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Baby: The First 3 Months

It's hard to believe that my little baby girl is 3 months old already. I wish I'd written these posts monthly as the first few weeks are such a blur and everything changes so quickly! But I'm going to try it.

The first few days with Florence felt like a bit of a honeymoon period as she slept for most of the day (nights were a different story of course!). The first night home, Chris and I sat at the table with a homemade courgette risotto and a sleeping baby in the moses basket next to us. We were pretty smug and thought we had this parenthood thing nailed (ha, the tricks that babies play!). The first few weeks were basically spent with her sleeping, feeding and pooping (so many nappy changes!) and being in a little bubble. Chris would do all of the housework and I would just focus on breastfeeding which was pretty intense. Having family nearby - my Mum especially, was a godsend as she would look after Florence whilst I napped. This helped so much and made everything so much easier - just an hour of quality sleep goes a long way. I really appreciate how lucky I am to have that support. 

Chris is very lucky and had 4 weeks paternity which he split so he had two weeks off, two weeks at work and then two weeks off again. It was such a good idea as when she reached a month old she did become more alert and started to become less settled so it was lovely to have him around. However, at 6 weeks we had two weeks where he was away in San Francisco and in London which meant that I was solo parenting - I'm not going to lie we had some tough nights but it did me good as we got into our own little routines, and I think made me way more confident with her. Was very glad to have him home though, and again I was lucky to have family support and would stay with them quite a bit so that I had company as it can be a lonely business, especially when the baby is teeny and doesn't interact much!

At 6 weeks we started getting smiles which is the best thing ever and makes your heart want to burst. You can have the most terrible night and then you get a cheeky smile and the night is (mostly!) forgotten! At this point I also started going to some baby classes and this has made a huge difference - getting out and about has made me feel great and I've met some lovely women, and baby friends for Florence. It's given my week some structure which works well for me. I find I go a bit stir crazy if I have no plans for a day. 

Around the 8-10 week mark she became more unsettled generally - she had two colds and also her jabs (heartbreaking but obviously essential!) which meant that we had lots of crying and also needed lots of help with getting her to sleep. The game changer was reading that babies can't go longer than 2 hours without napping and if you get them to sleep before this point it's a whole lot easier and they aren't being overstimulated - this has proven so true for us and if she naps well, she's a much happier baby. Also, getting a swing to help get her to sleep (rather than breaking my back with the rocking) has helped tonnes - even though I was insistent I wouldn't get one! 

Conscious that this is a bit of a rambly post so I'll finish on how things are now. As I write this, she's  three months old so no longer my teeny newborn. Everything feels easier as we have got into a good napping routine (trying for three a day) and have started putting her to bed for 8 so we get a bit of evening to ourselves, although sleep after that is very hit and miss - a good night is a 5 hour stint and then one more wake-up, a bad night she might wake every 2 hours. The day feels more predictable (for now at least!) which is nice! I'm enjoying have a routine to my week with classes on Monday and Friday, and then a local baby group on a Tuesday which is usually followed by tea at someone's house. 

Florence is the best. I know I'm biased but she's just amazing. She's a bit of a diva, very stubborn and knows what she wants (unsurprising with two headstrong, stubborn parents!!). She is a chatterbox and super strong - her head control is great and she's so strong on her legs already. Her favourite toy is a Lamaze bird who we have named Eddie, and she loves to suck her hand/thumb/blanket when she's tired and trying to get to sleep. She has chubby cheeks, super blue eyes and is a very bald baby at the moment but is probably going to be quite blonde. We are besotted with her.

Daisy x

Pregnancy: My labour hospital bag - what I found most useful

I thought it would be helpful to write a post about what I found useful, and not so useful in my hospital bag during and after labour. I did lots of research about what to put in my hospital bag, reading blogposts and watching videos on YouTube so there wasn't much that I didn't use. I've also added a section about Florence's bag and some thoughts around this.

