Never again.

Notjustrosiesdad and I made a monumental cock up last night – we took Rosie to a restaurant.

It was my sister’s birthday, so obviously all our family were attending, which means no babysitter. Not that that even crossed my mind; despite never having taken Rosie to a restaurant before, we were confident it would be fine. I had my gorgeous new wrap, Roses, that I was desperate to try out, and I was sure that she’d stay asleep in there until feed time. Because that’s what she usually does when she’s wrapped.

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Well, were we ever wrong.

She was fine initially, asleep and comfy, but around half an hour into the evening she started fussing. And she would.not.settle.

This was about the time that we realised our mistake; babies and restaurants do not mix. A crying baby is stressful enough at the best of times. A crying baby in a restaurant is worse. Add to that, she’s five months old but still looks like a newborn. So we were getting disapproving looks for not just her crying, but also because most people would have assumed she’s a lot younger than she is.

I was more than embarrassed, I was mortified. Nobody wants to go out for a meal and listen to a baby crying. And no parent wants to suffer the judgemental looks from other people when said baby doesn’t immediately settle. To make life just that bit harder, at the minute Rosie will only settle for me. This means that Dad, Grandparents etc couldn’t really help.

I’m not one of these parents who thinks that it’s perfectly ok for my child to scream in public, and that’s probably because before Rosie, I would have been the one doing the judging. Last night I took her outside and walked her up and down, bouncing her until she mostly stopped. I probably looked pretty pissed off; and that’s because I was. Not at Rosie, or anybody else, myself. I should have known better than to bring her to an almost exclusively adult setting. My sister came out to offer words of reassurance, and said that nobody minded her crying because that’s what babies do. I’m ashamed to say I snapped at her. I know that’s what babies do, because at the minute it’s all Rosie does. But again, nobody wants to hear it when they’re out for a meal.

We eventually ended up feeding her early, just to quieten her. It did work, and after that she got sleepy and eventually allowed Nana to cuddle her.

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We have learnt our lesson though. Although it was lovely to see family, if we could go back in time we wouldn’t have gone. The embarrassment, stress and judgement from other diners just wasn’t worth the payoff.

So to anybody I offended with my crying child, or anybody I snapped at when I was dealing with my crying child, or anybody that thought me a bitch when they saw my bitch face as I was walking her outside, I’m sorry i foolishly thought that if she was wrapped she’d sleep. I haven’t been doing this whole mum thing for very long, and sometimes I make mistakes.¬† I have learnt my lesson, and will not be taking Rosie to a restaurant again until she’s at least 25. Hopefully by then we can get through a couple of hours without her screaming.

Reflux – and why you need to sign this petition.

I stumbled across this article yesterday, about reflux in babies and how the NHS is wanting to discourage drug treatment and hospital referrals.

I feel very strongly that this is a bad idea. My daughter suffers with suspected reflux and Cow’s Milk Allergy. She vomits large amounts after every feed, is now losing weight and is often distressed or screaming. It’s incredibly upsetting, as a parent, to have done absolutely everything you can to optimise your child’s feeds and still have them throw most of it back up.

It’s even more upsetting to go backwards and forwards to various medical health professionals, saying the same thing over and over again, only for them to tell you ‘she could just be a sicky baby.’ No. That’s not the case, at all. We researched and we followed every scrap of advice we could muster to try and stop our tiny, premature baby from throwing up most of each feed. We went to the doctors, the hospital, the health visitor, and the midwife and got nowhere. I felt, on some occasions, like I was going mad. No one was listening or taking my concerns seriously. I said, over and over again, she’s going to lose weight, she isn’t keeping enough down, and I’m worried. Everyone we spoke to had a ‘wait and see’ attitude. It felt like every feed was a battle, a battle that I was losing. It’s very disheartening when you are trying your best and getting nowhere.

We only eventually began to receive acknowledgement during a routine hospital trip for a jaundice screen. I happened to see one of the Neonatal Outreach Nurses who asked how we were. When I told her about the continued vomiting, she was concerned and took us to see a paediatrician immediately. We finally got recognition and treatment began. She was ten weeks old at this stage.

