First month as a new mum….the things they don’t tell you

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Wow. I don’t think anyone or anything can prepare you for the reality of motherhood.

All the books you could read, all those parenting magazines, all the online forums, all the chats with other mums before me, still, nothing really prepared me for how hard it really was when baby arrived.

Now everyone’s experiences are different and there is obviously babies out there that are easy or mothers who have transitioned easily into having a new baby, but now after speaking to other mums on how hard it really was, I don’t think it gets discussed enough in the open.

I think about those 6 week antenatal classes that I went to week in and week out. 2 hours every week to prepare you for labour and to be honest, I think labour was easy compared to the aftermath. I really think those classes should focus on getting new mums prepared for the shock of having a baby in your life.

I fell into a false hope that it was going to be semi-hard only. I felt this because I had such an easy pregnancy and whilst other mums complained about this pain and that pain, I had nothing bad to say. I loved being pregnant. I loved every moment and because of that, I felt that having the baby here wasn’t going to be such a hard transition.

Now before I scare any new mums off, I have to say that the reason it was so hard having bub at the time was because she was suffering from reflux and we had no idea at the time.

Basically the first 2 weeks of having baby was a breeze! Now when I say breeze I mean it was easier than what was to come.

In the first 2 weeks, baby would cry, I would change her nappy, breastfeed her and she would fall back asleep on her own. Great! Even though she was feeding every 2-3 hours it didn’t matter because as soon as she went to sleep, I would fall asleep too and catch up on some much-needed sleep.

But what they don’t tell you is the loss of independence when you bring baby home. And its funny because I think its something that you seriously take for granted. Well I sure did.

Below is what I found really hard to adjust to:

1. Having a shower

I couldn’t have a shower until my partner came home from work which meant on most days I was having a shower at 6 or 7pm at night. She was so small that I was so paranoid to leave her unattended so I refused to have a shower unless someone was watching her. This was terrible for me because a shower always helped me get going for the day and obviously I would then get changed into clean clothes but because I couldn’t have a shower, I ended up in my PJs’ all day which kept me in a constant state of tiredness.

2. Paranoia

That’s another thing no one tells you, how paranoid you get as a new mum! I did not sleep well at all those first few weeks and it wasn’t because of bub, She was sleeping just fine, but my own paranoia. You hear so much about SIDS and what not to do, but then it instills this horror in you that what if even after doing all the right things, there is still a chance that something can happen to your baby while she was sleeping?! So I would stay up listening and checking in on her to make sure she was breathing and ok. That obviously takes a toll on your sleeping.

3. Not being able to leave the house  

Now I know there are mothers out there who take their baby out in the first few weeks and don’t even think about it, but my GP and obstetrician both recommended that given that our baby was being born in winter and this year in particular there was a lot of cases of meningococcal, I should keep baby home until she gets her vaccinations. So on top of the paranoia, there was no way I was going to risk my bub getting sick, which meant I was stuck at home all day, everyday, and at first I didn’t mind in the slightest but after it becomes day in and day out, well it starts getting to you in a big way. This goes back to your loss of independence. Before all you did was grab your handbag and keys and you were out the door. Now if I wanted to leave the house, again I had to wait for my partner to be home, and really by that time, all I could do was go to the shops down the road just to have a reason to leave the house and then be back in time for baby’s next feed.

4, Adjusting your life to baby’s needs

I don’t know why I thought baby would come along and she would just slot into OUR lives, but this was not the case at all. We had to change our lives for her. These babies are on a constant routine all day. You basically keep your eye on the clock to know when she will be up next and to be prepared for a feed, change and burp.

Me and my partner miss the little things like having dinner together! It always turns out that baby was awake as we wanted to eat so one of us ate quickly whilst the other fed bub and then once baby was finished feeding than swap and let the other eat while the other took care of bub.

This was also the case when it came to us watching our favourite TV shows or movies. The amount of times we have to press pause as baby cries and we have to attend to her. Well, watching a movie at home is a luxury these days.

5. Sleep 

Now I know this is an obvious one but unless you have functioned on 2-3 hours sleep day in and day out, then I don’t think you truly know the meaning of exhaustion. Plus as much as people tell you to sleep when baby sleeps, it’s not that easy. First I found it hard to fall back asleep once a crying baby wakes you up and you have to get out of bed to do things. Secondly you need to eat, pay bills, check messages/phone calls/emails, have a shower, wash baby clothes,  so you can’t always go back to sleep when you are supposed to! So by the end of the day, you have gone through the day with only 2-3 hours and when that starts happening every day, well that can really take a toll on your emotional and mental state.

