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See posts about: // Isabelle // Parenting // Family //

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Dreaded Breastapo

If you have read my blog before, you may have come across this post during Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which was all about my breastfeeding journey. I am the sort of person who, if they were available (which they probably actually are), would wear a little "Proud breastfeeder" badge every day. As I mentioned previously, breastfeeding Isabelle is the thing I am most proud of in the world. I will happily feed her anywhere (we can now add the pet shop to the list of places I've fed her), and would defend my right to do so against anyone who was silly enough to challenge me.



So, of course, I am always interested in stories like this, of a woman being asked to stop breastfeeding her daughter............in Kiddicare. The brave woman refused to leave the shop, and hopefully gave them a good earful at the same time! The woman was feeding her 12 week old daughter in the cafe when a member of the public complained, and a member of staff approached the mother, asking her to either move to a breastfeeding room, or leave. Obviously the member of staff in question was very much in the wrong here, as it should be noted that a mother's right to breastfeed is protected by law in our country.

A similar story here, involving a woman who was told to stop breastfeeding in a swimming pool as no food or drink are allowed in the pool area. That really made me laugh - is she supposed to leave her boobs at home? I love that she told them what they were doing was against the law - she's my type of girl! However, I do see their point that actually feeding IN the water is perhaps not the best idea, and she was told she could feed her baby out of the water on the dry area surrounding the pool. 

Now, with my great dedication to breastfeeding, I recently joined a Facebook group which is dedicated to normalising breastfeeding. I thought it would be a great place to be able to find out more about the facts of breastfeeding, and see other mummies from around the world who breastfeed share their experiences. And it is! But, sadly, all too often the posts from this group leave a bit of a bad taste in my mouth - now I know what the term 'breastapo' really means. There seems to be a general consensus amongst the group that breastfeeding mothers are treated exceptionally badly, and that we must unite and show all those non-breastfeeding people exactly how amazing we are, and flatten anyone in our way. Now, I know that I am exceptionally lucky to have never even received a sideways glance when breastfeeding and that many women DO struggle with other people's negative perceptions and opinions of breastfeeding in public. And they have every right to be very angry about that, and be ready to fight for their right to feed their baby.



But, to me, it seems like many women go out actually LOOKING for a fight with someone about breastfeeding. And, to me, that just isn't the way to do it. Other people may disagree, but I just don't find it helpful to "the cause" if breastfeeding mothers are constantly on the defensive; constantly ready to attack at a moment's notice. If I'm honest, I think mothers like this are detrimental to the overall view of breastfeeding. They give off a view that we are all a bit wacko, pulling our tops off and whipping the boobs out at the drop of a hat - just to prove a point.

And that makes me sad. Because breastfeeding shouldn't be about proving any point, it should be about feeding, and bonding with, your baby. It should be about having that knowledge that you are doing what you believe is best for your baby, no matter what anyone else thinks. No, breastfeeding mothers shouldn't be discriminated against or made to feel uncomfortable, but nor should they receive any special treatment that bottle feeding mothers wouldn't receive. You don't see a bottle feeding momma setting up a Facebook group, ready to challenge the world...just in case.

So, this is a bit of a confused post I guess! With one breathe I tell you how proud breastfeeding makes me and how I'd fight to the end for it, and in the next I'm slamming other breastfeeders for saying the same! Maybe it's all in the delivery - I would hate to think that I make anyone who chooses not to breastfeed feel bad for what they do, whereas I'm sure that if many women could read this Facebook group, they'd be horrified at how some breastfeeding mothers relate their views about everyone else.

At the end of the day, let's just feed our babies, expect no hassle about it, but expect no special treatment either.




Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Review: Fuzzibunz Elite


Tuesday again?! Where do the weeks disappear to? Today's Reviews Day Tuesday is dedicated to the Fuzzibunz Elite nappy - a very popular nappy in both Europe and North America.




Details:
A one-size, pocket nappy with a PUL outer, micro-fleece stay dry layer, and 2 minky inserts. Fuzzibunz pride themselves on being the most adjustable pocket nappy available, with adjustable waist and leg elastic. The nappy comes with one small and one large insert, and replacement leg elastics.





Fit:

This is what attracted me to this nappy. The leg and waist elastic is adjustable, in order to get the 'perfect' fit for you little one. The elastic adjusts using a button, and each button hole is numbered. A handy chart tells you roughly which 'number' hole you should use for leg and waist, depending on you baby's weight.
Sadly, I don't find them a great fit at all. As Isabelle is between 7 and 18lbs, she should be on waist setting 3. I found that setting far too tight, and had to loosen it the whole way to one, or the elastic left very deep red marks on her waist. Similarly, she should be on 4/5 for her legs, but I find that this leaves red marks. Setting it on 3 leaves the legs too loose. So, despite the fact that I should be able to get the 'perfect' fit on her, I can't at all.

Containment:
Brilliant! This nappy has never leaked - and we only use the small insert the nappy came with, nothing else. It has lasted over two hours and, although it was soaked, there was not a drop out of place. It has also been tested with solids and contained this wonderfully.

Washing:
As with all pockets, the insert has to be removed before washing, even partially, which I don't enjoy. Fuzzibunz say you can 'shake the insert out', but I have never managed to do that - it just won't come! Once it is out, they wash well in my normal wash, and have been pretty stain resistant. 

Ease of use:
I find these nappies very difficult to stuff. The PUL seems to be 'sticky', and so the insert doesn't slide in as easily as other pocket nappies, and seems to get caught and bunch, which means it takes me longer. Once ready, the nappy is easy to snap onto Izzy.

Appearance and quality:
Fuzzibunz have a lovely range of block colours available, and they really do look lovely. They microfleece inner is so soft, and the snaps and elastic are all very high quality and seem durable. As mentioned, the inside of the PUL feels tacky, and not of the best quality.

Cost:
Fuzzibunz cost £14.95 from most online shops, which is comparable with similar nappies.

Bug bears:
Already mentioned - the tacky inner PUL, and the fact that, although these are supposed to be the most adjustable nappy, from which I can get a perfect fit....I don't think they fit well at all.

