Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

When it comes to pushchairs and travel systems – I knew which one I wanted way before Violet had even arrived. We were at the Baby Show in London, where there was a huge array of pushchairs in all shapes, sizes and colours and as we walked around stall after stall, it all seemed a much of a muchness, I was left feeling lacklustre – nothing seemed to stand out to me. That was until I discovered Cosatto and just knew they were the brand for me! The vibrant colours and designs immediately caught my eye and after this, I spent nearly and hour trying different prams, ooohing and aaahing over designs until I finally decided, the Giggle 2 in Fox Tale was the one for us. We absolutely loved the design as it’s bright, fun and could be used for a boy or girl, so it was perfect!

That seems like a lifetime ago. For months our Giggle 2 stood boxed in the nursery awaiting our arrival and I honestly couldn’t wait to give it a spin. So, now Violet’s here I’ve been proudly pushing her here, there and everywhere and not sure which gets more compliments – our pushchair or the baby! Maybe both, but I can tell you we stop nearly every old lady in her tracks, that’s for sure! Here are some of our adventures so far……

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel system (and keep reading to the bottom as I have a fabulous special offer for you too!) – it’s not just the carrycot you see in the pictures, thats just the mode we are using at the moment whilst Violet is a wee nipper. The travel system is a complete package with three modes – the carrycot, the pram and a dual-facing pushchair seat. This means she’ll be using this for quite some time now and it will grow with her over time. The chassis also fits the Group 0+ Hold Car seat, which we have too (in matching Fox Tale pattern, of course!) so it really is a versatile system. Each mode clicks on and off with ease, so at the touch of a button you can assemble and go, even in a hurry. The big buttons a clearly marked with yellow or red – so even I can do it and I am not technical – at all!

The fold down is super smooth and popping the chassis into the boot of the car is a piece of cake as it folds flat and is light and easy to pick up.

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel SystemReview: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

The Giggle 2 is amazingly smooth and easy to manoeuvre, the three wheel chassis allows you to swing round corners and curves like a breeze, although it doesn’t unfortunately stop you from being a bad pram driver, I think I still have my L plates on when it comes to taking it into shops (crash, bang, wallop) but thats not the prams fault, I just need a little more practice! The handle has a soft foam coating which gives great grip and comfort, plus the handle height is also adjustable too.

The chassis has full all round suspension – where we live has cobbled pavements and a pebbly path along the seafront – all the bouncing over the pebbles doesn’t seem to stir Violet from her sleep, in fact I think she finds the smooth movement calming as she often drops off to sleep.

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

Under the carrycot is a spacious basket, perfect for shopping and carrying the all important rain cover. Whilst we are talking about the weather I should mention the hood is also UPF50+, so your little ones are super protected, come rain or shine. Included with the travel system is a matching change bag with change mat and wet bag so you can look super coordinated at all times! I’m still at that stage where having a pushchair for my bags and shopping is such a luxury, the novelty hasn’t worn off at all – I don’t have to carry anything around, it’s fabulous!

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

We’ve got so much use out of our Giggle 2 so far, mainly because the carrycot is so comfy we take her everywhere in it plus it’s so handy that it’s suitable for occasional overnight sleeping – although she’s never slept in it overnight we do use the carrycot in our living room for naps as it’s a safe place I can let her sleep in the house during the day. Robbie our sweet black labrador loves to snuggle up to her, which is so cute but for her naps I’m pleased she has a safe place, high off the floor where he can’t try and snuggle in too! Also to mention, the carrycot has a washable lining, which I haven’t had to utilise yet, but I’ve done a few nappy changes on the run (or ‘danger changes‘ as I like to call them) in there, we might have to wash it soon as I’m sure she’ll catch us out doing that soon enough!

Violet loves the design on the inside of the carrycot, she spends so much time fascinated by the bright colourful pictures – they really catch her attention and as she can’t look out yet, it keeps her occupied as we go along. If the Fox Tales design isn’t your thing, they also do the Giggle 2 in a range of bright and colourful designs – my other favourites are the Magic Unicorns and Space Racer prints.

