Tag Archives: babytalk

Sunday at Scolty.

Not such a bright and sunny morning though sure to make the most of it, Sunday moring and we woke early, got ready and headed out to Banchory for a trek up Scolty hill. How come it is never the weather you want when you make plans? Typical Scottish Summer.

Fern and Eleanor were in tow, we got all loaded in the car and hit the road around 930AM, set for the day. I’m back at work now so family time is even more important. Keeping active and being outdoors is something we can all enjoy and allows Fern to have a good run. It makes sense to get out and have some scenic walks.

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I’ll keep this post short and to the point. We hiked up Scolty taking around two hours with one stop mid way up the hill to feed Eleanor and take a breather. Euan was carrying her on his back so it takes toll on the shoulders an extra 7kg, believe it or not. Yep, our baby is not such a wee baby any more.

We made it to the top without much fuss, other than slight grumping from Eleanor as she was hungry and Teething.. not a great combination, I’m sure every parent out there will know. Fern loved the walk and all the scents, she was bounding around the fields and scrambling around. I couldn’t keep up, my stamina just doesn’t match a Springer Spaniel.

The nature was lovely, there was so much to see and take in. The plants, the flowers, so much colour even on a dull day. I really do love the outdoors, fresh air is the best medicine,good views are an added bonus.

Once at the top, we didn’t hang about as Eleanor was a bit restless by this point so we headed back down the hill and the rocky steps making animal noises and all sorts of crazy talk to entertain and distract Eleanor which kept the tears at bay. Who knew a simple ‘neigh’ could bring so much joy?

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Back at the car, I gave Eleanor a small feed to satisfy her and we headed back home. A busy morning but a great way to spend a Sunday. A dose of fresh air and spectacular views to take in with the family is quite special.

Off to make a vegetarian moussakka and enjoy the afternoon with my gruesome twosome. I’m sure we will find some chaos along the way. Hope you enjoy my images from our walk.

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Happy Sunday.

Solitary sleep and the attachment risks with an infant.

Co-sleeping, am I doing it wrong?

Hello all, I’m onto a new subject matter today. One that is quite important for myself. For those for who follow my blog, you may have read my post about co-sleeping with my newborn and the uncertainties that I had with this issue. With this being a big issue of mine, I decided to do some further research into the topic to find out more about the pro’s and cons of co-sleeping. I’m ready to share my findings with you.

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The act of sharing a bed with your child is said to lead to horrible results, this can include entitled and clingy children. However, with new research surrounding the topic,  there’s no evidence of this and studies have shown that bed sharing has been linked  with independence, less thumb-sucking and cognitive competence.

Independence is not something I actually had thought about when it came to co-sleeping and to now know that Eleanor could become independent through co-sleeping is great news as independence is very important and I want her to be able to rely on herself and grow to become a competent individual. Other studies around the subject have found no differences between children who bed share and those who sleep alone.

This should mean the question is left up to individual families to see what works best for them. Phew. II worried that I was n the wrong and not giving my baby the best chance so finding research that proved my theories wrong has been a pleasant surprise and put my mind to rest. Sure, I don’t want my baby bed sharing with us when she is past six months of age but for now, it’s good to know that keeping her close is causing no harm or affecting her development.

I find that bed sharing is just so much easier for myself, for the family at this time. Especially while breastfeeding, it is super convenient and makes the night feeds real easy and not a stressful event. I find that co-sleeping also soothes Eleanor. If I put her down alone, she can become very unsettled and upset which can be upsetting for myself to see, it really does break your heart when you see your baby cry. It is helpless. I have read that recent studies now show that with breastfeeding and bed sharing through the night, the shared contact with baby is essential for their overall development.

I thought that bed sharing and co sleeping was unsafe for my baby and feared for her safety but research has shown that bed sharing is perfectly safe, it all depends on the surrounding environment and the circumstances. I’m happy that the environment I share with my baby is fully as safe can be and she is secure at all times.

Perhaps, I’ve shot myself in the foot and come six months the transition for our bed into her own will be very difficult and trying but for now, co-sleeping works for us all and is what my baby needs.

I will continue to bed share until we hit the six month mark where I am then happy to move onto the next stage and get Eleanor sleeping alone in her cot. I have many tricks, reading material and good advice for getting to this stage and prepping my baby girl for solitary sleeping.

