Tuesday, 20 December 2016

#3things: beauty hacks for new mums

Are you a new mum? Do you find yourself congratulating yourself for getting dressed before the sun goes down? I remember the first few months on my son's life, those days when I actually managed to have a shower, wash my hair and put make up on, I felt so much better. It might be superficial but it really did. Before becoming a mum I always had neatly painted nails - I was obsessed and would give myself a fresh coat of nail polish every few days. Now, brushing my hair counts as being "done". Over the past six months I've discovered a few tricks for looking put together in less time.

Nails. I no longer have time to file, buff and paint my nails once a fortnight, let alone every few days. Now, I file my nails once a week and then add a coat of No7's Ridge Filing Base which is fast drying and leaves nails matt and looking buffed.

Eyes. When you're dog tired from night time feeds you'll do anything to feel and look more awake. I love Botanics refreshing eye roll on for soothing and cooling tired eyes. I used to swear by this after a night out. Oh, how my life has changed!

Eyes continued. I'll also admit that I'm more than a little addicted to my mascara - and my eyelash curler. Or I was. I'm not one for regular trips to the beautician but I recently had a treatment that has helped to save me so much time that I might just be converted. I had a lash tint and curl. Genius. No need to curl my lashes every day or use mascara. Basically I've just been adding a little bronzer to give me a healthy glow and I'm ready to go.

What beauty tricks do you use to save you time?

Friday, 9 December 2016

#3things: the essential teething kit

The baby boy is five months old (where did that time go?) and he's definitely teething. In fact, he's been for weeks now.

He doesn't really cry about it too much - except a little at bedtime. But you can tell it's happening because he's gnawing on his fingers a lot and his cheeks are quite flushed most of the time too. Plus there's a lot of dribble - oh my, the amount of dribble!

Over the past few weeks I've put together my essential kit. Here are my top three things to tackle the terrors of teething:
  1. Teething toys. We've got a couple of these - Max the Frog from MAM and Sophie La Girafe.  Sophie is a classic - go to any baby class and at least half of the babies will have a Sophie! Max is a new one for us but is definitely a favourite. His bright colour and small size make him especially appealing to the baby. 
  2. Dribble bibs. Self explanatory really. We go through up to five a day when it's really bad. We've got so many dribble bibs, from cheap multi packs to ones with a teething triangle incorporated. 
  3. Teething gel. i use a lot of this (particularly at night when I'm tired and the baby has been up a few times already) and it does really seem to work. It makes my finger go numb so I'm guessing it does something to the baby's gums.

Otherwise, he's mainly using his fingers to gnaw on.

Have you found anything that works?

Disclosure: we were sent Max the Frog by MAM to try out. All views all our own.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

style: what to wear when breastfeeding #7

I'm a big fan of dresses for breastfeeding right now. This is the first dress I've bought that is specifically designed for the job but I love it. It's so simple and easy and looks good too.

This Asos nursing dress is designed with a clever extra layer that comes up to reveal two slits for easy access!

As it is designed for maternity and post-pregnancy, I found that my usual size was actually too big (would have been fine when I was pregnant) - so I've sized down to get a better fit.

I realise that short sleeves in the winter might not be everyone's choice but I think the breastfeeding has messed with my body temperature as I'm nearly constantly hot. So I've been wearing this with tights and a cardigan and been fine.

Friday, 2 December 2016

style: what to wear when breastfeeding #6

Earlier this week I posted my first new shirt dress from boohoo, now my next - this lovely berry hued number - very festive! Both of these dresses are so easy to throw on over a pair of tights, team with ankle boots and a jacket and head out of the door - after the hours it takes to get the baby ready, obviously!!


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

style: what to wear when breastfeeding #5

Breastfeeding outfits can be hard to come by - particularly if you're unprepared to leave your previous style behind. I was so excited in the final weeks of pregnancy about getting my body - and wardrobe - back (also about meeting the baby - obviously!!). Turns out though that I'd not factored in the fact that I would still be sporting a bump for quite a while and that I'd need easy access for breastfeeding too.