6. Having a sick baby 

When my little girl was 2 weeks old, she began suffering from reflux but we had no idea at the time. This is when it all went downhill for me. She began crying. All the time. Day and night. Especially after a feed. She would lie there howling and screaming and we had no idea why and it was relentless. No matter what we did to try to calm her down, nothing would work. And because of the crying, she stopped sleeping. Well sleeping as much as she did before and she didn’t fall asleep anymore. It was a horrifying experience and I wish I was stronger in getting her diagnosed, because reflux is one of those things that you can’t exactly get tested for and its the symptoms of the baby that the GP or pediatrician picks up on. What made it worse for me is that I would call those 24 hour parenting hotlines and speak to midwives and every time I would tell them that my baby won’t stop crying I would get this response “its normal for babies to cry”.

As a new mum, this response took a real toll on my self-esteem as a mother. I started thinking to myself “wow I must really suck at being a mother if I can’t handle my baby crying”.

And each day it got worse and worse. The crying was relentless and the non-sleeping got worse which meant I was getting no sleep as well.

I would find myself crying with my baby because I didn’t know how to stop her and I started to doubt myself. I thought “maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. What was I thinking bringing a baby into my life when I can’t even take care of her properly”.

It was horrible and I felt like I was in a sinking hole. It just got worse and worse.

I wasn’t eating properly, I was completely and utterly drained and I felt like crap. Not only that but the misery that I felt stopped me from bonding with my baby. How could I bond with her when all she did was cried! How could I bond with her when I sucked as a mother!

My partner would catch me in the nursery crying with her and would try to help but we were both clueless and thought this crying was normal because of what I was told on the phone (one piece of advice to new mums, if it doesn’t seem normal, persevere in getting your baby checked out. That was a huge mistake on my part that I paid a heavy price for).

It was week 4 before I finally decided to take my baby to the GP.

I was in such a state at that point, that I think I fell into post-natal depression but had no idea at the time. I was in just a miserable state every day and I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. All I could think about was how miserable this baby was making me feel.

I had a concept in my head before baby came along, that she was going to bring our little family together, bring so much happiness into our lives, and whilst I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, she was going to be so sweet. But the opposite was in fact happening and it was soul-destroying.

But there is a happy ending to this story! Truly. She is the most precious amazing baby now and that’s because we finally get the right diagnosis and got her on the medication she needed.

But I just want new mums to know that a) yes it isn’t easy and never doubt your abilities and b) things do get easier. I used to hear this all the time but because I was in such a state I couldn’t believe it would get better but it does.

In my next post I will go into details of month 2 with bub and more details around reflux because as I have found out along the way, it’s really common amongst babies.

 

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How was your first month as a new mum? Similar? Different? If you are currently pregnant, how do you envision your life with a new baby? 

 

Baby product review: Muslin wraps vs. Gro swaddle vs. Love to Dream swaddle

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I wanted to put together some product reviews as being a first time mum, I feel that money was wasted on many items that either was not practical or that baby didn’t like or didn’t last long at all.

My first product review will centre around my experiences on all three of the above items mentioned in my title post and how I found using them now that my baby is 2 months old.

Muslin Wraps 

I found wrapping my baby extremely difficult for a very long time. I used to watch the midwives do it so easily and bub was always wrapped quite firm and snug but when I would try to replicate it, it was so loose and bub would come out of it so easily. It was because I was so scared of wrapping my baby up too firmly. All I saw was this small creature who I was terrified to handle and so wrapping was left to Dad who was much more confident and way better at wrapping then I was.

I got given some muslin wraps at my baby shower, the exact ones pictured below by Bubba Blue Australia:

Bubba Blue

I found these wraps

  1. too small
  2. really flimsy material

The problem I had with these wraps is that baby got out of them really easily. My partner still sometimes wraps her in it but he pulls it tightly around her which I can’t bring myself to do so I really don’t recommend getting such a lightweight flimsy material for a muslin wrap.

The other muslin wrap we got as a gift was made of flannelette and is below:

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Now these were extremely useful because my bub was born in winter (4 June) and I was always super paranoid that she wasn’t warm enough, but wrapping her in these swaddles was perfect because

  1. they are a made of a stiffer material so bub can’t wriggle out of them so easily
  2. keeps bub warm
  3. it also came in handy as a bed sheet for her bassinet. I would swaddle her in one and then use another one as a sheet. I didn’t have to worry about bub being warm or not.

Verdict

Both of the muslin wraps are made by Bubba Blue Australia. The bamboo ones are a waste of money. We didn’t end up swaddling her in them as she always got out of them so the only thing we used them for is to cover her up when she’s in her pram. The wraps made from flannel are great if you have a bub in winter especially because they can double up as bed sheets for the bassinet or cot.

