Saturday, 25 April 2015

Todays baby changing bag

I absolutely love changing bags and pink lining are up there with my favourite. I have about 8 changing bags that I use.

This blooming gorgeous one is lovely, I really like the print and how spacious it is, you can fit so much inside while. Enough for a day out at the zoo for a family of 4 - it's been put to the test twice this month already! I love that theres two carrying options with this bag and I love (very important to me) that even though it's 'big' it still fits in my pushchairs shopping basket meaning I don't have to have it on the handle bar. The two side pockets are coming in very handy now that Isabelle is having bottles of milk during the day - the breastfeeding needed to come to a slow end at some point didn't it? I'm still doing the morning feed and expressing at night so that shes got some milk for porridge should she want it (currently turns her nose up at the porridge!)

I don't leave the house without the things below... as well as some spare clothes ofcourse!

OK OK once recently I left the house without my keys - oops. I'm still loving aden+anais muslins even though Isabelle is 13 months old, I just think they're so handy to use as a blanket now the weathers a little bit better. Isabelle often likes to snuggle one to get comfy or ofcourse play peek-a-boo! Nappies and wipes are a must, having said this I did run out the other day... I've now stocked up on them. I like to take Isabelle's toy teething keys incase she might like to have them over my actual keys... doesn't always work!

There's not much 'safe' food for Isabelle so on days out we really rely on taking these Ella's kitchen pouches, the two that are safe for her are - Strawberries and apples, Bananas and apples. Now she's older there's no need for a spoon and she just eats it from the pouch.

Finally we love to take out a 'That's not my...' book, Isabelle absolutely loves these and we are trying to get a little collection together. This is a new one she recently got, I think it's newly released too.

What do you never leave the house without?

Friday, 24 April 2015

Evan Thomas Pheasant 27/10/2014 - 06/02/2015 Little Hearts Matter

I want to tell you all about my friend's little hero called Evan.

My lovely friend Lucy, recieved some devastating news at her routine anomaly scan on 24th June 2014 that her baby boy was suspected to have a congenital heart condition called Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS - half a heart) and they were refered to Leeds hospital for a diagnosis, which was fairly quick 2 days later. It was confirmed that baby had HLHS, Lucy and her partner Geoff were given options - terminate the pregnancy or continue and opt for surgery on their baby boy once he was born. They went ahead with their pregnancy (and had the most gorgeous little man I might add).

At the end of August another problem was detected and they were transferred to Birmingham Womens and Birmingham Childrens hospital. On Lucy's birthday 2nd September Birmingham hospital detected another problem - a restrictie Atrial Septum. They were then given their options again, they declined because they had come this far and were determined not to give up on their little boy. At their next appointment 28 days later they had another scan which told them the problems hadn't got worse, baby was growing as he should and other than his heart there were no concerns. Lucy was booked into Birmingham to be induced on 24th October.

Evan Thomas Pheasant was born on 27th October at 9:28pm, he went to the neonatal ward and the next day transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital where 3 days later, 30th October he had his first surgery and recovery was amazing, resulting in Evan being discharged from hospital on 10th November 2014 at only 2 weeks old - he was just 11 days after having open heart surgery!

Sadly Evan passed away on 6th February 2015 during a routine outpatients appointment, he was just 14 weeks old.

Now his mummy Lucy is keen to raise money for the charity Little Hearts Matter - a charity which supports families of children born with a single ventricle (half a heart) because the support they offered to her and her family including other children was amazing, without them they wouldn't of had as much information as they did.Obviously they are really grateful for them and want to help them... which is why I'm writing this post now.... I'm so proud of her, her first coffee morning raised over £700 which is amazing and she's not stopping there either!

On 24th May 2015, there will be a tea, coffee and cake morning at Dolly's Diner - 63 Storforth Lane Trading Estate, S410QZ Chesterfield which will be at 11am-2pm to raise money for Little Hearts Matter.

If you're local please try to attend.

If you're a brand or PR company and would like to get involved by donating a raffle prize please please get in touch and I will send you Lucy's details for things to be sent straight to her. Anything will be really greatfully recieved to make money for this wonderful charity.

please like Evan's facebook page here -
Mary-Kate, x

c-section mums

I saw this recently online and it really annoyed me, I know I shouldn't let it because it's actually by a 'religious' group that would rather see women and their babies die than have a c-section - makes sense doesn't it?! *sarcastic face here*

'Face the facts: you didn't really give birth' well actually I had a baby... so to me that's the same thing!