My hospital bag - I used a hand luggage suitcase
  • A handheld fan - I had this on me through labour as I got so hot. Chris or my Mum would hold it in my face and it was amazing.
  • Cold face spray/cold flannel - I took a flannel which we drenched in cold water and that felt so nice on my head when I was really hot.
  • A mixture of snacks and drinks - I found that I wasn't hungry at all but it's so important to try and keep your energy level ups. It's hard to pack as you have no idea what you will fancy. I packed lots of sweets but didn't want them at all! My Mum had bought some grapes for her to snack on and that's what I ended up having as Chris could easily feed me them and they were easy to digest. So I'd bring a mix of food so there is likely to be something you can eat. Drinks wise I had a Lucozade sports drink but that was horrid (even though it's great for energy) so just stuck to water.
  • A water bottle which is easy to drink from - I used my Love Island one and it was great. It's also handy for if you breastfeed as you get ridiculously thirsty and it doesn't spill as you just suck it from the straw. 
  • A tangle teezer (or any brush really) - especially if you go in the pool. My hair was like a birds nest afterwards!
  • Nice toiletries for the first shower/bath after birth - that first shower was so good and it was lovely to have special toiletries to use.
  • Flip flops - I took these rather than slippers for the ward and just used the £1 ones from Primark
  • Lip balm - your lips get super dry in labour, especially if you use gas & air so this is a must.
  • Nipple cream - Lansinoh is amazing and an essential for breastfeeding
  • Tena lady pants - I bought these instead of maternity pads (which I did use a few days) as they were so easy. You don't have to faff with big pants and a massive maternity pad - it's basically just a big nappy. Oh the glamour!
  • Spritz for bits - does what it says on the tin and works like a charm!
  • Tens machine - I hired one from Boots and it got me to 4cm. It really helped.

What I packed and didn't use

  • Dressing gown - luckily I'd only packed a thin one which didn't take up much space but the ward was far too hot to need it
  • Fluffy socks - same reason as above
  • Front opening nightie - I ended up sleeping in leggings and a maternity vest which I found easy for breastfeeding.
  • Make-up - I bought a few basics with me but didn't touch it, I couldn't have cared less!  

Baby's bag - I packed everything into her changing bag

Most baby stuff is covered in all of the lists you can find online so my extra thoughts are below. 
  • Nappies - take lots of nappies! We used the number 1 sizes from Aldi and Pampers when she was a newborn.
  • Nappy bags - I didn't think to take these but it was fine as the hospital had them, and have lots of stuff if you do forget something
  • Water wipes or cotton wool - I took both but ended up just using the water wipes as they were more convenient and great for the early meconium poos (which look like black tar!)
  • A tiny hat - we bought a 0-3month size hat which was massive for her teeny little head so my sister had to buy a tiny baby one from H&M which was perfect
  • Sleepsuits in different sizes - again you don't know how big the baby will be so bring some up to 1 month/tiny baby, and also some 0-3 months. And bring quite a few in case of poo explosions and if you're in hospital for longer than planned.
  • Cellular blankets to wrap them in and to cover them when they're sleeping - these are best as they don't overheat the baby and also cool them down if it's hot. My favourites are the ones from Asda as they are cheap and super soft.
So that rounds up my thoughts! I hope you found this helpful and please do add anything you found useful that I may have missed.

Daisy x

Baby: My positive birth story

From l-r: the last bump shot at 38 weeks pregnant; where I spent most of my labour - loved the birthing pool; first family photo

Birth story time- and it's a long one! When I was pregnant I loved reading birth stories and wanted to make sure I had shared mine, and also had it written down for myself. My birth was really positive, and I did the Positive Birth Company hypnobirthing digital pack which I feel contributed massively towards how my labour went. I can't recommend it enough and am going to do a whole post on it soon.

So, here we go. I'd had no early labour signs like braxton hicks and so was fully expecting to be late- on Tuesday that week I'd been out with my family to a garden centre and was feeling fit as a fiddle;  well, as fit as a fiddle as you can be when you're 39 weeks pregnant! However, on Thursday 17th August, 3 days before my due date I woke up at 11.30pm with period like pains. I thought it was stomach ache at first but soon realised that the cramps were coming regularly and that this was probably early labour. I was excited but knew how important getting rest was so tried to sleep as much as I could, and didn’t tell Chris until the early morning. 

