Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Loving the baby sling

This weekend was all about walks, and what better way to walk than using a baby sling. There are some lovely lakes near where we live so we decided to go for a quick walk while the sun was out, which in England is very rare and as expected it was very briefly. 

I have found that Seb has a better day if he has some fresh air so I tend to go out almost every day with him. By 'better day' I mean I get to recharge my batteries and therefore I have more patience to tackle the sleepless night. I use both the push chair and the baby sling, but let me tell you why I love the later. 

1. It's cuddle time - who doesn't like cuddles with their little ones? The sling let me do that even if I am out and about

2. Bonding time with dad - it is actually the best excuse to get some 'me' time while dad carry those 13 pounds of love around the shop

3. He gets to be in all the action - Seb is now old enough to be facing forward so all the drools and dribbles are contented on the sling rather than my t-shirt 

4. Freedom - I have both hands free to do other stuff like carrying an umbrella or even take selfies!

5. Sleep - it works every time

6. Spontaneity - It is my best friend on those days when you feel like you want to run away but you really can't. I just put the baby on the sling, go for a walk, and it allows me to escape from the messy house, the dirty dishes, the empty fridge without all the fuff of the push chair. 

Have you got any other positives for using the baby sling?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Funny Memes

This post is going to come back to bite me on the bum. When I am older and living in a care-home, we will know why! But hell, he pulls to many funny faces to let the opportunity pass by... 

Let me know which one is your favourite, or even better, other quotes that can be used with the images. 







Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dummy: Love or Hate?

I find myself in a love-hate relationship at the moment with the dummy. It makes my life easier in some desperate moments, but equally terribly miserable some other times. Let me explain to you why...

It all started a couple of weeks after he was born, in one of those nights when there was nothing I could do to stop him crying. 

Even before I had him I knew I wasn't going to be one of those moms, you know, the ones that use the dummy as a cork to quiet my boy. I would totally understand what he needed and calmly work things out with him. No way; no child of mine would ever use it, ever I say! How deluded was I?! 

So on that particular night I found it, hidden away between the toys on the shelf, the dummy I got as a present and I promised never to use. 

I was desperate, I would have even accepted an exorcism if it meant it would make him stop crying. So I crumbled and gave it to him, and it was love at first sight! Suddenly the room was quiet, and I could here the snoring of my husband (over the ringing of my ears). And so it began... 

Sometimes I gave it to him to make him fall asleep, sometimes he would spit it out and I knew he was hungry. It was my safety blanket when out and about because I knew if things got out of control I would stop all the looks from other customers at the coffee shop with it. The dummy made everything better. It was magic... It was love! 

But then, without me even realising it, it got out of control! I would use it every time all the time, and my baby would ask for it all the time too! I couldn't, for the love of me, make him go to sleep without it.

And then it started... The hate. 

He would wake up at night crying for it. He wasn't hungry or needing a nappy change, he just didn't know how to go back to sleep without it. I would give it to him, he would then go back to sleep and I would go back to bed only to hear it falling from his mouth and knowing I would have to get up again, and again... And again...

I used to play with the idea that I had mental powers. That if I thought about it strong enough the dummy would stay in his mouth for another 20 minutes but it would never work. 

Now here I am, at 4am in bed after I have given him the dummy, knowing that I will have to go to his room soon because I have heard it fall; hoping that he will grow out of it so don't have to go through the "letting him cry himself to sleep" tactic... 

So let me ask you, is it Love or is it Hate?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I'm using my son's baby products!

Some baby products I didn't know existed before I had Seb. Now that I have tried them I'm so in love with them that I am sure I will keep buying them long after he has stopped using them. 

1. Baby shampoo 
Who has time to have a proper shower now a days? Most of the time they are a 5 minute soap-only shower, and if I am lucky I might be able to add some shampoo into the mix. 

Well, the other day I tried the baby's shampoo. It was actually a mistake driven by the lack of sleep, but I am so glad it happened because it made my hair look so amazing I couldn't believe it! I have tried it several times after that to make sure it wasn't a one-off, and still loving it.

Let's call it the silver lining from being awake all night. 

2. Baby wipes
Like the shower, I consider myself lucky if I have time to brush my teeth and wash my face in the morning before I have to start changing nappies again. Let alone having time to put some make up on; that would be such a treat - no, actually, sleep would be a treat... 

Anyhow, sometimes I manage to get some make up on, but after giving birth my skin became very sensitive, probably due to the hormones, so I need to make sure I remove it before bed. The problem: I can't, for the love of me, be bother with that step, EVER!