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

At 8 weeks, we haven’t used the pushchair mode as she’s still a little small, but in my excitement I have assembled it and have given it a go around the house –  just to test all the different settings. The pushchair mode has both front and rear facing, with 4 different recline settings, it looks so versatile and something we will be using for quite some time yet. I can’t wait to try her in that one when she can look out and about – I think she’s going to love it!

So, overall we give the Cosatto Giggle 2 the big thumbs up – we are impressed all round. I have to say as a new parent I had no idea what I’d look for in a travel system, I was suckered in by the colourful prints and design, but now I’ve tried and tested my Giggle 2 non-stop for over 8 weeks, I can safely say this pram is built not just for the design but is lightweight, easy to manoeuvre across a multitude of terrains and so simple to adjust, fold down or interchange the parts. Cosatto have literally thought of every little detail, from adjustable handles to additional rain covers, cosy toes for the stroller and attachments to clip on the Hold Car Seat. Bravo Cosatto!

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

The Cosatto Giggle 2 costs £484.94 which is fantastic value for money, bearing in mind how much is included within the system. The matching Hold car seat is an additional £154.94, although here’s a heads up – the car seat is FREE with any Travel System in May, so snap one up whilst the offer is on! Also, whilst you are there…. take a look at the wonderful range of pushchairs, car seats and high chairs over on the Cosatto Website, I just love the bright colours! My eye is on the unicorn print for our next purchase – maybe the highchair or a stroller when she gets a little bigger! We shall see!

We were sent the Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are my own.

Violet’s Nursery Tour

Violet's Nursery Tour

Welcome to Violet’s nursery! She has the best room in the house! It’s light and airy with beautiful seaviews – I’m rather jealous to be honest! We were working on it months before her arrival, lovingly choosing the colour paint (which is called Violet White, nonetheless) and carefully assembling furniture, dreaming one day she will be here to enjoy it all and now here she is! So, come take a look around her gorgeous room – she doesn’t sleep in here yet, but we play with her and change her nappy in here as much as we can in here so she’s used to it when the big day comes. I’ve also included a few recommendations in this post on things we are loving so far, so I hope you find that helpful too!

Violet's Nursery Tour

Violet’s Room with the playmats out – usually these are only on the floor if we are using them, or else a naughty black puppy dog thinks he has a new bed!

Violet's Nursery Tour

Rottingdean Seafront

The view from her nursery – she loves watching out of the window, the sun setting over the sea and the traffic passing by

Baby clothes in the wardrobe

This girl has more clothes than me, seriously! Luckily, most of this was given to us second hand from friends, we’ve been so lucky! It’ll be so sweet to compare photos of our babies wearing the same outfits too!

Star wars itty bittys

Scan Pictures (top left – 12 weeks, bottom left – 7 weeks (how tiny!!!) and bottom right – 20 weeks) plus her super cute Star Wars Itty Bittys, which I’m sure she will love when she’s old enough to hold them and cuddle them!

Basket of toys for a baby

Mothercare Lulworth cot bed

Violet’s cot is the Lulworth Cot bed from Mothercare, we bought this one as we wanted a cot she can grow into and will last a while. This will eventually turn into a toddler bed so it should do us for quite some time! She isn’t in it yet so at the moment it’s a place for all her teddies to live, but we plan to transition her into this cot at around 6 months old if she’s ready. We’ll have to see how we feel at the time as her bedroom is on a different floor to ours, so it’s not just next door, there will be a whole flight of stairs between us. We are also a fan of Dex the Dog Sleep Toy, he plays heartbeat sounds, waterfall sounds and 4 different melodies and is a lifesaver when it comes to bedtime. I love these toys as you can shake them to turn the sound on, rather than fumbling around for a switch in the dark.

Dex the Dog Soother Toy

handmade baby blankets

Beautiful Handmade Blankets

Police bear

Like all parents, we are keen to get reading to Violet and although I’m sure she doesn’t quite understand yet, we have a growing reading shelf which we already read to her. She does enjoy bright colours and pictures and I’m sure the sound of our voice is soothing – it’s never to early to start reading! We started her reading shelf at her baby shower, my friend that organised it asked everyone to bring their favourite children’s book, so she has quite a few already! Favourites have got to be That’s Not My Puppy
and ‘The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name‘.

