pregnant norfolk

New guest blogger - 12 weeks pregnant 

New guest blogger – 12 weeks pregnant

 

Please welcome my new guest blogger Danielle who will be blogging her pregnancy journey 🙂

It’s been an absolute dream come true for us to find out we were expecting after such an awful year. Sadly, we lost a baby in Jan, and it was very hard for us all. I struggled physically and mentally for some time.

But on the 4th July just a few weeks before our baby would have been due I found out I was pregnant.

Around a week before I even did the pregnancy test – I had a feeling that just maybe, I was like I could feel it. I couldn’t wait any longer and did a test the day before I was due and couldn’t believe it, I was convinced my body was playing tricks on me. I can’t even begin to explain the love and happiness we felt. We are over the moon. I left the test out for my husband to find; it took him all day. He couldn’t believe it either.

We’ve been so looked after by the early pregnancy unit. The staff at the NNUH have genuinely been excellent very reassuring, kind and they have supported me so much. I can’t thank them enough.

They kindly booked me a scan for at seven-week and everything was looking good I had another scan and ten weeks just to give me pieces of mind.

Then I also had the 12-week scan, and everything was perfect. It was such a relief I felt like it was really real now.

I’ve been feeling well and only had a couple of days as I struggled and felt like I couldn’t move. A few awful headaches but other than that all has been great.

I’ve not been able to stop eating eggs; it’s all craved oh and milk, I was the same when I was pregnant with my daughter.

We can’t wait for our next scan now to find out the sex.

 

Please keep an eye out for Danillies next blog soon, and to read my past guest blogs click here.

pregnant

family photographer Norfolk

Mothering FOUR boys - guest blogger

Mothering FOUR boys – guest blogger

 

About us -Mothering FOUR boys.

Hi, I’m Kirsten, a make up artist and a mother to four (yes four) terrific, energetic and boisterous boys.

Let me tell you a little bit about them;

Cameron my eldest is eleven years old and will be starting high school in September. He loves dinosaurs and Fortnite. He is very soft natured, kind and caring.

Taylor is nine years old and is going into year 5 at Middle School. He is mischievous and always up to no good. He loves to draw and get creative.

Clarke is four years old and will be starting reception in September. He is obsessed with anything Marvel, which consists of dressing up, playing games and watching the movies on repeat. He’s started to enjoy learning and has recently mastered how to spell his name. He’s cheeky, cute and always manages to seem to get his own way.

Then last but not least, there is Tucker, he’s nearly 7 months old. This boy is constantly on the go, so full of energy.

mother

Having a baby in lockdown

The boys Dad and I don’t live together, so when lockdown initially happened I was on my own with four boys for six weeks.

Tucker was nine weeks old when the UK went into lockdown, luckily most of our immediate family had already met him.

Tucker is exclusively breastfed. I found there were pros and cons to breastfeeding during lockdown. The pros obviously were that I didn’t need to prep anything, I didn’t have to wash or sterilise bottles. I didn’t have to worry about trying to get out and buy formula when everybody was panic buying.

The cons however I found that with cluster feeding and terrible feeding in the night, I was so physically exhausted, that my older boys didn’t get a lot of attention from me. I couldn’t go and sleep when Tucker did because I had the other boys to entertain/homeschool, so I was constantly running on empty.

mother

Another con that I came to realise was that without his dad being around I stopped pumping and stopped giving him bottles, so when we did try and give him a bottle he was not having any of it. We tried several different bottles. In the end we ended trying Minbie,  which was recommended by a few other breastfeeding mums and although he didn’t take to it straight away with a bottle a day for a week he finally got the hang of it.

I was also worried that with little contact with other members of the family that Tucker would become very attached to me. I was worried that the possibility of returning to work would be very difficult if one he didn’t take a bottle and two he didn’t want to be with anyone other then me. But thankfully he’s such a happy contented baby that as long as he’s given the attention he really doesn’t mind he’s left with.

At around 5 1/2 months, Tucker started getting on his hands and knees rocking backwards and forwards. He is so eager to be joining in with his brothers. In the last week, he has mastered the army camo crawl, and my god is he fast.  I literally need eyes in the back of my head now because as soon as I’ve turned around he is after wires, plugs, shoes and they’re straight his mouth.

We started weaning a month ago, and I’m trying the BLW method. This is very new to me, With my other boys I did the traditional purée weaning. So with Tucker, I thought I’d try baby-led weaning, as it would be good for us all to be able to eat round the table together and potentially make Clarke a better eater, if he saw Tucker eating things that he has refused in the past to try.

I found the recipe book ‘by what mummy makes’ absolutely amazing, every recipe that I’ve cooked has been easy, delicious and has been a big hit with all the kids as well as Tucker.

Homeschooling

Let’s start this paragraph by saying I have a new found respect for teachers. Their job is hard, really hard.

Also trying to teach two different year groups, keep them both entertained and to stop them distracting one another exceptionally hard.

