20 May 2015

A giant pink pig

There is a little park not far from our house that we go to most days, sometimes after the school run and others to burn a little energy and let off some steam. On a recent trip to the park there had been a new addition, an enormous pink plastic ride on pig!

Of course this pig was a massive hit with the Little Ones and every other child in the park too it seems. It is now the first thing that they run to and the last thing they have to have another turn on before leaving.

The Little Ones love the park whatever the weather and always have fun there. Little 2 has been building up her confidence climbing the rope ladder and shimmying up the firemans pole, she is also getting daring whooshing down the slide although Mummy is apparently boring as I insist she always goes feet first!

Little 1 learnt to swing herself back in the summer and now spends ages getting as high as she possibly can, she will spend absolutely ages on the swings now.

Little 3 is too little to enjoy the park just yet but he always has a good nap in the fresh air and when he is awake he beams as he watches his big sisters running around.

We have several small parks within a few minutes walk of our house and the girls often have trouble agreeing on which one to go to but where ever we go they always have fun and don't want to leave, especially this one now there is the addition of the pink plastic pig!

15 May 2015

What's the matter, baby?

Little 3 didn't have the smoothest start in life what with his chest infection and extended hospital stay from inhaling meconium as he was born, the poor thing, but once we were home and settled things seemed to be going well.

Then when he was 2 weeks old he began being sick during and after feeds (we are breastfeeding). Not loads but every feed without fail and for an hour or so after too. He also began to scream randomly during feeds, and I mean scream, full on sweating, red face and white frightened eyes kind of crying, and sometimes for a time after the feed too, I could tell he was in pain, it was horrible to see him doing it and all I could do was try to console him until it passed, which thankfully was usually only around a minute each time. 

I didn't know what it was, maybe wind or colic, could it be reflux or something else? It didn't seem to be wind though as he always gave a hefty burp after a feed with relatively little effort on my part. I bought some Infacol as we had used it with the girls when they had trouble getting wind up but it didn't help him and just made Little 3 sicker so I didn't use it long. 

Little 1 had colic when she was a newborn and would cry relentlessly all evening drawing her knees up in pain and then fall asleep finally with exhaustion. Little 3's symptoms were different and didn't seem like colic, it happened every feed, day and night and only lasted a minute or so and he didn't cry excessively at night either so I didn't think it was that.

I took him to baby clinic and had a chat with the health visitor who suggested it could be reflux causing him the pain, although he wasn't being that sick she thought that stomach fluid was coming back up and causing him discomfort.

It took 3 weeks to get to see the gp after talking to the health visitor, first being fobbed off by a triage nurse on the phone despite me requesting to be seen and then we saw another so called senior nurse who declared he probably had reflux but it wasn't that bad so she wouldn't prescribe anything to help him. Eventually at 6 weeks old we saw a gp who listened to me explain what had been happening the past month, he thought it was a combination of reflux and  maybe colic and prescribed something to help with the reflux, as a starting point (I'm not sure he really knew how to help with the pain/screaming). It worked straight away and the following day we had a totally different happy baby, there was a bit less sick and surprisingly the screaming just stopped too. 

Unfortunately as a side effect of the medication Little 3 got constipated so we had to stop it after a few days. We expected that once the medication was out of his system the screaming would return but so far 3 weeks on it hasn't, something the gp found rather surprising when we chatted to him about it at our 8 week check this week. He now thinks that all the antibiotics Little 3 had when he was first born upset the balance of his digestive system and that he was getting some kind of stomach cramps when he fed. The calming nature of the medication he was given seemed just enough to settle not only his stomach but his gut too. 

Now at almost 9 weeks old feeds are much more pleasant and we are both happier. The sicking isn't as bad as it was, we have decided not to try other medication at the moment and although the sicking creates rather a lot of washing for me we are just glad that Little 3 is no longer in pain.

First smiles caught on camera

Have you had a similar experience, I'd love to hear if other children who had antibiotics at birth suffered anything similar to Little 3.