Favourite book & gorgeous personalised Fantastic Firsts Cards

Violet’s changing table is from East Coast Nursery and is just the perfect addition to her nursery. You may remember I did a post before she was born on Changing Table Essentials? Well, here it is in action, months down the line! My top tips now for a changing table are to have everything close to hand, keep a large supply of nappies and wipes (see ours peeking out from behind the table and along the bottom shelf!) as you’ll go through them FAST. Also, keep hand sanitiser nearby in a pump form as you’ll need it after a messy change.

I also added a couple of Infantino Go Gaga Sensory Toys above the change table for her to look at, it’s just a home made mobile (nothing fancy!) but she loves it. She’s starting to bat her toys so this is the perfect time to practice and a distraction from her nappy/clothes change.

Another recommendation for the change table would be to have a good nappy bin! We have the Korbell Nappy Bin in Mint Green which is great as it’s hands free, has a double lid to keep in an odours and liners are biodegradable and easy to change.

We keep her pushchair and carseat in her nursery, so we can get everything organised in one place before a day out. She currently is using the Cosatto Giggle 2 travel system in Foxtales, which I’ll be fully reviewing in the next week or so, so keep an eye out for that one! Again, as she’s starting to look around all the time I’ve added another sensory toy to her car seat. At first she wasn’t great at being in her seat, I think she was so small she found the straps quite daunting, but this little spiral of colours and toys keeps her busy if she wakes on a journey, so she’s getting so much better at being in her car seat now.

The last things I wanted to mention are her bouncy chair and playmats. We use these ALL THE TIME and they have been a lifesaver for me when I’m on my own with her in the house, as she can now entertain herself for a few minutes allowing me to get on with a few bits like washing up or maybe even a spot of blogging. She has the Chicco Balloon Bouncer – it’s fun, colourful with lights and music to keep her entertained for hours – I’ll be doing a full review on the chair, so watch out for that post soon!

Tutti Bambini Garden Party Play Gym – She loves this one as it’s so super soft and comfy. The only problem is keeping Robbie away, he likes to think this is his new dog bed too!

Lastly, is her ‘Say Hello to Tummy Time’ mat – it’s so fun and colourful. She wasn’t a fan of Tummy time for quite a while as it just looked like she was face planting the floor, but with this mat there is plenty for her to look at and a lovely soft moon shaped cushion for her to rest on (although she likes to just lick it continuously!) There is a mirror, crinkly bits and sounds too for extra entertainment – it’s a hit with us!

Thanks for taking a tour around my nursery!

 

Contains PR samples, however all thoughts and opinions are my own

 

 

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding – it’s a tricky subject isn’t it? So much pressure, so much judgement and all that everyone wants to do is their best. That’s all I was aiming for, I naively thought it would be a simple, natural process – little did I know it would be way harder than I could ever have imagined. So, I thought I’d share our story along with the trials and tribulations we’ve faced so far, so show that breastfeeding is not always a walk in the park, it takes determination and a strong will – don’t I know! This might be a bit of a rambly post, so bear with me. Here is our story so far…..

THE FIRST WEEK

When Violet was born, she immediately latched perfectly and fed really well, we were off to a great start. It felt natural, right and just like it was meant to be. In hospital I was impressed by the level breastfeeding support –  they have volunteer breastfeeding support workers that will visit you once a day, plus the midwives were so lovely – I even had a  full lesson on latching at 4am! Our first couple of days feeding went perfectly. Things took a turn for the worst when Violet’s jaundice had progressed. Her condition had worsened so we were taken to a private room where she would be in her own incubator with the special lights to cure her jaundice. I was then told I could only take her out of the lightbox for a total of 20 minutes, so I could offer her 10 minutes per breast only-  she would then need to be topped up with formula as this was an important step of flushing out the jaundice.

This was a really tricky situation for me. I had got off to such a great start feeding her, I didn’t want to give her the formula topup, but of course under the advice of the medical team I had to do what was best for her health and agreed to start topping her up. She took to the bottle immediately and gobbled down her first bottles of formula like it was a chocolate Easter egg, she seemed to really love it. On day 3 after birth, my milk fully came in. I was engorged and in pain and unable to feed my baby properly left me feeling devastated as she took the formula infront of me, the hormones rampaging probably didn’t help either.