Overall:
Fuzzibunz Elite get a 2.5/5 from me. I know many people adore these nappies and I really want to love them, but the poor fit has put me off so much that I am selling mine. That said, they are great to look at as they come in a range of gorgeous colours, and are wonderful at their job! Sadly, they just aren't for us.

Monday, 29 July 2013

10 Irritating Things People Say...

I've always had a relatively low tolerance for other adults, but since Isabelle arrived I have been driven crazy by people saying the same, irritating, things over and over again. I know that a lot of the time people are just trying to make conversation, but after hearing these 100 times...it does start to get a tad tiresome! Some of them are annoying because people have preconceptions that anyone with a small baby struggles to survive, and others are annoying because people can be a bit silly!
(Some of these are OK to say if you are also a new mummy!)

1. "She has so much hair!" 
Oh really? I hadn't noticed, thank you Captain Obvious.

2. "Is she good?” 
Are any babies bad? I suppose they mean is she a bit of a whine, but who is actually going to say "No she is horrific, thanks for asking"

3. "I'm sure you really miss your sleep!" 
No I get plenty thanks, you patronising idiot.

4. "I'm sure you don't remember what you did with yourself before she came along!" 
Yes, I do. I sat on my butt watching a full episode of anything without interruptions...hardly a fulfilling day by any stretch of the imagination.

5. "How old is she?" 
That's a standard question, but what irritates me is when I tell people and they stare at my blankly because they aren't sure what a baby of that age should really be like.

6. "It's much harder to get out with a child, isn't it?" 
Not at all, unless you are extremely poorly organised. Put child in car seat, put nappies in nappy bag. Sorted.

7. "Oh hello, aren't you lovely?!" Cue them touching Izzy.
Not technically what they say, but I don't know you, for all I know you are diseased, get your stinky hands off my beauty!

8. "Do you feed her?" 
No, I starve her. Those cheeks definitely look like she's never been fed. I assume they mean do I breastfeed, but that's a very different question!

9. "How do you spell that?" 
"I-s-a-b-e-l-l-e" 
"Oh that's an unusual spelling, isn't it?" 
Um, no actually, it isn't.

And the thing which annoys me most...

10. "What's she called?" 
"Isabelle" 
"Isabella?" 
Did I say Isabella?! No! Then it's NOT FLIPPING ISABELLA! Even worse if they then have the nerve to say "Oh that's unusual." No, again, it's not!

I know I sound like a total grump, who is extremely touchy and probably a bit bananas, but I did warn you I have a very low tolerance for other adults...


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Our first big night out (all 2hours of it!)

Last night Simon and I had our first night out alone since Miss Isabelle arrived. It was our 2nd wedding anniversary last week, so we decided we would go out for dinner, while Granny and Grandad looked after Isabelle. It was my idea...but I regretted suggesting it as soon as it was out of my mouth! 

Yes, I will admit that I do not like leaving Isabelle. I know that everyone in my family is 100% capable of looking after her wonderfully - probably better than me - but it doesn't stop me from having insane separation anxiety at the very thought of leaving my best buddy behind. 

But, despite what my mum seems to think, it's not actually the separation anxiety that is the HUGE problem. The issue is that Isabelle is a bottle refuser. She won't entertain a bottle at all. I have tried to get her used to it, to no avail. Simon claims she will take it, as she drank a mammoth three quarters of an ounce once (babies her age who take formula drink up to 7oz in one feed!) but he is as delusional as my mum sometimes! We had actually gone out once before - to an engagement party- for a few hours when she was 6 weeks, but left after she'd been put to bed when I knew she wouldn't need fed. 

Everyone tells me "she won't starve to death" and I am fully aware that if I go out for a few hours that she will not waste away to nothing, especially with those cheeks. But I hate the thought of her being hungry at bedtime and not having anything to eat because she won't take the bottle. People say "if she's hungry enough she will take it" and, I may be a bit of a sentimental mum here, but the thought of her being that hungry - so hungry she will do something she hates for food - doesn't sit well with me. At this point, my dad would say "what happens if you die? She'd have to take a bottle then". He has actually said this to me, and I have to admit I have no answer. Since I have no plans to die soon, I didn't bother coming up with an answer either.

So, there I am, having defrosted milk I know she won't drink, separation anxiety setting in. Imagine how disappointed I was when my parents actually turned up at the allotted time to take the reins. We had booked a 6.45pm table at a local restaurant and Isabelle was stuffed full of milk before we left. I left her pram set up, and the car seat in the car but I was assured by my dad (him of the death prophecy) that they wouldn't need any of it, and they would be fine. The words "enjoy yourself" we used several times...

Off we go at 6.30, and a lovely dinner was had. After some amazing desserts, Simon wanted to stay for a cup of tea (we are very rock 'n' roll) but this request was denied, and I made him take me home. We arrived back at the crazy hour of 8.30pm.........granny, grandad and Isabelle were nowhere to be seen. Cue panic stations from me that she'd been screaming and they'd had to drive for two hours to keep her calm. Or that my mum had murdered my dad and taken off with Isabelle. I finally heard the car arrive home, and scared the life out of them both by having the nerve to be in my own home. 

So, had she been in tears the whole time? Half starved? Well...no. It turns out they'd all had a lovely time together and she had been in great form! She was ready for a nice feed, and popped off to bed without a care in the world. So it all turned out OK in the end - we both survived (apart from the minor head injury she received at the hands of my dad, who said it induced a crying fit like she was being murdered. That's him off the babysitting list). 

When are we heading out again I hear you ask? Well, all I'll say is it's 51 weeks until our next anniversary - I'll get my mum to pop that into her diary now. 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Home grown goodies

Simon has been working really hard to get our garden "sorted" over the last few weeks. It has rubbish drainage and, with two dogs tearing round, it was basically a swamp all winter. He has dug drainage ditches, created a new path, built a new fence for our vegetable patch, planted new trees, painted every surface that would stay still, and created a new flower bed. 