I’m sure if we take the right steps for us, get into a good feeding and bed time routine/pattern, we will get to the stage of solitary sleep and begin our next chapter as a family. Until then, I’ll embrace all of the night time cuddles I can get. A baby is only a newborn once after all and time is precious.

Baby steps, right? 

 

Lots of love, Keren x

 

 

Maternity leave and Motherhood. Where dreamy expectations meet reality.

The illusion of Motherhood.

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Call me naive but I had great hopes for my spell off work on maternity leave. Maybe, I am just too new at this whole baby game and Motherhood to understand exactly how much work a newborn entails and how little time there is left for leisure.

Perhaps if I had been more in the know and more accepting of a new lifestyle change I’d have not been hit with such a harsh reality and have my illusion of maternity leave shattered. Perhaps if I were wiser, I’d have foreseen that with Motherhood and maternity leave, there are no dreamy illusions.

Let’s get to the point, with a spell of maternity leave from work, I had such great expectations and ideas.

For a start, I believed that I would still be able to get up and get dressed each morning, to pick out a pretty outfit and to do my make up and my hair real nice. I believed I would have the time and then some to feel like myself all while nursing a newborn. My baby would sleep and I would have all the time in the world to take a hot shower and get myself ready each and every day. Yeah right. I was met with a harsh reality. A reality that is now every day life. A reality that is now me.

I’m afraid to say that maternity leave is not all I expected it to be, at least not at this  initial first stage. I lack the time to shower and get myself ready, I don’t have time to bake homely goods and make the dinner that I’ve been perfecting out of the dozens of recipe books I own and I certainly don’t have time to be heading out on leisurely shopping and coffee trips. The only escape I have from my reality is through writing my blog and even with that, I’m still plugged into Motherhood. There’s no escape. I am completely consumed.

I am lucky if I have ten minutes to myself to have a cup of coffee and settle down to one of the books I bought myself as a treat for maternity leave. I cannot watch a TV show without the interruptions of a hungry baby demanding to be fed and I certainly don’t have the opportunity to work on my culinary skills.

In fact, I lack so much time that dinner is a slap up meal that’s come straight out of the oven, or in my case, a bowl of cereal which I dribble all down myself and my baby as I nurse her while I eat with one hand. My fiance has been living on beans and various forms of supermarket frozen meats. The occasional vegetable thrown into the mix for good measure. I swear I will make a good wife yet..

Baking? Well, you can forget that, I can barely make it out to the supermarket alone to collect baking supplies, never mind start the baking in question. I did once love to bake and I wanted to try to improve on this while I have time off to do so.I could becoke and frequent baker and teach my daughter the skills but I have found that i lack the time, the energy and the motivation for any form of creativity right now. The carrot cake has been put on hold. Baking can wait.

Yes, maternity leave was full of high and mighty expectations. I had so much plans. I could join all of the mum and baby clubs, I could have coffee dates daily, go out and take a shopping trip each week – one that wasn’t met with a dose of anxiety as I waited for my baby to kick off and begin to cry and fuss in public. Hell, maybe I could even join the gym and go to some classes in the day time. Meet some new people. Make some new friends.

Friends are something that I lack, and always have. In primary school and even into secondary school I found I never really fitted in to any friendship groups or any clubs. I’ve always been a it of a lone wolf. It’s not that I don’t try to make friends, it’s just I’m a bit socially awkward and as an introvert, I really struggle in a social setting and meeting new people is a very big deal. I also don’t do touching..

Let me elaborate. You know that friendly hug that people do? That friendly peck on the cheek? The type that you never know which way to turn or wether you are meant to return that peck? Yeah? Well, you can guarantee I’m shying away and half way out the door before anyone is touching me. I don’t do hugs.

Shudder.

Let me mention that I’m also a bag of nerves when I’m out alone. Especially these days. I didn’t quite come to imagine this is how life would be spent with my newborn on our maternity leave. I certainly haven’t signed up to any baby clubs and I don’t know if I will. I don’t think it’s for me and I don’t feel I will fit in to the local mum clubs. Does that make me a bad mum?

Most days I spend at home with Eleanor and meet her demands as and when required. Around the clock nappy changes and feeds met with the household tasks in between and whatever I can catch of a TV show. I have become nothing more than a Mother.

