co-sleeping baby

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Co- sleeping

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Co- sleeping

 

Don’t let baby sleep in your bed.

Put them down awake.

Get rid of the dummy.

Put socks on him.

Dream feed them.

Have you tried a banana before bed?

Order a white noise machine, Gro clock and black out blinds.

Type in ‘how to get a baby to sleep through the night’,  and you will be met with so much conflicting and sometimes very odd advice.

Elijah our first child was always a pretty good sleeper, from around six weeks he slept 7-7 and after about a year he did so in his own room. Other than the odd early wake up, or a bout of illness and even getting rid of the dummy we have always had it pretty good with him.

We co slept for a while, it just happened naturally, if he woke up early he would come in with us and we would sleep until a reasonable hour.

I remember being told that this was the worst possibly thing to do, we would ‘create a rod for our own backs’, he wouldn’t never sleep in his own room and wouldn’t be able to settle himself etc.

I liked him being close to me, it meant I could keep an eye on him, and as he got bigger I liked when he snuck in our bed.

co-sleeping baby

Bed hopping

I do vaguely remember there was a time where the three of us would bed hop, between his room, our room and the sofa but do you know what, we still slept.

I got told by someone that if it isn’t a problem for you, then there is no problem and I hand on my heart believe this. We all slept and no it wasn’t the most convenient thing in the world but it kind of worked.

Then came his brother who didn’t quite follow in his brothers footsteps, so much so even now at sixteen months still doesn’t sleep very well.

We thought we had learnt a lot from having Elijah, and we were quite open to co sleeping again if it meant that we all slept but we were not prepared when it came to our little sleep thief.

I even in a sleep deprived  state ordered a Ewan the Sheep in hope it would work, it did not.

Take last night, he went to bed in his room, woke up but settled again around five times but as we were approaching the wee hours he came in with us and slept until 7am, and allowed his brother a lay in until 7.30am!

The need for sleep

Some may have an issue about co sleeping and it obviously can be very dangerous in certain situations and I am not necessarily an advocate for it, I am however very much for getting sleep.

I don’t have any worries that by co sleeping that I will have one of them in the bed until they are teenagers.

I think in the first couple of years you are in survival mode and you do what you can to get the illustrious bout of sleep that you think about  all day long.

There will be a time where they wont be waking up. Clambering into your bed, kicking you for hours through the night or my personal favourite using your head as a pillow.

It is and when your child doesn’t sleep, and you really do get quite desperate trying everything and anything.

It can be even harder when you know others their age who do sleep, and it can feel as though you are the one doing something wrong.

Once you have had a baby you are in such a rush for them to sleep through the night as we believe that this is an indication of their ability in a way.

Truth be told, I don’t think much helps, they will sleep when and where they want to. A little further down the road something will click and you will be waking up with a toddler heavy breathing in your face demanding that it is time for breakfast and C Beebies.

Baby photographer Norfolk

Three or four in a bed

Strangely, you will begin to miss those times where you woke up with no duvet and neck ache, snuggled up with someone whose nappy is feeling and smelling way too full.

Or when you, your partner, your child and every single one of their teddies has to come in and you find yourself balanced on the edge of the bed not daring to move in case you fall out!

Let go of the pressure, the guilt if you are reading this after a semi successful night where your baby/toddler/ pre-schooler/ cat and you did share a bed then don’t sweat it.

Once again, if it isn’t a problem for you, it isn’t a problem, try not to compare yourselves.

Different things work for different people, and that’s okay, however if one of them does still sleep with us when he is in his twenties then I may come back to revisit this!

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog, founded and runs The NICU Parent Partnership Organisation and co-hosts @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club.. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

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bottle feeding


antenatal

Pregnancy guest blogger 35 weeks - hypnobirthing and antenatal classes

Waking up on the floor, dazed and confused…I was obviously quite receptive to a hypnotised Alpha Brain state… Or if not… i was very tired!

 

We saw the wonderful Jackie – owner of ‘The Orange Grove Clinic’ for a weekend of Hypnobirthing. She was great! Honest, informative and reassuring. We studied Balloon breathing, Feather breathing and Deep breathing whilst pelvic tilting on a Bouncy ball all on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I now feel like i understand what my clever body will go through. I never thought i would be able to have a water birth or be able to give birth to my baby without medical intervention, i now truly believe that i am capable of doing whatever i wish for our little ones big day. I feel more empowered than ever. Go women!

