Trying out a new type of bottle – the Munchkin Latch

We recently received an email letting us know that we had been chosen to be Munchkin product testers and that we would be receiving our products to test in the post shortly.

We were super excited as you can’t beat receiving surprise parcels in the post.

Our package arrived and we opened it to find that we had been sent an innovative bottle called Latch, with 2 size 2 teats that are suitable for Arabella’s age. My initial thoughts were that I had never seen anything like it, it has a very interesting teat that moves with baby! Very clever.

I followed the instructions to prepare the bottle for first use and sterilised it then we gave it a go.

We currently use Dr Browns and MAM bottles are that are anti colic.

The Latch bottle is also anti colic with a special valve in it’s base, one thing that is quite hard work about the MAM and Dr Browns bottles is they have so many parts to take apart, clean and sterilise. The Latch bottle has less parts than the others and is very quick and easy to clean. You don’t need anything other than a normal bottle brush.

The anti colic valve is the blue bit in the bottom of the bottle that you can see here, it just pops out so it can be cleaned thoroughly very easily;

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My only issue is that we were sent a 4oz bottle yet Arabella is now on 5oz bottles except for her night feed so we decided to try it out on that feed.

Arabella seemed to love the teat and I found it great that it moved with her.

It says on the box that it’s meant to help bottle feed along with breastfeeding, unfortunately we are no longer breastfeeding but we did 6 weeks. I can see how it’s breast like shape may help you switch between bottle and breast easily. I think it’s breast like due to the fact the teat moves like a breast does, on our other bottles the teats are very much fixed.

Here you can see the special concertina shape of the teat which allows it to move with your baby;

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I have a couple of friends with breastfed babies that are struggling to get their babies to take expressed breast milk from a bottle so I think I will be recommending them to try this bottle.

Here are a few more pictures of the bottle and it’s design;

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And finally here is Latch in action with Arabella.

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You can find more information on the Munchkin Latch and their other products here; munchkin.eu.com

Taking Arabella to meet her makers

Arabella is an IVF baby.

There were so many people involved in her conception, I don’t think people who haven’t been through fertility treatment realise.

First there was our doctor. She did our first consultation at the clinic. Went through all our history, decided what protocol and procedures would fit our problems. When it came to the time she did our egg collection (it’ll be a year on the 4th September) and then our embryo transfer, she placed our precious only embryo in exactly the right spot it seems.

Then there were the nurses who did all our blood draws, scans and consoled me after I had my ectopic meaning we had to put our treatment back.

The counsellor, she checked I was ok mentally to do egg share, that I fully understood the implications.

The receptionist who got so used to talking to me she recognised my voice and always remembered my name.

Then there are the embryologists, the people who take two tiny parts of two people and make something amazing, an embryo, which if you are lucky turns into a baby, and we were one of those lucky couples.

After more scans, blood tests, appointments and operations than I can remember we got our miracle.

I took a card to the clinic to say thank you, but no words I could write in a card or even here could express how truly thankful we are to all those wonderful people at our clinic who made Arabella possible, who gave us our miracle.

We were treated with humility and respect at every one of our appointments. How ever undignified some of the procedures are we were treated with dignity.

So from embryo

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To positive pregnancy test

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To first scan

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To baby

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We thank every person at the London Women’s Clinic Wales in Cardiff.

If you are in South Wales and looking for a fertility clinic I couldn’t recommend then more, our care has been outstanding.

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Arabella even got her very own LWC Wales bear.

Adorable.

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And I shall just leave this here.

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More information about LWC Cardiff can be found here on their website; www.londonwomensclinic.com/wales

Two milestones in one night, she’s spoiling us!

Arabella has been rolling onto her side for about a week now, but nothing more.

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Last night she decided to do this!

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She learnt to roll back to front! Clever girl, she even did it twice as we wanted to check it wasn’t a fluke!!

She can’t roll back yet so got a little frustrated with her self!

Then she did something else amazing, she slept from half 9 till 6am. I was in utter shock. We were both confused! Haha.

We have a very clever girl on our hands, and she’s not even 14 weeks yet.

Hopefully she repeats the sleeping through tonight!

It’s time to say a very sad goodbye…. to my maternity jeans.

We have a loving relationship me and my maternity jeans.

I didn’t even buy this pair, they were gifted to me by a pregnant friend, and they were gifted to her by another friend.

They are like these magical lucky travelling jeans.

They are from Next and I have no idea what size they are. I bought lots of maternity jeans during my pregnancy, cheap ones, expensive ones, skinny ones, boot cut ones, denim ones, black ones, under bump ones, over bump ones. I bought A LOT of jeans.

Buy you know what none of them were like this pair, they didn’t fit as well, weren’t as comfortable so basically I lived in these bad boys.

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I packed up most my maternity clothes and passed them on a few weeks after a gave birth, but not these jeans. I’ve still been wearing them a lot. I’m addicted to them.

The original plan was to wear them for a short time whilst I quickly slimmed back to my pre-pregnancy size and clothes. HA! I can hear you all laughing at me, naive right. Nearly 4 months after birth I’m still in them.

