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The top 10 things to pack in your hospital bag for labour

There’s so much to think about when you pack your hospital bag. Things for you, the baby, your partner, it soon adds up and you can find yourself overpacking very easily. When I went in it looked like I’d packed for a 3 week cruise and I hardly used any of it. Hopefully the below list will help you (and me if I ever have another baby!) from making that mistake too!

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  1. Stuff for your boobs

So, you got pregnant. Your belly got big. Did your boobs get big too? Mine got massive and I loved it and so did my boyfriend. But once you have your baby, your boobs feel about as sexy and sensual as a trip to the dentist. They start doing weird things like leaking and they’re sore every time you breathe! Don’t worry, it doesn’t last long but you will need a few bits to get you through it. Breast pads are a must unless you want to start squirting people in the eye like a lactating clown. Tops and bras that are soft but supportive and allow you easy access. Oh and nipple cream (the good stuff, something with lanolin in it should do the trick) and nipple guards so you can carry on breast feeding even if you do get sore.

2. Stuff for your lady parts

No one really wants to talk or think about the damage that is done to your precious vajayjay, but it happens. Now, don’t panic, just like your boobs, your lady garden will completely recover, it’ll just need a little TLC to get there. Comfy knickers are a must, either throwaway paper ones or big soft cotton ones you don’t mind ruining. Obviously, you’re gonna need maternity pads, the ones with the healing Aloe Vera in are nice – but my top tip is wet toilet paper. You know, the flushable kind that are basically baby wipes for your bits. Trust me when I say you will not want dry hospital toilet paper going anywhere near you for a while, the wet stuff is so much kinder to you plus you’ll feel much cleaner.

3. Clothes for you

Do not make the mistake of thinking that you’ll have this baby and need a smaller size in your nightwear instantly, it’s not gonna happen and you will want to be extremely comfortable after birth without anything tight or clingy. So, think about what you want to give birth in – for me it was just my bra, absolutely zero f*cks were given by me about what I looked like once labour started, but you might be different. So, something you don’t care about ruining for actual labour, a couple of nightshirts or pyjamas to wear in hospital, warm socks and slippers as you won’t be moving much and your feet get cold, maybe a dressing gown if it’s the colder months and loose fitting clothes to wear home.

4. Clothes for baby

This is a little trickier as you don’t know what size baby will be or how long you’ll need to stay in with them. However, all being well with you and baby most of us are looking at a night or two in hospital. So baby will need two or three sleepsuits and vests, a hat, some scratch mits and a nice outfit for the trip home (include a coat in this if it’s cold out) You’ll also need muslin’s for milk spills, lots of newborn nappies (as many as 12 a day, they really are sh*t machines at this age!) bottles if you’ve decided not to breastfeed, a dummy if you’ve chosen to use it and some cotton wool.

5. Clothes for your partner

Some hospitals have private rooms where your partner can stay with you and if you’re like us you could have to stay up to a week! Our unexpected long stay meant that my poor boyfriend had nothing he needed with him. So even if you’re not anticipating a week long stay its best to bring him some fresh pants, socks, tee’s and a jumper. If nothing else it’ll stop him having to go home all the time to get more clothes. Even if you go straight to the ward and he can’t stay, labour is a messy, sweaty business for which the father of your child probably deserves a clean shirt to wear home.

6. Cosmetics

Once baby arrives you’ll want to take the longest shower you’ve ever had so obviously shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, whatever else you need. Hospitals are often air conditioned so I found my lips got dry and I went through lip balm like nobody’s business. Also my hair got on my nerves a lot so a brush and hair bands were essential for me. Toothbrush, toothpaste and hand cream as well as a towel and you should be set.

7. Snacks

You might not want to eat at all, or you might be ravenous from start to finish. Remember breast feeding can make you very hungry too, so healthy (or unhealthy, it’s up to you!) snacks are a great idea. Also remember that if you do have to stay in for a little while, that the hospital will cater for you but not your partner, my poor boyfriend lived on Starbucks and Canteen food for a week, bless him.

8. Distractions

You might be one of those focused, hypno-birthing types who can concentrate on the pain and your breathing and channel your energy into your labour. Me, I just wanted the baby out and not too much damage done, so having music and playlists on our laptop, phones and speakers was a godsend to me. Gave me something to do, sparked conversations that weren’t about how dilated I was and passed the time. Plus, once baby’s here you’ll be knackered but they will sleep for a while at a time, so a magazine, book, kindle etc, whatever you need to feel a bit normal.

