Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Anxiety: My Experience


I love being a mummy, I have a wonderful partner, a gorgeous son and my life is pretty much perfect..
So why do I wake up with a huge feeling of dread??
This was the question I asked myself every morning when I woke, shortly after having Harry - i was plagued by feelings of panic, sadness, stress and anxiety

Being a new mum is hugely overwhelming and a massive adjustment not only to your social life but to your whole way of thinking and your daily routine so it's understandable that you aren't going to feel completely yourself or on top of the world everyday. However I was starting to lose myself entirely and I just didn't feel right at all, I'm normally a very happy go lucky kind of gal, full of positive energy! I desperately wanted to see my friends yet couldn't bring myself to leave the house. I was terrified of something being wrong with Harry or something happening to him that I couldn't control which worsened when we found out about his hearing loss.  But mostly I was feeling ridiculously anxious and emotional for no reason at all, and that was when I started to worry there was something wrong with me. I constantly googled for help but everything was pointing me in the direction of postnatal depression which I was pretty sure I didn't have.. I didn't feel depressed, I didn't feel like I hadn't bonded with Harry and I didn't hate my life, I simply just could not shake the feeling of worry in the pit of my stomach. Those worries soon turned into panic attacks where I literally felt like I was choking and couldn't breathe and i would end up uncontrollably crying for hours on end. 
It also felt like every other mum around me was doing fantastically well at being a mother and enjoying every single moment - Whereas I was struggling with the broken sleep, a colicky baby and the pressures of being a "housewife". I felt like I was doing a terrible job even though deep down I know that I'm really not!
Self esteem takes a huge hit when you suffer from anxiety. You worry that you're a burden on people around you, that you're ruining everyone else's mood and that you're coming across as pathetic. Those feelings then make your anxiety even worse as you are constantly worrying - it's a vicious circle!!

Everybody has feelings of worry and anxiety, it's completely normal when there's something on your mind. However when you're feeling overly anxious about a certain situation or topic or for no reason at all then that's when it goes deeper than just general worrying. Excessive anxiety then releases huge rushes of adrenaline which then leads to panic attacks, and these can last from minutes to hours.

Anxiety is a disorder that some people find it very hard to understand, they may think you are a diva or drama queen, crying for attention, maybe just a huge wimp or a miserable person. Those people are the lucky ones who don't have to endure what us anxiety sufferers do every single day! It's not something you can necessarily control or cure and it can happen to even the most bubbly people - I am sure a few of you who know me will be very shocked that anxiety and panic attacks are something I experience!!

Mr H and I are really close, we tell each other everything and we're both very "open books" so I immediately turned to him for support. I think speaking about my confusing feelings was a huge and vital step to helping me feel better and I am so incredibly lucky that I have such a fantastic support network around me and when there's no one around you lovely lot on Twitter help pick me up when I'm feeling down!

I'm not really sure how my anxiety was triggered but as it started shortly after giving birth to my son it's referred to as postnatal anxiety. The symptoms are very similar to post natal depression so I think the 2 are very easily confused if not diagnosed correctly.
I'm currently taking medication to help ease those panicky moments, it's early days but I think they may be helping - that and the fact I know I can always turn to my friends and family when I feel like I just can't cope. I am certainly not over the worst of it yet and I have to constantly keep busy or make sure I have people around me every day as much as possible - although it's not that easy being a stay at home mum!!

I hope this helps any other new mummy's, or anybody really who suffers from any type of anxiety disorder, to know that you aren't alone and it can happen to even the happiest of people! I know I am so lucky to have such a beautiful family and perfect little boy and that really helps me through those difficult days. 
If I could give you one piece of advice it would be to talk. Talk to anyone and everyone about your feelings. Don't be shy to offload, it will make you feel heaps better and you never know you might even get some golden advice back

I would love to hear from those of you who are in the same or a similar position as me, or if you have any experiences you want to share, so please leave me a comment if you fancy a chat or feel free to send me a private email to the address on my contact page!

