Best Baby Buys 🤱🏻(Part 1)

Well hello there!

Oh guys its been too long from I last posted and I apologise. I have had a few people message me asking when my next blog was going to be up, which to be honest was lovely ☺️ I had lost my mojo and to be even more honest, I don’t have the same down time I used to, as all you other parents will understand. However, the mojo is back and I might have a spare minute or two to spend on this. (It has since taken me pretty much two months to write this 🤦🏻‍♀️).

When I started a wee list of what all I was going to include in this post (and consulted Liam on what he found useful) the list started to get long. Very long. So for the first part I think the best thing to do is to cover the things we found the most useful when Olivia was a newborn. (Which feels likes forever ago and yesterday all at once!). Before I start I’d like to point out the only qualification I have for this is that I’m a mum 😂. I’m not telling people what to do with their babies or what to buy. I’m simply sharing my experience as a first time mum. The range of products and gadgets for babies is phenomenal and an absolute mine field. I found, and in fact still find it so over whelming at times trying to figure out what’s worth spending my money on and what’s just a gimmick and/or totally un-necessary because lets face it – baby stuff is bloody expensive!

The first thing I have to mention is our bed side crib! I honestly highly rate having a bedside crib. I had planned to breastfeed and thought it would be really useful having her so close that I could just lift her out and in for feeds as I knew I’d most likely be up quite frequently and I didn’t want to be tempted to just lie her down beside me (co-sleeping wouldn’t work for us as Liam and I are such restless sleepers). I soon found out that regardless of how you’re feeding your baby it’s so good to have them right beside you. It makes my life a lot easier. I’m also a very anxious mummy and having her so close during the night and it being so easy to check on her (especially in the earlier days) is so reassuring. We personally have the Babylo Cozi Sleeper, which is retailing about £99 at the moment (which is a cracking price for a bedside crib). I’ve found it to be a brilliant size for Olivia. At 7 months she still has plenty of room which is great. I’m fairly sure any of the various other brands ect would do just as good a job. I personally think the Snuz pod is absolutely stunning and I would have loved it!

My next saviour baby item is the Shnuggle bath, this particular bath/brand specifically. Our first time bathing Olivia we were both nervous wrecks. We had missed the class on bathing a baby on our ante-natal course and we hadn’t been shown in hospital as Olivia had been in NICU. If it wasn’t for this bath the poor child might never be bathed 😂. The shnuggle bath is something I actually spotted on Instagram. I’d seen it on a few other parent blogger pages and when my mum offered to buy us something for Olivia I knew exactly what to ask her for. The bath has a lovely soft back support making it comfortable for baby and there’s a little hump on the bottom of it stopping baby from sliding down in the water. The first few times Liam and I bathed her together out of fear but then I became confident enough to bath her on my own and It’s honestly because of this bath. It feels safer and I think it’s safe to say that Olivia absolutely loves this bath. 100% would buy this again.

Guys how hard is it to pick a pram?! We spent a lot of time looking at prams, asked a million questions and still hadn’t a clue what to go for. We had to narrow down what features were most important for us. We decided we wanted a neutral colour. We wanted something fairly light weight so that I could lift it in and out of the car by myself. We wanted ease of use. We wanted a full travel system. Eventually we settled on the Mamas and Papas Sola 2, and it really ticked all the above boxes for us. Really it comes down to what exactly you want from the pram. Some people want good suspension ect for jogging, some people want a pram that can be converted to a double pram if needed (ours doesn’t). It’s a big financial decision so definitely take your time and ask loads of questions. What has really made our lives easier (maybe because we’re lazy, maybe because our backs are bad 🤷🏻‍♀️) was the isofix base. It was worth investing the £100 in to be honest. It just makes a simple task so much easier. Since moving into her big sit up bit in the pram Olivia and ourselves have loved it even more. It’s comfortable and she can be as nosey as she wants 🙈 and sure it even has a cup holder! Who doesn’t want a cup holder on their pram!? 😂