The teachers at their school had set up study-ladder and other online resources for the boys to do online, but I honestly found that if I let them do their school work on their iPads they would literally spend all day on electronics, instead I preferred buying workbooks and printing resources from the website twinkl. This way I could mark their work, see where they’re making their mistakes, help them correct their work and then find worksheets to help them strengthen their weaknesses.

The rule was, do some school work in the morning then you have the afternoon to do what you want. First two weeks, Cameron would moan and complain the work the school set was too hard and Taylor would just point blank refuse to do any work and would just sit on the sofa in his pants all day. I soon realised that this method wasn’t working for us.

My next attempt was planning their days with work and fun activities/experiments, this lasted for around a week before they decided they weren’t doing that either.

Then we tried every piece of work they did earn them 30mins on electronics, the more work they did the more time earned. This resulted in Cameron flying through worksheets, and with my hands full with Clarke and Tucker I could never mark it straight away, which Cameron took full advantage of.

The best method we have found for us is now quality over quantity. One work sheet which is above 70% correct, and they earn £1 day into their ‘gohenry’ account.

Cameron managed To save £55 and bought himself a Lego set and Taylor managed to save £30 and bought himself a new Jelly Cat teddy.

The boys also enjoyed that the school did weekly zoom assemblies/meetings to check  in with them and do assemblies.It also gave them the chance to see their friends.

In June both boys were offered to return back to school, which they both wanted to do. Cameron did Mondays and Tuesdays and Taylor did Thursdays and Fridays. It was good for them to get a little bit of normality back in their life and to see some of their teachers & friends.

It’s also been a hard time for Cameron as it was his last year in middle school. His last day of school should’ve been a memory for him to treasure forever but unfortunately that didn’t get to happen. He’s also not been to look round his new high school, he’s not met his new teacher, he has no idea who is in his form. Which is making the whole experience even more daunting for him.

Since the start of the six week holiday, I’ve scrapped all school work at home and we’re just enjoying the time as we would’ve done had a lockdown not happened.

mother

-What I’ve learnt

That it is that is okay not to have a clean house or that one meal of the week was a freezer cooked dinner of chicken nuggets and chips, as long as everyone is happy that’s all that matters.

It’s okay if you need to cry, having a baby is an emotional rollercoaster as it is, let alone being in lockdown on your own, with very little physical support.

There will also be a day where I get to sleep through the night again. Probably won’t be for awhile, Tucker still wakes up twice in the night for a feed, and you know what I’m okay with that. He is my last baby and you never know when that dreamy bedtime cuddle will be the last so I’m going to make the most of them.

norfolk

Things that seem hard now will become easier, just give it time. Being responsible for keeping one human being alive let alone FOUR can sometimes be overwhelming. It’s okay to want to spend a little bit of time to yourself. I don’t get a lot of time as Tucker is still breastfeeding but when I do get the chance to nip to my friends for a cup of coffee or even the food shop on my own, I feel I come back refreshed.

Kirsten

 

You can read my other blogs here.


woodland

Woodland walk photoshoots - Norwich

Woodland walk photoshoots - Norwich

I am doing a limited number of woodland walks at Harrison's wood in Norwich (off Blue Boar lane - its a hidden gem).

These sessions are perfect for families with babies,  families with toddlers and older children, and dogs welcome too!

Before lockdown, I launched an outdoor package for weekdays (I have no weekends for the foreseeable future but have a few afterschool slots) which proved popular as these are relaxed but we also have time to settle into the photos and stop for snacks. With the weather being unpredictable I never overbook these shoots, allowing the week after as a back update should we need to postpone.

Outdoor Photoshoots with Jess - The Details

I keep family sessions very relaxed and simple.  I want to get photos of your child/children as they are and bring out their individual personalities! I do not set up any themes or use props, but if your child has a favourite toy or teddy then that is great. 

PLEASE NOTE - If you require a location photoshoot and you have a large family (6+ people), then I’m not the photographer for you. However, I do know of some other local photographers and I’ll happily pass their details on to you.

woodland Norwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekday package - £215

  • 45-minute woodland walk shoot NR7
  • All edited images sent via a download to print as you wish
  • Depends on the family but you will get a minimum of 40 images
  • Super relaxed, non-cheesy portraits
  • Dogs welcome too

To book in please follow the link here https://jesswilkinsphotography.as.me/FamilyWeekDayPackage

 

Jess

 

 


the birth

Final Pregnancy Guest Blog- The Birth

Final Pregnancy Guest Blog- The Birth

Final Pregnancy Guest Blog- The Birth. My due date came and went, I had two unsuccessful sweeps and was booked in to be induced 11 days overdue. I managed to fit one last sweep in, two days before my induction date, and the following day my labour began!

 

At 1.00pm I arrived at the delivery suite, I went straight into a room for examination and for the baby’s heart rate to be monitored, luckily Sam was allowed in from the start due to the possible complications we may face. The midwife examined me, I was 3cm dilated, she explained that the baby had done a poo inside me and that I will need to stay in this room on this ward for constant monitoring. This was not my plan, but I really didn’t mind, I was more concerned about the wellbeing of our baby.  A midwife brought a couple of twinkly lights which she plugged in to make the room more relaxing, like the rooms on the MLBU. This was lovely of her to do for me, but in all honesty, after an hour or two when the pain got worse, I had my eyes closed for the majority of the time in there.

