Supporting other parents

**WARNING – I have wrote this post with a ten month old on my lap and my two year old bouncing on my legs playing horsey so please excuse any typos, bad grammar or spelling mistakes!******

I have only just started enjoying our lunch dates with the kids again.

As soon as George turned fifteen months my usual calm, civilized diners started to resemble a scene out of Jurassic Park.
The one where the T-Rex is flipping cars and tearing down fences while the humans watch on, horried, from behind a tree!

I would get flustered and embaressed while George flung himself out of the high chair (those wooden ones are beyond pointless!).
He would chew food up and then let it spill out of his mouth onto the table while telling me
‘Don’t like it’.
Instead of the pasta Arribiata infront of him, he would have his eyes on my moules mariniere (and happily eat every one!).

The floor around his seat would have a mixture of food, snapped crayons and napkins scattered everywhere. It was so messy that I would leave the servers a 40% tip out of embarrassment and guilt.

If I tried to discipline him at the table, he would scream louder and then would come the disapproving glances from around the restaurant.

Considering I took my first four children out all the time, and we would be complimented on how well behaved they were…this was new territory for me.

Add a new baby Arthur, who had a healthy set of lungs on him into the mix and eating out became nothing but an anxiety inducing stress-fest!

Since November, thankfully things have changed. For a start, George has developed a love for YouTube (yep…and I WILL give him his tablet if It means I can drink my coffee while it is hot!)
Also, now he can talk and communicate more his behaviour has taken a huge turn. I would even say eating out with him is enjoyable!
The most important thing I learnt about my number five is that ‘No one puts baby in the corner. ‘
He is happier sitting in an adults seat with the older kids rather than a high chair next to mum!

Last week we took the younger boys out to our local Italian for some lunch.
It is one of our favourites because it is no only child friendly but seriously delicious too.
It was a Friday lunchtime and the restaurant was full of mums with toddlers and older ladies and gents enjoying a retirement lunch.

We were sat between a couple in their 70’s (I am guessing) and a lady with a baby having lunch with her parents.

The baby next to us must have been about seven month and was crying…and crying…and crying.
Her mum was trying desperatly to sooth her but the baby wasnt having it and the mum looked tired and stressed.

Mike was trying to have a conversation with me but I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying.
I was so distracted.

It wasn’t the baby that was bothering me…it was her mum.
She was flustered and panicking and I could feel every inch of her uncomfort.

I glanced around and realised the older couple had asked to be moved and the mothers with toddlers were rolling their eyes and tutting!

I felt like crying for her!

I walked over and knelt down to the mum with her baby.
‘Most the people in the room are parents and we have all been where you are. Don’t worry about anyone else, you are doing a great job.’
I offered to take the baby while she finished her lunch as ours hadnt arrived yet.

She burst into tears and gave me a big hug.

The mum felt instantly more relaxed and in turn, her little baby calmed down.

George and Arthur were a joy that day and unlike the mum next to me, we were getting nods of approval. Usually I would feel proud that out kids good behaviour is being aknowledged, but when the praise is coming from the same judgemental dicks that are rolling their eyes at a crying baby I just felt annoyed.
Rewind just a few weeks and it was me that was sitting their being talked about and feeling shamed.

George didnt let us down though. As the bill was placed on the table he kicked his shoes off and ran through the restaurant. He ran around tables, giggling and screaming as I chased him like a overweight hurdler after a bottle of prosecco.

As I passed the mums who had been rolling their eyes i laughed
‘It was all going so well! That will teach me for being smug!’ hoping they might find the hint and advice in my comment.
George ran behind the bar, hi-fiving the waiters and I finally rugby tackled him at kitchen door!

A couple of days after this I read in a paper that a lady with a crying baby was asked to leave a cafe because it was upsetting the customers.
I wonder how many of those people offered some help or advice to the mum, who may well have been struggling herself, before they complained to the owner?
Or whether the owner of the cafe thought to ask if there was anything he/she could do to help before they showed her to the pavement.

I do have sympathy for everyone who wants to have a quiet meal without ‘naughty’ children or screaming babies around them. My point is simply, before you roll your eyes, ask to be moved or tut at the parents, take a second to think.
Could this parent be struggling? Could that child throwing a tantrum have a disability that you can not see? Could this parent benifit from a gentle hand of reassurance? Or more to the point…..were your children always perfect?

Anyway, im off out for lunch with all the kids….wish me luck 😜

Baby Led Weaning

Baby led weaning…..lets talk about this for a moment.

This is a new concept for me. All my children were fed straight from a bowl, to their mouths, on a spoon (or sometimes direct from a pouch) by me.

When Charlie was younger he choked on everything.  Sometimes he brought it up himself, sometimes he needed a firm pat on the backand, and on one occasion our good friends, (who happen to be a doctor and nurse) had to hang him upside down to help bring up the offending food.

That period of parenting left me mentally scared. 

After that, Mike and I chopped up his food into the tiniest pieces until he was about seven!!! 

I had to logically tell myself that if he copes ok at school then I should leave him to get on with it himself at home, but even then I struggled.
I carried this paranoia with me during Libby and Georges early years.

Even now my heart stops when i see a toddler eating a banana, sausage or a whole grape.
And now it is time to wean Arthur and I dont know what to do.
Arthur is quite independent and likes to grab the food/spoon himself which can make feeding him a little frustrsting.

Lets be honest, with an independent baby, a toddler and four older children, BLW is probably the more convenient and obvious option.

I can’t tell you I agree or am doing it to avoid having fussy children or children prone to allergies.  

All of my five who were weaned ‘traditionally’ are far from fussy.  They eat anything from roast diner (even the brussels) to jamaican hot curries to oysters, cockles, olives and even liver!

Food is a big part of our family. We socialise around food, We enjoy eating out, cooking and trying lots of different cuisines and I think that has had a bigger impact on their food choices than how they were weaned (but i am open to suggestion).