As a new parent we do nothing but worry about our children and that’s perfectly natural. There are so many things out there now to help reduce our worries especially with advances in technology such as breathing monitors and movement matts. I’ve always been a worrier about Olivia in the car. I feel like she’s miles away from me in the back of the car and I like to keep an eye on her because she likes to try and sleep with her head down 🤦🏻‍♀️ a very useful purchase for me was one of those little mirrors you put on the head rest of the car so you can see baby in the rear mirror. You can quickly glance (do not let yourself get distracted) in the mirror and see that all is fine and not be worrying and needing to stop every mile or two 🙈

Trying to choose between bottle brands is incredibly difficult. I remember when my younger brothers and sisters were growing up there were like two brands and everyone had them. Now there are so many 🙈 Personally we have used Tommee Tippees standard bottles from the beginning and have found them to be brilliant. Olivia has take to them really well. They’re easy to wash and sterilise and fairly well priced. Again, everyone’s baby is so different so just because they work for us doesn’t mean they will definitely work for you/your baby.

Another of my personal absolute essentials for a newborn and beyond is a feeding pillow. Now I only actually breastfed for about 10 days, I’m very aware these pillows are marketed specifically for breastfeeding and for those 10 days it was the o my thing that helped me to get Olivia to latch the handful of times she actually did. When I stopped breastfeeding I thought it was going to go to waste but for me it is by far the most comfortable way to feed Olivia at all. Even now she’s holding her bottles herself. With a baby who grew very quickly and is so long it can be hard to get a comfy spot to feed her the pillow takes the pressure off and gives her a cosy little nest to lie in when possible. When I attended my local sure start ante-natal classes they specifically mentioned (but not recommended because they aren’t allowed) the widgey brand pillows saying other mums commented on them. I have to say it’s fab. A great size. Has held its shape and fullness really well. I’ve just had to buy a new cover for it since the zip came off the first one. I literally use this pillow several times a day every single day. Olivia sometimes naps on me on it too 🙈 will defiantly be using it if there is a next time regardless of what method of feeding I go for.

The last thing I want to mention is our good mate Ollie the Owl by the Gro Company. This is a cuddly teddy/white noise machine which also lights up. Olivia’s uncle bought Ollie for her the Christmas before she arrived and he was a god send! Especially in those first two months. His little tricks helped her to get over to sleep so quickly he was such a comfort to her when she was tortured with colic ect too. He currently has no batteries because I’m a bad mummy and keep forgetting to put some in but she still has to have him in her bed. She pulls him in close to her and sometimes we find her holding his week wing whilst she sleeps which melts my heart every time. If we’re lucky enough to have another baby in the next few years I think we will have to invest in a second Ollie because I don’t think Olivia will ever give hers up. 😂

I hope this post hasn’t been too long of a read and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’d love to hear what your best baby buys have been or if you agree/disagree with any of mine. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Until next time 👋🏻

Love,

Kirsty X

Post-natal Mental Health

Hi guys,

A very serious and important topic for this blog post. It’s a blog I’ve been dreading writing but I really feel like I need to do it. I’m using blogging as a form of therapy and in order to do that I need to be open and honest about everything. Even the difficult stuff.

Post-natal mental health is something I thought a lot about before and during my pregnancy. I’ve struggled with my mental health on a few occasions throughout my life; in my teen years during exams I suffered with panic attacks and anxiety. Then in later years when I was trying to conceive and struggling with infertility and being told that I may not be able to have children I struggled greatly with low mood. Then during my pregnancy I had a really hard time. There was a lot going on in my family and it was too much to cope with and my mood dipped again. I had been on anti-depressants during my pregnancy and was told I could breastfeed on them however, this turned out to not be the case and I stopped them to try to breastfeed and felt after that I didn’t need them.

Those who have been following my blog/insta will know that Olivia’s birth was traumatic. Seriously like, the most amazing day of my life, the day I finally became a mother is described as traumatic which is heart breaking. Thankfully due to the staff at CAH she’s alive and doing fabulously, which I’m so grateful for. At first I thought I was coping really well. I was in this little bubble of happiness. My house was full. My baby was finally here and doing well. Don’t get me wrong it was hard but I thought I was absolutely bossing it. As the weeks went on I signed myself up for sure start classes and met people for coffees and lunches and kept my schedule busy. After all, they say that getting out and about after having a baby is good for you. Stops you getting ‘down’. The fact was I didn’t feel down, not one bit. What I did feel, was fear!

