10 months.

New year, new monthly update. Christmas has flown by! We were so excited in the run up with all the decorating and gift wrapping and BAM just like that it’s all over. Hope everyone enjoyed the festive season whatever you choose to celebrate.

Much to my dismay I will be finishing maternity leave and returning to work next week. It’s been a bit of battle because I have ended up changing locations and days at the last minute so had to rush around and find a nursery since I had childcare sorted out with my mum. Anyway it’s all done now and Emery seems to be coping well when we have popped into nursery. Fingers crossed this carries on.

SLEEP. Our biggest achievement this month has probably been with sleep. We made have made some breakthroughs and even had nights where Emery has slept through for twelve hours!!! I think I will do a blog post all about our sleep journey so it’s documented. We do sometimes have one or two wake ups during the night which require a small bottle feed of 3oz but hopefully these will decrease over time.

WEANING. Don’t think anything exciting has been happening with food. Emery seems to be better with being spoonfed now but he still enjoys finger feeds, even if a lot of it ends up on the floor. When I do cheat foods and buy premade stuff he copes fine with the 10 month selection that is lumpy.

I have batch cooked a lot of finger foods ready for my mum’s freezer. Hopefully I can keep this up and do at least one meal each week and that provides five or six portions that can be used later on.

We’ve had two top teeth break through. Emery keeps sticking his tongue out and touching them. Perhaps that is why he was sticking his tongue out before as he could feel them ready to erupt. Touch wood but he hasn’t seemed too bothered by his teeth coming out. For some reason Emery doesn’t want me to brush his teeth anymore. He will open his mouth for me but after two swipes he no longer wants the brush in his mouth.

MOBILITY. Crawling is still a favourite activity. Emery was given a push along style walker which he does use but not always properly. Sometimes he walks on his knees and pushes the walker!

He’s very confident pulling himself up and surfs along the sofa or other low ledges but no signs of walking yet. Husband says Emery has been able to stand and support himself a few times but I don’t think he is that close. Perhaps I need to hold onto his hands and encourage him to stand. Although when I do Emery often just bends his knees.

SKILLS. Emery surprised me one day during a swimming lesson. The teacher was taking each child and saying “bye” to everyone in a circle. After one baby did an actual wave Emery sort of started waving. He also surprised my parents and brother when he did it at their house. Now I can’t remember where he did it first, but Emery must have liked the reaction as he has been doing it more often now. He understands “bye bye” more than “hi”.

Clapping hands is another movement he has mastered and enjoys the reaction he gets from that.

Emery has also learnt to point with his index finger, usually the right one. He also uses his index finger to touch things like in the “That’s Not My…” books. He can see which area is textured and pokes at it with his finger.

My husband thought Emery was left handed as that’s the hand he usually waves with but I think that is because of the way I carry Emery and it’s easier for me to help him wave his left hand. He points more with his right hand so I think that may be the dominant hand.

OTHER. I think Emery received more Christmas presents than everyone else combined but don’t think anyone minded. Obviously Emery enjoyed playing with the wrapping paper and the sparkly bows but he has also enjoyed playing with new toys that make different sounds and have different textures.

We have recently graduated to using the actual bath tub for bath time instead of filling up a small plastic tub and lugging it into the bedroom. Not sure which is worse for my back! Emery loves splashing about in the big tub though and he has a few more toys to play around with.

Lately Emery has been even more annoying during nappy changes. For a while I could get him to stand up against something but now he sometimes refuses to do that and crawls away super fast. Lying down on his back is a no go unless there is company and Emery is surprisingly cooperative.

We have had some settling in sessions at nursery to prepare for the big day. The first time we went in and I plopped him down Emery immediately bawled. I sat with him for an hour and he came out of his shell quite quickly and enjoyed playing with all the new toys. The second and third time I left him alone for longer periods and he doesn’t seem phased by it at all. Hopefully when he is in for the whole day he will love it and get tired so I can have a great night’s sleep!

Is anyone else putting their baby into nursery soon? Or is your child already in nursery? How did they cope? How did you cope?

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Cruelty free gifts for a mum-to-be.

There are a number of gift sets available in stores for the pregnant momma in your life… but which ones are cruelty free? I’ve done the hard work and researched which sets you can give to your favourite pregnant lady. The brands below have gift sets or you can mix and match to buy any product separately.

Neal’s Yard Remedies – probably the priciest brand in this list but it’s also the only one here certified by Cruelty Free International. They have great sourcing ethics and use recyclable packaging to house its organic products. As well as having their own stores they are stocked by John Lewis and lots of independent shops as well as online.

Mama Mio – I *think* they are a US brand but I’m not totally sure. My cousin gifted me some of these products when I was pregnant and they smell delicious and made my skin feel soft and supple. They are available at John Lewis and various online shops.