11 May 2015

Little 3- the first 2 months

As I write this I can not believe my baby is almost 2 months old, time seems to have passed in some kind of sleep deprived blur. He seems all grown up all of a sudden and is definitely not tiny anymore having weighed in at 11lb 4oz last week. I saw a new newborn (I can still count Little 3 as a newborn can't I, just for a little bit longer?) the other day and in comparison Little 3 looked massive, it made me feel quite broody again (what on earth, must be sleep deprivation, that or hormones, I'm still recovering from this one!). 

I have to be honest and say although they seem to have passed by in a whirlwind when I look back these past 2 months have been rather hard. The first week after Little 3's birth was spent in hospital with him having treatment for a chest infection (If you missed it that post is here). He would leave me well fed and sleepy to go down to the special care unit every 12 hours for his IV antibiotics and come back to me starving, sobbing and having had yet more blood tests or checks on his dodgy heart (I wasn't allowed to go with him incase you were wondering) which was hard emotionally. 

I missed my family terribly as although Daddy visited every day, it wasn't for long as Little 2 got bored and with Little 1 being at school I didn't see her for 4 days as she found it a bit much after school but I rang her a lot instead. When we did finally get home I was exhausted, you don't get much sleep in a 4 bed ward full of newborns and when they keep waking your baby up to check his temperature! Daddy returned to work 2 days later and I jumped right into the school run with 3 children.

The Easter holidays swiftly followed and with 3 children at home, one of whom wanted feeding roughly every 20 minutes, it was a bit loud and crazy at times, we also had a lot of visitors too but thankfully Daddy had taken the second week off to help me out which allowed me to catch up a bit on sleep and most definitely saved my sanity.

Early morning cuddles in bed
Once he reached a few weeks old we began to learn Little 3's ways, he loves comfort and cuddles and walking around in our arms, he does not like being hungry, dirty or his bouncy chair, he also would only sleep on me and wake the second he was put down no matter how asleep he seemed! With 2 other children who need attention and meals to prepare I was surprised to learn what I could actually do one handed but peeling potatoes isn't one of them! Little 3 often just had to wait a few minutes at times and so there was a great deal of crying in the early days when it was just me at home. 

At a few weeks old he began to be sick and scream after feeds (look out for the post- what's the matter, baby?) which we thought was reflux thus explaining his dislike of lying down and why he was constantly waking crying at night, it is a bit better now but nights are still hit and miss if he is uncomfortable or sick a lot.

Tummy time at 5 weeks

At 6 weeks old Little 3 suddenly 'woke up' and began to show us his real self, awake more in the day now, his beautiful smile lights up his face and he was beginning to talk to us and settle a bit better. He now enjoys spending a few minutes in his cot batting and chatting to his toys and lying on his tummy. Little 3 is such a scrummy little boy who adores and is adored by his big sisters, he saves his best smiles and gurgles for them especially Little 1.

The early days were hard for me with the demands of a newborn, two other children and school/playgroup runs etc and a lot of sick covered washing but we got through it as a family, and the help of others to hold the baby for a bit!, things are slowly getting better and I am looking forwards to sunny weather, enjoying my scrummy new son and gorgeous girls as a new family of 5. 

6 weeks old, all 3 awake and happy!

6 May 2015

A breath of fresh air

Bank holiday weekend was a bit damp and dreary where we live but the rain held off on the Monday so we decided to get out for a breath of fresh air, it was not too chilly but still quite damp so we headed to one of our favourite haunts knowing there was somewhere inside to go if the heavens opened. 

Nanny and Uncle M joined us as we headed to Stratford Park, a short drive away, there is always something to do there. We headed towards the lake with bread in our hands to feed the ducks first but on the way spotted a new toddler play area outside the leisure centre in the middle of the park and with Little 3 fast asleep in the pushchair it only seemed right to let the girls have a play while we popped into the cafe for takeaway coffees and chocolate flapjacks and sat in the warmth of the sun while they let off some steam!

We then set of on our little walk around the lake watching the ducks, coots and swans nesting on the bank. The girls were very interested in several recently felled trees and clambered up and did some 'digging' in the soft rotten stumps.