9. Techy stuff

It seems obvious, but this moment is going to change your life forever and you will want to let everyone know that your little bundle has finally arrived as well as documenting that tiny newborn as much as possible. So, phones, cameras and camcorders (GoPro’s, Ipad’s etc whatever format you use) as well as chargers for them all, are essential. You won’t want to miss a moment and you’ll treasure every image to look back on.

10.  A positive attitude

If I can do it, you can do it. It really is mind over matter. Your baby got in there and it’s gotta come out. There is no badge of honour in going pain relief free and no shame in getting an epidural, an elective C-section or taking whatever drugs you can get your hands on. As long as you’ve researched all the pro’s and con’s of all the choices you can make in labour and you know what you’re happy with, then that’s what’s right for you. When I found out that I couldn’t have a water birth 4 weeks before baby was due, I freaked out, could not stop crying! Ridiculous really because the moment I held him it didn’t matter if I was on a bed, on the floor, in the water or on the moon, he was the only thing I cared about. And whatever happens, it’s a few days discomfort traded for immeasurable joy for life.

Believe me, it’s worth it. Good Luck xxx

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The top 10 gross things your pre baby self would never do!

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Now if you’re anything like me, then before you had your little bundle you occasionally did your nails, mostly had clean hair and were usually hygienic. Before the baby, my boyfriend and I had a healthy agreement on personal space which included always toileting with the door closed, not needing to tell each other about any kind of bowel movement and never ever bottom burping in each others presence (that last one was just for him as obviously ladies don’t do that!) But, pregnancy can put pay to the most robust intimacy agreements and we soon found ourselves discussing all sorts of bodily functions. It seems to me that motherhood has only put me on a downward spiral of grossness since then. Although we still toilet with the bathroom door firmly closed, below are my top ten most disgusting things I now do as a mother that I would never have dreamed of doing before. I hope I’m not the only one who’s guilty of these sins (and trust me if you haven’t had your baby yet, then this will be you very shortly!)

  1. Running towards vomit

Babies are sick all the time, literally like every day (or maybe it just feels like that?) Your baby will sick up milk for a past time and don’t get me started on weaning and introducing finger food too, they will gag and retch and make all sorts of gross noises and faces while they’re doing so. As a human being you should step back from anyone who’s mid regurgitation, but you’re a mother now so instead you will run towards said human with your hands forming a deep cup, the perfect vomit receptacle, out in front of you ready to catch! And you will catch! Buckets of partly digested milk and food. And you wont care. You’ll just wash your hands and carry on. In fact one time, I just deposited the contents of my hands into an empty bowl on the coffee shop table, babywiped my fingers and moved on. No big deal, right?

2. Wearing Vomit

Sticking with the vomit theme, you wont always catch it. Sometimes the little darling will be over your shoulder being burped or cuddled into you about to have a snooze and then, there it is, the Vom-bomb. It’ll go all over you, your clothes, your hair and all you’ll need is a light brush with a baby wipe and you’re good to go again. Sure your left shoulder will smell slightly sour for the rest of the day, you may even pop to the shops or to see a friend later on and half way through think “I really smell! Oh yeah, it’s just vomit” Trust me, you won’t care.

3. Smelling another human’s bum

So, apparently dogs can tell everything they need to know about another dog by presenting their anus to them and letting them take a big whiff. Humans on the other hand, are not blessed with this joyous gift (thank god) Although, the majority of mum’s think nothing of launching baby into the air by their armpits to bring baby bum hole directly in line with mum’s nose and inhaling deeply to check for poop! It’s an entirely disgusting, but extremely effective shit detecting habit that once baby arrives you won’t be able to avoid. In fact my sister once told me that experienced mum’s can tell if the poopy smell, in a room full of babies, is their own offspring’s brand of stink or not. Clever mummies!

4. Discussing and dissecting human poo

Yep – continuing with my last point (we may as well get all the shit talk out of the way, right?) You will suddenly give a shit, about shit – but it won’t be your own. You’ll ask anyone who’s looked after baby if he’s pooed today, what time, what was it like, did he strain, were there bits in it, was it solid? So many questions. Recently my baby suffered constipation and while I was running his bedtime bath, daddy was getting him changed and called through to me “oh, he’s had a poo!” A normal human response to this would be to wonder why you need to know that piece of information. Not a mum. Not me. I ran full pelt to the bedroom, only then to peel apart his soiled nappy to inspect the little brown log like some sort of crazed Gillian McKeith type.