We have a rule in our house…..you can not say you do not like something or do not want something unless you try it first.

Back to BLW, From what I understand, you put a selection of food in front of them and let them feed themselves.  

I love the concept and it fits in with our family values of encouraging independence and choices.

The Problem is my anxiety levels go through the roof at just the thought of it.

So recently I compromised and I did let Arthur feed himself…..baby rice and pureed food.

I popped Arthur in his highchair and let him loose with the rice and a spoon.  

Well, i put the spoon in his hand but that was swiftly given to the dog who was waiting patiently by his highchair, then he dived in hands first.

The food was in his hair, over the highchair and even inbetween the plastic strap clickers (you know what I mean if you have ever had to clear the aftermath up!)

After a mammoth cleaning session and a bath in the kitchen sink I decided to re think my strategy.

I am going to try a mummy led dinner again tonight and see how that goes.  

But I would really like to try more BLW.

Does anyone have any tips on what foods are good for babies to eat on their own wihout risking heart failure (mine that is).

I feel like after having six babies you are expected to have all the answers, but things change so much and each baby is so different. 
HELP! 
I’ll update you with our progress over the next week.

Wish me luck!

Tips for friends of a newborn mum

Everyone loves a newborn.  Who can resist those tiny hands and that brand new smell.

It’s even more exciting when it’s a baby of a friend or family member.  

You can impose yourself as soon as the baby is born, then hand baby back when he starts crying…perfect!……if you want to piss off and send your friend into a stressy mess!

When i had the twins 10 years ago, i was clueless.

I was trying to take everything in. Learning to make bottles, change nappies, the art of winding, and all this while trying to bond with my new babies.

Aswell as the babies to care for, i still had a house to try and keep on top of.

When i arrived home from the hospital our first visitors were waiting on the sofa for us to get back.

It was flattering to know people care so much and were getting so excited over our babies but i found it quite overwhelming.

They told me to go and have a lay down and they would look after the babies.

At 24, and a new mum, i did as i was told.

Their intentions were great.  The realitly is, i wanted to be laying down with the babies.

The first couple of weeks visitors poured in with generous gifts and lots of love but if im honest, i hated it.

I heard alot of..

‘Dont worry about the babies, ill watch them, you get on with what you need to do’
Who wants to do housework after you have nurtured a pregnant belly for nine months and squeezed a human out if you?

What i really wanted was to chill out with my babies!
So…4 more babies later and a tonne more confidence, i’m going to tell you what works for me.
When you hear your friend has had their baby, these are my tips (because they wont tell you)
-Send your congratulations text and ask them to text you when THEY are ready for a visit.

No one knows what effect the birth has had on mum.   There is nothing worse than sitting on the sofa, scared to get up infront of your guest because you have leaked through your pad!

It took me a couple of weeks to even leave the house with the twins.  When George (number five) was born, i was out, digging into a tapas the next day!

-Take them round a diner, whether it is a M&S £10 meal deal or a homemade lasagne, it will be seriously appriciated!

-When you visit, after you have coo’d over the new bundle of gorgeousness, do a bit of housework.  

Make new mum a cuppa, load the dishwasher or offer to hang the washing out.

It will make her day! 
-Tell her how fab she looks after having a baby.  She will probably look like crap but its always nice to hear!

-If they are a new mum and breastfeeding, be sensitive.  Depending on your relationship and how close you are, it can be daunting….and embaressing.

The subtle breast latch, when you can start feeding your baby within seconds and with barely any boob showing is a talent that takes practice.

The first few days it is more of a undignified game of squashing your boob and nipple into all sorts of positions to try and encourage baby to ‘latch on’.

When you have an audience this can turn a already stressfull experience into a total meltdown.

If they look like they are not confident with feeding, either offer to help (if you know how to) or use that time to make a cuppa.

I asked some fellow bloggers if they had any tips, heres what they suggest:
Lisa at Mum and dad plus 4:

Don’t wake the baby if sleeping, don’t kiss baby, offer to make a brew and ask if they need help with anything pots, watching baby while they have a quick shower, making feeds feeding baby. Let them have a sleep if needed.  Go to help not be waited on. 

Http://Mumdadplus4.co.uk
Lisa at Baremother:

Do: bring cake or food (but check that mum isn’t lactose intolerant first), offer to hold baby so mum can shower, be the one to make tea/coffee, offer to help tidy or put a load of washing on. Don’t: touch baby without permission, kiss baby, overstay your welcome (an hour is plenty long enough), offer un-asked-for advice. 

www.baremother.com
Jen at Justanaveragejen:

Don’t insist on taking photos of the baby crying – my sons paternal grandmother did this and it broke my heart. She is not in his life anymore (not due to that) but it was weird and I am sure no one else would do it but you never know! And dont comment on how mum is feeding the baby, as long as the baby is being fed it isn’t your business! 

www.justaveragejen.com
Faye at Glossytots:

Take food and ask before you pick up baby 

www.glossytots.co.uk


Emily at emilyandindiana:

Make sure to focus on how mum is doing, just as much as the baby. And if they have any siblings, make sure to include them too, so they don’t feel left out! 

www.emilyandindiana.com


Natasha at itsatashathing:

Do take a little present for mum and baby. For mum some food and maybe some relaxing bath or shower stuff. Don’t tell her how to do stuff with the baby and sound patronising! Don’t pick the baby up without asking, especially if the baby is sleeping! 

www.itsatashathing.blogspot.co.uk/
Vikki at familytravelwithellie:

Thinking back to what I wanted from my visitors …. keep the visits short, never arrive unannounced, arrive with delicious selection of easy to cook food for new mum and dad to enjoy that night  ( m and s meals are a winner ) offer to help with any chores ( washing / dishes etc ) . Ask about mum and how she’s doing . Tell her she’s doing amazing. Tell her she has a beautiful baby . Tell her you won’t stay long this time but you would love to come back whenever she needs a little help , support, shower …. 

www.familytravelwithellie.com
Arabella at exeterbabyactivities:

Make a constructive but simple offer of help.  I see you are busy feeding baby,  – can I fold the washing for you?  Looks like baby needs a mummy cuddle, can I make a cup of tea for you?  Oh you are changing a nappy, shall I put the dishes away while you are doing that?