A little while after my examination I asked for gas & air which helped for a few hours however when the pain got worse, I asked the midwife for my second choice of pain relief- Remifentanil. I had read about this drug and I liked that it does not affect the baby unlike some of the more common types of pain relief.  The midwife examined me before calling the anaesthetist, I was 7cm dilated. I was so happy that I had made it that far with just gas & air, however, I knew the worst was yet to come. The anaesthetist fitted the cannula and explained, every time I feel a contraction about to start, press the button to release the drug. He explained that I must press it as soon as possible otherwise the drug will take effect after the contraction.

I had got the hang of pressing the button and the pain relief was helping, however, it did make me very drowsy and I could no longer watch the monitor of the baby’s heartrate beside me. Luckily Sam had been keeping an eye on it and noticed the baby’s heart rate had dropped, but it had also stayed low for a few minutes. He told the midwife who checked the printout and immediately pulled the emergency alarm. Within seconds there were several people in the room with us. They were all incredibly calm and explained to Sam and I that because the baby’s heart rate had stayed low for so long, they would need to take me straight into the theatre for a C Section under general anaesthetic. This was because they wouldn’t have time to administer an epidural and it also meant that Sam wasn’t allowed into the theatre with me. My earrings were removed, and my ring taped up, Sam was given scrubs just in case there was a chance he could come with me and I was ready for theatre. Just as they were about to take me away, the baby’s heart rate had stabilised long enough for the midwife to examine me. I was 9cm dilated and the surgeon really didn’t want to operate on me at such a late stage. They decided to call the c-section off for now and monitor the baby even more closely. Luckily within an hour, I had the urgency of needing to push. The feeling was so strong that I could hardly hold back despite the midwife telling me not to push yet because she hadn’t examined me. I was soon told that I could push on my next contraction, I felt so relieved yet scared because, after 41 weeks of waiting, the time had come to give birth naturally to our baby.

I started to push with each contraction but weirdly my contractions didn’t seem as strong as before.  I had a few pushes and Sam said he could see the head, however, the midwife explained that they needed the baby to be born quickly to reduce the stress to the baby. The best option would be an episiotomy. I agreed, and between contractions, the cut was made, I then pushed again, and Sam told me that the head was out. It was liberating to hear Sam say that because I felt that I was pushing as hard as I could, but she wasn’t coming out. A couple more pushes and our perfect little bundle was born!

the birth

Almost instantly after she was born, I went into shock, my whole body was trembling, and my teeth were chattering so hard it was difficult to talk. Our baby was placed on my chest where I started to panic because it wasn’t crying, the midwife was extremely calm and said she’s just gathering her breath, it felt like minutes had passed but it was just a few seconds later she started to cry. Sam announced that she was a girl and later cut her cord. I held her skin to skin for at least an hour where she pooed on me again, covering my tummy in thick black tar- but I didn’t mind one bit and stayed like it for several hours! I asked the midwife when I should feed her, which she replied whenever I want to try I can, within minutes she was latched on and feeding perfectly, this was extremely emotional for me, because I had been worrying that I may not be able to breastfeed as I know some mothers struggle with it for various reasons.

Sam, Baby and I spent the next 7 hours in the room together, hardly talking, just looking at her in our arms in complete awe. I will never forget the feeling of holding our tiny baby for the first time, it was everything I could ever wish for. Seeing Sam hold her was elating and filled me full of joy. Sam has been ready for a baby long before me, and to see how happy he was, was magical. A few hours later we called some family members on FaceTime to announce the news, this was a shock to everyone because we hadn’t told anyone that I had gone into labour- I had even been on the phone to my grandma that morning during my contractions and managed to keep it a secret!

And so parenting began…

I can’t thank Eloise enough for all her blogs you can read more blogs here

 

Jess

 

and if you wish to book a newborn shoot I am open and have spaces for late September onwards contact me here. 


Preparing for re-opening my baby studio

Preparing for re-opening my baby studio.

Update I am open!

I keep 2 meters distance where possible for the family images, I can now pose your babies wearing PPE which i do at all times. I’m now taking bookings soon for September onwards contact me here to check if I have had any last-minute cancellations or to book for later on in the year.

 

JUNE- Preparing for re-opening my baby studioAs there feels to be a shift in lockdown, a very slow re-emergence from a lockdown chrysalis I felt it sensible to start preparing my back to work plan not only for myself but for any customers booked in later in the year or yet to book. I won’t be opening (for both studio and outdoors) unless completely in line with government rules and regulations but I am preparing and will be working on a waiting list.

The very nature of my work demands for utmost respect and adhering to safety regulations so you can rest assured you will always find that in my studio, however I have decided (especially with this time on my hands) to up that level (especially with a little more time on my hands)

Whilst closed I have been under taking courses ready for when I return to work

opening baby studio

So what does that mean?