WEEKS 2-3 – CLUSTER FEEDS

Our Breastfeeding Journey

When we got home from hospital, I continued breastfeeding Violet on demand, giving her one bottle of formula before bedtime as this would be her most unsettled time with her colic and reflux (theres a whole other post coming up on this!)

During the day we would sit on the sofa for hours upon hours and during the night I’d sit bleary eyed as she fed for 2-3 hours in a row as everyone slept around me. She seemed to just want to feed and feed and feed! I did quite a lot of googling at this point, asking ‘is it normal to breastfeed for 6 hours straight?‘. The midwife visited and stated it was cluster feeding and totally normal, so I continued on – each day rolling into the next in a haze of cluster feeds. All I seemed to do was sit on the sofa, watch TV and feed Violet, all day, every day. Her feeds were so long and so random I also felt I couldn’t leave the house as I couldn’t predict when she would need feeding and when Vee went back to work I started to feel pretty isolated. Whenever anyone visited the house, I’d just be feeding her continuously – they wanted to hold her for a cuddle but she’d just scream to be put back on the boob. It felt like a lot of responsibility to be the only one that could feed her and I needed to be available for her 24/7.

I was also getting quite sore. I bought some Medela Nipple Shields which worked a treat to help me heal up, although when I went to remove them after a couple of days, Violet just would not latch naturally anymore. She would just bob about, unable to find where to latch, even if I showed her, she wouldn’t suck or latch on. She would get so frustrated with this that she’d scream and beat her tiny arms and legs like a swimmer doing the front crawl. So, I ended up putting the nipple shield back on (even though I no longer needed it!) and she’d latch onto this immediately and feed happily again.

So, for around 2 weeks we used the nipple shields full time, which is not recommended – but I think it was better than giving up feeding or putting her through the stress of being so frustrated every time! I did try and take them away numerous times, but she never did learn to latch again.

MELTDOWN

It was Thursday evening of Violet’s 5th week, I remember the exact date so well – Vee arrived home at 5pm to find me still on the sofa in my pyjamas, this is where she’d left me at 7am that morning. I told her I hadn’t eaten all day, I’d only managed to nip to the loo once or twice and Violet had spent the day feeding. She would scream if I put her down. I was exhausted and Violet was completely overtired too. I just broke down and said ‘I can’t do this anymore, I don’t think I’m giving her enough!‘. I gave Violet over to Vee and we decided she’d try her with a bottle of formula. I ran myself a hot bath and closed the bathroom door, I needed a time out from motherhood, just for 30 minutes to collect my thoughts and recoup. I sat in the bath and tears of frustration rolled down my cheeks, why can’t I just feed her naturally – we had got it in the hospital, how and why had it gone so wrong?!

When I came out of the bathroom, I found a content, sleeping baby in Vee’s arms and breathed a sigh of relief. Finally she had settled. Vee told me that she’d drunk the bottle of formula like she’d never eaten before. She must have been starving, I felt so guilty for letting her get to that point, but I thought I was doing the best thing to keep trying to breastfeed her.

MOVING ON

That evening, Vee and I had a long chat about what we were going to do, moving forward. No one was happy with the current situation, I was completely depleted, exhausted and felt like I couldn’t leave the house – this was not a healthy place to be. Violet would spend her days screaming if she was put down, she wasn’t happy either. I didn’t feel ready to give up breastfeeding entirely, I still wanted to try, but I needed to make sure she was happy too.

We decided we would exclusively bottle feed Violet. This was the best decision we could have made as literally it changed everything in an instant. Luckily, as I’m part of the Medela Mum project, I’d been sent the Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump to review (which I’d been using on and off) so I decided I’d pump regularly to create a stash of breastmilk in the fridge, ready for each feed.  We’d also give formula at bedtime and during the night.

Our Breastfeeding Journey

PUMP, PUMP, PUMP!

