Bath Time With Childs Farm

Disclaimer: Childs Farm sent me these products for free, however I had been buying and using their hair and body wash for a year.

I’ll never forget the first bath we gave A. It was 3 days after she was born and she finally seemed to relax.

The next pic is from 6 weeks after she was born, she seems so content and pensive (*mummy tip* – we used to cover her with warm flannels to keep her warm, it worked really well). Needless to say things are a bit more lively nowadays! “Sit down, please don’t splash mummy…sit down…”

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The first few days were tough (mainly due to feeding issues) and she didn’t seem to really settle but she did in the bath. I’d highly recommend buying a bath seat for newborns, so much easier than holding them and a lot less stressful as they’re not going to fall in the water (which is what happened to my “baby” when we were learning to bathe them at our NCT class).

We’ve never had problems with A’s skin, except for some dry skin the first few weeks. Coconut oil really helped, it’s natural and cheap so ideal for babies and children (it also really helped when I had thrush on one nipple, sorry for TMI and yes it hurts as bad as it sounds!).

About a year ago, I was given a sample of Childs Farm Body and Hair Wash at a local mum’s meetup and loved it after using it the first time and that’s all I have ever used since.

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It smells divine and seems to last a long time, you don’t need much to get a good lather going.. For those of you, who don’t know Childs Farm, it is a great, award winning British brand that makes toiletries for babies and children. What is super nice about their products is that they are adapted to sensitive and eczema-prone skin and if that wasn’t enough, here is a full list of why they are great!

✓  ” Dermatologically tested and approved

✓  Paediatrician approved

✓  Suitable for newborns and upwards

✓  Suitable for children with sensitive and eczema prone skin

✓  98% naturally derived ingredients

✓  Made with organic essential oils

✓  Free from parabens, SLSs, mineral oils and artificial colours

✓  Never tested on animals, only on people

✓  Tested and approved by my little ones for you to use on yours”

Until they very kindly sent me some new products to try, we had been using the organic sweet orange bath and hair wash, which I LOVE!!!! It smells so nice!!!

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We were sent the new blackberry and organic one to try and it was a great success, her skin came out nice and soft after the bath and the next morning her hair was still smelling of blackberries! The apple scent wasn’t very strong at all but the blackberry really came through and as I said was still there the next day!

I trust their products, they tick all the boxes (no parabens, artificial colours etc.), the packaging is super cute and we have now have a lovely bag to use as well. We were also sent some suncare to try out and I will write about that later.

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Their products (that come in various sizes) are widely available (Waitrose, Ocado, Boots, John Lewis etc.) and on their website too: http://shop.childsfarm.com/ . They haven’t just won the “European Mummy” award, they have won tons so I am not the only won who thinks they are great!

Thanks again Childs Farm, I report back on the sunscreen soon.

Do any of you use their products? Please leave a comment about what you think of them, I would love to know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Things I Hated and 5 Things I Loved About Breastfeeding

*The original version of this was posted on the Huffington Post Parents blog section
A was born at the end of 2014, for those of you who regularly read this blog, you’ll know she was born with tongue-tie, which meant breastfeeding started off very badly. However after having her tongue-tie clipped (twice!), I continued feeding her for 19 months and 2 weeks, I can tell you that on day 2, when my nipples started bleeding and I fed her in absolute agony, I would never have believed that would happen. I had a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding and here’s why:

5 Things I Hated About Breastfeeding:
1.Tongue-tie bloody tongue-tie -, it was so painful and stressful, it ruined the first month with my baby. It’s simply a nightmare and I’d recommend getting it fixed ASAP if it happens to your baby. I wrote the story here
2.The time it takes at the beginning, especially if you have a “comfort” feeder, you can basically spend your life feeding. Newborns love boobs and so you better get used to your sofa and using one hand. Don’t even get me started on growth spurts…
3.The fact that you’re basically the only person, who can feed your baby and the stress this implies if you leave them too long. Because of the tongue tie A had a bottle every day for the first 3 weeks but then I made the mistake of stopping and she wouldn’t drink from a bottle for the next 10 months! Once I left her for a few hours and my mum had to spoon feed her milk!
4.You have to wear tops that can be opened or lifted up AT ALL TIMES. Goodbye good old bodycon dresses that obviously you used to wear on a regular basis!
5.It ruined my boobs, I lost 3 cup sizes, my boobs were “my thing”, I no longer have “a thing”