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Monday, 28 April 2014

Harry at 5 Months

My, my how fast is our little boy growing up!? This month we have seen the biggest changes in Harry so far!  He's really happy, giggly and hes ridiculously strong, and I honestly love him a little bit more every day!



Weight: Its been a busy month so I haven't had him weighed for a while but hes definitely still a little chunk!



Daily: This last couple of weeks i've been working on trying to get Harry to take a longer afternoon nap as I found the 45 minutes he was getting just wasn't enough for him, and he was clearly still tired and grumpy once he woke.  I realised he did want to sleep longer but struggled to get himself back to sleep so its still a work in progress but I do manage to put him down around 12 and get him to nap until 1.45pm, he then wakes up a much happier chap and is ready to play!
We had a little holiday at my mums caravan this month so we did lots of walking, playing with his cousins and swimming - which he loved!!  Harry is 100% a water baby and it seems to really calm him and he usually falls asleep in the pool!  Swimming is something I want to get into a lot more with him, especially now we're coming into Summer



Bedtime: I can't complain in the slightest about our little star when it comes to night time!  After a splash in the bath and a warm bottle he is ready to go down in his cot around 7.15pm and gets himself off to sleep by half 7.  We then don't usually hear from him until half 6 - 7am!!  Occasionally he will wake in the night for his dummy or just a random little cry but that's totally bearable for us after weeks of broken sleep! I know babies change their sleeping habits as quickly as the British weather but for now he's a lil' angel!



Eating: I will be posting an update on Harry's current stage of weaning.. its been SO much fun!  He really isn't all that fussed by milk anymore - apart from that all important first bottle of the day!!  He's really into his morning porridge and loving a fruit or veg puree for tea, in fact he cries for more once its all gone!
He still has 4 bottles a day of 7oz at approx 7am, 11am, 3pm and then again at 7pm but we do struggle to get him to take the whole lot, hes quite happy to have about 6oz at a time


Clothing: H is well and truly into his 3-6 month clothes and I had to go on a bit of a shopping spree this month to update his summer wardrobe - he didn't seem to have much that fitted!  I got tons of baby leggings and some really cute tees!  My fave shops right now for baby boys are Gap and Jo Jo Maman Bebe but my bank account doesn't approve so much..



Milestones

  • This is so ridiculous but Harry can stand up! His legs are so solid he can stand for absolutely ages just holding onto your hands or the sofa
  • Hes just started sitting unaided for a minute or so at a time 
  • Little H is proper chatty and giggles at pretty much everything!
  • He now opens his mouth and makes a noise when he wants more food, those of you who have weaned your babies will know this is a big step as for a while the little ones don't seem to really know they need to open their traps in order for us to get the food in!!

Hearing: Its been a good month in terms of hearing aids for Harry.  The ones we have been using seem to fit his ears really well and don't give horrendous feedback.  Mr H has also learnt how to thread the moulds himself so we don't need to visit the hospital as much for fittings! The only down side is every morning he has an absolute fit over me putting them in his ears, poor baby :-(
We really do think he seems to respond to sound, especially when we have little chats with him.. however we just don't know which is the hardest thing!

I would love to hear about what your 5 month old is up to?!
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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Stokke Steps*

Ever since we found out about Harry's hearing loss we have been on the lookout for products to help him out in any way possible. Top of that list of essentials was something I could sit him in so he was at our level - It's vital that Harry can see our faces when we're talking to him to give him the best possible chance of picking up speech, learn how to communicate, and possibly lip read

As he's still only small (apart from those double chins) and not quite able to sit up unaided a normal high hair wasn't an option, and that's when we discovered the Stokke Steps!


