Monday, 23 February 2015

The London Baby Show

Chris and I attended The Baby Show last October whilst I was pregnant. We loved it so much that we said we would go back in February with Florence. This time around the event was held at ExCel London. 

The event is huge, with over 150 exhibitors selling everything you could possibly think of for bump, baby, and beyond!

The show is definitely designed with parents in mind. The last time we went we weren’t able to use to free facilities they provide as Florence wasn't born so I was excited to this time! The first facility that we tried was the Baby Changing Area. The space that was created was large; there were 20 changing areas supplied by Stokke, changing mats, and nappy bins, making nappy changes comfortable and easy. Nappies and wipes were provided by Aldi’s award winning brand, Mamia, which is excellent if you want to try a new brand out. You can, of course, use your own nappies and wipes should you wish.   

Florence was then due a feed so we headed through the crowds to the Tommee Tippee Feeding Area. The Feeding Area supplied all the means to make a fresh bottle of milk. There were microwaves, bottle warmers, and the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine. I usually take readymade cartons of milk if we are out for the day so it was great to have access to a Prep Machine. For the older babies there were complimentary spoons, bibs, and Cow & Gate purée pouches. Again, the space was large and housed plenty of tables and seating for the whole family. If you’re a breast feeding Mother there was a private area with comfortable nursing chairs and complimentary breast pads. 

And then it was time for the shopping!!!

We tend to be like big children in a sweet shop at the Baby Show... As soon as the doors opened we are straight in and running to each stall to see what’s on offer. Before we went, Chris and I had a look at the list of Exhibitors and the products they sold. We generally knew what we were on the lookout for and then highlighted other Exhibitors that interested us. 

Here are all the goodies we bought...

Tommee Tippee
If you have read my Newborn Essentials blog post you would know how much I love these Tommee Tippee Milk Feeding Bibs. They are now the only bibs that I’ll use whilst feeding Florence. We probably went a little mad on how many we bought, but for the price they were on sale for you would be silly not to! A four pack of these bibs usually retail at £9, but they were selling them at the Baby Show for half price making a four pack only £4.50. 

Funky Giraffe Bibs

Yes, more bibs! I’ve recently been shopping around for some stylish dribble bibs for Florence. She has recently started the dreaded ‘T’ word and soaks her clothing in dribble every day. I found Funky Giraffe Bibs online and have had a number of bibs in my shopping basket for some time now. While looking at the list of Exhibitors I saw that Funky Giraffe Bibs would be at the show and decided to wait until I could see the bibs in real life. 

Their bibs have been designed with two poppers, meaning they can be worn from newborn right through until the child is a toddler. The front design is made with 100% cotton and is backed onto a fleece material, making them super soft and comfortable to wear. In addition, all of Funky Giraffe’s fabric is certified by OEKO –TEX, making them free from hazardous dyes and safe for our baby’s sensitive skin. 

The bibs come in over 200 wonderful designs so there will always be a bib to match an outfit. There were some designs that weren’t featuring at the show so I may have to put an order in online!

The show price for Funky Giraffe Bibs was 14 for £20 – an absolute bargain! 


Cheeky Chompers

My Mother bought Florence a Cheeky Chompers Neckerchew Bibs while I was pregnant and I love it. Its clever designs means that your baby can wear a stylish bib to catch the dribble, and have a teether chew at the same time! I am forever misplacing Florence’s teethers so this product is perfect. 

I had been after this exclusive print from Joules Neckerchew for a while. The ditsy floral print is absolutely beautiful and will compliment many of Florence’s outfits. While shopping at Cheeky Chompers at the Baby Show we saw their new product show cased – The Comfortchew. The comfort blanket doubles up as a teether and can be attached to your pram, car seat, cot, or dummy.
Both products are super absorbent, stylish, and practical.

The show price for the Neckerchew and Comfortchew set was £25. 

Earth Friendly Baby

This Earth Friendly Baby Calming Lavender Bubblebath is our favourite Bath Time product, we typically go through a bottle every 10 days or so.  When we last went to the Baby Show we bought the entire lavender collection ready for Florence’s birth. We haven’t used many of the other products so we didn’t buy the full collection again this time around. Instead, we took full advantage of their Buy One Get One Free offer and bought four bottles of bubble bath.

The show price for Earth Friendly Baby Calming Lavender Bubblebath was £5.50 for two bottles.

Annabel Karmel

We already have a few Annabel Karmel books, including; “Weaning,” “Top 100 Baby Purées,” and “Top 100 Finger Foods.” I really love her books and it makes me excited for when it is time to start weaning Florence. At the Baby Show we bought two more of her “Top 100” books – “Top 100 Meals In Minutes” and “Top 100 Pasta Meals.” Both books have quick and easy meal ideas for babies and toddlers. I think that they are really useful to have in the Kitchen for when you’re stuck on what to cook for the little ones! 

