Category Archives: pregnant

Things to do while on maternity leave

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I feel very lucky to have had my babies in the UK and be entitled for a full year maternity leave. Although I don’t get a salary through part of it, I think this time I get to spend with them is precious.

Unfortunately pregnancy and motherhood left me a bit slow in the brain and I missed out lots of things I could have done with both since early weeks. I decided to write this post after trying to enroll in several activities just to find out that it is too late for a few of them and having a friend who just gave birth in New Zealand in mind. I wished I had someone to tell me certain things from day 1 I got pregnant.

NCT classes – I heard of it after having Laura and promised myself I was going to attend when I was pregnant again. Then, around March, I decided to look for a group near me just to hear from my boss that it was already too late, that I should have joined NCT just after the 1st trimester. I was very frustrated. NCT is a charity for parenting here in the UK and they run pre-Natal classes as well as other stuff. The best thing about it, in my opinion, is to get to know mothers in your area that will give birth around the same time as you. These mothers then gather to do things together after their babies are born. I just dropped my local NCT a note to ser if there is anything for mothers with young babies that I can join.

Baby massage – another one that I joined a little too late. Although the instructor told me there isn’t a real age limit (as long as baby isn’t walking), I find it quite hard to massage Bea when all she wants is to roll and look at other babies. I can see that the younger babies – 4 to 12 weeks – enjoy the massage more than Bea will ever enjoy. So, in my opinion, best age to start this is when baby is around 6 weeks old. Price for a 5 week course: £55 (I’ve seen more expensive ones but also seen free ones, from the council).

Baby yoga – I was looking at baby yoga classes to replace the baby massage classes once this is finished, in 2 weeks time, and also found out that it is recommended for babies between 6 weeks up to crawling. Well, Bea is very close to start crawling – she is already on her knees and moving back and forth on spot, exactly how Laura was a few days before she started crawling. From £6/session.

Baby sensory classes – this is way more flexible, and there are different age groups: the one I’m looking at the moment is for babies up to one year. There are other activities for older babies, who are walking. Prices vary from free (council – very basic) to £6-£8/session.

Baby music classes – same as above. I’m going to try one on the 5th november. Prices from £8/session.

Baby swimming classes – same as above. But I wasn’t very lucky with Laura. She was 4 months old when we went for a mum and baby class but the club near me was small and the dressing room wasnt very baby friendly – I had to leave her on a bench to get myself dressed, which was very dangerous and stressful. She wasn’t sitting but was rolling. Also, I found the water very cold and so was the dressing room, and Laura seemed to have a constant cold after we started swimming. I’m planning to give it a go with Bea at the new place I go to the gym, but only next year, as I have to pay for 10 classes (weeks) in advance and I’m not sure I want to commit to it just yet. Each class costs around £7.

Baby ballet – starts at 18 months. Laura is really enjoying her ballet class and I will definitely put Bea in as soon as she turns 18 months. We found classes on Saturdays, which is perfect for working parents. Each class costs £6, but you have to pay for a full term (6 classes) in advance.

Playgroups – there are various and for all age groups up to pre-school age, including free ones in libraries and other council buildings. I have only been to one yet with Bea because the ones I found are on Fridays and I had stuff to do. Sessions can be as little as £1 per
child, when charged for (see free options above).

Activities for mums – I mentioned the gym with creche on a previous post – there are other options like bootcamps where mums exercise with their babies and buggies. I’m also attending a “Family Meal” workshop for two hours a week and Bea stays in their creche. This is organized by our council’s Children and Family Centre. When this is finished, I will start a photography for mums with baby workshop for 3 weeks. Prices varies a lot, going from free (council) to £90 (photography). My gym membership costs £30/month (+ £3.5/hour for the creche).

At the moment Bea is at that age where she is too old for certain things and too young for others, but I don’t want to get to the stage I got with Laura, where I wouldn’t leave the house because I had panic attacks and post-natal depression. Forcing myself to do things with Bea has helped me not to go crazy and with winter coming, there are good chances I go mad if I don’t have stuff to do.

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Two weeks

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And two weeks have gone by so quickly. Or maybe not.

I’m pretty sure most mums avoid comparing the new baby with previous one(s), but also can’t help comparing them. It is not in the bad way – I would say it is almost for “educational” purposes.

Laura was a quiet baby for… a day or two. Then she showed that she had strong lungs and an appetite of a lion. She would only sleep in our arms, with us sitting on the pilates ball or rocking chair. Maybe I walked a lot while pregnant, so she was used to movement. Beatrice was a quite baby for almost 12 days. She is was so peaceful that we would even forget about her. She sleeps used to sleep in the moses basket or the pram for 3 or 4 hours in row and sometimes I had to wake her up for a feed. But at night… hmmmm… after 11pm or midnight the colics kick off and keep us all awake most of the night. The poor baby suffers so much. I think Laura also suffered with winds/colics because we gave her Infacol when she was a month or two old. The health visitor suggested giving it to Bea as well, but I was wondering if I should wait.