We're lucky to have space for our own vegetable patch which runs down one whole side of our garden. With Isabelle on the way, he decided not to plant anything for this year, but last year we had potatoes, beans, onions, leeks, carrots, parsnips and a whole section dedicated to herbs, which I actually thought was overgrown with weeds!  We also had some fruit trees...but Dexter ate them. The new fruit trees are safely planted in the vegetable patch behind the new fence...which we needed because Dexter ate the old one.

However, he didn't manage to get our black currant bush, which grew to epic proportions. Today, Simon pruned it and we picked all the currents off it while listening to the thunder. While I was putting Izzy to bed he used them to whip up a batch of jam. Black current jam is my favourite, so I can't wait for it to set and try some out tomorrow morning.



It's great to be able to eat things we've grown in our own garden, and I can't wait until Isabelle is out helping him in the patch in a little pair of wellies, and we can feed her the food we have grown ourselves. There are few things as satisfying as eating homegrown goodies.

(I say "we" and "our"...Simon does all the work!) 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Driving destination: the land of nod

Has anyone else seen this advert, for Volkswagen?

I saw it for the first time the other day and it really made me laugh. I mentioned it to my sister-in-law and she said that there were times my brother had done this with my nephew.

The car definitely knocks Isabelle out, although I've noticed as she gets older that she will stay awake on a shorter journey if she isn't tired. Luckily, we never had to resort to driving round in the middle of the night with her! 

I read/heard a lot about how when our baby arrived we'd be driving round at 2am, pacing the house with her at 4am, and pushing her pram up and down the road at all hours. We haven't had to resort to any of those measures in the last 3 months, as there is one thing (or 2 really!) that can help her nod off if she's upset/cross/overtired - they are both attached to me! Simon, obviously, doesn't have this ability, so he sticks her in her bouncer and picks them both up and gives them a good swing. A good bit of back/tummy patting thrown in for good measure and she's in the land of nod.

What crazy things have you had to do to get your little one to sleep?

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Reviews Day Tuesday: Little Lamb Bamboo

Happy Tuesday to all! Today's Reviews Day Tuesday is focusing on the Little Lamb Bamboo nappy - described on their website as "The world's best selling reusable nappy". These nappies were top of my list to buy when we were starting our cloth stash, and they have served us wonderfully well since Isabelle arrived.




Details:
A sized, fitted nappy made of bamboo, which fastens with applix. Each nappy comes with a booster and a fleece liner. This nappy requires a wrap.

Size 1: 7-20lbs
Size 2: 20-38lbs
Size 3: 35lbs+



Fit:
These nappies were the first ones we used on Izzy, when she was 12 days old and roughly 8.5lbs. They fit perfectly on her, although because they are a fitted nappy they are quite bulky. They would have fit her from birth easily, as we didn't have to use the 'cross over tab' function which would make the nappy perfect for a teeny newborn. However, despite the fact that the size 1 should fit up to 20lbs, I find these nappies very low in the rise, so am not convinced they will get us that far. 

Containment:
Unbelievable. They can contain almost anything and, trust me, they have been tested to the max by Isabelle! Each nappy comes with a size 1 bamboo booster, and I always include these in the nappy, making them extremely absorbent. We have never had any issue at all with leaks from these, and if I know I won't be able to change her for a while, Isabelle is always put into one of these nappies.

Washing:
Very easy to wash as I just take them off and throw them into the nappy bucket - the booster and liner fall away from the nappy in the machine. These nappies take the longest time to dry out of everything I have, but that's expected from a fitted, and it's only marginally longer than other fitted nappies I own.

Ease of use:
As they are a fitted nappy, and I use a booster, I have to assemble the nappy with a booster and liner. It doesn't take long, but it can be a bit of a faff in a hurry, when it inevitably seems to take forever. Size 2 nappies have the booster sewn in, which would make then wonderfully easy to use. They also need a wrap so this takes an extra few seconds to put on. However, every member of my family can use these, and Simon finds them very simple and quick to change.

Appearance and quality:
Not the most attractive nappy in my stash, but I do think they look adorable when they are on, as they look like a 'proper' fluffy bum. However, once the wrap is one you can't see it which is a shame. The quality is superb - the fabric is soft and the whole nappy has a very high quality feel to it. 

Cost:
I bought mine from the Little Lamb website, and the cost of the nappies really depends on how many you want to buy. One nappy is £9, or 3 for £24.30, 10 for £72. I 'like' Little Lamb on Facebook, and they often give details of sales on their page. Through this, I got my nappies in a sale for £4 each which is an amazing bargain. Even at £9 they are cheaper than their competitor, so I think they are a great deal no matter how many you buy. I've used mine (I got 10) every single day for 3 months, so they have been well worth it!

Bug bears:
I mentioned above about the low rise of these nappies - this is my only issue with them, as it really makes me unsure how long we will be able to use these.

Overall:
These nappies get a 5/5 from me! They are simply great at their job, and I think they are a really reasonable price as well. Yes, they aren't the cutest, and as Isabelle grows I find myself reaching for nappies with prints for when we are out, but I always find myself using these in the house, as they are truly a great nappy - no wonder they are the world's best seller!

Have you used LL Bamboo nappies? How did you find them?

Monday, 22 July 2013

My favourite room in the house

Without a doubt my favourite room in the house is Isabelle's bedroom. Even before Simon and I got married, before we'd even met, I knew exactly what I wanted my nursery to look like. When we bought our house, 2 bedrooms were turned into guest rooms, and the bedroom next to ours became a bit of a junk room, but was waiting to be turned into our nursery.

We chose not to find out the gender of the baby when I was pregnant, so a neutral paint colour was needed for the walls. (That said, even if we had known she was a girl, Simon and I aren't pink wall painting type people! I always hated the colour pink - now I'll be surrounded by it forever!)  Although most people go for yellow, we decided to go for a light green. After LOTS of tester pots, all of which were discarded, we eventually found the perfect shade from Dulux (Ocean Ripple).

