CampBestival 2017

Well, what an experience this was!!

On paper, this weekend was my idea of absolute hell.
Six children (two babies), a tent, rain….lots of rain, mud….lots of mud and not a tiled roof in sight!

Somehow, amongst the damp and filth, we dug deep into our British souls and managed to have a fantastic weekend (great friends and the Gin also helped).

Due to my total lack of organisation we didnt manage to secure a motorhome this year.
Instead, we opted for CB Boutique camping with a company called PodPads.

It was a six man bell tent that included a groundsheet, carpet and six campbeds with sheets.

There was enough room in our tent for our travel cot, double buggy and festival trolly.  Although, with all the paraphernalia that comes with two children under two, it was a squash in there and not much room to move around.
If the weather had been better and we could have left our bits outside it would have been much roomier.

There is a fab ‘reception tent’ where they provided us with free tea and coffee facilities and you can charge your phone free of charge.

One of the best things about Boutique camping (beside avoiding divorce while trying to errect a 6 man tent) is having the car park at a reasonable distance from your tent and being a short walk from the actual festival.

Last year, at the campervan field, it felt like a Marine assult course getting us, the five kids and a buggy from the motorhome to the festival.
Thats not meant to discourage anyone, but for us, and the ages of our children, we prefered to be closer to everything.

Next year we will head for Boutique again.  I am going to start doing my research now into what we will stay in and ill post about that over the next couple of weeks.

I would be lying if i said the weather did not affect our weekend. 
Although we all enjoyed ourselves, we didnt get to make the most of what Camp Bestival has to offer.

We tried to do as much as we could when the rain stopped, but there is so much to to do, we missed out on alot.

Having a couple of art-mad youngsters in our crowd, we headed to The Art Tent first.
The kids had a great time making dreamcatchers out of old vinyl records and cds.

Once the main acts started we headed over to Castle Field.
We rumaged for a spot like crazed fans to watch Justin Flethcher AKA Mr Tumble and then pitched up for my personal Camp Bestival highlight of the weekend…..Dick and Dom.  You’ve never know true exhilaration until you have screamed ‘BOGIES’ in the rain, like your eight year old self.

One thing that did help keep my spirits up while my Hunters were getting abused was The Alchemy Bar by Schweppes.

A Gin and Tonic cocktail bar where Special ingridiants mixed with the G&T’s added something a bit special to my already favourite drink.

So with a couple of bevvies inside us, we soldiered on.

We danced (in the rain) to All Saints, Mark Ronson, Madness, Louisa Johnson and the other amazing acts that made up the 2017 line up. 

The kids raved with Bflf in the Bollywood tent and threw some shapes at Sara Cox DJ set.

Now lets talk about the food…..oh the food!
Ive mentioned in previous posts about how much I love the Camp Bestival grub.

On the first night we had an obligitory crepe…one of the kids favourite things! Not cheap at £5 each, especially when you have as many mouths to feed as we do, but its becoming a tradition we cant resist.

The paad thai noodles are a huge hit with my little lot.  I can guarentee they will put away a portion each, no problem!!
And obvs, anything that does get left, Mike and I are ready and waiting to swoop in like seagulls on Brighton Pier!

The corn is another essential whilst at CB! I can guarentee, my instagram is always cluttered over CB weekend with gorgeous kiddies sinking their teeth into a golden, buttered corn on the cob in The Lower Kids Garden. 

Then you have Mikes playground, The Feast Collective.
This is a tent/section of the festival dedicated to different cuisines and dishes from all over the place.  Whether you fancy fish and chips or a lamb curry, The Feast Collective will sell it.
Mainly with a street food vibe, This is where i know ill find Mike if we get split up.

We tried DJBBQ pulled pork burger, which was everything i had hoped for after salivating over his Instagram over the last few months.
We tried chips, cheese and gravy which i am convinced would make the best hangover food and was another winner with the kids .
The dish of the weekend for me had to be the Indonesian Coconut Curry and dumplings…..it was the BEST curry I have ever had!

