Car safety and children

Since having Arabella car safety is something I have been thinking about a lot. I had horrible paranoid thoughts whilst pregnant about having an acident in the car and something happening to Bella, I’m pretty sure this is a normal mum thing.

Whilst pregnant I researched car seats, for both newborn and when she gets older. We decided we would like to rear face for longer than “standard” as reseach shows it is much safer and have pretty much decided that we are going to go for the BeSafe iZi Plus. It rear faces up to 25kg when fitted with a seatbelt!

Rear has been shown to be 5 times safer for children.

It seems car safety is also something that my husband thinks about a lot too, he’s constantly checking our screenwash, other fluid levels and the tread on our tyres.

Tyres are such an important part of car safety, if you think about it those 4 little squares of contact you have the road are purely your tyres. If you have no tread you have no grip. The legal limit on tyres in the UK is 1.6mm but anything under 3mm can compromise safety.

I found this page at Point S Tyres really helpful and informative and it shows you how to check your tyre tread properly. Moreover, for convenience and catering to busy parents, Point S allows booking tyres and fitting appointments online without any initial payment so one doesn’t need to wait for their turn at the service centre.

I think the thing that worries me most on the road isn’t our car, or mine or my husbands driving, its other irreponsible drivers. People who don’t maintain their cars properly, who drive round with bald tyres or badly worn brakes. then there are the people who drink drive, and use their phones whilst they are driving.

Now I am going to move onto car safety from a pedestrian point of view, we have one car now so we car share. This means during the week I walk a lot, wether it be with bella in the sling or in her pram. we live on a quiet housing estate, our road is a dead end but the amount of people I see speeding up and down like it is a race track is disgusing, there is no need for it, its going to save them what? a few seconds at the most. I think forward about how I used to play outside in the street when I was a child, playing with a football or drawing on the pavement with chalk, I dont think I’ll be able to do that because I really worry about someone losing control of their car due to speed and mounting the pavement!

Anyway, enough rambling from me, I’m going to finish with a few pictures of Bella in her car seat, we travel a lot as we have family all over the country, shes a very well travelled baby and really seems to enjoy it too!

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Reflecting on Baby Loss Awareness Week

This week has been Baby Loss Awareness week, whether this is a miscarriage, a still birth or a neonatal or even later on death.

I have a lot of friends who have suffered all different types of baby loss.

I personally have suffered 3 losses, all of them early. A miscarriage at 5 weeks, and then 2 ectopics at 6 and 7 weeks. With my ectopics not only did I lose a baby, I lost my fertility.

It’s been a bitter sweet week, seeing how many people I know have been affected by loss, people who haven’t spoken out before, not because they didn’t want to, because they felt they couldn’t. There have been lots of tears this week, for myself and for others.

One thing that has been highlighted to me this week is how many amazingly strong women (and men, after all baby loss affects them too and I often think they are forgotten) I know.

I look at some of them and I am in awe of how they carry on, how they hold their heads up high, how they raise money for good causes to help other people who have suffered loss, for neonatal units, for SIDS and safe sleep awareness.

There are a few people I would like to give a special mention here;

Kirsty; she is a mum to an angel, Noah, he sadly lost his life at only 18 hours old after being very poorl and being born very early. She raises so much money for her local neonatal unit, to help them care for babies like Noah. I am in awe of her strength daily, I am so proud of her, she is now a mum to a rainbow called Madelyn who was born 3 days before Arabella. And I cannot forget her husband Ben who also does so much for charity including bike rides. She has recently started blogging if any of my readers would like to take a look. Her story is heartbreaking. You can find her blog here; http://kirstyaris.wordpress.com/

Next is Naomi; she is one of my IVF friends, she had successful IVF and went through her pregnancy with us all supporting her and following her progress, late on in her pregnancy we had the terrible news that her daughter Bea had passed away in the womb, I will never forget reading her tweets. She then had lots of other terrible things happen to her and her family that I will not go into detail with as its not my place but despite it all she still marches on, she does not give up or give in. She is an inspiration.

