Breastfeeding Journey – Part Two

This is part two of my breastfeeding story. Part one is here. Or for a quick recap…

Our baby was bottle fed a mixture of expressed breast milk and formula, for the first 11 days of his life, and then with the help of nipple shields we packed away the bottles! Fantastic, big step forward!  But then nipple shields are just like bottle teats that you put on your breast so again, I was reminded by midwives about nipple confusion, I might always have to use shields, and because they can effect your milk supply my milk might not be enough and we might have to top up and then he’ll prefer the bottle because its quicker… We got in a lactation consultant who was fabulous and so encouraging.  She diagnosed his tongue tie, which we had released, and encouraged me to carry on offering him my breast without shields whenever I could. 

The tongue release didn’t have any noticeable effect, although I guess in some ways we’ll never know.  I continued to offer without shields occasionally, but had made my peace with them, I had accepted that he would use shields and I was OK with that. Really once I got into the swing of things with them, it was just as easy as feeding without (most of the time). Occasionally Aidan would grab one and throw it on the floor or there would be a bit of a panicked moment  if I’d not run the steriliser, but all in all using the shields wasn’t too bad.

Then, a few weeks we offered him a bottle for the first time since starting with nipple shields. I had mastitis and felt so ill, I was worried I might not have the strength to hold him so I expressed and my husband tried the bottle. Aidan flat out, completely rejected it, with full on screaming and thrashing. OK, good to know.  But he then went on to reject the nipple shield, uh oh, had we screwed him up completely?!

Nope! He latched on without shields and ate a full feed like that for the first time EVER in his life. It was totally random, no problems getting him latched on and off he went, like he’d been doing it since day one! He was about 15 weeks old. Barring a few days when he was feeling a bit under the weather and I guess just wanted a comfort and something very familiar, all of his day time feeds are now without shields. I then started using the shields only as a bit of a bedtime indicator but the last couple of days I’ve stopped doing that too.  What a complete turn around! At 18 weeks old my boy is breastfeeding without the help of shields. It feels amazing to be feeding my baby the way I had imagined.

A few things I want to say that I couldn’t pull together into the above.

  • At the time when my emotions were all over the place, hearing people say ‘it doesn’t matter how he’s fed’ really upset me, because it mattered to me. It’s OK to feel disappointed or upset if things aren’t working out how you imagined, whether that be with the birth, gender disappointment, feeding or anything else. It is 100% OK and normal.  Talk to someone about it, a partner, parent, friend or your midwife. No one will judge you for your feelings.  Sometimes it’s just important to vocalise your feelings and then it feels like a huge weight is lifted.  Once I told my husband that it mattered to me how we fed our son it helped massively.  He knew that I was going to need a bit of extra emotional support and he was fantastic.
  • Feeding with nipple shields is not second class breastfeeding.  If you look online you will find people who believe that the only way a baby should be fed is from your bare breast.  It’s true that sometimes feeding with nipple shields can change your milk supply, I’d recommend finding a good lactation consultant or a reliable breastfeeding support group with trained professionals if you’re going to use nipple shields.  They can offer lots of help and support.
  • If you are expressing and feeding your baby that way, your baby is still breastfed.  Just because the milk is coming from a bottle doesn’t change the fact that they are getting breast milk and you can still get that closeness and bond with your baby in the same way while giving them a bottle.  If you are feeding them exclusively breast milk this way then you are absolutely brilliant, huge respect mamma.  It is possible, here’s a link to an amazing woman I follow on Instagram who is worth a follow for so many reasons, she is expressing so her baby can remain exclusively breastfed while she works full time. Stretch_studentmidwife

I would 100% recommended anyone who is struggling with feeding to see a lactation consultant.

So I guess the next stage on the journey with be weaning! Stop growing up little bean!

Advertisements

Breastfeeding Journey – Part One

I want to start of by saying that this topic and my story are, of course, very personal.  I have struggled, not only physically but mentally with breastfeeding.  Please be respectful of the decisions I and my husband made.