My cosy baby studio is repeatedly washed down and cleaned in between all shoots anyway but when all is open again I am super pleased to tell you that it will have had a revamp. Fresh paint, Fresh fabrics and a fresh set of rules to ensure our safety.

I have also used my time to take some online courses to assure you I am 100% prepared for your safety with hygiene. These courses include a standard precaution hand hygiene achievements, my COVID-19 barbicide certificate and participation in a certificate for the infection prevention and control of coronavirus with the WHO. These were free and I can share the links. 

 

When you arrive at the studio it will likely be very different from the process I have posted previously on my social media and website. I will be asking everyone to antibac hands thoroughly and remove shoes and coats before entering & placed in the box provided. Ideally, if we can limit to immediate family only – so no extended relations. I have plenty of anti-bac etc.  From 8th it is mandatory to wear masks in the studio when not being photographed – babies and children do not need masks. I have some of anyone forgets. 

Sad as it makes me, I will be wearing gloves and a facemask, this is for all of our protection. I would also ask you to do the same (please provide your own where possible) and I’ll provide clear instructions on where to leave any items you have brought.  

Rest assured I will have a fresh uniform on for each individual booking and the studio will have been deep cleaned before your arrival. I use a minimum of props anyway, but for now I will be removing most wooden toys, fluffy rug,  and the snacks and drinks I normally provide (I’m so sorry I know a hot drink is meant to be part of the experience!)

I will be logging mine and my family’s temperatures daily and will ask the same of you, if any of show any of the symptoms we will isolate and shoots postponed, if any health reason prevents the booking we can rearrange no problem.

 

I know it all sounds very clinical and it isn’t the normal, however with safe measures in place I can guarantee keeping you safe within my premises; even though the snacks and props are cancelled, your baby’s beautiful smile and wrinkly feet are not. There will be plenty of laughs and smiles as I capture your new bundle and making memories for a lifetime seems so much more important now wouldn’t you agree?

This might be the new way for now, but I promise I will make it the very best experience I can under the new rules.

Jess XX

opening baby studio

nursery hospital bag

Guest blog 30-36 weeks pregnant - nursery and packing the hospital bag 

Guest blog 30-36 weeks pregnant – nursery and packing the hospital bag

Nursery and packing the hospital bag 

Since finding out I was pregnant one of the first things I thought about was how I would like the nursery to look.  Having grown up on a farm and been lucky enough to visit some amazing countries with wild animals I have decided to go for a neutral colour and safari theme.  I know baby will be in our room for a while, but the nursey has been ready for a few months now!

Over the last few weeks I have been preparing my hospital bag.  I have read many articles online for what I need to pack and have also spoken to friends about their experiences and what they recommend.  I actually made a spreadsheet of what I needed for me, baby and a joint list. I then ticked the items off as I packed them.

nursery hospital bag

I was due to have a scan at 36 weeks however, 2 weeks before, baby’s movements had been quiet and not half as active as normal.  I know that baby is normally active morning, night and a couple of times throughout the day but, I hadn’t felt baby move much for a day and a half.  I called my midwife and she suggested drinking some cold water, eating something sugary, laying on my left side and having a ‘poke and prod’ to see if any of these things would get baby moving.  Baby did move a couple of times, but nothing like it normally does.  An hour later I called the hospital which is what the midwife told me to do.  I was told to come to the hospital where they would take a closer look.

During the current Covid situation I had to attend the appointment alone, I had to follow the signs in the hospital and stick to the left side of the corridor.  There were nurses and hospital staff walking round with mask’s on, but nothing too scary or out of the ordinary.  At the reception I was greeted as normal and asked to wait in the waiting room.  The chairs were spaced out around the room and there were only a few of us in there so we could stick to the social distancing rules.

When I was seen by the midwife, she could not have been nicer or more friendly, she made me feel totally at ease, you would never have known that there was a pandemic going on.  She was extremely reassuring and treated me like she would have done any other time.  She scanned my tummy with a hand-held screen, we listened to the heartbeat and saw baby. We also saw that baby had turned around and was no longer breech!  This was a huge relief, meaning that I can plan for a vaginal birth again.

I was then connected to a monitor which detected the heartbeat, oxygen levels and baby’s other vitals.  While on the monitor I had to click a button every time baby moved.  Luckily in the car on the way to the hospital baby had moved a couple times, again while I was waiting to be seen and then during the time being monitored baby was pretty much back to normal!  The monitor turned green which indicated that it was happy with all the checks and I was happy with baby’s movements again.  The midwife signed me off and told me that I did the right thing to get checked out, and if the same thing happens again to come straight back, even if it is tomorrow.  I have been told so many times that if baby’s movements change, I should not hesitate to call the midwife.  One thing I will do before calling the midwife next time is go for a drive, I have realised that baby either really likes being in the car, or really hates it.  Either way it is normally very active in the car!

