Category Archives: Baby

Mia Bambina Bibs Review

There are so many things I love about having a fifth baby, after eleven years of parenting, and it really is easier to treasure the experience this time knowing how fast it goes.  (And yes, I can say that on a day when Samuel has been more-or-less awake for 16 hours and only happy when he was in my arms.  Not the productive day I hoped for but a reminder that really nothing in my job description is more important than loving and cuddling.)

So anyway, I’m enjoying being back in the baby zone and nothing much has changed really.  Well, except the bibs.  Since when were they this shape?  I feel old.  But I have to say that my slight scepticism about the pointy bib thing has been completely transformed by discovering these beautiful ones from Mia Bambina.

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I love the range of colours and designs, and the quality is excellent.  The bibs are made from two layers of 100% organic cotton and are designed to fit babies from about 3 months to 3 years.

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They are lovely and soft, so comfortable for baby as well as looking gorgeous.  The bibs fasten with adjustable press studs to give the perfect fit.

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I love all the colours but the green stripe is my favourite, and was just right for showing off at the ladies’ group at church last week.  He got lots of compliments!

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We have used them as mealtime bibs sometimes too, and they are practical as well as beautiful.

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The bibs cost £4 each or there are multibuy packs available for a discounted price.  They would make a great present for a new baby, and there is even a bib bouquet.

Thank you Mia Bambina, we love our bibs and we’ll definitely be back for more!

We were sent three bibs free of charge to review.



Baby Love

Baby boy is eight and a half months old and I am feeling happy sad.  Happy that he brings so much joy every day, but sad that the baby days seem to be going so fast.  I’ve been looking back through some more photos of the early days and feeling nostalgic.  I’ve shared photos of him on Instagram a lot but I really want more of a record on the blog.  So this post is another bit of shameless baby spam, or as I prefer to call it, baby love.

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Baby Boy: some photos

I’m still trying to find a way to unblock the blogging block and I think getting some more photos of baby boy on here will help.  I wish I had managed to blog about the early weeks and months, but life got in the way.  So I’m going to start by publishing this with a few photos and just add to it when I have time.  Apologies for the baby spam – probably only of interest to me but I want them here to look back on!

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Sleeping Like a Baby

Dear Baby Boy

You are nearly five and a half months old and you are not sleeping through the night yet – let’s talk about that.  You are now two weeks older than any of your older siblings were when they slept through.  And that’s ok – if there’s one thing I’d like you to learn in life, it’s this.  It’s good to be different.  It’s good to be you.

When you were very new I remember tweeting that you were sleeping like a baby – only when you felt like it, for about twenty minutes at a time and right in the middle of the bed!  And looking back on those first few weeks, I was very happy.  Co-sleeping and breastfeeding made it easy, I loved having time just with you and I didn’t care how tired I was.  I didn’t try to do too much else because I knew those early days go too fast.

But somehow it has crept up on me.  The gaps between feeds are getting a bit longer, I’m not quite as tired, and so I’ve started taking on too much.  And I know it’s not right because I’m losing my joy and I’m feeling dragged down.  So I’m glad, my beautiful boy, that you are still waking me up in the night and reminding me of what’s important.  I love your little squeaks and snuffles and wriggles that are your way of telling me what you want.  I love having you right next to me so that you can latch on without even having to open your eyes and you almost never have to cry – well not in the night, at least.  The day times are when you sometimes have to wait, but the night times are all yours.  I love the warmth of you and the weight of you and your milky smiles and the peace that you bring to me.  And after a feed it’s sometimes hard to take my eyes off you because I love watching you sleep.  Other times I’m already asleep myself before you’ve finished!


I’ve started to make some changes, to make life more manageable, so that you and your brothers and sister can have more of my attention.  I haven’t got it all worked out but I will get there.  So don’t start sleeping through the night baby boy, not just yet.  I need you to keep reminding me to slow down and focus on the things that really matter.

I love you.


Baby Boy

I can’t sleep and I need something positive to think about so I’m going to indulge in looking back at photos of baby boy.  I need to remind myself how lucky I am.