Gro Swaddle 

Gro Company Gro Swaddle

I was really excited to use these when I saw how easy they were to use especially because I had such trouble in wrapping my baby up with muslin wraps and they were fantastic! There is a 3 step guide on how to swaddle your baby with it and I loved it. No longer did I feel incompetent about wrapping bub up and the material was strong enough to keep her in place.

The downside, bub grew out of these by 5-6 weeks. My baby is of average length so she’s not giant by any means but I’m not sure how the packaging says it can be used from 0-3 months because the amount of leg room they have to wrap them in is very minimal. As you can see in the image below, the first step is to put the bottom material over the baby’s legs which is great when they are a newborn and tiny, but by 5 weeks my baby’s legs was squashed and by 6 weeks, she would kick the material off which meant only her top half was swaddled but not her legs.

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Verdict

I bought 2 of these which retail here in Australia at $24.95 and I regret buying 2 of them because I do think you only get 5-6 weeks usage if you have a normal sized babies. The only babies I could possibly see using this up to 3 months would be premature babies because full term babies would grow out of these very quickly.

I would definitely recommend having one if like me you struggle to use a muslin wrap but if you’re confident in using the wraps, then I don’t think these swaddle are of much use.

Love to Dream Swaddle

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I got given a Love to Dream swaddle at my baby shower and have used it a couple of times on my baby but I think every baby is different when it comes to using these swaddles because I had read some reviews online where the baby loved the swaddle bags and settled really well in them. Whilst my baby didn’t hate it, I found that she settled quicker when we wrapped her up using a muslin wrap as opposed to zipping her up and I also found that she managed to wriggle around more in the Love to Dream bags which when they are babies, usually wakes them up (and yes we had the right size bag).

Verdict 

I think its worth giving this a try and unfortunately it is one of those items you need to buy and try before you know if your baby would love it or not. I think if your baby is settling and sleeping just fine in the muslin wraps, then there isn’t any real need to buy a Love to Dream swaddle bag but if you find that they’re not settling that great in the wraps then I think its worth giving it a go and buy one to try.

Also I recommend getting the swaddle bags where baby can have their arms up. When babies are in your womb, a lot of the times they have their hands by their face and this motion settles them to sleep so I found my baby loved having access to her arms but the rest of her body kicked around a lot which I think is why she couldn’t settle properly in them.

Overall Verdict  

Something I didn’t include in the above round up is the cot sheets that was used to wrap our baby up at the hospital. These sheets are made of thick cotton and are quite stiff and now that we have used all of the above forms of wrapping baby up, by far, these hospital issued cot sheets were the most effective.

We were lucky enough to be able to take one home with us as when baby was discharged, she was asleep wrapped in the sheets and the nurse said it was ok to take it home with us.

The reason I think why they are so good is the thickness of the material. Once baby is wrapped in it, she can not wriggle her way out and is able to settle to sleep much faster.

When looking for a muslin wrap I would recommend looking for one made of cotton, thick, and as big as possible (to be able to wrap her well enough).

And if bub is born in winter, then I recommend buying wraps made of flannel.

Muslin wraps are better value for money as you usually get 3 in a pack and the RRP for the Bubba Blue flannel wraps are $29.95 and as mentioned above, you get the bonus of being able to use it as a bassinet/cot sheet for bub as well

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What have been your experiences using any of the above? Or what do you use to settle your baby to sleep? 

Should you do a maternity photo shoot?

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I had no interest in organising a maternity photo shoot when someone asked me.

I had an image of the typical photos that you see from a maternity shoot in my head. I never felt comfortable taking photos of my naked body especially since a lot of the maternity photos have naked bellies or just a sheet covering their body. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that pre-pregnant and let alone being pregnant.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the pregnant body is gorgeous but I also find it a very personal choice on whether you feel comfortable showing off your naked belly or taking photos of it.

Then I had another mother tell me one thing that I will never forget

“this is an incredible time of your life and you’re only pregnant for the first time once and your body is doing amazing things, a photo shoot would allow you and your partner to capture this amazing moment in your life and you can look back and see the beautiful way that your body has changed to give life”.

I walked away and though about what she said. This is true. This is the first time my body is experiencing such an extraordinary change for my baby and what if down the track I would regret not doing it? I think that was my biggest worry. I couldn’t exactly turn back time if I decided to not go ahead with the shoot so I decided to look into it.