I was constantly filled with anxiety, dread and fear. Now, I know as a new mother that can be perfectly normal. However, this was not normal. I felt that if simple things like Olivia’s outfit didn’t match or my kitchen floors were not mopped something bad would happen. That one of us might even die. Silly right? But this is exactly how I felt. My chest would hurt, my heart would pound and I would sweat. My thoughts were constantly racing and usually about nothing important. I kept having flash backs of looking over from the theatre table to another small table with my beautiful little girl and those bewitching eyes that she gets all the compliments on, wide open and several doctors and nurses resuscitating her. Through all of this I still felt that I was being silly. I had heard so much about post-natal depression and this wasn’t fitting the symptoms. So instead I put on my happy face and I went to sure start classes, family events and met with people and no one had any idea what was going on in my head. Then started the nightmares. 13 nights in a row I had nightmares so vivid they woke me out of my sleep and on occasions I was shouting out and waking both my husband and my baby which made me feel worse. I was a walking zombie and I had to give in. I went to the GP and it turns out I have post-natal anxiety and PTSD from Olivia’s traumatic birth. Just speaking to someone and finally saying it all out loud was amazing. It felt like a weight off my shoulders and that I was right, it wasn’t normal new mum anxiety. I was started on beta-blockers and I’m waiting to start counselling. I’m not back to myself fully yet. I still get very anxious over simple things but I’m sleeping a bit better and I’m being more open with the people around me and it’s helping a lot.

Ladies and gents. Becoming a parent is incredibly over whelming. It’s such a huge change in your life and that’s why it’s perfectly normal to struggle. Never mind, the hormone changes in us ladies on top of that. Please don’t be like me putting it off until it gets to such a point of despair. If you can’t speak to your GP, speak to a family member or close friend or even the other way around. Some people find it easier to talk to a stranger. On that note my inbox is always open too. 💕 There are also some fantastic charities ect out there to provide support to people with post-natal mental health issues as well. Do not suffer in silence.

Love,

Kirsty x

“You need her in a routine or you won’t have a life”

Hi folks!

As I sit here and type this blog one handed because my baby wants cuddles. I think about the countless people, including complete strangers who have said things to me like, “you’re spoiling her!” Or “you’re making a rod for your own back there love”. It has been a mixture between people who have kids and people who don’t. People really think that its totally ok to comment on your parenting even if they don’t know you them 🤷🏻‍♀️ The other question I get asked a lot is what’s her routine like? To me, she’s a baby, she doesn’t need a routine. She can do what she wants when she wants to. She’s most definitely the boss in our house, and why the heck not?!

We demand feed which works for us. I let her nap when she wants. Don’t get me wrong, if a routine is what you need or what works for you then happy days. The way I see things for myself is that I have taken a year off work (very lucky I work in the NHS) and I’m not off for a holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I have more time to meet up with friends and go for lunch with family ect and I get to spend my weekends with my husband and that’s lovely but I’m off work to look after my baby. To put my all into her development and to spend time with her. I have the time to work around her and I know I’m lucky. I wouldn’t have this luxury if my maternity wasn’t so good or if I had other children and so I’m taking the opportunity and quite frankly don’t think its the business/choice of anyone but myself and my husband. We did make her 😂

Olivia seems to have gotten herself into a bit of a routine. She eats around every 4 hours and sleeps so well at night. She’s a wee gem with her sleeping and we can’t believe how lucky we are. She will normally go down around 11pm and will either sleep straight through to 6.30am or wake around 4am for a feed depending on when her last feed was. How lucky are we?! I can just hear the other parents reading this cursing us 😂