The 3 in one system is suitable from birth and perfect for what we needed! The set includes a bouncy seat which is incredibly supportive and springey! It really does have a nice bounce to it without requiring too much effort from that foot you're using to keep the motion going whilst scoffing down your cold dinner!
It also has a fab little hanger where you can clip on your baby's fave toy, or drape a blanket to create a little canopy for naps. Speaking of naps, the chair has 4 different posistion a so it can be easy reclined for a snooze!
The bouncer does come with a removable squishy newborn insert that was designed by paediatric physiotherapists (try saying that after a gin or 2) but Harry was too big for that by the time we got him in it
The straps are a great feature for the chair as well as our little monkey is quite the wriggler these days and freakishly strong, so I know he won't be going anywhere once he's clipped in!


The bouncer can then be easy attached onto the wooden "steps" to create a highchair that can be used from birth - giving us that all important height that Harry needs! It's also great for when I'm cooking as Harry can sit and watch exactly what I'm doing instead of just looking up at the ceiling all the time and getting bored! 


I love how easy the whole thing is to assemble, you know when the bouncer is clipped in securely when the red dot turns to green - simples.


As we have started weaning him too I can strap him in and get that food into him without him being able to wiggle away and get his dinner absolutely everywhere! Saying that though if you do get any milky spills or sweet potato mishaps the covers are completely removable and washable

When baby is ready, you can then move onto using the highchair component of the system, again perfect for feeding, especially baby led weaning as it has a big wipeable plastic tray - totally vital!!

When your little one out grows the highchair, unlike conventional ones where you would then store it away for the next baby or sell it on EBay, you can use the wooden frame as a children's seat! I really love this aspect of the Stokke Steps as you really are getting well over a few years use out of just one product and everyone knows how much kiddies love to be on a "grown up" chair!


This super adaptive mega chair is now a real winner in our house that we can't live without! We use it every single day and I can't fault it in the slightest. Harry will even take a nap in the bouncy seat which is unheard of previously for our little man - he will usually only sleep on his tummy, so we know that seat must be super comfy!!
The bouncy seat also folds down completely flat making it portable, we take it everywhere!!
It's also refreshing to see such stylish looking baby products.. There's only so much garish rainbow coloured plastic a parent can take!!

The Stokke Steps system is perfect for babies with hearing loss or for littl'ens who require that extra height to feel safe and secure. But really I would recommend the Stokke Steps to any new mum or mummy to be!

Thumbs up Stokke for this ingenious product!!

What's your favourite baby product? Have you tried the Stokke Steps?
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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Harry's Overnight Bag - by Pink Lining*


Prince Harry often goes for sleepovers at his Auntie's or his Nanna's house and it quite quickly became apparent that he needed to cart around a lot of stuff!! I'd turn up at their front doors with a huge bag - a jumble of mine and Harry's bits and pieces - or a really inappropriate rucksack overstuffed with nappies and probably definitely far too many changes of clothing!
So when i received this GORGEOUS overnight bag from Pink Lining I was absolutely over the moon and knew immediately how handy Harry having his own bag would be!


Firstly the print is stunning. Knights and dragons - how cool???!! The material is great quality and is waterproof (babyproof) so you could even use this as a swim bag if you wanted to.
As Harry gets older I know he is just going to love this bag so much and I can see him now packing all his favourite toys and musy's inside!

It's the perfect size for all of his things, I can fit everything he needs for an overnight stay in there, with plenty of room for extras such a toys, a blanket and lotions and potions. It's also not stupidly oversized as us women all know that when were given a large bag we will do our best to fill it!!


For me Pink Lining is second to none  when it comes to fantastic quality bags for children and I think we are going to need the entire Knights and Dragons set to match! They offer a whole range of designs of this overnight bag for girls and for boys, as well as lots of other items to match!

Does your little one have their own overnight bag? Do you always pack far too much?!
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Friday, 4 April 2014

My Newborn Essentials

As a new mum I am often asked what my essential products were in those early days and weeks, so here are my absolute staple items that I would advise any mum or mum-to-be to invest in!