The best job in the world some might say and sure, I love being a Mother. I love having my baby and feeling such a string bond with her, a bond I haven’t experienced with any other. I love that I have someone who depends on me, who needs me. I have someone I am responsible for and someone who gives me a reason to be the best I can be. However, I fear that I may be losing my identity at the same time as I find my feet in the journey of  parenthood. I am not really myself anymore, I’m in a mum zone and can only relate to all things baby. My mind doesn’t see past baby and I lose concentration easily.

No, maternity leave is not as creative or as fun as I had hoped. It can be lonely, days can be long and it can be grueling. You get some days when you fail to function. If it weren’t for auto pilot kicking in, I fear I’d not be able to move from my spot on the sofa to see to my baby. That’s the extreme days though and no, not each day is like that.

If and when I enter the outside world, I prefer to have my mum or Euan with me, I can’t stand to be out alone with Eleanor. It’s much easier to take her out with company. I feel less alone and have help at hand if I need it.

I know that I shouldn’t worry if she does fuss while in public, she is after all a baby and it is expected. A great anxiety builds within me each time I leave the home and If I’m alone, all I want to do is run back home before I begin to cry. I feel myself well up and have to try hold back from crying whenever I step out alone. That sounds crazy. I know.

Wait, have I gone crazy?!

Even just nipping five minutes down the road and queuing in the local shop to buy a sandwich and a tin of juice for lunch has my body twitching with nerves. I never used to be so anxious but since having Eleanor, I’ve definitely noticed I have become a bit of a nervous wreck. I can’t pin point why. It’s perhaps just a phase which will pass, I’m sure if I asked any health professional that’s what they would tell me anyway. It seems to be all they tell me.

I had planned to look the part of the stay at home mum, all while making the home look nice and stay that way. I wanted to work on my culinary skills, to bake lots. I wanted to still take the time to look good, not only for myself but for my fiance to admire each time he walked in the door. I didn’t want to have my baby and let myself go.

Yep, I set the standards high for myself and I expected to meet them. It’s safe to say, any standards I has set for myself are regularly not met. I’m on a losing streak.

In honesty, yes I shower every day but I don’t often have the time to dry my hair, make up is either half done or not at all and I don’t have the time to pick out one of the many pretty dresses I own. I live in a £2 Primark bra that kind of fits my swollen breastfeeding breasts, jogging bottoms and a dressing gown with slippers that are too small and squish my toes. Real glamorous.

You can often find me changing from one over worn t shirt to the next in between baby naps due to excessive sweating as a result of breastfeeding and my hormones. Maternity leave will be so much fun she said..

I don’t get the time to sit and read a book with a hot drink, I don’t watch the TV, sure it’s on as background noise but that’s all that it is. I certainly don’t cook and the most nutrition I get is from my daily dose of vitamins – which I swear by, by the way.

I wanted to be the picture of a stay at home mum. The type of mum who plays an active part on the local baby clubs and the mum community. The type which I have come to realise that you only find on those far fetched American TV shows. The TV shows aren’t true to form, trust me. It’s all an illusion and Motherhood is not glamorous.

I wanted to be the type of mum that you see on adverts and wonder how she does it. Wonder how her home can be so clean, her meals so wholesome and her face immaculately painted all with the happy baby in the fresh white baby grow and the smug smile to match. The bitch.

Maternity leave is nothing like I had imagined and I find it quite difficult to adapt to having the time off but failing to meet any of my expectations of this time. I get out with the help from my Mother, I have no friends near by that I can simply just meet up with and even if I could getting out the house is a big effort which leaves me a little drained.

I’ve even began to do the weekly food shop online because getting out to do it was too much of a challenge and it stressed me out to the point that I’d end up in a bad mood and feeling upset.

Maternity leave is like nothing I had imagined. It isn’t glamorous, I don’t get to look nice I often feel like a bit of a hag with terrible eye bags and a headache that does not leave me. I’m tired, nervous and a bit behind on the household tasks.

However,what I have learned during this stage of maternity leave is that I love my baby. I love her so much that almost none of the above matters, what matters is caring for my child,not how good I look or how good I smell as I care for her. What matters is that I raise my baby well and do the best that I can along the way.

Perhaps right now we aren’t fine dining, I’m not in the best shape I have been and the house is a bit dusty. Perhaps I am not top of the mum committee’s and perhaps I am missing out on a good old shopping and lunch trip but this is only right now. It’s just the beginning. Maybe someday I will get it right and I will be able to find the balance. Is there ever a happy balance post baby?