This lets mum and dad know you are thinking of them without offering any judgement on how they are coping.

www.exeterbabyactivities.co.uk
Emma at readyfreddiego:

I have a nine week old and although the offers of tidying etc were nice they made me feel a bit awkward so I would have loved someone  to send me off to have my hair done and make me feel a bit more me!

www.readyfreddiego.com
Abi at somethingaboutbaby:

I often hear people say to help new mums by doing some chores but I honestly wouldn’t feel comfortable with my friends doing that – especially in the early days, my husband was at home so he was managing all that.  I really just wanted to know that my friends were there for me, and interested in my new baby – that they wanted cuddles, and to take photos and feel involved in this little persons life.  I  also wanted that contact to continue – for them to continue checking up to make sure I was ok, and baby was ok.  As a new mum it meant the world to me that so many people cared about us. 

www.somethingaboutbaby.co.uk


Vivienne at themothersroom:

Bring a useful gift – healthy food, a lidded thermal mug, a voucher for a sling consultation so they can get to grips with babywearing, an Amazon voucher so she can load up her kindle for those multiple night feeds –  new outfits and teddies often go unused! Make hot drinks for everyone and if you do get a cuddle, don’t hog the baby!  

(As an aside, don’t invite anyone round in the first few weeks of motherhood if you wouldn’t be comfortable sitting with them in your pyjamas – if they aren’t that close, they aren’t close enough to intrude on such a special time)

www.themothersroom.co.uk
Claire at mumsymidwife:

Please do not bring your children if they have colds. I had this and my 12 day old daughter was admitted to hospital because of it. Do bring along something for Mum, as she is often forgotten. 

www.mumsymidwife.com

Terry-Ann at notaneffingfairytaleblog:

Make the visit a short one, call just before to make sure its still okay to visit as things can change so fast with tiredness etc and don’t ask to hold the baby – the mum might not want even her closes friends to hold it yet 

www.notaneffingfairytaleblog.com
Stacey at onesmallhuman:

Bring a treat for Mum. One of my friends brought me a vanilla latte from Costa (my favourite) and it was brilliant! It had felt like ages since I’d had anything like that. Add to that the fact I felt like I hadn’t slept in days and that sweet caffeine hit was just fantastic.
And the other thing? Once you’ve met baby and had your cuddles, ask about Mum! And have a conversation about something not baby related – office gossip, something on the telly. Remind Mum she’s still a human being! 

https://www.onesmallhuman.co.uk

Nikki at yorkshirewonders:

Take Just Eat vouchers!  I would have loved this when mine were born.  It’s nice to take them food, but I would rather just have a nice visit then a Dominos delivery afterwards! 

www.yorkshirewonders.co.uk

Chantel at twoheartsoneroof:

Great tips above, but don’t forget Dad!! I think Dad’s often get totally forgotten when it comes to new babies. Mums get all the attention and dad is often left feeling like a loose part. Ask him how he is doing too, and if your bringing coffee or something for mum get it for dad too! Baby will alter both of their lives majorly!! 

www.twoheartsoneroof.com

Jodie at maidenheadmum:

I took ‘Pub grub’ for my friend and her husband in their first week at home. I went and bought some premium burgers, posh cheese and the best chips I could find along with a beer for Dad and something tasty for mum as she was breastfeeding. I then cooked it for them so they felt like they were having a treat, even though they were still at home! 

www.maidenheadmum.co.uk

I’d love to hear what your experiences were.  Do you have any do’s or dont’s for visitors?

Please share this with your friends

Lots of love peps
Kate

Xxxx

Baby Six Birth Story

After what felt like the longest third trimester ever I finally gave birth to my 2017 baby boy in the early hours of 29th April.

I apologise for the lack of birth photos, this is for two reasons…..

1) I struggle enough to remenber to take photos when I’m blogging about dinner or a day out,  let alone while panting through contractions. 

2) If Mike had started clicking away at me at my grimmest he probably would have spent a few hours in a different part of the hospital! 
So, the birth,  let me fill you in first at the lead up.

I have previously had a twin birth in hospital,  two home births and a planned homebirth that turned into a hospital (birthing suite/ water birth)  due to no homebirth midwives available that afternoon. 

This makes me..  As I have been reminded many times in the last eight months, ‘para 5’.  

This term refers to the amount of  pregnancies carried to term,  and what tends to follow the phrase around like a bad smell is ‘high risk’.

I have never considered myself high risk.  

I have been fortunate enough to deliver all my babies naturally without medication and have bounced back after labour straight away. 

Earlier on in my pregnancy I was referred to a consultant due to me being ‘high risk’. Apparently, hemorrhaging after birth Is more common the more babies you have had.

Because of this he decided not to back me for a homebirth.   

He explained he couldn’t stop me of I really wanted one but he strongly recommended I have baby at hospital.   

He reassured me that if I agreed to this I could use the hospital birthing suite and pool.

I’m not going to lie, being told what I can and can’t do when giving birth didn’t sit well with me.   

I champion womens choice during birth, whether you want a home birth,  drugs or a c section, I think it is important for a women to feel in control of her birth plan (taking into account any problems during pregnancy).

I argued for the sake of arguing, but in the back of my mind was Mike and the kids.   Do I really have the right to take any chances? I have a family that need me and if the Dr is saying there is a risk (no matter how small I think it is)  I have a responsibility to my family to listen to him. 

Fast forward to my due date. 

At my midwife appointment I was told the hospital was so busy that if I went into labour that night the hospital might ask me to go somewhere else due to lack of bed space (104 births in four days!)