However, as with most things in life, it’s not all bad! On the contrary, in my humble opinion and experience, the good outweighs the bad and I have no regrets. There is indeed a silver lining in everything…

5 Things I Loved About Breastfeeding
1.Tongue tie may have been very painful but thanks to my blog post about it, all sorts of opportunities came my way – including speaking about it on national TV.
2.I loved the fact that you have to stop and feed, it did stop me from running around like a mad person and made me slow down and share special calm moments with my daughter
3.Breastfeeding was the one thing that would CALM my baby, PUT HER TO SLEEP anywhere!

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Post boob nap

Comfort her and generally have a magical effect on her. It would have been a hundred times harder to get her to sleep on planes, trains, stop a tantrum and generally calm things down when there was a crisis! Also killed a lot of time during said plane and train rides.
4.She loved it, it made her happy, and it made me happy knowing I was doing something healthy for her (to make up for all the TV and biscuits she’s been consuming!)
5.It sure burned a ton of calories over 19 months, yes my boobs are gone but so are quite a few lumps and bumps and for that I will forever be grateful.

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The last time I fed her

For any of you, who breastfed, what did you enjoy about it? What were the bad bits? I would love to know!

A Week of Firsts

This week was A’s first week at nursery, you might think this means I went back to work this week but think again! Nope, I am a planning genius and have given myself 2 weeks of no baby and no work, which is equal to a life of leisure basically!

Anyway back to the harsh reality of leaving your baby at nursery for a whole day for the first time, it can be summarised by this: she screamed, I cried, I nearly called work to resign and take her out of nursery and then we both got over it and she was fine when I picked her up:

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By the time I picked her up last night, she was even happier after a week of stimulation and fun and tons of food it seems (this has had some very annoying consequences, which I won’t go into here…)

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She still screams every morning when I leave her but I’m not crying anymore and as soon as someone picks her up, she stops (I’ve spied through the window to check). On Monday, I had a lovely “sisterhood of mothers” moment when another mum noticed how upset I was after leaving her and spent 30 mins chatting to me and making me feel better. I got home and it felt WEIRD, it was even more strange to go on the tube WITHOUT A BUGGY, go shopping without her, have lunch with my aunt and uncle without a baby etc. Still the only clothes I bought were for her, Bella-Roo you are always on my mind!

On Wednesday, I took baby steps into the world of television…I will write a whole post about it with links etc. but if you’re interested, tune in to Sky News next Wednesday around 8.50AM and all will be revealed for 2 WHOLE minnutes! One of the most exciting parts involved having professional make up done, which hasn’t happened since my wedding!

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Yesterday, I finally got to use one of my best presents EVER! A great friend of mine gave me a spa voucher after the birth of baby A for what must be the best spa in London. 

  
I had a one hour body massage and then a facial, it was bliss. The facilities are amazing!! It was virtually empty so I had the whole “Thermal floor” to myself, it was such a treat and SOOOOOOO needed.

This was also the first week I didn’t breastfeed in the day and I am happy no report there were no embarrassing leakages, would definitely not be a good look on TV!

Next week, the life of leisure continues with shopping, afternoon tea, lunches, pedicures…

The 10 Month Itch

This is going to be a very honest post and I would love you to share your opinions and experiences on the subject in the comments section. I know that I’m opening myself up to criticism and some people just won’t get where I’m coming from, still I doubt I am alone…So I’m going to cut to the chase and admit it: I’m bored of being a stay at home mum. I’m not skilled at all this baby stuff and need more.

