Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Baby Massage - Sure Start

Today Baby E and I went to our first Baby Massage session. We registered for the course with our health visitors office at my local GP. The course is free and is part of the governments Sure Start Scheme which was set up to give every child the best start in life possible.

There were 6 mums and babies on the course, which meant it was small enough to be relaxing and personable. The course was extremely well structured, and was run by two health visitors, one of whom is qualified in baby massage. This gives me the confidence that they are professional and qualified to coach on all aspects of looking after a baby.

We were given an informative booklet, which we will follow each week, and a bottle of oil suitable for massaging babies skin. We were advised on the types of oil to use on baby's skin, and why some oils may not be suitable for massage.

We were given time to introduce ourselves and our babies. Everyone seemed really lovely, and we all commented how great it was to meet like minded mothers, with babies who were born within six weeks of each other. Meeting new mums in a similar situation is great, and helps to re-assure my that everyone is the same, and all babies behave in the same way. It was a comfort to me that all the babies needed as much attention as Baby E does, Baby E was not the first to be rocked to sleep, however he was the first to need feeding!

We began this week by learning massage techniques on the legs and the feet. Baby E was so hungry we were not able to complete the whole of the massage, however I look forward to practicing at home. I fed Baby E during the coffee break, and used the excellent changing facilities. The course facilitators plan group discussions which start in the break so there is no long silences, or difficultly in striking up conversations with people you dont know. We were all free to join in if we wish, but there was no pressure if we did not want to share any experiences.

I have to miss next weeks session as we are away on holiday. I am quite sad about this, as I really enjoyed the course this morning. Part two is on baby weaning as well as more massage techniques. I am also looking forward to seeing the other mums again. They were all so nice, and it has made me consider joining more groups!!!

Monday, 23 February 2009

My first week being pregnant

Within a week of conceiving Baby E, I started behaving in a crazy way. I did not know I was pregnant yet, however the hormones I was producing were already changing the way I would react to situations.

The weekend after we conceived, my fabulous boyfriend was working on some finishing touches to his house before we put it on the market. I had decided to stay at home and strip some wallpaper in the dining room (could this be an early sign of nesting???). Half way round the room, my wallpaper stripper stopped working. We owned more than one wallpaper stripper, however no matter where I looked, I could not find it. A text conversation ensued between myself and my Fabulous Boyfriend where I learned that it had been in his car for the last 2 months. The text conversation quickly turned into a text argument, which was fuelled by my over active hormones. I was furious that he had not thought to bring it into the house for me (just in case mine broke), and could not believe that he was so happy to drive around with it in his car. Was he some sort of D.I.Y. emergency service? Did he think he may happen upon a wallpaper stripping emergency, and he could come to the rescue? Why was it still in his car???

We argued both on the phone, and by text all day. My Fabulous Boyfriend had no-where to run or hide from my crazy mood, and I thought myself perfectly justified in being angry and blaming him for anything and everything that went wrong that day.

I am normally a patient, calm and relaxed person. Once we found out that I was pregnant, it became a little more clear why I had behaved so much out of character and in such a hideous way that weekend.

I am pleased to say my over active hormones did not produce many more mood swings of this kind while I was pregnant. I think my Fabulous Boyfriend worked very hard to make sure I stayed happy and relaxed so we could make a happy and relaxed baby. I dislike arguing so much, life is too short for fighting, and I am pleased to say I spent the rest of my pregnancy in relative harmony with my Fabulous Boyfriend.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

How we made a Baby.

Baby E is now 3 months old, and my mind is drifting back to his time last year when we were lucky enough to conceive him. We conceived Baby E on the 16th February, yes, you guessed it, he is a valentines baby!

I was 32, and had made up my mind I wanted a baby within the next year. I was tired from working long hours, was a long term sufferer of migraines, and had already started a course of acupuncture in the summer to give me more energy. I wondered how I would cope with fitting a baby into our busy lifestyle, so knew I had lots to sort out before a baby could come along. I decided to adopt a new healthier lifestyle.

My new healthy lifestyle meant a trip to a nutritionist who gave me a list of foods I was intolerant to and therefore food to avoid, a course of acupuncture, and coming off the contraceptive pill. This all started at the beginning of December 2007. Getting pregnant was never on the list of things to achieve, however would be a welcome blessing. My new lifestyle free from medicine meant we had to find an alternative form of contraception. I wanted to be more in tune with my body, so decided to use Persona http://www.persona.info/uk/index.php to help me understand my monthly cycle. It seemed the perfect contraceptive for us, and I ticked all the boxes as a suitable user.