Being told I’m spoiling Olivia is something I’ve posted about a fair few times on instagram and I think it’s so important to mention that I’ve had some many lovely mummy’s contact me and told me to ignore them and to hold my baby as long as I want and cuddle her tight because they grow up so quick and the time will come where they don’t want your cuddles as much. So ladies and gents that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’ll cuddle her when she cries. I’ll let her fall asleep on my tummy on the sofa (whilst staying awake myself Obvs) and I’ll ‘spoil’ her. I’ll also stand up for myself from now on against those who suggest otherwise. 💪🏻

Love, Kirsty. X

Forever feeding

Hi 👋

I love being a mum but as I said in my last blog it is hard. It’s like a full time job to be honest and I only have one baby! I have serious respect for those who have multiple children. From the moment you fall pregnant it feels like every decision is a huge one. When Olivia was born and had to go to neonatal naturally I was all over the place. I was being asked to make all these decisions and to be honest I couldn’t even decide what I wanted for breakfast 😂. Do I want to breast feed? What formula did I want to top up with? Did I allow Olivia to have a dummy? It literally felt like life and death every time. To be responsible for a whole other human is a huge undertaking.

In regards to feeding it’s something I struggled with physically and mentally. From I got pregnant I really wanted to at least try breast feeding but I wasn’t going to put myself under any pressure and if it didn’t work out then so be it. Then my baby was born poorly and I wanted to do everything I physically could to help her. I put myself under pressure to breastfeed. The midwives were very supportive and not at all pushy or judgmental. They helped me to try and get the right technique to feed Olivia but she wasn’t latching very well and unfortunately I needed medical care myself up on my ward and couldn’t make it down for every feed meaning she needed formula top ups. I was able to hand express my colostrum for her but my actual milk was taking its time to come in. I felt so frustrated with the fact that she wouldn’t latch and I didn’t have the time to be feeding my own baby or even to express as often as I wanted to. Then on one visit to neonatal I was giving it my usual go of breastfeeding her ( I tried every single time I was down despite the latching issues),she latched on and fed for 5 minutes and it was the most amazing feeling, I cried. I was so proud of myself and my body. This feeling was short lived. She continued to struggle to feed each time due to having the top ups at the times I wasn’t able to go down to the unit. I just kept telling myself things would improve when she got out of neonatal and was with me more. She was feeding very well off the bottle and gained weight so we were allowed home.

Things did not get any easier at home, I tried and tried but she wasn’t latching. I tried hand expressing but wasn’t getting much. I was constantly crying in frustration and so was Olivia. I felt like a failure. Then I got a blocked duct which was so painful and didn’t help matters, the pain really got me down even more. I hired an electric pump from sure start and was able to pump small amounts and feed them to her via the bottle but I felt like my whole day was taken up with trying to breast feed, failing, bottle feeding, pumping and then starting all over again. All I done was cry, the poor child was washed in my tears for the first week and a half. I spoke to my midwife about it and she was amazing, she basically told me that I was putting too much pressure on myself and there was no shame in formula feeding, I had tried my best and now my mental health was seriously suffering which would effect Olivia more than moving to exclusive formula feeding (EFF) would. To hear from a professional that it was ok to stop felt like such a relief. I was very aware that PND was a big risk and that I was at risk of developing it due to a history of depression and PCOS. It was something I really was working hard to avoid and still am, (I feel like that may be another blog post).

I had a friend recommend a facebook group to me called fed is best, it really helped me to read that making sure my baby wasn’t hungry and that she was putting on weight ok was the right thing to do. Eight weeks down the line I’m still really struggling with guilt over not being able to breast feed. For the first few weeks and even now still at times Olivia snuggles into my breast and makes little movements with her mouth like she would latch no problem and I think did I give up too easily? Should I have pushed on and if I had would I now have the little breast fed baby I want? It breaks my heart and as much as the people round me tell me I done the right thing and that my little girl is thriving I still beat myself up and a part of me always will. For now I have to try and make some sort of peace with it and take solace in the fact I’ve a wee chub monster.

Love,

Kirsty xx

How times have changed.