Last year when we had all those storms at the beginning of the year a huge oak tree uprooted and fell in the park, over the stream, it's trunk was several metres across and it must have been hundreds of years old. The top of the tree was swiftly sawn and removed by the park keepers and we had wondered how they were going to remove the trunk from across the stream. 

When we saw it on this visit, having not been for a couple of months, we saw it had been turned into a bridge, there was a flat top, some steps either end and a safety rail too, what a good idea. I couldn't go over it with the pushchair as it was steep and uneven at the other side so I met the Little Ones a bit further along where we stopped to feed the ducks. 

Little 2 wasn't all that interested in feeding the ducks, she ate her bread, but she did acquire this big stick and dragged it the rest of the way around the park (excuse uncle M's legs in the picture).

We then had a little fun among the trees and wandered up towards the museum.

The museum in the park is great as it is free to enter and often has workshops and activities going on in the holidays. It is a small museum but has rooms dedicated to the geology and archaeological finds from the area, things from the olden days with rooms about the household, children and schools, toys and the history of local railways and waterways. 

The Little Ones never get bored there as in each room are things for the children, books in the school room, dinosaur puzzles in the geology bit, old toys and games of draughts and hoopla and toy trains in the railway section. 

After a quick look at the flowers in the garden it was time to head home. We managed to steer the girls away from the big park on the hill and towards the car as it was looking ominous and everyone was tired but not without noticing a new zip slide and a couple of other additions that were not there the last time we visited, we promised we'd return soon to try them out.

'My legs can't go any further'

We loaded our tired girls and a stirring hungry baby into the car and headed home for tea. 

What did you do last weekend, do you have a favourite place to go time after time?

30 April 2015

Taking the plunge- switching to cloth nappies at night

We have been using cloth nappies for over a month now and I really love them, they are so soft and comfy against Little 3's skin, he seems very happy and comfortable in them. I love the designs and who can resist patting a big cloth bottom on a newborn. 

Up until this point we had only been using cloth in the day, I had been a bit apprehensive about using cloth at night (I was worried about how long they'd last and if they would leak causing disrupted nights). Newborns tend to poo at every feed and need several changes at night so I also didn't fancy changing cloth nappies and having to deal with storing wet nappies in our room at night. I tend to change night nappies on our bed for minimal disturbance of Little 3 and the wet bags etc for storing dirty nappies are set up in the nursery. Because of this we opted to use disposables at night for a few weeks so that I could just throw them away.

We use pocket nappies in the day and they need to be changed every 2-3 hours so they were not going to be the best thing for night so I asked a few questions in the cloth chat rooms and it became clear that there was one really popular choice for a night nappy- the Totsbots bamboozle which is a thick bamboo nappy with microfibre core that requires a separate waterproof wrap over the top, apparently this combination is bombproof and will last 12 hours easily even on a toddler.

The Totsbots bamboozle

I bought a pack of the bamboozle nappies and just needed a couple of the waterproof wraps then we would be good to take the plunge, Tots bots themselves offered to help and sent me their lovely Twinkle stretchy wrap to try. 

Sporting his night nappy combo
Little 3 now weighs just over 10lb and is at the smallest end of the weight range for this nappy/wrap, They are size 2 (birth to potty size) and fit around 9-35lb babies (there is a smaller size 1 that fits up to 16lb too). When I first fitted the nappy on the smallest size setting I was a little concerned that Little 3's legs might not quite be chunky enough to allow the nappy to fit snuggly and therefore avoid leaks when wearing it all night. The bamboozle nappy fitted him nicely but there is a little gap at the side of the wrap just inside the hips (in line with the size adjusting poppers, just down to the cut of the wrap and where it has been shortened to the smaller size) and no matter how tightly I did it up I couldn't cover a tiny bit of the nappy underneath. I put him to bed and hoped for the best.

Little 3 has been wearing the bamboozle and wrap combo at night for a week now and I can safely say I needn't have worried. Some nights he has needed a middle of night dirty nappy change and others he has worn the nappy 12 hours straight, we have not had a single leak and the nappy really is soaked through in the morning but it is all safely contained in the wrap. We will definitely continue using these as our night nappy from now on, no more disposables here.

