I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award!

I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award!.

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Welcome to Motherhood – newborn essentials!

Henry is now 5 weeks old and as everyone says, we can’t believe where the time has gone! We’ve had a fantastic month getting to know our beautiful Son who has grown and changed so much already! He has been a hungry boy and the weeks have been dominated by feeding and little sleep!

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Myself & Henry, aged 2 weeks.

If you are approaching parenthood, then I am sure you have lists and ideas coming out of your ears of what you will need to get for your baby’s arrival, so I thought I would share with you a few of the things which have got us through the blur of the last 5 weeks and the items we use all the time.

A compact changing bag;

We don’t leave the house without it!! I wanted something which was unisex for both Stuart and I to take out separately and to suit the sex of our yet unknown baby. After lots of deliberations we eventually settled with this Cath Kidston polka dot bag.

It is not too big and yet holds everything I need, including the endless amount of muslins I collect along the way! It has 3 internal pockets for spare clothes & bibs an additional bag for the changing essentials and an easy to grab change mat on the outside.

SPOT ZIP CHANGING BAG

Lansinoh Nipple cream;

Breast feeding was a learning curve for both myself and Henry and he didn’t latch on for the first couple of days making it very painful and sore while we were trying. As time went on he suddenly turned into an expert and was constantly feeding – also sore for me! I was delighted he was feeding ok and was happy to latch him on every hour to begin with and he soon regained the pound that he lost early on. I was so pleased to have been given Lansinoh Lanolin cream by a friend at my baby shower, it was a complete lifesaver and it got me through the pain! I still use it now as Henry has a habit of yanking my nipple around in all directions sometimes and it’s always good to have in the cupboard for his growth spurts and those hourly feeds!

Lansinoh_Cream_56g

Baby wipes;

I discovered Derma H2O wipes through a sample and I haven’t turned back! They are almost 100% water so they are so gentle for Henry’s newborn skin, which is 5 times thinner than my own. Henry has very active bowels (probably due to his insatiable appetite!) and we’ve found he has had nappy rash a few times and the wipes really help clean him during changes without putting any chemicals on his sensitive botty! If you, like me, want to use something as gentle as cotton wool and water but want the convenience of a wipe, then have a look at their website for info on their great products www.waterwipes.com

WaterWipe baby wipe logo copy WaterWipes 9 packs of 60 wipes

Gro Bags;

Recommended by so many friends these little sleeping bags help us through night times, available in many different togs they are perfect all year round. The site has a useful chart to help you decide how many other layers to put your little one in. We also love the Gro Egg room thermometer to get us through the paranoid early days of whether the room was too hot, too cold etc! It’s simple but cleverly designed nightlight changes colour to let you know how the temperature is as well as a digital display.

Gro bag Gro Egg

It’s worth a mention that there are some great swaddle blanket brands out there which can really help settle babies as it keeps them nicely wrapped up and feeling secure.

Selection of vests, baby grows and muslins;

I will write more on clothing as we go along as I have discovered some fab brands already, but for now I will say we have a big selection of soft cotton clothing, sometimes 3-4 outfits a day depending on how many explosions (either end!) we have!! Don’t stock up too much because your little one will be out of it before you know it – cliche but true! Next, Mothercare and many others all have built in scratch mittens with their baby grows which are really handy for those nails which do so much damage with the uncontrolled arms flapping all over the place! Muslins have found their way into every corner of most rooms in the house – and for good reason!! They are perfect for any sicky spills, or dribbles, laying down on the changing mat to stop the cold shock of being laid down on it. How ever many you think you need, double it! (We had around 30 on the last count!)

Babygrow

Nappies;

By far the best brand we have come across – and this is echoed by so many of my friends, are Asda Little Angels. It’s very rare we get leaks with these ones unlike some other very well known brands, due to their design, shape and material, and they are a third of the cost! Definitely stock up on these, I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

Nappies

Olive Oil;

Multi purpose for newborn skin. Try and stay away from lotions and potions in the first few weeks (we still haven’t used them) because no matter how “gentle” they are, they will still contain ingredients which are harsh on your newborn’s skin. Olive oil can be applied to the dry scaly skin your newborn may have (after being in that water balloon for 9 months coming out is a bit of a shock for his skin), massaged on after bath time, and applied to his scalp to help with cradle cap – the sebum glands begin to work from around week 2 and they can get blocked, so adding oil to them really helps clear them.

Olivve Oil

Moses basket;

We have a lovely rocking one from Mothercare which shockingly he already looks like he is getting too big for!