So I tried for the first time one of baby's sensitive skin wipes and it did a great job. Even better than some of the proper make up removal products I have. SCORE - it only took me 30 seconds to get the make up off! 
3. Baby oil
There is no time to go to the salon for a "tidy up", so you buy those waxing kits from the supermarket. They are good, but it is extremely annoying to find only two oiled wipes when you are supposed to have several uses from it. I found out something much much better than the oiled wipes, BABY OIL. It works wonders after waxing to heal the skin and lock the moisture.  

Have a go at these products and let me know how you get on. I would love to know if you get the same results as me! Is there any other baby product that you use??? Share the secret!

Monday, March 23, 2015

7 Must-Have Apps For New Moms

As a new mom I suddenly found myself overloaded with things to do and no time to do anything... You have no idea how demanding this 8 pounds size human can be! Here are my top apps that are making my life easier and hope they will help me through the first year:

1. Meal Planner Pal (free)

Awesome app to organized the meals for the week so the husband knows exactly what to cook each day! 

2. Relax Melodies (free)

It has white noise to help the baby sleep (including the vacuum cleaner!), and all sort of other melodies. The best part is that you can mix two or more sounds to create your own relaxing melody. 

3. The wonder weeks (paid)

I love this app! It gives you personalized information about your baby's development that not only explain the periods of fuzziness of your baby but also how to help him achieve the new skills for his age. 

4. WebMD Baby (free)

I have spent so much time on this app! Thanks to it I have only called the doctor twice a week instead of, well, constantly! 

5. Baby Tracker (free)

Believe me when I tell you that you will get obsessed with poop, sleep and eat. So you better keep track with this app. 

6. Shopping apps (free)
It is not all about the baby, you can't forget about yourself! Here you have loads to choose from, my favorites are Asos, H&M and Topshop.

7. Kick ass games (various)
When you are done online shopping why don't you just kill some time at 2am by playing a game? The crowd's favorites are Candy Crush (of course!), Hay Day and Fruit Ninja. 

Is there any other app that has make your life easier after your baby was born? I would love to know!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

4 signs your baby is teething

Teething is an unsettling time for a baby and for a parent, so it is completely understandable for you to have spent the last three days researching in Dr Google exactly the symptoms and how to help your baby through this time. 

It is reassuring to know that it could happen at around 6 months... hold on, it could happen from birth... oh no no, from 18 weeks... well, clearly nobody really knows exactly, so I just hope the below can put your mind at ease!

1. Dribbling and drooling
If you have to use several bibs in one day or change his clothes because they are wet then that is a definite sign he is teething... Or it could be that he is just a baby and that you actually have the type that drools as much as a Great Dane!

2. Hands in his mouth 
If your baby constantly has his fingers, hands or fist in his mouth then he is definitely teething. Even more so if he has both fists in his mouth, which is pretty impressive so please take a picture and share it! ... Or it could be that he is just a baby and is discovering his mouth. 

Read: The Odyssey of His First Night Alone

3. Flushed cheeks 
This is a sure sign your baby is teething because of the pressure of the teeth trying to break through the gum are making his cheeks flush... Or maybe you just need to turn the heating down or give those oh-so-kissable cheeks a rest.

4. He is really cranky and cries all the time 
If your baby is really unsettle and cries more than usual then he is most likely teething... Or he might be just hungry, or needs a nappy change, or is going through a growth spurt, or he might just need you to get your head out of Dr. Google and pay him some attention! 

So if your baby presents any of the above he must be teething, but just in case let's call the Dr. for a third time this week just to be completely sure. At the end of the day, it's our right as first time moms!

If you want real information why don't you try the NHS website, or BabyCentre

Friday, March 20, 2015

The truth about breastfeeding (well, my truth :-))

It is simple - it is not for everybody and that is OK!

"It hurts at first; just for the first couple of weeks" they say. That doesn't sound so bad, does it? Well, think again! During the first weeks you are breastfeeding at least 12 times a day... For 14 days... 

But it doesn't stop there, oh no! On top of that, if you are not careful, chances are you will get a cracked nipple. Again, let me tell you, when you have that little bundle of joy wrongly latched to a cracked nipple 12 times a day, you are in for a world of pain. 

What is that? What if you had a c-section you said? Well, you will think you are something out of the circus trying to juggle your baby to get him away from the scar but still on to your cracked boob. 

So you say to yourself, "I just went through 36hs of labour, I won't give up now." And so you push through the first weeks of pain, the cracked nipple horror, the c-section, the cocktail of hormones leaving your body, the lack of sleep...and you think there is light at the end of the tunnel... 

