ve got for each:

  1. Medical: For cleaning, bathing & caring
    Shampoo
    Baby lotion
    Body wash
    Cotton wool
    Towels
    Changing table & mat
    NAPPIES
    Wipes
    Nappy rash cream
    Diaper genie & refills
    Bath seat
  2. To Sleep: For comfort & wearing 
    Cot & Moses Basket (and sheets)
    Pillow/’Sleepy head’ pod
    Swaddles
    Pyjamas/sleepsuits – Mixture of different thicknesses
    Baby monitor
  3. To Wear: Remember babies can be sick… a lot!
    Wardrobe (to store it all) – always think of maximising space!
    Baby grows – mixture of long, short, no sleeve/feet, no feet
    Socks
    Hats – mixture of thin & thick
    Cardigans
    Jumpers
    Scratch mittens
  4. To Feed:
    Breast pump
    Bottles
    Feeding pillow
    Sterilisers
    Bottle brush
    Dummies & on-the-go steriliser
    Muslin cloths
    Bibs 
  5. To Entertain/Go Out:
    Cuddly toy
    Bouncy chair/rocker
    Mobile
    Night light
    Playmat – For tummy time!
    Carrier – For taking them for a walk whilst basically weight training – win win!

There are plenty of things you could add or take away from this list as I’m sure I’ve missed out things that others would deem essential and things that I’ve added that others wouldn’t need but as a list of things to help me feel prepared, I feel it covers all basics with a little luxury.

With all those items in mind I am pleased to say I have always been a thrifty shopper. There are a handful of items on that list that I paid full price for. One of my biggest tips & tricks is an absolute must: YOU MUST SCOUR THE INTERNET – get on Google and research that product you want, look for when shops have mother & baby events, sign up for sale email notifications and never ever just settle for what you find first! There will always be an alternative that might help you save your pennies for a rainy day. Here are my top 6 best buys to date: (Please note that these deals may have expired and may not be available anymore!)

Tommee Tippee Dummies at Asda – As mentioned in my previous post ‘A Dummies Guide…’ these sets were on offer for 2 for £6! 

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https://groceries.asda.com/product/teethers-soothers/tommee-tippee-closer-to-nature-fun-style-2-orthodontic-soothers-0-to-6m/910001268315 

Tommee Tippee Bottle at Tesco – Originally around £25, these were down to just £10!

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 http://www.tesco.com/direct/tommee-tippee-closer-to-nature-260ml-bottles-6-pack/215-1344.prd?source=others 

Tommee Tippee Manual Breast Pump at Boots – Originally £21.99, on sale for £10.99!

tommee-tippee-manual-breast-pump-boots

http://www.boots.com/tommee-tippee-closer-to-nature-manual-breast-pump-10205689 

Bambino Mio Miosolo All-In-One Reusable Nappy at Boots – Originally £15.99 each, on sale for £10.99

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 http://www.boots.com/bambino-mio-miosolo-all-in-one-reusable-nappy-hop-10216576 

Bambino Mio Miosolo All-In-One Nappy at Aldi – Down to £8.99 as part of their Baby Event

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https://www.aldi.co.uk/bambino-mio-miosolo-nappy-bicycle/p/068689020575101 

Mama’s & Papa’s Wave Rocker – On sale for £59 from £79, in wrong box when went to purchase so honoured at the marked down £34.99! 

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 https://www.mamasandpapas.com/en-gb/wave-rocker-catch-a-star/p/4591t0300/ 

So, let’s tally it all up. These six items should have come to approximately £167.55 but came to just £81.96 saving me a whopping £85.59! That’s more than 50% off – which you can see but still – it just goes to show that shopping around can help you save those pennies after all your baby is going to need many new things as they begin to grow.

I hope this has inspired you that when you go to shop to look for those bargains and SAVE!

Happy Hump day!

One Curious Mother x

 

Sources:
Cover Image:
https://d23.com/this-day/the-jungle-book-premieres/

Item Images:
https://groceries.asda.com/product/teethers-soothers/tommee-tippee-closer-to-nature-fun-style-2-orthodontic-soothers-0-to-6m/910001268315
http://www.tesco.com/direct/tommee-tippee-closer-to-nature-260ml-bottles-6-pack/215-1344.prd?source=others
http://www.boots.com/tommee-tippee-closer-to-nature-manual-breast-pump-10205689
http://www.boots.com/bambino-mio-miosolo-all-in-one-reusable-nappy-hop-10216576
https://www.aldi.co.uk/bambino-mio-miosolo-nappy-bicycle/p/068689020575101
https://www.mamasandpapas.com/en-gb/wave-rocker-catch-a-star/p/4591t0300/