I'm also aware that I won't be breastfeeding forever and want to make sure that any purchases now will last beyond this period. I've mainly been living in jeans and the couple of Marks and Spencer nursing striped tops I have. But it can get a little dull. So I decided to go on the hunt for a few dresses. This star print shirt dress from boohoo is the first I found. I love the pattern on it and the placket elevates it from a simple shirt dress.


Monday, 28 November 2016

20 thoughts my baby has at nap time

I can’t comment on anyone else’s bundle of joy but my bundle seems to delight in putting off nap time for as long as possible. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this is what was going through his head at nap time….

  1. Feeling pretty tired now. It’s been at least two hours since I got mummy up. After I’d woken her up at least every hour in the night. I don’t want her to get lonely in the night.
  2. I’ll maybe give my eyes a rub. And yawn a bit. Might whinge a little too. Just so that mummy gets the idea that I’m tired.
  3. But what’s this? She’s putting me in my cot? For a nap? Oh no. That’s not what’s happening mummy!
  4. Well I might as well lie here for a few minutes. Let her think that I’m ready to go to sleep. In my cot. On my own. For the first time ever.
  5. But no. She’s been gone just long enough to be sitting down with a hot drink now. Well more fool her. I’ll cry and she’ll come.
  6. But wait, she did come but only to give me a kiss and a pat and to go again.
  7. Well two can play this game. I can cry all day if I need to.
  8. [some time later…] Yep she’s giving up. I can tell. I’m winning here.
  9. Right, we’re out of the cot and back down with mummy. Result.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

style: mum coat

The cold and wet has arrived: it is now most definitely coat weather. This winter, I'm on maternity leave and so far, my maternity leave has been dominated by walks with the baby in his pram. I was lucky that he was born in the summer and that this particular summer has been lovely and dry but as we march on into winter, wetter days will be more frequent. With this in mind, I started my hunt for a mum coat. My mum coat had to tick a few boxes: 1. be warm, 2. be waterproof, and 3. be stylish. Not too much to ask?

I'd actually spotted this coat in Joules last winter and loved it but as I was pregnant, I didn't really feel like buying clothes that I'd soon be too big for. And am I glad I waited as I got it with 25% off a few weeks ago! It proved perfect for our recent weekend away in west Wales where walks in the countryside and along the beach were the order of the day.

If you're on the hunt for a mum coat this winter, look no further as I've found five of my favourites for you here:

mum style: coats

Shop the post: 1. Luxe Black And Blue Parka Coat at Dorothy Perkins; 2. Uniqlo Light Weight Down Hooded Coat; 3. Hush Eskimo Parka; 4. Fat Face Cheshire Jacket; and 5. Stormaway Waterproof Coat at Joules.

Friday, 18 November 2016

baby shopping: shoulda put a fox on it

Any readers who follow me on Instagram will know that I am obsessed with all things fox related for the baby boy. It all began with this hat (above) that we were given by a friend. Which was followed by socks and then I found these leggings (below) earlier this week - from Nutmeg at Morrisons.

Like a woman possessed, I have scoured the internet for all things fox for babies - and there is a lot out there:

Shop this post: (clockwise from top left) That's Not My Fox board book; Fox stripe baby leggings; Fox jumper; Navy shawl collar fox cardigan; Fox print dress; Fox knitted dungarees; Fox embroidered dress; Jersey fox dungaree set; and Fox socks.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

style: #NextBonfireNight outfit

I love bonfire night - the cold that necessitates getting wrapped up, the warming bonfire, the sparklers, the fireworks and, most of all, a good excuse for everyone to be together, outside. I have wonderful memories of bonfire night celebrations in the village where I grew up. The evening would start with a lantern procession through the village with the Guy Falkes - all the way to the farm where there was a huge bonfire ready to be lit once the Guy was put on it. Then there'd be hot dogs and hot chocolate while we waited for the fireworks display.