I think we are both the same, A is now 10 months old and needs more stimulation too. This morning I went to a baby group and realised I’m just not great at playing with babies, it was lovely to see her happy but I had to push myself to make an effort for two reasons: time alone with her is running out and I am aware of this and secondly I didn’t want other parents to look at me and think “she’s not doing anything, she’s just watching her baby play on her own”. However A is very independent and loves new things so she was quite happy climbing on the dolls house for example:

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She also loves to keep an eye on what’s going on and is mesmerized by other children you can see by her staring below!

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My husband told me the other day that’s it’s not my personality to get down on the floor and play with her but it suits him (so she wont be so deprived after all!). I think I’m more of a “teacher” than a “player”, I really look forward to her reading, painting, cooking with me etc over the coming years. Building blocks and rattles just don’t do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do play with her but I really have to make an effort and don’t always really know what to do – I’m not in my element.

Does she feel it? does it impact on her negatively? Is this one of the reasons she whines quite a lot? Who knows…Some women have “working mum” guilt, I have “mum at home” guilt. This only started in the past month or 2, up until then I was OK but recently I’ve had enough and think the fact that she starts settling in to nursery soon is a very good thing. I have not wanted to go back to work early but I think 24/7 for 10 months is slightly too much.I know I need a break because the other day, I was in a shop alone (rare thing) and the cashier asked if I needed a bag and I very nearly replied “No thanks, I’ll just put it in the buggy”… A little caveat here: I am super stressed about the whole nursery run etc, I’m not in a dream world imagining its going to be rosy once I’m back at work, if anything I’ll probably be more stressed and tired!  I’ve not had enough time alone for various reasons and so I am very very excited about the last 2 weeks of October because she will be in nursery full time and I will not be working!

I had actually started to resent mums that seemed to be having the time of their life looking after their babies, it actually made me angry and guilty those feelings were really getting to me. After some soul searching good old Adele style analysis, I have come to the conclusion and accepted that I’m just not one of those women who “loves it” or who wants 4 children or who can’t imagine going back to work. I recently got asked if I was “enjoying it”, I half heartedly replied “yes” (I must stress than I’m enjoying it a lot more than the first month but less than months 2-6) In reality I love her more than anything and think she’s amazing and have enjoyed having a break from work and having the freedom to do lots of different things but it’s all a bit “Groundhog Day” and there are things about looking after a baby that I really don’t enjoy such as the whole weaning thing and the mess that ensues, fights over naps (I’ve been writing this whilst my baby has been in her bed refusing to nap, that’s the reality and how anybody can enjoy that I don’t know…), never ending nappy changes etc. Also I’m not really a big routine person, so the fact you do end up doing lots of the same things at the same time every day just doesn’t suit me (and we have a very loose routine). Add sleep deprivation on top of that (nope she doesn’t sleep through the night, no advice wanted thanks!) and you end up with a slightly frustrated tired bored mum.

Of course I can’t predict how I will feel once back at work, I might want to resign and be back at home after a week, who knows but for now, I need some “me time”, a lot more “me time”, even if this time is spent in front of a screen working with financial data…

When did you get the “itch”? Did you wish you had gone back to work earlier or later? Do you resent mums that LOVE it? How much of it came naturally to you? I would love to know!

linking up to Honest Mum’s Brillian Blog Posts:
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

24 Hours Pre-Baby Versus Now

On Saturday we went to the Grillstock Festival down the road from us, they had given away tons of free tickets for local residents so it was a great opportunity to go and listen to some music and eat some BBQ! My husband being American, this was right up his street. However 15 mins in, I basically said “This is when you wish you didn’t have children ( I don’t mean wish they didn’t exist but wish somebody else would look after them for a day!) and could just sit here and drink all day and not have to get up tomorrow morning”. So it got me thinking how does 24 hours in a pre-baby life (PB) compare to now?