But hold on, what is that? Mastitis? Oh yes! It comes so quickly that you don't know what hits you. By the time you realize what it is you are shaking in bed with a fever. The solution? Breastfeeding through the pain of mastitis is the best chance you have for recovery (and also get antibiotics from Dr.).
If you are still breastfeeding after all these I applaud you! I see my friends who are still breastfeeding and I am very proud of them because it is much harder than they make you think. Me on the other hand, I felt like breastfeeding was the most twisted form of torture...

As I said, breastfeeding is not for everyone. So if you make the decision not to do it, it is ok. We all want what is best for our babies, and at this point what my baby (and my family) really needed was having me at the top of my game to take care of the new arrival. 

Despite all the looks I get when I get a bottle out at a restaurant I chose not to feel guilty about it. There is plenty of other things in my baby's life I am sure I will feel guilty about, not this

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Motherhood Pact of Secrecy

Have you ever been afraid to go on a roller coaster? and your friends trick you by telling you it’s not bad at all? And then when you are stuck in it, at the very top, they turn around and laugh at you because it is actually worse than you have ever imagined? Well, may be the roller coaster example doesn't apply to you, but you get the gist, right?

I have a theory: I think moms take an oath, a pact of secrecy, not to tell anybody about how difficult motherhood really is. From pregnancy, to the oh-so-horrific birth, to the weeks and months to come with a newborn.

“Motherhood sometimes sucks, and this is why” – I wish someone had said that to me when I asked, instead of the repetitive “it’s hard to explain”. Let’s be honest, as if there was nothing to tell people! It is not a crime to admit you didn’t enjoy breastfeeding, or that you didn’t like the newborn stage, or that after 6 months you are still struggling with the lack of sleep.  Why don’t we honestly talk about it?

Read: The odyssey of his first night alone 

I am not stupid, I knew motherhood wasn’t going to be easy, and I know everyone is different, but let’s start sharing! I wish women feel more comfortable talking about it. I mean, REALLY talking about it.

So next time someone asks you, don’t try to mask it by pointing at that tiny human giving you those toothless smiles, just tell them as it is. At the end of the day, they are asking you for a reason, don’t waste their time. Think about it as the Sisterhood of Motherhood, where moms get the support they need to go through it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

4 hospital bag must haves

Packing my hospital bag felt like I was packing for a holiday abroad. It was exciting and nerve wracking. The prospect of this new baby you have been waiting for so long and the fear that overcomes you when you put that tiny nappy on the bag knowing that you have never changed one before (don't worry, you will be sick and tired of nappies soon). 

I had my bag ready three months before the due date, but I think I must have unpack it and re-pack it every week. And still, when I was in hospital I realized there were some things that I needed. Nobody tells you about these things, so here they are...

1. Baby nail clipper
As you probably know babies are born with hair and finger nails. What you don't realize is that those tiny fingernails are like razor blades; 10 tiny very sharp razor blades. 

So pack the clippers and take advantage of how much they sleep on the first few days. Your boobs and probably the rest of your body will thank you for it. 

2. Nappy rash cream
The advice says with water and cotton you are good, but the baby's delicate skin is constantly exposed to pee and poops. Seriously, for being something so tiny the volume of poop that comes out of them is ridiculous. The last thing you want is also having to deal with nappy rash, so don't forget the cream.

3. Bottles
You really don't know how baby feeding is going to go. You might be ok with breastfeeding from day one, or you might struggle. In case of the latter it is better to be prepared, and have a couple of bottles of your choosing sterilised in your bag. At the end of the day the baby needs feeding, and in case breastfeeding doesn't as expected it's better to use your own bottles rather than hospital ones.  

4. The mother of all treats 
Is there a chocolate bar or packet of biscuits that you have always wanted but never bought because you thought the price was a bit too much? Well, this is your chance to get that treat and put it in your bag. At the end of the day, you just push a watermelon size baby out, you deserve it and there is no better time to indulge/celebrate with it. 

5 people who will test your parenting skills

Being a first time mom is hard. You are suddenly responsible for this tiny human being that is so incredible demanding, and let's be honest, you have no idea what you are doing. 

I find myself doubting about every single thing I do. "Is this the best brand of nappies?" "Is this the best washing tablet for your delicate skin?" "Why are you still crying?!?! I've fed you, changed you, fed you again. Is it your ear? Or your throat? Or a rare condition that I might not be aware of?!?! Let's call the doctors for the third time this week". 

It is hard work, especially when you feel you are playing it by ear every day. So imagine on top of that having people second guess you?! 

1. Your own mom
My mom is a pretty good starting point as a role model goes. And in all honesty, I think she has done a pretty good job! So it is hard not to doubt yourself when she second guesses you. 