 

We have begun our Antenatal classes this month. ‘Birth to Babies’ was what we opted for. Our team of new parent troops are lovely, and our tutor Sian is very informative and makes the evening entertaining. We group up in small numbers to express fears and then try solve them, we test out birthing positions, strategies and discuss the role of our other halves. I’m now part of a ‘Yummy Mummy’s’ group in which we share advice and plan catch ups over must needed coffee and cake.

antenatal

Sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all, so my hubby and I had a treat night away at Park Farm. Swimming in their warm pool feeling light and bouncy and lounging in our luxury suite was just what we needed. I’m a sucker for a freebie, so coming into our room with salted caramel and hazelnut chocolate, wrapped up in ribbon on the bed accompanied by bottle of ice cold Shloer (pregnancy wish) was such a treat and i felt super special.

 

After our romantic getaway we thought we would make detour to visit to MLBU ward. We rang ahead and they confirmed it was quiet that day so we should pop up to visit. The rooms we could sneak a peek into had dimmed lighting, twinkly lights and birthing pools, which is perfect for me to use my new hypnobirthing techniques along with my portable music soundsystem, essential oils spray and battery candles… Like a spa they say. All of the midwives at N&N have been reassuring friendly and we are so lucky to be having our baby in their safe hands!

 

On a final note we are PACKED! Everything prepared in the boot rearing to go. I’ve tried to cleverly pack my bag that my hubby knows where to look for my ‘Give me this item now’ when i’m squealing at him and throwing raised eyebrows in his direction. Baby’s bag was the best to pack as i get to sit there all teary eyed deciding on which baby grow i love the most, and looking through the tiny socks and booties trying to match to the outfit. Hubby’s bag is filled with pants and food…. Standard.

Chelsea

 

read Chelsea’s other guest blogs here 🙂

 

to book a shoot or chart about bump and newborn shoots please use my contact form. 


bottle feeding

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on…. Baby Classes

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on…. Baby Classes

 

So, it seems that once you’ve got the baby out of you then you have to then suddenly fill your calendar with sensory classes, baby massage and bounce and rhyme classes.

During my pregnancy with my eldest I can’t really remember on finding local baby classes, or planning to attend them. It was more than likely the fact others were doing it and me feeling like I should too!

I was quite fortunate to live a few minutes from a local children’s centre where they held most of the baby classes ion my town.

Even looking back now I remember baby classes with conflicting emotions.

Elijah had colic so someone had suggested baby massage and I did put our names down to see if it would help.

By this point we had endured a NICU stay, and were waiting for a surgery date. I began to decline mentally and certainly remember feeling panicky about attending the class.

Luckily my friend also attended with me, but I still feeling some afraid that people would pick out me as the NICU Mum, and I didn’t want their pity. I was going through a really bad time of accepting what we had been through, and also what we would have to go through and meeting other mums with their healthy babies was hard.

I briefly mentioned it to the teacher in case there was any sort of medical restriction and I saw the pity in her eyes.

I did what I do best, and deflected it, providing some distraction was also Elijah who had projectile vomited all over one of those brightly coloured matts.

As much as baby classes are great for getting you out of the house, for meeting other mums I think there is also a slightly darker side to them, well that’s my experience anyway.

I found I was always comparing myself to others, and my baby too, who was bigger, was was sleeping better, who was doing what.

There is also a fear of judgement when I whipped my Tommee Tippee out of the changing bag, I felt like I was failing.

This is likely just a representation of my mental state at the time, and I am even now, very socially awkward.

I did find it quite hard to go into a room full of parents I didn’t know and to me felt as though I was being put on trial.

I tended to feel comfortable with certain mum friends and would prefer just a house play date rather than sitting in a circle singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Over the first 18 months with Elijah we attended them sporadically, but I just don’t think we found the right fit for us. We also had a lot going on with NICU surgery, recovery etc they were just not on my top list of priorities.

I think there is a stigma surrounding baby classes too, I know of some wonderful ladies whom I have met who run their own classes and I am sure they would have certainly been better suited to us.

There are some great baby classes now on offer that are now offering something different from the norm that also help the parents out too (links below).

Greg always felt the odd one out as he tended to be the only dad and I just didn’t feel comfortable enough to keep going back.

I haven’t actually taken Harlow to a baby class and I do beat myself up he is missing out but truth is with two kids, and a trillion schedules to manage we just don’t have time. He is quite happy to play with Elijah and friends.