Now that I have my own so, I'm looking forward to creating family traditions of our own that he will remember and cherish when he's grown up. He might be a bit too little yet to enjoy bonfire night and the fireworks this year so I think we'll be watching them from our window.

But if I was heading out on Saturday night, Next certainly has everything you need for bonfire night for all the family. Here's what I'd be wearing...


Shop the post:

Berry red is always a colour I love at this time of year - it reminds me of the turning leaves and the promise of Christmas. This loose fit jumper in berry is a stylish option for bonfire night - over the obligatory black skinny jeans. I love this cashmere cover-up as a very chic alternative to a winter coat. Then, just add a wooly bobble hat and cashmere gloves and you're all ready to watch the fireworks.

Monday, 31 October 2016

review: mam anti-colic bottles

I've been breastfeeding our baby boy for four months (tomorrow!) - I didn't actually think I'd get this far when I first started, as I found it so uncomfortable in those early days. One of the things that really got me through the early days of breastfeeding was the thought of being able to express and share the feeding load with my husband.

I blogged before about the MAM breast pump and it's the MAM bottles that have helped our baby boy to switch between breast and bottle with ease.

MAM boast: "Babies love the smart Silk Teat® because it feels soft and familiar – like Mummy's skin. This makes the switch between breastfeeding and bottle particularly easy." This has definitely been the case for us. Not only do they feel different, they are also shaped very differently to any other teats I've seen and I think this helps a breastfed baby to take to them.

The MAM bottles also boast an innovative design that allow them to be sterilised in the microwave with nothing more than a bit of water. Really great if you're out and about.

Also, check out how pretty the bottles are. They come in a range of colours (we have mini cream ones, medium green ones and big blue ones) and they have lovely little motifs all the way up the measures on the side.

I was sent two MAM bottles to try out but, as always, all views are my own.

Friday, 28 October 2016

review: cupcake re-useable nursing pads

For the past month or so I've been trying out these Cupcake re-useable nursing pads. I feel bad about the amount I'm throwing away with disposable nappies and breast pads and thought I'd give them ago.

I also found the disposable pads really hot and a bit gross, particularly in the warmer weather.

There's also the option to add liners to increase the absorbency of the pads if you are particularly engorged. You can either wear the pads alone, or add one or two extra liners which makes them quite unique.

These reusable pads are thin and lightly contoured for discretion under clothing however I didn't find them quite as discreet as the ultra slim disposable breast pads from Boots which I had been using.

They are very soft and comfortable. I tend to be most engorged overnight/early morning, when the baby boy misses a feed sometimes, so these work really well then as I don't mind them being a little bulkier than the disposable pads I had been using.

Monday, 17 October 2016

review: cath kidston x specsavers collection

I've been wearing glasses for about five years now - for driving, watching TV and anything else at a distance. I love having a few pairs of glasses to go with different outfits. So when Specsavers got in touch to ask me to check out the new Cath Kidston collection, I jumped at the chance.

Specsavers have had some great collaborations in recent years, including Cheap Monday. This new collaboration with Cath Kidston is everything you'd expect from the brand: there are florals and spots and lovely bright colours. I've picked a few of my favourite styles below:

cath kinston x specsavers

I chose the navy frames with floral arms. I really like the fact that they have a bit of the traditional Cath Kidston floral pattern without being too overtly girly. I already have a pair of black frames and thought that the navy frames would be less of a heavy look. The frames are also really lovely and light to wear - they have become my everyday glasses.

Top tip: If you've got a smaller face, the teen collection is gorgeous too (the middle two pairs, above left) - and are a bit cheaper too.

Monday, 10 October 2016

five truths about having a new born

My baby boy is three and a half months old. Apparently this means that he is no longer a newborn. This makes me sad. But also makes me want to do a mini fist pump - I survived the fourth trimester!!