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Baby Boy’s first day

This is how tired I am.  I few days ago I felt a great sense of achievement at finally having made photo collages of baby boy’s first 24 hours and I published them here.  Today I look in my drafts and find out I had already done it but not published it some time ago.  So here is an ever so slightly different and yet basically the same set of pictures… sigh.

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Baby boy: the first 24 hours

So, this post was going to be entitled Baby Boy: the first three months, but as it’s taken me about a month to organise photo collages of his first day I think I’d better publish it now and hope to do better with the rest another time.  I don’t know how serious baby bloggers do it – I have barely managed to open my laptop in the last four months, but I will try to add some more photo posts over the next few weeks.  I was recently reminded that when I wrote baby boy’s birth story I promised a follow-up post about the rest of our hospital stay.  Too much time has passed now and I can’t think of anything intelligent to say about it, so the pictures will have to do.  Pure self-indulgent baby spam, but I want them here on the blog to look back on.

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Baby Boy: Birth Story

Baby boy is nearly six weeks old so I think if I don’t get on and write his birth story now I might not get round to it at all.  I have written here about the week or so leading up to his arrival – this is what happened next.  After the weekend during which I became increasingly certain that the birth was imminent, I went to bed reasonably early on the Sunday but had an entirely sleepless night.  I was having mild contractions on and off, and then at five to six in the morning I had one which was unmistakably the real thing.  As my last labour had lasted under six hours, I thought that this one might be similar but it wasn’t at all.  The build up was very slow and though I was having quite a lot of contractions, they weren’t at all regular.  Paul took the children to his mum’s house, and then we went out to buy a car seat.  (First baby: spend weeks deliberating and researching options, then about an hour in the shop comparing models and fabrics before making a decision.  Fifth baby:  look in shed, discover a mouse has eaten the old one, drive to shop, make a dramatic entrance – “I’m in labour and I need a car seat right now!” – buy the brand you know is good in the colour they happen to have in stock and drive away ten minutes later.)  After that we spent most of the day doing housework to pass the time so by the end of it the house looked tidier than it has done for a while!  My friend Sarah came and kept me company too, and made some inroads into my enormous ironing pile.  As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I had asked her to be my birth partner because she always makes me feel calm in any situation and I knew if she was there I’d be okay whatever happened.  There’s lots of research to show that having a female birth partner improves outcomes, as summarised in this article from the Evidence Based Birth website.  It’s about having a doula, which can be a good option for many people, though I’d say that if you have a friend willing to stay with you that is even better.  The key thing seems to be the continuous support of someone who will not leave your side throughout your labour.

“Overall, women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth.”

But I digress!  Back to the story…

Towards the end of the day, as the contractions were not any more regular, Sarah went home and Paul and I had a curry which I hoped might help to speed things up.  At about 9pm I decided I might as well go to bed and see if I could sleep.  I didn’t have high hopes, but in fact I managed about four hours.  After that I was up for a while, then went back to bed and got about another hour of light sleep in the early morning.  So when I got up on Tuesday I felt a lot better than I had throughout Monday, and a lot more ready to get on with the business of having a baby!

I spent some time making arrangements for the children to be looked after as Paul’s mum couldn’t have them for a second night, and Sarah came round again once her children were in school.  Throughout the morning, the contractions became more intense and frequent, though still not regular and around the middle of the day we rang the labour ward.  I was fairly sure it was too early to go in and stay but I wanted some reassurance that baby was okay after more than 24 hours of labour.  So we went in, but as expected we were able to return home after a short period of monitoring because baby was fine.

At some point I decided it was time to start using the Tens machine which really helped as the contractions were getting stronger.  It was hard to know when to go back to the hospital.  I didn’t want a repeat of last time (when I had to go in an ambulance and baby was born 20 minutes after I arrived!) but I knew if I went in too early I would get stressed and everything would slow down.  Sarah went home for a while to see her children after school, and then came back a couple of hours later because I suddenly got the feeling I needed to go in straight away.  We left at 7pm (I know this because the Archers was starting on the radio as we set off) and I had several very strong contractions on the way there.