The show price for Annabel Karmel’s Top 100 books were £8.

Fill ‘n’ Squeeze

Fill ‘n’ Squeeze was the product that I was most looking forward to seeing. I’m not sure when the product was first launched, but I came across it in John Lewis a couple of weeks back and loved the idea. The Fill ‘n’ Squeeze allows you to transfer your home cooked purées into food pouches so that you can take them on the go without having to buy branded food pouches. Florence was born in December so she’ll start weaning around May/June time. The weather will start to get warmer and the days longer, meaning that we’ll (hopefully) be spending a lot of time away from home. This product means that I can still give Florence a homemade, healthy meal whilst we are out and about. The pouches are reusable, and can be used in the dishwasher, freezer, and microwave!

The show price for Fill ‘n’ Squeeze was £20 which included the starter kit and a refill pack of 10 pouches.

Little Folk 

Chris and I didn’t buy anything from this company, but we did fall in love with their products and took a card home with us. Personalised items aren’t something that Chris and I are usually interested in, but Little Folk specialise is beautiful, hand-made, hand-printed gifts. You are able to mix and match Little Folk’s character illustrations and colours to create your perfect gift. They offer so many personalised gifts from drinks bottles to clocks, to blankets to towels. We just loved everything that Little Folk had to offer and will certainly be taking full advantage of the 10% off voucher we were given, once we finally choose what to purchase that is! 

So that was our Baby Show haul!
 We have a really good time and plan on going back to the next London show later this year.

Did you go to the London Baby Show?
Let me know what your favourite buys were!

Monday, 16 February 2015

What not to say to a Caeserean Mother

The birthing process has certainly evolved during the last century or so; woman are now offered a variety of drugs and are even able to choose homebirth, but the most recent change is the increase in Caesarean Sections. Between 2012 and 2013 the percentage of caesarean deliveries in the United Kingdom was 25.5% (167,283 deliveries.)

You may or may not have seen the video of a live Caesarean Section circulating Facebook. If you have, you will agree with me that it is both medically and emotionally amazing. There were many negative comments attached to this video, with people classing Caesarean Mothers as “lazy” who have chosen the “easy way out” of child birth. To my surprise, some of these comments were made by people who I knew personally, and even more surprisingly, some of these people were Mothers themselves. Not only are these comments untrue, they are also incredibly insulting for Mothers such as myself who have experienced a Caesarean birth. 

Florence was born by an Elective Caesarean Section. Obviously, this was not how I envisioned my birth to be when I first found out that we were expecting. If you have read my birth plan blog post you would know that I was striving for the most natural, pain free birth that I could have. Of course I didn’t want Florence to be brought into the World whilst I was wired up to machines and pumped to the brim with pain killers. I can barely remember when they held Florence up to us for the first time because the drugs had completely knocked me out... Chris had to force me to stay awake so they didn’t give me a General Anaesthetic during the surgery. 

For a large majority of us Caesarean Mothers, we did not have a choice in the matter. A Caesarean Section was the safest option for myself and Florence.

 “I wouldn’t worry, my baby turned at 38 weeks.”

Brilliant. For the entire duration of my pregnancy Florence was comfortably in the Breech Position. We tried everything to try and turn her; birthing ball, walking, warm baths, breech tilt, standing on my head, cold and hot stimulation. I came out of every Doctor and Midwife appointment in tears because despite trying everything, Florence still hadn’t turned. I eventually had to accept that I would be delivering Florence via Caesarean Section. 

“You’re so lucky to have a Caesarean; it’s so much easier than natural child birth”

Several acquaintances had mentioned how “lucky” I was to be offered a Caesarean Section as this was “easier” than going through labour and delivery naturally. There are so many risks that are directly linked to having a Caesarean delivery such as: 

  • Infection of the wound, 
  • Infection of the womb lining, 
  • Blood clots, 
  • Excessive bleeding, 
  • Damage to bladder, 
  • Aspiration pneumonia, 
  • Admission to the Intensive Care Unit.
Not to mention to potential risks that may affect your baby. When Florence was born she had to be checked over by the Paediatrician several times because she was born with Dolichocephaly (a mild cranial deformity in which the head has disproportionately molded into a long and narrow shape, due to mechanical forces associated with breech positioning.) She also had to be given a hip scan at 6 weeks to rule out hip dysplasia. 

P.S – My waters broke 9 days before my Elective Caesarean. I laboured and contracted naturally, and although it was only for five hours it was painful and tough, not easy. 


 “Are you sure that your Caesarean was necessary?” 