 

The Hospital Bag

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As much as I would always like to think I am organised within an inch of my life, I am probably nowhere near. My apartment is a constant cleaning-in-progress mess, we still don’t have a nursery built and I not even begun to think about buying the big important stuff a baby requires. However, despite this the one thing I have decided I will be organised about is my hospital bag. The thought of being unprepared for his grand arrival is starting to terrify me and I feel I must nail this bag on the head even with no nursery or furniture! To start my preparations, as always, I’ve turned to our good old friend Google and done a bit of reading. Hello NetMums! We all know it’s not hard to end up reading an unbelievable and overwhelming number of forums, blogs and comments but I did come to one big conclusion: Everyone is different.

I am currently at 30 weeks and 3 days and have been made abundantly aware that I look positively enormous for someone who has just less than 10 weeks to go. (I’ll give you some context – I am only 5ft3, before pregnancy was a size 8/10 and from behind you can’t even tell I’m pregnant). I have begun to panic a bit at the thought of our little one arriving before his due date so decided to begin organising things to put this hospital bag together now I’ve brought a sturdy duffle bag.

To begin with my starting lists seemed to consist of a mixture of things for myself and the baby that I may or may not use. The more I thought about it, the more I realised I might work on a process of elimination basis and add or take things away as it gets closer and closer to ‘the big day’. Below are the things I’ve put in the bag for baby so far:

  • 2 ‘going home’ sleep suit – both with build in feet and scratch mittens
  • 1 full length baby grow – no feet or mittens
  • 2 newborn long sleeve bodysuits – just in case he’s tiny
  • 2 0-3-month-old short sleeve bodysuits
  • 1 0-3-month-old no sleeve bodysuit – in case he’s warm
  • 1 soft toy –  to stop him crying of course (this is being made so isn’t in the bag yet)
  • 4 muslin cloths – may need more, 4 seemed like a good starting point
  • 2-3 dribble bibs – please see above comment ^
  • 2-3 pairs of socks – different colours & thickness
  • 2 pairs of scratch mittens – baby’s nails can be sharp

I have only put a lot thought into items for the baby and I’m already being much slower picking the things I want to put in the bag for me. I’ve put this down to still being quite unsure about what kind of birth I am going to aim for – yes aim being the most important word here as I don’t believe anyone knows how a birth will unfold. Again, I have started looking at my birth plan but I will talk more about that in depth in be a future post no doubt. The starts of my ‘me list’ looks a little like this:

  • Nightwear (1 PJ set, 2 nighties) – preferably with buttons for breast feeding and a wide/elastic waistband for comfort
  • 5 pairs of ‘Bridget Jones pants’ – yes those big comfy ones that come up to your armpits
  • A million maxi pads – because we all know that these will be an absolutely necessity
  • Pack of face wipes & some moisturiser – just to try and feel a tad normal
  • 3 – 4 Nursing bras – for maximum ease when feeding the little one
  • ‘Mothers Balm’ by Neal’s Yard – I was brought this as a gift and absolutely swear by it 
  • Camera – As a photographer, this an absolute must no matter how awful I may look/feel

The quantities of the above are based on not knowing how long I’ll be in hospital so covers a maximum stay of 3-4 days. I still need to do things like toothbrush, paste, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, etc. but my SO is going to take care of chargers, phones and a call list because there’s less things for me to think (and forget) about.
I do still have a little way to go yet with just under 10 weeks left so I feel I’m running out of time to somehow find the strength and organise the rest of my life properly especially with my maternity leave creeping up on me at just 25 days to go! For now, I think I’ll stick to being content my bag is pretty much almost packed and pray that if I have forgotten something, that eventually I will somehow remember – even with my gooey baby-controlled mind!

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(Could not resist this bear hat – Hoping this will be his first outfit post-birth!)

Hope you’re all enjoying being back at work and having a Christmas-decoration-free home. (Mine looks so bare now, almost as if it were a little tidier!)

One Curious Mother x

Stock List: 
Striped Sleepsuit – Mothercare
Spaceship Sleepsuit – Cath Kidston
Red Dribble Bib – Zippy
White Sleeveless Baby Grow – Asda
Grey Bear Hat – H&M
Grey Star Swaddle – Swaddle Me

 

To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate

Happy New Year! 

To start off 2017, as the weather has taken a turn for the freezing, I thought I’d start by discussing an all important topic – Vaccinations. Although a heavy subject, it is one that is regularly discussed in relation to pregnancy.