Moses

Bare in mind this list is for a newborn, it won’t take long before other things will over take and dominate our must have lists so keep an eye out for the next instalment!

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Bath time for our little boy, 2 weeks old.

Welcome to the world, Henry James Jarvis.

Sorry I have been MIA for a little while…I have been busy having a baby!! Finally, 9 long days after my due date we got to meet our beautiful baby BOY! It was a huge surprise and utterly magical as I was adamant we were having a girl most of the way through my pregnancy. The surprise on the day was amazing and I loved the excitement of not finding out, not just for us, but for everyone else who were all kept guessing until the day!

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A very tired Mummy, more than 48 hours with no sleep.

Eventually, after a very long latent stage, the day of the birth was fantastic and I will write up my birth story soon to share my experience with those who are interested. (I tried to read as many as possible when I was going through the early stages so I knew I wasn’t alone with what I was going through!) But I wanted to update you on the news and share a few of the first moments we have had with our darling little boy.

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Skin to Skin with Daddy a few minutes old.

Weighing 8lb 3oz (with super long limbs!) Henry was born on Wednesday 15th May at 18:42.

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First family snap.

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After a tour of the house, Daddy settles Henry in to life at home.

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Walk in the sun on the first day at home.

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Here’s us at a close friend’s wedding, day 10.

Now, 2 weeks in our little man is growing and gaining weight well after a slow start and we are learning on the job how to be parents. He has been such a good little boy so far and we are so proud of him.

Maternity photography.

As the time went on, I realised more & more that I wanted to capture my pregnancy on film before the baby arrived. Despite feeling pretty fat and unattractive I knew if I didn’t then I would regret it. A close friend of mine has a fab hair and make up business and also offers wedding and maternity photography and I knew she was the only person I wanted to (quite literally) bare all to! She made me feel at ease with the camera and knew exactly what shots to take to show off my bump and not my insecurities, giving me prints which I could look back on and cherish.
Pregnant Bump       DSC_1119
I decided to have my shoot at 8 months, so my bump was big enough, but I wasn’t feeling too ginormous and suffering from water retention – even if I felt like I had a few too many chins!! So make sure you choose the right time to suit you. Confidence is key for a happy shoot, so you don’t want to be worried about stretch marks or water retention; your photographer should make you feel at ease and work around your insecurities rather than highlighting them.
Stripy Bump
Lighting in photography really makes the image, and it’s especially true for pregnancy photography. A good photographer will use the light to reflect the emotion and theme of the shot you require. A soft natural light will create a flattering image and if you want to show off your bump in underwear for example, using a sheer, voile type material to cover you will create a soft cover for any insecurities whilst showing your bump off.
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Before your shoot have a think about any props you might like to give your photographer to incorporate – do you know the name/sex of your baby? Can you create a sign to include this? Or post IT notes with all your name choices? Maybe a balloon with the sex or name written on it, or a chalk board with the due date? Have you already bought your baby’s first toy which you could incorporate? Or some tiny baby shoes? Would your partner like to be involved? Do you have other children who you could include? Maternity shots with siblings make for wonderful pics.
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Have you got a favourite outfit – if any of your clothes still fit! Depending on what you have pre-organised take a selection of options with you to change into on the day. There are so many options, so if you want to have creative input then have a think about them before hand and share with your photographer at your consultation.
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It’s really important to mention that even if you categorically think a maternity shoot isn’t for you, in 10 years time when you look back you may really wish you had put your insecurities aside and have captured your blossoming self – even if you don’t show any one I bet you will pleased you did it and your photographer will bring out the best in you, even if you feel tired, fat, nauseous or terrible so you are sure to be pleasantly surprised at how good you look! When your children are all grown up they will love to see you carrying them all those years ago too!
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If you want to capture your pregnancy similarly to this then contact Emma either on her website, http://www.emmatrotman.co.uk or on her Facebook – Emma Trotman Photography. She is based in Hampshire and will discuss your options and give you a consultation to make sure you are given a package to suit you, to make sure you get the best images for what you are looking for while making you feel at ease and happy on the day. Let her know that you found her details via my blog.

Maternity Wardrobe; Top 10 Essentials.