I asked if a homebirth would be a better option as I didn’t want to get caught in a position where I would have to find another hospital while I was in labour, she agreed.

We decided that as long as everything was progressing well during labour I would stay at home and call someone out.
At that appointment I was 2cm dilated, and baby was quite high (not engaged).   This was my first baby to hang on till 40 weeks.

For about a week before the birth I was having contractions,  sometimes every hour,  sometimes not for 5 hours, sometimes 5 in an hour! I put it down to strong Braxton hicks.
Finally, Friday night,  3 days past my due date,  I woke up at midnight with bad Contractions.

I tried to get back to sleep and started timing the Contractions in between sleeping.   

After fifteen minutes I couldn’t sleep anymore so I got up and looked at my Contraction timing app.
They were barely 2 minutes apart!

I grabbed my tens machine and strapped it to my back then dug out the delivery suite number. 
The midwife on call explained that she didn’t feel comfortable coming out to me when she hasn’t been too or house before (to carry out risk assessment etc) before so I agreed to come into hospital.

I woke Mike up,  called my mother in law and started getting my bits ready.

I wish I had taken photos of Mike.  His face, everytime I had a Contraction on the way to the hospital was classic.  

They were coming a minute apart and I couldn’t talk through them by that stage so after watching four births, he knew it wouldn’t be long. 

He told me after the birth that he thought he would have to deliver baby in the back of his truck down a pitch black country lane! 

When we arrived at the hospital the midwife examined me.  I was 8cm dilated.

Then came the blow….she told me that the doctor on duty would not allow me to use the birthing suite because of me being ‘para 5, high risk ‘

I told her that the consultant had put on my notes that I could have a water birth but she told me,  because he hadn’t wrote it in the right place, I absolutly couldn’t use the birthing suite or pool.
I was heart broken (and a little scared)  my last two births were water births and the pain relief in water is great! 

By this stage I didn’t have time to argue, I asked her to just take me to wherever I was suppose to deliver the baby. 
She led us into a room which was everything I hated about giving birth!  A delivery suite with a bed and….. Well, nothing else!!!!  Just a bed! 
I asked where I was supposed push.   By now my humour was fading and I was starting to feel pissed off,  So when the midwife answered ‘ you should know that by baby six’ i flashed a look at her that said it all. 
Then they insisted on putting a canuler in my hand,  just incase I started bleeding after the birth and needed a blood transfusion.   I agreed because I was so busy focusing on each Contraction. 
I told my midwife I couldn’t push laying down so she moved the bed in a position so that the top of the bed was vertical.  I was on my knees with my head over the top of the bed ( a very comfortable position to birth in). 

After I jumped in that position Arthur John was born in the next three contractions.

Labor had been under three hours from when I woke up to Arthur flying out at 3.05am.  

He was born a heavyweight at 9lb 1oz, the biggest of our babes. 

What a scrumpy little bundle!!!  He came out screaming but after warming up and latching onto my boob he settled down. 
I didn’t have any unusual bleeding post birth.  In fact, the midwife said there was very little blood lose during delivery.

This was my first birth that I didn’t tear and I’d like a little high five from you mums who can appreciate the feeling of going to the loo on day 2! 😉🎊🎉

His timing was great,  I enjoyed a glass if prosecco during the Anthony Joshua fight that night! 

Dispite none of my birth going to plan, we both got through it and it all seems like a dream now. 

And now here we are,  a family of eight!



The other children adore him,  well,  the older ones anyway.   

George doesn’t really know what to make of him,  he just finds it handy that when he can’t find his dummy he can go and take Arthurs! 

Tell me about your labours, I’m not the only one who’s birth plan went out the window am I!? 

Baby One vs Baby Five

​ I’ve been thinking about how much I have changed from the first time mum of twins I was ten years ago to the mum of nearly six now. 


This list worried me a bit,  and before you contemplate calling social services after reading this, George is the happiest baby I have ever known! 

You tend to do so much different the second, third, fourth,  fifth and sixth time round 😱
Baby One :

I started looking at buggies and cots when I was about 10 weeks pregnant. 


Baby five: 

I dragged the dusty cot out of the loft on my due date. 

Buggy? I don’t have time for a buggy, I just strap baby to me and go! 

_________________

Baby One:
Book pregnancy massage at 30 weeks to relax.

Baby Five :

Radox relaxing bubble bath while one child is talking to me whilst taking a dump on the loo and another throwing toys at my head. 
___________________

Baby one :

‘oh wow, congratulations,  that is such wonderful news ‘

Baby Five:

‘ANOTHER ONE!?  you need to stop now!  Send him for the snip!

_______________________

Baby One :

Panic and Google everything about childbirth, gather as many stories as possible and hope your hospital stay is minimal. 
Baby Five :

Not to worried about the pain,  more concerned how I will muster the energy to actually push the baby out. 

After two homebirths,  considering a hospital birth to blag a couple of peaceful days with my feet up being waited on. 

_____________________

Baby One:

Sterilise the sh*t out of everything, dummies,  bottles,  hubby’s hands….  

Baby Five :

Put the dummy in my mouth to clean it!  (come on,  I just watched the dog lick the babies hands and my five year old put her fingers in his mouth!)

_____________________

Baby One :

Keep everyone away for a couple of days after the birth to recover,  when they do come,  hostess and act like the perfect, coping mum  

Baby Five :

Invite as many people as possible over as soon as baby is born and go straight to bed to ensure you can buy enough ‘visitor baby hugs’ time to get a good couple of hours sleep.

_____________________

Baby One :

Boil wash every item of clothing prior to baby wearing it and clean bedclothes daily.

Baby Five :

Wash at 30 degrees with the other kids clothes and only wash bed clothes when baby has been sick!  

Otherwise it falls in the general house rules of one wash a week! 

______________________

Baby One :

Buy every lotion, potion and gimic you can afford. 