Love Boo –  came across this one at the baby show. Lovely natural products using the best ingredients. There’s a range for babies as well as mothers. I’d suggest getting that perineum massage oil if you’re planning on pushing that baby out with minimal tearing! Find it in John Lewis (are you seeing a theme here with stockists?) or online.

Bloom & Blossom – made by mums for mums. Formulated with natural ingredients and none of those nasty chemicals. Find them in Space NK, John Lewis and other online retailers.

Burt’s Bees – a slightly contentious one to end with as their cruelty free status is a little hazy. They’re currently still certified by Cruelty Free International. I’ve always enjoyed using their lip balms and if you are not vegan then this could be a nice brand. You can find them at Debenhams, Waitrose, Boots, Holland & Barrett, and more.

Hope this post has helped a little if you’re buying for a cruelty free mama. Also, in case you were wondering, Bio Oil and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter are NOT cruelty free. The important thing is to use some sort of moisturiser on places where you might get stretch marks. This helps the skin retain some elasticity to prevent damage to the skin. I may do a future blog post on oils to use during pregnancy. Does that interest anyone?

7 months.

How is it possible that my little man is now seven months old?! We were late with our weighing (once due to a clinic change and the other because we were urgently car shopping). Emery was 14lbs on the dot at the last weighing, which is low for his age but he seems to be following his curve.

MOBILITY. Last month he was beginning to crawl and he is almost there now. He still sometimes stops for a break but if he wanted to go from one end of the room to the other he could definitely do it. He enjoys crawling around to uncrew radiator valves.

Emery is also able to hold himself upright. He can push himself onto his knees to grab things. If the ledge is low enough he can also push himself onto his hands and almost stand up.

Until his aunt mentioned it, I didn’t realise that he was able to support himself one handed. For example he can be on all fours and then transfer his weight onto one hand so the other hand can grab things.

SLEEP. I have been trying to introduce sleep associations. Yes, I’m a bit late with that but the return to work is looming over me and I will need to be well rested! We have had a sleep routine of bath, massage, dimmed lights, nursing, lullaby and shushing. The tough bit for me has been that Emery has always been nursed to sleep so working hard to break this habit slowly. I recently purchased Ewan the dream sheep (he has a soothing glow and plays bedtime music or white noise for 20 minutes) to act as a sound association. I used a Winnie The Pooh comforter for a while but now I just have a muslin to act as a comforter because they are easy to dump around the house. My friend has also generously lent me a Sleepyhead mattress because Emery has a tantrum when he realises I’ve placed him into his cot and the padded sides make him feel secure and like I am still cradling him. It’s not miracle cure but it appears to be helping slightly.

Emery was an okay sleeper for a breastfed baby but for the past few months his sleep seems to have regressed. He could manage a few hours a night in his cot before waking but it regressed to 45 minutes! These few changes seem to be positive as he usually does 2 hours now before waking for a feed. I also think swaddling helped in the early months but he began rolling over so didn’t want him in his swaddle bag. He was also really good at wriggling out of a blanket swaddle.

My good friend also successfully and surprisingly managed to get Emery to nap from shushing and bouncing one lunchtime. I have done it as well since then but there is also a lot of crying and backache involved. I need to make myself persist and not take the easy way out by nursing him for naps.

WEANING. We started weaning at six months. When my mum and nan made congee (like a savoury rice porridge) Emery gobbled it up but when I made it he hardly had any. I also tried baking and mashing a sweet potato but he didn’t seem keen on that either.

I always envisioned myself as the kind of mother who blended all her own baby foods but perhaps it’s Emery rejecting my first attempts that I turned to buying puree pouches! Ella’s Kitchen is great but pricey after a while. Lidl make some nice organic flavours and Aldi do as well. Even though I protested my husband bought a bunch of Heinz jars but Emery seemed to enjoy them. He even gobbled a full jar one Sunday.

I suppose as long as he is getting all his nutrients and trying new tastes then it can only be good. We’ve done some finger foods too (sticks of apple, pear, carrot, potato) which Emery loves. He is good at picking something up and sticking it in his mouth. Sometimes food falls on the floor before it’s finished. Luckily we have dogs to vacuum up anything that drops off the high chair.

Does anyone have any tips for weaning? Are you doing purees or baby led or a combination like us?

Review of Tickle Tots reusable cloth nappies.

clothtickletots

Hands down, Tickle Tots have the CUTEST nappy prints ever. The original design (pictured here) can be used as an all-in-one nappy or a pocket nappy.

The nappy has a PUL waterproof lining with the mega cute print. There are three sets of poppers along the front so you can adjust the size which makes it a birth to potty nappy. There are velcro tabs to fasten the nappy so this adjustment also helps with the fit. A double layered gusset at the top of the legs prevents leaks. At its core are four layers of absorbent bamboo fabric. If this isn’t enough, there is also a pocket to stuff in some boosters for extra absorbency. One pocket nappy retails for £16.99 but you may be able to get a multi buy deal.