Hi folks! 🙋🏻‍♀️

I can’t believed I haven’t written a blog from May last year. I guess I felt because I had gotten pregnant that I didn’t have the right to blog anymore or that people wouldn’t want to read them because I originally was blogging about infertility. Then I remembered that I didn’t start blogging for other people. I started for myself, as a means of release, to help with my mental health, and if what I write about resonates with others or even helps them then that is a bonus.

I’m a mummy now as you may know from me completely spamming my insta grid with baby pictures 😂. On 5th January I gave birth to our beautiful little girl
Olivia.

I had a horrendous labour, I could write a whole blog post just on that! Olivia was born not breathing and her pH was a disaster, in other words she was very sick and almost didn’t make it. She had been deprived of oxygen during labour, possibly as different stages and no one is really sure for how long. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ll know Olivia had to have scans as when she was in neonatal we were told there was a very real and probable chance she had suffered some brain damage as a result of the oxygen deprivation and may have some difficulty with development. As I said, a whole blog post would be needed to go into the ins and outs and describe how I felt about it all, which to be honest I still haven’t gotten to grips with – so I shall move on.

Oh man being a parent is hard work! It’s exhausting and mentally challenging. The days are long and there are no breaks. You genuinely question what you ever done with your time before having a baby, but my word is it totally worth every last sleepless night and stressful day. I can’t believe I finally have my own child. Despite all the complications at the start I feel like the luckiest person in the world. The waiting and the battling fertility issues seem like a distant memory now. I hope that my journey and success can help other people who are working hard on starting their families and help them to push further and keep their chin up. It’s worth it I promise.

Before I had Olivia I spent my life wishing time away, wishing between each month that I would have a period, or be pregnant if I didn’t have one (not just that my ovaries weren’t working) and then using things like concerts and nights out or parties as milestones in the year to count down to just so I wasn’t counting down to my next pregnancy test. Now I have Olivia I just want time to slow down. I want to cherish every minute of the day with her. Even the crying and shit explosions haha. She is honestly the best thing I’ve ever done. My biggest achievement.

Obviously my blogs (if I continue them, at times to be honest I feel a bit silly writing them) will take a different direction. They’ll cover my journey into motherhood and I’ll share my experiences. Reading blogs from other mummy’s has helped me to learn and feel supported and realise that not everyone is supermum and it’s normal to not know what we’re doing all the time. Hopefully mine can do the same for even one person, (if I decide to continue).

Much love,

Kirsty x

Where the heck do we go from here?!

My next natural post was to cover what the plan is next, I always have to have a plan, I have to be organised and know the details of everything which I think drives my husband mad at times. I’d love to throw caution to the wind and just let things take their course. However, that’s exactly what I need to do – you know… in a structured way?

Trying for a baby when you have “unexplained sub-fertility” is bloody exhausting!! Mentally, emotionally and physically. Let’s be honest ladies, it actually consumes your life. It’s all you think about, it’s all you and your partner talk about, you torture your friends with constant talk of trying to conceive and those who know you’re trying ask you nearly every time they see you; “any luck yet?”, “any news yet?”.

This past few months have been, well to be very honest horrific. Very exhausting and the side effects of the clomid have been kicking my ass. I’ve been an emotional wreck and I’m guessing all round a big moan and hard to live with. Clomid is off the table this month because of the side effects and I’ll be honest, I’m freaking delighted!! I hope that doesn’t make me seem like I don’t care about conceiving and don’t want to give it my all, I honestly do. My body however, disagrees. it wants a break and for once I’m going to listen to it.

I’ve had lengthy discussions with my better half this week and it’s time for the two of us to get back to enjoying life. For a long time I felt like we were putting our lives on hold in case we got pregnant, we weren’t spending our money, we weren’t booking holidays or making plans just in case and that is not how anyone should be living their lives. Don’t get me wrong I’ll still be going to the fertility clinic appointments and tracking everything and when the time comes I’ll be taking any medications they ask me to. However, until these test results come back and we have a plan in action I’m focusing my mind on other things. My new goals are: to lose weight, to focus on getting my house fixed up and making it more homely and to just freaking enjoy life! I’ll book my holidays, I’ll make my plans and I’ll drink my prosecco! Also, I’ll do it all with one big smile on my face!!