The passing of time got me thinking about a few things that I know to be true about having a newborn:

five truths about having a new born

  1. A new born (and an older baby) knows when you're about to eat and are suddenly hungry too.
  2. The doorbell will always ring just as you get the baby to sleep.
  3. They will be happy and content until you step into the shower or sit on the toilet and then suddenly they become a crying and screaming mess.
  4. Yellow poo gets everywhere. Up the back. Up the front. All over you. Just as you're sitting with your bubba, both of you chilling out, you suddenly feel a rumbling and look down and see yellow poo all over them and you!
  5. And on that note, you'll become obsessed with poo. You'll talk about poo to anyone who listens - the colour, the consistency, the regularity. You'll share photos of your baby's poo with your partner. You'll worry about how often your baby has a poo, what it looks like - everything. In essence, your life will become all about your baby's poo!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

more reasons why maternity leave is NOT a vacation

When I read this post about Why my maternity leave isn't a freaking vacation, it completely struck a chord. As the writer says:
If you have just grown an entire human being inside of your body and then it rudely exits and begins to cry for three months, you should not be further insulted by someone calling that three months of trying to keep that crying newborn alive, again, with your body, a freaking vacation.
I thought I'd add a few more reasons why maternity leave is NOT a vacation:

1. Money

Vacation = I would save up and have more money than usual so I can spend my days eating and drinking whatever and wherever I please

NOT a vacation = No money and living on beans on toast. Plus, on vacation I'm still being paid (on annual leave), on maternity leave I'm working 24/7 for next to no pay.

2. Shopping

Vacation = For me, a holiday often involves some retail therapy and buying new clothes. Checking out local market for local wares.

NOT a vacation = Spending what little money I have on nappies and baby wipes.

3. Accessories

Vacation = Wearing all the big hoops and dangly earrings I've saved for warm sunny days.

NOT a vacation = Having any hoop or dangly earrings ripped from my ears by tiny hands.

4. Iced drinks

Vacation = Lots of cooling iced drinks to combat the heat. Probably also accompanied by a mini umbrella!

NOT a vacation = A succession of cold teas and coffees that were made but never drunk due to a nappy needing a change or someone else wanting a feed!

5. Beauty routine

Vacation = Less make up due to holiday heat and tan. Less hair styling due to constant tips in the pool to cool off and then leaving it to tousle in a sexy manner.

NOT a vacation = Dark circles under my eyes and no make up due to the baby's constant need to be held and my lack of one handed make up application skills! As well as five day old hair that is now more dry shampoo than hair!

Don't misunderstand me, I am absolutely loving my maternity leave but, as the author of the original post says, it is definitely not a vacation.

Monday, 3 October 2016

why i was wrong when i said i didn't need mum friends

When I was pregnant I insisted that I didn't need any more friends.

My husband suggested we sign up for NCT classes to meet other expectant mums and dads. I wasn't keen. I already had enough friends and many of them were mums anyway. I didn't need any more friends.

My husband was persuaded not to sign up for NCT by the prices! I'd won. We weren't going to make any new friends. And I didn't need any more friends.

Or so I thought.

Then my baby arrived and I suddenly realised that I really really did need mum friends.

When you're a new mum, everything is scary and confusing. Having friends who are going through the same thing is such a relief. Having friends with whom you can share stories of explosive nappies and advice over cures for first colds helps make it all a little less daunting.

When you're a new mum to a tiny new human who needs feeding at all hours of the night, it feels like you're the only person in the world awake while everyone else is sleeping. Having friends who you can message at 3am and actually get a reply from, is comforting.

When you're a new mum, on maternity leave and at home all day on your own with a new baby, it is lonely. Having friends who you can call on for a coffee and a moan makes it all the more manageable.

Making new friends is scary at any age but when you're already in the throes of new motherhood, it can feel even more daunting.

Fast forward three months and I have a lovely circle of new (and old) mum friends.