Someday, I’ll be that mum from the adverts and I’ll be able to provide good meals, fresh bakes all while looking good and having the home sparkle. Yeah right…

One can dream, the reality is that life is not how I expected post natal and I didn’t expect to spend my time on maternity leave slumming it but that’s how it is and this is my reality. My baby is happy and my fiance never goes hungry so I suppose I’m winning in my own way. It’s not picture perfect but I am learning to deal with the fact it never will be.

I can’t do it all, no matter how much I would love to. Shout out to all of the mum’s out there doing the best that they can. If your reading this, you are probably most definitely doing better than me.

 

Keren x

Coping with acid reflux and colic. How do I help my baby through this helpless phase?

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For some time now, I have discovered that Eleanor had developed reflux. This began as silent probably at three weeks old and was quite difficult to diagnose. However by eight weeks old this soon developed into a more serious form of acid reflux where during and after feeds she would swallow relentlessly and become rather sick and thrash herself around in pain. This would be followed by comfort feeding which only added to the sickness and the pain.

A lose, lose situation you could say. One that there is very little coping mechanisms to help get you through.

Reflux is something which I’m sure no parent wants to see their baby experience and something that no parent actively wants to go through. The long days, the sleepless nights, the worry and the stress. Reflux is horrible yet it is simply passed off by health care professionals and as a parent you are told that it is a phase and that it will pass.

I was informed that with breastfeeding and burping often during feeds this can eliminate the issue, to feed little and often and to keep baby upright. Some ideas that would perhaps help to eliminate the issue and clear the reflux.

I have worked a lot on focusing with each of these methods. My baby is breastfed and has been from the get go. I keep her upright as often as I can and keep her upright as she feeds most of the time, I burp her religiously and most of all, I try to prevent her from over feeding. Not always an easy task to take baby away from the breast when she uses it as a source of comfort. Breast or no breast, be certain that she will cry. and cry. and cry.

Sigh.

Reflux and colic may just be a phase but when your baby is experiencing that phase and the troubles that go alongside it’s more than just a phase. It becomes so much more. No matter how common this may be, it’s horrible to watch your otherwise happy baby girl succumb to the discomfort and cry on repeat as she thrashes around and throws her arms all over. Grabbing and scratching.

The pain, the sickness, being unsettled and unable to rest easy, it’s not just a phase, it is everyday life and the pain it brings with it is real. It can be a struggle to cope with, especially on an extremely bad day. Reflux can affect everyone in the household. A few hours of a crying spell and baby wriggling around in discomfort, I tell you, It feels more like a lifetime and that it will never pass.

At first when the reflux was not so bad, we began to try infacol to help settle Eleanor, this alongside a good tummy massage would seem to aid her digestion and chill her out.

We began massage classes from ten days old and worked with techniques that help with colic and reflux in babies which has been helpful and beneficial for our family and my baby girl but there is only so much massaging that you can do and this doesn’t escape the underlying problems. She would settle to begin with but it would never last and after a few weeks of the infacol and massages, we decided to move on to something which I had heard worked miracles for other parents. Gripe water.

Gripe water is a herbal supplement which contains dill seed oil and can be taken from the age of four weeks old in babies, administered up to six times in a twenty four hour period to help relieve wind, colic and teething pains.

I believe that the water did help and it certainly allowed Eleanor to pass wind and burp well which did allow her to settle and get periods of a good sleep without much disturbance. However, once again, with a few weeks of trying this, of using gripe water the issue became noticeably worse and sickness was becoming more and more recurrent. We asked a local pharmacy if there was anything that we could use to give her but they did not provide much information and we were told that we could not give Gaviscon until Eleanor was one year of age. We simply had to go to the GP, who had already written reflux off as just a phase.

Eleanor was in even more distress and wouldn’t even lay down for a nap, if she napped she was interrupted by the discomfort of the reflux and would let out continuous small cries and whines as she slept. Arms would still be getting thrown about and she would try to wriggle her way to a better position that would provide more comfort. Eleanor cannot be laid flat or she will cry until picked up. I’ve found that she has to be kept upright and even having her flat in her Pram is a no go.

I’ve switched from using the Pram to get around with to a three way baby carrier that I slot her into and carry her on my chest as I explore the outside world. She seems to get relief from being kept upright and will eventually settle in this way, it must be soothing for her. If I don’t have the carrier strapped up, I tend to walk around the home with her in my arms and talking any sort of rubbish until she falls asleep and I can put her down.