As I mentioned in a previous post, there are lots of items of baby furniture I deem as "non-essential" - wardrobes, cot beds and change tables. These are the main items that baby shops sell in furniture 'packages', so I knew we would have to look elsewhere to get what I wanted. I also knew I wanted white furniture and, luckily, beautiful white furniture for a nursery can be found in our favourite home shop - Ikea! 

From Ikea we chose a cot and a chest of drawers that could double as a changing table. In my eyes, the perfect nursery has a rocking chair for nursing and cuddling, so we also chose to get a rocking chair from Ikea too. My in-laws very kindly bought the furniture for us as a baby present. 




Then, we needed some 'decoration' to make the nursery even more beautiful. After a year of coveting a wall decal on Etsy, my brother and sister-in-law kindly bought it for us. It might be a bit much, and a bit fussy, for some people, but I adored it as soon as I saw it! As family is the most important thing in the world to us, Simon and I decided we would like a picture of each family to hang on the wall. Luckily, Simon is a photographer and picture framer so that was easily taken care of! Just before Isabelle arrived, Simon surprised me with family poster to hang in the nursery too. 


Again, in a previous post I mentioned my hatred of baby cot bedding, so this wasn't an issue, however the nursery curtains caused somewhat of a headache for months! I wanted something very plain that could be used for years in that room, long after it's a nursery, but reasonably priced. We ended up buying some plain cream curtains from Ikea, which Simon hemmed, and his mum made the tie backs with the left over material! Add the finishing touch of a string of owls from auntie Helen, and we were all set.

I loved every second of creating the perfect (in my eyes) nursery for our baby, and love sitting in my rocking chair every morning and evening, admiring the handiwork of Simon's family who put it all together. It will need some rejigging toif we are ever blessed with baby no2, but I hope it will serve us well for many years to come.


Where did you draw the inspiration for your nursery? Was there anything you had to have? Or, like me, anything you knew you definitely didn't want?

Saturday, 20 July 2013

A Liebster Award!

I am very excited to have been nominated for a Liebster Award by Liz over at Everything is Rosy. The award is given to with fewer than 200 followers to help promote their blog and boost their blogging reputation. I'm so excited to be able to take part in it, since I'm so new to blogging.



There are some rules to follow...
  • Link back to the blog which nominated you
  • Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you
  • Divulge 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate other blogs (with fewer than 200 followers) and come up with 11 questions for them to answer!
I can see this is going to be very tough already! 

The 11 questions Liz asked, and my answers are:

When did you start blogging? Only last month, so I'm very new!

What made you decide to start blogging? Hayley over at Sparkles and Stretchmarks and I became friends during our pregnancies, and she used to talk all about her blog, and she encouraged me to think about starting one. If it weren't for her, I may have started one, but wouldn't have had any idea about the blogging community there is, so I owe her a big thank you!

If you could have one special power, what would it be? To be able to click my fingers and just BE wherever I wanted to go - no driving or travelling involved. Simon's family live so far away, so we could see them every single day.

Would you rather have a giraffe’s neck or tiger paws (and why?) Got to be the giraffe's neck. It's just so cool and special in the animal kingdom! What have tiger's paws got to offer?!

Who is (or has been) your embarrassing celeb crush?  Ummm...I'm not embarrassed about this but I know other people will think I'm a bit nuts: Noel from Hear'Say. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was 4 I wanted to be a lollipop lady (crossing guard) as the one at my school had a great umbrella with a cut out bit so she could see, and I wanted that! Other professions include: nurse, vet and astronaut.

What is your most embarrassing habit? I spent a lot of time thinking about this and I really don't know! I can't think of anything I do in public that would be embarrassing, I save those things for the house! I do pick at my toes a lot which is gross.

Which do you fancy right now, sweet or savoury? Sweet. Always sweet!

What is your favourite ever thing to do? Cuddle Isabelle!

What is your biggest fear? That anything would happen to Isabelle, or that anything would happen to Simon or me and she would be left without a mummy or daddy.

Who or what inspires you? My sister and my sister-in-law. I've always looked up to my big sister in everything she has done, and as my best friend, she has helped shape me into the person I am today. My sister-in-law has been such a wonderful friend since she joined our family, but during my pregnancy and the last few months with Isabelle she has been the one person who always seems to know how I feel, and she always offers the best words of advice and comfort. She is helping shape me into a better mother, and is even more of an amazing friend every day.

11 Random Facts:
1. Like Liz, I have a weird thing about textures. Cord makes me feel a bit queasy, and I hate the noise it makes when rubbed. Velvet is also up there.
2. I love Neighbours (the TV show) and have it on series link so I never have to miss an episode.
3. I have a chicken pox scar on my hip (nobody believed me when I said something was wrong because I was so itchy. I think I was 3)
4. When I was little (maybe 3/4) I got taken to hospital as my family found me with a bottle of Tippex thinner to my lips. Turned out I hadn't drunk it.
5. I have to live with a smashed iPhone screen until January when my contract is up. I dropped it as I got it out of my pocket to read a text, and am not paying for a new one!
6. Until Isabelle came along I washed all our clothes as a mixed wash. Now, I am very particular about sorting the whites out so her nice things don't go grey.
7. It drives me mad when people say "Oh you didn't have much of a change then!" when they find out my maiden name was Gray and my married name is Jay.
8. I don't eat breakfast, drink anything or even go to the toilet until Isabelle is having her morning nap - some days I've been up for 3 hours before I do any of those things!
9. I wear heels less than 5 times a year - only for weddings or very special occasions. 
10. I just do not understand how any household can survive without Sky Tv.
11. I have no talents to speak of, sadly. 

My nominees are:

This was very, very hard! There are so many great blogs out there, but these are ones I have come across and really enjoyed in the last few months.
(I checked and double checked your followers, so really hope you are all eligible and I haven't massively offended any of you!)