'You caught a lucky break' well I'm still alive and so is my baby if that's what you mean... but lucky break? Anyone who has had a c-section knows just how hard it is to have a Cesarean section, planned or unplanned. How hard it is to recover afterwards and the personal feelings you feel about needing to have a c-section.

Mine was an emergency, I had a cord prolapse and if I didn't have a c-section when I did we both wouldn't have made it, now this religious group thinks God would prefer both me and my child to be dead? No. It's 2015 and we are so so lucky we know what we know about c-sections and saving our precious babies lives and those of mothers too.

Cord prolapse is definitely rare.  I had a general anaesthetic, I was by myself because Michael wasn't allowed in. I didn't get to see my baby being born and I didn't get to hold her straight away, I didn't even see her face for an hour after she was born and there was no skin to skin... I don't call that lucky.

I had major surgery. I didn't have any pain relief before hand, no epidural. So it was absolutely agony when I woke up.... that wasn't 'easy'. To me it made me feel rubbish, I felt like I had failed by needing the help of a c-section but once I had (some) sleep I realised I was the luckiest mum in the world to still have my baby and no matter how she arrived on this earth, she's here and safe. I will be forever grateful to the team of people that done my c-section. The midwife who made sure Isabelle didn't cut off her oxygen supply, keeping her alive. The doctor who held my hand telling me everything was going to be ok while I just on repeat said "please don't let my baby die".

It's amazing what doctors can do! According to my records from examination and the button being pressed for an emergency to Isabelle being out was only 8 minutes. 8 minutes to save two lives considering everything they needed to do. Amazing right? It feels weird that I will be one of the only women those midwives will witness having a cord prolapse.

When the doctor turned to the midwife and said cord prolapse - she said "you're joking?!". She was such a lovely midwife too.

Superior women who actually had what it took to get the job done - I have done labour, my first child. Naturally. Easy peasy for me. 2 hours 45 minutes and then another 2 hours for placenta to come out.. recovery was 2nd degree tears and I can tell you it was so so much easier to recover than it was after a c-section.

Recovery - sleepless nights and trying to recover from major surgery isn't something that would be ok with any other operation. Exercises you need to do, even though you've got everything a new mum needs to do too, you're in pain and you're tired.

Oh and by the way, silly people who made that silly picture - I didn't get choice whether I 'wanted' or even agreed to a c-section, the decision and rightly so was made for me by the doctor. It was described as a 'real medical emergency'.

C-section mums, I salute you. It's hard and you deserve a massive hug! x

Glue ear - it's time for grommets

For months now we have known that Oliver has glue ear, turning the tv up high, not doing as well as he could be in school, ignoring us and getting told off for it all led us to believe something was wrong with Oliver's hearing. Then one day he come out of school and told me that one of his friends said that Oliver had 'snot' coming out of his ear. I took him straight to the doctors after school and he said that Oliver had glue ear. Oliver had 3 hearing tests over the months and didn't do so well on them, so after waiting 3 months from consultant appointment to another follow up appointment it was decided he will have grommets fitted in both ears. More than half of all cases of glue ear clear up by themselves but sometimes it just doesn't happen.

Why treatment is required for us - Oliver can hardly hear at all when he's got a cold it's terrible, the rest of the time I'm shouting or repeating myself or making him look at me so he can see my lips and put the peices together of what I'm saying. It's causing significant problems with his learning and speech development, he is actually starting to have speech and language therapy as he struggles with S and Z. S often being replaced with F and making perfectly innocent words sound like swear words.

What  are grommets? a grommet is a small tube which under general anaesthetic is inserted into the ear through a small cut into their eardrum, it's designed to help drain away fluid in the middle ear and maintain air pressure. General anaesthetic is scary when it's your child having it! But it only takes around 15 minutes and the fact they do this so often makes me more at ease.

I have just got his letter to say that he will be having his pre op in May and he will have his grommets fitted on 1st June - which is much quicker than I had thought it would be on NHS waiting list so I'm really greatful that my little boy will be able to hear properly soon, especially before starting year 2 at school.

I'm going to put together a little bag for him to keep him entertained while he's in hospital - you know how boring these places are and without a doubt there will be some sort of delay... anyone suggest anything he might like to take with him?

