25.03

Cider-with-Rosie-Snuzpod-5

I’ve been meaning to write a review of the Snuzpod for…six months now.

I know. Prompt.

BUT, the timing of this post is really quite apt, because after half a year of daily use we’ve just stopped putting Ottilie down to bed in our room at night in the Snuzpod, and so these photos kind of mark the end of an era!

To put it simply, the Snuzpod has been one of our absolute hero products since having Ottilie. It’s a 3-in-1 system, acting as a co-sleeper (with a genius drop down side that allows you to have baby at arm’s reach with the cot right up alongside your bed), a freestanding cot, and with a lift-off bassinet for transportable napping!

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I loved how having Ottilie sleep in the Snuzpod meant that I would wake as soon as she began to stir, and I’d be then able to either whip her straight out and feed her, or resettle her with some shushing (the former happened waaaaay more than the latter!!) before she fully woke and cried. And being able to stay cosy and warm underneath my duvet during all those hours sat up in bed feeding made being awake at 2am (and 3.30am, and 5am…) so much more bearable!

I have such vivid memories of sitting up for what felt like half the night in those early days, with teeny tiny Ottilie bundled up in her swaddle blanket resting on a pillow across my lap, watching Netflix on silent on my phone to keep myself awake whilst I fed. Funny how time makes memories of the exhaustion fade and the nostalgia (read: broodiness…) grow stronger, isn’t it? :)

Being so close to Ottilie also helped ease my new Mama anxiety! I LOVED being so close to hear that I could hear her gentle breathing, and reach over and check she wasn’t too warm or cold and adjust any blankets if necessary with ease.

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I’ve also been so pleased with what a beautiful addition the Snuzpod makes as part of our bedroom- it’s minimal and sleek but also so classic in its design, and the colour choices are fab too.

There’s space underneath to store extra blankets and bedding, and the rails on the end are great for keeping a muslin or two within easy reach for clearing up any post-feed sick! I was always so dreadful though at having a muslin to hand right when I needed it, and still feel like I’m not a ‘real’ Mum because I never wandered around with one flung over my shoulder!!

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Oh, and I should say too that we used the Snuzpod in conjunction with that other holy grail of baby sleep products, the Sleepyhead! I’d have taken photos of them together, but Ottilie was napping inside the Sleepyhead in her cot in the nursery whilst I shot these photos!

The Snuzpod was kindly gifted to us as a press sample (I wasn’t under any obligation to review it, but have done because, as I said, it’s been one of our favourite baby products!), and is available to buy from John Lewis.

p.s. Now, this is maybe an irrelevant P.S but I think it would have helped me in the fretful early days of motherhood whilst looking at reviews like this online…my bedroom did not, I repeat NOT look this clean, tidy, and Pinterest-able when Ottilie was tiny. In fact, it doesn’t usually look like this now. My bedside table pre-baby was home to a few bottles of perfume, a lip balm, a jewellery box, and a posh candle. Now, you’ll more likely find it littered with tubes of Bonjela (in the early days it would’ve been Infacol and Lansinoh nipple cream), dummies, at least three glasses of water (never remember to take them down in the morning) and the trusty baby monitor. That bedspread has been put on the bed on maybe two or three occasions since Ottie was born, and the dusting sometimes doesn’t get done for longer than is really acceptable. Just want to be real here, because parenthood is a tough gig at times without worrying about why you can’t keep your home looking as pristine as the homes you see in pictures online! :)

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01.03

ottilie

It has been FAR too long since I last wrote a post like this. Especially since there’s such a lot that’s making me happy of late! First and foremost that sweet baby girl of mine, but also so many other of those ‘tiny joys’ I’ve always liked to make note of here too. So let’s make a list!

1. Spring cleaning! I’ve had the biggest clear out of my wardrobe last week and it feels so GOOD!! I’ve donated two big bags of clothes and shoes to charity, and trimmed down my wardrobe to be made up only of the clothes that I *actually* wear, rather than stuffed to bursting with 6 years worth of impulse buys. I was aiming for a 37 piece capsule wardrobe a la Caroline, but turns out that’s harder to achieve that you’d think…

2. Homemade almond butter granola bars. Made with a nosy babe strapped to my front (she was having a cuddly ‘don’t put me down’ afternoon) who enjoyed studying e v e r y t h i n g I was doing!

3. The head massage part of a haircut. Bliss.

4. The two ducks making a home on the pond outside our house. I’m keeping my fingers crossed we have ducklings again this year. It always makes for such a lovely spring and summer!

5. SPRING WEATHER! How lovely is it to just chuck on a jacket and run out the door rather than bundle up in a hundred layers?!

6. This curry recipe. We made it with cauliflower instead of chicken (I’m veggie, and Jason eats veggie a fair bit at home too) & it was our favourite evening meal we’ve had in a long time.