It has sadden me that many Children’s Centres are closing and this is where many baby classes are held, and despite me not using them much I know how important they are to others and having the access of them.

It is funny how we as parents put so much pressure on ourselves to sensor the hell out of our little ones believing it is what we should be doing at a detriment to ourselves.

I worry about this un necessary pressure on vulnerable new mums, and wish I could go back and tell that panicked mum it was all okay and it doesn’t matter because you are just doing your best.

Happy mum/dad, happy baby whether you go to baby class or not.

Yoga Babies

Baby Fit

Waterbabies

Beebops

Get Me Out the Four Walls

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Blog

 

If you love Vicki honest blog please read her other blogs here.

 

 


bottle feeding

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… PND Guest blog

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… PND

 

Those three little letters, changed my life in a way I never thought they could.

They held so much power over me, they changed me, I turned on myself and my family because of those three little letters.

I had suffered with my mental health after Elijah was in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but after my second son was born, Post-Natal Depression (PND) consumed me.

The signs

Looking back in those first few weeks after Harlow was born I knew more about how my mental health could take a battering after having a baby than I did first time round.

It all seems to be a blur now, establishing feeding, sleep deprivation, recovery and watching my eldest struggle with the transition and my partner feeling the brunt of it all.

I cannot remember when it started, it didn’t really build up as such.

It most certainly was not just a bad case of the ‘baby blues’ it was so much more.

I remember finding a leaflet about PND in my Bounty folder and how it spoke about it didn’t reflect how I was feeling, it didn’t talk about the reality of what it was really like to have PND.

The anger

When you think of PND you probably think of a mum unable to cope, crying and one that isn’t able to love her child.

That isn’t a correct portrayal of PND, the information in things such as ante natal classes is severely lacking.

I wasn’t just weepy, I was emotionally volatile, the smallest thing would set me of.

I remember feeling so out of control,  the rage would build in me and literally explode.

Never have I been so scared of myself.

It was as though I had my baby, came home lived in the newborn bubble for a few days and boom there it was, PND knocking at my door.

Auto Pilot

I vividly remember a time where Elijah was at his Nan’s and Greg was at work. I was on my own with the baby binge watching Netflix and living in that feed, sleep and repeat cycle. As I got ready to feed him again one afternoon I looked down and I remember feeling numb. There was no rush of love, no happiness, there was nothing.

It was as though I was on auto pilot, I was doing everything that was expected of me, but without at real emotion attached to it.

I don’t think I truly bonded with Harlow until he was perhaps nearly a year old, and of course I beat myself up about it every single day.

Help

Because I was so unaware of what was happening when I was ill with Elijah, I let it fester, too ashamed to get help. To understand that what I was feeling was actually ‘normal’ per se and that my baby wouldn’t be taken away from me. It took my first year with Elijah away from me and I knew I couldn’t let it happen again.

At my 6 week check I told my GP how I was feeling, and she instantly diagnosed PND, there they were those three little letters.

The ones that defined me for what seemed like months, the ones who took over even with medication, therapy and my usual outlet of blogging.

It took me so long to claw myself out of depression, it resulted in me moving in with my Nan so she could help with the children.

Break Down

Greg stood by me the whole time, always the pillar that held our family up. He never judged me when I broke down and said I was miserable, that maybe we shouldn’t have had another baby, that I was a rubbish mum and wanted to leave.

Day after day I told him they were better off without me, I was a failure.

The sense of failure I felt for those months was draining, it affected every part of my being, my life and I couldn’t even recognize who I was anymore.

Advice

I have often wondered about what I would tell someone to do if they think they have PND, or what they can do. One thing I pride myself on is honesty. It has at times be hard to be so honest when I write down and recall how I felt when I suffered from PND, it was pure hell.

But, here is my advice (based on my own experiences, this is not a one size fits all miracle cure)

  1. Always talk, no matter how bad you feel, how dark your thoughts are, if you feel you cannot vocalize them to someone you trust, write them down. Sometimes hearing the words, or seeing them on the page helps you rationalise them, process them. You must always be open and honest no matter how hard that it. When we begin to hide it, suffer in silence, it festers.
  2. Never fear judgement from anyone. Many mums and dads have PND it is nothing to ever be ashamed of and it doesn’t reflect your parenting ability in the slightest.
  3. Find something you enjoy, a bath, a book, write a blog, go for a walk whatever makes you feel as though you are you again, make it a priority. If you can try and get out for a walk now and again (GMOT4W can help locally in Norfolk with this!)
  4. This is the hard one, but seek help. From a GP, midwife, charity (I have listed some below) they can help you, advise you and they are not there to judge you.
  5. Take one day at a time, small steps, they will turn into bigger steps, and you will find there will be a time where there are more good days than bad. It can be hard to believe it when you are in the trenches but one day you feel like you again.
  6. Someone is likely to have gone through what you have, felt how you have felt at some point, it really is okay to be honest you are never alone.