Persona was easy. After the required waiting time following coming off the contraceptive pill, I started to to use it. Each morning I would wee on a little stick, and pop the stick into the Persona machine. The machine then tracks your ovulation cycle. When Persona gives a green light it is telling you that you may have sex with no risk of pregnancy. When Persona gives a red light it is telling you that you are at risk of becoming pregnant if you have unprotected sex.

We had been using Persona for a few weeks. The most negative aspect I could find was that it put me in control of when we could or could not have penetrative sex. I had seen my Fabulous Boyfriend looking at the machine in the mornings, so I started to assume he knew if we were at risk of becoming pregnant. I decided to stop telling him each morning if it was a red or green day (I was starting to feel like the parent in our relationship, telling him when he could or could not play with his favourite toy).

The morning of the 16th February 2008, Persona showed a red light. As we were nearing the end of some passionate love making, it became apparent that my Fabulous Boyfriend had either not looked at Persona that morning, or he had looked but did not understand what Persona had to tell him. I expected him to do the honourable thing and withdraw when was close to climaxing, however he did not!!!

Rather than being shocked at my Fabulous Boyfriend's act, I laughed. I genuinely found it funny that he was so naughty, and I did not think for one moment we would actually make a baby. I explained that Persona had given a red light, and he suggested I should have told him as he did not know, and never knows what Persona is doing. To this day, my Fabulous Boyfriend tells me he thinks I withheld the red light information as I had the intent to get pregnant. I believe he knew that Persona was showing a red light, and did not withdraw so we could get pregnant. Maybe it was the twinkle in his eye, or the way he jumped up and down with excitement when my period was late that arose my suspicions ... we will never know.

It was all forgotten by the next morning, until Persona told me I was ovulating over the next 2-3 days. I called down the hallway to my Fabulous Boyfriend, letting him know that Persona had told me we could have made a baby. I never thought for one minute we would actually get pregnant. It would never be that easy! My fabulous Boyfriend's reaction was "Yippee".

I laugh to myself when I look back at this time. Only a few weeks before conception, we had had a conversation about starting a family. I had told my Fabulous Boyfriend that I wanted a baby in the next year. He had laughed at a statement I had made about not wanting to be pregnant during the hay fever season, and he asked me when he would need to impregnate me! He thought it was too planned, preferring to live life as it comes. Soon we would find out we would not have to wait that long for our little bundle of joy to arrive.

I am so happy that we made Baby E out of love. There was no stress involved, or pressure to conceive, just the two of us making love. I look at Baby E now, and feel so happy to have made him. He is so beautiful, and has made our lives complete.

Baby E is 13 Weeks (3 months) Old

My Baby E is now 3 months old. The last three months seem to have flown by. I keep looking at him and can't believe how much he has changed from the teeny tiny baby we brought home 13 weeks ago.

Over the last week my baby's development has been quite noticeable.

My 3 month old baby has started grabbing for toys, and holding onto them. When I hand him a toy, he brings it up to his mouth with both hands. He then tries to suck on the toy for a little while, until he loses interest.
I have extended the mat on his Blossom Farm play gym this week as he is getting quite big, and looking like he needs more space.

My 3 month old baby is comfortably in his 3-6month sized clothing. He has been wearing them for about 3 weeks now, and I am starting to wonder how long they will fit him for. He has about half an inch left in the feet of his sleep suits which seems to get smaller every day. His lovely Denim Dungarees from M&S are now on the largest strap setting, and only just cover his feet. I know using Washable Nappies means clothes have a slimmer fit, however they do not affect the length. I predict we will have to start looking for some new clothes in one month. Baby E is literally growing before my eyes!!!

My 3 month old baby is no longer stationary! Over the last week we have found a new game. He loves lying on the floor, with no clothes on (such an exhibitionist) lifting his legs into the air and rolling over onto his side. When he returns to lie on his back, he moves up around about 45 degrees. He repeats this until after a few minutes he is facing the opposite direction, and has moved half off his small play mat. Obvious risks involved in this type of play are baby wee or even worse baby poo on the mat. For this reason, we do not play this game on a carpeted surface, and use a washable play mat.

Baby E is starting to enjoy tummy time. When he is put on his front he makes little eh eh noises while he makes a big effort to lift his head, kick with his feet, and move his arms around. The game does not last long (only a few minutes), however he does a little more every time.

Baby Sounds
My 3 month old baby is laughing! He especially loves laughing at his Daddy, who tickles his neck, and blows raspberries. Baby E regularly musters up a couple of un-prompted chuckles for me each day, and it is fantastic! Most of the time makes lots of Eh Eh noises, along with cooing (lots of "Boo" "Gay" and "Ah Ha" sounds). He still has a little voice, which is a lot quieter than any of my friends babies. I am very glad of this.