We gave Laura a dummy sometime between 4 and 8 weeks (I can’t remember exactly, but we were desperate) and had it up to last December (roughly 2 years and 1/2). I was hoping to avoid dummies with Beatrice but it will depend on how good she is to be calmed down. I don’t like the idea of dummies but I’m also not 100% against it. If we decide to go for it, I will aim to remove it by 12 months.

Laura cried a lot when she had her first bath, 24 hours after birth. Beatrice only had her first proper bath after the belly bottom fell off, a week after she was born, and she didn’t cry at all. I used to give Laura a bath every single day, but I’m way more relaxed with Bea (maybe because it is way colder than it was in 2010) and I clean her with cotton wool (top and tail or cat bath) every day instead of bathing her every day.

Because it was warmer when Laura was born, she used to be just on nappies quite a lot and we were always outdoors. Bea spends most of the time in the house and full of clothes (I’m scared that she might catch a cold or something like that). And although I try to massage Bea whenever she is being cleaned or having her nappy changed, the skin to skin contact with her is a fraction of what it was with Laura, to my dispair.

Laura was on antibiotics from day one because of some liquid found in her kidneys – her belly bottom fell off after a couple of weeks because for the antibiotics. Bea didn’t have this. They both had vitamin K just after birth.

Laura was born with 3,120kg, but I have no idea of her height as it wasn’t common practice to measure babies at the hospital she was born. She lost approximately 10% of her weight after birth but there’s no records of her weight by day 10; Bea was 2,920kg and 52cm at birth, went to 2,860kg at day 5 and 3,060kg at day 10.

We kept the house relatively peaceful for Laura. She turned out to be an active and very loud child. The house cannot be kept quiet for Bea (which drives mummy a bit crazy) – I hope she will be a sweet and calm little girl (active, but not loud, if this is even possible).

I had post-natal depression with Laura and started with medication when she was 7 months old; only stopped the pills when trying to get pregnant, last year. I carried on breastfeeding as the GP said that stopping it would cause more harm then good. I’m hoping I can avoid it with Bea, but I have to say that avoiding baby blues in this country is a bit hard, as we can have winter blues even in spring (and summer!).

I put on (a lot of) weight breastfeeding Laura; a month after giving birth, I had lost 8kg of the 11kg I put on during pregnancy; two months after giving birth, I put on the 8kg back. I don’t have high hopes to lose weight breastfeeding Bea. But, hey, maybe things are different. So far, in two weeks, I lost almost all the baby weight I put on during this pregnancy, which was roughly 6 to 7kg. I still have 1kg to go, but as with Laura, breastfeeding makes me ravenous and I eat the whole day, all the time and not the healthier options…

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Post-natal procedures

Right after giving birth, we are still checked by the hospital’s or community’s midwives, until we are discharged by them, which occurs around day 10 after the baby is born. They check both mum and baby and have some routine tests, which include the heel prick test (they take blood sample from the baby’s heel at day 5). Then the health visitor takes over, looking after the baby and to some extension, the mother, but we, mums, have to go to the GP if we have any issues. Also, the 6 to 8 weeks review (for both mum & baby) is done by the GP, and all the immunisations (which start from 8 weeks) are done by a nurser at the GP.

Selective memory

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Mother Nature is wise, they say. “She” makes you forget about birth pain, sleepless nights, colics, cracked nipples, 3 hours feeds, etc. If our brain kept all these info, the world would probably have less people.

Insomniac

Jokes apart, after only 3 years, I forgot how babies have their own biological clock. Bea’s life outside the womb is an extension of how it was inside. In the womb, she used to sleep more during the day, with a few periods of activity, and she was more active during the night. Outside, she sleeps a good few hours during the day, but doesn’t want to sleep at night.

All would be fine, if she was a single child, but Big Sis Laura is wide awake from 6-7am and wants to play and have fun and be with mum and dad. So we cannot sleep during the day as she sleeps.

What a pain: colics

One thing I had problems with Laura and I will have with Bea as well is the evil colics. Firstly, I don’t look after what I eat and we know that what we eat goes through the milk and it can cause colics. Secondly, I’m really bad at putting the babies to burp. Bea falls asleep while feeding and I don’t like waking her up to burp. Bad, I know. I’m learning and I’m now creating the habit.

Bea has been showing signs of colics and we have all been suffering. It breaks my heart, because I know by experience how these things hurt and for a 3 day old baby is even worse – she cannot understand why she is in such pain and why her mummy and daddy cannot make it go away. Awwnn, poor thingy.

