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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Making use of our newborn photoshoot pictures with CaseApp.co.uk

For Christmas my husband bought me a photo shoot package which went from bump, to baby.

We booked the photo shoot for when we thought Arabella would be arrive, well it turned out she was early which was very unexpected so we had to bring it forward, then she ended up in hospital at 8 days old for a week because she was very poorly, I had to cancel and rebook, and then she ended up in hospital again, so we had to cancel and rebook! Finally we got them done but at nearly 3 weeks old, photographers prefer for newborn photo-shoots to be done with in a babies first 2 weeks  because after that they are less sleepy and a lot stronger. We had a bit of trouble getting Bella to pose but we got there in the end and got some fantastic pictures.

They’ve just been sat on my laptop waiting for me to do something with them. Luckily I was offered the opportunity to try out a very clever concept thanks to www.caseapp.co.uk.

With CaseApp you can design your own phone or table case and they also make skins. Personally I prefer a case as it gives more protection to my phone, they do two types of cases, a standard one and a tough one, I chose the tough one as I am forever dropping my phone, you know how it is hands full, doing to many things at once, trying to juggle! You’re always going to drop something at some point.

Now I’m not the most creative person I know, I’m more of a maths and science girl my self and believe it or not for a blogger I’m not actually that great with computers. I am learning all the time, but the design maker on their website is so easy to use. You can add pictures, text, choose a coloured background and they even have clip art such as cute lipstick kisses amongst other things.

I decided to start with a picture, I chose one of the images from Bella’s newborn photo-shoot, I’m a big fan of black and white so I chose this one;

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Isn’t she just adorable? Anyway back to the point! Haha.

I wanted to do something a bit more creative than just a picture so I wracked my brain. A lovely friend had sent me a quote the other day, because Arabella is a rainbow baby (a baby born after loss) and we are OBSESSED with rainbows, so I thought I would add this quote to the case round the edge, I also wanted to use all the colours of the rainbow.

The quote is “You make me feel as if I’m dipped head to toe in rainbows.”. Which I thought was very fitting! So I added my text with lots of bright rainbow colours but it just didn’t look right, so I decided to make the background black, this really made my text stand out and fitted in well with the black and white image.

So here is my design on the website;

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You also have a choice of if you would like your case in matte or glossy, I’m a bit of a magpie so went for glossy.

To order it after this literally takes minutes, you can pay by card or with good old PayPal which is my favourite, so convenient. There are also options for super fast delivery, I just went for standard on my order and it only took about a week which is fantastic considering each one is made to your design.

There are also ready made designs that you can add to, or just leave as they are which are all really stylish. I must admit I fell a little in love with “galaxy”.

GalaxyHere is my finished case;

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It arrived surprisingly quickly considering it’s something that is custom made to my design! The packaging is also really good quality which keeps the case safe whilst it’s in the post. Very impressed.

I am really pleased with the quality and it feels really robust like it will protect my phone well, it has a rubber inner case that will absorb any shocks and then a hard plastic outer case, and lets face it I get to look at my adorable daughter every time I pick it up AND IT HAS RAINBOWS ON IT! Haha. What more could a girl ask for. Can’t quite believe I designed something so pretty, so thanks CaseApp now my girl goes everywhere with me.

If you want to have a nosey at their products or even have a play with designing your own their website is www.caseapp.co.uk.

Kokoso Baby – yummy coconut oil

So recently there has been a big hype about coconut oil and all the uses it has.

I was looking for some to use on Arabella’s bum and for myself on my skin and I came across Kokoso.

Kokoso is 100% natural high-quality virgin, unrefined, I bleached and undeodeoderised coconut oil. It really is the king of coconut oils.

There are a lot of coconut oils on the market but some are refined, aren’t virgin. It’s a little like olive oil. You really get what you pay for.

The tub is huge too, 181g and you only need to use a teeny bit every time.

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I’ve been using it as a nappy rash/barrier oil as it’s perfect to use with cloth nappies, it doesn’t damage them or hinder absorbency like some other non natural nappy rash ointments.

I have also been using it for our baby massage oil after Arabella’s bath.

I have also heard it’s great on cradle cap, which we are lucky not to have suffered with.

The first thing that hit me when I opened the tub was the smell, it’s sublime. I want to eat it, it’s really that good (and you can eat it because it’s all natural!).

I get a tiny bit in my hands and rub to turn it into oil, it melts so quickly and is just amazingly silky soft. I must admit I have even been using it as a moisturiser on myself. It makes my skin feel amazing.

You know something is good for your babies bum if you’re willing to use it on your face. Haha!

It contains no chemicals at all, it’s naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal (it can even prevent/treat thrush!). It really is a wonder oil.

