Parenting // Changing station

What our changing station looks like has changed alot over this last year. I thought it would be helpful to give you ideas of what to include in yours.
First off, I would suggest buying two baskets. One for the nursery and one for the lounge. In those early weeks your little one will need so many nappy changes and trust me, you won’t be wanting to run upstairs ten times a day. At first we had two rectangular woven baskets about 20cm x 40cm. These allowed us to fit lots in during those manic months and the less often you have to re-fill it, the better!
We filled each basket about two thirds full of nappies and the rest of the space was taken up with:

  • Cotton balls – we didn’t use wipes with Wilf until he was around 4-6 weeks old as babies skin is so sensitive and it was actually easier and cheaper so I would definitely recommend doing this over water wipes. But you will need a tub of fresh warm water (we just used an old ice cream tub!).
  • Nappy cream – we didn’t need to use this for months but better to have it to hand should you find a red bum mid change. 
  • A pack of nappy bags – for dirty nappies, always use for pooey ones!
  • Hand sanitiser – to clean your hands before/after without having to run to the sink.
  •  ~ Downstairs basket only ~ spare clothes – we kept at least two baby gros and two bodysuits at all times, you may wish to add booties/hats etc depending on how warm it is.

After a few weeks the cotton balls switched to a pack of wipes and after a few months we ditched the spare clothes downstairs as the poo explosions became less freequent. At around seven months we also used smaller baskets. A slightly smaller wipe clean one was now in use in the nursery (as seen in the picture) and a small A5 size basket was used downstairs as the number of nappies didn’t need to be so high, but still handy to have a change station down there.

It’s worth mentioning that we have a nappy bin in the nursery but downstairs the full nappy bag would sit at the changing station until it got moved to the bin, this worked for us as we didn’t have other children or dogs to worry about.

We also didn’t have a change table in the nursery, hence these items being in a basket and not a drawer. We found this worked for us. If we needed to run out the room we weren’t worried about leaving him on the change mat!

Hopefully this is of help to some. I find with things like this you just don’t know what you need until you are in the midst of newborn haze.


Parenting // Twelve months of feeding

You might remember that I have already talked about my breastfeeding journey over here. But I wanted this post to focus less on the emotional side of feeding and more around what we have done practically over the last twelve months when it comes to getting milk in our little one.

From day one we logged all his feeds, nappies etc onto an app which we continued to use up until he was around 14/15 weeks. About six weeks in we also logged sleeps and expressing info on it. Although we fortunately never needed to use this info for medical purposes, we found it so useful in helping to understand what he might need, what patterns were emerging and when his last poo was!
So from day one it was just boob. Around day four or five my milk came in and the feeds increased. Wilf always fed for a long time, rarely feeding for less than twenty minutes and often longer, sometimes it was over an hour. 

At five weeks we introduced expressed milk but I could only express between 20-60ml, a few times a week. It helped to give me a bit of rest time and was also lovely for Dunc to be involved in the feeding. But as I could only express small amounts it was never really enough. I remember once expressing around 120ml and being so proud of myself, then pretty frustrated that Wilf refused to drink even half of this bottle – the only time he had not wanted more!

At eight weeks we started to fall into a lose pattern of feeding upon waking as we didn’t want Wilf to become reliant upon feeding to get to sleep. 

At 16 weeks we introduced a proper bedtime routine which was rounded off with a 45 minute boob feed. This was then followed up with a formula dream feed at around 10/11pm. At first this was six ounces but after Wilf cried in such distress one night, Dunc gave him another six ounce bottle which he guzzled. This led us to give him 12 oz every dream feed. I checked with the health visitor and she assured me that as he was a breastfed baby he wouldn’t be able to over feed so he obviously needed a big feed.

Over the weeks and months, Wilf’s day feeds gradually reduced down to more of a structure and by the time Wilf reached six months we also introduced formula feeds during the day. He would have boob when he woke, formula after his morning sleep, boob after midday nap, formula after his afternoon nap, boob at bedtime, formula at dream feed (now back to one bottle) and boob overnight. Formula was always 6oz and he rarely left any.

On occassion he may want another boob feed during the day but as we were starting to introduce food, he rarely wanted more. I was also careful to offer milk before food to ensure he was filling up on the right stuff.