My questions for them:
1. How long have you been blogging?
2. Why did you start blogging?
3. How did you decide which topic(s) your blog would focus on?
4. Would you rather have a night in or a night out?
5. Share one of your embarrassing moments with us...
6. When was the last time you painted your toenails?
7. Where was the last place you went on a foreign holiday?
8. What is you favourite smell?
9. If you went on Mastermind, what would your specialist topic be? 
10. What are the first 3 things you do when you get up?
11. What was your favourite children's book?

Thanks again to Liz at Everything is Rosy for nominating me! This challenge certainly made me put the thinking cap on!! I hope my nominees enjoy the questions I've come up with for them!

If you know of any great blogs worthy of a Liebster Award, share them in the comments below!






Friday, 19 July 2013

Should parents have to apologise?

I recently came across this article from the Daily Mail last year, about a family on a flight in America. To make sure that their fellow travellers were placated at the thought of flying with 14 week old twin babies, the parents handed out a little goody bag to each passenger, leaving them on their seat. The bags contained different sweets and a little note explaining that the twins were very young, this was their first flight, and apologising in advance if they got scared and started to cry. 


A very sweet (pardon the pun) idea from the parents, and I have to say I think it's a really cute thing, and very Pinterest worthy. But...should parents have to apologise for babies acting like babies?

Unfortunately, Simon's family live in England, which means that the future for Isabelle will include lots of flights. We took her first trip over when she was 8 weeks, and we were both scared about how she would react, and act, on the plane, especially since she is an exceptionally loud crier! Luckily, she was marvellous and there wasn't a peep out of her.

However, like in the article above, I could see the fear on other passengars' faces when they realised that this little baby would be trapped in a metal tube with them for an hour. Especially since she gave them an especially good vocal display as we waited to board, I did feel like standing up on the plane and announcing "She's only small! Sorry about any noise!"

But why do parents feel like we should apologise for our baby's behaviour? Why did the parents of the twins in that article feel like they had to go to such lengths to make everyone around them happy, just in case their babies cried?

I'm sure many people have been on a flight, bus, train or similar with a baby that just won't stop crying. I'm also sure that many people have cursed the noise and wished they could have some peace and quiet. But, if the baby is as small as 14 weeks, are people really blaming the parents for not being 'in control' of their child's behaviour? Would people truly be upset and annoyed at parents for not being able to stop such a small baby from crying? Or, would most people understand?

I think it's a parent thing. I know that babies crying on planes in the past has never bothered me, usually it's easily tuned out. But, for a parent, the cry CAN'T be tuned out, and I know from experience that - when other people are around - it is so easy to feel flustered and pressured if your little one is upset, sure that the other people are judging you for being unable to properly care for your baby. I also know from experience when I have apologised to anyone they always have said "She's only tiny! That's what babies do!" or "I didn't even hear her..."

So, it makes me wonder if we, as parents, are apologising unnecessarily. Maybe other people really aren't as annoyed as we think by our child's incessant screeches. Maybe they don't even notice. Maybe I'm projecting my feelings on to them, without a real reason. And at the end of the day, if somebody IS annoyed at the cries of a baby, surely that says more about them than anyone else?

That said, when we fly out to England again in a few weeks, I know I'll still have that fear in my stomach as we board the plane that she might scream the whole way. I certainly won't be packing sweets for the entire plane...although I may need some for myself!

What do you think? Should parents have to apologise for their baby's crying? Or are we all just so paranoid about what other people think that we are projecting our own feelings on to them?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

My favourite 2 minutes of the day

Or should that be the night?

I should just state now, I do not overly enjoy getting up during the night to feed Isabelle, but it also isn't as horrific as people make it seem. Isabelle wakes, eats and goes back to sleep, so luckily I'm not up for more than 10 minutes at a time. And there is a little part of that routine that is my favourite time of each day...

Just after she finishes eating and I lie her on my lap to wipe her mouth (she's a messy eater) she has the most satisfied look on her face as she stretches out, eyes shut as she falls back to sleep. That face alone is the most wonderful thing. Then, I pop her onto my shoulder to burp her and, asleep, she flops over my shoulder, head snuggled in, arms dangling down. This little cuddle is the best I ever get, and I sometimes feel like keeping her there forever.

The best thing about all of this? I am the only person in the world who gets to experience these special few moments with her and it's truly wonderful, every single night.



Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Waiting for the Royal arrival

If you believe the media, Kate Middleton is now overdue. Boy do I know that feeling only too well. Except, when I went overdue I only had family and friends annoying me with the texts asking if baby had arrived yet - I didn't have the entire world media camped out waiting for something to happen.

I am not ashamed to admit it - I'm excited about the impending arrival of the Royal baby. I'm not 100% sure why, as I don't really care too much about the Royal Family in general. No disrespect intended, they just don't feature much on my radar.

That said, I do have a soft spot for William and Kate, and again, I'm not terribly sure why. Possibly I'm very naive, but I think they just look like lovely, wholesome people, who I wouldn't mind inviting round for dinner and a chat (although think of the pressure there would be. Maybe not...)

William and Kate got engaged just after Simon and I, they got married in 2011 just months before us - actually on my hen weekend - and now their little baby is arriving in the same year as ours. I think it's something about this small life parallel that we have that makes me more interested in them. 



But, the more I think about it, the more I feel so terribly sorry for Kate. These next few weeks and months are going to be like getting hit by a truck for her. They are for any new mummy - adjusting to life with your beautiful baby, and having your life turned upside down in the most wonderful way. But for Kate, it's going to be with the whole world watching.

If you have babies and children you probably remember taking them out and feeling the pressure when they started to cry, sure that EVERYONE was looking at you and judging you. Or the pressure the first time you changed a nappy in front of other people, or had to unfold your pram and negotiate life's obstacles with it. Imagine doing any of those things with the whole world watching, just WAITING for you to slip up.

Then there is the pressure from everyone to do what is "right". Only Kate and William will know what's right for their little one, but that won't stop everyone from throwing in their two cents. In many situations I think it will be case of she's damned if she does, and she's damned if she doesn't.

I have no doubt that the Duchess of Cambridge will handle motherhood with the same poise and grace with which she seems to handle every situation. I'm 100% confident that she and William will make the most wonderful parents, and I can't wait to hear the news of their most special arrival. 