7. Seeing the look of complete satisfaction on Ottilie’s face now she’s managing to shift herself along on her stomach. I’ve got money on the fact she’ll be crawling by the end of March…

8. Sinking my teeth into a photography project for Jason’s company. We’re shooting interviews of some of Flourish’s clients, and it’s so great thinking creatively again!

9. Date night with my husband. We ate the BEST duck (mock-duck for me) crispy pancakes and shared a naff but delicious mint choc chip ice-cream for dessert. Totally great!

10. Finding a fun new music class to take Ottilie to. Give the girl an instrument to wave around, and she’s happy!

What’s made you happy this week? I hope your week’s been a lovely one!

p.s. I’ve been meaning to say for a while- thank you for sticking with me whilst posting has been limited lately. Cider with Rosie has been a huge part of my life for, what, coming up 5 years now, but I knew I wanted to let it take a back seat whilst my baby was small. I’ve been looking forward to being a mother my whole life, and so really wanted to take time to concentrate on Ottilie, and all the daily joys and adventures and challenges that motherhood brings, for the first few months. It’s been fantastic, but I’m definitely ready now to start finding my feet as a ‘work from home’ mother and start blogging more regularly again!

So, I’d love to know, is there anything you’d like to see or read about here? I’m all ears! <3

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Posted in 10 THINGS, HAPPINESS

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15.01

Cider-with-Rosie-Twinings-13

If there’s one thing I’ve realised the value of, over the past few months, it’s a quiet, cosy family morning.

Having Miss Ottilie in our lives means that weekend lie-ins are a thing of the past (though since I do the night feeds, Jason often takes her out of the bedroom first thing so that I can have a little extra uninterrupted sleep!), but instead of mourning the peaceful weekend mornings we used to have, I’ve just been embracing the wonderful early morning chaos.

When Ottilie wakes in a happy mood and spends the first few hours of the day (before the ‘I need a nap crankiness’ hits!!) cooing and laughing and talking to us, it truly makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery with this lovely little family of mine!

My favourite kind of weekend mornings now are all about wearing our PJs for as long as possible, cuddling up together in bed with cups of tea, eating at least two different types of breakfast food over the course of the morning, and then heading out into the fresh air with those two lovely dogs.

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Last week Twinings sent us over a beautiful parcel filled with their range of Fruit & Herbal Infusion teas, and invited us to embrace all things ‘natural’. And it couldn’t be better timing for me, really, since over the past year I’ve all but given up caffeine, and the teas are all naturally caffeine free!

I was never sure of exactly how much or little caffeine was acceptable during pregnancy and so just switched over to decaffeinated for ease, and even though now I don’t worry about the odd cup of coffee, my tolerance to caffeine has all but disappeared!

So now that I’m all about the caffeine-free drinks, herbal and fruit teas have become my go-to. The Twinings infusions are beautiful- light and refreshing, and make the perfect natural alternative to the strong, headache-inducing cups of coffee I used to drink every morning!

I started this past Sunday with a few cups of the Strawberry and Raspberry Infusion, and it tasted and smelled so delicious even Ottilie was leaning into my cup!

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With our bellies filled (Ottilie’s with milk, ours with toast, porridge, orange juice, and a few cups of tea), we decided that though staying in PJs all day was tempting, we were all in need of a blast of fresh air.

And the weather outside obliged on that front, with bracing winds that had us all wrapping up in as many layers as we could fit on!

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Our weekend dog walks always make me so very happy- stomping round the woods with Ottilie tucked up cosily in the wrap on either mine or Jason’s chest, it feels exactly how I always imagined our life as a family of three would be. And I love the idea that Ottilie will grow up with fresh air in her lungs, rosy cheeks, and feeling connected to the natural world around her.

Once the dogs were suitably worn out and mud-caked, and with a quick stop off in the village for a fresh bunch of flowers to brighten up the living room, we made our way back home for lunch.

And since it was a Sunday, and Sunday has its own set of rules, I’m not ashamed to tell you I put my PJ bottoms straight back on and curled up to cuddle my sleeping baby with yet another cup of tea in hand.

Bliss.

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* This post was sponsored by Twinings. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible. *

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18.12

Cider-with-Rosie-breastfeeding-with-Medela-5

Before I gave birth, I expected two things. One, that the fact I’d kept so fit and active during my pregnancy would secure me a lovely, easy (ish!), natural labour (Oh the naivity!!!), and two, that I probably wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. Due to a range of issues neither my Mum or Grandma was able to breastfeed, and so I just assumed that, though I was determined to give it a shot, I’d probably follow in their footsteps and not have much luck with it.