5. Sucking a dirty dropped dummy

We’ve all seen mum’s do it and when you’re pregnant you think “that’s vile, I will never pick up my child’s dummy from the street and just suck it!” But you will. Baby will drop his dummy onto the floor, the pavement, the road, anywhere! It’s your duty as a mother to prevent the banshee like wail that will commence if you don’t plug that little screamers mouth with a dummy again tout suite! But you will lose all your spare dummies and one day when you’re down to your last one and baby drops it, you will pick it up, suck it and give it back to baby. Then it’s a slippery slope, once you’ve done it once it’s no longer disgusting and you’ll do it all the time. You have been warned!

6. Sucking up snot

Unfortunately for you my readers, this does not mean with a hoover. Yep, what you’re imagining is true and I’m ashamed to say I have done it. I saw no other option. I was desperate. I wanted to sleep and he had a cold so he couldn’t sleep and if he doesn’t sleep then I don’t sleep and so….you see my problem. I put my mouth over his snotty baby nose and sucked. Yes, I spat it out, but let’s face it, that’s not exactly fool-proof and I definitely tasted it at the very least. Yuk!

7. Wiping up snot and picking noses with your bare hands

You’ll note a nose related theme going on here! Once baby gets big and strong enough to fight you off when you’re going in for the human hoover move, you still have to wipe those drippy nostrils somehow – tissues! I hear you cry. No, dear reader. If my baby sees any kind of wipe within 100 paces of him he initiates his now legendary freak out scream. It’s so much easier and quieter for all concerned if I sneak my fingers over his nose and just wipe the snot somewhere else – usually on me in all honesty. But remember, drippy baby noses crust up over night, what was liquid yesterday has now solidified and not only looks disgusting but hampers baby’s breathing so you have to pick it. It’s disgusting, you wouldn’t pick your own nose, or anyone else’s for that matter and I do hope that I don’t feel compelled to do it when my baby is 15, but for now, needs must. Mum’s, get in there and pick away. Knock yourselves out

8. Kissing baby on the mouth

Sounds perfectly normal right? A genuine and totally acceptable expression of the love and bond between a mother and child. Wrong! It’s not the act of kissing my baby which is gross, it’s the fact that he has no idea yet that he needs to keep his mouth closed, so every time he wants to kiss me I basically end up with a face, or worse, a mouth, full of baby dribble. It’s cold and wet and so wrong, but also very cute, so I keep doing it. Eww.

9. Sharing food

Most mum’s spend the majority of their days cramming enough meals, healthy snacks and milk feeds into babies routine all around constructive, developmental play, adequate nap times and numerous dirty nappies. This conveyor belt of baby needs means most mums don’t make time to eat, at least not properly. So when you sneak a biscuit and baby spies it, you share. When baby is having lunch and he’s not too fussed on something, you finish it off. Fine, you say. No problem. But, all food that goes anywhere near baby will be mashed and pulped in sticky fingers, dribbled on, chewed, wiped over a snotty face, I could go on. You’ll still eat it, because you’re hungry and busy and tired and you’ve given up on your pride. I mean, you made him, aren’t they all technically your germs anyway??

10. Talk about birth

Now, this isn’t strictly the baby’s fault, but you can’t compare birth “war” stories unless you’ve had a baby. From stitches to tears, mucus plugs to discharge, women who have been through the beautiful (although disgusting) miracle of birth feel the need to go in depth about every little detail. I think it’s unnecessary, but yes, I still do it! It’s like a badge of honour that bonds you to a whole new group of women. And, when you give birth, you’ll do it too. I guarantee it.

xx

The top 10 most useful things to buy for your baby

For the first time ever I am writing this post from a request. After reading my post “The top ten most useless products to buy for your baby” a friend of mine said she finds it hard to come up with new gift ideas for expectant mummy friends and as such would love to have a top ten of useful products to choose from. Now, those who know me will be aware that you don’t have to ask me twice to give my opinion on things, so here we are (some of my choices are a bit pricey though, so perhaps might be an idea for friends to get together to buy them, unless you’re feeling generous! 😃)

  1. Baby Grooming Kit

Something I never would have thought of if my mother hadn’t of given one to me as a gift! Briefly consists of a baby hair brush and comb, nail scissors and nail clippers. Babies nails grow like wildfire and are so small you do need proper baby clippers to get them done safely (even the baby ones aren’t foolproof, I did cut Seth just a little the first time I cut his nails!)