So, from weeks 5-8 I have been pumping breastmilk for Violet and its working really well for us all. Don’t get me wrong, pumping is still pretty hard work but in a different way – so much washing up and sterilising! But ultimately, we all are happier, have had more sleep and have  much more contented baby, so thats all that matters. V has also been able to help out with feeds too, which has been lovely to watch and to share those moments.

I was pumping around 4-5 times a day, with one pump at 3am, which produced SO much milk. The pump stimulated my supply so I was producing more than ever. I have since dropped my 3am pump as it was just so difficult to do at that time of night. I couldn’t feed her and pump at the same time, so the ‘night shift’ would be so long, feeding her, settling her and then getting the pumps out. Since I dropped the night pump, my supply has decreased a little but nothing too drastic.

FED IS BEST

So, that is where we are at the moment. It’s been a rollercoaster, but we got there. I’m really pleased I managed 5 weeks of breastfeeding. Although I’m sad it didn’t work out for longer than that, I’m proud I continued on, even when things were tough. I am 100% in the ‘fed is best’ team, so seeing Violet content and happy is all that is important to me, however we feed her.  Continuing on, I’ll carry on pumping and giving formula so she’s getting about half and half. I honestly think having that pump has saved our breastfeeding relationship, I would have given up without it. Combination feeding seems to be our happy medium so we’ll continue with this and see how we go!

 

Did you have a bumpy ride with breastfeeding? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below 🙂

 

Breast or Bottle – My thoughts on feeding before baby arrives

Breast or Bottle - My thoughts on feeding before baby arrives

** Just a quick disclaimer – I know Violet is now here, but this post was written in it’s entirety before she arrived and I was still pregnant! She arrived before I could get it scheduled and it’s been sitting my drafts since – I haven’t edited it at all and wanted to still post it to remember my thoughts before she was here so I can look back and see how it compares to what really happened (which will be coming up in a post very soon!) ** 

Initial Thoughts

When I first got pregnant I just assumed when I had a baby I would just breastfeed him/her and things would be straightforward. After all, that is the natural way and something I (naively) thought would be an easy thing to do. It was only after a few of my friends had children I began to see the struggles many women face. Breastfeeding can can be a lot trickier than it looks and some women are unable to do it at all. This is not to mention the vast amount of different and contradicting guidance out there.

Since becoming pregnant, I’ve been starting to figure my way through the minefield that is feeding – I have been to NCT classes, read numerous parenting books and am a member on many different parenting forums and so far I have found no straightforward advice – everyone has an opinion (and a strong one at that) but there is no actual guideline that is consistent above the board. I could see people in my NCT class were physically uncomfortable asking certain questions about breastfeeding – it really does seem if you a) don’t know what you are doing or b) don’t plan to breastfeed, some people can get quite judgemental. Luckily our class tutor was lovely so it wasn’t like that, but I can see the fear of just asking was there, where no one wants to share their card on their plans to feed their baby for fear of being judged. So with all this conflicting advice and a fear of asking questions – this makes feeding a tricky situation for new mums. Everyone is jumping at the chance to give their opinion, but who do you trust? And will I physically be able to breastfeed?

So, I thought it would be a fun idea to write down my feeding hopes and wishes before the baby arrives, so that once she is here, we can compare the expectation to what happens in reality. This is just based on my hopes and wishes, I’m clearly not an expert and will be relying hugely on my intuition.

Breast or Bottle - My thoughts on feeding before baby arrives

OUR PLAN

Ultimately, I hope to exclusively breastfeed our baby. I really want to give it a good shot and have spent lots of time reading about techniques and attending classes in the hope that some prep work might pay off. I love the idea of giving my baby all the nutrients and antibodies she needs, as well as using the time to bond with the baby too. Although I want to give her exclusively breastmilk, one of my main priorities is that I want to express so that Vee can help with feeding time and enjoy those moments too. I’ve joined the Medela Mum program and will be trailing a Medela Swing Maxi Double Pump, although at the moment I feel confused about when we should introduce the expressed milk. I asked my midwife about this, who told me 7 days, I asked at NCT and they said 6 weeks and last night I was reading the book ‘What to Expect When You’re Breastfeeding…And What If You Can’t?‘ and they suggested within 3 weeks. Mega confusing!