Since my last blog I have had 2 phone appointments and one face to face with the midwife during lockdown.  On the phone the midwife and I discussed my birth plan, which is now written and in my folder ready for the big day.  I understand that this is an ideal plan, and anything could change, but it is definitely worth discussing with your birth partner to make sure you are both on the same page.  We also discussed the changes the hospital has put in place during lockdown such as Sam will not be able to come into the hospital on arrival with me, instead I will be examined and if I am in active labour he will be allowed to join me.  If for any reason I have to stay in overnight, Sam wouldn’t be allowed to stay with me.  I think the temporary procedures are very fair and I am looking forward to the birth just as much as I was before lockdown.

Since about 35 weeks pregnant I have started to feel a lot less mobile.  If I sit down for too long I cease up and take a few seconds to be able to move freely again, likewise if I stand for too long my back aches and I need to sit down!  I am now struggling to put my socks and shoes on and it feels like I am wearing a tyre around my waist which is really restricting my movement.  I am told that baby should move lower down into my cervix soon which will relieve the pressure and as I write this I can feel baby pushing up under my ribs, which is quite uncomfortable! Today I felt baby had hiccups for the first time (that I’ve noticed).

During the current Covid pandemic, using Instagram has been an excellent way to keep up to date with any changes that are being made.  I receive notifications from the Midwifery Led Birthing Unit at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital; which is where I hope to give birth.  They have been excellent at posting relevant information and putting expectant mothers’ minds at ease.  I also follow different baby pages and often watch the live videos.  So far, I have watched a couple about breastfeeding, hypnobirthing, going through labour and once baby is here. I have found many of the videos very helpful and definitely learnt a few things too – this is one of a few positives to come from lockdown!

This will be my last blog before baby arrives, I am extremely excited about finally meeting our baby and finding out if it’s a boy or girl!  My next blog will be all about my birth experience, so fingers crossed it will all go smoothly!

Eloise xx

You can read Eloise other blogs here and I can’t wait to hear her baby news I have loved her real yet positive blogs especially with all that’s going on.


pregnant with a toddler

Welcome to the world party – alternatives to a baby shower

Welcome to the world party – alternatives to a baby shower

Welcome to the world party – alternatives to a baby shower

I am so sad to hear so many of you are having to miss out on planned baby shower parties. I can’t imagine how hard this must be for so many reasons, it really is meant to be a once in a lifetime event.

However, I hope I can share some knowledge that will ease any sadness around this and hopefully suggest some ideas for how to turn that party into something else altogether when the time comes that yourself, friends and family can unite.

I am hearing lots of fabulous plans for ‘welcome to the world’ parties – a chance for everyone to shower you and your arrival with love and affection and really in lockdown there’s no better time to plan it. It’s a concept that has been around for a while – in many cases, it can act as an alternative to a Christening, for anyone that didn’t fancy a baby shower or for couples that have family stretching around the globe.

Welcome the world baby

I know the idea of planning a gathering in the hazy fuzz of new-born days may seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be large and extravagant – and I bet people would love to help plan and arrange on your behalf. Alternatively, why not wait until your little one is 2-3 months old?

In fact, I really like this idea full stop and not just as a solution to a global lockdown!

I have collated some ideas below for you, themes, props, and my favourite places to purchase items. I hope it helps and please share any of your thoughts, tips and ideas with my social community.

Jess x

Top tips for a party: digital or physical

WISHLIST I know when my friends have had babies, I have actively wanted to gift them something and I always worry about getting them something useful. Amazon wish-lists are a great way to let people know what you need if they ask. Fortunately, they are up and running during lockdown so people can always make sure you have gifts even if they can’t deliver themselves. My top tips on things you need for a baby… Ewan the dream sheep (is that still a thing?) and muslins… you can never, ever have enough. Also try looking local since lockdown I’ve sought out even more local suppliers.

DECORATE  you can go mad or simple… whether you choose to celebrate as a family or with guests. and best of all if you have your new baby you will know the sex and decorate accordingly (and I don’t mean just blue and pink!) bunting and a beautiful cake can be simply enough on its own or you could order balloon arches and a full on feast. Pinterest can be a wealth of inspiration ranging from traditional blue and pink set ups to full on boho glamour. It’s about suiting you and your baby. Currently, a lot of my favourite places aren’t trading at the time of this post, but Google is your friend… simply type in party decorations – Amazon can also come to the rescue once again. Another idea is a balloon display and Claire is amazing at Claire Carney Floral and Balloon Designs

PHOTOGRAPHY If you host a party ask everyone to take photos – it’s too easy for Mums to be the ones behind the camera but if you ask everyone to take pictures and share you can choose the best of a bunch. If you are at home and choose to have an isolation celebration, you can look at my photography guide for some simple tips using just your phone – these can apply to bump, baby and family!

