Pregnancy

Dress Baby Stress Free

When I first brought Harlow home, I honestly didn’t think she’d cry whenever I changed her clothes. At 3 months old, she’s a lot better, but she still has her days. It seemed to be a case of Harlow literally HATED being naked, but now? She loves it. It’s just a struggle to dress her without her thinking that the world is about to end. There are also stressful moments in dressing a baby that you may not have even considered. That’s where I come in to give some tips on how to dress a baby, stress free.

1. Avoid poop explosions.
You can roll down a onesie over the shoulders of your baby. That way, you don’t have to pull it over your baby’s head and potentially have poo go everywhere and have to wash them all over.

2. Baby shoes are a waste of time.
Would you want something that you don’t have any use of? Probably not. So, why buy a baby lots of pretty shoes that they won’t appreciate and can’t even wear.

3. Put tights on under vests.
It’ll keep them up and will stop them from falling down to their ankles within a short time; especially if you have an overactive baby like me.

4. Keep it simple!
You don’t have to dress your baby up in fancy clothes all of the time. If you’re staying in house, you can simply put another baby grow or vest on. Your baby doesn’t care.

Emily.

Pregnancy

My Growing Parental Confidence

Since becoming a parent, my confidence has grown so much. I was very self-conscious and shy when I was younger and into my teenage years. It has only been the past two years that I’ve been constantly growing in confidence. BUT, it has grown even more so, since I’ve been a mum. It’s all down to having to go out of your comfort zone a few times, and also trusting your instincts.

There are so many books, apps, and forums in which give you the best tips and advice when being a parent, but at the end of the day, it really is down to yourself and what you think works best for yourself and your baby.

When I first brought Harlow home, I was whispering in conversation and turning to TV down low. Then as time went on, I realised I didn’t have to talk quietly or have the TV on low, that if she wanted to sleep, she would regardless. Plus, Harlow loves white noise. As soon as it turns off, she usually realises and wakes.
I know I toot my own trumpet quite a lot about motherhood, but I have had a lot of confidence with Harlow since day one, but, my confidence is growing daily. It’s an incredible feeling knowing that because your confidence is growing, you’re giving your baby the best possible opportunities and life.

 

E.

Pregnancy

Spring Cleaning For Mums

So, the wonderful Spring season is nearly upon us. Less than a month and we’ll hear the amazing baa’s of newborn lambs, the bright colours as we drive/walk past the growing daffodils and the sweet smell of cut grass. Oh, and maybe a bit of sunshine if we’re lucky! There is nothing more exciting for me than having a HUGE spring clean. I’ve put together a spring cleaning checklist to help you along if you’ve left it a bit late, or just want some guidance.
Obviously being a mum, there isn’t much time to do all of this cleaning. I always clean as much as I can all over the house on a Sunday. When Harlow is awake during the week, I’ll put her in her bouncer and take her around the house with me, and then obviously when she’s asleep, I’ll do as much as I can (usually the things that make the least noise!).

 

spring cleaning checklist

 