It was also around six months that he started to wake just once during the night. When he started sleeping through until 4am-ish I knew that he could sleep through to that time without needing a feed. So if he woke earlier, say between 2-3am, I would settle him back down and leave him. It only took a couple of weeks of this happening (not even every night), before he properly adjusted to not getting fed early in the night. I stuck to my guns pretty much every night which helped and soon he rarely woke before 4am. He would then feed for 30 minutes on each side (I introduced feeding on both sides at every single feed upon NHS advice at five months) and sleep for an hour or two more until his morning feed.

At around seven to eight months his feeds reduced even further. He had now swapped his midday nap and boob feed with lunch and was down to just boob feeding in the morning, at bedtime and overnight along with his two 6oz bottles mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

By eight months we had decided to start the road to coming off the boob altogether. We started this by first swapping his bedtime boob feed for formula (8oz to keep him fuller for longer) and finishing the dream feed. Dunc was quite upset at this ending as it was his bonding time with Wilf and had done it pretty much every single night since 16 weeks (I could count on one hand the number of dream feeds I had done).

This worked well and he seemed to sleep through till 5am and was then adamant that it was morning time. After a couple of weeks of early starts, out of nowhere he started sleeping right through till 7ish (sometimes 8ish, sometimes 6ish!). We then swapped his morning boob feed for another 8oz bottle and that was it. Breastfeeding was finished at eight and a half months. 

We soon dropped his mid-morning bottle as his botttle upon waking, followed by breakfast an hour later was enough to keep him going till food at lunchtime and his afternoon bottle.

Wilf has so far continued to sleep through at night time and now has just his bottle upon waking and his bedtime bottle (which recently went down to 7oz) after dropping his afternoon bottle at around 10 and a half months.

With Wilf turning one next week, we will start to think about switching up the formula for whole milk. We have just introduced vitamin supplements which we put into his bedtime bottle to help him get all the goodness he needs now that his milk consumption is so reduced.

Another thing to note is that we stopped steralising his bottles at around eight months. It was just the most annoying thing and we felt that as they were going through the dishwasher anyway, and as he was now putting anything he could lay his hands on, into his mouth, steralising just didn’t seem as important. But of course you should always only do what you’re comfortable with.

I know this probably isn’t of interest to most, especially as all babies are different, but I really wanted to remember what we did and I know I will look back on this.

I would love to hear of any more feeding experiences so do post links to any in the comments below!


Home life // Finding fitness

It’s not just since having Wilf that I have found excuses not to exercise. Whether it’s the cost, the weather, timings that don’t suit or anxiousness you can guarantee that I will find a reason to not exercise. 
But one of the main reasons I put off exercise over the years was embarrasment. I know I look a mess when exercising. I turn beetroot red (the worst was after a spinning class, pure hell), have sweat dripping or even pouring down my face and my hair gets frizzy. This has put me off joining classes or running past cars or people walking. I also have sizeable legs for a size 10 and they are accentuated by exercise leggings which also made me feel crap. I know exercise isn’t about looking good but if you don’t feel confident then you won’t have as much enthusiasm for it.
I have enjoyed bike riding in the past, but only where no roads whatsoever are involved. My parents live next to a canal and I used to drive to theirs then cycle as fast as I could for an hour. But we are talking six years ago now… 

I also took up exercise classes. For a couple of years I did bokwa and piloxing every week. But stopped that two years ago.

I would also like to state that I have NEVER stepped foot into a gym other than to walk through to my class. I have NEVER used gym equipment and wouldn’t even know where to start.

About three months after having Wilf I did five weeks of buggy circuits which I loved and that combined with breastfeeding got me back to pre pregnancy size in no time. But then the class changed days to the one time I had pre-booked a terms worth of baby sensory classes. So that was finished.

Then came winter and masses of eating. I am a tad over my pre pregnancy size. Some of my size 10 clothes don’t fit and I have been buying size 12 in some shops. I guess I want to slim down a little. But mostly I want to tone up. I have been lucky over my twenties in that despite a lack of exercise I have always had a slim, toned stomach. But now, not so much. I would also like to fit in some of my jeans from 2-3 years ago but not sure if keeping them is a good thing or not?? They are all super skinny!