Totsbots were also kind enough to send me another nappy to try the all-in-one Easyfit V4 in Humpty Dumpty pattern. This is just like the pocket nappies we are using but the insert is sewn into the nappy and comes with another one you can popper in to boost absorption.

This nappy is great, it is so easy to put on just like a disposable and fits Little 3 lovely, it has  a great design and is soft inside and out. The nappy is quite slim and not as bulky as some of my other nappies but just as absorbent. It washed well and dried super quick too, I might just have to get myself Little 3 a few more Easyfit nappies.

N.B We were kindly sent a Totsbots twinkle stretchy wrap, Easyfit nappy and extra booster in return for their inclusion in this post. 

21 April 2015

We are using reusable nappies....

Seeing as this week is #realnappyweek2015 I thought I'd better get on the bandwagon and write my cloth nappy post. 

We are a bit late really using cloth for our third child as we could have saved a fortune in disposable nappies over the years but as they say it is better late than never and we'll still save lots of money and the environment too using them on just Little 3.

When Little 1 was born I had briefly considered reusable nappies but all I knew about were the big bulky ones with a plastic wrap that from my experience, at the time as a nursery nurse and having changed a couple of children who wore these, leaked constantly and stank of wee, I decided against it (I did not look into it much further mind you, I'm sure there were others out there). We did though instead opt for reusable wipes and 5 and a half years later we are still using these and recently replaced our stash in time for the arrival of Little 3.

It wasn't until I met a friend who's child wore cloth nappies last year that I realised how much reusable nappies had changed since I had considered them and I thought about using them for Little 3. There are now so many different options and brands out there, some nappies are as easy to put on as disposables and such an array of colourful, funky and gorgeous designs. It didn't take me long to do a little research and convince Daddy that I wanted to give it a go and he was completely up for it (as long as I washed them though!) 

My nappy stash waiting for Little 3 to arrive
Having made the decision to go for it I joined a few forums and asked lots of questions finding out what was recommended and what was not, It can be a little confusing with wraps, liners, prefolds, woolsoakers, flips, pockets and inserts but I soon learnt what everything was and began to build my stash.

The simplest kind of nappy that appealed to me seemed to me to be the pocket nappy or all-in-one where a nappy (consisting of a waterproof outer and fleecy inner) is stuffed with various inserts and then separated for washing, in the case of the pocket nappy (the inserts are sewn into the all-in-one, you just pull it out one end). As your child grows you just use inserts of different materials (microfibre, bamboo, charcoal) to get the absorbency needed, some materials are more absorbent but take longer to absorb the wee and also to dry so a combination works well, you can stuff 2 or 3 of these into a pocket nappy for heavy wetters or overnight use.

I took advantage of the post christmas sales as I decided which brands to try and built up my stash. I loved choosing the nappy designs and love the array of colours in the nappy drawer. My three favourites have to be the frog, dinosaur and cheeky monkey ones we have. I can see how these nappies can become addictive, Each time I see a new bunch of designs come out I want them but we have enough to keep us going for now some for wearing and some in the wash. 

These are always the first to get used!

We have been using our cloth nappies in the daytime since Little 3 came home from hospital starting with newborn sized ones and a few two parters, now he has moved up to birth to potty size on the smallest setting of our pocket nappies and we love using them. At night time we are using up a few packs of disposables we'd stocked up before his birth and will shortly be making the switch to full time cloth using some recommended supersoaker bombproof bamboo nappies and wraps so watch this space later in the week for an update on that.

19 April 2015

Natalia vital touch pregnancy and birth products- review

Recently I was lucky enough to become a #nextorganicmum with Natalia Vital Touch. The company Vital Touch sells the Natalia range of natural organic products for pregnancy, labour and after birth developed by pregnancy expert Katie Whitehouse.

I was sent some of their gorgeous products at the end of my pregnancy to try out and use during labour and after birth.

I tried the Natalia Labour and Birth box which would make a really lovely gift for a mum to be, it included Natalia Labour Bath Ease with aloe vera, lavender and clary sage, Natalia Labour Massage Oil with sunflower oil, bergamot, clary sage and jasmine, the Natalia Labour Instant Energiser pulse roll on with sunflower oil, frankincense, rosemary and peppermint, a massage information booklet and an organic cotton flannel.