Kitchen 
1. Deep clean your fridge and freezer by removing all items and giving it a thorough clean. You could also defrost your freezer at this time too.
2. Organise your food cupboards by firstly removing all items and cleaning them, then put them back in neatly.
3. Whilst doing so you should be able to see which foods have expired and need binning.
4. Deep clean all small kitchen appliances such as the microwave, kettle, toaster.
5. Give your oven and stove top a deep clean, leaving any product on it overnight
6.Empty all of your kitchen cabinets and tidy your pots, pans and plates.
7. Deep clean your dishwasher (if you have one) and use any rinse aid needed to keep it sparkling clean.
8. Give your bins and kitchen bin a good clean to get rid of any bad odours.
Bedrooms 
1. Clean under all beds and remove any clutter, then re-organise it as you put everything back.
2. Organise wardrobes and dressers. Decide what you need to donate, bin or keep.
3. Declutter of anything you no longer need and put in the attic or to go to the skip.
4. Deep clean your mattress and pillows.
5. Clean any mirrors
6. Flip your mattress
7. Wash curtains and any other furnishings
8. Clean doors and skirting boards.
Living Room and rest of the house
1. Dust all furniture and fixtures.
2. Clean all skirting boards of any dust and debris.
3. Wipe down all surfaces and tidy away anything lying around.
4. Clean your windows inside so they’re free of any finger prints. Also wipe down all windowsills.
5. Was your cushions covers and throws so they’re smell fresh and looking brand new.
6. Wipe down your sofa to get rid of any marks. If you have a cover to protect it then give it a wash. 7. Dust, clean and hoover under any furniture to ensure theres no bits lying around.
8. Clean all curtains and rugs. You could take these to the dry cleaners or clean them yourself at home.
9. Mop and hoover all floors around the house, upstairs and downstairs including the hallway and porch.
10. Dust and wipe down all walls and fixtures
11. Give your hallway a tidy up and dust any furniture
12. Wipe down doors and door knobs.
13. Declutter and decide what you need to get rid of, sell or keep.
Bathroom 
1. Clean shower curtain or replace if needed
2. Sort out toiletries and get rid of anything that needs binning
3. Clean toilet and sink thoroughly
4. Deep clean the floor, mop and hoover
5. Clean any mirrors
6. Wash bath mats and replace
7. Clean down all counter tops and windows
8. Clean the extractor fan if you have one and get rid of all dust
9. Deep clean the shower and scrub the tiles
 
Laundry
1. Wipe down the washing machine and dryer, clean out any condensation boxes and also clean inside the drum doors.
2. Clean the vacuum and wipe down all cleaning supplies
3. Clean the laundry room floor and skirting boards if you have one
4. Organise all cleaning supplies and remove any empty bottles
5. Organise your linen closet.

 

 

E.

Pregnancy

Preparing For A Baby

In all honesty, you’ll never mentally, physically or emotionally be prepared for a baby. You’ll also definitely be financially prepared. They’re tiny, but expensive. The best thing to prepare for a baby is to go on a budget. It’s more realistic. It’s not a case of going out, finding the most expensive baby gear and buying it. You need to really think logical. Babies aren’t babies for long, and I’m pretty sure they won’t remember that you had the best pram ever. I’ve written a few tips on how to prepare for a baby on a budget.

1. Start shopping early.
I literally started shopping for Baby H just at 6 weeks. I know so many people say ‘but you’ll jinx it’. I don’t believe in that. I went out and bought pretty much everything while I knew I had the money and to be honest, I didn’t want to wait until I was further along. Plus, if there is anything you forget as the times go on, you’ll have plenty of time to get it.

2. Stockpile on nappies and wipes. 
As soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Stock up on the nappies and wipes. I think I had enough Size 1 nappies here until Harlow moved up a size, so I was literally fully stocked. Asda own nappies and wipes are SO cheap.

3. Buy second-hand clothing.
Clothes for babies are pretty much the same price as adult clothes. Okay, so you might get a few sleep-suits in  one pack, but if you’re on a budget, you need to be careful. Apart from that clothes that have been bought for her, I’ve bought all of Harlow’s clothes second-hand. They’re all in great condition, and I’ll continue to do it.

4. Are you entitled to it? 
Make sure you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to. Ring up and speak to someone about it because unfortunately, I doubt the government will be 100% honest with you if you spoke about money. Citizens Advice would be great to talk to.

5. Be careful with what you don’t need. 
I touched on this subject in another post, but just be careful with buying things you really don’t need.

E.

Pregnancy

Trying To Stay Energised

It’s so difficult to stay energised when you’re trying to keep up with the needs of a little human. You’re trying to juggle every aspect of your life too. It’s exhausting! I thought it’d be a good idea to try and help those who need to keep their energy levels up.

1. Never skip breakfast.
I know a lot of people say this and honestly it’s a great help. Not only does it get your metabolism running for the day, but it gives you energy. It really is a great way to start the day.