In terms of style these nappies are definitely 10/10. Not only are the designs adorable, but the nappy itself is fairly slim for a cloth nappy (unless you require lots of boosters). I can put these on without worrying about the bodysuit not fastening. Even the velcro crossings seem trendier on these than on other nappies.

Most importantly did they contain the wee? Yes and no. When Emery was smaller I would find that urine would leak out even with the double layer leg gusset. However, as he got older and his thighs became chunkier, the gusset fit around his leg more securely. I would advise waiting until baby weighs 10lbs before using these.

Washing these nappies is the same as for any other cloth (don’t forget to wash them once before first use) but I have to say that they dry awfully slowly. I think it is because of the bamboo inner and even if you turn them inside out to dry, they can take a while.

I’m not sure if there is enough absorbency in these to use during the night, even with an added booster. I suppose it would depend on how much your little one wees at night. I haven’t tried using more than one booster in the pocket so there may be the possibility of using them over night. For daytime use I would suggest getting about fifteen nappies assuming you do a nappy wash every other day.

Overall the Tickle Tots are not my ‘go to’ reusable nappy simply due to the drying time. I like that they are a birth to potty nappy which can save you money but will not be suitable for smaller babies straight away. With the booster insert you get pretty good absorbency and leaks are mostly contained. If you only have bamboo nappies in your stash and have enough nappies to use whilst waiting for a load to dry then these would be a cute addition to your collection.

The Tickle Tots 2’s look like an interesting concept. You clip the nappy part into the outer layer and changed as necessary so I’d be interested to try this style out. Has anyone tried them both? What did you think?

6 months?!

sixmonths

Last week Emery hit the 6 month mark. I think it’s so crazy how time has flown by so quickly! That also means two thirds of my maternity leave is over. Time goes by so fast. In my head I still think it’s May but autumn is settling in. There is even a new car registration (67 plates) out now.

SLEEP. Not going to lie, it has been tough. Especially during the first couple of months. I was a first time mother trying to figure out how this motherhood thing works whilst running on very little sleep. I should have known that Emery would not be a great sleeper seeing as he barely slept the first night we were in hospital. I was so grateful when my husband came back to us the first morning and I had an amazing three hours’ sleep.

Using a swaddle bag at home seemed to help. There have even been nights when I’ve been able to have a miraculous four or six hours of uninterrupted sleep but mostly Emery sleeps in his cot for two hours (if I am lucky) and then wakes up. For the first few months I would stay up and breastfeed and then try to put him back in his crib (apparently I have a light sleeper who prefers sleeping in someone’s arms and instantly wakes upon transfer) and repeat the cycle through the night resulting in a very sleepy mama. Then one night I decided to co-sleep and haven’t really looked back. I follow all the co-sleeping guidelines but the anxious mother in me still wakes throughout the night to check on baby.

MOVING. Emery has been good at holding his head up from the get go. Even before he was 8 weeks old he was holding his head up pretty high. He began rolling over before 4 months and I find it extremely hard to change his nappy. I no longer change him on the table in case I’m not on the ball for some reason. Sadly changing him on the floor also means he rolls over onto his front almost straight away and now he’s starting to shuffle himself forward.

My husband thinks Emery will be crawling soon. In fact, if he wanted to, Emery could propel himself from one side of the room to the other. He can move one knee forward and do some sort of funny movement to move himself forward so he is halfway there. I worry that one day I’ll turn around and he will have disappeared somewhere!

Emery can also sit up by himself for a while but he does tend to topple over. There is no crying and usually he turns it into his shuffle crawl. I also accidentally discovered that he can stand up on his own if he is holding onto a ledge. He can’t stand for long but he seems to enjoy being able to.

WEANING. My mum has been kind enough to make Emery some congee (it’s like baby rice, very popular in south east Asia) when we go to hers or when she visits. He enjoys sticking toys in his mouth and he really loves eating congee. There is no need to coax him to eat, he just opens his mouth when the spoon comes close. Thankfully his poos have been all right so far.

Husband is really championing baby led weaning. I like the idea of it but I worry about the mess. Plus we have two dogs who will be waiting to catch any fallen pieces. At least they can vacuum the floor for me. I think we will do a combination of puréed foods and baby led weaning. The only thing stopping me is my laziness. I need to make a better effort of blending food up for him to try.

HAIR. The first real haircut was done just after five months. Much to my husband’s dismay my mum had already trimmed Emery’s fringe. We first went to a specific children’s salon but they were fully booked. We then went to a men’s salon where my husband likes to go. He got his done and initially agreed to the £24 price for Emery. I said no.