You can find out more about Kokoso here; www.kokoso.co.uk

I will be recommending it to all my mummy friends and for the price (£7.99) it really does go a long long way, it’s a bargain! I honestly expected it to be more expensive than it is, that the pot would be smaller but it’s huge!

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So Kokoso Baby gets a 10/10 from me, I adore the stuff and it’ll be on “my stuff to recommend” list for new mums from now on.

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!

Part 2: Doing the 3+1 most stressful things you can do in your life in a year: Getting Married

Well it’s meant to be stressful, but in all honesty compared to the other 3 things, it just really wasn’t that bad.

I remember on the morning of the wedding, everyone asking me if I was ok. They were worried because I was so calm. I just had this nice serene feeling.

The only thing that got me truly stressed about wedding planning was the table plan, it has to be the WORST part of wedding planning. Who to sit where, which table and next to whom. You’ve got to take into account family politics, friends who don’t get on and make sure no one feels left out or isolated. So much responsibility, I nearly gave up a couple of times and considered letting people just sit where they pleased. In the end though I managed it (2 days before the wedding) and it ended up working well and everyone was happy!

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The other thing that was very minorly stressful was my wedding dress, I bought it in March and then very luckily fell pregnant in September. I went for my first dress fitting at about 9 weeks pregnant I think it was, it no longer fit, not because I had gained any weight because my boobs had exploded. I was lucky to have such a lovely lady who did all the alterations to make it fit, she removed the buttons and replaced it with a corset back and it just looked fantastic! So that was that minor stress quickly sorted.

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I was also very lucky because my husband had a huge part in the planning, he was fantastic. He took a lot of my stress away by taking it into his hands, I know this isn’t right for everyone, not all brides would like it like this, but I loved it. Out of the two of us he is definitely the most organised.

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We also got married at a fantastic time of year, it was December so our venue was already decorated with beautiful Christmas decoration which saved us a lot of time, money and effort.

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So basically getting married was the least stressful out of the 3+1 most stressful things you can do, and after it you get a lovely honeymoon, we spent 2 weeks in Egypt over new year, it was amazing.

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Next I’ll be talking about having a baby.

Doing the 3+1 most stressful things you can do in your life in a year: IVF.

Apparently or so people always tell you the 3 most stressful things you can do in life are as follows;

Move house.
Get married.
Have a baby.

And then for us there’s the not so normal add on of have fertility treatment, in our case IVF.

We fully knew we were doing two of those in a year, get married and do IVF. We are lucky that it turned into three things, having a baby.

Then an unexpected fourth was thrown into the mix.

We moved house. 300 miles. From Wales to Essex. So hello there people of Essex, I’m now over that side of the country with you all.

I’m going to go through how things went for us in order of when they happened.

Today’s post is about IVF.

So this was stressful in ways that are very different to all the others, everything is out of your hands, out of your control. You put one of the most important things in your life in the hands of medical professionals.

There are points when you are undergoing fertility treatment that you just want to throw the towel in and scream “get me off this crazy train”.

The most stressful thing about it for me personally was when after you’ve had your eggs collected you wait for a fertilisation report the next day. I couldn’t sleep all that night. The clinic told me they would call between 8 and 9am. They called at 9.22, I was seriously unhinged at this point thinking the worst. You see unknown number flash up and you know it’s them, I don’t think my heart has ever raced so much. Luckily for us it was good news. 4 out of our 6 eggs fertilised.

Levels of stress during and IVF cycle are inhuman. It’s stressful as it is, then you’ve got all those artificial hormones you’re pumping into yourself in my case up to 4 times a day to deal with too.

The other very stressful part of IVF for us was after we had embryo transfer (Arabella was put back) I developed a serious condition called OHSS.

You can only get OHSS if you’ve been using fertility drugs, again another thing that the human body was never designed to deal with.

It started with a mild pain. It quickly got worse. My husband took me to A&E in the middle of the night. Neither of us knew what was happening.

I cannot describe the pain of OHSS other than tell you that I was telling doctors I wanted to die if they couldn’t help me. I would rather give birth again 10 times than have up go through that pain again. I would rather have a dental abscess. I’ve never known pain like this pain. It’s indescribable. We thought our chances of baby being ok were gone. The hospital wouldn’t check if the pregnancy was progressing for us as they told us it was too early.

I genuinely think you cannot understand the stress IVF puts you through mentally and physically unless you or someone closes to you has been through it.

I would say out of the 4, this experience was the most stressful.

In my next post I’ll be talking about wedding stress.

To finish off here’s a picture of me looking like a dork in my gown on the morning of egg collection.

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Scary needles (this one is used for mixing drugs!!)

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And my OHSS belly.

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And lastly a picture of me when I was in A&E shortly before this I had been telling doctors I wanted to die I was in that much pain.

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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