This does mean that between breastfeeding and the unsettling, I have Eleanor attached to me almost 24/7. This can become extremely exhaustive and does take its toll. I do miss having some free time and having a little freedom but have come to terms with the fact that for now, this is how things are and that free time, me time is not to be taken for granted. Even catching a cup of coffee for five minutes before she begins to fuss is precious.

The past two weeks, reflux has become a very big problem and the sickness comes during and after feeds alongside the thrashing around and the crying. Or screaming rather. This has been horrible to witness and being so helpless there is little that I’ve found myself and Euan could do as parents. Sure, we walk around and talk with her to try to bring a sense of calmness. We massage her tummy until our hands are about numb and I allow her to comfort feed providing it helps to soothe her but really, there is no quick fix and nothing takes away the discomfort that she is victim to. I feel that reflux has robbed us of a happy little baby girl, she cannot be happy or even settle for any period of time as reflux causes too much distress. To watch her hurting can be overwhelming and induce my own tears.

Of course come years, she will not remember this time and how she felt or suffered but I certainly won’t forget and just because she will have no memory of this, does not make it acceptable to leave untreated and wait for the phase to pass.

With this notion and the sickness in full swing, I got onto the GP again and have been prescribed Ranitidine to administer to Eleanor. A medication that is used for intestional issues and stomach ulcers. This is also used to help adults as well as babies and infants. Ranitidine is delivered three times per day and will hopefully offer relief and long lasting results. I believe that once given the time to get into her system and kick start it’s work this should provide relief within an hour of each administration. I’m going to remain hopeful that this will help.

I’d do anything to have her out of this discomfort and allow my baby to settle. To be able to enjoy this time as a new family of three without the stress and the pain of reflux. To be able to get to know my baby girl properly, and to see her smile more often would mean so much for us as a family.

Right now, when I catch a spell of smiles it could bring me to tears, all too often I am used to seeing my baby grimace from pain and scowl. I want more baby smiles from my sweet girl and less tears. I don’t want her to have the discomfort of reflux and I want to be able to begin to form some routine and build on good habits to develop over time.

With colic and reflux, there is no routine. You simply have to go with what works in the moment and what gives relief of crying fast. I’m looking forward to winning back a little free time, some time where I don’t have Eleanor attached to me constantly, at least not while she cries helplessly. I’m hoping for us all to try and catch good sleep for the first time in a long time and I’m looking forward to moving on from this spell of colic and making happy memories as a family that we can look back on and enjoy. I want my baby and my family to be done with this horrible “phase” and to move on with nothing but joy.

If you have had a similar experience or are experiencing the same with your baby, please, share your thoughts. Share with me your tips and tricks. Is there anything that worked for you specifically and your baby? Do you have any suggestions that I can try with Eleanor? I’d love to hear your feedback and I’ll look to take on board any help that I can get for my baby.

Lots of love x

From breast to bottle. My baby can’t bottle feed to save her life.

The time has come where my baby is now seven weeks old. I am over having her feeding from my breast all day and through the course of a whole night. I am ready to have a little bit of freedom back. Some me time again, as far as that goes as a new Mother.

With a few events coming up, the festive season approaching there will inevitably be occasions where I might just fancy that glass of wine. Hell, after a long and trying day where my patience is pushed to the limits, I’m ready for a good glass of red.

I have began to express my breast milk. I use the medela swing electric pump, it may have cost me a small fortune but if it allows a little time and freedom back into my life, it’s a small price to pay. Maybe now, I can hoover and get the household tasks completed without having Eleanor feeding on me at the same time. Or perhaps I can sit down and eat meals with both hands once again. Rather than trying to eat with one hand whilst holding Eleanor in the other, all while spilling whatever I am eating down her front.

I have found that expressing is going great so far. The only issue is finding the time to express but when I catch a quick half hour I, go for it. I tend not to over do it and stick to five ounces at the most which I share between two bottles. I have tied feeding her just an ounce but I have one hungry little lady and this was simply not enough. Especially as she comfort feeds.

Since introducing a bottle into our routine – or lack of routine that the problem is, Eleanor will not feed from the bottle. Hungry and angry she becomes too fiesty and will not settle down for a bottle.