I think we all lose ourselves along the way and we need set back on the right track, to remember who we were before this journey took over, as important as it may be, it does NOT define us.

Love, Kirsty xx

My Journey so far…

I would say that most of the people reading this post will be my lovely TTC community and personal friends who invest time on reading my instagram posts, for which i am eternally grateful. This felt like the natural next step for me after getting lovely support from you all.

I’m not sure if many of you know about my journey from the beginning so I thought I would do a post to cover it.

I met my husband when I was 15 (1, 2 ,3 awww young love) and we got married in March 2016 (Beautiful wedding – I’ll share this all with you some day too). The year before the wedding I found I was having all these odd symptoms. No periods – which was always being put down to contraceptive (first the implant and then the pill), pelvis pain and then came the delight which is facial hair, like manly facial hair not just a few strays needing plucked here and there. I went for lunch one day with my dad and auntie and I’m always pretty open about anything so I shared the beard issue with them again cursing the pill for it and my aunt said “no Kirsty, the pill does NOT do that to you, see a doctor”, and so I did. After blood tests and an ultrasound I was diagnosed with PCOS and I didn’t have a clue – what’s worse, neither did my GP.

The one thing that stood out to me during all my studying was this issue with fertility and PCOS. It frightened the life out of me and my husband, we’ve both always wanted to be parents. So that Christmas we decided to start trying. We didn’t really tell anyone about it. I just went to see my GP for some advice on vitamins ect. We weren’t too stressed about it at the start, I didn’t do any tracking or monitoring, we were just letting nature take it’s course. After 6 months of no periods and no baby we got a little concerned, but the GP said until we have been trying a year there’s nothing they could do. Utterly frustrating right?!

Through out this I kept getting reminded about how young I am which I found totally infuriating! After about 14 months my GP finally took me seriously and referred me to a gynecologist as I still hadn’t had any periods. The referral took months to come through and when they finally saw me literally the only answer was to lose weight, and I would be followed up in three months. So I decided I would push myself to try and lose some weight (not easy because I also have an under active thyroid) and wait it out. After 6 months I went back to my GP as I hadn’t heard about my follow up appointments and she informed me the gynecologist said on their letter to her it would be a 6 month follow up. At this point my husband and I were desperate for answers so we decided to go private. After two appointments within 6 months with a private gynecologist I had a dye test of my Fallopian tubes, my husband has tests and everything other than sub-fertility due to PCOS was ruled out which was great but we still weren’t sure what to do. We were told again that all I could do was lose weight and hope for the best.

I’ve lost weight, not a lot, about a stone and my periods had started to come back but were not totally regular. I had told my GP to leave me on the follow up list for NHS and after 18 months I got the follow up appointment I was promised after 3 months. I went ahead to it thinking I would just be giving off about the waiting time and being told to lose more weight and still be no further forward but actually I was told I had lost enough weight to try Clomid! My husband and I were delighted but we knew it might be a long time before we were able to try it because of my irregular periods but low and behold, my period arrive just two days later meaning I could try it. I suffered from pretty bad side effects; nausea, pelvis pain, night sweats and hot flushes. I was constantly exhausted and then after getting my day 21 progesterone checked I found out it hadn’t worked please, despite having what I thought were positive ovulation tests day 20 and 21. This actually broke my heart. I cried, a lot. I’d put my body through hell and got no reward.

Now this past week I’ve been in agony. I have been having severe pelvic pain which has caused me to faint and vomit. They’ve told me I have fluid on my ovaries and thickened endometrial lining and that this is all most likely due to the clomid. Which means no trying the clomid this month. Last week I had an appointment in an NHS fertility clinic and they’re running all tests again from fresh, which is so frustrating because I feel like I’m back to square one. So that’s where I am now and how I’ve gotten here.

Hope you enjoyed learning more about my journey so far, I’ll be following up this post with a post about my next steps. All feedback welcomed.

Love, Kirsty. X