Anyway, onto the point of this post. Finding fitness. I read a post on the fab blog, Rock my Style and it inspired me to get running. So in the early hours of a sleepless Sunday morning last weekend I downloaded a 5k running app. I went out for my first run at 7.30 that morning and I have now started my secon week and love it. 

You do three runs a week for around 30 mins and after eight weeks you reach the point where you can run a straight 5k. I am excited by this prospect.

I tried running a couple of years ago. Mainly to save the money I was spending on exercise classes, but I am not a natural runner. I used to always get stitches and get very sweaty. Now when I tried running two years ago, I think I tried to push myself too hard. This app, starts you off slow which I really like. It also gives you plenty of walking time which is where I went wrong before.
In week one you do a brisk five minute warm up walk, then run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds. You then repeat the run/walk section eight times in total and finish with a five minute cool down. Then over the weeks it gets gradually harder.

I am excited to see how I get on and will update you on here. If you are debating doing something similar. Just do it. Then instead of feeling crap in two months time wishing you had started doing something. You will be two months down the road and feeling much better. Nothing will change unless you start the change!


Parenting // Where did all the time go?

For the last month or two my Bloglovin feed has been full of unread posts that soon feel like something that needs to be dealt with rather than enjoyed. This never used to be the case, what’s changed? 

Well the way I spend my parenting time. A few months ago I would spend several hours each day sat still with a baby at my boob. And nine out of ten mums would agree that you soon reach for your phone or a book or the tv remote. 

I would devour my Bloglovin feed, reading every post, eagerly awaiting the next installment from my favourite bloggers. Now I’m scrolling down marking anything I’m not interested in as ‘read’ to help cut the list down.

I was also getting through books at a high rate. Reading for a good 30-40 minutes during his bedtime feed and maybe another feed aswell. It has now been three months since I picked up a book. I fall asleep too quickly to read at bedtime and am being awoken too early in the morning to squeeze in a chapter.

I was also caught up on any shows I had missed online and was watching all of the vlogs and youtube videos I could find. Now I can’t even remember what I want to watch online when I get time in the bath and maybe find I can squeeze in one ‘early to bed’ night a week that means I can fit in one vlog before falling asleep with the bedside light still on.

I guess I have officially moved from phase one of parenting to phase two. 

The moving phase. This involves constantly patrolling a moving baby who should be wearing a crash helmet. If you get time to sit, it’s probably on the floor. If you get time to eat, it’s probably something you grabbed from the kitchen before they had long enough to crawl to your side. And even then it will probably get stolen and result in a change of clothes (them, not you).

There is also lots of comforting for a teething baby which usually involes a cuddle and a walk around the garden. 

He of course needs constant stimulation too and obviously I enjoy spending time helping him learn new skills and the like, but it can be exhausting.

This is all not to mention the fact that I’m back at work. I have found my energy levels to have dipped loads since returning to work so I really don’t have the time or energy to be reading stuff for me. You will also have noticed a dip in how often I’m posting on here. I want my energy and focus to go into Wilf but I guess I also need to focus on me sometimes to be a good mum. Speaking of which I went out for a run on Sunday morning and it felt ruddy brilliant. Must. Do. It. More.

Has anyone else experienced this? If anyone has any tips for finding you time with an almost one year old and I am all ears!!


Parenting // My breastfeeding journey

I can’t believe that almost eight months in and I’m still breastfeeding. I am so proud of us.

I always wanted to get to three months, and after the first six weeks dragged by, the next six whizzed by. Then I set a target of six months thinking there was no way could I make it that far. Then I did.

Looking back at the early days, it seemed even more unlikely that we would do so well. I didn’t even think about Wilf latching on till about two hours after he was born. I totally forgot about it and the midwife didn’t mention it. It was only when I moved onto the ward that it suddenly occured to me so I asked the midwife what I was meant to do and she seemed a little shocked that I hadn’t yet done it. That was my first pang of mum guilt. She then helped me and he latched straight on. It felt uncomfortable. Not quite painful but not painfree….

After leaving me to it for a few hours I didn’t feel confident and so the breastfeeding specialist spent some time with me before we headed home that afternoon. I felt much better but still not confident and assumed that would come with time.