I also want to say at this point that, if it turns out I can’t breastfeed for whatever reason, that’ll be ok too – I’m truly in the ‘fed is best’ camp, so we will give formula if need be – but I’ll give breastfeeding my best shot first.

Breast or Bottle - My thoughts on feeding before baby arrives

Breast or Bottle - My thoughts on feeding before baby arrives

Some expert advice…

As you can see – I have been getting myself quite confused as to what would be best practice when it comes to involving Vee when baby arrives, so as part of the Medela Mum program, I was able to ask Sioned (Medela’s Lactation Consultant) a few questions to put my mind at rest……..

a) I’m planning to express so my partner can help with feeds and bond with the baby. When should I introduce a bottle? I’ve been given different advice by different people (midwife – 7 days, parenting books – 3 weeks, NCT – 6 weeks) What would you recommend?

The key things for you and your new baby is to spend time to get breastfeeding established. This does mean having lots of opportunity to practice and learn for you both. Your milk will come to volume and build over the first 4 weeks, and these early weeks is when you get the supply up and running. Your baby too will need to fine tune coordinating his suck breathe swallow in line with the changing milk flow during the feed as well as positioning and attachment.

Therefore we recommend unless that are feeding difficulties that you get breastfeeding well established and this can take 3-4 weeks to get it in hand. The same will apply to expressing – ideally wait for 3-4 weeks get the 3 week growth spurt under your belt and then give it a go.

If on the advice of your midwife you need to express and supplement earlier then you can introduce the calma feeding device as you both continue to get breastfeeding established and work through the difficulties.

Try not to worry about bonding with your partner – this will all click into place and Vee really is your back bone and support in the early days, she will get to do loads of nice stuff too, bath time, skin to skin cuddles knowing that her time with baby is as valuable as the nursing that you need to do to get it all up and running for when you are ready to express.

b) If my partner is feeding using expressed milk, should I pump at the same time? How to I manage this?

When Vee is doing an ebm feed, it is ideal if you pump at the same time so that you continue to mimic your baby’s feeding pattern , the more milk you take off the more milk you make. It also supports your comfort too as you should avoid extended gaps between feeds as this will result in you feeling full and engorged. If your partner gives a feed enjoy your bath etc. and then pump after. Once your supply is established and your baby is older you may feel that you can have a short break and have a night off or go the gym knowing that your milk is well established and you can support your comfort too.

c) Can my partner help with the night feeds? I was reading a book last night that said even if you express, you should never substitute a night feed. Is this true, do you have any advice on this?

Realistically yes your partner can help with night feeds but you would still need to express in the early few months  to mimic your baby’s feeding needs. It is therefore much easier for you to co-room with your baby and nurse in response to your baby’s needs. The importance of the night feeds is that as you sleep your hormone prolactin is at its highest and this is responsible for the production of milk. You are on a win win when you nurse at night – increase milk capabilities, enhanced sleep pattern as you then fall into a deep sleep after nursing, you will wake anyway in tune with your baby early stirring so you would gain by nursing to help boost the sleep and milk hormone.  Your baby will prefer you to a bottle anyway.

So that is my plans before baby arrives – let’s see what is to come. Big thanks to the Medela team for having me onboard, I can’t wait to get involved with that too!  

Breast or Bottle - My thoughts on feeding before baby arrives

Violet’s One Month Update

Wowee, what an amazing month it’s been! Finally, I’ve found a moment to write about Violet’s first month on the earth and how our lives have turned upside down from the instant she arrived. We’ve been so busy, it’s been a whirlwind – we have been inundated with amazing friends and family from near and far. We have been finding our feet with family life and coping with the sleep deprivation. Violet grows and changes so much every day, I can’t believe it! As I don’t want to forget a moment I’m going to be writing a month-by-month update on her progress – she changes so quickly so I want a place to document her life and remember each step. As her first month was a crazy one, this might be a rather long post – it was also hard to chose which images to share, I realised I’ve taken over 1000 in the last month on my camera, thats not even counting the ones on my phone and the copious amounts of videos too. Don’t worry I won’t bore you with them all! Here is what we have been up to during our first month…