The products were all nicely packaged in a calming green and blue box in frosted glass containers and looked luxurious and fancy, the flannel was really soft and the massage booklet was full of really useful tips and techniques on pregnancy and labour massage, I couldn't wait to test these products out! 

I also received Natalia Prenatal Bath Soak containing aloe vera, lavender, vetiver and ylang ylang, Natalia Prenatal Instant Unwinder pulse pointer with sunflower oil, lavender, vetiver and ylang ylang and Mum's Miracle Balm with rosehip seed oil and rose.

I loved the cool and sophisticated look of these products, the pale green colours and glass bottles looked smart and relaxing, the usage instructions were clear and easy to read without covering the bottles in writing either. 

I couldn't wait to check out the products and began smelling them and trying one or two products right away, the pulse point unwinder was the first thing I tried. It smelt really refreshing, it wasn't too greasy and after letting it absorb for a few moments it didn't mark the cuffs of my top, there was a really refreshing strong relaxing smell which lasted quite a while.

Over the last few weeks of my pregnancy I used the products particularly the Prenatal Bath Soak, Labour Massage Oil, Mum's Miracle Balm and both Roll-ons and like every one of them. All the Natalia products are made with natural organic ingredients (where possible) and every product is tailored for it's intended use with the particular ingredients it contains. Each of the products smells as lovely and refreshing as the next, it was difficult to know which to chose sometimes!

My favourite product has to be the Labour massage oil and while I did not have a chance to use it in labour, due the the super speedy arrival of Little 3, I did use it lots once I went past my due date (it contains clary sage oil which can be rather potent and so it is not advisable to use it before your due date). I massaged it into my bump morning and evening, it was lovely and soft as well as soothing on my stretched skin, I didn't develop any stretch marks despite being bigger this time around than I had been with the girls and I think the oil definitely helped with that. I also have sensitive skin and a lot of products in the past have made me itchy but the Natalia products did not.

I enjoyed testing the Natalia products and am still using them now particularly the energiser roll-on which offers a little boost after the long sleepless nights with a newborn. I recommend them if you are looking for something natural and a little bit fancy to pamper yourself or give as a gift to someone who's expecting.

The Natalia Vital touch products can be found on their website www.vitaltouch.com 

N.B I received the products detailed in this post in return for this review.

16 April 2015

A delightful day out in the park for Daddy's birthday

Last week it was Daddy's birthday and so with a day off and Little 1 still on her Easter holidays we went out for the day. It was beautifully sunny but still a little cool in the shade. We took daddy to one of the places Nanny and I often take the girls for a few hours when he is at work as we knew he would like it there.

There is a small lake with a short circular walk around it and plenty of fish and ducks to spot, a play area, green grassy areas for a picnic or game of football and a nearby cafe with a sandpit and wendy house outside and a child friendly play area with sofas upstairs, perfect.

We arrived around coffee time and Little 3 needed feeding so headed to the cafe and made ourselves at home amongst the toys upstairs, lunch shortly followed and then we were ready to stroll.

The girls have a thing about their sunglasses at the moment and they are never very far away, they wear them in the car and at the dinner table and Little 2 is often sporting a dress and tiara with hers!

We were fish spotting on the bridge when Little 2 spotted a paved area behind us and declared it was a stage, she certainly got her groove on oblivious to the camera and was soon joined by Little 1.

We headed to the park first and the girls really enjoyed playing with Daddy and showing him what they could do on the equipment while Mummy chatted to Nanny.

We set off on our stroll around the lake, the girls liked watching the ducks and wildlife spotting as they walked along hand in hand with Daddy. 

There was lots of hiding in trees and climbing too as well as chasing, squealing and lots of laughter. We headed to a nearby garden centre after for a look around and then ended up back at the park for a game of football and snack while I fed Little 3. We all had a great day out and Daddy certainly enjoyed his birthday after we followed our trip out with chinese and chocolate cake with family and friends.