Sammi; she is also another IVF friend, she lost her son late in pregnancy but to early to save him. Again another lady who doesn’t give up. Who ploughs on in search of her rainbow.

Vicky; Vicky’s first daughter Chloe was stillborn and then she sadly lost her second daughter Mila shortly after birth, 2 beautiful angels. She has now been blessed with her rainbow. Again, her strength astounds me. I am so proud of her and the mum she is to all 3 of her girls.

And last but not least Jennie who blogs at http://www.edspire.co.uk/ she is an inspiration, she lost her daughter Matila Mae to SIDS. I urge you to go read her blog, I have sat there reading it lots of times with tears streaming down my face.

And there are many others I can mention, you know who you are. The community you become part of after a loss is an amazing thing, but I really do wish none of us had to be part of it.

Baby loss is a life changing event.

You lose a piece of yourself you can never get back. A parent should never have to lose a child.

All we can do is remember and this week has definitely been a week of remembrance culminating in the wave of light, it was lovely to see people remembering.

This has been a very emotional post to write.

Thinking of each and every one of our babies that should be here but aren’t.

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Funky Giraffe Personalised Bibs

We are a big fan of Funky Giraffe bibs in our house, we have quite a few (I have a little bit of a bib addiction, but don’t we all?). They are one of our must haves, they are great for when they get dribbly with teething.

We love them because of their quality and all of the beautiful different designs.

I was recently asked if I would like to review one of their personalised bibs and I jumped at the chance.

So off I went to their website and designed my own bib.

The first thing I noticed was how reasonably priced the personalised bibs are, personalisation is usually something you pay over the odds for, but for a basic personalised bib its £5.00!

The design tool is really simple, even I could use it easily. I am also not the most creative person, but there are lots of ready made templates for inspiration.

I chose to add an icon at the tiny cost of £0.70. I decided on a crown because Bells is our little princess. I also added her name which is free of charge, you can have up to 2 lines of text on the bib at no extra cost.

Heres a screen shot of the design tool and my design;

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If you would like to design your own you can choose a bib colour and style here and then have a play; http://funkygiraffebibs.co.uk/personalised.html#.VD_aKRYuaSo

The delivery for the bib was really fast too, I expected it to take a while due to the fact it was personalised but it arrived promptly with in a few days of ordering. It came well packaged and fit through our letter box so no need to wait in for the postman which is always good.

I was excited to receive it and see how it had turned out, when I opened the packaging I was again pleasantly surprised, I expected the logo and the name to be printed on but it was beautifully embroidered, the bib itself was also great quality (like the other standard Funky Giraffe bibs we own).

They would make a great gift for a new baby, or even for a birthday or Christmas.

I put it straight on Arabella. We love it!

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So much so Bells decided it was good enough to lick! Haha.

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You can see all of the Funky Giraffe product range on their website here; http://funkygiraffebibs.co.uk/

Starting to wean a cows milk protein allergy/reflux baby.

So we were advised to start weaning early because of Bell’s issues.

I’ve spoken about this before but she has something called cows milk protein allergy (CMPA), which is actually more common than you would think.

Basically she is allergic to the proteins in cows milk, this is often confused with lactose intolerance. Very few babies are actually lactose intolerant, its very rare.

We started weaning at 17 weeks, this caused a hoohaa with some people, the usual you should wait till 6 months like guide lines, blah blah blah.

I am going to start this with “do what’s right for you and your baby”, which is pretty much my take on everything parenting. I don’t care how you feed your child as long as its not starving, I don’t care when you wean them. Who am I to judge?

So we decided to start with purees, off we went to Tesco and bought a shed load of Ella’s Kitchen sachets, for one they are convenient and I’m lazy. Haha!