WEEK ONE – OUR STAY IN HOSPITAL

Violet was born on 24th Feb 2017 and after a rather traumatic birth (read the full story here) she had a few health issues, so we were kept in hospital straight away. On her first night, her blood sugars were checked every two hours, meaning a nasty pin prick to the heel that would make her cry with an ear-piercing scream that just made me want to take her away from it all and protect her. She also struggled to regulate her temperature, so we did extra skin-to-skin to try and help her, although whenever it was checked she was often too hot or cold, so it felt like a constant worry and we didn’t sleep much at all. I think I slept 2 hours in her first 2 days (plus the night of her birth!) Over the next day or so, the Dr’s then noticed she was becoming more and more yellow in colour so eventually after around 24 hours of monitoring, they diagnosed her with jaundice and she was placed on the ‘billy-bed’, which made her look like a cute glow worm under the bright lights.

My little yellow baby

Chilling on the Billy-Bed

After a couple of days on the Billy-Bed, we thought she was improving but when the Dr made her check, she actually found she was getting worse. It was 9pm, we were shattered and the midwife came and sat on my bed stating ‘you better sit down‘ and I feared the worst. It turned out they wanted to up the level of treatment as she wasn’t able to recover on the billy-bed, so we were moved to a private room where a full UV lightbox was set up. As we watched the nurse wrapping the eye-protective mask I sobbed as I was so worried, she looked so frail and tiny and would be going into a glass box, where I couldn’t offer any cuddles or comfort to my new baby as she screamed. This was probably the worst night – it was also the night my milk fully came in, I cried and told the midwives I needed to feed her but they insisted she was only allowed 10 minutes out of the lightbox therefore she should have a short feed and then be topped up with formula to flush out her system quickly. I was so upset by this as we were getting on so well with breastfeeding and I was now engorged, in pain and unable to feed, it just felt so wrong to me. That night I slept with her muslin across my bed as it smelled of her, that was the closest I could get to holding her and as a new Mum flooded with hormones from the rush of milk, I found this horrifically painful.

Plasters from endless blood tests and a hand to comfort her when she cried

It felt like a lifetime but after a couple of days, the light treatment had worked and finally our baby was returning to a squishy pink colour, rather than a bright yellow. She had to be under observation without the lights for a while, but much to our amazement on the 6th day the midwife arrived early into our room and stated ‘you are going home today!’. I can’t describe the relief! We started packing our things (we had practically moved our whole lives into the hospital by this point) and Vee left to get the car seat. It was finally our moment!

HOMEWARD BOUND

Going home from hospital is such a funny moment! We were so excited to finally take our baby home, but at the same time I suddenly felt a panic that we were going to be trusted to look after this tiny human on our own without the help of a midwife at the touch of a buzzer. She looked absolutely tiny in her car seat and I sat in the back with her so I could keep an eye on her the whole journey. She slept and didn’t seem too bothered about her grand arrival at her new home.

Once we got home, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I popped her in her poddlepod on the sofa and just sat and looked at her. It felt so surreal – she was finally here, we were out of the bubble of being in the hospital, I’d been outside, breathed fresh air again and seen that there is a world outside of the maternity ward. As much as I wanted to be at home, it felt alien and it took me a while to get used to. Of course, we started with the most important thing – a nice cup of tea. That night we must have worried about everything – is the room temperature too hot? Is she wearing the right clothes? Is she hungry? Is she going yellow again? Has she had her nappy changed recently……..? I don’t think we slept. I certainly didn’t, listening to her tiny breaths and funny noises coming from the snuzpod beside me that had sat empty for a month beforehand in preparation.

WEEK TWO – VISITORS AND A WEEK OF FIRSTS

In our second week, the visitors started arriving thick and fast! At one point we were having to schedule ‘slots’ in our diaries to fit everyone in. I was absolutely overwhelmed by all the cards and presents. We had gifts from people we’ve never met – knitted handmade clothes and toys from friends of the family and every day my phone was flooded with texts asking how we were getting on. Honestly, this time has shown me how many amazing people we have in our lives, Violet will be spoiled for life with this bunch!