CAKE doesn’t need an explanation! A lot of cake makers are going online you can test their cake before the party.  I highly recommend Sugar Buttons for cookies and also Vanilla Cloud Bakery who offers afternoon teas delivered too (check this might not be available at the moment)

LOCATION – I see my home as my sanctuary so would always have it as my go to place to host a gathering, but you could organise in a local park or café (this is assuming that lockdown rules are more relaxed) however you could host it digitally. An alternative to combat the lockdown would be to hold a zoom shower or party. Its not quite the same I know, but aren’t we lucky to live in times where we can connect like this. You can tell everyone your theme (see below) and ask them to decorate their background, you could even (if you wanted to push the boat out) have deliveries of cakes or biscuits for your guests (support a local business and brings everyone together over cake).

Maybe just scrap a party and have a shower with your partner! I loved seeing Millie Mackintosh on Instagram recently – her baby shower was cancelled so she and her partner celebrated with a dinner date, dressed up and took some beautiful photos. I can’t think of a nicer more intimate type of shower; special for all the reasons you would never have thought of.

THEME – not for everyone but they can be a great place to start when considering decorations. Here are some I came across when I was researching this piece: Local business Epic Event Hire cater for weddings and events check them out for ideas too.

  • Bees – simple natural foliage and lemon, yellow cupcakes -Pinterest has some lovely inspo for this.
  • Animals – jungle themes seem popular – with helium jungle balloons and green garlands.
  • Peter Rabbit – you can’t go wrong with anything Beatrix Potter!
  • Disney – you can pick and choose all your favourite elements to pull together a Disney theme for your prince or princess.
  • Traditional – pink or blue simply theme your party around a colour. Throw tradition out of the window and go for a trendy monochrome theme!
  • None at all – simply enjoy your favourite things with your favourite people.

 

I hope that was helpful – I’ll keep adding as I’m inspired and please feel free to message me with ideas of your own.

Newborn baby photographer Norfolk

giving birth in COVID19

Guest blog: Giving Birth during the COVID19 Pandemic

Giving Birth during the COVID19 Pandemic

Sam has kindly blogged her experience of giving birth recently during the COVID19 situation.

I was due to be induced on Monday 23rd (10 days overdue) but was called to go in on Sunday 22nd evening as they had a space for me, at this point the lockdown hadn’t started and everything seemed normal going into NNUH. I had a sweep on the Friday 20th and the midwife was relaxed about the COVID19 situation and was taking each day as it came . Following any new guidelines as they were released,  I wasn’t worried about how it would affect my birth experience. The only concern I did have was I wanted a water birth but was told as long as I didn’t have symptoms and my labour progressed naturally this was fine to go ahead.

I had my waters broken on the Monday morning as I was 2cm dilated and was told to keep active to help get things going. We were free to walk about the hospital but were mindful of keeping distance from people and hand cleaning when re-entering the delivery suite.  I had been out 3 times but when we returned from our last walk a midwife said that they didn’t want us leaving the ward anymore due to the what was going on.

I hadn’t progressed enough so I was given Oxytocin and couldn’t have my water birth. With just Gas & Air, Oscar was finally born at 2.11am 24th March weighing 9lbs 1oz.

We were moved to Blakney ward mid-morning and was told they would only keep me in for as short time possible. This was when we found out the country was in lockdown as we hadn’t seen the news. We were lucky as there wasn’t any restrictions in place yet for partners being on the ward.

When being discharged we were told that we shouldn’t have any visitors and my husband should isolate with us also due to spending time at the hospital. Unfortunately due to his job he wasn’t allowed to take extra leave and returned back to work the following Monday.

giving birth in COVID19

Before having Oscar I hadn’t taken much notice of what was put on social media regarding COVID19 as I know there’s so much fake news posted online. I tried to only watch the news and check the MLBU/NNUH Facebook and Instagram pages for updates. This is what I would advise expectant mums to do, as since being home I have seen on local mum group pages so many different stories/opinions that aren’t always up to date or helpful.

I managed to have 2 follow up midwife visits at home but only me and Oscar could be in the room, so my husband had to take our daughter into another room. They also phoned prior to arrival to ensure no-one in the house had a temperature or new cough. My discharge appointment however was different, this was a phone call to ensure things were going well. If this had been my first baby I’m not sure I would have felt comfortable with this so I feel for any first time mums at this time not having the follow up appointments as usual to give support. I then had to drop off my notes to the midwife unit in Hoveton.

Health Visitor appointment was also a phone call as they aren’t coming to homes either and they have booked another phone appointment for our 6 week review.

Being in lock-down with a newborn is without doubt tough, especially as I have a 2 year old to entertain also who is used to going to nursery 2 days a week and spending another 2 days with her Nanny’s.

The advice I would give to new/ expectant mums in lock down is this isn’t going to last forever, it’s tough and not ideal but there’s nothing we can do so try not to dwell on it. If you can prior to having baby, batch cook meals to have in the freezer. It’s one less thing to worry about! Make the most of the time at home with little ones, they’re really not little for long!

Take each day at a time, it’s ok to be emotional, overwhelmed or be in your pj’s all day (kids included) Who’s going to see you anyway. Go out for a walk when you’re ready/can, the fresh air does help and it breaks up the day. Also don’t compare yourself to what you see other mums doing on social media, everyone has a different situation, do whatever makes you happy. Use technology! Facetime, Zoom, Whatsapp video to keep in contact with family and friends. Get group chats going so you can have a good catch up! Finally make plans for what you want to do when this is all over!

giving birth in COVID19

If you have given birh during the COVID19 Panedmic and wish to share any tips please pop a comment below – I have lots of other blogs you can read here.