Another great thing about Camp Bestival is that you can bring your own food and drink into the grounds. 
So, as tempting as it is to just keep browsing the stalls, trying a dish ever hour, bringing your own bits will save your pennies.

The rain finally eased off on Sunday afternoon so thats when we headed to The Dingly Dell.

This is an area in the woods with a childrens park, farm animals and outdoor activities like zip wires, childrens building sites and Lizzies Way.
Now, im not going to lie, I haven’t made it to Lizzies Way.
I have been told by my other blogging friends that this is a highlight of Camp Bestival.
All i needed to hear was, in the middle of the woods, she has a mud cafe and you can make potions!!…this is enough to make sure it is our first stop on the list for next year!

Over the next couple of weeks I will publish more posts on Camp Bestival. 
I will cover more about the accomodation options, what to see, saving money and travelling there etc.

For now, the purpose of my post is to say, despite the weather, Camp Bestival 2017 was brilliant weekend, making more unforgettable memories with the kids, which, afterall, is what its all about.

The tickets for 2018 have just been released and ticketline offer a paymentplan.

You can book your tickets and pay them off weekly which I have done for last two years and it works so well.

Boutique options are not available yet but if you secure your weekend tickets, they include standard camping pitches. 

If I have managed to convince any of you to go, please let me know and we can keep in touch over the next few months and maybe even hook up over a G&T  in the Magic Meadow next year 😉

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it on your social media.

Love Kate x 

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!? 

What do I need for Labour? Hospital or Homebirth

​A few mums,  particularly first time mums,  have asked me to do a blog on what you actually need when you go into labour. 

I am going to start packing my hospital bag/homebirth box this week (I am 34 weeks pregnant) although you can get it ready whenever it suits you.   

Bear in mind, women are classed full term at 37 weeks and it certainly isn’t unusual for babies to come early so don’t leave it to late to get your stuff ready. 
I have broken it down a bit, this is just my personal list.
For a hospital bag:
Pregnancy Notes– Midwives and doctors will not be impressed of you turn up without them and the chances are your birthing partner will be sent back home to pick them up. 
Tens Machine – everyone knows about my love for a tens machine, I am lucky enough that a tens machine helps me from early labour to transition with bearable pain.  

Your tens will probably be strapped to you before you even leave for hospital (it is more effective the earlier you use it) but pop it in your hospital bag so you know where it is when you need it.

Loose tracksuit – or trousers and a t shirt to travel home in, something that is not to tight (your tummy is still tender after baby is born).  
Knickers – pack a few pairs of maternity Knickers or a size bigger than you usually wear.   

Contrary to what posh spice would have you believe, you still have a   ‘Baby bump’ for a little while after birth. 


Lipsalve or Vaseline – labour is hardwork and with all the panting you do or gas and air, your lips can dry out quickly. 

 
Hair bands – When I’m sweating and mean business I can not tolerate my hair sweaping in front of my face. 

Make up– look, everyone will tell you you don’t care about how you look when you are in labour and I would completly agree.  

However,  if you are staying in hospital for a day or so and are expecting visitors you might want to pop a bit of blusher and mascara on.   

Honestly,  my last few births I couldn’t care less, but I have been at home and able to hide upstairs from guests if I want to. 

When I had the twins (my first)  the next morning I couldn’t wait to have a wash and put some slap on.   

Yep that’s right,  I wanted to give the impression of totally nailing this baby lark.  

If I could give myself some advice I would say, why did you bother!?  no visitors even noticed you.   

They were too busy cooing over the new babies,  but it made me feel better and if it makes you feel better, pack it!  

Wine gums – My midwives have always told me to have some wine gums or a similar sweets with you.   They give you a quick energy burst if you start to feel tired or weak during labour. 

Shampoo/bodywash/toothbrush and toothpaste – it always makes you feel better to have a good wash after delivery. 
Nipple pads – Obvs to prevent any leakages.  
Bikini top – Incase you fancy a water birth but don’t want to bear all in the tub 😉
Book/ magazines – Some labours can go on for a while so you might want to take something to occupy yourself.   

