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Category Archives: Plans

And I Would Walk 500 Miles…

500mileshead

I can hardly believe it, but we’re now in week eleven of 2016…that means there’s only 40 weeks of the year left.

With that in mind (and my previous post) I’ve signed myself up for ViewRanger‘s Walk 500 Miles in 2016 Challenge. If I had the whole year, it’d only be ten miles a week, but at this point I need to do twelve and a half miles a week to stay on target. It’s definitely doable, and I could possibly, maybe, even make it to the 1000 mile mark, but I’m trying to be realistic about what I will actually do. Twenty-five miles a week might be a little high-reaching…

I’ll (hopefully remember to) Tweet my progress!

 

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2016 in Life, Plans

 

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Cloth Bottys!…

At the moment you can buy Bambino Miosolo nappies for just £7.99 from Aldi (fabulous when you consider that they can be twice that price!) and you have three designs to choose from…

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…we got two each of the ‘little birdy’ and the ‘up up & away’ patterns.

We haven’t started using cloth yet (much to my chagrin) as I’ve just not been in the right place in my head to deal with the extra work. Even now, we’ve only got these four (plus the prefolds I’ve talked about already) so we have a way to go before we’re totally weaned off ‘sposies.

These nappies are all-in-one so they have a waterproof cover that has intergral absorbant material (thick microfibre in this case) rather than separate inserts. The insert can be pulled out to make washing/drying easier, and the pocket it goes in can be boosted with extra inserts, should you need to.

At first glance, they look great…

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The velcro fasteners can be secured back on themselves (top picture) which is really useful to keep the nappies from getting stuck to each other when washing. The insert has a handy little loop (right) to make pulling it out easier (for washing purposes), and it also has a little ‘glove’ pocket at the end (bottom left), to help push it back into place once they’re clean and dried.

Nappy Prep…

Cloth nappies need to be prepared before you can use them.

All nappies should be washed at least once to get rid of any manufacturing dirt/chemicals before use. Natural fibre cloth (like cotton and bamboo) has natural oils that will repel water (and, therefore, pee and poop) so they need to be washed on a hot wash two or three times to get rid of the oils and improve their absorbency.

Miosolos are completely synthetic so I put them through a 40 degree wash with a bit of Ecover laundry liquid, followed by a rinse to get rid of any leftover detergent. In the future (when they’re dirty) I’ll rinse them first to get rid of excess pee/poop, then put them through a 60 degree wash. I’ll probably follow with a rinse then too.

Note…you must wash natural and synthetic nappies separately until you have stripped the oils from the natural cloth so that the synthetic fabrics don’t take-up the oils as they are released.

I dried them on a radiator rack (so they weren’t directly touching the heat) and they were dry by the morning, but you can put them in the tumble-drier on a cool cycle if you want to.

Ready to go…almost…

So! The nappies are washed and ready to be used, but I don’t have any liners for them. Liners not only wick the wetness away from baby’s skin (which the fleecy material of the pocket also does) but they also make it a lot easier to deal with poop…

With liners, I’ll be able to throw (disposable liner) or wash (reusable liner) most of the poop away.

Without liners, I’ll have a pail full of lots of VERY poopy nappies. There will be staining. The bucket will smell a hundred times worse. I will be putting a LOT of poop through the washing machine.

At the moment I don’t know what direction to take with liners. Disposable ones seem easiest as they just go out of the nappy and either down the loo or into a nappy bag and into the bin. Reuseable ones mean less waste of course, and I kind of feel that if I’m going to be washing nappies and wipes (we use reusable wipes already) then I might as well be washing liners too…but I’m not sure I want to be rinsing poopy liners out.

I already have a big sheet of fleece (a cheap Ikea blanket…far FAR cheaper than buying the equivalent amount of fleece fabric) to make more wipes out of, so I may as well make nappy liners at the same time. It’d make more sense to do that than buy liners.

…I’m also waiting for a lidded bucket to arrive. I searched online for a “nappy bucket” and found several options, the cheapest being about £7. I searched again for a “lidded bucket” and found this white one for £4.99 (with free delivery) that I can decorate with Sharpies, should I so desire.