Once I arrived, my contractions slowed down a bit as is often the case in hospital.  I had to have continuous monitoring because of the gestational diabetes, which was a bit annoying but I knew I could work round it.  At first I felt better standing up and moving around, but after a while I was too tired and I just wanted to lie down for a while.  I definitely didn’t want to get stuck on my back, but I felt I needed to save my strength for the last bit so I managed for a while by turning onto my side every time I had a contraction.  By this time I was also using gas and air, which was very effective in combination with the Tens machine.

I’m not sure how it looked to others but at this point I still felt pretty calm.  But very tired, that’s the main thing I remember, and just hoping baby boy would come soon.  One thing I’ve learnt about giving birth though, is that when you get to the point that you suddenly feel you can’t go on any longer, that’s when you are really close to the end.  I suddenly knew I had to be in a more upright position, so I turned round and knelt on the bed.  Looking back it doesn’t seem that it was much longer after that, though I don’t know the exact timings.  After a little while my waters broke and with the next contraction I started to push.  I remember thinking that was a bit half-hearted, I need to do better than that.  So with one more contraction and a more coordinated push, baby boy was born at 9.08pm.

Baby boy birth day 1

After a rather frantic rush to get my clothes off and turn round I held him skin to skin as quickly as I could, and it was perfect.  He was perfect.  We waited until the cord stopped pulsating, and then Paul cut it.  I can’t remember exactly what happened in what order after that.  I delivered the placenta, and then I had to have stitches.  That’s always pretty unpleasant, but three things helped me get through it – gas and air, the calming presence of Paul and Sarah and cuddles from baby boy.  And I fed him very soon after the birth, and then on and off for about an hour.  Took lots of photos, enjoyed the best cup of tea ever (even if I had to drink it lukewarm because baby boy was attached) and ate lots of toast.  Eventually he stopped feeding for long enough to be weighed and he was 6lb 11oz.

Baby Boy Birth Day 2

I was very lucky to have a calm and peaceful birth and, although I would have liked to be at home, I’m grateful to the staff at St Helier who were, as always, excellent.  I had a lovely midwife and student who were a great team.  Sarah was a fantastic birth partner, as I knew she would be.  Afterwards, the midwife asked if we’d known each other for a long time because she noticed the communication between us was instinctive and we didn’t need to talk much.  That’s exactly why it worked so well.  And Paul was calm and supportive as always.  And I loved seeing the boy having his first cuddles with daddy who managed (for the first time in five babies) not to fall asleep in the chair after the birth.  I am thankful that it all went so well, even though I didn’t get to try out the Calm Birth School hypnobirthing techniques because baby boy arrived before I’d managed to go through the course.  If you’re a bit more organised than me, then you should definitely try it though because from what I have seen the course is brilliant and it provides a really good network of support too.

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I’ve had this post in draft for too long thinking I would write about the rest of my 24 hours in hospital, but I think I’ll have to leave that part of the story for another day.

baby boy first feed

Welcome to the world baby boy!  We love you xx



The Calm Birth School

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was offered the opportunity to review The Calm Birth School, an online course teaching hypnobirthing techniques.  The course takes four weeks to complete, and I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t manage all of it as I was already about 35 weeks pregnant when I signed up.  In fact, a combination of my lack of organisation and baby boy’s early arrival meant that I didn’t get very far with it, but I have seen enough to know that is something I would definitely recommend.

The course includes video modules, digital handbooks, mp3s and online support from the course leaders and other members of the group.  I only got as far as watching the welcome video, and the first teaching video, so I didn’t get to the point of putting the techniques into practice, but my initial impressions were very positive.

In the welcome video, Suzy Ashworth and Hollie de Cruz, the founders of the Calm Birth School introduce themselves and explain what the course covers.  These are the key points:

  • no such thing as a perfect birth
  • no place for perfectionism
  • focus on creating a positive birth experience
  • trust your body and your baby
  • breathing techniques
  • the science of birth
  • release your fears
  • support from Suzy and Hollie

I also watched Class 1 Module 1 – Physiology and Psychology of Birth, but I was a little distracted as there was a lot of noise in the background from my other children who were needing some attention.  I got to the part where you are supposed to practise the breathing techniques, and I did try, but the noise level rose to the extent that I couldn’t hear the video so I gave up, thinking I would come back to it later.  Of course I didn’t, which is the story of my life, so all I got was a tantalising glimpse of how useful the course could be if I’d managed to devote some time to it.