Mary-Kate, x

That's not my .... books for babies

Isabelle loves books, I can't tell you how many times a day she likes to get all of her books out, sometimes you just give up and leave them out. Who wan't a tidy house anyway? At the moment her favourites are the 'That's not my...' range by Usborne. That's not my panda, thats not my lion, thats not my frog... the list goes on because although we obviously do not own them all there are currently 44 board books in the range. They are great for babies with their patches of different textures and bright colours throughout, fantastic for helping little ones to develop sensory and language skills.

Oliver actually had some of these books when he was a baby, there wasn't 44 in the collection then so I'm sure the range has grown alot over the last 4 years and I have a feeling it will continue to grow in the years to come.

Does your little one like the thats not my range? Which is their favourite?

Mary-Kate, x

a little breastfeeding rant

I'll start this post by saying that I am in no way shape or form anti bottle feeding, I genuinely think it doesn't matter how you feed your baby just so long as you actually feed your baby. I didn't successfully breastfeed Oliver all those years ago, I gave up after 24 hours and then combined fed because I didn't think I was making enough milk and I thought those normal newborn cries meant my baby was starving. Looking back I can see what I needed was support and to be educated on breastfeeding, ideally before I'd even started.

Anyway this time I have been more successful with breastfeeding and I think thats due to the support I've had. My original aim was 6 weeks and now Isabelle is 13 months old I'm still doing the morning feed and expressing milk in the evening to use for her porridge. I struggled with breastfeeding so much and I continued to feed Isabelle even when I was told by a doctor to stop because she has cows milk protein allergy, I refused knowing that I'd spent the last 11 weeks doing something I didn't want to end, so I went dairy free - yep I gave up my chocolate to be able to breastfeed my little one and at 10 months I went egg free too at which point Isabelle started sleeping much much better.Gutted because poached eggs on toast is my favourite but obviously it's much more important to me to be able to breastfeed her.

When you breastfeed you have to do all of the feeds, every time that little teeny tiny human gets up in the night, there's no one else that can feed them it's just you unlike if you're bottle feeding your partner could help out a bit.

After having a c-section I found it very hard to get up out of the bed and our first night in hospital after having a general anasthetic I spent the night on the chair because Isabelle was awake all night. I was on a ward with 4 other people and all their babies were sleeping... mine was just screaming and feeding continously. A midwife came in, asked me if I wanted a bottle of formula so that I could get some sleep... no thanks. Instead I just sat there, the same midwife came back in the morning and told me how well I'd done. I felt like telling her to do one because she was useless, she hadn't helped me when I so clearly needed it, instead she sat in her office thing on her phone! The next day I asked a breastfeeding supporter to come to see me after she had finished with someone else but she obviously forgot because she never turned up. I hated being in that hospital, the only one who helped was a student midwife who worked the day shift. No support was hard.

When the health visitor come round for the check when Isabelle was 14 days old. She told me that I wasn't feeding my baby correctly, I needed to feed her more - baring in mind I fed her continously she cluster fed and I was getting no sleep. She then asked to check baby was latched on properly, because her weight gain was really slow - she was latched on fine and the health visitor had nothing to comment on with that! Actually I was feeding my baby just fine, she was just allergic to what I was feeding her. I don't see that health visitor and she knows I dislike her. Their job surely should be to support, encourage and help new mums, not to leave you feeling rubbish, crying your heart out and being so miserable that your partner buys you a new nursing chair - thanks for that though, very comfortable!!

The old judgemental people in M&S cafe that time, who on earth do you think you are? I was covered with a Snoob breastfeeding scarf, I hadn't long had my baby by c-section, I wanted to get out of the house and it was my first time on the bus alone with her into the town. I don't want you or anyone else in this place to see my breasts I just want to feed my baby! You're intitled to your opinions ofcourse but how about you judge the lady dressed in the very low cut top and the teeny tiny skirt? Feeding a baby shouldn't offend you, if I'm covered you can't see anything - just don't look at me. And for those women who are brave enough to just get your boobs out and don't care who see's then I salute you! I'm not confident enough to even wear a swimsuit. I cover up while breastfeeding because I want to not because I have to.