Ps- I think it's a girl....

Reviews Day Tuesday: Tots Bots FlexiWrap


I thought since I am a big cloth advocate that I should start reviewing some of the bits of cloth I use to hopefully convince a few more people that using cloth is easy, fun and cute, and let people know what works for me and what doesn't. Since Miss Isabelle is wearing a Flexi Wrap by Tots Bots this morning, I thought I'd start there!

Tots Bots Flexi Wrap:

Details:
A sized PUL wrap with applix fastenings
Size 0: birth-12lbs
Size 1: 10-20lbs
Size 2: 20-35lbs

Fit:

To be honest my first impressions of this wrap were not good. It seemed like the elastic was not as thick and tight as on my other wraps, and wouldn't give a good, tight, close fit on Isabelle. It also seemed huge compared to other size 1 wraps, so I wasn't convinced at all. But that was very wrong! Yes, the elastic is not as tight, but it still gives a great fit and doesn't leave horrible red marks around her legs like some other brands. The applix fastening at the waist makes it so easy to get a great waist fit, and the legs follow suit.
The wrap IS bigger than many others (my other size 1 wraps starts at 7/8lb which is why they are smaller) but I find that much more useful. I'm not constantly worrying if the whole nappy is covered like I do with other wraps. I also find it great to use at night because it is a bigger fit.

Containment:

As I wasn't convinced about the fit at first, I was sure these would be horrible at containing anything which managed to escape her nappy. Again - wrong! We have never had anything escape this wrap. It seems to be pretty much bombproof!

Washing:

So easy to wash with the nappies and very quick to dry on my airer.

Ease of use:

I'm yet to encounter anyone who can't put this wrap on - even Isabelle's somewhat "nappy challenged" aunt has no issue with this!

Appearance and quality:

As you can see from the picture below, we have the Jubilee print, and we also have a story print - 3 Little Pigs. The wraps come in the same colours and prints as the Easyfit nappies, and I think there is a great range and they are just adorable! This Jubilee print is my favourite of any we own, and I know it's Simon's favourite too.
The quality is perfect - the PUL is so, so soft, and it all looks and feels great. The PUL also seems thinner than on other wraps, so it's very trim.


Cost:

Block colours are £8.99 on the Tots Bots website, and I bought our prints from Funky Monkey Pants for £10.75. This might SOUND expensive, especially since you still need a nappy to go underneath, but it's comparable with other brands, and since I use them every day/other day, it's definitely worth it!

Bug bears:

The only thing I don't like about these wraps is that there are no laundry tabs for the applix fastenings. These wraps ALWAYS seem to be the culprit of any nappy chains coming out of the washing machine! A very little thing, but since there is one in every load, it's annoying. I would also like to see double gussets on these. As I said, we haven't had any containment issues, but double gussets just give me peace of mind, and are a personal preference.

Overall:

Overall, I give these wraps a 4/5. They are great at everything they do, and so gorgeous to look at, with only the laundry tab issue holding them back from a 5. I started with one before Isabelle was born, and like them so much I bought another that I really didn't need! Since they are so great at nighttime, I know I'll be buying them in the next size up and using them for a long while yet.

If you've used the Flexi Wrap, how did you find it?

Sunday, 14 July 2013

No 'do overs' allowed

While I was feeding Isabelle before bed last night I had a thought - if I could go back to the beginning of her life and do things over, what would I do differently? What situations could I have handled differently, and what would I have done instead? Is there anything that I've done which I don't think was the right thing, any decisions I regret? In what ways could I have just been BETTER?

Here's what I came up with:

* I would listen to my instincts in every situation, stop questioning my choices and believe that old cliche...mama really does know best. I think as a first time mum there are so many people trying to "help" by giving advice and telling you how you should be doing things that it's easy to second guess everything you do. While they are really only trying to help, I know now that I know my baby best of all!

* I would start using our cloth nappies much earlier. We started on day 12, after her cord stump fell off and we used the last disposable. I would start from the day we got home.

* I wouldn't limit how much we hold Isabelle. This is my biggest regret. In the early days I was so worried about "spoiling" her and getting her used to being held that I limited my own cuddle time and made Simon limit his. Isabelle has never been unhappy being on her own, and sometimes actively seeks this independent time, but I was always so afraid that I would end up making her reliant on being in our arms to fall asleep or settle herself, that I put her down much more often than I wanted too. I wish I had believed that there is NO SUCH THING as spoiling a newborn baby. 

* I would recognise that Simon has his own way of doing things and that, just because he doesn't do them the same way that I do, he isn't wrong. In other words, I'd give him a break!

* I'd attempt to stop fretting so much about everything. No doubt that's actually impossible for a new mother, but I'd try anyway!

So, really, a change in my thinking rather than changing anything I've done - and that change would be to make me even more baby led than I already am, and let my natural instincts rule. That said, overall, I'm pretty damn proud of how I have parented Isabelle over the last 3 months, and am proud of Simon for how he has taken on his role as a daddy, and how he has supported me. 

That's not to say I've been the 'perfect mother'. I'm sure my family and friends have many things they think I should have done differently - such as making Isabelle take a bottle, or not using boobs to solve all her bad moods - but I can't please everyone, so instead I'll concentrate on pleasing myself and Isabelle. And Simon as well, if he's lucky!

Is there anything you wish you'd done differently as a parent?


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Dressing Miss Isabelle

This week Miss Isabelle turned three months old. I cannot believe how quickly that time has gone, and how much she has grown in those 3 months. She has learnt so much in that time (mainly that if she even looks like she might THINK about crying I will let her have unlimited boob!) and is such a joy to spend each day with.

With the reaching of this 3 month landmark, and as she is in the 50th centile for weight (she was 12lbs 12oz at 12 weeks) she has begun to grow out of her 0-3 month clothes. So, in homage to the itty bitty clothes that may never get used again (I could go on to have only boys, as could my sister-in-law and sister!) I thought I would share with you some of my favourite outfits she has had so far.