As part of World Breastfeeding Week 2018 I’d like to share with you our breastfeeding story so far.  I can see there being three parts to this story, hopefully the first two will be this week and the final one will come in a few weeks.  The second part will cover breastfeeding and mental heath as I have experienced it. This post will be our journey up to today.

Today Aidan is 6 weeks and 2 days old.  We have an appointment at the tongue tie clinic to, hopefully, have a tongue tie division.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Within an hour after Aidan’s wonderful and beautiful birth I asked the midwife if I should try and feed him.  First we tried a cross cradle hold as this felt the most natural.  My midwife was very supportive and gave me a few tips but Aidan didn’t seem interested. Vicki (the midwife that had taken over after his birth) suggested we try lying down.  I managed to get him latched for only a few little sucks.  He was considered a ‘reluctant feeder’.  He was born at 0640, this first little feed was probably around 0715.  He didn’t eat again until much much later that day.

For various reasons that I’ll talk about in a different post, we were separated around an hour and a half after his birth, and between me being away from him and him being away from me we couldn’t have any more skin to skin until after lunch time.

At no point was I prompted or encouraged to try and feed him again.  Of course I’m aware that he’s my baby and I need to feed him but in retrospect I felt unsupported in the early hours with breastfeeding.  He was known to be reluctant to feed and we had had trouble with latching, I’m very surprised no one came to see us try again.  It wasn’t until we were on the ward that I tried again to get him latched.  It became apparent at the point that it was going to take some time to get him feeding from the breast and so I was encouraged to express into a syringe* in order for him to get the colostrum.

Very late on his first night he was taken to NICU where he spent around 24hrs.  In the morning I didn’t get to him until 11am, I was given some support by the NICU staff to try and get him feeding but again in the end I expressed into a clean syringe for him.  The staff suggested trying to use a machine to express so that we could get a little more into him.  We still used the syringe to give it to him, but this way he was getting close to 5ml a feed rather than 1ml here and there.  Andrew and I were so proud when I started getting serious amounts of colostrum.

Once Aidan was taking around 10ml they suggested we use a cup to feed him instead. Feeding more than 10ml with a syringe isn’t very practical. The cup is just one of those small plastic cups they dispense medication in (a clean one every time).  Its a little bit squishy and your baby kind of laps the milk up like a cat would. It’s a bit scary to do as there is a risk they could breath it in and asphyxiate.  I think I only managed to cup feed him once and not very successfully. Not all the staff were happy for me to syringe or cup feed him unattended and some didn’t want me to cup feed him at all and so they would do it.  The number of different people who had fed him in his first few days was somewhere in the region of ten.  We were told in our parenting classes that the number of feeders should be kept as small as possible. Ideally, in a non breastfeeding situation, it would be no more than mum and dad.

This, along with a very hungry baby, led us to the decision to formula feed him on day 4.  We were warned of nipple confusion and told he might not ever latch if we started with a bottle, but we had seen no progress with breastfeeding and they wouldn’t discharge a baby that was only cup feeding.  I continued to express and we topped up with formula, he very rarely had more formula than expressed breast milk.

This decision was so hard and so easy to make.  Breastfeeding him was so important to me but he needed to eat and we needed to go home.  After a quick trip for Andrew to pick up everything we’d need for expressing and bottle feeding at home we were discharged after 5 days in hospital.

Expressing is hard work, I felt like I was doing it constantly, and it was really tiring.  Expressing took about as long as feeding him would take so it could take me an hour to express but then he’d drink it all in seconds. If people visited I would take myself off to express, sitting alone for an hour every 2 or 3 hours while we had visitors was pretty grim.

After talking to a few friends and getting some advice from other mums on Instagram, we contacted a lactation consultant and asked her to come out to our home to give us some advice.  I just needed to know if I was ever going to breastfeed him, I was still trying and by this point it was just upsetting me and Aidan.  I needed to know if it was worth pushing through or whether it was going to be better for both of us if I just accepted it wasn’t going to happen.

The day before we saw the consultant I spoke with my midwife. I asked her if she had any more suggestions for me. She said that at that point it might be worth giving nipple shields a go. There’s still a risk of nipple confusion but he was already using a bottle so he was likely already confused if he was going to be.