Finally, the thing that made me have this little rant....... To the mum at Colchester Zoo on Sunday 19th April, as you walked past another mum sat breastfeeding her baby (covered I might add), you started to insult her, as you pushed your pushchair with your own child inside.. now you should realise how difficult it is a times having a baby whether you breastfeed or bottle feed so a little bit of understanding to a mum who was just feeding her baby would of been nice. You were saying things such as "fancy feeding your baby in that way sat there" and "how disgusting"... no it's not disgusting, it's natural and it's a beautiful bond only a mother shares with her child, if you for whatever reason decided not to breastfeed or maybe if you did breastfeed and decided to sit in a toilet while you fed your child then thats your choice but it doesn't mean other mums should be made to feel like thay have to hide to feed their child.

To all breastfeeding mums, I salute you. It's hard and no matter how long you do it for, you've done brilliantly.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

No Muu - chocolate treats

As I'm sat here eating delicious fudge - free from fudge by No Muu I thought I'd finally get around to telling you all about it...

When Isabelle was diagnosed with cows milk protien allergy, chocolate did cross my mind... what chocolate can she have? She'll be left out at easter and if she's still got the allergy when she is bigger then she will be left out at school and parties and oh the list goes on! I'm a big chocoholic too, so to actually give up chocolate to breastfeed my daughter I'm really proud of myself.

So you can imagine as a mum how happy I was when I discovered No Muu, chocolates suitable for Isabelle and not only that but also look child friendly too, they are so cute and they are actually a really good price considering they are free from! Everything free from is so expensive but the price of these chocolates was a pleasent surprise for the bank balance.

Hands up early on in the post.... I have stolen some of Isabelle's chocolate when I got desperate for a chocolate fix and I can confirm it is lovely. I have now replaced what I ate... Sorry Isabelle but I probably will do this again!

Anna, the lovely lady behind No Muu is a mum of two children a boy and a girl who both have milk intolerances - the older child is able to tolerate more dairy now which made me feel hopeful for Isabelle as she grows up. Their daughter is dairy, soya, wheat, tomato and pepper free so they understand how hard it can be with parents of multiple allergy children. No Muu was created as a family business when they had enough of being unable to find child friendly dairy free treats. (I also agree it's so difficult to do this). No Muu sells at local markets in the North East as well as on their facebook page too. Although the products are mainly aimed at children because of their own childrens intolerances, more and more adults are purchasing the chocolates so the range has been expanded.
Isabelle had her first ones on her 1st birthday and I can't tell you how excited she was, it did not last very long because the chocolate was soon finished and she demanded another one. Every time she see's one now she gets excited and starts making a weird little 'ARRRRR' noise. I was very impressed when I first tasted the chocolate, milk is my favourite but the white is just as delicious! Oliver hasn't tried one yet but now I've stocked up on some more I'm going to let him and I bet he doesn't know the difference between his and Isabelle's chocolate.
In the range you can find shapes such as robots, lego men, dinosaurs, handbags and shoes, animals, spoons, Hearts and flowers, Dogs, Horses, Owls, Jungle animals, Spoons, Pirate coins and Mice as well as their fantastic easter range which includes not only easter eggs but some of the cutest bunnies you'll see! Bags retail for approx £2 each and sometimes they have offers with 3 bags for £5 - I'm keeping my eyes peeled for it!

Please note that these chocolates are a may contain soya - there's no soya actually in the ingredients but the factory they get their raw chocolate from also handles soya.

As well  as the shapes you can also purchase chocolate slabs which weigh approx 100g and are £3.75 they make a lovely treat for dairy free adults and you can even get them in various flavours:
Milk or white chocolate with freeze dried raspberries
White and raspberry flavour with freeze dried raspberries
Milk chocolate slab with a white chocolate heart design
Milk or white chocolate with marshmallows (vegan marshmallows available)
Milk chocolate
White chocolate
Milk chocolate flavoured with orange
Milk chocolate flavoured with mint
White chocolate flavoured with raspberry.

Displaying image.jpeg
Displaying image.jpeg
Displaying image.jpeg
Displaying image.jpeg

We love these No Muu chocolates, I can't even decide upon a favourite design because they are all so cute! You can find No Muu here on facebook *click*   

I'd like to say thank you to Anna and her family for creating a free from chocolate my daughter who is dairy, soya, wheat, egg, potato, peaches, broccoli, mango, peaches and nuts free! I'm excited to see what the christmas range brings.

I'm sure this isn't going to be my only post about No Muu. As you can see, Isabelle has stocked up for a while! Which design is your favourite? Have you tried No Muu before?

Mary-Kate, x

*please note that No Muu kindly sent me a few samples in with my purchase but this review was going to be written anyone because I genuienly feel other allergy parents would benefit from knowing about No Muu.*