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Cot Mobile -   We didnt have a cot mobile from day 1 as we knew that our newborn wouldn't be very interested in it, but it became apparent very quickly that it was something we needed to get as Harry became more alert!  He LOVED his mobile from the second we bought it, and he still loves it now!  Its super bright and colourful and the little animals provide endless entertainment!  It also plays music that obviously Harry cannot hear but sometimes we play it anyway! The mobile we have is from Mothercare and I love its bright and colourful design (even though it doesn't match his nursery in the slightest!)

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Blankets - I didn't realise how many blankets we would need at all! I thought 1 or 2 would be enough but we seem to go through them like water!!  We now have lots of blankets, all different textures and densities so we have the right blanket for the right temperature and plenty for when he pukes up on one (this happens loads!!) We also have a Swaddle Shell from Mamas and Papas which really helped Harry when he was a newborn as it kept him all secure, however he doesn't seem to like that anymore! He will however only nap in the daytime with a blanket/muzy over his head!!
Footless babygros & Leggings - Outfits and sleepsuits with feet seem to be a bit too restrictive when we are just at home for the day so we have been dressing Harry in a lot of rompers, footless babygros and cotton leggings.  They are so comfy and give him the room to wiggle his arms and legs about freely and he can nap in everything without me having to remove any items of clothing



H & M Socks - One thing that drives me up the wall is crap baby socks!  Even the likes of Next and Mamas & Papas do silly loose fitting socks that fall off the second they are put on resulting in a collection of odd socks at the end of the day! We have found that H&M do the absolute best baby socks which stay put all day long!  They are quite thick and have roll tops which stop the socks from sliding down their teeny tiny ankles and the best thing is they are cheap as chips and the designs are totally cute!
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Elephant lamp - In the first few nights of Harry being in his own room it became apparent that any sort of bright light switched on in the middle of the night would wake him completely up and we could never settle him back down again.  We searched high and low for a night light that would give off enough of a glow for nappy changes/sick mop ups but not too much light that it would awake our little bug.  We found this porcelain elephant lamp from Mothercare and it is absolutly perfect for the night feeds!  It really helped when implementing our routine as it would rouse Harry just enough to guzzle his milk and then he would immediately go back to sleep again


Waterwipes - These wipes are amazeballs and are probably my number 1 must have product for a newborn baby.  They are completely safe to use on that sensitive bubba skin and you can literally use them to give your baby a full body wash!  We even used them to wipe away the gunk in Harrys eyes and to freshen up his hair!  They are 99% water and 1% fruit extract making them completely fragrance free and non irritant.  I find the cheapest place to buy these is on Amazon


Bath and body works anti bac - We go through this stuff like water!! This 100% anti bacterial hand gel is fantastic for nappy changes on the go and it smells divine! We currently have an apple one in our changing bag and a huge strawberry one on our changing station at home.  I buy mine on EBay as I dont think its available to buy in the UK just yet

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Dummy's - I never ever wanted to give my son a dummy, it was something I was totally adamant I wouldn't do but we quickly realized that it was going to be a necessity for Harry!  If we didn't have his dummy we would be constantly feeding him or have a very miserable baby as he just likes the comfort of a soother.  I'm not looking forward to weaning him off it, but for now he can have as much dummy time as he likes! Dummy is his life..
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BEABA Bath Recliner - I have reviewed this little bad boy here, no babies bath is complete without one!





















Infacol Colief - These 2 amazing products go hand in hand and have been crucial to Harrys "recovery" from the dreaded colic.  We used both of them for every single feed day and night and they relieve those nasty griping tummy pains.  If you have a colicky baby I strongly urge you to shell out the dollar for Colief as it really is a miracle worker!

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Dr Browns Anti-colic Bottles - Another truly amazing colic product!  Dr Browns bottles have a unique air filtering system that stops your baby swallowing too much air (a huge colic cause) we noticed a huge improvement when wing harry the moment we started using them.  they aren't cheap and they are a pain in the butt to assemble but we think they are fantastic!


