A co-sleeping dilemma

Jasmine, every night at one point or another you end up sleeping in our bed. It doesn’t matter how asleep you seem to be when we put you in your crib, the moment your back touches that mattress you are wide awake and nothing but mummy and daddy’s bed will do. I try to stay strong while you kick your legs and flail your arms around whilst making whimpering noises. Ultimately, I always give in. I scoop you up and place you next to me with your head resting on my arm, just how you like it. Immediately you settle and the only noise I can hear now is your sweet breathing sounds.

The truth is, you end up in our bed 1) I am so utterly exhausted and I know it’s the only way I’ll get some sleep and 2) because I feel the need to be as close to you as much as you do me. I grew you in my belly for 9 months and now that you’re here I spend the best part of the day with you in my arms so at night time that extra 50cm between us whilst you’re in your cot seems like half the world away.

I’m so, SO aware of how fast the time is going – I already feel the days slipping away through my fingers and I desperately want to hold on to every precious newborn moment. When you sleep next to me it’s like I’m pressing the pause button – as far as I’m concerned, everything else stops momentarily and I get to soak you up for a little longer. I nestle my nose into your hair and just breathe you in. Your sweet smell, there really is nothing else like it. I watch your chest rise and fall whilst listening to the gentle sound of  your breath…in…out…in…out. Suddenly nothing else matters but what’s happening right here and now.

I do worry that I’m being dangerous and putting you at risk by having you in bed with us and it was never my intention to co-sleep. So many people can’t wait to tell me how irresponsible and selfish I’m being. Maybe I am being selfish and irresponsible but it feels like the most natural thing to do – to have my baby close to me.

That moment when you instantly settle the second your skin touches mine, it feels like a magic trick. Even more magical than pulling a rabbit out of a hat or making a scantily clad woman disappear into thin air.

I am always relieved when you do fall asleep in your own bed as I know it’s the safest place for you to be but when you do end up next to me, and you nearly always do, I intend to relish it. I’m sorry if that makes me a terrible mother.

Jenna xx

 

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Going home

If you’ve read my previous posts then you will know that aside from my mum living all the way in New Zealand, the rest of my family and friends are based 195 miles away in Bristol which is where I was born and raised. When I moved away from the city it was always my intention to go back home as often as possible. In reality, it is a lot harder to get back there on a regular basis but now that Jasmine is here I am going to try even harder to get back to Bristol as much as I can. I want to share Jasmine with the people I love and likewise I want them to be part of her life.
This weekend, at almost 6 weeks old, Jasmine met my Dad, brother and friends for the first time. Better late than never.
Here’s some of my favourite photos from the weekend (I got a bit snap happy!):
DAY ONE 
Jasmine’s got her hat on, she’s coming out to play!
We tried to cram as much in as possible each day. On Saturday the weather was glorious so first on the agenda was a dog walk with some friends…
Cuddles with (Fake) Auntie Laura
Cuddles with (Fake) Auntie Sarah
That’s right, there was a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer on fake aunties (every kid has them!) as Laura and Sarah are identical twins! 
L & S with their pooches – Bella and Spencer
Laura is a neonatal nurse and Sarah works as a nanny so they’re great for little hints and tips when it comes to looking after tiny humans! 
I think this might be our first proper family photo!
Next up – Stephen, Jasmine and I met up with my best friends Jeni and Jodie for ice creams and sandwiches in the park…