Baby Five :

Olive oil for cradle cap, lavender oil in the bath rather than the £10 bottle of lavender scented baby bath cream.   

Oh, and FYI, Calpol is exactly the same as the own brand baby paracetamol but triple the price. 

_____________________

Baby One :

Two weeks post birth spent in hibernation.

Baby Five :

School run six hours later.


___________________

Baby One:

Panic over the ‘ right ‘ time to start your baby on solids. 

Baby Five:

Disregard the professionals and as soon as baby isn’t getting satisfied by milk the porridge comes out.


______________________

Baby One :

Toddler groups three mornings a week. 

Baby Five:

Organising coffee mornings around what coffee shop has  the best ‘kids area ‘ 

______________________

Baby One :

Never take the babies to McDonald’s! They will only eat healthy, organic food including their 5-a-day until they are 9!

Baby Five :

Tried McDonald’s by nine months and even substituted the fruit for an apple strudel.

______________________

Baby One :

6.30pm bedtime,  no excuses. Boom!

Baby Five :

It’s 8pm and the baby is watching Fresh Prince with the older kids. 

If the house is quiet why rock the boat? 


____________________

Baby One :

Plan toilet training like it is a military operation.

Baby Five :

Forget to put a nappy on the baby and realise after two days he has been using the potty in the corner. 

______________________

Baby One :

At one month old, researching primary schools, high schools and universities so that my angels can become the next prime minister, doctor or lawyer.

Baby Five :

Now looking at high schools for real for the older kids.

Primary school is already planned under the sibling rule and ive actually realised,  as long as they are happy and have good support, who cares what they are when they are older. 

_______________________

Baby One :

Baby gates everywhere! Can’t possibly risk baby falling down the stairs. 

Baby Five :

Teach baby how to climb down stairs safely before he can even walk. 

________________________

Baby One :

Worry at 2pm that baby hasn’t had lunch and stop everything to make sure they have a suitable meal. 

Baby Five :

At 2pm wonder if the two ginger biscuits and a mouthful of mud he had at the park is ok to pass for lunch.


______________________

Baby One :

Perfect changing bag packed and full of baby necessities at all times.  

Baby Five :

Two nappies in one pocket and baby wipes and a dummy in the other and off we go! 

_________________________

Baby One :

If the baby starts creating in a restaurant,  stick by your guns,  ride the tantrum out and beam with pride when you win and other diners are patting you on the back. 

Baby Five :

Baby creates in a restaurant and you pass them the lemon from your g&t, a left over rib, order a chocole brownie or do just about anything they want just to shut them up…..then roll your eyes at the disapproving diners! 😂


 

Tips to help your labour

​Before you read this, please remember,  I have been lucky enough to have straight forward births.   

I don’t want to come across ‘preachy’   This is what works for me and I wish, when I was pregnant with the twins,  someone had told me a good birth story rather than all the ‘Labour is the worst thing ever tales’

‘ don’t envy you ‘

‘ just take a much pain relief as you can ‘

It goes without saying if you need pain relief, take it, don’t be a martyr. But equally there are ways of coping without it that no one tells you about. 

Two tips I wish someone had told me are these ….

Firstly, usually,  when the pain gets bad,  so bad you don’t think you can carry on,  you will be nearly ready to push…. You are moments away from meeting your baby so don’t panic,  you are nearly there! 


And two…. Never, let anyone force you to stay in a laying down position unless medically necessary.  

I was basically strapped to the hospital bed with the twins as I was classed as ‘ high risk ‘ and because they were my first babies I did exactly what I was told!  Ten years later, I don’t think they encourage laying down as much anymore. 

It is an unnatural position to birth in (imagine trying to poo standing on your head).   

It will make the contractions more painful (alot more painful!) and the labour last longer.  

Follow your bodies Instinct, walk around,  dance,  rock, bend over but try to avoid laying down.

I think this is why I was determined to take control of my next birth and opted to have it at home. 

I ended up giving birth to Charlie on my hands and knees because it just felt right at the time. 

I have a few rituals to get me through labour and make it as easy as possible.  

Everyone who knows me will know I’m not exactly a hippie but when it comes to labour I have a very free spirit attitude.

Your baby has to come out one way or another so try to stay positive,  as scary as it is, and as daunting as it can be, try to embrace it.
Maybe try some of these….. 

Bath – 

A hot (but not too hot)  bath is great during labour.   I tend to run a bath for every ailment I have,  whether its a cold, period pains,  stress, back ache or a headache.   

Add a few drops of your essential oils, concentrate on your breathing and prepare for what’s coming. 

Raspberry Leaf Tea – 

I love this!!!  Well…. I think I love it!  I can drink it all day, everyday towards the end of my pregnancies, but once I am baby free, it gets chucked to the back of my cupboard never to been seen again….. Until the next pregnancy.

I wonder if it is a mental thing? Something I associate with the end of a pregnancy perhaps? Soothing? 

Anyway…

It’s purpose is to strengthen and tone the muscles around your uterus and help with a steady,  progressive labour. 
I have drank it in every pregnancy from about 32 weeks.  

Because I have drank it everytime I couldn’t tell you if it has helped towards quick labours or not, but I have always been blessed with shorter labours and very quick transition stages.  

I dilate from 4-5 cm to 10cm and start pushing in under half an hour.  

Maybe the raspberry leaf tea contributes to this,  maybe it doesn’t but give it a go anyway!  

You can buy it online or from Holland and Barrett.

Make sure you start drinking it early (but not before 32 weeks).


Clary sage oil

I love essential oils and find them really helpful throughout pregnancy. 

Clary Sage helps with pain and stress relief and smells gorgeous. 

During the early stages of labour I put a few drops into my bath and soak for a while. 

I also put a couple of drops onto a wet flannel to use as the contractions get stronger. 

I know some women add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and let there partner massage them with it.  

This would never work for me because if Mike tried to massage me during labour I would be likely to smash him in the face! 