Eventually went to another hip barber and there was and guy there who did Emery’s hair for £10. He sat in daddy’s lap but don’t think he enjoyed the experience. I kept some of his hair from that day. Not sure what I’ll do with it though.

PERSONALITY. Emery is so alert now. He is awake for a lot of the day (too much, he hardly naps) and he can amuse himself with his toys in his playpen for a short period whilst I rush around trying to squeeze in some housework.

He is quite aware of people. He definitely knows who I am and he enjoys bonding with daddy and maternal grandmother. He has a good time with grandfather too. Emery is amused by the two dogs, especially when they are running back and forth chasing after toys. Emery can be clingy sometimes. It is nice when he is passed back to me and stops whinging but I know he needs to get used to others as well.

It’s been an interesting six months and I’m sure it will only get tougher but hopefully there will be some laughs and triumphs along the way. If anyone has tips on weaning then I’d love to hear them!

What you REALLY need to buy for your hospital baby bag.

buyforhospitalbag

Everyone is going to have different experiences but I found that I packed and bought some unnecessary items. I ended up using a small suitcase as my hospital bag because I packed everything on the ‘suggested’ lists. Not only do you need to bring all the baby items, you need to bring your own things too!

FOR BABY
– 3 x bodysuits (depends how long you will be in hospital)
– 3 x sleepsuits
– small pack of nappies
– pack of baby wipes
– a blanket
– muslin cloths (I personally didn’t use them in hospital)

What isn’t necessary? Gloves or socks!!! Just buy the sleepsuits that come with feet and mitts. Gloves are often too big and fall off anyway. Socks fit better but having them attached to the sleepsuit makes dressing so much easier. All in one suits are available at M&S, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s.

Possibly buy ONE baby hat if it’s going to be cold or your baby may be born early to keep them warm. You will receive lots of hats as presents. Also do you really need a ‘going home’ outfit? If you’re having a big fanfare when you arrive home with lots of family gathering around then maybe but it’s another unnecessary purchase. The outfits you buy are probably going to be cute enough anyway.

FOR MUMMY
– old T-shirt for labour
– loose comfy clothes for after (zips and buttons are good for easy boob access if you’re breastfeeding)
– 1 x nursing bra + 1 x box breast pads
– 1 x maternity pads (and more for use at home)
– old knickers instead of disposable underwear
– slip on shoes for toilet trips
– toiletries and hairbrush for that post-birth shower

I was definitely not in the mood for food during labour. Snacks and drinks are probably more useful for your partner but you will enjoy snacking once the baby has been born. Same for books and magazines. Contractions will probably prevent you from relaxing too much but they are a nice distraction afterwards if baby is sleeping and if you’re not sleeping.

This post is to help you decide what you definitely need to buy. We don’t need more rubbish like disposable knickers accumulating our landfills! Of course we are all different so perhaps you can speak to a family member or friend to see what they brought with them. Sometimes lists produced by companies are to convince you to buy more things from them!

5 minute mummy makeup.

5minutemakeup

 

If you’ve had a baby you know one of the things you have less time for is yourself! Sometimes you leave the house without caring how messy your hair is and how patchy your skin looks, but there are days when you want to look like a coping mother and a bit of makeup really helps your cause! I use a few serums and emulsions in my skincare routine so all these layers take long enough to dry without having to layer on makeup too. I have two different go to routines which are very quick for me to do and make it appear as if I’ve had a full night’s sleep if I do not have time to sit and put on a full face.

1. BB cream + glowy blush + lipstick

I use Korean BB creams (although there aren’t many cruelty free brands so I need to start looking at others) because I think they are the best (and original). They give my skin good coverage whilst moisturising, hiding blemishes and providing that all important SPF. Currently I use Dr. Jart ‘Dis-A-Pore’ which claims to also shrink the appearance of pores.

A blush with a sheen gives my face colour and gives me a healthy glow. The shimmer helps me appear awake and flushed with happiness. A lipstick ties off the look and pulls it all together. Using a rosy nude for a ‘your lips but better’ look also makes your makeup look natural.

2. Concealer + eyeliner + tinited lip balm

If you don’t want a full face of makeup then using concealer will diminish those dark circles under your eyes and if you listen to YouTube beauty gurus and use a shade or two lighter than your skin tone, your skin will also look highlighted and brighter. Using concealer to hide any blemishes also helps you look like your baby is sleeping through the night.

For me, using eyeliner and putting a flick at the end of my eye instantly makes me look perkier and the flick opens up my eyes. I seem to squint when I am tired so this is a good trick for me. Again, adding some colour to your lips gives the illusion of a carefree life. I love lip balms with a bit of colour because they moisturise your lips whilst giving a splash of pink or red.

Do any other mothers find that their makeup routine has changed since having a baby? Has your routine changed or do you have any tips to share?