PANDAS

GMOT4W

Mind

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Blog

 

 

 


bottle feeding

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum talks Vaccines.

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum talks Vaccines.

This is the first post in my new guest blog series for Jess Wilkins Photography where I take controversial parenting subjects and provide my honest confessions and experiences on them.

Warning!

Okay, before I begin I will just like to say this is not a pro rant for vaccinations nor is it to offer any advice in when making a decision about vaccinating your children.

This is all about my experiences as a NICU mum to a son who has a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) and my family.

Loaded subject

Never, until I became a parent, did I know that the subject of vaccines is so volatile and explosive.

Even the word vaccine on a post will likely divide and cause a huge argument you didn’t even know you can have.

People you don’t even know, and have never met will tear apart your parenting abilities all based on one single opinion.

Suddenly, you find yourself looking at friends whom you’ve known forever with some sort of fear because they have declared that they have not vaccinated their children.

We are put into two categories and told to go off and fight the good fight for pro or against.

But why? It is a personal family choice and one that should remain that way!

At Risk

It can seem that every Winter I can turn a bit ‘pro vaccine’, but there is a very good reason. Around the beginning of September to March I brace myself for the onslaught of cold and flu season.

I begin to post about the dangers of flu and CHD, and the whole family receive the flu vaccine.

It is more to advise on the effects of being ill around Elijah and passing him something. It isn’t to tell you to all go to get the flu shot right this second!

Elijah is at risk of hospitalisation, pneumonia, respiratory issues, stroke or even a heart attack should he ever catch the flu, and for some CHD sufferers it can be fatal.

Elijah tends to pick things up and they instantly go straight onto his chest.

Trust

We have in the past been admitted to hospital because of it, my son was born with a heart that structurally wasn’t correct and didn’t work properly.

I had to trust in medical science and the procedure which repaired his heart, and this is what I do each and every year when choosing to vaccinate my family against the flu.

I’ve read the ‘horror stories’, I have done my research, I’ve spoken to specialists and consultants and most of all I have to trust my gut.

Nursery

Elijah attends nursery twice a week, and I know that there is plenty of bugs, colds and illnesses going about that he could pick up. But, I will try and do what I can to protect him, or lessen the risk/ severity of symptoms for him in anything I can.

Chicken Pox

I recently learnt this the hard way when Elijah and his brother caught chicken pox. I had been researching into getting the vaccine for this, but it was too late.

We had 4 111 calls in total, two GP appointments and one hospital admission onto the children’s paediatric ward.

They suffered quite badly from this, and no, not everyone will have a severe or prolific case as mine did but deep down I knew this could have been avoided.

It could have been less suffering and pain for them both.

They were ill for nearly a month, and it was such a horrendous time for the family.

 Judgement

I understand the herd immunity argument surrounding immunisation, things such as the flu vaccine will be more effective should the ‘herd’ aka the majority get it and they will then protect those at risk of not being able to have it for what ever reason (some allergic, some medical reasons).

But I wouldn’t judge another parent’s abilities if they choose or don’t choose to vaccinate their child. For me I have one thing that is my focus, doing what I can to protect Elijah because of his heart condition.

If he didn’t have this condition, perhaps I wouldn’t have to think so much about things like this.

But, I do and these are merely my honest experience and opinions on vaccines.

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Blog

 

 

Read more of Vicki’s guest blogs here !


guest blogger Norfolk

Raising children to be body positive - The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum

Raising children to be body positive

I have never been body positive, or confident in my own skin. Perhaps, that comes from my mum constantly criticizing me. I was always jealous of others, and deemed myself not good enough. It has had a devastating impact on my confidence, one that I carried through childhood to now.

Self confidence

I didn’t have the self confidence of others, and I suffered from eating disorders as a teenager. It wasn’t until after I fell pregnant with Elijah and then again with Harlow, that I realised how much pressure and unrealistic expectation is really out there. There is pressure on is on a new mother to suddenly regain the body she did before she feel pregnant, despite growing and accommodating a human (or two, or three!) and giving birth.