I adored watching my bezzie mate Jeni hold Jasmine. It was the first time she’d held a newborn baby. I think she looks like a natural! :)
Jodie having cuddles with a rather windy Jasmine.
❤ Love these girls! ❤
Later that evening (after a little siesta back at the hotel and a shower to freshen up!) all 7 of us met up again to go for a meal at Frankie and Bennys. It was a brilliant end to fabulous summer day with some of my favourite people. 
A post-frankie and bennys girly snap sans Stephen and Jasmine.
DAY TWO
A visit to my Dad’s house to meet the famalam…
Jasmine and very proud Grandad!
Huggleberries with Uncle Matt.
Snoozing in the arms of Auntie Bethany ❤ 
After a long, hot and tiring car journey home, I let my Dad know that we’d arrived back safely and I got this reply from him: 
This in itself made every second we spent sweltering in our little car on the M25 worth it. Every second. 
I’m so happy that my friends and family have finally met my baby girl. It was an awesome weekend and now that I’m home I’m trying hard not to feel deflated and down. The sun is shining and I intend to enjoy every second of it while it lasts and contemplate my next trip home… 
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PS. Keep an eye out for my next post, I’ll be writing about my favourite Newborn Travel Essentials! 

Our ‘Big Scream’ experience (Bury St Edmunds)

As much as I love spending all day, every day with Jasmine, I’ve started to realise the importance of getting out of the house and doing ‘normal things’. I think it’s vital for new mums to break up the monotony of nappy changes and feeds with other activities. I’ve made it my mission to try and discover as many local mum and baby friendly activities as possible.

As an avid film enthusiast I was pleased to discover that a cinema in my town, Abbeygate Cinema, has it’s very own ‘Big Scream’ club. Every Thursday morning parents have the opportunity to go along to the cinema’s ‘Big Scream’ film screening which welcomes mums, dads and babies under the age of one. How brilliant is that?!

Our ‘Big Scream’ experience (Bury St Edmunds):

Last Thursday I took Jasmine on our first ever mummy/daughter date to the movies! The film being shown on that particular day was ‘Tracks’ – a drama based on the memoir of Robyn Davidson, the woman who walked solo across 1,700 miles of Australian desert.

It was absolutely pouring down with rain that morning so I was very glad to get inside the building which is tucked away down Hatter Street in Bury St Edmunds. I parked my buggy in the lobby (next to a huge array of other prams and pushchairs) and then had a mooch around the place as I was a little early for my film.

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After a quick nosey around, the girl and I headed upstairs to find our screen. I had my e-ticket already which I had printed out at home – no queueing for tickets is definitely a bonus. I simply showed my printed ticket to the member of staff waiting outside the screen and went in to choose my seat. We were the first ones there so we had our pick of where to sit. I decided to sit on one of the little two-seater sofas at the back of the room. That way I could sprawl all of mine and Jasmine’s bits and bobs out and be able to reach them easily whilst the film was on. The sofa was so comfy and Jasmine stayed snuggled to my chest the entire time.

I noticed on the way in that there were several changing mats laid out and a bin for dirty nappies so you could deal with any stinky messes mid-film and not miss a thing!

Gradually more mums and dads appeared with their little ones (most of which were fast asleep!) Crying babies throughout the film (Jasmine included) was inevitable but it honestly didn’t matter. Once I got over the surreal experience of changing a baby’s nappy on the back seat of a cinema screen, I really felt relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the film. I’m happy to report that it’s the first film I’ve managed to watch to the end since Jasmine was born!

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I loved my first mummy and daughter date at the movies. I mean, who else can you go to the pictures with, accidentally drop popcorn on their head and not hear any complaints?! (On that topic, even though I’m fully aware as to where my mouth is, why is it so hard to eat popcorn in a dark room?!)

The morning gave a whole new meaning to ‘smooching in the back row’ as I was able to give Jasmine kisses and cuddles until my heart was content whilst still enjoying a ‘normal’ activity that I really didn’t think I’d be doing just 4 weeks after Jasmine’s arrival.

I can see these trips to The Picture House being a regular occurrence from now on. I’ve since found out that the local NCT Bumps and Babies group also meet at the Picture House on Thursday mornings (before the Big Scream film) and perhaps if I’m feeling brave next time I’ll pop in and say hello!

NCT Bumps and Babies meet up: 10:00-11:30am (Free of charge)

Big Scream movie starts at 11:15am every Thursday – tickets cost £7 per adult (Babies go free)

I’d love to know what activities you enjoy doing with your babies in your local area?