We’ve only got the four at the moment, and I’m loathe to buy any more until I know how they work for us, but we should be able to do the best part of a day in cloth once the bucket arrives.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Baby, Life, Parenting, Plans, Reviews

 

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Hardly Posting…

It’s been a month since my last post. I am SO frustrated at myself and my life at the moment.

George is almost 5 months old now and I (naively) thought that he’d be a bit more independent by now…happy to sit and play with toys or have a nap on his own. Ha.

He doesn’t really like to nap anywhere other than in my arms, and although he will sometimes fall so deeply asleep that I can put him down, he has the uncanny knack of waking up as soon as I get into doing something. As such, I get half a load of dishes done, washing gets done but gets left in the machine, dried clothes sit in piles waiting to be put away…

We’ve now entered a stage of development where only I will do too, so I can’t even pass him to someone while I get stuff done (or try to at least). Luke does pretty much all the housework (and gets to finish all my half-done jobs) which must be pretty annoying for him. I’m trying to remind myself that George will only be little once, and that the day will come when he doesn’t want to be cuddled, and that on that day I will be immeasurably sad, but that doesn’t work all of the time. I want to be the selfless super-mum that society tells me I should be, but some days I just want to have my arms to myself, to read a book, to tidy a room…to go for a pee without having to yell “IT’S OK! MUMMY IS STILL HERE! YOU’RE NOT ON YOUR OWN!”…

Even now, I’m typing this (laboriously) on my phone while he sleeps in my arms. He keeps stirring and I feel guilty for not being a good mattress and keeping still, but I’m fed up of not getting things done, and this blog (and my failure to write for it) is a major source of guilt for me at the moment.

Another source of guilt is Old Red…

…he’s rapidly becoming Old Green…or Old Rust Bucket. It makes me SO sad and SO depressed…

As it stands he hasn’t moved (not properly) in over 2 years and is SERIOUSLY in need of work. A lot of it is going to cost money that we don’t have, but a lot of it can be done by us and (hopefully) quite cheaply. Our first job is to fit our tailgate struts, which Luke is going to do on the next sunny day we have.

Roll on sunny day!

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2016 in Baby, Life, Parenting, Plans, Van Maintenance

 

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Birth Plan(s)…

There’s lots of discussion on the internet on birth forums about whether or not you should “bother” writing a birth plan. Everyone has their own opinion, some of which are quite forthright and abrupt. I’ve seen women making statements such as…

“…I’d rather just see what happens when I get there…”

“…why try to control and uncontrollable situation…”

“…you’re setting yourself up for failure and upset if your birth doesn’t follow your plan…”

“…the midwives and doctors know what they’re doing, writing a birth plan is acting like you know better than they do…”

“…no-one will read it anyway…”

“…I’m having a c-section so I’m not going to bother writing one…”

My response to all that?…an incredulous “Really?!”

…followed by…

  • If you wait and see what happens when you get there you will be going in unprepared for the options you actually have…
  • There is a difference between trying to control something, and preparing for something
  • You’re only setting yourself up for failure if you write a rigid set of rules that your labour MUST follow for you to be happy – that’s not a birth plan, that’s an exercise in futility…
  • Yes, midwives and doctors know what they’re doing (and I should bloody well hope so!) but they may also want to get your labour done with quickly, not because it’s the best for you, but because it’s the best for them
  • No-one has to read your plan. The sheer act of writing it helps you to be aware of your options so you know what you want to ask for and what you would prefer to refuse – and no-one can do anything to you without your consent…
  • You might be having a c-section, but you still have options and it’s perfectly fine to have a plan for a caesarean too...

The way I see it is that by writing your birth plan you’re giving yourself the opportunity to look into all the options you have for your birth, to research them, and to decide which ones you’d prefer to take advantage of IF your situation allows. It can also be a really good way to set out the things you’d like should emergencies happen.

When it comes down to it, your birth plan can be as simple as:

  • I want my husband in the room
  • I do NOT want an epidural

Or, if you’re anything like me, it can be LONG…

I am a control freak. I know this. I want to know all of the possible eventualities and I want to plan for all of them. I don’t want to be offered something that I know nothing about…I mean, how can I make an informed decision about being induced if I’ve never looked into what one involves?…I want a natural birth, but if I have to have a c-section, how will I know what to ask for during/after surgery if I’ve never even considered it?