Pressure

I had two fairly large babies and I found it perplexing that we were being pressurised by what we saw in the media, adverts and magazines sometimes sadly ones aimed at parents that we were failing if we didn’t fit into our skinny jeans 2 weeks after giving birth. Even family members were telling me towards the end of my pregnancy that the weight will soon come off afterwards. Every day I was told I was big, I was small as if my uterus was now up for public discussion.

‘Scummy mummies’

We are made to feel that if we don’t have a full face of makeup and sport a perfect up do we are ‘scummy mummies’. We as a society love to shame others. We are constantly bombarded with images of perfection that do not mirror real life. Even more now we live in the age of social media.

We are told we must change our bodies, our faces, our hair to look like this, to be that and to not accept and be proud of who we are. I am still a very self-conscious person, but I want my two boys to be comfortable on their own skin, to be body positive and to have the self-confidence I never had.

The zipper club

I knew it would be easy for me to pass on my insecurities to my children but I knew I had to be the one to set a good example. Especially with Elijah who has an incision ‘zipper’ scar running down his chest from open heart surgery.

When we took Elijah swimming for the first time I was worried that people would stare, they would look at him and make comments about his chest. A friend of ours at the time was very blunt with me and said, who cares? He should be proud of it. Ever since then I have always promoted body positivity in both of my children.

Brands

Slowly, some big brands have cottoned onto the fact that they are responsible to promote body positivity, but we still have a long way to go. The language we use for example, phrases like ‘plus size’ I believe are still detrimental when actually they are likely to be of an average size that many of us can resonate with.

Real women

I don’t think it was until after I had children that I realised how important it was as a parent to promote body positivity.  I do not hide my body in front of them, as I want them to know what a real body looks like, one that has had two children and given birth twice! I want them to know a woman doesn’t need to wear make up to look pretty, she doesn’t need an elaborate hair do to fit in with everyone else. That it is okay to feel comfortable being who you are, looking like what you do.

Acceptance

I want to teach them to be accepting of everyone and to never judge anyone just by looks, or by societies expectations of them. I want them to know the adverts that they see and the images on social media aren’t necessarily the real world and to never compare themselves to them.

Most of all, the gift I want to pass onto my children is one I didn’t receive myself, I want them to be truly comfortable in their own skin and proud of who they are.

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Blog

Vicki regularly blogs for me,  along with other guest bloggers check out some here !

 

Jess x

 

 


christmas

Christmas Mini Sessions 2018

Christmas Mini Sessions 2018

Booking is open for 2018 Christmas Minis sessions !

christmas
christmas

After the success of last years simple set up my theme this year is the reindeer backdrop as voted for, please note the reindeer etc is printed onto the backdrop and not a prop.

You don’t want to miss out on these – spots will go fast and are available on a first come first serve basis.

These sessions are designed to provide you with super adorable images,  to design Christmas cards and gifts. The Reindeer Christmas set up can fit a max of 2 children only. Family images will be taken on my light grey plain backdrop.

I’ll be keeping it super duper simple, i’ll also have some star bunting on my white wooden backdrop see above

simplicity = super cute images of your child!

I have some baby outfits at the studio which ive selected to compliment the set up. I have baby boy &  girl rompers , some delicate headbands and reindeer ears – feel free to bring your own bits .

I recommend Christmas jumpers or Christmas PJ’s as outfit choices for your children !

The time slot is very strict and we will only have time for one Christmas outfit and one non-Christmas outfit change.  

Mini sessions are perfect for single children or 2 siblings . Please note these mini are only suitable for babies at the sitting up stage from 6 months old unless coming with a sibling who can hold them upright to give you some variety.

  (Mini’s not suitable for babies under 6 months especially new-borns due to the strict time slots )

Cost?

2018 Christmas  Mini session Package:

20 minutes in studio

5 digital images via download to print as you wish, max of 10 to select from

kids & siblings only (no cousins or friends)

£65

(extra images can be purchased after at £5 each)

When?

Friday 9th November – 1 LEFT

Saturday 10th November SOLD OUT

Saturday December 1st SOLD OUT

To book in follow the link here to the dates, select the date, choose the time and then pay for the package in full £65.

you will then receive confirmation and my information sheet!