She’s now twenty weeks. Since the first treatment, she’s been on a variety of medications and different milks. Nothing, so far has had any effect. She continues to vomit. And although we are still working on controlling the vomiting, the very fact that we’re now getting consistent support from healthcare professionals has actually made a difference. The difference is I feel like I’m being listened to, and not like I’m going mad or making it up. We have a dedicated team of people involved in my daughter’s care, and I can phone and speak to someone who knows her and her history. I can get medication increases okayed over the phone, so I don’t have to wait for gp appointment or drag us up to the hospital.

This is vital. And to now say that this support, recognition and treatment is going to be decreased and discouraged, is saddening. Are we to just ignore babies screaming from reflux pain because ‘they’ll grow out of it’? New mothers are already at high risk of Post Natal Depression, and I feel that this backwards step will push up the numbers.

It’s taken such a long time, and such a lot of worry and suffering, for my daughter to even be seen. I dread to think how bad it would be if this becomes common practice.

So please, even if your child has never suffered with reflux or CMA, add your name to the petition. It only takes a minute, but it could make a huge difference to a scared mum and a poorly baby.

Perfect Parents

Today, we’re going to talk perfect parents. You know, the parents we all want to be. The ones with perfect hair, skin and nails, immaculate make up, spotless house, and angelic baby that sleeps through the night and never throws up.

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Oh wait, they don’t exist. Well, maybe in Johnson’s adverts. But not in the real world.

I promise you, every parent makes mistakes, or does the occasional thing that perhaps they shouldn’t. Just this morning, when she was sick there were no wipes to hand so I cleaned up the sick with some bubblewrap. No, it’s not perfect but it worked in a pinch. And she’s still alive and well, so I clearly didn’t hurt her.

As parents, we often are faced with a lot of pressure to be ‘perfect,’ or at least to appear so. But honestly, it’s ridiculous. Caring for a child is difficult enough without added stresses like that. It’s so entrenched that many of us feel guilt for not doing things the ‘right’ way, for making mistakes or taking our eyes off our precious bundles for a second. Because, you know, God forbid we may need the toilet.

The worst thing is, nobody talks about their mistakes for fear of looking like a bad parent. Which is unhealthy to say the least, as all that does is perpetuate the myth of perfection.

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Not even you.

I spoke to my most wonderful Internet mum friends, and asked them about their parenting fails. Here are some of the responses I got:

‘iPad dropped on her poor legs while nursing.’

‘ I forgot to pack nipples when I sent her to my mom’s house when I went to work. I had to go home and get them. When she was like a week old I accidentally bonked her head on her pack and play. I also lifted her up to adjust her in order to nurse in bed and hit her little head on the headboard. I’ve dropped my phone on her head several times.  I didn’t cut her nails at all this weekend and her baby talons scratched the crap out of her face.’

‘I often attempt to put the diaper on backwards several times before I realize it is the wrong way.’

‘With my first I was obsessed with ‘safety’. One weekend I was putting together a foam mat for the bottom of our basement stairs since the floor is cement. I didn’t want to risk him falling and cracking his head in the floor. While i was putting the foam pieces together he toddler over to me saying ewww and yucky and started crying. He had an open container of goof-off in his hands. I picked him up and smelled his breath and sure enough, he drank it! That was his first over night hospital stay. He was fine, no damage, but wouldn’t it figure while I’m installing safety crap this would happen?’

‘I’ve taken the corners too hard and she leans back and smacks her head on the door trim. Oops. and last night I forgot to turn on the monitor. I woke up to her screaming in her crib with the door closed.’

‘JoJo pooped while we were out and because genius mommy forgot to pack diapers in the diaper bag, someone had to sit in his own poop until we got home. This has happened more than once.’

‘I also whacked her head on the end of the rocking chair the other night. It was like a 2am feed. She didn’t cry. Which made me think I gave her a concussion.’

‘When he was a day old I knocked his little head on the door frame. He just recent fell off of the rocking chair head first. And yesterday he rolled off of the blanket onto the floor. And when I picked him up he had a spit up and dog hair goatee…’

‘Oh and I went to give her a bottle one time at like 3 am and I was so sleep deprived I hadn’t screwed the lid on and dumped it all over her.’

And my absolute favourite:

‘Hailey tried to eat a bowl of cat food while I was peeing for a minute.’

There were lots more. I love these because they excellent reminders that we’re all only human. Mistakes get made, things that we don’t want to happen happen anyway, and we forget things.

