Thursday, 27 February 2020

Palmers Range [Review]

I am stretchmarks. I have scars. Most are from three pregnancies, some are from generic weight gain, puberty... it's a natural thing. There is an enormous culture for loving your body and while I do love my body, I don't love my stretch marks as much.

So when I was invited to try the Palmers range for both myself and baby, I was thrilled. I had used the Palmers Cocoa butter on myself in the past but I had no idea they had such an extensive range to try out.

The Massage Lotion and Massage Cream saw me through a lot of pregnancy. They are both extremely similar in what they do for softening skin and helping with stretching and itching (they contain collagen and argon oil which are wonderful for your skin!) however I found they had a slightly different texture. I preferred the massage cream for rubbing onto my stomach every day to ease itchiness and hopefully stave off too many new stretchmarks/reduce their appearance, and the lotion was a little runnier so perfect for making Jack give me foot rubs and back rubs!

Now I'm postpartum, I've been using the skin therapy oil to try and heal my skin from where it had grown and shrunk from pregnancy. It's super silky and has an amazing smell, and taking just a few minutes after a bath to apply it all over not only makes me feel good (self care is so important to mood) but I do think its seriously improved the condition of my skin. I was so dry and red after giving birth and now it's feeling better than before I even conceived.

Stretch marks are of course inevitable for some women. I knew I'd get more, but despite having the biggest baby I've had out of three, I didn't get nearly as many this time, they are definitely not as angry and red as I've had before and I'd like to say it is because I did what I could to help my skin using this range.

The baby range has also been an amazing addition into Harry's bath routine. The bottom butter is lovely and thick and I apply it after his baths once he's dry, as well as after his nappy changes and he's had no issues with rashes at all.

We also use the baby oil. I rub it quickly in my hands to warm it up and give him a baby massage which stops him screaming (he hates getting out the bath, more splashing please mum!). It isn't excessively greasy so it soaks in pretty fast so I can get him dressed quickly before he goes off to bed, and it smells absolutely amazing without being harsh on his sensitive baby skin at all.

I'm ridiculously impressed with the range- from bust cream to firm them up a bit (after breastfeeding I'll be so grateful for this) to bottom butter, there's a product for all mum and baby skin. I've even wondered if using the same product scent on myself as I do on him relaxes him and makes him think of me.

I was sent these products in exchange for an honest review. All words, opinions and photos are my own.

Alternative Newborn Photo Ideas

I've been having buckets of fun on Instagram lately- if you don't follow me already, I really would love if you checked out our page!

I've been sharing all the alternative ways you can take newborn photos. Are you a bit of a geek? A Harry Potter fan? Just looking for something different?

Here are a few ideas to tickle your fancy- there'll be more coming soon so definitely give us a follow here.
I wouldn't have nothing if I didn't have you- Monsters Inc

Harry solemnly swears that he is up to no good!

We love you Harry, to infinity and beyond.

I can fix it mama, I can fix anything!

I'll be your hero mum!

Chicco Next2Me Magic [Review]

For the last three months, we’ve been using the Chico Next2me Magic crib beside our bed for Harry to sleep in and I have to start this review by simply stating it is the best baby item I’ve had!

We coslept with Archer. He was a terrible sleeper and up to around 7 months old he refused to sleep unless he was touching me in some way- putting my hand through the bars of a regular crib didn’t cut it.

I knew if there was potential for us to have a similar experience this time around, I wanted to try a Chicco crib as they offer the option to “co-sleep” without actually having baby in your bed- which would mean more sleep all around for me and Jack this time! So when I was offered a Next2Me Magic to review I jumped at the chance. 

There are so many wonderful features which appealed to me with this crib. It isn’t just a generic side sleeper!

The crib itself is able to tilt at an angle, which is extremely helpful for babies who are suffering with reflux and/or congestion. It has breatheable mesh all around it, which is super easy to remove for cleaning as well as perfect for circulating air so baby can stay cool when sleeping.

One of the mesh sides drops which allows the conversion from crib to side sleeper and its really easy to do one handed which is great if you have your hands full (which you definitely will with a baby!). You can also click a button on each side to unlock the stand and put it into rocking mode which is great for comforting Harry when he is fussing.

I was worried about using it against my bed- we have a low to the ground futon style frame without any space for the legs to slide underneath (similar to how a duvan sits just above the floor) but the feet retract and once the brakes are on the wheels and the safety straps were on it sat perfectly. The height also wasn't an issue as you can lower and raise the crib depending on the height of your bed.