2. Baby sleep sound machine

Now, up to you which one you buy. There’s one called Ewan the Sheep ( I think? Don’t quote me!) Fisher Price do a seahorse, basically there’s a menagerie of animals available! My critter of choice is called a Tranquil Turtle. It projects a wave like light show onto the ceiling, plays white noise wave music or a soothing lullaby and shuts off after 30 minutes – this was a life saver when Seth was tiny and I still use it to zone him into nap times now he’s nearly one.

3. Bouncy Chair

Awww, babies are so cute and small and light, they only weigh a few pounds! Unless of course you have to sit and hold one all day long, for days on end, then your baby will instantly morph into a lead weight causing your arm muscles to burn and all your joints to seize up. My bouncy chair saved me from this and made cuddle time so much less painful. You don’t need to get an all singing, rocking, vibrating version, just a simple chair with a few toys on will work wonders for your sanity and restore the joy that is peeing on your own to your life.

4. Nappy Bin and cartridges

Now unless you want your probably beautiful, newly decorated nursery to constantly smell like baby shit then you need a nappy bin. There’s loads available, we have a tommee tippee sangenic and it works brilliantly to cut the odour of nappy time wafting about the house. If you do buy one of these for someone get them some cartridges as well, refils can be expensive and when it runs out and you don’t have a spare it’s more than a bit annoying.

5. Baby sleeping bags

In what feels like a blink of an eye baby will no longer lay completely still while they sleep and all those lovely swaddling blankets are useless as baby pulls their arms out and wriggles free. When Seth started this I was so worried he was going to wriggle down and suffocate, but being a first time mum I didn’t even know baby sleeping bags existed! But they do! And they’re awesome. Baby’s temperature is regulated and he can’t wriggle down and cover his face in loose blankets. Stress free sleeping for the whole house.

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6. Basic medicines and thermometer

If like me, you spend your entire pregnancy thinking about how cute your baby is going to be, you probably didn’t stop to think that they will get ill. But they will get ill, coughs, colds, sneezes, vomiting, diarrhoea, the list goes on and on and on and the last thing you want is to drag a sick baby out to the pharmacy so being able to lay your hands on calpol, olbas oil for children, infant ibuprofen, saline nasal drops, teething powder or gel, cough syrup and a good thermometer will be a god send.

7. Activity Playmat

Within a few short weeks baby’s eyes are focused and ready to be stimulated, so activity centre mat’s that you can lie baby on their back with lights, sounds and mobile toys suspended above them are perfect. The best ones can have the arms which hold the toys removed so baby can use the play mat when they’re bigger too.

8. Jumparoo

I’ve heard this referred to a the “circle of neglect” and it’s easy to see why. Most babies adore being plonked in one of these and it’s easy to let them stay in there a little too long! Keep in mind that these come with a hefty £100 price tag and take up as much floor space as a small family car though, so perhaps borrow one or go for a second hand one so you can sell on or return it when you’re done.

9. Video baby monitor

Ok, so you know you’re going to need a monitor! In my humble opinion you don’t need a pressure mat, heart rate monitoring all singing and dancing version! A simple monitor will suffice. I do think a video monitor is very handy, although here’s a good tip… Don’t buy a Tomy. I’ve got a Tomy. It’s shit. Every time I see other people’s monitors I am filled with jealousy of their picture quality and I can’t help but think of my own monitor which, when in night vision mode, can only be described as a tiny, grainy black and white screen which looks like a Paranormal Activity sequel with really poor production values. Through months of practise I can now just about make out which blob on the screen is actually the baby!

10. First years journal

About 2 weeks ago I was bought a first years journal to document Seth’s first 5 years. When milestones happened I thought I would remember the date and how old he was so vividly, but as I sat to write in his book I realised I had forgotten so much already! These books are a great gift from a mother to a child, but all the best bits happen so fast you really need to have it from the start to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Happy Shopping xx

The top 10 most useless products to buy for your baby!