I am a control freak, yes, but I’m also a realist. I’m not writing ONE birth plan as a set of rules to be followed, oh no, I’m writing SEVERAL birth plans so that my preferred options are set out in writing for whatever may happen.

If we get to stay in the birth centre the whole time, great! If we have to be moved to the labour ward, that’s fine! If I have to have a c-section, well it’s not ideal but I’ve planned for that too!

For those of you who are interested, my *current* birth plans are listed below (I am going to go through them with my midwife on Saturday and get her opinion so they may well change). I’d be really interested to hear other people’s plans for birth and I’m happy to discuss any of my choices with anyone who wants to know more about why I’ve chosen certain things.


Birth Plan – Midwife Led Unit

Birth Partner: my husband, Luke

  • I would like to use a birthing pool if one is available

  • I prefer as few people around me as possible

  • I am preparing for birth using Natal Hypnotherapy and would like a quiet, relaxed calm birth environment

  • During labour I would like:

    • As little monitoring as possible

    • No vaginal examinations unless necessary

    • Do not break my waters unless labour slows and not with my/Luke’s consent

    • I want to push when my body tells me to, and in an upright position

    • I prefer to tear than be cut, and do not want an episiotomy unless in an emergency and not without my/Luke’s consent

  • After birth I would like:

    • skin-to-skin contact with my baby (or failing that, skin-to-skin with Luke)

    • delayed cord clamping until it has stopped pulsating

  • Please use the umbilical cord tie that I have in place of a clamp if possible

  • Natural delivery of the placenta if possible

  • I would like my baby to receive Vitamin K by ORAL dose


Birth Plan – Labour Ward

Birth Partner: my husband, Luke

  • As few people as possible around me

  • I am preparing for birth using Natal Hypnotherapy and would like a quiet, relaxed calm birth environment

    • dimmed lights

    • my own music

    • as little interruption as possible

  • During labour I would like:

    • To remain active if possible

    • Intermittent/wireless monitoring to allow me to be mobile

    • No vaginal examinations unless necessary

    • Do not break my waters unless labour slows and not with my/Luke’s consent

    • Ventouse only in an emergency and never without my/Luke’s consent – I would prefer not to use forceps if possible

    • I prefer to tear rather than be cut

      • Episiotomy only in an emergency, and never without my/Luke’s consent

    • Pain relief: Entonox only – spinal block in an emergency – no pethidine or epidural

    • I prefer to stay hydrated by drinking rather than via IV

    • I want to be upright during pushing stage and let my body tell me when to push if possible

    • Please set up the resuscitation equipment as close to me as is sensible, so that the cord can remain intact if possible

  • After birth:

    • Immediate skin-to-skin with myself or Luke

    • Delayed cord clamping until the cord has stopped pulsating

    • No bathing of baby

  • Please use the umbilical cord tie that I have in place of a clamp if possible

  • Natural delivery of the placenta if possible

  • I would like my baby to receive Vitamin K by ORAL dose

In case of being induced:

  • Intermittent/wireless monitoring to allow me to be mobile

  • I prefer to give birth in an upright position/on all fours


Birth Plan – In Case of C-Section

Birth Partner: my husband, Luke

  • Delay clamping and cutting the cord if possible

  • Baby to be lifted onto my chest immediately after birth

  • If I cannot be conscious, please give the baby to Luke for skin-to-skin immediately after birth if possible

  • Please administer a vaginal swab to give baby microbiomes

  • All post-birth procedures (e.g. cleaning and weighing) to be delayed until Luke and I are ready

  • I would like my baby to receive Vitamin K by ORAL dose

In the Event of Medical Separation of Baby and I

  • No bathing baby

  • Luke to stay with baby unless there is an emergency

  • Do not give baby glucose or formula without my/Luke’s express consent

  • If baby must be fed please hand express from me and spoon/syringe feel baby

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Parenting, Plans, Pregnancy

 

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Chat

Hospital Bag(s)…

If you look around on the Internet there are countless lists of what you should pack in your hospital bag. The hospital I’m going to don’t have a lot of space in their rooms, and so ask that you pack two bags – one for labour and one with the extra things you’ll need if they have to keep you in after the birth. I think quite a few hospitals ask this but most of the lists I found online were for one big bag. They were also all quite different…some were lengthy, some were concise, some were basic but offered suggestions for “extras” to make you feel more at home in the hospital or birth centre.

