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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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?

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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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10.11

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Everything I was ever told about motherhood is true, I’m learning. About how magical and exhausting it is, about how the love you feel for your baby grows every day, about how spot on the expression ‘long days and short years’ is starting to feel…it’s all so very accurate.

Today I watched Ottilie purposefully, though clumsily, reach out her little hand to bat at a toy over and over again. She did it at the baby group we’d been to in the morning, patting her fist down on a little patch of orange corduroy on the sensory toy I was holding in front of her, and again this afternoon she waved her fingers over and over again at her blue elephant rattle.

It was the simplest thing, and yet it made me so proud and excited to see my baby begin interacting with the world around her in a new way.

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I remember feeling nervous, before I had Ottilie, that I’d be rubbish at entertaining her or that I’d feel silly or self conscious attending singing classes or baby groups with her.

I didn’t get it, couldn’t possibly comprehend what it’s like to see this beautiful, innocent little being you created starting to explore the world as you lay it out in front of them.

But now, as Ottilie begins to spend more and more of each day awake and alert, I treasure this time I get to spend with her and love it even more than the sweet newborn snuggles that filled our early days together. We read stories, we sing songs (‘wind the bobbin up’ always gets a big gummy smile!), we get together with her baby playmates (the friends we made during our NCT class) and attend classes and share each other’s toys.

And it all suddenly feels like it’s slotting into place!

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Everyone told me, before I had Ottilie, that after three months we’d feel like we were finding our feet. And now, as we edge into our third wonderful month together, I’m finding once again that it’s turning out to be true.

We have tricky days, and Ottilie’s cold is currently making our once easy, peaceful feeds an ordeal that test the limits of my patience as my poor baby screams inconsolably because she can’t breathe through her nose well enough to feed. Our nights vary between being as wonderful as I could expect from an eight week old baby (just one middle of the night wake up, praise be!!) to restless stretches where I spend more of my time awake and feeding than peacefully sleeping…but we’re getting there.

It’s beautiful, and tiring, and emotional, and magical, and gruelling, and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier or as in love.

Happy two months Ottilie my love! <3

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02.10

Cider-with-Rosie-Ottilie-3-weeks Cider-with-Rosie-Ottilie-3-weeks-4 Cider-with-Rosie-Ottilie-3-weeks-11

W E E K   T H R E E  !

We’re getting bigger over here!

Ottilie’s gained half a pound in the three weeks since she was born, and I’m pretty proud to think that my body made those 8 ounces! I was never sure if I’d get on with breast feeding or be able to manage it, but it’s going so well and I’m just loving it. Ottie’s milk drunk face is my favourite thing in the whole world <3

What else is new? Well, we managed our second week without Jason around! I was very glad though that Jason’s family all happened to be nearby to help me out a couple of afternoons, because flying solo is no joke!

Ottilie and I have been getting out of the house at least once every day, and she’s getting pretty regular with the times she takes naps which is helping me plan our outings. We’ve managed errands, shopping trips (for Jason’s birthday next weekend!), trips to visit friends from our NCT group, and, as is obligatory when you’re a Mama, many a coffee shop visit too ;)

Oh, and Ottilie went to Grandma’s house for the first time this Sunday! It was so special seeing her in the house where I have so many amazing memories, so we decided to snap a few photos to remember the occasion.

I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend! Is anyone else super pumped that the weather’s turning? I’m so ready for Autumn!

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