It’s been an absolute life saver for the last three months. I’m breastfeeding, and being able to just lean over and gently pick Harry up from beside me means he is far less disturbed and settles easily when set back in bed. If he is fussing, I don’t even need to get out of bed to comfort him as he is right there beside me.

It’s absolutely perfect for any parent interested in co-sleeping safely, and unlike a Moses basket which he would grow out of around 3 months old, it is suitable up to around 6 months which means I can keep him in my room for a lot longer.

The crib itself can also be used as a travel cot with carry bag means when we’ve stayed with relatives, and for our upcoming holiday, we can easily take it with us and he will have a familiar sleep environment. The adjustable height means I can change it to suit whichever bed we are in when we go away too!

It really is one of the best pieces of baby equipment I’ve used and I give it all the credit when I look at how well Harry sleeps at night. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

It has a higher price tag than a Moses basket or standard small wooden crib but I think the features and ease of use as well as how long they can stay in it completely make it worth it. The added bonus is that it comes in three really stylish colours (we went with grey but there's also tan and white) which means it fits into any room without looking out of place or garish.

I was sent this product in exchange for an honest review. All words, opinions and photos are my own.


The end of the fourth trimester.

Three months. I genuinely can’t believe it’s been three months.

I’ve been quiet. If you read here, you’ll know I shared with you that I’ve been suffering with postpartum anxiety. I’ve been to see the GP a few times and I’m taking medication (hopefully only till around 6 months postpartum) and I’m finally having mostly good days as a result.

We are out of the newborn blur and heading toward a reliable routine which has been a life saver. I can generally guess what Harry needs just based on the time of day, and his cry’s are easy to understand. To top it off, he’s an exceptional sleeper (I deserve this after the horror of a sleeper Archer was and still is!) and I get around 5-6 hour stretches from him at night!

It’s all going so well. I’m not really worrying about my weight or losing it- it’ll come off on its own one day and I’ll diet properly when I’m not breastfeeding.

The breastfeeding is going wonderfully now. I believe my let down issues were related to how stressed I was getting wit the anxiety and now I’m more relaxed my body is producing much better. I do get quite sore as I seem to have an over supply but Harry is gaining really well now and much more content. I’m so glad we stuck through those hard weeks.

The newborn days are tricky. The horrible hormones, and getting to know your baby who is desperately trying to adjust to the outside world... it feels like it’s going to be a never ending struggle but here we are. I’m already looking back fondly and missing how small and new he was. It was hard. I suppose that’s why they call it the fourth trimester?

It was worth it though. We’ve come through and Harry is one of the easiest, happiest little babies and we’re all so in love with him.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow Review

If you’ve been following me a while you’ll know I’ve mentioned that I suffered with SPD in my pregnancy with Archer and my subsequent pregnancy with Harry. I’m actually still feeling the effects of my pregnancy with Harry- I still can’t sleep with my knees together and have to use my pregnancy pillow or my pelvis aches and I physically can’t move without help or it’s agony.

I spent the first four to five months of Harry’s pregnancy slowing stealing cushions from around the house in a rather awful attempt at getting comfy. Jack ended up with less than the bare minimum amount of space and I still wasn’t comfy (and neither was the sofa once I started to pilfer those cushions too).

I was kindly offered a Dream Genii pillow to try. This pregnancy pillow is designed with safe sleeping (on your left side) and pelvis aches in mind. The long front side runs along your stomach, between your knees, and you sleep on your left in the small flat section of fabric. The smaller pillow rests on your back and means you can rest assured that you won’t be rolling onto your back in your sleep.

If you’ve ever rolled onto your back in pregnancy you’ll know that it can make you feel quite sick as everything gets compressed with the weight of your bump- knowing I couldn’t roll was great and actually I did lean back a fair bit into it which gave me the “illusion” of laying back which I always found comfier.

It was like sleeping in a hug- something I emotionally declared to Jack after I finally managed a decent nights sleep after weeks of discomfort. I felt so physically supported and I genuinely couldn’t have slept without my by the end of pregnancy as my SPD had gotten so bad.

Jack appreciated the fact the extra ten cushions were relieved on their duty in the bed, and he was able to get in. He was also grateful that I was held in place as I slept so I couldn’t toss and turn or kick him with my discomfort as much as I had before (I did still attempt to aim a good kick at him if he snored).

I only invested in a cheap V shaped pillow my last two pregnancies and I don’t know how I managed to survive without the Dream Genii. I highly recommend it to anyone newly pregnant and especially anyone with SPD / PGP.