I sometimes I add a couple of drops of frankincense too, it is a calming essential oil and I find it works great with clary sage for me. 
It is important to know that you should not use Clary Sage during your pregnancy as it can bring on contractions.  

Tens machine
Tens machines seem to be like marmite, some girls love it and some hate it. 

It is honestly a huge part of my pain relief during labour.  

I can’t tell you that it completely takes the pain away but it certainly dulls it and gives me something to focus on. 
It works by placing some sticky pads to your back which are attached to a small hand held machine by long wires. 

Small electrical pulses are sent through the machine to the patches and block the feeling of pain going to your brain.  It also helps stimulate natural endorphins (pain relief) in your body.  

You feel a vibrating sensation on your back and you can control how strong the electrical pulse is through your machine. 

When your contractions first start you strap it on and just need to use a low pulse. Then,  as your labour and contractions progress you will push for higher and higher pulses.
Once it feels like it isn’t helping that’s when I jump in the birthing pool and am usually not far from pushing.

Birthing ball
Not only are birthing balls great to help back pain during pregnancy it is great for labour. 

During the early – middle of labour I sit on it and rock gently backwards and forwards,  rotating my hips, it really helps with pain and labour ‘fidgets’ i can’t sit still! 
Good movie / box set – 

There is no point racing to the hospital as soon as your first Contraction is felt.   Quite often it can be false labour but even if it is the real thing it can take quite a while.   

I find it much better for pain relief and comfort to spend as much of my labour at home as possible.   

Once I know it’s the real thing I put on a good movie and try to relax. 

During Charlies labour I watched Date Night, during Libbys I put on The Sweetest Thing and with George I was watching Louis Theroux documentries!   
Candles – 

All girls love candles,  I don’t really need to say more.   It’s about creating a calming atmosphere.  Dim lights, flickering candles all helps with calming and clearing your mind.  

Again,  you could add some oils to an oil burner  to perfume the air with some clary sage,  lavender,  ginger or frankincense. 
Music – 

Having music on in the background as delivery time approaches can be uplifting, encouraging and inspiring. 
Birthing Pool – 

During my first two labours I point blank refused to use a birthing pool.   The thought of sitting in a pool of your own blood and bodily fluids totally grossed me out.

I only used one with Libby out of pure curiosity. I had done the hospital birth, I had done the homebirth so now I wanted to try out a waterbirth!

I bought an Ecopool online,  the whole lot was about £110 and it was so easy to use.

I would always insist on a waterbirth now,  the difference in pain at transition (pushing)  is massive.   

There is also something really special about holding your baby for the first time in a relaxing pool of warm water (plus it cleans them… Bonus!) 


It also allowed me to be in a position with Libby and George where I felt more in control of delivering them, reaching down when they come out and pulling them to you rather than baby being handed to you by your midwife. 

It is really important for me to say, after telling you all this, do what is right for you.  

If you need a c-section for whatever reason or you have an epidural then that’s the way for you,  if I can’t handle things with my next birth I will have no problem calling for an epidural! 

The main thing is for baby to come into the world as stress free and healthy as possible and for mum to be the same. 


Do you have any tips for pain/stress relief during labour? 

Now I’ve wrote this all down let’s hope that baby number six, due in April, comes as smoothly as possible.  
Wish me luck 

xxx 

10 things I love vs 10 things I hate about pregnancy  

I am linking up today with Parent Blogs Elite Linky #1 with Jenny at www.midwifeandlife.com

Because I have spent nearly four of the last ten years pregnant people assume I must love it.
It’s not so much about loving it as trying to embrace it and making the most of it.   It is after all a blessing.

Having said that,  like everyone I know all to well it’s good and bad points….

I have noted a few below:

LOVE 💗:
1) Obvs being able to eat tonnes of chocolate without feeling guilty and weighing myself 10 minutes later.

2) Not going out, You always have the perfect excuse to blow someone out! Yes I am saying that!  There are times when you are pregnant when no excuse is needed…. You just don’t fancy it!
3) No 2, same rules apply for the bedroom 😜
4) No hangovers, it’s rubbish watching other people get trollied without you but something empowering about being the only sober one, mentally noting all the Sh#t everyone is talking.
5) Those lovely little kicks that remind you something so special is happening inside you.

6) Planning for your new arrival, preparing the nursery, collecting and washing new baby clothes and enjoying the serene room you have created before your little bundle of pooping and crying joy arrives to cause carnage.
7) Not having to explain yourself if you decide to take an afternoon nap or go to bed at 5.30pm.  That NEVER happens to me with five children but you first time mums know what I’m talking about!

8) The waddle….come on,  this should go in ‘Hates’ but you can use it to your advantage.  If exaggerated just right you can pretty much get anyone to do anything you want.   eg, I might offer…

‘ would you like a cup of tea guy’s’

‘oh lovely,  thanks ‘

(cue me, struggling to get up out of my seat followed by a pro-waddle for a few steps, stop,take a deep breath……)

‘kate, sit back down hun,  I’ll do it ‘

‘are you sure,  I don’t mind ‘😜

…waddle back a bit quicker to my seat 😂

9) Playing the labour game with your other half and friends.

After about 35 weeks, every now and then, let out a quick loud ‘labour’ groan. Their faces are priceless!

Mike never fails to jump 5 foot in the air and scream ‘what,what, is this it!? ‘

😂😂…..

‘oh, no, false alarm  While you’re up babe could you do me a cuppa and a cheese and ham toastie, cheers ‘ 😉
10) The closeness it brings us as a family.   I love laying on the sofa with Libby’s head on my tummy,  the boys asking if the baby and I are OK and talking about all the exciting things that are going to happen over the next few weeks.

Hate: 😣

1) Putting on weight so quickly you forgot what you look like pre baby making.

2) Pregnancy brings a whole new meaning to

‘i don’t have anything to wear ‘.