Because of Bella’s CMPA we have to watch out for reactions to other foods. This means we have to give her the same thing 3 days in a row and be vigilant. With this method we have so far worked out she reacts to banana, and rice. She has been fine with pear and sweet potato. Today we are trying mango.

Our plan is to puree until she is around 6 months and then start baby led weaning; lots of finger foods and her feeding herself.

I’ve been kind of going about it blindly (with a little info from friends and the internet) as we are still waiting for our dieticians appointment still, so I ordered some books in at the library.

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So going to have a read of them this week.

And to finish off a picture of Arabella after her first taste of solids, she looks miserable! Just because it had all gone. Haha, definitely takes after her mum.

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Moving and making new friends; my experience & tips

We recently moved from South Wales to Essex (one of my  3+1 most stressful things to do), my main worry was leaving all my friends that we had made in South Wales whilst pregnant.

So I started my effort before we even had the keys to our new house, the internet is a great tool for meeting people. I joined lots of Facebook groups for local mums and thanks to blogging I knew quite a few local bloggers in the area too.

We moved on the Saturday and by the Monday I had my first mummy date with a lovely lady called Nicola who has 2 little boys that aren’t yet at school. We met on a Facebook group, she literally lives round the corner from me, She took me to the local baby friendly cafe, showed me a super quick route to walk there which I just wouldn’t have known about if it weren’t for her and we had lunch and then we went on a tour of the town, she showed me where all the shops were and showed me a lovely butchers that do some yummy things.

Without her I wouldn’t have had a clue about anything! That day out walking round was really invaluable.

I had also decided to look for swimming lessons for Arabella, I inquired with Water Babies and my eyes watered when I saw the price, for a normal family on maternity leave its just not affordable so I asked on the local Facebook group (there is beginning to be a theme here! haha!) if anyone knew any alternatives and we were pointed in the direction of Nurture Babies. So I sent and email and had a prompt reply that a term was £76 and I could start that week, so we booked on an off we went!

I got there stupidly early, I’m rubbish at driving round our new area, I get lost all the time and didn’t want to risk being late, I got there to an empty car park at a very posh hotel, I didn’t have a clue where I was meant to be going.

After a few minutes another car arrived with a couple in it, I waited for them to get out and asked them if they were here for baby swimming and they were, I told them I didn’t know where I was going and they kindly took me under there wing, she also introduced her to her friend (now my friend too!) Sarah, they were part of the same NCT group, we did our lesson together and stayed for coffee afterwards, this was the lovely Katie who has been another life saver. Shes about 10 minutes drive for me and we now meet for lunch at least once a week (sometimes with other mums, shes good at sharing her friends with me!) as well as car sharing for swimming and often drives me round pointing out nice pubs to drink wine in!! Haha.

Then another lovely local mum off a Facebook group invited me to Rhyme Time at the local library, totally free and I made another friend! We had a lovely time and joined the library so now both me and Arabella have books on tap!

I also attend local sling meets, where I met more local mums that I just randomly spoke to and others who I had already spoken to on Facebook groups (good old Facebook!).

Tomorrow I’m off to meet a fellow blogger and cloth nappy nut who I’ve spoken to for a long time on Twitter, Kelly who blogs at www.morethanjustamummy.com. We are off to our local animal adventure park, Marsh Farm (http://www.marshfarm.co.uk). I am so excited to meet Kelly and hopefully it’ll become a regular thing.

So basically my tips for making friends when moving long distance are:

1. Talk to anyone, honestly…. just open that gob and chat. It’s what has made me lots of friends.

2. Go to pretty much everything you’re invited to. Be social! I’m a wee social butterfly now!

3. Facebook, the internet! It’s an amazing tool, use it. I think some people still think its a bit odd meeting people off the internet, but me? No! I met my husband on twitter. Just sayin!!

I used to have so little self confidence, I always used to worry what people would think of me, but you know what, most people are probably just like you, wanting to make friends. So just go for it!

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