Also, I know these mummies, and I can attest that they are all excellent parents. But excellent doesn’t mean perfect. And when we do make mistakes, we need to learn to let go of the guilt and embrace our human nature. Furthermore, share it with other new mums! They might not know that it’s perfectly okay to screw up every now and then.

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True dat.

Stop feeling guilty; you’re not perfect and you’re doing fine.

As an aside, I’d love to hear your less-than-perfect moments!

Wrap Happy

“I read once that the ancient Egyptians had fifty words for sand & the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow. I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep & there are no words for that.”

A perfect description, for me, of why I love wrapping so much. Those sleepy wrap snuggles are just too luscious for words. Feeling that warm soft baby weight on your chest, smelling that sweet baby smell, heavenly. But of course, there’s more to it than that.

Wrapping is an excellent way to foster a deep sense of attachment in a young baby, and no, they won’t become more clingy as a result. Good, positive attachment results in a baby who is happy to be put down, or go to other people because they know you’ll come back. Their bond with you is so strong that they are secure in being away from you. This can surely only be a good thing.

Baby learns better and faster about how to respond to events and people in the world because they follow your lead. Things are less likely to be scary to them when they can see and feel how mum is reacting. They take their lead from how you respond. A baby in a pram is much more likely to feel isolated and alone. Of course, if they’re parent facing they can still see and hear you, but they don’t get that physical contact as much. Also, think about this. Many of the experiences and noise we encounter we take for granted. To a baby, laying prone in a pram, everything is a potential threat. Mummy is still there, but she might not be close enough. Particularly for a young baby who lacks the ability to see far. Put that baby upright and on eye level, surrounded by mummy and they will feel much safer.

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This baby is at The Deep, an environment that can potentially be scary for a young child. But you can clearly see that baby is able to encounter this new experience without fear, because Mum is there, warm, comforting and reassuring.

It’s also fabulous for developing Speech and Language skills. When your baby is attached to you, you’re much more likely to talk to it and engage it in whatever you’re doing. Babies, as we know, learn speech from their parents, and wrapping is an excellent way to promote this.

Baby wearing doesn’t mean that your baby will overheat in summer. Babies have very poor thermoregulation, so when wrapped they use Mum’s much better thermoregulation to keep them cool. Of course, you’d use a lighter wrap and dress baby in fewer clothes, but it’s much easier to keep them at the right temperature than in a pram.

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In an NCT Close Caboo, this baby is cool and supported during a seaside trip - another new experience that could be potentially scary.

Keeping your baby upright can also help with reflux, or allow you to still get the house work done if baby is a clingy velcro monster that only wants to be cuddled.

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Stretchy wraps are fantastic for very young babies in this situation, and with a refluxy baby myself it was an absolute godsend in the early days.

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Hungry husband due home from work and need to make tea? No problem. This Liberty slings stretchy with an apron over the top is the perfect solution.

The versatility of wraps is another point. There are many places that prams just can’t go, whether it’s maze-like vintage shops, or hiking round Langsett. But with a sling or a wrap, no problem. Everywhere is accessible, not least public transport. 

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On a train, with a wrap is far easier than on a train with a pram.

The comfort provided to baby by being wrapped can’t be understated. Rosie is quite a sicky baby, which unfortunately for us has meant hospital visits and stays. Most recently, she was kept in with a drip and a nasogastric tube. With my lovely Ring Sling, I was able to wrap her immediately after and she was asleep in seconds. A far cry from all the screaming and fighting she’d been doing. When she had to have blood draws done, I kept her in the Ring Sling and she was a thousand times calmer than any other time. I also kept her in for her latest jabs, and she barely even knew they’d happened. The hospital staff were amazed at what a difference it made to her.

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In a Lenny Lamb Caffè Latte Ring Sling, Rosie is content despite having a drip and a nasogastric tube.

Now that she is older and has better head control, I can wrap her on my back where she can see more of the world, but still be close to me.

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This beautiful Girasol Dark Rainbows is perfect for this Knotless Ruck.

Also, let’s not forget just how fabulous some wraps are. They absolutely are a kind of fashion accessory, what with the wide variety of size, style, and materials available. Some of them are complete works of art. They can even be incorporated into Halloween costumes!

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All of my yes.