As mentioned before, I didn’t want to have photos done of my naked pregnant body but I did want to capture the changes in my body so I decided to jump on Pinterest and see if I could find any maternity photo shoots that would help inspire my own shoot and Pinterest was fantastic in providing me ideas in style, location and what to wear. Below was some of the photos that inspired my own shoot:

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So I proceeded to keep on looking for images like above to set the tone of the kind of photo shoot that I wanted and put together my own maternity photo shoot:

  1. Location

As per the images above, I really thought having a natural backdrop like in a park or field would be great for my photo shoot and immediately thought of Centennial Park. The Park is so expansive and has so many different back drops such as lakes, big trees, ponds, flowers, statues and space! Perfect. Some of my own maternity photos below:

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I would suggest picking a location that you feel comfortable getting photographed at and that gives the ability to give you different backdrops.

2. Clothing, make up and hair

In regards to clothing, my photographer recommended light coloured clothing and something that accentuated my belly. Again Pinterest is great in helping me get ideas on what kind of clothing I should have for my photo shoot. I firstly looked in my closet but I didn’t have anything white or cream that a) fits me and b) gives me the look I was after.

My photographer said I could have a change of clothes in my photo shoot which was a great idea as I thought of getting a white/cream long dress and then another dress in another colour.

I went straight on to ASOS as I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a dress that was just going to be used for my maternity photo shoot and below are the two dresses that I used for my photo shoot:

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As for my hair and make up, I wanted a really soft natural look so I curled the ends of my hair and pinned it to one side so it dropped down and my make up was soft using bronzer, brown eye liner and pink eyeshadow with pink lipgloss.

3. Choosing my photographer

Once I had an idea of how I wanted my maternity photo shoot to look, I then began searching maternity photo shoot photographers. I jumped on Gumtree as I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a photographer and I knew many up and coming photographers would charge less and do a great job. So I made my ultimate choice based on the photographers website and the kind of photos they took and which best aligned with the kind of photo shoot I was looking for.

I got in touch with the photographer I wanted to go ahead with and she was nice enough to offer to meet with me over coffee to discuss the kind of photo shoot I wanted to and pass on her advice on the shoots she had done. Michelle Purchase from Faure Photography was fantastic and made my photo shoot so much fun and a great day for me and my partner.

4. Props

Another aspect that I saw at many maternity photo shoots was the use of props and I think its a great idea and gives the photos that cuteness and linkage to baby that is due to arrive. Below are some of the props I used in my photo shoot:

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All in all we had a lot of fun doing our photo shoot and I’m so glad we did it.

They are memories that will be captured forever at such an important moment in our lives.

Baby shower time!

Babyshower

In my whole entire life I had never been to a baby shower. I know! But as mentioned before, I don’t have any of my close friends who have had children so the opportunity to be invited was never there BUT I did hear about baby showers and the usual baby games that were played and to be honest the whole thing sounded really boring and some of the games that I heard that were played I completely cringed (melting chocolate in diapers and smelling them and trying to guess what chocolate it is and meanwhile mimicking a baby’s dirty diaper! Gross!).

So therefore I didn’t want to do a baby shower after hearing all those stories until my friends urged me to have one and if anything really just an excuse to get all my friends together and so instead of thinking of putting a typical “baby shower” together, I thought of putting together I really nice event at home with all my friends before baby arrives, and so the planning began.

I had a friend of mine offer to put it together but because I didn’t want a typical baby shower, I decided I would organise it myself and then enlist my friends help as I went along.

  1. When should I hold my baby shower?

After much research and asking other mums who have had baby showers, they all suggested I have it 2 months before baby is due. Firstly because I still have enough energy to entertain people and endure a whole day of doing things and secondly, it’s not too early in the pregnancy to hold the baby shower. I decided to do it on a Saturday afternoon kicking off at 2.30pm

        2. What kind of baby shower did I want to have?  

Being that I was organising this event myself, I wanted it to be very low-key and easy to put together. I knew that my energy levels at 8 months pregnant wasn’t going to be as high. I wanted to organise finger food for people to nibble on since I set the time at 2.30pm. I also didn’t want the typical baby shower games so I crossed that off my list. I also wanted to organise lots and lots of drinks for my baby shower since again, most of my other friends don’t have kids and like me before I was pregnant, I enjoyed a nice glass of wine on the weekends.

            3. Invitation

I wanted to send out invites to my friends, and as old-school as that may sound since these days most invitations are electronic, it was just something I really wanted to do for my baby shower and this is when I stumbled across a fantastic website who do personalised invitations

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How cute are these?! They also come along with a magnet on the back of the invite so your invitees can stick it up on their fridge! I loved it. Have a look at their website for some other baby shower invite designs http://www.blessthisday.com.au/

                4. Baby shower memorabilia  

So as mentioned, I didn’t want to host any baby shower games at my event but what I did want to do is have some sort of memorabilia from that day and again Bless This Day had the perfect idea of what I was looking for. The first thing I completely loved was the Wishing Tree for Baby. 