We were extremely fortunate when Isabelle was born to find out just how many generous people she will have in her life, as we received presents from so many people, most of them clothes. As Simon and I chose to leave the gender of our baba a surprise, we had only purchased a few gender neutral sleep suits (and we had some on loan from, you guessed it, my sister-in-law!). Neither of us are huge fashionistas, and were more than happy with the idea of dressing our little one in sleepsuits until they were old enough to walk. In fact, if people hadn't bought 'proper' clothes for Isabelle, I imagine that's exactly what we would have done!

All of the sleepsuits and vests we bought were 'supermarket chic', from F&F at Tesco and George at Asda. Their stuff is just as lovely as high street shops, but at a fraction of the price. Considering how quickly little miss grew out if these, I am so glad we didn't buy them from somewhere more expensive! I know they will be used again for future babies, so we definitely got our monies worth.

My most loved items from the last three months were bought by my aunt - a pack of gorgeous sleepsuits from Next which I just ADORE. They are beautiful prints, gorgeously soft and she looks so adorable in them! (Ignore her face in the bottom right pic! She loved it really!) I am not a big fan of pink, and personally hate when people buy a mass of pink stuff for their little girl, but the two pink sleepsuits in this pack are my absolute favourites!



Of course, people also bought us a whole host of 'proper' clothes for Isabelle, but most of them are for 3-6 months, so she is just starting to fit them now. However, her wonderful auntie Helen (that's my sister-in-law!) bought her some gorgeous 0-3months dresses from Marks and Spencer which she just looks so cute in! They are again great quality, and such classic little dresses that she looks like the most perfect baby girl in the world in them (which, obviously, she is!) Unfortunately we haven't had loads of wear out of these, as I was keeping them for special days, and she is almost out of them now which makes me so sad.


There are so many more little bits I could show you, including much, much more from both Next and M&S (particularly one set of newborn sleepsuits from M&S which she lived in for the first 3 weeks as everything else was too big!) but I would be showing you photos all year!

I can't, however, do a post about her first outfits with a mention of her "novelty" outfits - supplied by her very own fashion guru, auntie Katie. Sadly, we didn't manage to get a picture if Izzy in her tutu (yes...her TUTU) but I assure you it was something to behold! The "floof" seemed never ending! There was also her ladybird outfit, which was the first outfit she wore when she arrived home, and which I was so sad to see her grow out of.



Simon and I also bought her a novelty sheep pram suit, which I was convinced we would get no use out of but, luckily, this spring was FREEZING and Isabelle was smaller than anticipated (since I was a whale) so we used it lots. These little novelty outfits are all from Next as well, as all their girls clothes are just so beautiful. In fact, the only 'proper' clothes we have bought Isabelle ourselves are from Next, albeit for summer 2014 so we have a while to wait until she fits into them!

While Simon and I still prefer buying her sleepsuits ourselves, and I still dress her in those when we are just lounging about, she has so much gorgeous stuff for this next few months that she is going to be the best dressed girl around! Come back in 3 months time for the next chapter in our fashion show - it will include rompers, red jeans, peach jeans and dresses galore!

What's your favourite outfit for your little one? Anything you are particularly sad to see them grow out of?

Friday, 12 July 2013

Even More NMIM

You can now follow me on
Twitter @naturalmommainm
Pinterest Sljay1
Instagram sljay

I look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Baby Modelling: yay or nay?

Isabelle and I entered the world of baby modelling this week! Before you wince, it was a promotional photoshoot for our local cloth nappy library to help raise awareness of the ease of use of modern cloth nappies in Northern Ireland. I volunteered Izzy for the cause, eager to help out and promote cloth nappy use. Of course, the "photoshoot" was very quick, and as there were four babies under 8 months and 4 toddlers, it was a bit chaotic! Isabelle quickly decided she had had enough, and she and some of the other babies made this known! Because the focus was all on the babies, nobody minded us mummies jumping in and out to comfort babies, wipe drool or whip them away when they had had enough. It was a great day out with other mums and we were paid in something better than money...a free nappy! (Courtesy of Babame)



This brief moment in the limelight (!) got me thinking about more the more serious world of baby and child modelling. A quick Google of 'baby modelling' brought up numerous agencies which offer the chance to put your little one on their books and, in exchange, they will put you forward for modelling, TV or other jobs. I must admit, I love a flick through the Next catalogue to look at the gorgeous babies and kids in there, and have often wondered what number you dial to order one of them!

But what is the reality of baby modelling? A further Google search brought up a wealth of information on forums from people who's babies have been used as models, or people working in the modelling industry discussing the pros and cons of baby modelling.

Pros included little ones earning money which can be used for a child's further education; allowing a family to spend more time together as parents chaperone children to jobs; allowing children to experience new places, people and to experience new situations; and the 'pleasant' feeling parents get from seeing their kids in front of the camera.

Forgive me for saying so but, to me, those don't seem like particularly strong incentives. The reality (according to many) is that children will rarely earn enough money to pay for university. And there are many ways to spend time with your children, and expose them to new situations, other than modelling. Taking your children to the park, to family events or camping all achieve the goal of time went together, and new experiences gained.



The cons include disruption to schedules - including school for older children - for a family; the pressure put on children to 'perform' at a certain time, and the pressure put on children to look 'perfect' which could lead to body issues at a later age.

While the thought of putting pressure on Isabelle at such a young age is more than enough to turn me off the idea, the most worrying thing I read while researching baby modelling was the amount of parents who have forked out large sums of money to put their baby on a modelling agency's books, only to receive little or no work afterwards. Many tales of people paying hundreds, in some cases thousands, of pounds only to receive nothing from the 'agency' in return. Some companies make themselves sound so tempting, how can parents know if the agency they are signing up for is reputable?