I decided enough was enough, I needed to buy some normal jeans in my new size. Stuff it. I’m happy. I have a beautiful baby, this is not the time to worry about my weight. I might as well have more clothes options and be comfortable!

So today off to the shops I went. I asked for some advice on twitter, I was directed by other new mothers to get a high waisted style. First I went in Next, I always used to buy my jeans from Next, I picked a high waisted jean up in a size I thought I would be, trotted off to the changing rooms, wouldn’t go past my newly acquired thunder thighs and bubble butt. I asked for the next size up, they went on but just didn’t fit right? I used to wear high waisted Next jeans before my pregnancy, I was genuinely astounded by how much pregnancy had changed my body, not just my clothes size but my actual body shape!

So back to the drawing board it was. I had another look round and found some Relaxed Skinny style jeans, I’ve tried these on many times in the past but they have just never suited them, I loved the style on other people so I thought why not, what’s to lose.

Back to the changing rooms we went.

On they go, much to my surprise they fit well AND suit me?! What is this magic?

I had dressed my body a certain way for 26 years, it had taken me probably 23 years to master dressing it, and now everything I thought I knew has been turned upside down!

So I bought them.

I then decided to go for a browse in New Look.

They had a sale and I spotted some high waisted super skinny jeans for £7, yes £7!! So I tried them on. They fit better than the Next ones but were a little snug, but for £7 I was having them.

So this is my ode to my maternity jeans, I love you, you served me well, you aren’t going in the bin, even if you are full of holes, you’re getting washed, and then placed lovingly in my pregnancy memory box.

Sounds silly but I’m sat here in tears writing this, today was the last time I will probably ever wear maternity jeans, my pregnancy was a miracle, I’ve been very lucky to experience it but I’m also super sad that I’ll probably never experience pregnancy again. So it’s more than just a pair of maternity jeans that is getting put away, this really does signify the end of my pregnancy.

It wasn’t easy but I loved every moment, I miss the kicks, the watching my belly move. Even being admitted to hospital to be monitored, listening to the clatter of her heartbeat on the machine.

So we are waving goodbye.

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Maternity jeans I will miss you, but it’s time to not be pregnant anymore.

And welcome my new body, here are your jeans.

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Looking forward to our first family holiday.

So every year we holiday at Center Parcs at least once.

We go as a family with my mum, her partner, my little brother and my grand parents. All 3 generations of us. None of us ever thought we would be lucky enough to ever go with another generation added, our 4th! If you are a follower of my blog you’ll know this is because of our history, I’m infertile and Arabella is our little IVF miracle.

Well this year we are going as 4 generations as we are lucky because Arabella arrived in our lives!

We had a tough start with her illness and admissions to hospital. I won’t lie the first few months of her life were so stressful.

My grandparents thought it would be good to book a family holiday so we can relax and de stress a little.

It was a no brainer really. We’ve always loved Center Parcs, it’s great no matter what season you go in. We’ve been in the height of summer and we’ve been in December (you can’t beat a cracking log fire in your lodge in an evening) and it caters for all ages, Arabella who is 3 months old and my grandfather who is 70! So we booked ourselves a long weekend at Center Parcs in October.

I cannot tell you how much we are all looking forward to it. It’s going to be a weekend of many firsts, our first family holiday, the first time we are taking Arabella swimming. It’ll also be the first time we visit Sherwood Forest as we usually visit Whinfell but as me, Jamie and Arabella are moving Sherwood is closer to us now. We are really looking forward to discovering a new forest and resort!

I’ll be blogging about what we’ve got Arabella for her first swimming experience at some point, little spoiler is it includes a reusable swim nappy (any opportunity to talk about cloth I know!!)

Putting poop in my washing machine…

You’re instantly thinking “ewwwwww” right?

To be honest a few years ago I would’ve thought the same. I don’t think I would even put my own poop in my washing machine to be honest, but you kind of see poop differently when it’s your babies, I’m not quite sure why?

In the early days when Arabella was poorly I was regularly covered in projectile diaoreah, all over my legs, stomach, arms, you name it! It just used to make me laugh, even more surprisingly it didn’t bother my husband when it happened to him either and this is the man who struggled to pick up our dogs poop without gagging! It’s like as a parent you become immune to it! Haha.

Right now if you’re still with me after me writing poop so many times, well done! I’ll get to the point of my post!

We use cloth nappies, one of the most common reactions to this is the question “what do you do with the poop?”.

Personally this is how I deal with my dirty nappies;

When Arabella was breast fed nappies went straight into our dry pail bucket, or if out and about into out wet bag.

These then went straight in the washer! Breastfeeding poop is water soluble, it just washes away and won’t do anything to your washing machine.

She is now on special prescription formula and without going into detail her poop is very solid, much like adult poop. This is caught by a fleece liner in the nappy.

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I basically tip the poop in the loo and flush, then off it goes into our dry pail bucket or wet bag if we are out.

So really hardly any poop actually goes in our washer.

Our washing regime is washing at 40 with either Totsbots Potion which is specifically designed for cloth nappies (and smells like Palma violets sweets, just divine!) or bold 2 in 1 powder, powder is the preferred detergent for cloth as it doesn’t build up like liquid does and affect the absorbency.