On the 28th of June I sat down with him to try the nipple shields, I was fully expecting it wouldn’t work, at least not first time.   He latch immediately with no problems and had his first proper breastfeed at just over 2 weeks old.  I cried, I was so happy to be feeding my baby boy the way I’d dreamed of.  That night he fed mostly on the breast with the help of the shields and only had a bottle on one occasion.

The following day our lactation consultant came round and she was fantastic, she was so supportive of our decision and felt fairly positive there was still a chance he could feed without the shields in the future.  She referred us to the tongue tie clinic because of a mild tongue tie (which, I might add, we’d been told by a midwife he didn’t have).  The LC recommended waiting until his tie had been cut before trying without the shields, she thought he might find it easier and it would be less painful for me.  When she left she said to try and not give him a bottle unless we really needed too.  I think he had 2 bottles over the few days that followed and since then we have packed them all away.  I did try him on my breast a few times and on occasions he was feeling co-operative we were able to get a good latch and even have a few sucks.

There are definitely times when I find the shields frustrating and want to pack them in and go back to bottles, but all in all they have improved our day to day life.  I feel able to go out for the day, not needing to worry about finding somewhere to express and storing milk.  The shields still needed to be sterilised so sometimes things can get a bit frantic if I’ve been a bit disorganised but we’re getting into a pretty good routine.

I plan on doing a follow up post once we’ve had time to see if there’s been an improvement after his division.

*I was doing this by hand, sucking up any little drops from my nipples with the syringe.

A Positive Birth Story

I’ve been amazed at how many people have said ‘oh it’s so nice to hear that it doesn’t have to be horrible’, or something similar, after hearing my birth story. Some people seem to think I’m mad for enjoying my labour and birth! So here it is, my positive birth story.

I’m going to be really honest, the four weeks or so before Aidan was born were tough, I’d been in and out of early labour since around 37 weeks, I didn’t find it at all painful and I was able to get sleep, but it did make those last few weeks drag on a little. My last midwifes appointment was at 40 +3, I accepted a membrane sweep and my midwife was very surprised to find I was already 3cm dilated. She was pretty sure she wouldn’t see me again. At 40 +5 we went up to the hospital to get checked out, I’d felt as if things had begun picking up. The midwife checked me and said I was 3-4cms but baby’s head was at a bit of a funny angle which might be preventing things from moving on quickly. After a bit of gymnastics including what was pretty much a handstand off the side of the bed and a second membrane sweep I was sent home to bounce on my birth ball.

At around 1am on the 18th June (41 +1) I woke up with my first real contraction. Everything before this had really only caused my tummy to tighten and given me a bit of a crampy feeling. This was much more like an intense period cramp, not painful, just very achey. I had 3 of these before I woke up my husband at 1.30am. I’d wanted to let him sleep for as long as I could and even though they hadn’t really gotten any more intense I felt I needed him and asked him to rub my back. I think we lay in bed for about another 5 or 10 minutes before I felt I wasn’t comfortable lying down. I wanted to try getting in the bath. Between half 1 and 2 my contractions had started to really intensify and I was needing to stop and crouch down to help ease the discomfort. I was only in the bath long enough to have one contraction as I found it too restrictive. Andrew helped me apply my TENS machine and started gathering any last minute bits we might need at the hospital. Personally I found the TENS machine distracted me and I’d lose my flow, I used it for about an hour but didn’t really get on with it.

At 2.54am Andrew called the hospital. My contractions were about 4 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds to a minute, the midwife wanted to speak to me, I had a contraction just as the phone was handed over. She advised me that I was welcome to come up and get checked but that I might be sent home. I had another contraction (3 minutes after the last) and she asked if I’d like them to start running water into the pool… I said yes. We didn’t rush into the car but we were on our way by about 3.10. I remember telling Andrew I didn’t want to wear my seatbelt and being very grumpy about it when he told me I had to. I definitely found it much more comfortable being on all fours so the car journey was tough as sitting was quite uncomfortable, I’m not sure there’s much that could have been done about that, I was still wearing the TENS machine at this point. I wish I knew if I’d have found it more comfortable without. We were at the hospital by roughly 3.30 and walking to the birthing unit seemed to take forever. I’d been a few times before but this time it seemed to be further away. I had to stop a few times to have a contraction. During my pregnancy I’d been worried about contracting in the halls of the hospital, what if someone saw me or heard me?! I was so in the zone I didn’t care.