Friday 5PM

PB: Have a look around the office and ask: “Can we leave work and go to the pub now?”

Friday Feeling= it’s the weekend! We get to sleep in!

Now: Put baby in the high chair with finger foods and try to shove as much puree in to her mouth in the hope this will help her sleep.

Friday Feeling = it’s the weekend! Daddy will be here to help to look after the baby!

Friday 5.30PM:

PB: Drinking in the pub or on the way home wondering where we can for dinner

Now: Check time, 90 mins to go (until 7 PM, which is BED TIME!)… Clean high chair, clean baby and wonder if you have to bath her or if she’s “not that dirty”

Friday 6.30PM:

PB: Still drinking in the pub or on the way somewhere for dinner.

Now: Check time, 30 mins to go… whilst breastfeeding baby and reading stuff on the iPhone

Friday 9PM:

PB: nice dinner out somewhere

Now: TV and start contemplating going to bed

Friday 11PM:

PB: Go to bed or have one last drink somewhere

Now: Asleep

Saturday 3AM:

PB: Asleep

Now: get up to deal with baby (sometimes for the first time in the night, sometimes not…)

Saturday 7AM

PB: Asleep

Now: wake up to the sound of a baby moaning, feed baby in bed and put her in between us with plenty of toys and hope she will play quietly so we can snooze, what actually happen is she “attacks “ us, pulls our hair, screams (happy scramming but still screaming!), tries to leap off the bed etc.

Saturday 9AM:

PB: Asleep

Now: Go to your Osteo appointment because giving birth has wrecked your body and having your bones cracked now counts as “me time”. It’s raining and the streets are empty and the peace and quiet alone feels so nice!

Saturday 10AM:

PB: Wake up, have a leisurely peaceful breakfast

Now: Make your way home from the Osteo to find the Baby has had a 90 mins nap, this only happens when daddy is in charge.

Saturday 12PM:

PB: Put on a coat and your shoes and make your way to the festival

Now: Feed baby in the high chair, clean high chair and clean baby. Spend 15 mins getting “ready” and loading the buggy with water, snacks, toys, rain cover etc etc. Pray baby falls asleep in the buggy on the way there.

Saturday 3PM:

PB: relax listening to music, eating delicious food and drinking

Now: listen to music but not too close for fear of damaging baby’s ears, play “pass the baby” so one of you can eat whilst the other tries to entertain the baby and stop them from eating grass
Saturday 5PM:

PB: have another drink and keep enjoying the festival

Now: Home! Time for dinner. Feed the baby, clean the high chair, and clean the baby. You could have fed the baby in the buggy at the festival but you forgot to bring food and everybody was getting tired.

Saturday 7PM

PB: now you’re really having a good time and loving the music

Now: now you’re really happy as baby is asleep

Saturday 9PM:

PB: head home from the festival pretty drunk!

Now: think about going to bed and then remember it’s Saturday night so stay up until 10PM.

In summary:

PB: lots of sleep, drinking, relaxing and peace

Now: lots of work, cleaning, not so much sleeping but so much love and pure happiness

The end

A Week of Milestones: Becoming American and Crawling!

A already has her British passport but as her daddy is American, we needed to get her American one as well as a social security number ( so she can pay taxes to the US government on her worldwide income, lucky thing!). I imagined this was not going to be fun, hours queuing, endless forms etc. Well it wasn’t that complicated at all!

If you are in the same situation, here is how it works and some tips.

You download the forms and make an appointment online here: http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/passports/

Tip 1: try and get as early an appointment as possible as the wait is shorter.

Tip 2: be very careful filling in the forms, everything goes so much quicker if there are no mistakes!

Our appointment was for 8AM, the most stressful part of the journey was getting on the tube with a buggy during rush hour.

Always carry a bottle of water with you in this hot weather!

Always carry a bottle of water with you in this hot weather!

We arrived at Grosvenor Square around 7.45AM, you then have to get in the right queue before going through security:

Make sure you are in this queue!