I quickly learned though that when it comes to all things baby-related, there’s just no way of telling what your experience will be like until you’re in the thick of it!

After having had a textbook pregnancy, I was shocked to found out at 38 and a half weeks that Ottilie was breech. Though I was able to have her turned back into the head down position through a procedure called an ECV, she was such a wriggler in my belly that she wound up laying back to back inside me, which led to me having a hideously drawn out and very painful four day long labour. After 72 hours of trying for my drug-free water birth, I ended up delivering Ottilie with a very strong working epidural.

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And yet once she’d finally made her appearance, she was latched on and feeding from me before my stitches were even complete! I remember so vividly laying on the bed in the delivery room with her warm little body pressed against mine, as she found her way to my right breast and took her first ever feed. It was magic.

And though I experienced some soreness, breastfeeding continued to be magical! She gained weight well, the soreness cleared up during week three, and with each feed the most intense feelings of love and pride and joy would wash over me and I’d feel happier than I’d ever felt before.

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But after those dreamy first few weeks, where I was forever on the sofa or sat up in bed with a tiny fluffy haired babe in my arms, my experience changed quite literally overnight. When Ottilie hit the six week growth spurt, she all of a sudden began pulling off me just a couple of minutes into her feeds, screaming until she she was red in the face. The first couple of times it happened I thought it was just a fluke, but it quickly became a pattern.

She began refusing to feed from me all together, and each time I’d try to latch her on she’d get more and more upset. The peaceful, bonding feeding experiences I used to enjoy so much became fraught and upsetting for us both, and I began dreading each time three hours had ticked away and she was due her next feed. Each feed became a battle as I struggled to get Ottilie to latch on and suck, and as she screamed my stress levels would rise and pretty soon I’d join her in the crying. It was dreadful.

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After the first week of it happening, I took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with reflux. My instincts at the time told me that the diagnosis was incorrect (she never displayed any other reflux symptoms other than crying mid-feed), and so I wasn’t surprised when she didn’t respond at all to the Gaviscon we’d been given.

Over the course of four weeks, as her weight gain slowed down and she dropped down the centile lines, I tore my hair out as I searched desperately for a diagnosis for her issues- was it a cow’s milk protein intolerance, or an allergy to something else I was eating, or simply a rejection of the breast?

Cider-with-Rosie-breastfeeding

In the end, it was a breastfeeding helpline who helped me find an answer! It turned out that the very mild posterior tongue tie Ottilie was diagnosed with early on had suddenly begun to affect her.

It never presented a problem for her early on, but when she hit the week six growth spurt and her appetite increased, she was then unable to draw the milk from me as efficiently as she wanted to. She’d become frustrated and turn away from me as she screamed, and those cries of frustration would then turn to cries of hunger as she’d get upset to the point where she’d simply refuse to feed at all.

Finally understanding what the issues were that we were experiencing felt like the greatest relief. I was able to begin working around the problem- concentrating hard on helping Ottilie latch, and offering a bottle of expressed milk at the beginning of the feeds so that she could then come to the breast with her hunger sated.

Now that we’re in in week 14 and things are finally getting back to being easy again, looking back I have no doubt that if it weren’t for the army of expressing equipment I had at my disposal, I would never have been able to continue breastfeeding at all. I was sent a Medela Harmony handheld pump and Swing Electric pump for review purposes when I was pregnant, but I never expected to get quite as much use from them as I have done!

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Over the past few weeks I’ve relied heavily on bottles not only to keep Ottilie full and happy when she’s struggled to feed, but also have needed to express frequently to keep up my supply. In fact, I’d say that if anything I’ve actually managed to increase my supply using the Medela pumps over the past few weeks, and have gone from only being able to express 0.5-1.5 ounces at a time, to managing at least 3-4oz per expressing session!

Both the pumps are so simple to assemble and make expressing a doddle, which is absolutely vital when you’re putting them together one handed whilst holding a baby in the other!

Expressing from one side whilst I feed Ottilie on the other for me yields the best results, and allows me to create a little stockpile of bottles in the fridge ready for Ottilie to have as and when she wants or needs them. And with the Calma teats being so beautifully designed to help a baby switch from breast to bottle and back again, I’ve never had to worry at all about Ottilie getting any nipple confusion.

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Breastfeeding is hard, hard work at times but even with all the difficulties we’ve experienced, I still find it so very rewarding and am so grateful that we’ve managed to keep going. I can’t advise highly enough seeking help early on- websites like ‘kellymom‘ are a treasure trove of information about feeding, and there are many forums online filled with women happy to answer questions and provide support.

Medela also offer a helpline for mothers via their lactation consultant Sioned Hilton, and I’d be more than happy to chat all things baby or answer any questions about feeding in the comments!

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Posted in BABY, PARENTING

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