It is near impossible and heart breaking to watch as I try force her to take the bottle as she rages on and has tears rolling. She gets too stressed. When I finally get the bottle to her, she cannot or will not feed from it. Milk from the bottle runs down her neck and spills over her bib and baby grow. I don’t know if she even gets the taste of milk from the bottle. What I do know is, is that the milk running down to her neck makes for one smelly little lady.

I have been trying and struggling to working on bottle feeding, as she will have to know how to feed from a bottle, it’s quite important. Not so much right now but as I will be returning to work, I cannot feed her around the clock all of the time and it is important that she can feed from the bottle and be fed by others. It will too be good for her own sake and building her independence. Right now, she depends on me.

It takes much patience and can be extremely testing when she screams demanding her fill of milk yet shakes off the bottle and refuses to feed. All while thrashing around and trying to gef to my breast. Wether she knows how to or not, I don’t know but I’m starting to lose the will to live with the bottle battle. It is draining for all of us and I get upset when I see her so upset. I know it’s a case of persevering and tough love but if I can find a method to help and make feeding less of a struggle, I’ll take it!

We are trying to have Dad do the bottle feeds, she won’t smell the milk from him and it is a good excuse for some Father and Daughter bonding, the struggle is still there though. Trying to feed from Dad or anyone else for that matter is still mostly a losing battle and by the time she settles to take the bottle, she has tired herself out and is falling asleep, missing out on her feed.

I’m currently using Avent and Tommee Tippee bottles, these hold just five ounces at a max and are nice and small. Easy to hold onto. I don’t know if the teet on these is not right for Eleanor and her demands. Especially as she is coming from the breast as her only feeding method.

Is there another bottle that would suit better? I’ve trolled online for answers to which there are plenty. There is so much information available online it is almost overwhelming and hard to know what is the right option for myself and Eleanor is. I think it will a good few rounds of swapping bottles and brands but if I can find the right brand and the right bottle to suit, we will get there and it will become second nature.

I’m on the hunt for tips and advice from mums who have been through the same or may even be going through this now. What bottles are you using? What tips can you offer to this new mum?

My baby cannot feed from a bottle to save her life and the battle that we have each day when I try to feed her from the bottle can get too much. I am ashamed that at times I do have to give in and give her what she wants – the boob. I end up disappointed with myself but when you are tired, frustrated, and feel you are getting nowhere, sometimes the only road is the easy road.

Does anyone have any idea or experience of this and can they suggest a specific method? A certain bottle to make for easy feeding times? Do I persevere and wait for time to take its toll, hoping that time will help the issue, wait for Eleanor to grow a little and have a better feeding ability?

Will I be breastfeeding my baby until she is twenty years old? Trust me, at times it feels this way.

 

Baby led massage class. A six week block introducing the art of baby massage.

I have chosen to write about a recent experience of baby massage. As a new family of three, we have been attending a baby massage class each Sunday morning for the past five weeks. I wish to share my experience of this class with you.

Baby massage was not something that I had heard of ,nor looked into. I didn’t realise just how many benefits surrounds baby massage – for both the parent and baby, until we began to explore massage through a tutor taught class.

22277925_179682802578709_3576382154566795264_n The six week block of massage class was gifted to us by a friend who was not able to attend. We are so very grateful of this and cannot explain just how much it helped us as a new family still finding our feet. The class had me excited each Sunday morning, we all look forward to it. Every week is new and a learning experience. At home we continue to work with massages at home throughout the week.

There are so many benefits of baby massage, benefits that I was unaware of until further investigation and exploring through each weekly session. This includes;

  • Soothing baby
  • Aiding digestion
  • Improving circulation
  • Help with teething
  • Bonding

Baby massage class was taken as a block of six individual, ninety minute sessions held locally at the home of our tutor. A cosy and comfortable environment where everyone was made to feel welcome and encouraged to make themselves feel at home. As a family, this made us feel at ease. On our first session we were given a bottle of baby massage oil to use during each session. The oil used was organic sunflower oil, safe to use on newborn skin and at each visit we were faced with a instruction guide that had the new strokes noted down to refer to. This made the class very easy to follow, we had no issues with keeping up. Saying that, the classes were never rushed and the tutor ran through at a steady pace which would allow each participant to keep up.

There was no judgement, we were mixed with another couple and three Mothers who frequented the class. The group who we attended with were all so lovely, it was great being able to share experiences with other new parents. We learned a lot from the others in our class and took on board some helpful tips and tricks that were suggested over the weeks. The room was an open book and no question was silly.