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So probably like all expectant mums, I wanted my baby to have everything, preferably the best of everything too! But as we all come to realise, if the product is for a baby the price tag doubles and let’s face it, you really don’t need or use half of the crap you buy and baby crap is no exception. So in the interest of saving my bank balance if I ever have another baby and also helping any other mums from falling into the same pitfalls as me, I’ve put together a list of “don’t bother buying it” products.

  1. The Door Bouncer

Apart from putting Seth in his twice to take a few cute photos and one cute video, this was a total waste of time. It amused him for about 12 seconds at a time, took the paint off my wall and required 2 fully trained ninjas to get him in and out of it. Pointless.

2. Baby socks and scratch mitts

Seth was born in December and I was convinced his tiny toes would somehow suffer instant frost bite and drop off if I didn’t have 50 thousands pairs of socks for him, not to mention what he might do to his face if his baby talons were not contained within mitts at all times! In reality your baby will kick their socks and mitts off just for fun and pretty much all babygrows have feet and scratch mitts built in! Job done, don’t know why I bothered.

3. The famous Bumbo seat

Other mums swear by it! I only swore at it. You need skeletal fingers to reach the straps and clasp once the baby is in the seat and even when they are in there safely all they want to do is get out! Sitting still is not your baby’s aim in life! Why fight him? Ours gathered dust for 9 months, then was sent to family with a new baby to gather dust at their house instead.

4. Approximately 75 multi coloured plastic weaning pots.

If I ever see a mother in the supermarket perusing the baby aisle for weaning pots I wont be able to stifle my scream of “just buy Tupperware!!!” It’s great to make homemade weaning food for baby, well done to you, me and every mother who manages to find time to home cook for baby instead of buying baby food! In reality I used home cooking at home and bought baby food when we were out but once he turned 7 months all the weaning pots I bought were too small so totally useless! Plus they cost a fortune compared to Tupperware.

5. Breast pump

I am not anti breast feeding or pro bottle feeding. I am pro a mothers personal choice! Just had to get that in before I explain this one.

I’ve heard of so many cases of women who wanted to breast feed and baby wouldn’t latch on or their milk didn’t come in – it happens all the time and it happened to me. Before baby arrived I’d convinced myself that I would boss breast feeding like Mother Earth herself so I bought a very expensive pump which was then completely redundant and without being graphic, any product that touches someone else’s bodily fluids doesn’t really hold it’s resale value if you know what I mean.

6. Bibs

Not strictly a useless item as I use them every day, but put it this way, I use around 10, I own 48 billion!!

7. Swing crib

This is a personal choice thing, but we had a cute wooden swing crib instead of a Moses basket in our room. Seth would not sleep in it at all and we couldn’t use the swing function to rock him as he would roll all over the place. After 2 nights we used the flat pram which came with our travel system until he was 3 months and grew out of it.

8. Full price toys and equipment

I cannot stress enough how many ways there are to buy cheap toys and equipment. Facebook swap pages, charity shops, pre loved websites and shops, it’s endless! Seth’s baby walker is worth £35 and cost £3.50 from a charity shop, it’s in mint condition! Amazing. Let’s be honest, it’s all plastic tat you’d rather not have cluttering up your house so it adds insult to injury if you’ve paid out a small fortune for it!

9. Baby cot bedding

I spent hours trying to find the perfect bedding for Seth’s cot bed, even contemplating ordering the perfect set to be handmade by some random woman in America at a cost of about £250 – seriously mental behaviour, I blame the hormones! Anyway, back in the real world, your baby will probably be swaddled in baby blankets and then progress to a sleeping bag until they’re about 12 or 18 months at least, leaving your beautiful bedding folded in a drawer, the same as mine.

10. Over the head sleep suits

So if you’re anything like me you probably waddled around mothercare looking like Pavaroti with a sweat on when you were heavily pregnant, oohing and aahing at all the lovely sleep suits without a second thought for how they do up! That is until you get to the hospital and try to dress your fragile little bundle in an over the head sleep suit. Which basically involves a novice parent wrinkling up what feels like miles of fabric and placing them over the new baby’s face while trying not to suffocate them or snap their tiny little necks. Cue a racing heart and a mild panic attack. It’s a situation better avoided until you’re a confident parent of a 6 month old in my opinion.

So there we have it, my top or rather bottom, ten purchases not to make! Hope it helps.

xx

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