Something that they all had in common was the advice that you have your bag packed and ready by week 36…

I’m now 37 weeks pregnant and, even though I started planning my bag about weeks ago, I still have no bag packed. Worse than that, I don’t actually have everything that I need for it. I HAVE written my lists though…

I think I fell into the trap of feeling far too organised, far too early. I thought that I had LOADS of time to get it all and get the bag packed. I thought wrong.

Anyway, here are my lists for the things that I think I will need in my labour bag (including a few things for the baby that we’ll need straight away) and some things that Luke will need…

Labour bag for me:

  • Birthplan
  • Maternity notes (I carry these in my handbag all the time anyway)
  • Lipbalm
  • Massage oil
  • Hot water bottle
  • Water spray bottle
  • Tissues/wipes
  • Hair bobbles
  • Brush
  • A couple of sanitary pads
  • 2 sleep bras (because one might get wet if I can use a pool)
  • Pants
  • Labour “outfits” (I haven’t put a lot of thought into this, but maybe a HUGE loose t-shirt, a nightie…I’m hoping for a water birth so the sleep bra might be enough but I’ve seen a few people recommend taking different things to wear in case your initial choice isn’t comfy)
  • Slippers
  • Dark robe
  • A towel (some hospitals supply these)
  • Paper/notepad and pen
  • iPod/CDs
  • Phone
  • TENS machine
  • Toiletry bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner…all travel sized…and mascara to make myself feel slightly human if I feel like I need it after the birth)
  • My swiss ball (deflated!)
  • A pillow (to get comfy and because it’ll be a bit of home)

Baby things for after birth:

  • 2 nappies and sacks
  • Nappy cream
  • Some cotton wool balls
  • Newborn sized vest
  • Newborn sized onesie
  • 0-3 month sized vest
  • 0-3 month sized onesie
  • Going home outfit (just in case we get to leave after a few hours)
  • Scratch mitts
  • Muslin square
  • Nail scissors
  • Cuddly toy

Luke’s bag:

  • Money (including change for vending machines)
  • Hypnobirthing “Gatekeeper” card (it has reminders for affirmations etc)
  • Phone
  • Phone numbers on paper
  • Notepad and pen
  • Change of clothes (we might be there a while!)
  • Deoderant
  • Straws (so I can drink without needing to think about it too much)

…and we are also going to take a small cooler bag with snacks and water bottles in…

Then there’s the stuff we’ll need in a second bag for a stay in hospital…

For me:

  • 2 nursing nighties
  • A nursing bra
  • 2 pairs bed socks
  • 2 pairs normal socks
  • 5 pairs of pants
  • Breast pads (about 10 pairs)
  • 10 sanitary pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Phone charger
  • Money
  • A plastic bag (for dirty laundry)
  • Books and magazines

For the baby:

  • 15 nappies and sacks
  • Cotton wool balls
  • A hat
  • Vests and onesies (I have no idea how many to pack…)
  • Another pair of scratch mitts
  • Few more muslins
  • 3 dribble bibs
  • A cardigan

We’ll leave this bag in the car along with the car seat and a blanket. Mom is going to drop us off at the hospital (a 40 minute drive from our house) so we’ll just have to call her once he’s born then, when she gets back, Luke can go out to her and either bring in the car seat and blanket (preferable) or get our 2nd bag (in the event of a hospital stay).

If we do have to stay there’s the possibility that he’ll be able to stay with us too, so we may need to think about packing a few things for him…

Unfortunately it’s not as simple as just packing…

I still need to:

  • Wash the baby clothes and blankets
  • Work out what music I want
  • Put the music on the iPod
  • Figure out labour/going home clothes
  • Make a list of snacks we can take

And we still need to buy:

  • TENS machine
  • Nursing bras
  • A dark robe
  • Nipple cream
  • Cotton wool balls
  • More muslin squares
  • A small soft sided cooler bag

I think tomorrow is going to be all about getting prepared…wish us luck!