If your baby is lying in the Breech Position, you’ll often be offered an External Cephalic Version (ECV). This is where they will try and turn your baby into the head-down position by putting pressure on, and manipulating your abdomen. Statistics show that around 50% of Breech babies do turn when this procedure is performed, and of those, most will remain head-down. An ECV was never an option for me. Although large medical studies conducted by the likes of Oxford University have proved that the procedure is relatively safe, research also told me that there was a chance that it could have caused Florence distress, resulting in an emergency Caesarean on the same day. I simply couldn’t justify going through with the procedure and putting Florence in potential danger just for the sake of avoiding surgery. 

Yes, you can deliver a Breech baby naturally, but again, this comes with vast complications such as:

  • Umbilical cord prolapse,
  • Fetal head entrapment, 
  • Injuries to the baby’s brain, skull, spine, and limbs,
  • Oxygen deprivation, 
  • Prolonged labour,
  • Increased risk of perineal tears
Caesareans are performed for a range of medical reasons, and sometimes it is the safest option for both the Mother and the Baby. So no, a Caesarean is not “unnecessary.” 

“You’ll be up and about in no time.”

Not only is the thought of surgery terrifying, there is also the recovery process to factor in. I spent most of the days after Florence’s birth in tears. I felt like a failure of a Mother; I couldn’t get up quick enough to comfort her when she cried, I couldn’t hold her, change her, or dress her without support. For those few days I relied heavily on Chris doing everything for Florence and I. Luckily, Chris was at home with us for four weeks after Florence was born, meaning he was able to drive us everywhere. I was also exempt from driving so if it wasn’t for Chris we would have been stuck in the house for four weeks - four.weeks!

I do believe that I was lucky with my Caesarean Recovery. The first week or two was tough but it started to get easier as the days went on, and I slowly weaned myself off of the high volume of pain killers I was on each day. I do know of some fellow Caesarean Mothers who found their recovery extremely difficult and are still experiencing some discomfort in day to day life.

Whether our babies were brought into the World naturally or via Caesarean we have still experienced birth, just in different ways. No Mother is “better” than another just because they experienced child birth the way that nature intended. Pregnancy and child birth is a powerful and brave experience; please don’t treat it as a competition.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Florence's Bedtime Routine

Chris and I started Florence’s bedtime routine when she was six and a half weeks old. Around this time Florence started spending less of the day napping and more time playing. The change in Florence’s sleep patterns was rather prompt; as soon as she turned six weeks old she didn’t want to nap as much during the day.  This meant that she became over tired and refused to sleep when she really needed to, resulting in a very unsettled little girl. By putting Florence into a bedtime routine it meant that I was able to structure her day a little more so that she had regular naps. During the day her routine often goes something like this: Bottle, Playtime, Nap, Bottle, Playtime, Nap, and so on. This routine is similar to the “E.A.S.Y Routine” that was developed by The Baby Whisperer, Tracey Hoggs (although, there isn't much time for ME time!) 

We have a lovely little bedtime routine in place now, so that Florence understands it is time to sleep. We usually start the routine around 7.30pm, give or take half an hour. This ensures that Chris is home from work and gets to spend some time with Florence before she goes to bed. 

Before starting the routine we make sure that her vest, pyjamas, and nappy are laid out, and that our bedroom is dimly lit by the nightlight on our Angelcare Monitor

Here is how Florence’s bedtime routine goes...

·   -We run a bath at 38°C using Earth Friendly Baby Calming Lavender Bubble Bath. The temperature is a little warmer than what is usually recommended, but Florence enjoys it and it gives her longer in the bath before the temperature drops too much! The lavender in the bubble bath helps to relax and calm Florence before bedtime.

·         -We give Florence a little massage, and then change her into a Pampers Baby Dry Nappy and clean pyjamas.

-Then it’s time for cuddles and Florence’s “last” bottle.

·         -Florence usually goes into her Moses Basket awake, with the sound of her Tranquil Turtle playing in the background. We say goodnight and give her one last kiss before leaving the room. 

From day one this routine has worked, and three weeks later it is still (fingers crossed) working. Florence is still only young, and she doesn’t sleep through the night yet. At 11.30pm we give Florence a Dream Feed*, she doesn’t usually take a full bottle but she does take what she needs. Typically, she’ll then wake for a bottle between 2.30am and 3.30am, and then again between 6.30am and 7.30am. 

Of course, there have been occasions where we have been unable to start Florence’s bedtime routine on time. When this is the case we always make sure that we bathe Florence, regardless of the time, before we put her into her Moses Basket to sleep. By doing so Florence is learning to associate bath time with bed time, I also find that she settles easier too. 

* For the last two nights we have stopped giving Florence a Dream Feed at 11.30pm. She had started to only take1oz of her bottle and I figured that she didn't really want/need it. We wanted to see how long Florence would last after her 8pm bottle, and since we have dropped the Dream Feed she has missed the 11.30pm feed and has slept through until 1.30am - 2.30am*

What is your Baby’s bedtime routine? 
When did your baby start sleeping through the night?