Make sure you are in this queue!

We ended up giving A breakfast in her buggy before it started to rain!

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You get asked what time your appointment is and then this is the process:

  • Go through airport style security. Tip 3: you have to take everything off and out of the buggy so be prepared for that or everybody will hate you for holding them up!
  • You then enter the embassy and hand in the forms along with supporting documents. Tip 4: bring the LONG COPY OF THE BABY’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE! this wasn’t clear to us but I had a feeling we would need it, not just the short original. the long one gives both parents names and lots more info than the short one. We also brought our passports and proof of my husband living in the US (old tax returns).
  • You pay for the delivery courier and they give you a number
  • You go upstairs to the waiting room that is very kid friendly:

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  • you get called to hand in the forms, you pay $205 for the passport and social security number. The you wait and then get called back again once they have checked the forms to swear on oath they are correct and sign the forms. DO NOT SIGN THE FORMS BEFORE THEN
  • We got there around 7.45 and left at 9.25AM, which was much earlier than I had anticipated. We should get the passport in about 3 weeks and the social security card in 2 months.

The next day, Arabella decided to live her to new American nationality and be an “awesome winner” and start crawling!

For the past 2 months she has been trying to crawl and mainly been going backwards so when they happened, I was super excited!

A few hours later, she was already getting better at it and now I can’t stop her! These mats really helped, I highly recommend them as you can customize them to spell their name, choose the colours etc… ( you can buy them here)

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Daddy has been away whiskey tasting for nearly a week, A can’t wait to show him her new skills and I can’t wait to go somewhere fabulous for a week next year in exchange!

I love my American girl!

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What “They” Don’t Tell You About Motherhood…Part 1

I’ve been thinking of what “advice” to give a pregnant friend of mine and to be honest I’m wondering if I should give her any advice at all as I’ve only had one baby and I don’t want to influence her too much. For example a friend of mine told me not to rock babies because they get addicted, I took this as bible and told my mum off for rocking the baby to sleep. It’s far from ideal to rock your baby to sleep for months but when they are a few days old, it’s no big deal!

So here are some tips/experiences/advice/truths in my option that might or might not be helpful:

-Read all baby books with a big pinch of salt and don’t stress if your baby does not to seem to behave as it “should” at all

-Breastfeeding books on the other hand are useful because it can really help to be aware of some facts around latching, growth spurts, tongue tie and milk supply for example

-Get the name of one or 2 lactation consultants whilst pregnant in case you need one and don’t wait to call one if feeding is not going well. If in doubt, get help ASAP! Feeding can be much harder than you could ever imagine

-If you’re struggling, be American and “reach out” to your family or other mums you know or even me! There is no shame in finding it hard, no shame in not loving your baby to start off with, no shame in hating the whole thing, no shame in feeling low, no shame in feeling you don’t know what you’re doing, no shame in crying every day, no shame in wondering why the hell you had a baby, no shame in needing help. Same goes for feeling like it’s easy, lucky you! but maybe be careful about shouting about it to other new mums too loudly.

-Nothing lasts: they sleep then they don’t, they have good days and bad days, it usually does get better but it can take a long time.

-I’ve mentioned it before: the buggy and fresh air are your friends

-Even if you don’t want to, you will compare your baby to others but remember baby ABC may be doing X before yours but then yours will do something else before the others and most “milestones” mean nothing. Einstein started talking aged 4…

-You might think you’ve died and gone to heaven after having a baby and want another one straight away and you might think : never again! Both are acceptable

-The crying can be very hard to handle, it peaks at 3 months so hang in there! Somehow it’s not as bad when you’re outside

-Trust your instincts not google

-What works for one baby might not work for another, it’s not a science but an art…

-The first time you do anything will be daunting but after a while you’ll be taking your baby on a plane alone…

-You will laugh and smile at the tiniest of things, they bring you more joy than anything, it really is all worth it!

 If you remember one thing:  “The days are long but the years are short”