Into the unit we went and I was so glad to get into a dimly lit room and the birthing pool looked so inviting. The midwife needed to check me before we could make ourselves comfortable, just in case I wasn’t progressing enough. We handed over my notes and after a quick examination she said there was no way I was going home as I was 7cm dilated! I couldn’t have been happier, I think I told her that if she’d said I had to go home I might have killed her. I was ready to have this baby. I spent the rest of my labour in the pool, Andrew holding my hand and stroking my back. I had gas and air which helped me focus on my breathing. Between contractions I was able to chat with Andrew and the midwife, but we all knew contraction time was encouragement or silence only.

We had been to a hypnobirthing class and I really cannot recommend it highly enough. It helped me understand what was happening within my body and it allowed me to feel respect for my body that I’d never felt before. At no point was I in pain, it was intense but never painful. If you have the opportunity to do hypnobirthing do it! I’ll leave some useful links below.

At some point, around 530, the midwife told me that at some point I’d start feeling the urge to push and that we should let her know when that happened. At about 545 I told Andrew that I wanted to push and he called her back. She gathered a few bit that she needed and after an external examination with the help of a mirror that looked like a fish slice, she told me I was definitely fully dilated. Sonia (the midwife) was fantastic, she was really hands off which is what we wanted and she encouraged me through every contraction and gave me the space to let my body do what it needed to do. There was a point I realised I was trying to hold back on the pushes. At some point during the pushing my water broke, which was a very odd sensation, like a sudden gush of very high pressure water. There was some definite discomfort during the crowning, a burning sensation and I think that was causing me not to push as much as I could have done. His head come out at about 6.35 and after another push he was born into the water at 6.40am. I was the first person to touch him and was able to lift him out of the water myself.

We stayed in the water for a little while before getting out to deliver the placenta and cut the cord. I was concerned about the amount of blood I was losing but the midwife was very reassuring and in the end it was only about 300ml (which sound like a lot but is fairly normal I believe). Sonia cleared up and left us to bond as a new family of three!

I ended up having a 3rd degree tear, which I think was a bit of a surprise. It’s possibly down to how quickly he arrived. Leaving my baby and hubby to go down to theatre was hard but the hypnobirthing and all the oxytocin helped keep me positive and upbeat, I knew I’d be back with them soon.

I’m going to do a few more posts about the rest of my experience, I’m very keen to keep the birth separate from the rest of our 5 day stay in hospital. Everything seems worse when you’re tired and full of hormones. Everything and everyone was fine and healthy which is, in the end, the most important thing. But those extra days were hard and I don’t want them to interfere with my birth experience.

My birth was everything I could have wanted and the 6 hours it took to get our son here were so empowering and amazing.

Aidan Mundy. 18th June 2018, 0640. 9lbs (4.101kg).

The Positive Birth Company

Spinning Babies

What is hypnobirthing?

Summer Bucket List – 2018

Last year I did a bucket list for Autumn. Unfortunately I spent most of Autumn suffering from morning sickness and really didn’t fancy doing anything or eating anything. So that one might have to role over to this Autumn… This year, I’ve decided to do a summer bucket list, because I’m sure that having a new born will be really easy and in no way prevent me from flitting off to the beach for a sunbathe…

This summer is going to be really exciting for us, our little one is due anytime now (full discloser I’m writing this in May so he could totally be here by the time you’re reading this…). Having a new born is definitely going to impact what’s practical to do, but, on the other hand, having a list of things to get me out of the house after those first few weeks might be a really good motivator. Plus we’ll have lots of visits from grandparents and the things on my list are perfect day out with Granny and Grandad material.