I personally have to deal with questions like "isn't the baby sleeping too much?", "which doctor recommended the formula powder you are using?", or my favourite "his cheeks are pink, are you sure he doesn't have a fever?!?!" (to give you some context, this was through Skype). This last one sends me into panic mode and even though I know for a fact he doesn't have a fever I still get the thermometer out and check him at least three times to be sure. 

2. Your mother in law
It is point 1 all over again, but the difference is you cannot tell her to back off. 

3. Friends with no kids 
I have to admit, I used to be one of those. Having to be louder than the kids running around you in order to have a conversation, or having to arrange a get together way to far in advance so they can arrange for babysitters, used to put me in the worst mood. "How do they let it get so bad?" I used to think. "When I have kids I will still have time for uninterrupted conversations" I used to tell myself.

I now know what it feels like to be on the other side, and it's not remotely as easy as you thought it would be when you didn't have them. 

4. People at a restaurant, at the shops, on the street (you name it)
Have you ever had the need to explain to complete strangers why your baby won't stop crying?

Those moments when you need a break from the routine and the cream coloured walls of your living room. You decide it is safe to go for walk into town and have a coffee. And then, as soon as you sit down, all hell breaks free and there is nothing you can do to calm your baby down. 

It is so hard trying to avoid all the disapproving looks from everybody at the coffee shop. Even the ones that smile at you because they want to be nice! You know deep inside that they are thinking you are a terrible mom! 

5. Your own baby
Nobody, and I mean, nobody, will put your skills to the test more than your own kid. They are born with special powers to push your sanity to the limit, and it doesn't matter if they are a baby, a toddler or a teenager, they will have no mercy when they use this power.  

It is impossible not to feel like you are been judged all the time. Therefore I have a mantra that I repeat to myself every day (sometimes twice a day if it has been one of THOSE days): "he is still alive so you must be doing something right, you are clearly awesome".

Perhaps there are people that make you doubt how good a parent you are? I would love to know so put it in a comment below. 

The oddysey of his first night alone

You, like me, have probably been told that once the baby has moved to his own room everybody sleeps much better. Well, the baby is surely sleeping better. Me, on the other hand, well... Keep reading... 

Feed him, burp him and try desperately to make him understand it is sleep time, not play time. 

Finally, with the baby asleep, I get ready to do the same. Just before bed I check on the baby (still asleep), and check the baby monitor to make sure it's working. 

Tucked up in bed and after reading a few pages of my book I am ready to sleep. Check on the monitor one more time, and make sure the volume is sky high. 

Monitor goes off but no sound is coming from it. I stare at it for what it seems to be an eternity and eventually a noise... A fart that made the house tremble because of how high the monitor's volume was. Clearly the baby is not that bother about it so after changing the volume to a more suitable setting I go back to sleep. 

Hold on a minute, what if that fart came out with something else? Surely, I cannot leave the baby with a dirty nappy all night, or can I? I force myself out of bed to check on the baby. Nothing came out so I go back to bed. 

The monitor hasn't gone off for an hour?! Might be I screwed up the volume before! What if the baby was crying and I didn't hear it?! I might have emotionally damaged my kid for life! Quickly get out of bed to check on him. Incredibly, he is still sleeping like a log. 

Monitor goes off with a very strange beeping. Oh no, the temperature of the room has dropped to 19 degrees and the monitor is letting us know. In fact, it's letting the whole neighborhood know. Quickly, get out of bed to check on the baby. He is not bother at all about the temperature, in fact, he seems pretty content. 

Anyhow, I turn the heating on so the damn monitor stops beeping.
Monitor goes off and this time is for real, the baby is crying. Quickly rush into his bedroom, only to find out that he is just dreaming, the crying is actually a very creepy laugh and he is still sleeping like a log. 

But hang on... something smells... Baby has a dirty nappy, so since I am up let's change him. There is no way I can do this without waking him up, so after changing him I spend a ridiculous amount of time making him understand it is still not play time. 

Back in bed and ready to catch up on my sleep. 

Monitor goes off, again, to let us know the temperature in the room is now to high. Of course, I forgot to turn the heating off. At this point I have no energy to get out of bed, so I kick husband out of bed instead.  

Monitor goes off one last time, baby is crying. Husband shows at the door apologizing, because on his way out to work stopped by baby's room to check up on him and woke him up.  He couldn't explain how, and I didn't really care. Only thing that matters is that we have survived the first night of the baby sleeping in his own room... Or that is what he thinks. Me, on the other hand, wish I was the one going to work! 

Note to self: ask husband to oil the baby's room door. From all the checking up at night it is now creaking...