2. Stay hydrated. 
There is nothing like a good glass of water. I wake up during the night to attend to the baby, and I always make sure I drink water before going back to sleep. I also make sure that I drink a pint of water when I first wake up. It has so many benefits, including; good skin, flushes your system, gives you energy and prevents headaches and fatigue from dehydration.

3. Get enough sleep. 
I know it’s difficult with a baby/child, and sometimes, your mind is in overdrive so it’s a bit difficult to settle, but if you can, make sure you have enough sleep. Nearly EVERY single night, I make the mistake of staying on my phone for about 2 hours just scrolling through social media and watching Youtube. I should realistically just go straight to sleep when my head hits the pillow. I think I’d have so much energy if I continue to make a point of going straight to sleep (or trying to!).

4. Switch off electronics early. 
This follows on from the point above. Instead of charging your brain with TV or your phone, the bright lights which (Scientifically Proven!) keep your brain active, turn them off earlier. Just sit in silence or read a book. It might make the above point a bit easier to achieve.

5. Have some me time. 
We all need it. Whether we’re parents or not. It’s so good and (I think) healthy to implement some me time in your schedule. I’ve made it a thing to not look at my phone as much on a Sunday. It’s a day where I’ll have a bath instead of a shower, I’ll clean (cleaning is definitely ‘me time’ for me!), I’ll plan my week ahead and just generally be more free.

6. Get some fresh air. 
Believe it or not, fresh air can make you feel more awake. Going outside can make you feel happier and more alive. Something so simple. I know there will always be days when you’d much rather stay inside, especially if it’s raining or cold, but when it isn’t… make the most of the days.

 

Emily.

Pregnancy

How I Get Things Done

I’ve always been organised. A bit TOO organised at time. Also, since I’ve been diving into the whole self-care aspect of life, I’ve been SO productive. Of course I have days when I don’t do anything except just be a mum, but then there are other days when I’ll cram it all in and I’ll usually be exhausted but so happy with myself. I know it can be tough to remain productive, and hard getting things done, so I thought I’d help you out with some of my own tips and tricks!

1. Get up 30 minutes earlier.
Okay, so it’s not like we struggle with sleep already and want to get as much in as possible. Already it sounds horrible! But trust me. I’m not saying go straight into waking up 30 minutes earlier than you usually would. Ease yourself into it. I’ve only been doing this since Harlow has been in a good routine and it’s great. I wake Harlow up at 7am every morning (unless she decides to wake up before that), but I get up at 6:30am. I go downstairs, watch a Youtube video, make myself a coffee and have some toast. I’ll then get dressed, wash my face and brush my teeth. I’ve found the best way to wake up is to drink water.

2. Set up direct debits. 
I have made it my goal this year to keep up with my finances and really sort it out. As I’ve been living alone for so long, I did get into the habit of buying things I really didn’t need. So, I opened up a savings account and when I have any money in my account that I know I’ll probably take out and spend, I put it in my savings account which means I have to then travel all the way into town to withdraw anything. I also set up every payment (unless I can’t) to be direct debit on the same day. I then know that when I look at my bank balance the following day, I have exactly the amount I’ll have until my next pay day to spend on things I need.

3. Food shopping online.
I’ve been doing my food shop online for about 3 years. It is honestly so much easier. All you need to do is make sure you’re home for the time you’ve ordered it for. My favourite shop is Asda. I don’t know why but I’ve been shopping there for years, and I love it.

4. Never forget families birthdays. 
I’ve got my family’s birthdays in my calender in my phone, but I have the reminder on for a week before so I can get a card and present posted ready for their actual birthday. You’ll literally be organised all year around.

5. Prepare yourself. 
Every night I’ll get Harlow’s clothes ready and put them at the end of her bed. I’ll have her nappy, wipes, cream and speakers (she loves listening to music) for when she wakes up. I’ll also make sure that my things are ready for when I go back upstairs to wake Harlow up. I also always make sure that I’ve cleaned the kitchen and living room the night before and get my coffee cup and plate out ready for my drink and toast!