One of the features of the course which I particularly liked was the online support available, in the form of a facebook group, and direct contact with the Suzy and Hollie if needed.  Again I’ve been somewhat on the sidelines, but I’ve been observing the group and it is lovely and positive, and I believe the support and encouragement could make all the difference particularly to first time mothers who may be getting more negative messages about birth from other sources.  As with the course as a whole, the group clearly promotes the idea that it is possible to achieve a calm birth but it’s not about perfection, and giving birth is not something you can fail at.

baby boy first feed

As for my own experience, I had a lovely calm birth this time round, which I will be writing about separately.  After a difficult birth the first time, and a moderately difficult one the second time, I’ve had three really positive experiences thanks to the support of friends and things I have learnt along the way.  But I do wish I’d had something like the Calm Birth School to help me prepare during my first pregnancy, and I highly recommend it to anyone, particularly first time parents or those who have had a difficult birth before.  I’d like to say thank you to Suzy and Hollie for letting me access the course and join the group.  I’m sorry I didn’t make more use of it but I think you are doing a brilliant job and I will be recommending you to every pregnant person I meet!

I was given free access to The Calm Birth School course materials and support group for the purpose of this review.




Pregnancy Diary: the Last Week

The last pregnancy diary post I published was at 36 weeks and 2 days.  Just over a week later I went into labour, and baby boy was born at 37 weeks and 4 days.  In the last post I wrote that I was “hoping that the increase in intensity and frequency of the Braxton Hicks contractions doesn’t mean baby is going to come too soon.  A bit early would be okay, but not this early please baby, I am so not organised.”  I never really did get organised, but I think what was most worrying me was the idea of giving birth before 37 weeks.

The first couple of days of the last week of the pregnancy were quite difficult, because the Braxton Hicks were really painful and frequent, and I was just exhausted.  I felt a bit better on the Wednesday as we had the final growth scan which was lovely.  It was very reassuring to see baby boy, and know he was okay, and a very normal weight of approximately 6lbs at that point.

I remember saying to a few people the weekend before that I wouldn’t mind giving birth early, but not before I’d had my pre-baby hair appointment!  That was on the Thursday, and was very relaxing.  It also marked the end of week 36, as I was exactly 37 weeks on the Friday.

Pre-baby hairdo

Hair Done – baby can come now!

37 weeks

37 weeks

I would have been very glad to know, when I took those photos, that I only had to wait four more days before meeting baby boy.  There was just one more obligation that had to be fulfilled first and that was Messy Church, which Paul and I were running on the Saturday.  The theme was the Nativity, and the children were hoping that the baby would be born in time to be Jesus, but I wasn’t quite so keen on that idea!

After Messy Church was over, I went home thoroughly exhausted but feeling that now baby could come when he was ready, and even though we weren’t organised it wouldn’t really matter that much.  So when I had a show that evening, and realised that my instinct was right that he really was coming soon, I felt reasonably calm about it.  I went to church on Sunday in a positive mood, wearing my favourite maternity dress and feeling rather fabulous.  I was also pretty sure I was showing off the bump for the last time, and it turns out I was right.  (I’m not counting the following two days spent in scruffy but comfortable clothes while I was in labour!)  After the service I mentioned to a couple of people that I thought baby was imminent, and later that day I finally got round to packing my hospital bag.  Once that was done I tried to go to bed early, but unfortunately couldn’t sleep at all.  I had contractions on and off throughout the night, and though they weren’t distinctly different from the Braxton Hicks, I had the feeling that they were gradually changing.  At five to six in the morning I had a contraction that was much more intense, and I knew from that point that I was definitely in labour, though still in the early stages.

And now, baby boy is demanding my attention so I will have to save his birth story for another day.