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Expanding the pack

I must admit, even before the arrival of Jasmine I had considered us a ‘family of three’. As far as I was concerned I was already a mum to my furbaby, Heidi. She is a huge part of my life so I thought it was high time I introduced you to her…
For over 10 years I have wanted a Miniature Schnauzer, ever since I got my first job working as Dog Groomer’s Assistant at the age of 16. I fell in love with the breed, with their characteristic beard and eyebrows. I also adored their sweet nature and to this day have never come across a bad-tempered or nasty schnauzer. Circumstances meant that I wouldn’t be able to get my own puppy until I had reached the ripe old age of 26 and had settled down with my fella. In July last year we moved into our own place with a garden big enough for a dog and month later we were on our way to Norwich to pick up Heidi, our miniature schnauzer puppy!
Little did I know that just two weeks after collecting Heidi from the breeders I would find out that I was expecting a  baby. Initially I was overwhelmed with guilt, I had brought this dog into our lives and now I felt like we wouldn’t be able to give it the love and attention she deserved. This wasn’t helped by the fact that it took me a while to bond with our pooch because I was spending all day, every day with my head down the toilet puking my guts up. Stephen was brilliant and took Heidi for all of her walks in those first few weeks, and more importantly took care of the poop scooping! The thought of dealing with that made me gag.
Heidi was very curious about what was in Mummy’s bump!
Slowly the morning sickness wore off (thank God!) and I was able to spend more quality time with Heidi. Our bond grew stronger and now, I quite simply cannot imagine life without her. Throughout my pregnancy it was always in the back of my mind that things were going to change so significantly and I wondered how our puppy was going to react to the new addition to our pack.
Butter wouldn’t melt!
As it turns out, I needn’t have worried quite so much…
Bringing Jasmine home from the hospital I was anxious to see how the first meeting would go. Heidi was clearly very curious as to what, and indeed, who this noisy, dribbling bundle was. She had a little sniff and that was that! Since then Heidi has been brilliant, exceeded my expectations as to how well behaved she would be. She doesn’t get jealous when I’m busy feeding or cuddling Jasmine, she knows to back off and let me get on with it. She doesn’t go short of food and cuddles either and she still gets all the love and attention she did before baby’s arrival. In fact, in the evenings when Daddy gets home from work and spends some time with Jasmine, Heidi and I head out for a long walk together, just the two of us. These walks have kept me sane over the last few weeks and I cherish this time even more now.
Family snuggles: Our first day home from the hospital
The truth is, having a puppy and baby isn’t the disaster that I thought it would be. It hasn’t been like the images I had in my head of me stuck at home with a screaming baby and a dog tearing the house apart.She’s part of the core family unit and I cannot wait to watch Jasmine grow up with Heidi. I’ve got a feeling they are going to be thick as thieves!
My girls: making my heart melt on a daily basis!
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NB. I would just like to point out that I NEVER leave my dog and baby together unsupervised. I trust my dog entirely but would never, ever take that risk.

Blogger Mummy Lauren

Jasmine’s 1 month update

My pregnancy really did fly by, if felt like one minute I was peeing on a stick and confirming that those little twinges in my belly were not just a figment of my imagination and then the next minute I was holding my baby for the first time. As Jasmine was born at 38+2 weeks, I never really had that awful waiting around that some ladies are unfortunate enough to have to go through at the end of their pregnancy.  I was just getting into the swing of my maternity leave and admittedly starting to feel a little fed up with the backaches and weight of my bump. One day I rubbed my belly and whispered “You can come out now, I’m ready for you!” Later that night my waters broke. Sometimes you just have to ask nicely! ;)

Anyway, I digress, my pregnancy flew by and I was warned by others that time would continue to move at an alarming rate once baby girl got here. Oh my, they were not wrong! I cannot believe a month has passed since Jasmine arrived. So without further ado here is her 1 month update:

Feeding: Jasmine is having a mixture of formula and expressed breast milk. I was hoping to exclusively breastfeed but it didn’t work out (I will write about this at a later date). I try to make it so that she has formula for one half of the day and breast milk the other but she does tend to have more formula as I find it difficult to be constantly expressing. I want to be holding my baby not a plastic pump so I tend to do 2 long sessions of expressing a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. Initially my midwife suggested that I expressed milk every 2-3 hours but this wasn’t realistic.