You can read the rest of my post and how my mum friends have helped me during the past three months over at Selfish Mother.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

shopping: alternative changing bags

Earlier this week, I posted about what I carry in my changing bag. I wrote that I wasn't keen on carrying a traditional changing bag, so I bought the Munchkin nappy change kit and used a bag I already had.

alternative changing bags

Clockwise from top left:

Monday, 19 September 2016

what's in my changing bag?

Call me nosy but I've always loved a "what's in my bag" post - and now that I'm a mum, I enjoy the parent-friendly version, "what's in my changing bag". So I thought I would share the contents of my changing bag. I wasn't sure that I really wanted a traditional looking changing bag, so I'm currently using an H&M handbag I already had which had a waterproof lining. Later this week, I'll be posting some of the changing bags I've found that don't look like changing bags. For now, back to the contents of my bag:

  • First up, nappies. Of course! I usually carry between three and six nappies - you never know! 
  • Muslins are great for all manner of things - moping up, covering up, sun shade. I have at least two in my changing bag at any time - as well as a couple in every room of the house! The star muslin pictured is from Primark and the elephant one from Morrisons - I really like monochrome muslins.
  • As I'm using a "normal" bag, I needed a change mat. I found this Munchkin nappy change kit in Aldi and it's great as it's got so a few pockets and a detachable change mat (see below for the contents).
  • The Cath Kidston bag keeps some of the smaller bits I carry with me in one place - the contents are shown below.
  • Baby wipes are essential for any parent. We're using these Water Wipes at the moment.
  • I also carry nappy bags so that I can easily dispose of nappies. They also come in handy for soiled outfits!
  • Inside me Cath Kidston bag, I carry sunscreen for both baby and me, a tinted lip balm (this is about as much make up as I manage to wear these days!), hand gel (in case there isn't anywhere to wash my hands after a change) and nail scissors.
  • A spare outfit is essential - and used on a regular basis for us! The sunhat is left over from sunnier days this summer!
  • I carry my purse - obviously!
  • I also carry a notebook and pencil case so that when the baby boy and I are out during the day and stop for a coffee break, I can write some blog posts (or reminders!) to follow up later.

I've recently bought this carabiner clip from eBay to my pram - it's great for keeping things close at hand, like a bag, or an umbrella.

What do you carry in your changing bag? Anything I've missed?

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

review: BabyBjörn Active vs Ergobaby Original

I loved the idea of baby wearing before our boy arrived. I'd seen mums carrying their babies close to them and thought it looked like a wonderful bonding experience. Not to mention too that baby wearing looked practical - allowing you to be hands free.

Then I had an emergency caesarean. And my plans for baby wearing were put on hold.

Eight weeks later I'm back in the gym (Pilates and yoga) and I'm feeling really well so I thought I'd finally give baby wearing a go - and I love it!!

We did some research (via blogs, obviously!) on the type of carrier to get. We bought the Ergobaby Original within days of the baby arriving. Complete with Infant Insert. Our baby hated it. Whether it was because he was too little and didn't really appreciate being held too close or swaddled in the beginning or it was too hot in those early weeks, I don't know. All I know is, he screamed from the minute he was put in and until the minute he was removed. So we sent it back.

We'd been given a BabyBjörn Original so we tried this. It worked! The baby didn't complain and it was so easy to put on by yourself. The only snag - no lumber support and a big baby meant that the hubby was very quickly experiencing back pain. We quickly found that BabyBjörn do the Active version which offers lumber support and is still so easy to use. Even better - you can get a BabyBjörn Active for just £5-10 on eBay! We snapped one up and have been using that for the past seven weeks.

Then came the time that I'd been signed off by the doctor and wanted to try baby wearing myself. I decided to read about the Ergobaby again and discovered that at 7 weeks, our baby was big enough to use it without the insert. This time I went straight to eBay and found I could pick up a lightly used Ergobaby Original for under £50 - less than half price! Fortunately it came with the infant insert as although the baby is big enough, he's not old enough to hold his head and needs the insert for this support. This time round though, he loves it!