 *If you have a shy child  or want longer time in the studio with no time restraints ,  more outfit changes ,  different set ups and props , and more images in your gallery then you can book a full length package off my main pricelist these start at £200. 

Christmas Mini Sessions 2018 T&c

The number of images is dependent on the little/s one on the day but you can expect 5-10 images in your online gallery as a rough guide.

Due to the time limited nature of the session where a child may become shy or unwilling no guarantees are offered to provide a specified number.

You can purchase any extra images for £5 each. Images include print permission to print as you wish.

Your gallery will be ready to view approx 1 week later

The images will be sent via a download link / dropbox

If your baby becomes unwell or upset , we may reschedule at the photographers discretion.

My studio is small and with 3 set ups its gonna be a squeeze so only parents can attend , a max of 2 adults per time slot.

 

I cant wait!

christmasx


studio Norwich

28 Weeks pregnant my guest blogger is back!

28 Weeks pregnant

 

The nursery is now pretty much complete! We had our larger second bedroom plastered silky smooth, painted in a soft light grey using Farrow and Ball and i’m very lucky to say my clever husband has hand painted a mural of the ‘original’ Winnie The Pooh.

The mural consists of a waving oak tree bristing in the ‘wind’ with Pooh flying up towards the honey bees nest whilst grasping a blue balloon. I’m in Love!! We haven’t gone completely Pooh crazy, just the odd touches whilst still keeping a neutral feel with grey and white star curtains, a white cloud ceiling light with beaded raindrops and grey and white cloud bedding.

 

The hardest essential we purchased was the baby monitor. We found this extremely difficult as there are so many on the market with mixed reviews, every item had 5* and 1* ratings. Eventually we decided on the Motorola MBP44 Digital Audio and Video monitor, so good so far, lets see if it lives up to expectations…

 

We went to a wedding recently and i forgot my wedding outfit…..!!! Baby brain to the max! Luckily i had a jumpsuit i was planning to wear the next day with me so i whipped that out and hopefully i rocked it for the day!?! Pregnancy gives you allowances and everyone's nice to you, i had so many offers of drinks for that day, i was a cheap date with my soda water and elderflower cordial, 50p a drink! Bonus for them, bonus for me!

The day and night before i had Braxton Hicks, which became extremely painful so i rang the midwife in panic who put me through to the labour ward. I was getting cramps every 10 minutes towards the end so i generally thought i could be in labour at 29 weeks. After a while they finally cooled off and i started to relax, my little cherub is still bouncing around and was ready for the wedding antics to begin so we went to the ball!

 

Pregnancy hormones rattle inside your head, which makes you feel annoyed, irritated, upset and lovable all at the same time, i think my body is going through fight or flight mode protecting my baby’s surrounding area. I have no idea why though, our baby life is filled with joyous and caring family and friends who love them before they even know what love is.

Pregnancy is wonderful and strange all at the same time and i wouldn’t change a thing.

 

Onto the third TRIMESTER...

read Chelsea's other blogs here! she'll be in the studio for her bump photos soon!


guest blogger Norfolk

10 Ways To Help A New NICU Parent

10 Ways To Help A New NICU Parent

Becoming a new parent is a life changing time your life. Chances are you will be sleep deprived, unwashed and in need of desperate need of a homemade lasagne.

There are many things you can do to help a new parent. But when a new parent is facing the emotional rollercoaster of the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit how can you help?

You may feel you don't even know where to start or how to approach a new NICU parent. But with 1 in 10 babies in the UK being admitted to NICU at some point you may find yourself, a friend or family member needing support whilst they undergo this journey.

It doesn't matter if you are admitted to NICU with your baby for 2 hours, 2 days or longer than 2 months. It is a time that is fraught with worry, anxiety and fear over the health of your baby (babies).

Here is 10 ways you can help a new NICU parent (written by a parent who was a NICU parent).

 

Listen

  1. You may not know what to do or say to a new NICU parent. You may not understand the more complex nature of some medical conditions or effects of prematurity. But you can offer support, check in and always be ready with a cuppa and a listening ear.

Visiting

  1. Don't be offended if you are unable to visit at the hospital. It is an extremely private and vulnerable time for a new family and they may not want lots of visitors. And there are normally rules associated with this too. Lots of exposure to visits may increase risk of infection.

Celebrate

  1. Help celebrate the small things. Being able to take over feeds, dress them, moving into a cot may not seem a lot in the great scheme of things but when you’re in NICU it's these achievements that get you through. Help them celebrate and gloat for a while they've deserved it! It really does bring a sense if normality.