Thing is, there are things that can be done, but from what I’ve been reading it is one of these things that you can try to reduce, but it’s unlikely to avoid it completely. We will try to minimise her suffering as much as possible; wish us luck!

Hungry monster

Not sure if it is part of trying to make the pain from the colics stop, but from day 2, little Bea has been feeding like there’s no tomorrow. Sometimes it feels like she is comfort feeding, as opposed to feeding because she is hungry. This afternoon, for example, she started her feed around 1pm, spent around 30-40 minutes on each breast, had a 10-15 min nap and went back to the same cycle. Until 4-5pm. Do I need to say that my nipples are completely sore and I almost cry when I have to breastfeed? I had this with Laura, because she had several growth spurts.

I don’t complain – breastfeeding is one of my “favourite” things about the newborn phase (together with all the funny/cute faces and noises they make at this age) – but I won’t pretend it isn’t tiring and painful.

Early days

We are in the very beginning of this new adventure. I’m sure I will get several of these “oh, yes, I had forgotten about that” moments. I had forgotten how small newborns were. Until Bea’s arrival, I used to look at Laura and see a 3 year old baby. I used to think that she is still quite small, tiny hands, feet, cute face, etc. Now with Bea, I look at Laura and I see a big child. It seems like she grew up so much in the last week!

Good to know – part 1

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There are things that it’s best to be left untold, but others you would be happier if you knew beforehand.

In my case, I would have loved to know that post-natal contractions (womb going back to it’s normal place) are much worse the second time around. These contractions exist and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Ok, this is true for 1) normal/natural births and 2) breastfeeding babies. I’m not sure how it works when it’s a C section and formula-fed babies. Anyone?

Apparently breastfeed the baby helps the womb/uterus to go back to its original place, which can take up to 6 weeks. And it can hurt a bit, like colics, or birth contractions. I remember the feeling, but I don’t remember feeling the pain – I do remember finding it quite interesting to feel the internal organs moving around (weird, I know) and the hips tightening. This time, the pain was unbelievable. I felt it straight after giving birth, when Bea had her first feed, still the in the whole mess of placenta, waters, blood and all. And it carried on until now. The midwife came here on Saturday and said that the first 24 hours are the worst, but it will last for a few days – not the 6 weeks though, thankgoodness.

Ah, and good to know: the pain gets worse with subsequent pregnancies. Baby 3?

P.S.: We can take paracetamol to ease the pain, but there’s a limit to the amount of pain killers we take a day – it’s far less than the amount of times you breastfeed.

P.P.S.: By no means I want to scare anybody. Some pains we just have to go through and are part of life. Yes, it hurts and yes, we could do without it, but it’s a small price to pay for the whole experience of birth/breastfeed/have a cute baby to look after.

Meet Baby Beatrice

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If you read the previous post you know a little of what has happened.

End of story is baby Beatrice is here!

She was born today, 10th May, at 9:04am.

I’ll tell the rest of the story later, once we manage to leave the hospital (almost scaping through the window).

I wrote this around midday, got home by 3pm or something like that and I wa sleeping until now, nearly 6pm.

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38 weeks + 6 days: dear diary

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2:30am. In pain. Still not sure if these are the early contractions. It feels like Bea just doesn’t have space in here and is a bit annoyed and moving as much as possible.

I’m sleepy but can’t sleep with the on/off pain. Yuk!

I had the “show” thingy yesterday, again. I mean, I had a bit of bleeding in the morning, before the scan, and then had more, stronger, in the evening.

I’m hoping to experience my waters breaking, as I didn’t have this with Laura.

I’m hungry but don’t want to go downstairs. Maybe I should? Walking makes the pain (temporarily) go away, but going upstairs increases the contraction. So the question is: do I want the contractions or is it better to just sleep and resume the “works” in the morning?

Hmmmm, not sure, but since I need a wee, I might as well extend the trip to the kitchen.

38 weeks + 5 days: dear diary

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This morning I had a check up scan to see where baby B is. Well, she is in my tummy but since the midwife couldn’t find her, we were going to see her.

She is where she is meant to be: upside down and in position. Cutsie pie was sucking her finger when we caught her on camera and all seems well.

We didn’t double check if she is really a girl, because this wasn’t the purpose of the san. Lots of people recently saying that it’s easier to mistake the gender when it’s a “girl” and joking I should get a couple of blue clothes and have a boy name as back up. I’m not worried about it; in my head she is Baby Bea but if the scan was wrong and it’s a boy… Well, that will be funny. We will have 6 weeks to come up with a name as we don’t have ANY boy names we both like.

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This morning I had a little bit of bleeding, a tiny but. I had this with Laura (earlier in the pregnancy) and end up being monitored for hours and hours at the hospital – just to find out all was well with both of us.

I decided not to say anything at the scan, unless there was something wrong.

I don’t think it’s “the show” yet, but I’ll keep an eye on it.