I continued to feed him at home for the next few days. Feeds lasted a while and were getting more and more painful. Finally the pain had got so bad that I started to wince everytime Wilf wanted to feed. My nipples were so sore and I was in tears as he fed. 

I sought help from the labour ward, who, over the phone told me that it all sounded normal. The next day I wasn’t convinced and was panicking at Wilf’s weight. He seemed to be losing all his weight before my eyes. I called the community midwife who offered to get someone round the next day. The feeding specialist came to ours and told me that the latch was wrong. I felt awful that I hadn’t been feeding him correctly but so pleased that my gut feeling was right and that this pain wasn’t right.

She showed me what to do and we haven’t looked back. There were some nights where we just couldn’t get the latch right, but I knew what was wrong and what was right and now we don’t even need the light on and those troubles seem like a distant memory.

At 5 weeks we introduced expressed milk via a bottle as we wanted him to feed with a bottle. We continued to do this once or twice a week, most weeks for the first few months. 

At 16 weeks we introduced formula for the first time at his dream feed. All seemed to go well and that feed continues to this day. At six months we introduced two extra formula feeds a day and now I only feed him when he wakes in the morning and when he goes to bed in the evening. I also feed him during the night but currently, he rarely wakes during the night at the moment…
I always felt bad for not enjoying feeds more. Because it is bonding time so I should have all the feels about it, but Wilf has always fed for so long, usually hour stints. At 5 months I was told to feed him on both sides at each feed and it just takes so long. I have always been up for a minimum of an hour for each night feed and have had to plan programmes to watch for day feeds as I am glued to the sofa for so long. I guess I wasn’t really sad about the feeds reducing, but now they are so infrequent, it does feel odd and I don’t know how long we will continue like this. I can’t see me still feeding him at a year, but then I never thought we would make it past three months…


Shopping // A Lush Christmas

Seeing as my last Lush post was such a hit, I had to hit up my local store for some Christmas themed bath bombs. The things I do for you guys.

So, if you need to sort a secret santa, fill a stocking or just grab a last minute gift, here is my rundown of some of the goodies I bought.

  • The Christmas Penguin Bubble Bar – I used this at the weekend and it was so good. It made my skin feel so soft and creamy both in the bath and out. I was so relaxed I fell asleep for over an hour! Plus you can’t go wrong with a cute penguin.
  • Northen Lights Bath Bomb – Apparently this one spins round as it releases lots of different colours into the water. Can’t wait to try it out. It also smells beautiful.
  • Butter Bear Bath Bomb – As I have never tried this one before I felt compelled to buy it to help look after my skin in this cold weather. I’ve heard lots of good things about it.
  • Snow Angel Bath Melt – Another beautiful Christmas product, it smells divine and looks like it will be amazing. I think this will be my chosen product in my next bath.

So have you been into Lush recently? Do tell me below what you’ve bought and of course let me know if you try any of these beauties.

I can’t wait to find time for a bath before the new year arrives, a little slice of relaxation in amidst the chaos of the festivities.


Pregnancy // One year on

Today marks one year since I first found out that I was pregnant. It feels both like yesterday and much longer ago.

Dunc and I had been trying for a year to get pregnant and upon moving into our new house on 1st August I stepped back from over thinking it. The not succeeding was really getting me down and at the end of August I had a long chat with my oldest friend who made me feel a lot better. Then what do you know, the moment I stopped stressing, it happened. I realised it had been seven weeks since my last period and so after work on Thursday I bought some tests.

I did the test before work on the Friday morning as a nurse had told me that the first wee of the day was the best to test. Dunc was already at work and my instinct was to text him, asking him to call me. Then I decided I wanted to tell him in person. He found out a few hours later and after all the negative tests, I don’t think he believed me at first.

It was such a wierd feeling. I wanted to shout it from the roof tops and wanted everyone to know. I felt different, I felt like everyone would be able to sense a change in me. The weeks before we would be able to tell anyone (bar immediate family) felt so far away.

The happiness I felt was indescribable and sometimes I look at Wilf now, still unable to believe how lucky we are. 

Below are my bump pics. The first nine are weeks 14 to 24, the next nine are weeks 25 to 35 and the last four are from the last few weeks.