 

I also have a FREE guide to photographing your baby at home you can read and download.


Jess Wilkins Baby Photographer’s Guide to Photographing Your Newborn at home

Jess Wilkins Baby Photographer’s Guide to Photographing Your Newborn at home

Jess Wilkins Baby Photographer’s Guide to Photographing Your Newborn at home

Photographing Your Newborn at home

I’m so sad that during these times I’m unable to photograph beautiful new babies but, I thought long and hard about how I can help new parents capture those moments from afar; with whatever camera and props you have available! As much as I love having families in my Norwich studio, I can’t bear the thought of  families missing out when there are some simple ways to create a good photo from home.

These moments are fleeting so don’t think you can’t treasure them always because of the crisis we currently find ourselves in. You don’t need a DSLR, a simple smartphone camera can do a brilliant trick so, find below a series of tips, poses and ideas on how to set up some shots.

Photographing Your Newborn at home

Don’t forget to share them with me on Instagram @jess_wilkins_photography – it will make my day to see how you are being creative with your at home shoots! As a baby photographer, I am trained to pose babies, please don’t attempt to re-create what you see on my website (and others) at home and always put baby safety first.

 

Safety – this is one of the most important points.

 

The safety and comfort of your baby is more important than any photo. Please do not attempt any poses that you see newborn photographers do. We are trained in newborn safety and posing, remember this is about what you can do at home, not how to recreate a studio perfect image.

 

Pets and siblings make for wonderful baby photography but should never be photographed without another adult right there to keep an eye (and hand!) on the baby. 

It may seem obvious but if using a large camera and when you are taking photos above baby, always wear the camera strap around your neck.

 

Listen for baby’s cues. Your little one may start to tell you they have had enough. Pace yourself, you just had a baby and will need rest! If you need to break it up over a few days then do so.

Get ready – how to set the room and mood:

 

First off, know that your photos are not going to look the same as professional photos, and that’s ok! You are capturing some precious memories, and that is all that matters. Babies are energy-based and will pick up on your anxiety and frustration, so just relax and go with the flow. If it doesn’t go to plan, take a break and try later.

 

Turn up the thermostat so the room is warm, then give your baby a good feed, and be sure to burp them, so they are happy and sleepy! (But remember that awake baby images are beautiful too – the first smile, those scrunched up faces and altogether strange shapes they make).

 

Your baby will probably poop or pee if you take photos without a nappy on, so have supplies ready for quick clean ups – this is a common occurrence in the studio so don’t think this is just happening to you – I highly recommend Dr Beckamsn cleaning products! 

 

I find white noise can really soothe a newborn during a shoot so that’s another option to create a calm room.

 

Some initial starting tips

 

  • Spread a blanket, swaddle wrap, or sheet on the floor near a window. (neutral works well, greys whites and patterns such as arrows or polka dots)
  • Position the baby with light coming from the side or top of the baby’s head.
  • Take photos looking straight down – do not take photos up baby’s nose.

Equipment

 

Don’t worry if you don’t have a DSLR, any smart phones will work, first up clean your lens and secondly, (if you have it) try putting your phone on portrait mode to get some deep focus with a yummy blur. I tend to avoid props but you may want some lovely snuggly blankets/a sheepskin and a favourite teddy to nestle your baby with.

 

What to wear

 

To really capture your newborn I always recommend having the family wear comfortable, simple, neutral-coloured clothing. Stay away from logos, words, and characters on shirts, and neon colours. It can really help to have some colour coordination too… you can see some family shots HERE for inspiration.

 

Newborns photograph best in a simple white onesie – because really is there anything better?

You can add a little hat or headband for variety (but not one so big it takes the focus away from the baby!)

 

Lighting and position

 

Any photographer will tell you the trick to a good photo is the lighting, at home you can achieve great results with the following:

 

  • Try to take your photos in the rooms that get the best gentle window light (not direct sunlight). 
  • North/south facing windows are great! If there’s enough window light, turn off your overhead lights.

 

  • When positioning the baby close to the window, make sure the light is coming from the side or towards the top of the baby’s head – but remember not direct sunlight on your baby.

photographing your newborn at home

Editing

 

It’s always great to take lots of images so you can choose the best of the best. VSCO app is a great editing tool that you can use instantly as is Lightbox. With a little cropping, brightening and sharpening you can really enhance your already beautiful pictures.

You can get into super detail and purchase a pre-set package if there’s a certain ‘style’ you want to recreate.

 

Photo Check List and suggestions:

Sibling Images

 

  • Spread a comfy blanket or rug close to a window. Tuck some rolled up

receiving blankets underneath to create a place for siblings to rest their heads.