The whole of the following day was spent in early labour. I took it easy and pottered around the house, doing up breathing (basically breathing in for 4, and out for 8), bouncing on my exercise ball and also using the tens machine. Chris was working from home and so was able to tie up everything and do a proper handover before going on paternity. My Mum came over too and kept me company. I had a tuna pitta for lunch and this was my last proper meal as I hardly ate throughout labour.

At around 5pm the contractions were coming very regularly so we decided to head to my Mum’s house as she was my other birth partner and was driving us to hospital. Typically as we got to her house, my contractions became a lot less regular and so we stayed there for the night. They ramped up overnight and at 4am we were told to come in to hospital.

The journey in was tough- I was knelt down over the back seat, doing my up breathing. I was so glad that it was the middle of the night as the roads were clear, and no-one was around to see me crouching on the floor outside the car! Poor Chris had to try and push me in a wheelchair, whilst also wangling my suitcase, the baby bag and my exercise ball - I think I even laughed at the time as it was so funny. 

A couple of hours after arriving I was examined and was 4cm- I found the examinations really hard as couldn’t bear to be laid on my back. At this point I could have gas and air and I was so thankful - I felt the effect straight away, it was like being really really drunk! The next day my jaw ached from clamping down on it so hard! The pool was also filled - I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go in as hadn’t enjoyed a bath in early labour but the midwife was amazing and said they’d get it ready but no problem at all if I didn’t want to go in, or if I went in and came straight out. Anyway, I went in and the relief as I hit the water was amazing! It relaxed me so much and I stayed in there for almost the rest of my labour. I was using my up breathing throughout with Chris counting me through it - he basically counted me through my whole labour!

The midwives were amazing and read my birth preferences thoroughly- it saved them having to ask me questions as everything was on there too. They had aromatherapy in the hospital and so put a diffuser in the room, and also oils in the pool, as could see I was into hypnobirthing and it being as relaxed as possible. 

At this point it’s a bit blurry as I just went into my own world and all I could do was focus on breathing (with the gas and air). Chris kept force feeding me grapes (a brilliant labour snack as easy to be fed and not hard to digest) and water, knowing I needed to keep my energy up, and my Mum was on hand with the gas and air and cold flannels. They were a dream team! 

After my last examination at 6cm (I didn’t have another as they could tell my body was ready to push) things seem to calm down and then suddenly speed up and I had a big wobble - this was definitely transition. I said that I had had enough, couldn’t do it and wanted an epidural! Shortly after my body started to push. My breathing went a bit out of the window at this point but Chris was great at reminding me to breathe during pushes - all learnt from the course we did.

I pushed for an hour and a half in the pool, but right at the end her heart rate dropped a little so I had to get out and walk to another room as they wanted to monitor me - the walk was an experience! Walking, and gravity did the trick though as as soon as I was on the bed on all fours, I started pushing and the head was out and then she was here! No monitoring needed! She was born at 2.35pm on Saturday 18th August and weighed 6lb12 (exactly what I weighed when I was born). My labour was technically 8 hours long (as they count it from when you're 4cm dilated) but was 36 hours from the first contraction.

I can’t describe the feeling of seeing her for the first time and finding out that we had a girl! It was such a rush of love and emotion, and everything in our world changed in a split second. We had delayed cord clamping, Chris then cut the cord and I had a managed third stage but it was all fine and I was so pleased to be told I didn’t need any stitches and hadn’t torn at all. The worst bit was having a catheter put in as we couldn't work out when I'd last been to the toilet. It was uncomfortable but super quick luckily.

The hospital were fab (have so so much respect for midwives, they are superheroes) and we were left for over an hour (and could have had longer) to have skin to skin and to recover. I ended up staying in hospital for two nights as the midwives wanted to see me breastfeeding from my left boob (she couldn't latch on to it for some reason!) and I also had the results back from a private Strep B test I'd had done (please do one if your NHS trust doesn't offer them!) and it was positive so they wanted to monitor Florence for 12 hours to check she was ok. Thankfully she was fine and we could go home on Monday 20th August to start navigating our new life!

Daisy x