‘Vaccines’, ‘Jabs’, ‘Shots’ or ‘Injections’ – Whatever you call them, throughout your life you will more than likely have to make decisions on whether to have them or not. For the first part of your life this decision lies with your parents as you’re just a little too young to understand the medical advantages or disadvantages of them. As someone who is not a fan of being ill, I have always had vaccines that are recommended to me and this has been no different during my pregnancy. So far, I have made the decision to have the flu jab and a few weeks ago I had my Whooping Cough, Polio, Tetanus and Diphtheria vaccines. Over the years this subject has surfaced in both national news as well as all over social media attracting some rather divided opinions. Some parents arguing it causes long term health damage and others arguing that the disease the vaccination is created to prevent is far worse than any side effect. The biggest cases claim that vaccinations can cause autism – this is a serious subject and one that could easily sway a decision. With so much advice, let’s have a look at some discussions, including my own personal reasons for and against vaccinating your children.

Whilst looking for some online discussions, I came across ‘www.vaccines.procon.org'(1) an American website that set out a table for the pros and cons of vaccinations. Clearly marking out each side of the argument, the pros list contained points about ‘vaccines can save children’s lives’, ‘vaccines protect future generations’ and ‘vaccines eradicated smallpox and have nearly eradicated other diseases such as polio’ – a very strong set of arguments in my eyes. Whereas on the other hand, the cons list argues that ‘vaccines can cause serious and sometimes fatal side effects’, ‘vaccines are unnatural, and natural immunity is more effective than vaccination’ as well as ‘diseases that vaccines target have essentially disappeared’. As someone who had a family member die from a disease that we now vaccinate worldwide I can honestly say the stories from their battle was enough to make my decision very clear. In the 1950’s there were 45,000 cases of Polio in the UK (2) and my Great Uncle John was one of them.

In 1955, John contracted Polio aged just 7. Contracted in a local swimming pool, John’s illness was originally confused for pneumonia. He spent years in and out of several hospitals such as Royal Gwent in Newport from the age of 7 to 14 and St Laurence Hospital in Chepstow where he spent 4 of his years. During this, for a time my Papy and Great Auntie Lesley weren’t allowed to go to school as no-one was sure whether Polio was contagious. He was moved out of public school and attended a special school where he passed a handful of ‘O-levels’ and was even Head Boy! As this was during a time where the Polio vaccination was not an available option, John’s illness was tragically unavoidable and painful for this family and friends around him. John spent most of his years in a wheelchair after becoming paralysed from the neck down and for a time had to breathe with the aid of the iconic ‘Iron Lung’. For John, Polio led to developing epilepsy which eventually lead to his death at just 25 years old.

It’s no surprise that losing a sibling has affected my Papa all his life and he never fails to talk ever so fondly of John before his illness with the everlasting reminder to ‘be patient when people are unwell’. John would have been 70 this year and despite my Papy having an enormous understanding, patience and awareness of illness, it all came at a heartbreaking price. With this in always in mind, my Mother has chosen to channel all her energy outside of work to volunteering with Rotary, who regularly raise money to help fund Polio drops in the fight to eradicate the disease worldwide.

Aside from the personal reasons for vaccinating, as a mother-to-be, I often stop to think about life beyond the world of my unborn child. Illness is something that can be easily spreadable by accident, especially among those who haven’t been vaccinated. Now I know there is a chance that it never happens to my child, that they might never encounter anyone who has these any of these illnesses but what happens if my child contracts one of those diseases? What care is available to them? Is that illness even treatable? The questions that fill my mind are endless. Vaccinated or not, you are still at risk of picking up the infection or disease but that vaccination could be the difference between life and death. This has been a very tough subject to talk about and not a light-hearted one at all but has become something I have come to feel very strongly about and will always be a topic that will be related to pregnancy.

To leave on a positive here are some sentimental photograph of my Papa and Great Uncle growing up.

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I know today has been a little more of a serious subject than normal but thank you for sticking with me.

One Curious Mother x

 

Bibliography/Website links:

  1. http://vaccines.procon.org/
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/east/series1/post-polio-syndrome.shtml

Still Administrating A Face Lift

This post is a short and sweet update!

For the past week I’ve been spending a lot of my time deliberating over how to build the ‘face’ of One Curious Mother. As the owner of One Curious Baker too, I have taken extra thought when designing my new logo; I wanted to bear in mind that it could be part of a ‘One Curious’ brand and not just a one off blog. It has taken quite some thought on how I want this blog to roll as part of a brand but I believe I’ve cracked it – Hurrah!