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You get the poster personalised with your baby’s name and the date of your baby shower. Or if like me, you don’t know the sex of your baby, I just called baby by their surname. The tree comes with 20 leaves which already come with a 2 sided sticker to stick back on the tree. Your guests can write on each leaf and make a wish for your baby to be. I completely loved the idea and it went down so well at the baby shower. Everyone wrote down their own wish for baby and stuck it back on the tree. I then also decided to get the poster framed and stuck it up in our baby’s nursery which made the nursery look great and its such a great memorabilia for baby.

Another “game” that I thought was a great idea and a nice memento of the day also came from Bless This Day and it was the Predication Card game.

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Each onesie comes with various questions around the baby so guests can try to guess the weight, height, sex, time of birth and various other questions with guests signing their name at the bottom. It also comes with a clothesline and wooden pegs so you can hang the onesies and clothesline at your baby shower and it becomes another decoration piece. Again it was such a great memento that I have kept for baby to read one day and also doubled as decorations for the day of the baby shower.

                   5. Theme/Decorations

Because we did not know the sex of our baby, I couldn’t really do an all boys or all girls theme so I just kept it simple and made everything baby pink and baby blue. I used paper lanterns in pink and blue to decorate the room and my partner was great in hanging them from the roof of our place. I also purchased the letters BABY from Typo as per my first picture at the top and used baby pink and baby blue ribbon to decorate them (I just purchased the ribbons at the dollar shop). I then made my own banner using scrapbook paper purchased at The Reject Shop and used Word to spell out my name in pink and blue and then just glued them on the scrapbook paper.

                   6. Food 

As mentioned, I wanted to keep it simple and I was 8 months pregnant so I didn’t have the energy to cook big meals so I decided on easy food and enlisted the help of friends and my mum. My mum cooked a hot dish that was easy to serve on the day. Another of my friends offered to make a fruit platter. I had other friends who brought a dessert apart from the cake and then cheese and crackers. Other nibbles like chips and lollies and the hit of the day was the Yum Cha I bought at Costco. I can’t remember how many pieces came in the packet but it was a lot and we steamed them on the day and served them and everyone loved them. I only wished I had bought another packet but we had frozen prawn yum cha from a separate bag we bought which we ended up using on the day. I’m so glad we did that.

At the end I had a couple of friends stay onto the night-time and so at that point I just ordered some pizzas from Domino’s, home delivered which was perfect.

                   7. The Cake 

So when you have a browse online on baby shower cakes you see these amazing beautifully decorated cakes with all different themes and I completely loved the concept of having a themed baby shower cake. Then I started looking into prices on ordering such a cake and the cheapest caked I could find was starting at around $200. I just couldn’t fathom spending that much money on a cake which I knew wasn’t going to be completely consumed and at some point thrown out! I was quite upset because I really thought the themed cake would have been great. So I decided on getting cupcakes instead and lucky for me, around the corner from where I live there is a fantastic cupcake store called The Cupcake Factory. I looked online and decided to order their mini cupcakes as per below in blue and pink

Mini

Then I continued browsing the other items they sell and stumbled across their maxi cupcake baby shower theme and not only did I love the way it looked but loved the price! This gorgeous cake for only $55! What a bargain! I immediately ordered both the cake and mini cupcakes and was so happy with the way it turned out on the day. I had tons of comments on how cute the cake was and not only was it cute but the taste! I don’t know what they put in their icing, but we couldn’t get enough of it.

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                      8. Thank You Gifts

As is customary at baby showers, I knew all my guests would bring along gifts or purchase something off my gift registry, so I wanted to put together a small thank you gift for each of them. I purchased plastic little milk bottles from The Reject Shop and proceeded to fill them up with lollies and chocolates. I then also purchased tea lights in baby pink and baby blue and put them in a lolly bag along with the milk bottles and attached a sweet poem to the tea lights for my guests to light up when baby is born. Everyone appreciated the little gifts and they were quick and easy to put together.

                     9. Gift Registry

So I really struggled with deciding on whether or not I should put a gift registry together and my biggest dilemma was that the sex of our baby was not known and I didn’t want to be given yellow and green clothes for the baby as clothes is what people usually buy babies. I spoke to a couple of my friends about this and they all suggested I put together a gift registry because they would rather buy me things that I would use and need. I went ahead and put one together and thank goodness I did because we ended up getting so many things that we actually needed for the baby as opposed to ending up with so much clothes which babies grow out of very quickly.