I often get told off by my friends when I talk about what I’ve bought recently, or if I am going shopping – and I can kind of see their point now, with just a couple of days of pregnancy to go 😉 (Or so I hope!) However the truth is, from my point of view pregnancy is a time where you are not yourself, that your body changes in ways you’ve never experienced and you don’t feel in control of what you look like – certainly in my experience anyway! So you need to feel good in what you’re wearing, and if going shopping helps you feel good about your appearance then surely you can’t deny yourself?! Plus, 7-9 months is a long time (when you factor in the weeks after you give birth if you’re not one of the lucky ones to snap back into your pre-preg clothes) and I wouldn’t go 9 months without shopping normally, so why stop now?!

Whether you are of the same opinion as me or not – and after all, these views are only my own ramblings so I don’t expect you to agree, your body shape is going to change considerably and you will need at least a few essentials to grow with your changing figure so here’s my top 10 list of clothes to get you through this exciting time!

Just to note, I found a lot more choice and options online and the selections would be updated a lot more often than in store. I also had a work wardrobe to buy for, so depending on your needs your list may differ from the below. I have also been pregnant mainly over the winter months so I didn’t stock up on summer clothes, although now it seems like it’s just around the corner I would definitely be stocking up on Maxi dresses and mid length jersey skirts to team with vest tops and cut off denim jackets or a leather jacket for cooler days.

Summer Days

A few pairs of good quality jeans – key for so many occasions. I found some great choices from Topshop in a good selection of colours. Dress them up or down depending on what you’re doing, a pair of heels instantly uplifted me if I were going out for dinner or with the girls for a lemonade whereas a pair of pumps or Converse are perfect if you are heading out shopping or for lunch. The waistbands vary on maternity jeans; either over or under the bump. H&M do a good selection which go over bump which I found lasted a little longer than the thicker bands which go under. They also do lots of different colours.

Topshop jeans Topshop jeans blue

Long vest tops – wear these underneath shorter tops so that you can get away with non maternity options in a larger size to normal to stretch your old wardrobe as long as possible. Towards the end of your pregnancy your bump will get so big that even maternity tops don’t seem to completely cover your bump and they save having any flesh on show.

Vest topwhite vest top

A sheer shirt – I bought several with lots of different patterns and colours which I teamed with different colour skinny jeans or tube skirt for work. These don’t even need to be maternity while you’re in the earlier months of pregnancy – some I didn’t grow out of until around 7 and a half months due to their baggy style.

Sheer Shirt

Wrap dress – while the crossover style grows with your shape and shows off your waistline the v neck makes the most of your growing bust line. I bought several dresses as I wore one each day for work, but if you don’t need them for the office they are great when you have a night out planned or an event. I actually found these more comfortable than trousers and went mainly for long-sleeved as I had a real complex about my arms! If you only wanted to buy one or 2 you can change the overall look each time you wear it with what you pair it with – a cardigan one day to dress it down, blazer the next for a meeting, or simply accessorise with a scarf or chunky necklace. Isabella Oliver have some beautiful choices in great materials which keep their shape, such as the below;

      Wrap dressDress Isabella Oliver Dress

A smart and a casual blazer – these will go with just about anything and I’m a massive fan of this particular piece; dress up an outfit with a smart choice or go with a jersey blazer to give a casual outfit effortless style. Coloured blazers are great too if you have just the one pair of dark denim jeans to give your outfit a splash of colour. I like the fit of the Zara ones, however even Primark do a large selection! The best part is you can wear these when you’re no longer pregnant so don’t hold back!

Grey Blazer Red Blazer

T shirts and long sleeved cotton tops – Any material which is stretchy will show off your bump without drowning your figure and giving you no shape; great with a pair of jeans. Striped tops – usually tricky to pull off if you don’t want to accentuate your lumps and bumps, but there is no better time to show off your blossoming figure than now, it’s a great print for summer too. H&M or New Look have some really good budget options.

Stripe top Top

A long cardigan – elongate your body with the length – great if you’re feeling a bit frumpy at the moment with your current shape and it will go with so many of your  outfits. These are at Next, however any high street store has plenty of choice for now and postpartum.

Long cardi Long cardiagn

An LBD – Pregnant or not, the staple little black dress is a wardrobe essential! Perfect for me for those black tie events and festive parties. Seraphine or Tiffany Rose had some nice choices.

lbd littl black dress

Maternity tights – for me, working in an office over the winter these were essential and I bought a huge amount of pairs. I went with Mama Tights from H&M which went over my bump comfortably (think just under the boobs!!)

TIGHTS

A pair of black trousers – I didn’t actually ever get around to wearing these myself but they are great if you want to wear them to work with a shirt or cotton top. For staples such as these I found Mothercare had some good options.