With my final logo design, created with many thanks to the brilliant ‘Paper53’ app, I have managed incorporated hints of my Curious Baker logo into the design with use of the flowers. As for the rabbit, I decided on this for the main part of the logo as for me, my childhood is full of fond memories of the ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ books and their adorable illustrations so felt it reflected the soft and delicate nature of the books quite well – definitely a book I will be reading my little one. I really wanted to make it a fun design but keep it minimalist to fit in with the clean page theme I have finally settled on as this also reflects the link with my Curious Baker blog – see the logo below:

obc-whiteSince becoming pregnant, my Curious Baker blog seems to have taken a never ending sabbatical. With most food repulsing me and I spending 95% of my time sleeping and steering very clear of the kitchen, it’s safe to say my inspiration had flown the nest. Now my appetite has restored (and to it’s highest level) I have lots of new ideas and plans for that blog and I do have every intention of picking this back up in the new year as, you know, I’ll have all that extra time with a little person keeping me awake and needing my care and attention 110% of the day… Don’t worry, I will always share my Curious Baker new blog links here to save you from rummaging the internet for them!

One of my next blog posts will be about my all important vaccinations – keep an eye out!

One Curious Mother x

Mondays, Bumps and Kicks

Monday aren’t always my favourite. Usually containing lists longer than my arms, pouring rain and/or seemingly dark weather along with that consistent feeling of sleep walking. Let’s just agree Monday’s are usually days I would rather sleep through – we all need a second Sunday, right? However, this Monday I decided not to let the wet weather, boring lists and sleepiness get to me as not only is it my birthday, little baby has reached a wonderful milestone – kicking all day and all night long, our little one has become quite the frequent wriggler! From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I tried telling myself I would document my pregnancy from the absolute beginning capturing every milestone and photographing each growing inch but unfortunately everyday life and a growing baby brain stood has firmly in my way. Now we’ve past 26 weeks, I feel time is beginning to slip away as we tiptoe into the third trimester. With 53 days until I go on maternity leave and only 95 days until my due date I have decided now is better late than never!

To keep you up to date as much as possible, we are due on March 17th, happy and healthy so far with all check-ups running smoothly and heart beating beautifully. At our last midwife appointment, we did measure slightly over as bump came to 26cms at 24 weeks but apparently, nothing to worry about. Our 20-week scan was where we decided we would take the plunge and ask to know whether we were going to have a girl or a boy. Whilst I know it’s nice to have a ‘surprise’, we were just too impatient to wait and could not stomach the thought of going through millions of shops looking for anything else bright white or yellow. Hating to sound traditional or stereotypical, we are waving the blue flag in this corner!

So far, I would like to say I’ve been well behaved when buying baby clothes and accessories but as a self-confessed shopaholic I think I may be very close to ‘too much too soon’ – even though a strong believer in never having too many muslin cloths. Regardless of this, to celebrate all our joy as well as reaching the beginning of the third trimester, we decided buying a ‘going home’ outfit for him would be perfect. Cue Cath Kidston with her soft baby colours and her epic space print – The zero to three-month sized sleep suit with little fold over scratch mittens and built in feet going home never looked so cosy and I only wish these were matching ones available in mum sizes. He’s going to look the absolute bee’s knees going home. Just 14 weeks to go!

As we descend into full Christmas holidays and further into Winter, my next few posts over the coming weeks I will be discussing my choice for vaccinations, more of measuring my bump and most importantly finding those Christmas time alternatives as we all know pate and prosecco are off the list!

Hope you’re all having a good Monday,

One Curious Mother x

 

 

A New Chapter Calls for a New Blog

Hi, I’m Naomi and welcome!

Before we begin please excuse me, I am about to nervously attempt to navigate my way into the world of blogging – as a total beginner I have little understanding of perfect fonts, fancy settings or themes and hope over time that I will progress.

Although not usually a writer at all, I have found over the years that blogging can be very therapeutic, calming and a great opportunity for reflection. This said, I feel now is time to step it up, as I wave goodbye to the trusty ‘safety blanket’ that was Tumblr and attempt to join the big world and run head first into documenting my latest project – Baby Number One.

As a photographer, food lover and soon-to-be first time Mother, this blog might be just about the only ‘grown-up only’ thing I am going to have for a while – despite my intentions for this is to pretty much document this baby’s journey. Between finishing university, a year and a half ago, swapping jobs to make a career, waiting on a building project to begin and supporting a significant other through a complete career change, I am hoping my sanity might just be saved through writing and illustrating this blog with our abundance of stepping stones as my life gets a complete make over.

Please keep an eye out for my first post and I hope to see you again soon!

One Curious Mother x