 

Before the exclusive breastfeeding plan went to pot.

Sleeping: Oh boy, we’ve had a few rough nights lately including last night. I ended up sleeping downstairs on the sofa with Jasmine in her bouncer next to me. We are using a Bednest crib in our bedroom which attaches to our bed but Jasmine absolutely hates it. Most of the time I have to let her fall asleep on my chest and then place her down on the Bednest but the last few nights she has woken up immediately after placing her in the crib. She kicks and screams and will not settle herself back to sleep. She wants to be on me or next to me, constantly! She’s ended up sleeping in our bed a few times just so we could get SOME sleep but I’m very aware of the dangers of co-sleeping and it does scare me. Hence why I ended up downstairs with her in the bouncer last night, it’s the only other place where she seems to be able to sleep. She suffers with reflux quite a bit and I think she just prefers to be a bit more upright when she sleeps. The Bednest does have a ‘tilt’ function so we’re going to try that tonight and see if we get on any better with it.

Her favourite place to be: mummy’s chest!

In the first few days and weeks Jasmine was sleeping for around 20 hours a day but more recently she’s awake for a lot longer during several periods throughout the night and day. She’s more active and you can tell now that she is starting to focus on things a lot more. Her neck muscles are definitely getting stronger, she’s always trying to hold her head up which usually results in me getting head butted!

We’re signed up to a 6 week baby massage/yoga course and we’ve had two classes so far. I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m hoping when Jasmine’s old enough to start implementing a bedtime routine I can use the baby massage as part of that. Jasmine seems to enjoy it too and has made some sweet little chirping noises when she sees the other babies that I’ve never heard her make before.  It’s run by the lady who taught my Daisy Birthing course so some of the other mums in the class are familiar faces from that course. It’s nice to have an excuse to get out of the house for a few hours and I look forward to it each week, it’s been great bonding time too.

♥♥ My girl ♥♥

We’ve only just started putting Jasmine in newborn clothes as she had been wearing tiny baby up until now. The newborn clothes fit her perfectly on her long legs but still bags of growing room for her body and arms. I’m sure she’ll be outgrowing them in no time though.

 And mum:

I’ve found the sleep deprivation harder than I ever thought I would. Stephen’s been great and has helped with the night feeds. I’m going to try harder to sleep when Jasmine sleeps during the day rather than trying to clean as many rooms in the house as possible before she wakes for her next feed. I end up knackered and that’s no good to either of us. So from now on, the dusting can wait! Sleep comes first.

In a post-nap daze!

I’ve also been extremely emotional which is hard for me to take. I didn’t cry once during my whole pregnancy and yet since giving birth I have been a mess of a woman. My first week trying to breastfeed was emotionally taxing and I wish I hadn’t put so much pressure on myself to get it right so quickly. I am also missing my family and friends, I knew this would be the case and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it right now so I’m just gonna have to suck it up.

I’m desperate to get exercising again as I’ve really missed keeping fit. I did a lot of walking whilst I was pregnant but I do miss doing exercise that’s a little more hardcore. I’m going to wait until my 6 week postnatal check-up and if I get the go ahead from my doctor I’ll steadily start getting back into my old exercise routine.

So that’s it for this update – I’m hoping the next one includes big news about Jasmine’s very first (non-windy) smile. I cannot wait for that! In the meantime I’ll have to settle for a windy one…

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Want to read more of Jasmine’s monthly updates? Click here.