Although it seems counter intuitive, many agencies recommend that if an agency has guaranteed that you will get work, they should be avoided as they just never know what work will become available. You should also question any up front costs - new legislation in October 2010 stated model agencies are not allowed to charge up front fees to potential clients. The idea is that these companies earn their money as commission from your work. That said, even some very well known and respected companies will charge a small fee to feature you on their website, especially if this is how they present your little darling to clients. This isn't thousands of pounds, and any respectable company will be happy to explain what the money is for, if asked. If you are enticed in by a "mass recruitment" drive, chances are the agency may not be reputable. Reputable agencies will have hundreds of people flocking to them, and have scouts who pick people out of crowds - they don't advertise in papers, or hold a recruitment drive or seminar. One of the best ways to find out if a company is reputable is research. Look online at their website, and search for parents who have used them. A really good company won't mind waiting a few days for you to get back to them, whereas a less than respectable company will continue to push you.



All things considered, we won't be signing Isabelle up for modelling any time soon. Obviously she is beyond gorgeous, but it is most definitely not for us as, to me, the cons definitely outweigh the pros. If you're tempted to see if your little one has what it takes, some good places to start are:

Babyshak
Scallywags
Truly Scrumptious
Elizabeth Smith

What are your views on baby modelling? Yay or nay?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Little noises, big repercussions

I'm sure other mummy and daddy types know the feeling. You've spent half an hour soothing your darling to sleep, and a few minutes gazing at their sleeping, angelic face. Then, you turn to leave the room...

Have you always walked SO LOUDLY?
Have these shoes always been SO SQUEAKY on the floor?
Have the floorboards always creaked THIS MUCH?
Have you always breathed SO HEAVILY?


And after every sound you freeze, holding your breath, and turn to make sure your little cherub is still snoozing soundly. If you're luckily, they haven't flinched. If you're not, they are now staring at you like a small demon, mouth opening in slow motion, scream about to happen.

And while you soothe the baby to sleep, you silently curse every single noise your other half makes. Hoovering - now?! Walking up stairs - really?! Breathing - surely not?!

Luckily, I can hoover right past Isabelle when she's asleep and she won't even flutter her eyelids. But that doesn't mean I don't feel the fear every single night and nap time...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

School of babywearing..

Since my post on baby wearing using my Boba 3G, several people have enquired about my third reason for choosing the Boba which was:
"3. It needed to keep our baby in the correct 'froggy' and M position, and should not offer the option of facing outwards"

I've been asked what this means, and why it's important enough to influence my choice of a carrier, so I thought I would share some of the important "rules" of baby wearing, and how to safely wear your baby.

As I mentioned before, I'm pretty new to baby wearing, but everything I've read stresses these points as important. That's not to say that if you use a high street carrier every once in a while that its anything awful, or that if your baby faces forward occasionally their hips will fall to pieces! At the end of the day ANY baby wearing is better than none! But if you plan to baby wear more than occasionally, it's important to know how to do so safely, and what you should look out for in a carrier.



The T.I.C.K.S. Rules: 

These tell you how things should look once your baby is in the carrier.

T- tight. Your sling, wrap or carrier should hold your baby tightly against your chest or back. This will be most comfortable for you both, and won't allow baby to slump down. There shouldn't be a gap between you and your baby's chest at any time.

I - in view at all times. You need to be able to see your baby without having to move any fabric, especially in a sling. You should be able to see your baby's face just by glancing down.

C - close enough to kiss. You should be able to tilt your head down and kiss your baby. This means your baby is being carried high enough. I love testing this out by kissing Izzy all over, and even nibbling her ears at times!

K - keep the chin off the chest. If the baby's chin is on their chest, their airway can be restricted. You should be ale to fit a finger under baby's chin, and their nose should be parallel to the floor to ensure they can breathe easily. 

S - supported back. Your baby's back needs to be well supported to stop the, slumping, which can restrict their airway and is bad for their back. This ties in with keeping them tight. If your baby is tightly against your chest or back (no big gap, their chest should be touching yours at all times in an upright carry) you should be able to push their back, and they shouldn't move forward.


Baby's leg position

I wrote in my last post that I wanted a carrier to keep my baby in a froggy, M leg position. I should have also said that I wanted it to carry them knee to knee. All of this is to ensure that the baby is kept in a favourable hip position. Traditional high street carriers support baby under their crotch (leading to the derogatory term "crotch danglers" by many baby wearing aficionados), and allow their legs to dangle down freely. This means their hips are left in a position which can contribute to hip dysplasia. However, carriers such as the Boba, Ergo and many other brands (including slings, wraps and stretchies) support the baby from the crook of one knee, under the bum, and to the crook of the other knee. This actually holds their knees slightly higher than their bottom, in an M shape. This position is much better for babies hips, holding them in a more natural position.




Similarly, many carriers/wraps will advise carrying baby with their "legs in" in a froggy position while they are newborn. There is some controversy over this at the minute, but the premise is the same - keeping their knees higher than their legs in a babies natural hip position. (Try it out with a newborn - hold them against your chest and they will almost certainly curl their knees up towards their chest). The Boba 3G instructions advised legs in, so I followed this advice, making sure Izzy was always in a froggy, M position. The picture below gives a good idea of how a baby's legs should look in a correct carry (however this baby wouldn't be close enough to kiss!)




Never facing out
The two points outlined above link into why it's not a great idea to face your baby outwards. Firstly, if they face outwards, they aren't being held tightly to your body, as their natural instinct is to curl up forwards and therefore away from your body. This isn't great for your back, as it throws their weight forward, and puts more strain on your back.
Secondly, if you wear baby facing outwards, it's unlikely that their legs will be supported knee to knee.

If you are planning on baby wearing frequently, look for a wrap, sling or carrier which will allow you to carry baby closely, and supported in the M position from knee to knee. Again, any baby wearing is better than none, so if you do wear your little one in a high street carrier (and let's face it, they are so readily available that many people do!) or forward facing occasionally I won't be calling social services anytime soon!

If you're interested in baby wearing on a more regular basis, check out some of the links below to brands of carriers, and to information on the benefits of babywearing and how to babywear safely.
Ergo Baby
Monkey Mei Tai
Rose and Rebellion
Moby Wrap

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