1. Picnic by the River. Something my parents suggest we should do every year and we never get round to. The thought of finding a nice shaded spot, laying down the babe and letting him have a good old wriggle about while we sip elderflower drinks (or wine, who am I kidding) and eat little sandwiches. Ah Bliss.

2. Beach Day! There is ample coast here in Norfolk and in theory, there should be plenty of time before the summer hols start when a mid week trip to the beach is possible. Hubby is very very lucky with the amount of paternity leave he gets so hopefully before he returns to work we’ll all be feeling up to a little day trip to the seaside.

3. Boat Day. This one might be the most optimistic. We’ve had a few days out on the Broads since moving to Norwich and we love it. We rent a boat from somewhere around Wroxham and cruise about for a few hours enjoying the sun and the scenery. Adding a baby into this might not lead to a massively relaxing day, and I don’t want to think about being stuck on a boat with no clean clothes or nappies… Maybe just a half day?

38FE4FE1-FA7D-44F2-8A9D-05625AC2007C

4. Do up the Garden. We’ve already made a bit of a start on this one by planting some flowers in pots. But I’d like to get some nice garden furniture, maybe lay some temporary decking, and just spend time sitting outside. Our garden is far from picturesque, but with a bit of TLC we might be able to pretty it up a bit. And again perfect for those early weeks with baby, if I don’t feel like going far, I can just sit in the garden for a few hours and soak up some vitamin D.

Bonus Wish! I’d really like to try wild swimming… I don’t know of anywhere in Norfolk that’s safe but I think I know of one or two places up north, so maybe on a visit to family we could swing by a good deep river and have a splash about… Any tips for wild swimming in Norfolk let me know!

 

What’s in Mummy’s Hospital Bag

A few weeks ago I showed you what I’d packed for baby, today I’m showing you the inside of my hospital bag and I’ll tell you now, it’s much less cute…

IMG_8360

First up, the bag it’s self.  It’s my Cath Kidston gym bag, its made from quite a thin waterproof material and folds up into a little pouch.  I thought this would be good because the top opens nice and wide so useful for digging around in. On top is a really cheap black Primark Towel for me to sit on in the car in case of any water breakage.  I’ve got another black towel, also from Primark to use after my first shower post birth.  I bought cheap ones because we don’t really have old towels and I wanted something I could just throw away if needs be.

I bought two long t-shirt night dresses (Primark) in dark colours, I think I saw Fleur bought some of these and I thought it was a good idea!  Again, cheap, dark colour and they button in the front to just under the bust so good for breastfeeding, I got them in large.   On top of those is a pair of hand knit socks that I love to wear in bed, they don’t go too high up my leg, and they are a little on the loose side so should be super comfy. I’ve heard people say your feet can get cold after you’ve had a baby (?) so thought I’d throw those in.

Then some miscellaneous bits, plastic bag for any wet or dirty stuff, a notebook and pen, phone charger (we always have a lead in the car) and a brand new water bottle.  These are actually my favourite water bottles, I think they are around £2 from Primark, I have a black one at the moment that’s getting a bit worse for wear so I wanted to make sure I had one for the hospital.  They have a built in straw and are easy to hold so seemed perfect.

A pair of flip flops (75p from Primark I think), for showering in. And then all my toiletries, I’ve got various things for holding my hair back, a few lip care options, toothpaste and mouth wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner and a couple of face care bits.  Everything I might need during labour or after birth to help me feel fresh.  I’ve also got some nipple cream… Not much more to say about that.

Finally a big ol’ pack of maternity pads and THE BIGGEST granny pants I could find. For my going home outfit I just want to be comfortable, so I’ve packed a nursing bra, some super soft black jogging bottom things and a baggy t-shirt.  It’s not a fashion show, I want maximum comfort (<— see what I did there, heh heh).

Have I forgotten anything!?  My maternity notes are always near the door so we can grab those on our way out, I just know if I move them now I’ll loose them….

The Sunday Subject – Succulents

Good morning, grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy The Sunday Subject. This week’s subject is Succulents.

The plant of choice for anyone who loves the life that plants bring to your home but is totally incapable of remembering to water the damn things.  Having said that, I killed my first succulent with love, over watered it and it rotted, most unpleasant.