  • Have siblings lie down with the top of their head angled towards the window.
  • Place wrapped baby right up close to sibling, with baby’s head

supported by sibling’s arm/s.

  • Ask the sibling to place their other arm on the baby’s tummy or somehow connect.
  • Take your photo standing over them, looking straight down.

 

Parent and Baby images

 

  • Place the parent sitting or standing so window light comes from the side.
  • Try to always angle the top of the baby’s head towards the window.
  • Hold baby in different ways: lying in arms, held face to face, up on

shoulder, facing out, etc.

  • For each position, take photos from different angles – straight on, from

side, from behind over parent’s shoulder, etc.

 

Whole Family Images

 

  • Position your family members with window light coming from the

side – on a couch, or even on the floor of the nursery.Make sure you

leave a spot for you to sit or stand

  • Use a tripod if you have one, or simply set up your camera/phone

against something sturdy, getting the whole family in the frame.

  • Activate the timer (10 seconds), and run to get into your assigned

position with your family. Smile!

 

Capturing the details

 

  • Lie the baby down on a simple white or neutral coloured blanket or

sheet, close to a window.

  • Focus on just one body part at time, and make the whole photo

just about that body part.

  • Take photos of your baby’s hands and fingers, feet and toes, nose,

lips, belly button, and wisps of hair. Most importantly don’t forget the little rolls and

flaky skin.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want any further help or information. For anyone expecting later in the year I will be offering vouchers for newborn shoots. 

For your own downable guide to photographing your newborn at home please click the button below. 

Full PDF Version Here

pregnancy and coronavirus

Guest Blogger 24-30 weeks pregnancy and coronavirus

Guest Blogger 24-30 weeks pregnancy and coronavirus

Eloise is back with her next blog its a bit crazy to think last time she blogged coronavirus wasnt big news.

24-30 weeks-Time flies

After a slightly concerning chat with my midwife at 28 weeks, and her wondering why I hadn’t had my scan to see if my placenta has moved, she found me an appointment a few days later.  She made sure I knew which numbers to call if I experienced any bleeding and what to do if this happened.  This was a little disconcerting because I wasn’t aware that it was such a complication.  Before the scan I told the sonographer that we didn’t know the sex of the baby just in case we saw something we shouldn’t.  She gave the baby a full examination and then showed me my placenta, it had moved, way up out of the way!  For the two days before the scan I was extremely down in myself, worrying that I would have to have a C-Section.  I wasn’t worried about the actual operation or the recovery, my main concern was that I want to experience everything about birth.  The not knowing when the baby is coming, the wondering if those are labour pains, going to hospital and wondering how long until your little pride and joy will make an appearance, but most of all I want to make Sam proud of me and for him to think that I did a ‘really good job’.  I know that this all sounds like sunshine and roses and in reality, I will be in a lot of pain – but you can only hope!

I am still exercising regularly although my running has turned into a slow jog with walk breaks at regular intervals.  I am purposely not pushing myself as I have noticed that my pelvis is beginning to ache.  I feel particularly fragile in the mornings the day after a run and I now must be careful getting in and out of the car.

I have read many articles about how in your 3rd trimester you shouldn’t sleep on your back.  I never knew I slept on my back until a few months ago! I always thought that I slept on myside, but since waking up several times in the night on my back I thought I need to do something about it.  So… I now sleep with a bra top on and a little pot of Vaseline in the back of it (other brands/tubs or pots are available). This way, when I roll over the pot digs into my back causing me to turn onto my side!  I am sure other women have come up with much more commutable ways of stopping themselves laying on their back, but this is working for me.

pregnancy and coronavirus

Kicks are coming strong and fast.  The baby is beginning to have a routine morning and night when it’s most active. Especially when Sam is home and we are having a conversation, the baby loves to interrupt. I can now feel bulges and hard lumps which I think is a foot and watch my tummy move around.  During our scan the sonographer found it quite funny how baby was laying, he/she was fooled in two with its feet over its head; we are not sure when baby is getting its flexibility from because it certainly isn’t us!  The lady also explained that baby is in Frank Breech position with its bum down and feet up, because of this I will have another scan at 36 weeks to see if baby has turned.

Dare I mention the C word (coronavirus) . I am currently working from home and self-distancing myself from everyone other than Sam.  I haven’t been watching the news, only checking the NHS website infrequently for updates for pregnant women.  So far, the virus hasn’t affected me in a big way at all, we had planned to have a little holiday before baby arrives (the last time for peace and quiet – for a while anyway) which is obviously now on hold.  I did also have a baby shower planned which is now going to be a ‘Welcome to the World party’, hopefully! In the grand scheme of things, these are very minor ways that the virus has affected us, and I know things could be much worse, which they are for so many other people.  To help me cope with the whole situation and rather daunting times, I have found myself doing various DIY tasks around the house to keep me busy and help keep my mind astray from reality. I have also been going for walks regularly to get fresh air and keep a clear mind. I have found staying busy and active is a real key success to my mental wellbeing during these difficult times whilst being pregnant.

Until Eloise’s next blog stay snug and cosy – read other blogs here