6. Make a list. 
Always. One of my favourite things to do is to make lists. Whether on my phone, or paper. Just so I have something to go off and follow. Then tick once I’ve completed it! Just take a few moments before you go to bed so you have something ready for when you wake up.

Emily.

 

Pregnancy

Education After Birth

I started Uni back in October of 2016. I worked really hard at the beginning, and was really proud of myself that I was able to get back into something I really enjoyed studying; Psychology and Childhood Studies. I was thriving off learning. I was in full time work and full time education and coping really well. I then fell pregnant, and even though I was still doing my course, I completely lost motivation. I had a lot of friends who were in college, uni, with high paid jobs and even the couple who had their own businesses. I felt like I could never amount to that. It was sad for me because I did have so much ambition at one stage.
Especially becoming a mum, it’s a case of you wanting to do the best to provide and protect your little one. I have heard so much about being a single parent and it being ‘better’ for me to stay at home. I don’t see the problem with wanting to go back into work or education after you’ve had a baby.
I’m so proud of myself for getting back into my Uni course, without any problems. Psychology is a huge passion of mine, and even though it’s going to take me 3-4 years to complete, I can’t wait until I do. I love learning, so education was always an option for me, and even after my Psychology course, I’ll probably go back for more.
I know that it’ll be difficult at times with Harlow, but the best thing is that I have the full support of my tutors. I 100% recommend going back into education after a child if you feel like you’d like to.

Emily.

Pregnancy

Finding Yourself After Birth

Hello!
I hope you’re doing well.
You never intend to lose yourself, you just one day sit or lie down, look at your life, and then you realise you don’t actually know who you are anymore. Not only does your body change, but your outlook on life is completely altered. Even though before I fell pregnant, all I did was nap or occasionally something I really wanted to do, I can’t do that now. As much as I’d love to have just a straight 2 hour nap again, Harlow wouldn’t allow it, and I would rather spend time bonding with her. It takes longer for everyone. I know a few people who are stuck in a rutt even years after they’ve had their children. I’m lucky that I got struck by it so soon, and just 3 months after Harlow, I can get myself out of it.
I’ve started Uni again, and even though I can’t really do it during the day, due to the inconsistency of Harlow’s naps, I do them in the evening/night when Harlow is asleep. I’m determined not to lose myself in that again because I slacked so much when I was pregnant. I’m trying to build up my social life again, by contacting people that I haven’t spoken to in a while. I’m writing a journal again and I’m just spending more free time to be myself and do the things I love. I even started drawing again so I can set up my Facebook page again. It’s been about a year, and that makes me so sad. It makes me realise that I really did lose myself from the second I found out I was pregnant.
I so LOVE spending time with Harlow. It’s incredible watching her little ways as I do my things around the house. I’ve tried to get into the routine myself of talking to her as I do things. I’ve been doing that pretty much since she was born, but I wasn’t really involving her in everything I do. I realised that she LOVES to be involved. She loves watching me clean and randomly talking to myself, and now what’s even better, is that she answers!
All in all, I need to take advantage of Harlow’s naps time, no matter how short they may be. It’s time to start finding myself and doing the things I really enjoy.

Emily.

Pregnancy

Thing You Don’t Need For Baby

Hello!
Time is flying by, isn’t it? I think I’ve made a comment like that in almost every single blog post, but it baffles me! As a first time parent, you feel the need to buy every single thing under the sun. Thinking that your baby will DEFINITELY need it. Of course babies can be expensive, but they really don’t need to be. Even though I’m a first time mum, I didn’t buy any ‘essential’ stuff brand new. I bought it all second hand. As long as it’s in good condition, there really is nothing to worry about. In fact, even when I was careful with what I was buying, I realise now that I bought way too much, and Baby H doesn’t need it. Harlow is only 3 months old, and I’ve sold so many things due to this mistake. I decided to make a list of things that I didn’t and haven’t needed, in hope that it will help other first time parents.