Succulents usually come from a climate where water is scarce and have adapted to survive under these conditions.  Their thick fleshy leaves are designed to store water giving them the ability to thrive where only mist or dew is a regular source of liquid. The word “succulent” comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice, or sap. Technically (or more accurately, horticulturally) there is a difference between cacti and succulents  but I think in the world of ‘having a little plant friend to call your own’  you’d be forgiven for grouping the two together.

There are over twenty five plant families that contain succulents and some of those of those families have well over two or three hundred succulents in them. I’m not sure I’ll have room for them all on my dining room table but I’m prepared to give it a go.

For some further reading on succulent cultivation, here’s a list of articles from World of Succulents or maybe you’d like to learn everything there is to know about succulents and Cacti, in which case perhaps this 8 lesson online course is for you!

Send me some photos of your plants! Succulents, cacti or maybe just a bunch of cut flowers, I’d love to see any and all!  You can do this via Twitter (@BeccyMundy) or via a DM on Instagram (beccy_mundy)

A Few Days in Zurich

Switzerland had never really been on my radar for travel.  Not for any particular reason, it just wasn’t up there for me.  When hubby was told he’d be travelling there for work and we realised it fell nicely into the spot people say is perfect for a ‘Babymoon’  we took the opportunity to make a little holiday of it.

Zurich is absolutely beautiful, with cobbled streets and brightly coloured buildings around every corner.

 

 

We spent the weekend exploring the streets and enjoying each others company and it was the perfect place to do that.  We didn’t feel like we were missing out on all the exciting tourist things because to be honest, we didn’t really see anything that screamed ‘if you don’t do this you didn’t do Zurich’.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots to do, museums, a funicular railway and I want to go back when I feel more like shoppin’ until I’m droppin’.

One thing we did do that I’m really happy we did, was visit the highest point in Zurich.  Uetliberg is a mountain which has an elevation of 870m (2,850ft) which is more than twice the elevation of Zurich itself, and you can get just shy of the top by train*, the final 68m is gained by a walk, which we did. I’d like to tell you the view was amazing but as you’ll see from the below picture on the day we were there there was nothing to see.  It’s not even mist it was an actual cloud.  We visited the hotel at the top and had a hot chocolate before turning round and heading back!  Next time we go (because there will be a next time) we are going to do the Path of the Planets.  We saw The Sun and Earth but it was cold and did I mention we were in a cloud?!

C2CED422-AD9F-4C3A-906D-B928EB914943

*because I’m married to a train nerd I thought I’d add that ‘…the railway line has a maximum gradient of 7.9% and is the steepest standard gauge adhesion railway in Europe’ [1]  You’re welcome.

The weather was wet and we didn’t get to see any snow to speak of but I was mostly ok with that.  As nice as snow would have been to look at, at 28 weeks pregnant walking around in it wouldn’t have been that fun. (Which is funny because 10 days after we got home we had more snow in Norwich than I think I’ve ever seen in my life anywhere).

I’m a bit of a coffee shop crawler and I was a little disappointed at the seeming lack of coffee shops, sure there was a Starbucks here and there but most of the “coffee shops” we found were actually bars that served coffee and we were normally underdressed for such places.  We found two good coffee shops on the final day Boréal and Cake Friends.

1D6DA289-DE2A-4272-B3E9-98E394D4BB6B

For evening meals we tried an excellent Italian restaurant near our apartment Restaurant Limmattberg.

On the second night we had possibly the most expensive and the worst Indian takeaway ever: both meals were incredibly salty, the rice looked like instant microwave stuff. It was dreadful.  If we’d sat in to eat it we would have asked for a refund and gone elsewhere but neither of us could be bothered to walk back and complain.

On the last night we went to Burgermeister (Hubbs tells me this is witty, something to do with Burgomasters, I don’t know… You’ll have to google it ) this was quite possibly the best burger I have ever had.  There was only one veggie/vegan option but from what Andrew tells me there didn’t need to be any more because that would mean you might pick a different one and miss out on this one…  The menu is uncomplicated and I only wish we’d been there for a week so I could have tried all of the options.  If you’re in Zurich this would be my highest recommendation.