During our course of massage, we were taught the proper techniques to ensure a thorough and safe massage experience for baby. Over the weeks we learned how to massage each area of the body and what the benefits of massage were for each body part. Eleanor particularly enjoys the leg and stomach massage. I think with the stomach massage it really does help aid with digestion and release blockages. Digestion is something which does trouble Eleanor quite a lot but with the interference and help from regular massage/medication, this does seem to ease up and allow room for relief.

21688753_342667929508026_8086493141336588288_n The first massage session explored the art of massage and what this can aid. Throughout the running of the course, we slowly worked from the legs up to the face using the correct techniques required for a fulfilling massage. During each class we would learn to introduce new strokes to carry out on a different part of the body.

Each massaged limb is matched with a playful rhyme to sing along to which added to the experience and helped with remembering the correct strokes. The rhymes also helped with getting everyone to join in and have a little fun.

 (Who’s that tickling my tummy? Is it a caterpillar? No, it’s my mummy!)

I allowed for Euan to carry out each massage on Eleanor as a bonding aid. As I nurse her alone, we thought that it would be great for Euan to take some alone time with Eleanor to bond and carry out the massage. I was taught the massage strokes on a doll which meant that I didn’t miss out. I could still learn and practice all of the moves that were being taught each week.

As you can imagine, trying to carry out a  bodily massage on a newborn is no easy task. There were sessions where Eleanor along with the other babies was just not in the mood and grumbled her way through. I found that I spent a lot of my time in the class having to nurse her, after all, she is one hungry newborn and we would have never expected a full attention span. The time frame that Eleanor would allow for massage was small but certainly worthwhile and on the good days, we would almost get a full massage done before she would become restless and kick up a little fuss. She has been a little gem throughout.

The class was baby led, and our tutor was so understanding . Each parent in the class was on the same boat and each baby had their moments. Each session was different and unpredictable. It was lovely to be part of a group that were understanding of the position that you are in, we didn’t ever feel alone.

22277435_120900745250020_6157059970727673856_n A nice touch to the class was that at he beginning and end of each session there was time allowed for a small group discussion and for parents to share their experiences and ask any questions. I found that this was great and we often come away from class with reassurance as well as a handful of little tips/tricks that we could introduce into our home life.

Each class had room for a break mid session, refreshments were at hand and time was allowed to feed and change your baby if required. The break was much welcome and merged well into the session.

Our fifth session of massage class was spent at a local photography studio. Photographs were taken all through the session to capture the essence f baby massage in all it’s glory. A nice touch and a reminder of the class experience. Baby massage has taught us so many techniques and life long lessons which we will continue to practice from the comfort of home.

The benefits from having attending the class have shined through and I certainly feel that after a massage session no matter how little massaging is carried out, Eleanor is super chilled out for the rest of the afternoon. In fact, after a class, all three of us are relaxed and often spend the afternoon snuggled up on the sofa together!

Overall, I am very thankful that we had the opportunity to attend this block of massage classes and so grateful to our tutor for her help and patience. It has been a fab experience for all of us, one that I would recommend and encourage any parents of a newborn to experience for themselves. Give it a try – the benefits are endless. I feel this class has really helped me to feel comfortable with my baby and the outside environment. I have learned skills that will stay with me and gained a positive mindset surrounding my baby and this whole new lifestyle that I am still very much getting to grips with.

I cannot thank baby massage enough for the experience that it has awarded us and allowed us to share as a new family.

 

Keren x

 

There were three in the bed..Co-Sleeping with my newborn. Is it really THAT bad?

What is co sleeping? Co-sleeping means sleeping within close proximity to your child. It can vary from being in the same bed or even just in the same room. Families take on different approaches to co-sleeping.

There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes down to sleeping arrangements with a baby as I have discovered. Some like to sleep with babies, while others simply don’t. Some of us don’t have much choice surrounding sleep arrangements, I have discovered, as some babies need more night comforts than others. It is down to the parents and what they decide to do with their sleeping arrangements and bed time routine.

I have found that with a newborn, you have to go with what works in the moment and re-address situations daily. Right now, Eleanor will not sleep alone in her cot bed at night. She cries almost from the get go of being placed in there. I don’t know the reason for this, during the day she will sleep in her cot without issue but when night comes, she kicks up such a fuss and the crying is almost too much to bear. The only way to get some sleep is by allowing her to sleep next to me in bed or on top of my chest; A decision which I was against but had to quickly re-think.