Unless I want to spend £100’s on maternity clothes that make me look like pat butcher!

Jeggings, leggings,  baggy jumpers and t shirts is my wardrobe for 9 months.
My mother in law owns a lingerie shop and her first words to me as soon as we announce we are pregnant is ‘ your not wearing an underwire are u?’

Apparently that is really bad for a pregnant/nursing mum so she gives me a few really comfortable but totally unflattering maternity bras.

3) Mental hormones, last week I was in the car with mike and the kids when they said something that made me laugh.  My laugh turned from a Giggle to hysterical laughing to hysterical crying within 30 seconds.  It was so crazy the kids were getting scared and I couldn’t calm down to tell them not to worry.

Mike was looking at me like I was something from the exorcist which made me laugh and cry even more.

When we got home the kids Sent me to bed and told me ‘ you need some rest, you’re not normal ‘

4) Heartburn, it’s just constant and I drink more milk than my new born will at the moment.

5) Sleepless nights,  everyone associates sleep deprivation with a newborn but no one tells you about the 3 months of broken sleep you will get in your third trimester. If it’s not a full bladder it’s restless legs, aching back or vivid, nasty dreams.

Guarenteed, at least once in every pregnancy I have a dream Mike cheated on me.   They are so vivid I wake up, snarl and ignore him for the rest of the day!

6) piles – say no more

7) No botox or cosmetic procedures – I have aged 4 years in 6 months!

8) Lack of energy, as I lay here, writing this Its 9.07am, George is in bed with me but I should be up getting some washing and housework done.

9) Food…..no alcohol, no yummy cheese,  no pate, no shellfish, no liver, no runny eggs, no coffee, no sushi and ironically, guess what my cravings are!?  😠

10) That stage of pregnancy when you don’t look pregnant but there is no doubt you are packing a few more pounds….  Urgh!

Do you have any Loves or Hates of pregnancy to add? I would love to hear.


Midwife and Life

Petworth and The Three Crowns, Wisborough Green

​I am really lucky when it comes to my relationship with Mike.

Being self employed he is at home alot of the time.  

This would drive most wives to murder! But, as it happens,  I quite like it!  
He often joins me for a coffee with the girls in the morning, listens to us moan about shit we find to moan about and then lightens the mood with one of his cocky comments.
I’m completely going of the subject of my post!

What I’m getting at is that he often suggests a random trip out after I’ve dropped the kids off to school.  
It might be that he has a job to price up or check on so we could be off anywhere (I’m writing this blog from the car on our way to Clapham)

Just before Xmas we took a trip out to a place called Petworth.

Petworth is a beautiful, small town in West Sussex, about 30 minutes from Horsham.
A town made up of cobbled streets, antique markets and beautiful boutiques.

We didn’t have much time there as we were restricted by the school pick up but there is a national trust property there which I will save for my next visit. 
Obviously I managed to find enough time to check all the shops out!  

I was so pleased with a bunch of real mistletoe I treated myself to 😘

The indoor antique Market is fantastic. If you like quirky bits for your house that add character or you just love a mooch around, looking at vintage gems it is definatly worth visiting. 

Some of the items we looked at I’m certain would be ten times the price on Kings Road!

After We left Petworth we stopped for lunch at a lovely pub on our way home in a little place called Wisborough Green.
It is a beautiful, quirky village pub set on a picturesque green.

On arriving our welcome was perfectly fitting! 

It was like popping to your favourite aunties who you haven’t seen in years. 

The owner greeted us,  she was over the moon to see George (if you have kids you know how reassuring it is to know kids are welcome, Lots of pubs have an over 50’s only attitude).

After seating us she went through the menu and explained that all locally their meat and seasonal veg are locally produced on nearby farms. She then offered her preference on the dishes, which I loved! 

We were introduced to the two family shit-tzus who wander around the pub and greet all the visiting dogs at the door. 
They did the perfect job of cleaning the floor around George, not that my son tends to waste any of his food! We are usually lucky if he comes away from lunch with his fingers in tact! 

Unfortunately, after a coffee and cake at Petworth neither of us were hungry enough to order a full lunch so we opted for a starter each. 
Mike went for The seafood chowder, which he thoroughly enjoyed and dispite it being a starter, hit the spot perfectly and was washed down with a recommended pint of Ale.

I opted for the sticky pigs cheek with black pudding. Again,  it was absolutely delicious.  Thanks to baby number six, mine was washed down with a lemonade and lime but then someone had to drive us back 😉

George had a lovely sausage and mash, unfortunately it was so good that the dogs went hungry. 

All of this accompanied by a friendly banter with the owner /hostess and the impeccably mannered staff. 
Whether it’s a family lunch out in the country,  a dog walk followed by a drink and a bite to eat or a romantic dinner I massivly recommend this wonderful pub!

http://mobile.dudasite.com/site/thethreecrownsinncom?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thethreecrownsinn.com%2F&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2F#2943

Happy New Years……Resolutions? 

​2016 has been an exciting year for me.   My new addition, George has given me his first giggles, crawled, taken his first steps and become a fully fledged toddler.

I watch my beautiful sister in law get married on one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.

I spent a fantastic weekend in Dublin with some of my favourite girls. 

I found out we are expecting baby number 6 and started my Modernmum blog.

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me throughout my blogging experience.😘

I have met some wonderful new people through this journey and still feel it is only just beginning.   

Looking forward to seeing you on the other side…2017! 🎊🎉

I was chilling in the bath earlier,   thinking about what my new years resolutions will be for 2017.
I’ve never made NY resolutions before (mainly because I know I’ll never keep them,  why add pressure!?) 
But this year, I feel like I want to challange myself,  to see if I am capable.   

So here it goes….   

-Being pregnant I’m not about to put pressure on myself to lose weight,  however,  baby is due in April.  By next Xmas I would like to be pre pregnancy weight. #goals

-Stop convincing myself Libby’s messy bun is an acceptable school hairstyle.   Actually start brushing and tieing it up neatly every morning. 