We're away on holiday this week and will be using the Ergobaby for walks along the beach and trips into town.

I would totally recommend both carriers. The BabyBjörn Active is a great cheap option to try out baby wearing and is so so easy to use if you're on your own. While the Ergobaby is definitely more padded and better for wearing for longer periods. It's also not quite so easy to put on by yourself but with practice it can be done.

Friday, 2 September 2016

everything i wanted to know about expressing

This week has been all about expressing on the blog this week (with reviews of two breast pumps earlier - Tommee Tippee here and MAM here). From the start of breastfeeding, I knew I wanted to try to express. Breastfeeding - particularly in the early days - can feel like a very lonely and all consuming task. As mum, your baby is totally dependent on you, which is very cool but also a little daunting and overwhelming. The idea of expressing and being able to share the feeding load really appealed. But I had so many questions! And I'm sure that if I was asking these questions, then I'm not alone. Most of the answers are either straight from my experience or from Google!! If you have any difference experiences, let me know how you've got on.

How long should I wait to start expressing?
I was told by a few midwives to wait until breastfeeding was established before starting to express and trying the baby with a bottle. But my health visitor was more encouraging and said to do it as soon as I wanted, if it meant that I would carry on breastfeeding. She wasn't quite as concerned about nipple confusion. I've read lots of things about this. Some people seem to start expressing right away, others wait. I waited six weeks. I mainly waited because I didn't have a breast pump and also because I did want to get in my groove with the breastfeeding. But I wouldn't leave it much later as I know some people who have then had problems getting their baby to take a bottle. Our baby was not keen the first time - we were using the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles and he was having none of it. The next time, we tried the MAM anti colic bottles and he took it straight away - no problem at all. Or since.

Does expressing hurt?
I was really apprehensive about expressing because I was so scared about it hurting. From my personal experience, it really didn't hurt and it wasn't even uncomfortable. I'd just say, go for it - you won't know unless you try.

How much milk will I get?
I'd read lots about expressing and many people said that they didn't get much milk at all so this was an additional worry. But I managed to get a couple of ounces the first time I expressed and I've been able to get 3-4oz each time since. You can add milk to milk expressed on the same day, if you're unable to get enough for a feed in one sitting.

How much milk do I need for a feed?
This really confused me! How much milk will I need? As when you're breastfeeding you have no idea how much milk your baby is getting. This article on Kelly Mom answers all your questions!

Will my baby take a bottle?
There is so much written about nipple confusion or when to start expressing and babies not taking a bottle that I didn't know whether or not we'd have problems when we started trying. As it turned out, our baby really didn't like the first bottle we tried (the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottle) but we tried another (the MAM anti colic bottle) and this worked. My advice, then, would be to persevere and to try different bottles/teats.

Will it effect my milk supply?
I'll confess, this actually didn't spring to mind before I started expressing but I thought I'd include it for a bit of info. I have found a couple of times that I have been quite engorged if my hubby has given a bottle to the baby and I've missed a feed. The past week or so, my hubby has been giving the last feed of the evening so that I can get to bed early - all ready for a nighttime feed or two. But by the time I am awoken for a nighttime feed I have often leaked. To combat this, I have started to express a little before bed earlier in the evening.

How often will I need to pump?
This totally depends. If you're planning to only express very infrequently, I don't think it matters so much. But as I said in the last response, if you're expressing more regularly, it is good to get into a routine as your breasts will get used to it.

How do I store the milk I've expressed?
Storing breast milk worried me, so I was pleased to find this article on the NHS Choices website which explains how long you can store breast milk.

Do you have any other questions? If you want to know anything, just ask and I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

review: MAM breast pump

It's Expressing Week on The trainee mum! Today I'm reviewing the MAM Manual Breast Pump which I've been trying out for the past week. I've already reviewed the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature manual breast pump and later in the week I am planning a post that answers all of the questions I had before I started expressing.