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Olive Oil - We lathered on lashings of the stuff when H was a little bubba and fragranced products are just too much for their teeny bodies!  I truly believe its the reason Harry has such great skin - no baby acne, cradle cap, nappy rash or dryness!! The best thing about it is its super cheap, easy to buy and so effective

What are your newborn essentials??

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Harry at 4 Months



For me Harry is at his best age so far, he is full of smiles, laughs and is a joy to be around! I can play with him properly, read books with him and he reaches out to things he wants and will easily grasp them!

Weight: Harry is now a whopping 16lb 3 and he is certainly a bit of a unit, however he has dropped off of his line slightly so is only just in the 75th percentile - I am more than happy with this as he is a growing lad!! 


Daily: Harry is in a proper napping routine and will have one pretty much after 2 - 2.5 hours of being awake. I thought this wasn't very long for a baby of his age to be awake for, but a lot of his baby pals seem to be very similar. 
I have found that Harry is rather ratty and grumbly if we stay in all day at the house so I have been trying to keep as busy as possible and leave the house everyday, even if it's just for a walk or a trip to the shops for milk. I started to find it really hard being alone with a baby all the time as well this month (I felt like I was going loopy and got really lonely) so I'm going to start going to a few baby groups when I find something I like the sound of!


Bedtime: For just over a week now our little gem has been sleeping through! It's incredible and I never thought it would happen after weeks of constant waking up at 4am for no particular reason at all! He goes to bed between 7 and half 7 after a warm bath and his milky drink and will get himself off to sleep shortly after. We do occasionally hear a couple of moans from him in the night but we have learnt not to go into him and he soon soothes himself back to sleep. I have now put a couple of teddies and a comforter in there with him which seem to have really helped - we often catch him chatting to them in the morning!
He will generally wake up between half 6 and 7 and is ok to wait 15 mins or so before we go into him. Sometimes I'll go and turn his light in and he'll play with his mobile for a bit before letting us know that he's huuuuuungryyyy!!


Eating: Milk isn't top of Harry's list anymore and he is more into fruity porridge!! He has a whole 7oz bottle in the morning when he wakes and then a nice helping of his porridge to wash it down! He still feeds every 4 hours but never really a cries for his milk anymore. We also give him some "tea" around half 5 which again is just a helping of porridge with a couple of ounces of water - this is when he started sleeping though after we decided dinner would be included in his day! He still drinks his bedtime bottle (approx 6 ounces) and will pretty much sleep through with occasional 4-5am moans but nothing crazy
I have just started cooking up Harry's next foods, fruit and veg purees, so I will be posting all about that very soon!


Clothing: 0-3 month clothes are well and truly out of the question now which makes me sad!! Little H is not so little anymore and fits nicely into his 3-6 month outfits. I still dress Harry in leggings most of the time as they are just so comfy and he can roll and wiggle about easily in them - I think baby jeans and chinos are really tight and restrictive on him, does anyone else find that?
I get most of his clothes at the moment from Next, Mothercare and Gap as they have some really nice patterns and colours in for his age


Milestones: 
Harry can easily hold his head up now and can sit really well with some support
He also has super strong legs, freakishly strong in fact, and he can stand with us just holding him very loosely!!!
He can roll over but is very selective as to when he does it
He can pretty much hold his water bottle with handles and tries ever so hard to get the teat to his mouth!!


Hearing: This last one has been a difficult one for us as it really hit us that Harry is deaf.. We've had some really down days where we have found it so hard to be positive and just both felt so frustrated that we can't just fix his little ears!
Hazza has some new more powerful hearing aids that our audiologist is confident will give him access to some sound and lo and behold Harry jumped when I dropped a plate this week and also when the front door slammed! Little things like this really give us huge hope for the future!
Harry has a big test in June when he will be 6 months old, to really see if the hearing aids are working for him or if we need to explore other options. For now though we just need to continue to stimulate him with sound and vision as much as we possibly can to keep up his development

I would love to hear about what your 4 month old is up to?!

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