Watch this space for another post on what Baby E is doing next week.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

My Washable Nappies

Early on in my pregnancy, I made the decision to use Washable Nappies on Baby E. I knew very little about them, but knew I wanted to limit landfill and use the most natural products on Baby E's bottom. I am not the most adept user of the Internet, and so enlisted the help of my sister-in-law R who was on maternity leave.

Together we embarked on a journey of discovery into the world of Washable Nappies. I quickly learned there are many types of Washable Nappy to chose from, and with so many on the market I wanted to ensure I bought the best for Baby E. I found lots of websites giving good information and advice, however it all seemed quite alien to me. I had never changed a nappy in my life, and so reading about Washable Nappies could be quite confusing at times.

I found lots of reviews on-line of Washable Nappies, however nothing to tell me which I would prefer. In choosing which Washable Nappy to use, I decided to buy lots of different brands of Washable Nappies to see which one I thought best. I am glad I did this, as the performance and fit is quite varied.

Here is a list of the Washable Nappies I purchased. I did not want to be a part time Washable Nappy user, intending to start from when Baby E was born, therefore I bought the below Washable Nappies which the web-sites told me were small enough to use from birth.

1. Easy Peasy Quick Dry Bimble
2. Nature Babies - Diddy Diaper
3. Bambinex - Teddy
4. Minki Huggle
5. Hip Hip Baby - Real Easy Nappy (AIO = All in one washable nappy including of waterproof wrap)
6. Swaddlebees Organic Sized Nappy

Most of the above Washable Nappies need a Waterproof Wrap, I bought the below types.

1. Motherease Airflow Wrap
2. TotsBots PUL Wrap
3. Nature Babies Wrap

Being careful with my money, I wanted to get the maximum use out of my Washable Nappies for the money I spent, therefore I chose to buy AIO Birth to Potty Washable Nappies. These Washable Nappies have adjustable poppers which give the perfect fit from 10lb to potty training. I bought the below types.

1. Hip Hip baby Wonderoos.
2. Bumgenius 3.0
3. Blueberry Minky
4. Swaddlebees Econappy
5. Modern Baby
6. Nature Baby Stuffable
7. Tiny Touch Elite
8. Mommys Touch

Not being the type to stop at Washable Nappies, I also bought some washable baby wipes.
1. Value Wipes
2. Minky Wipes

Finally I finished off with some Washable Breast Pads
1. Swaddlebees Washable Breast Pads
2. Avent Washable Breast Pads
3. Mothercare Washable Breast Pads

Watch this space to see how I get on using them, and what I thought of the reviews!!!!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Valentines day with a baby

How to do valentines with a three month old baby???

We decided to include Baby E in all our Valentines plans. We always go out for a meal, and decided that lunch was better than taking him out for dinner and disturbing everyone's romantic meal.

We picked our favourite local pub, the Bulls Head.

They have lots of seating areas, and delicious food. Whilst we think of this as a relaxed eating environment, perfect for taking children, there is no doubt in my mind the locals think of it as quite posh, so we still have the risk of ruining peoples romantic meal if Baby E is not happy.

We decided not to book (as the pub told us there was no need). It was quite busy, with lots of young couples taking a moment to enjoy themselves. We found a small corner with a sofa to sit on, that was perfect for us and Baby E. Baby E was quite well behaved, needing lots of hugs, and walks around the pub to satisfy his curiosity which kept him quiet. After we had eaten our starter and nearly finished our main course he fell asleep. This is a classic Baby E move as we had been playing lunch time baby relay for an hour! I managed to resist desert this time, as all the food is on the “band list”. Instead I thought of all the food we had at home waiting for us (along with Champagne).

We exchanged gifts first thing. My fabulous boyfriend wrote a lovely poem in my card. He always writes me poems, and they normally make me cry. For some reason there were no tears this time. Perhaps I have used my hormones so much over the last year, that they have run out??? He mentioned later that he was not entirely happy with the second verse. Perhaps my lack of tears has disappointed him. My fabulous boyfriend gave me some Ted Baker Silk Negligee. He always buys me the perfect gift. I wore it in the evening when Baby E was in bed, and we got up to some serious love making on the sofa. My boyfriend had lit a roaring fire, that made the room sooo toasty and warm, it would have been rude not to get undressed!!! He made me tingle in a way never seen since I was pregnant. I don’t know how he does it, but he knows how to hit the spot, and hit it hard.

Even though we were not able to eat our lunch looking into each others eyes, and most of the time we were on our own, I thought it was the perfect Valentines Day ever. Having Baby E makes everything perfect (and my fabulous boyfriend gave me the perfect ending!!!).