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Plans, Pregnancy

 

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Parent-to-be Breastfeeding…

In Redditch we have six sure start children’s centres that run all sorts of classes and get-togethers for parents and expectant parents. Yesterday I went to my local one (where I also see my Midwife every few weeks) for a breastfeeding class. Normally Luke would come along to my appointments and classes, but we both decided that this probably wouldn’t be one that he would be that into…

There were seven other pregnant women there (one a girl I know from school, another who I’d met on my tour of the local hospital), all at different stages of our pregnancies – with one woman actually due next week – but we were all first time mothers. Two of the girls had brought their mums along with them, which was lovely as we got to hear how different things are now compared to 30 or 40 years ago. They also gave us a good deal of great, practical advice. I wish I’d thought to take my Mom along as she’d have loved it.

We started off by introducing ourselves and sharing our due dates, and then we played a “moving around” game where one side of the room was designated as “Yeah, that’s true”, the other side as “Nah, that’s false” and the middle of the room being a maybe. The instructor and trainee instructor gave us statements about breastfeeding and then we had to choose where to stand. It was a good game in theory, but in reality it wasn’t so great for people who a) have puffy feet and ankles, and b) just want to sit the eff down.

It was useful for dispelling myths though, and I learned that only 2% of women physically can’t breastfeed their babies. That’ll be good to know when I’m struggling during the first few days…

Eventually we were each given a weighted baby doll and asked to hold it the way we would when feeding. Everyone else chose a cradle hold or a rugby ball hold so I sort of lay back in my chair and laid the doll on my stomach in a natural/laid back feeding position as I’ve read that it’s less tiring for mum and easier for baby. I had a go at a cradle hold while the instructors gave us advice on getting a good latch in the different positions, and I found it really difficult to hold the doll. I had imagined that it’d be easier but I just didn’t know where to put my arms to best support its little body.

I’m not surprised that women struggle with breastfeeding if they go for this kind of hold first…the laid back approach is much less faffing!…you can read about it here

I must admit, it felt VERY odd to be holding a plastic face to my breast, but holding the doll itself was rather comforting. I sat it on my lap while we chatted about the different techniques and the importance of skin-to-skin and got quite used to it being there. I honestly didn’t want to give it back.

Through the rest of the session we learnt about good nutrition (and ideas for quick meals when we’ve only got ten minutes to make food), getting the proper latch (and how to get them off again!), and more. I think the most important thing that they kept saying was:

“It’s called BREASTfeeding, not NIPPLEfeeding…your aim is to get them latched onto breast tissue and NOT onto your nipple…”

I’ve done an awful lot of reading about pretty much everything to do with pregnancy, birth and parenting, so I can’t say that I really learnt much that I didn’t already know, but I did pick up on a few things that’ll be useful when the baby is here. It was also was nice to get the chance to chat with other pregnant women (and their mums!), although I was surprised at how little the other women seemed to know. I think I must spend half my life panicking that I don’t know something and then frantically searching out articles, blogs and forum threads that answer my questions.

…with any luck I might even be ready by the time the baby gets here…

 
 

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More Cloth Bottyness…

After posting about wanting to use cloth nappies a few days ago I actually bit the bullet and made a nappy purchase…

nappy1

Aldi have had these in for a while so I’ve wanted to get them every time we’ve gone in (three or four times a week) but I really wasn’t sure about them. Then I read on a Facebook group that they’d been reduced, so I made it my mission to grab a pack when we next went in.

They weren’t as cheap as I was expecting (some stores have them for £7.99 apparently) but considering that Bambino Mio sell the covers alone for £7.99 (and the four inserts for £14.99) I thought that it was an excellent saving. Plus…I LOVE the foxy/toadstooly design…

nappy3

In the pack you get two “water resistant” covers (the other is plain white) and four absorbent inners, along with 50 disposable liners.

These are prefold nappies (you fold up a large piece of absorbent cotton and pop it inside the cover before velcroing it up) and they seem quite easy to use…

nappy2

…the cotton inner has soft seams to help you fold it correctly and the cover has a pockety bit at the front to help keep the innr in pace. It does seem a bit bulky so I’m reserving judgement until I can actually use it on our boy.

I was very tempted to buy two packs, but there weren’t any other designs to choose from and I’m not sure I want to spend another £11 on something that might not even work for us. They did have quite a few left though so I’m going to keep an eye out and maybe grab another pack if they do go down to £7.99…

…I do REALLY like that foxy design…

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2015 in Baby, Life, Parenting, Plans

 

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