This product was sent to me in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

I have postpartum anxiety, and that’s okay.

I’ve hesitated writing this post over the last few weeks. It seems silly, but it felt as though writing it would make it all seem worse or even the opposite- that I’m exaggerating. I’ve also been super conscious that family often read this blog and I didn’t want them to begin worrying or overcompensating with kindness or even thinking I need people to step in with more offers of help. It wasn’t until I spoke to the health visitor this week that I decided the easiest way of handling how I feel is talking about it, and that’s why I started blogging in the first place- a safe space to talk.

I’ll begin by saying I’m absolutely enamoured with Harry and how life is going as a family of five. He’s a wonderful baby and everyone has settled into a great routine and it really does feel like he was always meant to be here.

The anxiety is there despite all this.

The first time few weeks, I put it down to baby blues. I happily breastfed Archer, especially out in public as we went out and about so much. It never bothered me, I felt no shame and I believe it’s much more socially accepted these days. But the first time I even thought about feeding Harry in front of anyone except Jack and the kids I started worrying and over thinking every possible scenario of who might look at me funny or feel awkward or treat me differently... of course our family have never behaved like this but I felt extremely nervous and even thinking about it made me tearful. It wasn’t just normal worrying, it was panic. I’d go over potential situations with Jack over and over again until I cried and he eased my mind by telling me it would be okay.

This pattern of overthinking everything and crying kicked in even more at Harry’s two week check  when the midwife told me he hadn’t gained enough weight. Instead of explaining it to me she called the hospital to discuss it with a senior midwife and all the information I had to mull over was hearing the one sided phone call and being told to come back in two days and that he needed to gain it by then. I sobbed, I panicked, I felt sick- in about thirty seconds I convinced myself I didn’t have enough milk and I was failing at feeding him.

I spent the next two days pumping and giving him as many extra feeds as I could on top of breastfeeding non stop and he gained the weight he needed and then some! But the anxiety over it all hasn’t shifted. I still worry I’m doing everything wrong.

Logically I know he’s eating. His output is great, he is active and content and when I pump I have a great supply. He’s thriving. The anxiety however... sometimes he seems to be eating for hours and I’ve had to hand him to Jack and come downstairs in full panic attack that he’s suckling and getting nothing at all. I hadn’t had a panic attack for years. At his latest check he had dropped down a curve- something normal as he started so large and sometimes it takes a baby a while to “find their line” and if anything, the health visitor said he is in proportion now and doing fine. Of course, I’ve been panicking that he isn’t eating enough or properly. Even though I know he is. But I’m worried... even though he is eating. It’s a cycle you see.

It isn’t just the feeding. It’s feeling on edge and as though I can’t act naturally around big groups of people. Christmas Day was a lovely large family occasion and I found myself hiding upstairs when I had a chance and crying because I just can’t relax and I don’t know why.

The health visitor said it isn’t postpartum depression. When I’m comfortable I’m so happy and I’m still interested in doing things and social when I’m feeling okay and I’m still of course looking after myself and the children. I took a little test and she said it’s postpartum anxiety which of course I anticipated. I suppose it isn’t as serious or commonly spoken about as PPD but it’s just as real.

I’m coping by trying to keep to a routine. Keeping the house tidy and organised is helping as long as I remember not to get too worried about it (people always seem to come over unexpected when we’re in temporary chaos and I worry they’ll judge!). Mess is normal with children and I need to relax a little and stop getting cross when Jack doesn’t put his shoes where they go. There’s a fine line between keeping things tidy to ease my anxiety and obsessing and getting anxious about the tidying too. Ridiculous right?

Mostly I’m just upset because I know all my worries are in my head and hold no real standing to what’s actually going on. Harry isn’t starving, people don’t think that I’m not handling it all, people don’t care if I breastfeed him.... I just need to ignore that voice that says “but what if...” and take a deep breath.

I’m seeing the GP for my proper postpartum check this week and it’s definitely something I’ll mention to them so they’re aware. The health visitor said I didn’t have a really high score so as long as I don’t start feeling worse she isn’t too worried. It’s definitely normal and okay to feel how I do as long as I try my best to work on the issue.

Talking to Jack helps. Taking five minutes to cry and calm down helps too. So do cuddles with my children. I’m sure it’ll get better once my hormones fully settle and I start sleeping better at night.

If you made it this far, thank for for reading and listening. If no one reads this, at least I feel a little better for getting it out.
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