1. A changing table.
Not once have I thought ‘Oh, I could really do with a table to change Harlow on.’ To be honest, I’d be worried about her falling off because she moves SO much! It’s lovely that there is a specific place that people have to change their baby, and also you have all the extra places to put nappies and wipes etc. But in all honesty, it’s a complete waste of money. Apart from when Harlow has visited the doctor, or the clinic, I have changed her on a changing mat on the floor and had no problems with it. It will also take up too much room, and it’s room that you could probably do with saving!
2. The most expensive travel system.
Now, I know so many people that go through so many travel systems and prams. To be honest, as long as it does the job and you somewhat like the style and the way it looks, is it really that much of a big deal? They can be so expensive, and they all do exactly the same thing. I bought a travel system (second hand) for Harlow very early on, and I ended up not liking it. I then bought another one very cheap and it’s lovely. You could definitely save money if you just realised they’re all the same.

3. Lots of bottles. 
As long as you keep on top of sterilising and preparing, then you don’t really need that many bottles. To begin with, I had about 12 all in all. I had two different brands too. Harlow ended up not liking one brand but liking the other and I think I had about 10 of the bottles she didn’t like and only 2 of the bottles she did. So I had to spend extra money to buy more of the bottles she does like.

4. A nappy bin. 
I really don’t understand these. I just put Harlow’s nappy into a nappy bag that I bought for 89p (100 pack) and then put the nappy into a ‘special’ bag I get from the council. I keep this bag outside, just purely because even though the smell is concealed, it does still smell eventually. In my opinion, a nappy bin is just a waste of time.

5. A bottle warmer. 
It takes just as long putting the bottle into a microwave that is is using a bottle warmer, and they can be quite pricey! You may as well put that money to one side and buy essentials you’ll need like nappies and wipes. To be honest, Harlow doesn’t really have her bottles warm through the day. The only warm bottle I give her is at bedtime because I find it helps her sleep better.

6. Shoes.
Personally, I’ve got shoes for Harlow, but they aren’t needed. They actually won’t really be needed until she walks which could be about 10 months. I wouldn’t bother gathering more clutter that isn’t needed.

7. Socks. 
Exactly the same as above, except socks end up everywhere. Harlow moves her feet so much, and rubs them together, so when she does wear nappies, they just end up on the floor. Also, their little feet grow so quickly.

8. Random stuff.
There are so many random things that are around that you can buy that are completely pointless. For example; bottle drying rack. I just put my bottles on a clean tea towel and because I’m so organised with my bottles, they dry by the time I make a new batch. There are many things you don’t need. Stop and think first.

Emily

Pregnancy

Getting your pre-baby body back

Hey!
I’m actually really excited to write this post because it makes me motivated to actually get up and exercise instead of just staring at other women’s body’s who were able to do it within a couple of months! I not long ago realised though that it’s so unhealthy to do it so quickly. Take some time out for yourself and your baby first before getting back into the exercise. You need to fully recover from the trauma your body went through!
When you are ready, here are a few tips to get back into fitness and eventually get your pre-baby body back!

Readjust your diet. 
It’s all great and convenient to order a takeaway a few times a week when you have a baby somewhat preventing you from cooking a good healthy meal, but, it definitely isn’t good for your health, weight or emotional state when you step on those scales and realise you’ve put on a few extra pounds (AGAIN!). Even when you were pregnant, you could indulge as much as you could, and in fact, you couldn’t help yourself. You have to kick the habit to the curb, and go out to buy yourself some good cook books; if you haven’t got some already, and prepare, freeze and eat GOOD food.

There’s nothing quite like core strength.
Train, train, TRAIN, the abdominal muscles. There are some amazing apps that you can download which help SO much, or you can turn to the internet (Youtube) and search for videos. Something even better is getting the baby involved in your exercising. You’ll obviously have to wait until they’re at a suitable age, but it’ll be worth it when they are.

Good luck!
Remember: it takes 21 days to create a habit. That’s less than a month. Stick at it and it’ll become a routine.

Emily.