Have you been to Zurich?  Let me know what we missed so that we don’t miss it next time!

 

Top 5 Places to Eat Lunch – Norwich

Norwich is fantastic for food.  I feel like there’s always somewhere new to try.  I’ve tried to pick a few different kinda of eateries to put into my top 5. They are in no particular order.

Wild Thyme
Smashed Avocado on Toast; Organic Yogurt with Fresh Fruit; Peanut butter, Banana and Blueberry Pancakes and a Spiced Turmeric Oat Milk Latte.

Wild thyme – Nestled behind a row of shops with a cute courtyard outside.  You enter up a set of stairs into a smallish room very simply styled.  It’s a veggie/vegan restaurant with an extensive menu, from breakfasts to curries and something for all tastes. Although probably suited more for older guests as I don’t believe they have a children’s menu.  Personally I consider Wild Thyme to be a planned meal out kind of place rather than a drop in for a bite to eat.  It’s a little higher in price than the other places on my list but the food is well worth it.  You can read about my brunch if you like! *Just to note, due to a fire in the shop below, Wild Thyme is currently closed.  Keep an eye on their website for more details.

F6105566-FFEE-464B-87F3-175F12B9B15C

Moorish – You can find Moorish in one of Norwich’s busy lanes, Lower Goat Lane to be precise.  If you go during lunch time hours then you might have to wait a while because this place is always busy.   Moorish is a falafel bar with a focused menu – there’s 3 options – but when they do it this well, be glad you don’t have too much choice.  You have the option to customise with added toppings and sauces, so you can make your wrap, pitta or salad just how you like it.  Plus they do lemonade that’s to die for.  And for an added bonus they are part of Norwich’s Last Straw Campaign and are selling reusable metal straws!

Pono
Poke Bowl; Smashed Avo on Toast and a Berry Breeze Smoothie.

Pono – I visited Pono twice in two days, it’s bright, clean and simply beautiful inside. During these warmer days we’ve been having Pono’s menu is the perfect thing. Another place that’s picked a few meals to offer and is doing them well.  Customise your own salad bowl, choose from three ‘Smoothie Bowls’, go for a classic ‘Smashed Avo on Toast’ or try a twist on a traditional ‘Poke Bowl’.  The fresh smoothies are divine, I always go for the Berry Breeze.  And to add to the summer vibes, they have just started doing iced coffee. Yes! I think they sum themselves up pretty well on their website ‘We are a superfood bar inspired by Hawaiian culture, selling healthy, nutritious food without feeling like you’re making sacrifices’. 

6267546F-AA12-460E-8675-152D7E3C4567

Saporita – A favourite of mine and my dad’s.  If we get a chance to meet for lunch in the city this is normally where we go.  They have a wide selection of Italian street food including, focaccia, panini and pizza slices.  Saporita is a family run business and is homely and friendly.  I don’t know if the woman behind the counter actually recognises us when we go in, but we are greeted with a big smile and warm hellos that make us feel like we’re returning to a friend.  There’s a lot to choose from and they offer a good selection of vegetarian and a vegan option.  While scrolling through their menu I’ve noticed they offer a Tiramisu in the desserts section and I’ve fallen even more in love with this place.  Anyone want to meet for lunch?

7D323409-FDC7-4CF7-9326-FD8BAB256675

The Waffle House – If you haven’t been to The Waffle House, then have you really been to Norwich?  This was one of the first places my dad took me just after he relocated here nearly 10 years ago.  What can I say about The Waffle House that’s not already been said in it’s long (and interesting) history? They serve waffles, the best in Norwich.  Ok I’ve not had many waffles in Norwich other than these, but why would I when there’s The Waffle House!?  There is something for everyone, and they can offer options if you have dietary requirements.  I’ve seen queues outside before it’s even opened and I’ve stood in that queue many times and I imagine I will stand it in many times more.  “Waffle House?” is a question with only one answer. “Hell yes!”