This is why I would try to stay at home as long as you can,  I find it easier to pass the time at home rather than in a hospital. 
Phone / Camera and charger – labour can take a while and let’s face it,  none of us can cope for too long without Facebook or Instagram! 

If you’re not as sad as me you will at least want your phone charged ready for pics of your gorgeous new bubba.
While on the subject of photos, may I give you a word of advice? 

Get someone to take photos straight after delivery.   

It is the last thing you think of when pushing baby out but I have no pics of my first cuddle with my first four children.

My photo with George I absolutly cherish, I look rough as anything and it is far from a glamorous selfie,but looking at it reminds me of that wonderful moment. 

It is a regret I have with my others, I was too concerned about how I looked to let anyone photo me!  

Newborn nappies –  4lb to 11lb usually covers all possibilities, whether you have a dinky dolly or a bigger beauty.
Cotton Wool – you aren’t suppose to use baby wipes on newborn babies.   

You are told to use warm water and cotton wool.   I’m not going to lie,  at the risk of being told off, I never used cotton wool with my last two babies.   It’s fiddly and really awkward,  I use fragrance free baby wipes. 


Clothes– three vests, three babygrows, a hat and a cardigan/coat.  

Anticipate that you might be in hospital for a couple of days after the birth.   

That is unlikely, and even if you do have to stay in I am sure someone could bring in some extra clothes for you. 

Having said that, babies can make a mess quite easily so I would pack at least three of each anyway. 

I have always been told, the rule of thumb is, a baby should always wear one more layer of clothing than you.   So depending on the time of year your baby is due you may need a couple of extra layers.


Blanket – to wrap your brand new bundle up in. 
Two bottles and formula – if you dont plan to breastfeed then take a couple of small bottles and carton / bottle of ready made formula.  my hospital provided both but just incase things are different at yours it’s best to be prepared. 
Car Seat – It’s easily forgotten when you are in a rush to get to hospital but don’t forget you will need a car seat to bring baby home in.  Some hospital won’t discharge you without one. 
Maternity pads– giving birth is a messy business!  my tip is to actually forget maternity pads and get incontinence pads from the supermarket,they are usually cheaper and….. The thicker the better.  

Imagine your heaviest period…the hours/days post birth is worse! 
Pjs– a nice clean set of maternity pajamas so that you are as comfortable as possible after baby is born. I love the Anita range, they are super comfortable but pretty with it. 

For a Homebirth:


For a homebirth you will still need everything listed above.  

It is still best to have everything packed in a hospital bag,  just incase,  like me,  you have to dash to the hospital at the last minute. 
Birthing Pool– I loved my water/homebirth.   It was more simple than you would think to set up.  I used an Eco Pool which came with everything, I highly recommend it.  

https://www.birthpoolinabox.co.uk/home
 Just make sure you set it up early and close to a toilet /bathroom so you don’t have to walk around the house soaking wet.

Four or Five Towels – preferably old towels so that you can just throw everything away afterwards but you can buy cheap towels from primark or tesco if not. 

Bin bags – to scoop everything up and throw away.
Incontinence Bed Pads – you can buy these of Amazon,  they are so cheap and I used them for a couple of weeks after the births.   They save your bedclothes/mattress/sofa and if you have some left over,  put them in the cupboard and they come in useful if your darlings go through a bed-wetting stage! 
Paracetamol – it might sound silly but make sure you have some handy as those early contractions can be controlled by paracetamol and it will help you get a bit of sleep before showtime.
Movies – Download a couple of good movies or box sets and have some music ready. 
Clean duvet covers and bed sheets – I always make sure I have a fresh bed set in my bedroom.   Whether I give birth in hospital or at home, there is nothing nicer than getting into a fresh bed with your new baby after you have showered and put your clean clothes on.  


This obviously isn’t essential,  just a good way of putting that ‘nesting’ energy you have a few days before birth to good use. 
For more natural pain relief options take a look at my other post

https://modernmum.net/2017/02/02/tips-to-help-your-labour/
If you have found this post useful or know someone who is expecting a baby please share this on your social media.

😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘

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