-Take George to more toddler groups and less coffee shops. 

-Start working at a desk rather than on the laptop infront of the TV.

-Always make sure the kids have lots of paper/supplies for homework projects.  They get so embarrassed taking in a scrappy bit of A4 when little jonny looks like Monet has done his homework. 

-With the children,  sign up to at least three charity fundraisers.

-No more dogs! 
-Always answer my mobile phone, even if I know it is cold callers, politely tell them to fuck off.

-Go out for more family walks,  such a cheap fun way to spend time together.  If we end up at the local pub… Even better!

-Stick with this blogging lark, I am really enjoying it and maybe even double my followers (feel free to share away😘)
-Get my arse into gear and make sure we have turkeys here in the summer.  Next Xmas we will be supplying your Xmas dinner) 
-Laugh more,  love more and try harder. 
So what’s your news years resolutions?  Or like me in the past,  do you just not bother? 
Happy New Year, Lots of Love
Kate xxxx

How I get shit done with a baby 

​One of the most common things I get asked as a mum of thousands of children is ‘ how do you get anything done with a baby? ‘

The answer is really simple,  at home, behind closed doors, we call it ‘ the cage’ on the outside you call it a playpen!

You could stress yourself out, intent on baking cookies with your 9 month old who cant even eat properly yet.   

Or spend hours with play doh that your toddler would rather eat than play with.

Or try and get jobs done with a year old on your hip.

All this is lovely of corse, memory making and learning but don’t let the ‘perfect mum’ give you shit for needing to get stuff done,  especially when you have older children that still need your attention.
When George was a baby I used the playpen to keep him safe.


So that I could go and start dinner, sort the washing out, help the others with homework or simply chill out for 10 minutes without the worry that Libby might start feeding him like one of her dolls or the dog didn’t lick his face after giving their doggy bits a chew.

As he has got older and started to crawl and walk I put a couple of his favourite toys in their and let him play.   

Not only does this give me time to get stuff done it also teaches him how to play without me,  gain confidence and problem solve. 


Obviously, before you start judging me I’m not talking about putting him in the cage and popping out for a few vodkas at the pub.

I’m usually in the next room or running up and downstairs constantly checking on him. 
By doing this when I need it it leaves me calm quality time to spend when I do sit down and bake cookies and play with the play doh (😂😂😂 whatever,  he is 15 months, I have years of that to come) when I play blocks, helping him climb in and out of his toy car or play who can scream the loudest.
My point is,  don’t try and be a martyr, it doesn’t hurt them to play on their own for a while while you do whatever you need to get done or just sit down with a cuppa.
I have done it with all of mine.

My Girls

​I was explaining to a couple of friends over a Baileys (don’t judge me) how I feel like I’ve lost my mojo a bit when it comes to my blog. 
I always love sitting down with a cuppa and boring you all with my life tales, but lately I just haven’t been able to motivate myself.
I have reviews I want to do,  subjects I want to write about but everytime I sit down I either fall asleep or end up catching up on Facebook gossip.
When I was telling the girls about this today they did what my friends do everytime,  pulled my head out of my arse,  cheered me up and motivated me.
 My friend Kate wrote a list of subjects on my phone she thought would be good to hear about.  


I was just going through them when I realised what I want to write about first is how special my friendships are and how they help me cope in life. 

This pregnancy had sent my hormones round the twist.   
I feel myself snapping and narking at anything and anyone. 


Last week I screamed at one of my really close friends in the bakery Isle at Aldi for taking the last tray of fairy cakes!
I found myself crying my eyes out when Band Aid played on the radio and then again when the heroine addict on Jeremy Kyle agreed to re hab!  
The other little treat I have found I have  with baby six is my honestly filter has disappeared.

If your lipstick looks shit you will probably get told,

If I need a Piss I will probably let you know 

If you are boring me, my eyes start rolling
You get the idea.
That being said,  my friends are amazing, they have put up with my bullshit hormones and even laughed at them. 


When I doubt my parenting skills they reassure me and don’t hold back correcting me if I need it. 
 

They understand when I don’t text straight back because I’m up to my elbows in baby shit and housework. 

They understand if I blow them out because after three sleepless nights with George I just want to curl up on the sofa.

They understand if I forget one of their birthdays because my brain is like a squashed melon. 
They understand when they come over and I haven’t got dressed properly. 

I have no bra on,  hair scraped up in a messy bun (and not one of those sexy messy buns) no make up and toothpaste down my top. 

I would like to raise a glass to friendship and my girls 😘
God know what I would do without them!
Right,  I’m off now to work on my blog 😉

 

My little man

I’ve been finding it hard to blog lately. 

Since George turned one he up’ed his game massivly.
He has gone from a quiet little baby who sits contently playing in his playpen (or cage to you that know us well) to a walking,  talking, shouting Hitler whos day consists of eating,  tipping up the dogs water bowl,  eating some more,  shitting and then eating again. 

Happy times though,  He has started saying my name! It’s so cute! 
He hasn’t learned that whine yet, He just walks around saying 

‘ mum, mum, mum, mum ‘ 

Let’s see how long that little novelty lasts before the sound ‘mum’ has me scratching at my eyes! 

When my babies are born i always make the mistake of strutting around with my beautiful new baby telling everyone how lucky I am that he is so good. 
This was true,  he was good,  most babies are when all they do is sleep,  drink milk and poo.

It’s when they start crawling/walking and learning the art of manipulation that things start to change. 

When I had the twins I used to take a high and mighty ‘i will not give in ‘ approach……not anymore. 

George wants chocolate,  I say no,  George screams,  I give him the chocolate. 

…..bad, bad mum 

All that aside, I am loving every precious moment with my number five.  
He is growing into a sweet, funny and affectionate little boy, just like his big brothers USED to be🙈.

I am so excited to see what he makes of his new little brother when he arrives.