After researching the various baby store gift registry set up I came across Baby Village based in Bondi Junction and their gift registry by far was the easiest and most practical for both the guests and the person registering the gifts. First off you can do your baby registry online and continuously add or subtract items as you go along (this is so handy!) all their products from the store are online which means you don’t have to go to the store at all to set it up. Your guests can search your registry by your name. No passwords needed. Next great feature is as people purchase gifts off your registry, you get an email telling you what has been purchased! Again I found this a fantastic tool to know what is getting bought. And lastly, and I think this is the best feature for your guests, is that you have the option of picking up all the gifts saving your guests from going to the store or paying postage to have the gifts sent out. My guests were more than happy to purchase gifts online and not have to be hit with postage fees and me and my partner were more than happy to go to the store and pick up all our gifts.

Baby Village then give you a list of all the items purchased and by whom and guests were able to leave a message as well.

There is also no issues in exchanging or getting a credit on items you have changed your mind about which we did once we received all the gifts. There was a couple of gifts which we thought we really didn’t need and Baby Village was more than happy to give us a credit note to use towards other things which we would need for the baby.

I can’t highly recommend this store more. The staff is so lovely and take the time out to explain products and make suggestions and were thoroughly helpful throughout my whole gift registry.

And there you have it! That was my baby shower and we had such a great time and I am so glad I put it together. It was a great opportunity to spend time with my friends before baby arrived and I have to say, the gifts received was a huge help in getting the things we needed for baby.

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What was your baby shower like? Or what has been your experience in attending other baby showers?

Is it worth attending antenatal classes?

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So this is the question I asked myself. Reason being;

  1. the time it would consume mine and my partner’s time to attend and was it really worth it?
  2. the cost involved to attend those classes and again was it worth it (I was astonished to find that most antenatal classes were charging $300 for attendance! I mean how can people with not a lot of money afford to pay this and justify spending $300 to learn how to give birth?) and
  3. I really didn’t want to watch a birthing video! I’ve gone 31 years without watching one and the thought of watching one horrified me and I know that they would show this at the antenatal classes.

 

But given that fact that me and my partner had ZERO clue about labour. Neither of us have had friends who have been through labour so we literally had no clue about the process and the stages of labour. So I decided that it was best that we both attend antenatal classes.

I decided to see if we could find a free class somewhere as I couldn’t justify spending $300 on top of all the money we have spent on things for the baby so far.

I managed to find free antenatal classes at the RPA but the only catch was it was on during the day and during the week. Me and my partner were both working but thought we could try to fit it in during our work day.

We signed up for a 6 x 2hr per week class and a separate 2 hour breastfeeding class.

We began my antenatal classes when I was 28 weeks.

Within the first 10 minutes of our first class, they put a birthing video on and I just sat there trying not to cry. I wanted to cry not because it was beautiful or amazing, I wanted to cry because of the pain that I could see the woman go through and knowing that its something that I would need to go through just scared the hell out of me and as I looked around the class, I also saw the same horrified faces of the other pregnant women.

My partner looked at me and held my hand. He could see I was shocked and scared as hell.

I walked away from the first class thinking that was so unnecessary to do. To put a birthing video within the first 10 minutes of your first antenatal class! Anyway, we had signed up and proceeded to push ahead.

I found each class to be quite repetitive. They would go over the same things at some classes and I found it to be a time waster at times. They also spent time on doing “group activities” which I think was also a time waster. One group activity was listing the things a support partner should do and say. I just think those things are quite obvious. They are there to support but we wasted 30 mins going over that.

Another class that I think was a time waster was post-baby care. They go over how to swaddle a baby (with a doll), how to bath a baby and certain ailments of a baby that are normal or not normal i.e. colour of their poop, certain skin rashes etc.

The reason why I found this a complete time waster is because you don’t remember any of that stuff when the baby arrives and when you are at the hospital, the midwives teaches you how to swaddle a baby, there are also various classes at the hospitals for mothers to attend. They teach you how to bath a baby, breastfeeding classes, how to settle a baby and physio classes (well these were the classes at my hospital. Not sure if this is the norm at other hospitals).

We also spent a good hour going over the various ailments a baby could have. Now looking back, I don’t remember a thing and if I found something strange on my baby, I would be calling one of the 24 hour helplines to ensure whether its normal or not. To think you would be able to remember what is normal or what is not is unrealistic and the reality is, when you have your own baby in your hands, you are going to want to check with the professionals as opposed to relying on what was taught to you months ago.

Apart from that, it was also very time-consuming attending these classes. 6 weeks for 2 hours each class, it was exhausting and as I got more pregnant, I just didn’t have the energy to want to go but I did attend every class.

By the end of it, I did learn things that we needed to know. Things like when to go to hospital, the different pain relief available, the tools of intervention and what to expect after the birth although I don’t think it needed to take 6 weeks and 2 hour classes to learn all the vital things.