I feel like this week went by in a blur. The constant stream of visitors kept us busy, so every moment we had we would be feeding, sleeping or doing the constant stream of laundry that was now being created (how does someone so small create so much!). I realised that I hadn’t been outside the house since before I had Violet, so we went for our first walk, trying out Violet’s Cosatto Giggle 2 (how amazingly cute is it!) – however it was a total disaster, the wind was howling and she screamed from start to finish, not quite the relaxing family walk I had in mind, but surely one we will remember!

We also gave Violet her first bath – which she hated too! I think the neighbours probably thought we were torturing her from the fuss she kicked up.

At the end of her second week, she’d grown so much – going from 6lb 2oz at her birth to 6lb 13oz. She cluster fed for a day (I literally fed her from 8am – midnight) and she put on 6oz in a day – madness. She was starting to lose her newborn squished features and starting to look more alert all the time.

WEEK THREE:  SETTLING INTO FAMILY LIFE

On our third week as a family, Vee went back to work, leaving me for my first day with Violet all on my own. As if I was nervous enough, I cracked a tooth the night before, so had to face two fears in one day – caring for a newborn on my own and visiting the emergency dentist – joy! This week made me realise how much really goes into looking after a baby, I didn’t stop for two moments as I got used to doing everything for the baby plus housework, cooking and general things like eating and showering etc. The ‘night shifts’ were particularly hard, I had got used to Vee making me tea and crumpets at 3am, suddenly feeding for 2-3 hours on my own during the middle of the night seemed pretty tough and lonely too – thank goodness for Youtube videos and other new mums on Twitter to keep me company.

We’d been trying to include Robbie as much as possible, however as I didn’t have a moment to myself, I couldn’t really offer Robbie the care and attention he was used to and he started to get pretty upset, sulking and attention seeking all day whilst I did endless cluster feeds on the sofa. We had to organise for his dog walker to take him out lots as he just wasn’t a happy bunny at home, his world had gone out of kilter and it was pretty hard on him. I felt so sad but hoped the extra walks helped, as well as giving him love when I could and extra treats too.

An introduction

A haze of cluster feeds in my pjs

Violet’s first ‘proper’ outfit

WEEK FOUR: PLAYTIME

On our fourth week, as if by magic overnight suddenly Violet learned how to give eye contact and started to notice things around her surroundings. The first time I noticed it, I was rocking her in my arms in our living room and realised she was turning her head to focus on the light fittings. I walked away slightly and watched her eyes follow the light, eventually turning her head to keep her gaze locked on those fascinating lights. She then started to watch our faces intently, pulling faces back and reacting to smiles. It was amazing to finally feel like we are communicating with our little bundle, watching her taking it all in and showing more of a reaction. By the end of the first week, I caught her first smile too!

Left – Watching Baby Sensory on Youtube | Right – practicing her eye contact

Her first smile! Shame I haven’t caught it on camera yet!

Suddenly her play mats seemed so much more fun for Violet – She’s enjoyed looking at the toys on her playgym and we started tummy time using her cute brightly coloured SayHello Tummy Time Mat. She’s really good at holding her head up for a few seconds and has strong legs that can push her whole body forward. I don’t think it’ll be long until she’s rolling over too.

MONTH ONE: 

Feeding: 90% breastfed – She was given formula in hospital for jaundice, so we occasionally offer a formula top-up if particularly restless. Cluster feeding like mad – loves to eat!

Weight: 6lbs 2oz at birth – 7lbs 13oz by the end of week 4

Sleeping: Better than I expected, although her routine is still tough! She does suffer with colic and I think silent reflux, so she has ‘witching hour(s)’ between 9pm-midnight. Usually we can get her to sleep in blocks of 3-4 hours though, which is more than I thought. We do have bad nights sometimes.

Skills: Eye contact, Smiling, Holding head up for short periods of time

Favourite things: Milk, being walked around her nursery, looking at the traffic through the window, baby sensory videos on Youtube, Ewan the Sheep, her sleepyhead.

Hated things: Being naked, getting dressed, bathtime, walks in the pram, her bouncy chair, waiting for food