I’ve never really been one for wearing leggings outside of the house; but on days where I have wanted to (and taken the opportunity to!) slob around, a pair of leggings are just so comfortable to wear. If you want to wear them out and about you can dress them up with a pair of flat riding or patent boots with a long cardigan and figure hugging top – show off that bump!! I found Asos had some good options (although that’s where my loyalties end with Asos maternity – I felt really disappointed with the quality of their maternity clothing.)

Remember, tight clothes whilst pregnant can actually make you look slimmer than baggy clothes. They will show off your bump and you’re bound to get compliments galore to make you feel great.

As you can imagine, having been pregnant since August I am well and truly ready to ditch (burn!) the last remaining maternity clothes which still fit me, and get back to shopping in my favourite stores, but it’s been a fun adventure trying out new styles and brands during my pregnancy so I hope you find your own style and enjoy the precious times that pregnancy brings.

Maternity fashion

Back and rib pains.

As my pregnancy progressed, so did my back pain. In fact from 23 weeks I
have suffered from intense rib and back pain on the right hand side, and it
has not gone away. I wanted to write a blog in case anyone has
suffered the same as I have found a few remedies which really helped me so I
hope if you are suffering they could help you also.
Most days I would feel that I had been beaten up from the inside – not from
the plentiful kicks, but from the skeletal movement and inflammation of the
rib cartilage. At 23 weeks the uterus is nowhere near that high up, so I
knew it wasn’t the baby, but all of your organs are pushed up to the top of
your torso from their original lower down, spread out locations and of
course those pesky hormones have a part to play in this by altering the
ligaments and muscles in between your ribs by changing the shape and
position.
Me at 34 weeks
No matter how I sat, stood or lay I would have this stitch like, aching, stabbing pain. I personally decided not to take any paracetamol, however it is perfectly safe to take throughout pregnancy; although I was a little shocked that my doctor prescribed me to take codeine every day – I wouldn’t even do that not pregnant! So I needed to find another remedy to help ease the constant pain.
By the end of the working day it would be pretty unbearable, so a nice warm shower with the jet of water in the localised area or a bath would bring an instant feeling of ease.  (not too hot remember!)
It is also worth trying a pregnancy support belt. I liked the Nexcare, available at high street stores, or online at Amazon. It helps to lift the abdomen & take the pressure off of your back and is fully expandable – just like your waistline!!
Nexcare support belt
JoJo Maman Bebe also do a fab one which is really comfortable and gives great support. Make sure you buy the right size for your shape so you don’t cause more problems than you began with.
JoJo Maman Bebe
Of course, at night the support of your pregnancy pillow will help ease the pain and take the weight onto a different area. As you know, I am a real fan of the Dreamgenii which just helps in so many ways, especially taking the pressure off of my back, ribs and pelvis.
Dreamgenii
If your partner is able to, a massage around the area I found would really help. Plus it gives you a sense of him sharing some of the pain you’re experiencing!
Exercise will also help, so try a pregnancy pilates DVD to really stretch off the area – mine is STILL in the wrapper…I really must stop being so lazy! Try going on all fours and letting the pressure of the baby fall away from your back breathe in and then as you breathe out pull your belly button in. Or stretching one arm up and over your head with the other hand on your hip and feeling the pull of your side, alternate sides for 5 seconds each way. Swimming is also a fab way to ease the pain as it takes the pressure off of your joints – if, unlike me, you can bear to put on a swimsuit that is!
If I knew I would be spending the day walking around I would invest in some self heating patches, I found the Cura-heat ones lasted the longest time and were large enough to cover a good sized area – they were a blessing when out and about.
Cura-Heat
My ultimate relief was to be found in a dog wheat pillow that a close friend loaned me from her little girl…Popped in the microwave for 2 minutes it heats up and can be placed directly onto the painful area – well worth all the jokes at work about me carrying around my teddy bear! I tried several wheat pillows (as I managed to cremate doggy no. 1 by getting him stuck at the back of the microwave) but this one maintained the temperature for a good 2 hours and was the best by far – made by Intelex and purchased on Amazon they come in a selection of furry animals and my trusty little dog has not left my side for months!
Intelex Heat pillow
It’s important to say that if you are worried about your rib pain then don’t feel you shouldn’t visit your GP – especially if it worsens after you eat as this could be a sign that something more ominous is occurring and they may wish to screen you for gall stones – bought on by the extra oestrogen your body is producing.
I hope you find your relief!