I did find the breastfeeding class very useful. It goes over the signs a baby gives when they are hungry as well as showing you the various positions you can breastfeed. I did remember this when my baby came along and watched for the signs to know when to feed her before she starts crying as well as trying the various positions to see which she liked best. This by far was the most useful class.

And if I had paid $300 for these classes, I would be mighty upset. It’s definitely not worth that amount of money.

So we finish the class and a couple of weeks after I finish the class I’m at home on my iPad looking at pregnancy apps and come across a really interesting app that I proceed to download.

I download the BabyCenter Birth Class application. This app is amazing! I wish I came across it before I signed myself up to attend the antenatal classes because this app went through everything the antenatal class went through and for me, in better detail.

I can’t rave on about this app more. First of all you have someone who talks you through the classes so you’re not having to read (I am so over reading! I feel throughout this whole pregnancy there is just more and more stuff to read!). The app is broken up into sections so you can refer to areas that you really want to know about now or you can just go through the class in order.

The app is very thorough in covering all aspects of labour as well as post-birth. They also have a section where you can jot down notes.

There is also plenty of references to links for further information on certain topics.

What I also loved is that they did include various birthing videos of various mothers and their stories around labour. So labour with pain-relief, labour without pain relief, a c-section and I watched all the birthing videos. I guess it’s because I was more prepared that I was about to watch a birthing video and I was intrigued to see the various labour stories (the videos used in my antenatal classes was from the 90’s! They were so old).

The other things I loved is that you can do the app at your own pace and also at a time that suits you and your partner. The both of you can watch it at your own pace, pause the video if you need to discuss something and when you close the app and open it again, it starts where you left off.

If I had known about this app before signing up to the antenatal classes, I would not have signed up to the classes and stuck to just using the app.

And the best thing! The app is completely free to download! And because its made by BabyCenter, you know it’s a reliable source of information and seriously the app has been put together amazingly. I was really impressed.

So my suggestion, if you and your partner are time poor, don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars and want the flexibility of learning at your own pace and time, then I highly suggest downloading this app as it really has all the information you need.

The only suggestion would be to take a hospital tour (which they usually do in the antenatal classes) and if there is a breastfeeding class, I would also suggest attending that only.

 ***

What are your thoughts on antenatal classes? Worth attending? Have you done any online ones such as the BabyCentre app?

Entering the dreaded 3rd trimester

3rd trimester

So I have to be completely upfront about this post and confess that the title is misleading when it comes to my own personal experience in regards to my third trimester and my pregnancy in general.

Now that I have finished my pregnancy and have had my little one, I would like to let all newbie mothers know that you don’t have to expect the worse. I entered my pregnancy expecting the worse.

I swore I was going to be a massive whale (by the end of my pregnancy I had only put on 8 kgs. Please note I’m not a skinny person! I am a healthy size 12 pre-pregnancy), I thought I would vomit everyday (I didn’t vomit even once), that I would suffer from heartburn and reflux (didn’t happen even once), that my feet would swell up and I wouldn’t fit in any of my shoes (my feet remained the same size and no swelling up until delivery date), that I wouldn’t be able to sleep properly (up until I began my contractions I was sleeping 8-9 hours a night, but I was getting up several times a night to go to the bathroom) and that every part of my body would be sore (my back was the only sore area and this only happened in the last few weeks of my pregnancy).

My third trimester wasn’t any of the bad things you hear about. I was still sleeping great right up until the end, I didn’t have any swelling on my legs or feet and the only pains I was getting was on my back and that was because my baby was posterior and really it was only in the last few weeks of my pregnancy.

The one thing that I did notice in my last trimester is that I didn’t have the energy that I had in the second trimester. As the weeks went on, I didn’t have the will to do much. Going to work was such a hassle every morning and I was so looking forward to my maternity leave.

I was planning to work up until 3 weeks before my due date but I literally couldn’t last at work during the day and found it so hard to wake up in the mornings that I ended up finishing up a week earlier. Luckily my work was really flexible and was ok when I asked to finish up a week earlier than planned.

Another thing I would suggest you do in your third trimester is getting as much done as possible before baby arrives. All those admin things you haven’t had a chance to do, things you still need to buy for the baby, basically anything that needs to be done, do them even if you don’t feel up to it because trust me when I say this, you don’t get much time to do anything once baby arrives. My little one is 19 days today and I struggle to get much if anything done at times. Having a shower is a feat in itself!

So whilst I know many women out there have had a really hard third trimester and pregnancy in general, I wanted to let mums-to-be know that its not always the case that you have a difficult pregnancy. Just the same way as you don’t always have to think you will have a hard labour.

Every women’s bodies are different when it comes to pregnancy and labour. Something I definitely learnt with my first bub.

 

Babymoon – is it worth it?

Babymoon

 

Before I fell pregnant, I have never ever heard of a babymoon.