An Honest Opinion Of Myself – Pregnancy

My hands and ankles are swollen, my thighs and bum have expanded, my back hurts, I can’t get comfortable ever and I’m peeing about 100 times an hour.  And yet, I feel better about myself than I have in a very long time, possibly better than I’ve ever felt about myself.

Before I was pregnant, I would never have worn tight-fitting, figure hugging dresses and skirts but the second my bump popped I was in horizontal stripes, embracing every lump and bump I had. I’ve had my pale, poorly shaved legs out and my no make-up days have heavily outweighed my make-up days.  I imagine its partially down to hormones, partially down to “pregnancy glow”, but a huge part of it is down to – and please pardon my French – my body is doing something fucking amazing right now!

Being positive about your body is a choice, always, and when you’re on your knees at the foot of the porcelain altar for thirteen straight weeks it can be pretty hard to love yourself much. And not everyone enjoys being pregnant, and what it does to their body and that’s okay too! I’ve definitely had days when I needed something loose and flowy to help me feel comfortable – I’m about 4 weeks from D-Day, feeling a bit swollen from the heat wave we’ve had, and rapidly running out of even pregnancy clothes that fit comfortably.

Comfort, not ‘these shoes are really comfortable’ but comfort within myself has been my key to enjoying this journey.  Looking in the mirror and feeling like me. It’s not been about feeling pretty or beautiful everyday, but about confidence and respect for myself and my body and what it’s doing.  Pregnancy does not change who you are. You are still you.   

Give yourself a chance. A chance to see past stretch marks, swelling ankles and puffy eyes.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself ‘My body was designed to do this and I’m doing it beautifully’. Behind it all, there is a tiny little person (or persons!) relying on you for everything and you are doing a fantastic job of providing that for them.  So embrace it for all that it is, because it takes up so little time really and when it’s done, that little person will be worth it all…

… I hope, because the swelling is really starting to get on my nerves a bit…

What’s in Baby’s Hospital Bag.

I’ve had little one’s hospital bag mostly packed for a few weeks now.  I think it’s fairly safe to say that packing the bag for baby is one of the more exciting parts of prepping for your new arrival.  You get to go through their clothes and select the items that feel special enough to be their firsts. First socks, first hat, first vest.  For me it was the time when I really started to think about what our little man would look like.

As most first time mums do, I’m sure I’ve over packed but having all my bases covered has helped me feel calm about those first few hours with baby.

The bag we’re using will be our everyday nappy bag,  I got it from Amazon.  It’s got pockets everywhere which makes it a fantastic hospital bag.  I’ve got things tucked away so I can tell my husband exactly where to find the scratch mitts, rather than him having to root around the whole bag looking for anything.

img_7944

On top there’s a blanket for coming home.  This one was made by little one’s Granny.

img_7941

In the outside pockets I’ve put muslins and water wipes.  Will 2 muslins be enough?!  I have also packed a pack of cotton wool incase the hospital would prefer we use that.

Inside I’ve put six newborn size nappies and a changing pad, the changing pad is only there because I wanted to make sure it was in the changing bag and didn’t get lost.

There’s a swaddling muslin and hat in case it’s a little chilly.

img_7954

In the inside back pocket are a few small bits that could easily get lost in the main pocket.  These are also items we are less likely to need but that I wanted to pack just incase.

img_7952

We are still in discussions about the use of a dummy but I’m packing it just in case.  Look at those tiny socks!

Clothes next,  first I’ve got a selection of “emergency” vests in case we’re in for a little longer and he needs a change of clothes.  Two are 0-3 months and one is newborn.  We packed a very sweet long-sleeved vest that will most likely not fit him as it’s ‘Small Baby’ size, but if it’s ever going to fit him it’ll be on his first day and would make for some quite nice newborn pictures.

Then I’ve packed six outfits, three newborn size and three 0-3 size.  That’s two babygrows for chilling out in the hospital (one in each size), a baby grow for if we come home at night (again one in each size) and an outfit for coming home in the day (yep, one in each size).  I’ve also packed a cardigan that should fit him no matter how big or small he is…

…unless he’s huge.  I hope he’s not huge…