Comfort: the breast shield on this pump is very solid (I think I prefer the Tommee Tippee's flexible one for comfort) but this set does include nipple shields for if you do find it uncomfortable. So far I've not actually needed to use them.

Suction: the main bonus feature on this pump is the dial that allows you to change the amount of suction. You can start off with the very strongest setting to let your milk flow down and then turn it down if you find it a bit too strong. I keep it quiet strong and it is so fast. I haven't had an issue with getting a fairly good milk yield when I pump but it can take a while to get a good 3-4oz. With the MAM pump, I can get 3-4oz in about 20 minutes.

Cleaning and assembly: this pump disassembles into four pieces for cleaning. The handle is not intended to be sterilised (it doesn't come into contact with the milk) but it is a little tricky to get the handle off the pump section. If you're struggling, make sure you use some force (I wasn't using any and it wouldn't come apart!).

Accessories: the MAM Maternity Breastpump Pack includes
1 x Manual breast pump
1 x Sealing disc
1 x Cotton drawstring travel bag
1 x lid, teat, collar to make complete 160ml anti colic bottle
1 x pair of nipple shields
1 x pair of breast pads

The baby immediately took to the MAM bottles. The shape of the teat is so different to any I've seen before and it seems that for a breastfed baby, these are the most similar to a nipple.

Price: the MAM Maternity Breastpump Pack that I was sent is £38 at MAM but you can get the MAM Breastfeeding Starter Set for less than half price at Argos right now.

Verdict: I love this pump. The MAM manual breast pump is the best I've tried for a good portable pump. It is really fast and comfortable. It is perfect if, like me, you want to pump maybe once every day or every other day for one feed.

If you're not sure how to use a breast pump, check out this video:

Disclaimer: I was sent the MAM manual breast pump to try in exchange for an honest review. I have since bought two more MAM anti colic bottles as they have worked so well for our baby.

Monday, 29 August 2016

review: tommee tippee closer to nature manual breast pump

I've been trying out the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Manual Breast Pump for the past few weeks. When I first started breastfeeding the idea of expressing and the fact that I might be able to pass some of the feeds to someone else kept me going when it felt like the feeding was never ending.

I had so many questions about expressing and although I don't profess to be any sort of expert, I am planning a post that answers the questions I had. Today, though, is all about the Tommee Tippee pump.

I'll be reviewing the MAM manual breast pump later this week. Heck, I might as well name this Expressing Week on The trainee mum! So that you can properly compare I'm going to comment on the same criteria for both pumps.

Comfort: the breast shield is large and made from a flexible plastic that moves with the breast as you pump. This makes it really comfortable. I was so worried about pumping being really sore - I needn't have worried.

Suction: this pump offers pretty good suction with a good milk flow. It's not the fastest (check back in the week for my review of the MAM manual breast pump which is much faster).

Cleaning and assembly: the pump disassembles into four bits for cleaning and sterilising. The main pump section is pretty enclosed however and I have noticed that mine looks a little cloudy and you can't properly get inside it.

Accessories: the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature manual pump pack includes
1 x Manual Breast Pump
1 x Easi-vent 150 ml bottle
1 x Milk storage pot
6 x Disposable breast pads
1 x Microwave steriliser box

We don't have a microwave but the steriliser box has come in handy as a storage container.

Bottles: our baby really didn't get on with the Tommee Tippee bottles - or rather, the teats. They did seem really big and slippy and he couldn't seem to get a good latch.

Price: the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Manual Breast Pump is half price at Boots and Argos right now for just £14.99. It's a great price for anyone wanting to give breast pumping a go.

Verdict: if you want a portable and cheap breast pump to use occasionally, the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Manual Breast Pump is a good option.

Come back on Wednesday to read my review of the MAM manual breast pump and on Friday for a post which answers all of the questions I had when I first started expressing.