Not to mention that carrying your baby helps to improve posture, core strength, balance and general physical fitness. Now really, what’s not to love?

(Ok, I should add that you probably will be sicked up on at some point, as I have been many times. Baby drool is another potential hazard, but really, they are small prices to pay.)

If you do decide to carry your baby, make sure you do it safely. TICKS guidelines can be found here, and this is an excellent resource by Rosie Knowles, who is a British Baby wearing expert.

Give it a go, wrap your baby and wrap happy.

Five Things No One Tells You About Becoming A Mum

1: You might not bond with your baby straight away.

IT’S OK. It’s perfectly natural to have conflicted feelings about a squirming bundle of screaming and poo. It can take months for that bond to develop, particularly following a traumatic birth, or separation immediately following. The good news is, give it time, it will develop. I didn’t experience that rush of love when my floppy slimy baby was placed on my chest, and not seeing her for the first 12 hours of her life didn’t help. She was in SCBU and I was waiting for the epidural to wear off. But, now that she’s smiling and interacting more, I get it. She’s mine and part of me and although sometimes she drives me nuts, I love her to the ends of the earth.

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She's crying because she didn't want a hat on. Delightful.

2: Your relationship with your spouse might actually get better.

Most blogs or articles will tell you that babies are relationship wreckers, but that needn’t be true. Personally, my marriage got better. Part of it was our amazement at having created a life together, but part of it was working as a team. As with any relationship, open and honest communication is key. You’re going to get it wrong, and you’re going to get stressed or frustrated. Step back, calm down and talk about your feelings. Don’t let resentment build up.

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Make time for each other! It's worth it.

3: You might not be able to breastfeed.

If you can, fantastic! If not, don’t sweat it. It doesn’t work for everyone. Formula is not poison, and it won’t hurt your baby. Breastfeeding is a relationship, and if it’s not working for one of you, it’s not working for either of you. Don’t feel guilty if you formula feed. It doesn’t make you a bad mum.

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Just keep this kind of bottle for yourself.

4: Your sex life might actually get better.

Okay, not necessarily immediately, because, you know, healing. But after that, why not? Whereas before, sex was something you took for granted, now it’s a treat. It’s like if you ate chocolate all the time, it gets boring. BUT when you go on a diet, it’s all you want. And when you get it? Ohhhhhhhhhh. Yeah, it’s like that. And you should have sex, it’s great! It’s also a fairly key part to a happy relationship. And it may be a little daunting to start with, but keep at it. Don’t forget lube and condoms, unless of course you want pain and more babies.

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Keep the romance alive.

5: You will most probably feel guilty about everything.

Don’t. The very fact that you’re doubting yourself or feeling guilty shows that you’re a good mum. Stop beating yourself up! A good way to deal with this is imagine if a close friend asked for your advice, what would you tell her? Tell yourself. You’re doing an incredibly difficult job, with no qualifications, no training and very few breaks. If your child is alive, you’ve done well. They really aren’t going to be scarred for life because you put them mismatched socks on, or because you needed to step out for five minutes to clear your head. Relax. You’re doing fine.

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See? Baby still alive despite having me as a mother.

Make up and Mummies

So, let’s talk make up. I love the stuff; but my God it’s a minefield of judgement. Wear too much and you’re whore, or you’re trying too hard. And of course it’s only to impress men. On the flipside, don’t wear any and you’re judged for letting youself go or not puttung any effort in. Because what you choose to put on your face is absolutely everyone else’s business.

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Such a whore

Add a baby, and the judgment intensifies. With make up, you’re a cold hearted selfish bitch for not sacrificing your every moment to your screaming milk monster (maybe a slight over exaggeration, but you see my point). With out make up, you’ve ‘let yourself go’ you’re looking rough, and it’s surely only a matter of time before your husband cheats on you.

I hate this. I wear make up for me, no one else. I don’t wear it everyday, and I don’t judge anyone else for wearing it or not. I’m not neglecting my daughter when I put some eyeshadow on.

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Bad mother alert

For me, make up gives me a little time to be just me, to create something pretty that makes me feel good, and remember that although I love my little darling, I’m more than just Rosie’s mum; I’m a woman too.

So, I’ll continue following make up stuff online, and trying out new looks, and feeling fabulous in bright blue eyeliner. Because I deserve to be happy, and my daughter deserves a happy mummy.