Keeping Busy

  1. Keep them busy. Chances are even if the parents have been discharged then they will still be spending considerable hours at their baby's side each day. Help them keep busy by giving them a book, a colouring book or even your Netflix log in! Time goes very slowly. If they don't want to leave the baby on their own but you want to help them take a break. Offer to sit with the baby while they get out of the hospital and go for a coffee or even a meal.

Home cooked meals

  1. Drop off some home cooked meals or even some packed lunches to take to the hospital. Some hospitals offer food vouchers for NICU parents but it can get expensive eating there every day. And it's unlikely they want to cook when they get home drop them off a food parcel to help them out.

Running the house

6.Help out with the running of day to day life. Cat need feeding? Dog needs walking? Washing or shopping that you could do? It will relieve the stress of the jobs that need doing back home whilst they are in the hospital.

Communication

  1. Offer to be the spokesperson to update friends and family. It can be extremely time consuming and difficult to update friends and family every day on the progress. You can take on the job so the parents are constantly having to repeat themselves and update every one.

Clothes

  1. If baby is born early chances are it was unexpected and clothes, nappies etc all need finding that actually fit. Help by finding what baby needs and that way mum and dad don't need to be stressing. A lot of supermarkets now stock premature clothing and nappies.

Germs

  1. Be understanding of why a NICU parent may not want to see visitors straight away after they get home. And never visit if you are ill or under the weather as the risk of passing it on could be very dangerous especially during cold and flu season, they may also just want to soak up time as a family and finally be home.

Seeking help

  1. Going through NICU affects people in different ways and make sure mum and dad are doing okay. NICU is one of the most emotional and traumatic times a parent can go through and 70% will go on to develop some form of PND or PTSD. Keep an eye on them and if you believe they are struggling guide them and support them to seek some help.

This list isn't exclusive to what can be done to help a NICU parent and it is just a few ideas to understand how you can help whilst they are in NICU.

We would love to hear how you helped a NICU parent and if we can add anything else to the list.

thanks Vicki for writing this really helpful blog !

 

check out my other blogs too!


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Top 5 private pools to hire around Norwich, Norfolk

Top 5 private pools to hire around Norwich.

 

Sometimes going to public pool with a young baby, or energetic toddler (or both!) doesn’t quite have the same appeal as booking a private pool. Being able to wrangle the children in and out of their swimming stuff on your own and then enjoying the pool all to yourselves does sound like the better option to us!

So, we have looked around and here are our top 5 private pools to hire around Norwich.

Rackheath Pool Norwich

This tropical pool is heated all year round, perfect for little ones which is why it features in our top 5 private pools to hire around Norwich. It comes with baby changing facilities and even travel cots. You can purchase Splash Happy Nappies from here as well.

You can book here.

Woodrising Pool Hire

Private, and a very relaxed atmosphere makes this pool great for families which is why it is one of our top 5 private pools around Norwich. It is a great place to learn to swim and very family orientated. Lessons are also available. The pool is located just outside of Shipdham, Norfolk.

You can book here.

Pears Pools

Found 5 miles south east of Norwich, Pearls Pools has numerous facilities which is why we find it in our top 5 private pools to hire around Norwich. It has a wet room, baby changing facilities, pre-sim rooms, and even a lounge area. It has everything you could possibly need for a relaxed family swim.

You can book here.

Bacton Private Pool Hire

Next on our top 5 private pool to hire around Norwich is Bacton private pool. Pack the inflatables as this 33-degree heated pool is perfect for all members of the family, why not bring along Gran too! With a play area located on the side of the side of the pool and a baby changing station it really is as family friendly as they come.

You can book here.

Anchorage Pool

The final entry on our top 5 private pools to hire around Norwich is located just outside of the city centre in Stoke Holy Cross. Maintained at a constant warm temperature it makes it suitable for babies first time in the pool. Changing areas, showers and even tennis and gym activities it has something for every member of the family.

You can book here.

Do you know of any family friendly private pools that you recommend? We would love to hear from you, so we can add them to our list!

Vicki Cockerill is a NICU/ CHD Mum of two boys, a freelance blogger and social media adviser, Co Founder of #KnackeredandNorwich social club and maternal mental health advocate.

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More blogs can be found here, and i also would love more guest bloggers baby/ family related , get in touch as i'd love to hear from you!