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First I rinse on cold, this rinses away any left over poop and urine, then I was on a normal cycle which has a rinse at the end, and then I rinse again to make sure any left over detergent is gone!

We try to line dry where possible, but living in the UK the weather isn’t always the best so we tumble dry on the lowest what setting on our dryer.

We wash every 3 or 4 days (we have a huge stash!), we never get any stains really, sometimes we get the odd one but left in the sun they disappear as the suns UV rays bleach the fabric naturally! Clever huh?!

Here’s the dry pail nappy bin we use and one of our wetbags.

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Inside the nappy bin is a mesh liner, I unhook it and throw the whole thing in the wash so barely have to touch the nappies and the bin is really good at keeping the smell in. The little tip I have for making the bin smell less is stick a disposable sanitary towel to the inside of the lid, and put a few drops of essential oil on it (I use our lavender and camomile that we use for our cheeky wipes, which are reusable baby wipes which I’ll talk about more in another post!).

And last but not least here is a lovely picture of Arabella flashing her fluff, a Totsbots V3!

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My new bad habit, guilt.

Since having A I feel guilty a lot.

I feel guilty for being sad when we have a bad day.

I feel guilty for not enjoying our precious first weeks due to all the issues we had.

I feel guilty for having to stop breast feeding.

Now she’s more alert I feel guilty for not entertaining her more.

I feel guilty when I don’t keep up with the house work.

I feel guilty for snapping at my husband when I’m tired.

I feel guilty for not giving the dog more attention.

I feel guilty for eating rubbish and take aways because I don’t have time to cook.

Well you know what, I’ve decided to give up this bad habit.

I’m going to stop feeling guilty, all I can do is do my best and that’s exactly what I have been doing.

So this is my promise to myself, to stop feeling guilty, to stop feeling bad, to stop getting annoyed over pointless things that cannot be changed.

Mama and More

Why breast isn’t always best.

Let me start with the fact that breast milk is nutritionally the best for baby obviously as it’s natural.

But is it always best for mum? Is it always best for your family? Is it best for happiness? I found not necessarily.

I have always wanted to breastfeed, since before I was pregnant.

When you are pregnant “breast is best” is drummed into you.

It’s made out to be the most natural thing in the world.

It’s made out to be sunshine and rainbows, well let me tell you it’s not.

My trying and consequently failing to breastfeed ruined my early days with our precious miracle. It’s not at all how I expected it to be.

It took me weeks to realise breast wasn’t best for us.

Early on Arabella fed constantly, I was told this was normal and a newborn thing, to help supply. I stuck with it. It didn’t get easier. She was still constantly feeding. I suspected she had tongue tie, I asked my midwife and GP, I was told she didn’t have tongue tie. I stuck with it. After her carrying on feeding constantly, and I mean constantly. She was forever on the breast. I couldn’t go out. I didn’t get any sleep. I asked on a Facebook group and twitter with pictures if she had tongue tie. Well it looked like she did.

I booked a private lactation consultant at a huge cost to us when she was 5 weeks old. I couldn’t cope with the constant feeding. She saw immediately Arabella had 100% tongue tie. It was snipped there and then. But it was all too late. Arabella never learned to feed properly.

I went to see the NHS specialist breastfeeding midwife, she immediately told me I has had been doing it wrong from the start, this made me feel like shit, like a massive failure.

I may have been doing it wrong from the start, but as a first time mum, was I given breastfeeding help in hospital, no. I just had to muddle on on my own, learn myself whilst the other 3 women on my bay were given help with bottle feeding.

This midwife got her to latch perfectly for a feed. It was the first time I had seen her milk drunk in weeks, since she was newborn.

I got home and then couldn’t get her to latch properly. All I did was cry, I felt like a failure. I was a mess, this was full on meltdown. I felt like I was falling into the deep hole of depression.

I made the decision there and then to switch to formula and express as much as possible. I expressed for aslong as I could. It just wasn’t convenient at home with a newborn on my own all day to keep it up, I would start expressing and then she would need me so I had to stop. My already poor supply dwindled.

Stopping was one of the hardest things I ever did.

But I needed to do it for my own mental health, for us. I truly believe if I had carried on I would’ve needed help.

I hate it when people say if you really want to breastfeed you will, it’s just not that simple.

I really wanted to fucking breastfeed. I still cry about stopping now.

People make comments about how I must miss out on that special bond, like I can’t have a special bond with my baby because we now bottle feed.

People really need to think.

So this is my post for breastfeeding awareness, maybe not what is expected. But people need to be aware of this side of breastfeeding.

Breast wasn’t best for us, no matter how much I wanted to do it.

Breast wasn’t best for my mental health.

Breast wasn’t best for my relationship with my daughter.

Breast wasn’t best for my relationship with my husband, I was stressed by it, and of course he was directly in the firing line.

Breast wasn’t best for us.

Maybe things would’ve been different if breastfed babies were checked for tongue tie before leaving hospital, if GPs and midwifes had proper training on it, if I had had proper help with breastfeeding on the ward.

This post may be controversial but hey, it’s just my experience.

Mama and More