Yes, we have tried several options while trying to get her into a healthy sleep pattern in her own cot;

Swaddling,

Comforting,

Sleeping on her side rather than back and sleeping upright,

Playing music,

Introducing a night light,

It’s the same story ever night, nothing works and the crying is intense. The only way we could each catch solid sleep was to give in and make adjustments to our sleeping habits. I don’t intend for co-sleeping to last long and would like to gently ease Eleanor out of this habit as soon as I feel she will begin to cope. It may just take some time for her to adapt to being alone, I am sure as she grows older, she will become more independent and her current needs will change. This is a situation I must monitor for the time being and a habit I am keen to break. Hopefully sooner rather than later. The big issue that I hold over this is that I do worry regarding the risks that cover this subject.

There are definite issues and concerns with safety and risks surrounding co-sleeping. The big risk and issue for with allowing Eleanor to co-sleep is the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, more dangerous when falling asleep on the couch due to the high risk of her overheating and suffocating which can occur through the day or night. For that reason, I never fall asleep on the couch with her and I am always very aware that she is with me. I feel as though my sleep is disrupted due to having to constantly check that she is okay.

21878991_117548918934597_1894702394311180288_n(1) It has been claimed that if  breastfeeding and not under the influence of alcohol or any further substance or prescribed medication, co-sleeping with your baby shouldn’t increase the risk of SIDS. It is deemed safer to breastfeed in bed than to breastfeed and doze off with on the couch.

Our bedding is a light tog duvet and we don’t sleep with an excess of cushions or pillows, teddies etc. This is said to generally ensure better safety when co-sleeping due to the decreased suffocation and over heating risk.

Due to having to co-sleep, I decided to do some research on the issue for my own awareness and the safety of Eleanor. I wanted to know that so long as we are sleeping alongside one another she is as safe as can be and that the risks are reduced. Upon my readings I have found some helpful tips which I tend to follow rather strictly;

Sleep in the C position – Lie on your side, facing your baby, with your body curled around them in a C-shape with your lower arm above your baby’s head and  knees up under the feet. This position helps prevent rolling and is also convenient for when I breastfeed through the night.

Don’t leave baby alone – Never leaving Eleanor in the bed alone,not even for five minutes, as there is a risk that she could fall off the bed or get into some difficulties.

There are obvious issues that come with this sleeping arrangement that add to the main safety concerns. The issue that I struggle with other than the safety risks is the fact that, I feel you lose the intimacy of sharing the bed with your partner. I favored bed time hugs and kisses. I enjoyed the closeness that I would share with my partner and felt safe sleeping at his side. Now, I sleep at the opposite side of the bed to Euan with little contact, and certainly no bed time kisses. I miss having cuddles on demand and being able to wake to even more cuddles from his embrace. I had a cosy spot next to him and that no longer exists.

With having concerns about Eleanor and fretting that she will overheat, I now sleep with pyjamas and a night gown, to ensure while at the edge of the bed, I don’t freeze. As a cold fish, I don’t take too well to being pushed to the more isolated and cold side of the bed.

In my experience with co sleeping so far, I can’t say it is for me. There are some positives as I must admit I love having Eleanor so close and snug next to me, hearing and feeling her breathe as she sleeps and feeling our bond flourish. I know that she is close and love her being so, it makes my heart feel full and I beam with pride as I lie next to my daughter, knowing that I am her Mother.

21690763_1686484754757368_1905679931287797760_n However, my sleep is disrupted by the worry that surrounds her being next to me. I know, with my instinctive that she is well but I can’t help to continually wake from sleep to check on her and take note of her breathing. The risks of co-sleeping definitely have alarms ringing in my head and selfishly, I miss the relationship that I previously shared with my partner before this began.

I know with a newborn it is trial and error to begin with and that nothing will work out the way I wish it to. Certainly, with my experience nothing turns out as you would have hoped and you cannot really plan how life will be with a new baby. It is all well to hold expectations but in honesty, they don’t take shape.

I had expected that my baby would sleep in her own cot from the day we brought her home and no issues would arise, we would maintain a lifestyle similar to what we previously had and our personal relationship would not face change. I realize now that this was foolish.

Becoming a new parent is a learning curve, we all learn and grow daily and learn more about our baby as the days go on. Within time, I am certain we will find the perfect method that works well for each of us, we will find some form of balance and I will once again be able to sleep without worry.