Friday, 19 August 2016

#3things: gifts for a mum-to-be

Got a baby shower to go to? Friend who's about to give birth? Or maybe a friend who's already given birth? Often around this time, mums-to-be and new mums can get forgotten in a pile of baby grows. I've picked out three gifts to make those mamas feel extra special:

3 things to buy for a baby shower

  1. If you haven't heard of the amazing site Don't Buy Her Flowers - get on over and check it out. Don’t Buy Her Flowers was founded with a simple aim: to provide thoughtful gift packages for new mums because they deserve something lovely just for them. How nice is that? There are lots of gift options but I like this Care Package, complete with magazine and chocolate!
  2. This Maternity Essentials Hospital Set by Asos is ideal for any mum-to-be. I'd totally wear the nightdress for daywear too - in either outfit you'll feel ready for visitors in those early days after having your baby. The eye mask will help you to sleep in the hospital ward - they can be quite bright even at night. And the socks are something you'll forget to pack but you'll be surprised about how cold you can get.
  3. The Boots Mum to be Essential Kit has all of those toiletries you need postpartum. The maternity pads and breast pads have long since been used from my pack but I'm still using the nipple cream. And although I didn't have too many stretch marks, the oil is really nicely moisturising.
Last but not least, if you're in a real bind over what to buy your mum-to-be friend, buy her chocolate! I didn't realise what a great gift this was until a couple of weeks postpartum and was needing snacks while breastfeeding - chocolate is a must!

    Mama to be bunting via Etsy

    Monday, 15 August 2016

    #3things: nobody told me about after giving birth

    Nobody told me you can’t use toilet paper
    Nobody told me that you bleed
    Nobody told me you might need a secret place
    where you can scream.
    My mother in law gave me a book for my birthday (at 35 weeks pregnant) called Nobody Told Me, by Hollie McNish. Nobody Told Me chronicles three years and nine months of poet Hollie McNish’s life from finding out she was pregnant, through to becoming a mother. I've been reading the book in realtime - so at the stage that I'm at, as each time I've read on, it's started to freak me out!

    If you're pregnant, you might be advised to look away now! There's probably a reason that nobody talks about this stuff until afterwards but to be honest, sometimes it's good to be prepared.

    1. You'll be losing fluids. Think your waters breaking is a worry? Turns out that's nothing compared to what happens after giving birth. Make sure you stock up on maternity pads because however you give birth (vaginally or caesarean) you will bleed. And for the first few days, at least, it'll be pretty heavy. You'll also find that there is a whole lot of other fluid to get rid of from your body. My feet swelled up like balloons for a good few days - the best way to get rid of them was to sleep flat on my back with my feet raised up on a few pillows. Add on to that the night sweats - as well as your feet swelling, you'll be sweating out all of those fluids every night. Seriously, as if you didn't have enough to deal with after giving birth!
    2. You'll still look pregnant. And you might feel like you're still in labour. For the first few days (at least) you'll still look about six months pregnant. And you'll continue to look pregnant for weeks afterwards. Unless you're a model and you snap straight back into shape within days. But who really does that? Six weeks later, I've returned to my pre-baby weight but still have a pretty sizeable bump! As your bump does start to go down, you'll feel contractions as your uterus begins to shrink back. If you're breastfeeding, these contractions will be most noticeable as you're feeding.
    3. You will cry! A lot. The first 24-48 hours, you'll be on an adrenaline high (as well as high on whatever pain killers they're giving you) and will be feeling so elated over what you've done and the baby you've got. Then suddenly on the third day (usually when your milk comes in - whether you're breastfeeding or not) you will cry. You'll suddenly realise that you have a baby. And that you are responsible for this small person for the next 18 years - at least. And that will scare the **** out of you. I cried for two weeks, nearly constantly. The baby blues - as this period is known as - are so common that they are considered completely normal and are not to be confused with postnatal depression (PND). PND normally occurs four to eight weeks after giving birth but can start any time in the first year after giving birth. If you think you might be suffering from PND, you can find out more here.

    What surprised you about after you'd given birth?