Once pregnant through mother forums, I started hearing about a babymoon and had to google it because I had no idea what it meant. Then I came across the below definition

a relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born.

At first I thought the concept was ridiculous but then as the months of pregnancy went on, I started realising things like “this is the last period in our lives for a while where it’s just me and my partner”.

And as the months went on, the baby started consuming my life! Everything I did was around the baby. Looking at what products I need to buy for baby, going to baby stores, researching online, looking into information around labour, what I can and can’t do whilst pregnant and so on and so forth.

The baby had already consumed both of our lives and the baby hasn’t even arrived yet.

The concept of the babymoon started to make sense.

It was an opportunity for me and my partner to be together. Just the two of us. Away from everything baby related.

I thought for our relationship, it was the perfect thing we could do.

Now I know not a lot of people are in the financial position to do something like this but if you can, I found it one of the most amazing things we could have done.

Now upon researching taking a babymoon, I was surprised to see that there were hotels and resorts out there that actually have babymoon packages! One of the many examples below:

Midweek  Babymoon… …Stay 2 nights,  indulge 1 evening  Dining on the Edge dinner for two,  1 full body   pregnancy massage for mum to be !! …….  $1455 per couple

Surrender to complete relaxation before your new baby arrives with a babymoon.  STAY 2 nights in a Luxury  Suite overlooking the rain forest and ocean . Private  DINING  on the Edge one evening 3 course  chefs menu dinner for two dinner for two includes welcome beverage,  surrender,  one hour full body pregnancy massage for mother to be.  Gourmet Breakfast supplies, home blend toasted muesli, premium yogurt, smoked salmon, eggs, bread,  muffins,   medium roast plunger coffee, tea, herbal tea, fruit juice, mineral water, sparkling wine, cheese,  roasted mixed nuts and a sweet treat !!! sparkling wine.  * (  Dining on the Edge may also be served as a private  lunch)    A  babymoon  less than an hours drive from Sydney CBD  is perfect for parents to enjoy a little time out ……. before baby arrives……!!!

Now for $1455 for 2 nights, we were not prepared to pay.

So I just looked at it as a weekend getaway and looked at hotels/resorts at a cheaper price.

Timing

I think something to take into account when booking your babymoon is how far along the pregnancy you should book it especially if your babymoon involves flying. There are many airlines that don’t allow women after a certain point in their pregnancy to fly. Most airlines have a policy of not allowing women to fly anywhere between 32-37 weeks. This is just due to the probability of you going into labour and airplanes not equipped to deliver a baby.

Secondly is taking into account that the further along the pregnancy you are, the more uncomfortable you tend to get and also the more tired you get, so if you are planning a babymoon with the idea of doing some activities, then you don’t want to leave going so late in your pregnancy that you’re too tired.

My suggestion would be to go when you are in your second trimester. This as mentioned in my previous post, is the most energetic and well you will feel out of all three trimesters (every woman is different but this is usually the case).

We went away when I was 6 month pregnant and for me it was the perfect timing.

Location

Due to cost and timing reasons (my partner couldn’t take too much time off work) we decided to go somewhere where it was within driving distance. Also it was summertime so going somewhere along the coast and in front of the beach was where we wanted to go.

I jumped onto http://www.lastminute.com.au which is great for cheap hotel deals and you can also search per area you are looking at going if you don’t have a particular hotel in mind.

We came across the Crowne Plaza Terrigal http://www.crowneplazaterrigal.com.au/. The location was perfect and it was only 1.5 hr drive from Sydney

MapWe booked in a 3 night 4 day stay and it was perfect!

We had ocean views and we could hear the rolling of the ocean from our bedroom which was so peaceful and amazing.

We were just across the road from the beach.

At 6 months, I didn’t feel too big to be lying in the sun and getting some much-needed Vitamin D and soaking in the fresh air. I still managed to fit into my one piece swimming costume which was great.

The trip was so good for the both of us. I made a conscientious effort to not talk about the baby too much and really we just focused on each other.

We went out for dinner, we walked along the beach, we lied in bed watching TV, we talked about work and about our friends. We laughed and relaxed and I felt so light. So at ease and at peace and I could see that my partner also felt the same.

I think at times because you do talk about the baby so much, it can create a sense of stress on one or both of you when you start thinking about the things you need to do and buy before the baby arrives, so to have a weekend to make us press pause and just look at each other – that sought of experience is priceless.

We had so much fun and I’m so glad we did it. It really rejuvenated the two of us and reminded us to not forget about each other throughout this amazing journey.

To anyone thinking about taking a babymoon, I can’t highly recommend it more!

It was and remains such a memorable time for the two of us. Actually the three of us… 🙂