30 August 2014

Two Month Postpartum Update

Hello everyone!

Wow, I never actually realised how quickly time went until we had Aria! Two months have absolutely flown in and it has been a big month for this little lady! 

Firstly, a quick update on mummy...

I feel like my confidence as a mum has certainly gone up this month. I'm a lot better at understanding Aria's mood and what is making her tick, and knowing what cries mean what certainly makes life easier! I have however been feeling so tired! The sleepless nights really caught up with me around week 6, but I made sure to nap when I could, and reluctantly let the washing and housework pile up so I could get some rest. 

I am pretty much back to my pre-pregnancy body. Breastfeeding has been a massive help for getting back in shape, as well as going on plenty of walks with Aria, and just have a couple of pounds to lose before I get to my desired weight, and a bit of toning. If only I could keep away from the biscuit tin...


And now onto my litte munchkin! 


Weight
Aria was weighed at her 7 week appointment with the HV and was a healthy 10lb 13oz! I'm really pleased wit her weight gain so far as she is certainly filling out well!

Routine
Aria will wake around 6/7am for her first feed and then will usually feed every three/four hours. She will nap late morning, just after lunch and then again late afternoon. We have been trying the 'bath, bottle, bed' routine since week 6 and so far is working brilliantly! She will usually go down around 6/7pm and usually doesn't take too much settling, providing the dummy is in!

Sleeping 
As I just mentioned, Aria will go down about 6/7pm and that will usually take her to 11pm/12am. She will sometimes wake twice in the night for a feed, but usually it's around 2/3am and then she's up at 6:30am for her first morning feed and to start her day. Through the day, she will usually have around 3/4 naps, and is awake around 1/1.5 hours at a time. Hopefully this will increase over the next few weeks to 2 hours or more. 

Feeding
If you're a regular reader of my blog, you may have read my breastfeeding posts and know we started combined feeding recently. There's another post to follow this week, but I made the tough decision to stop breastfeeding, and to move on to Formula. So with this, Aria takes anywhere between 3 and 5oz per feed, and feeds around 7 times a day. I'd like this to increase, but I think because she's been breastfed for the first 8 weeks, the formula is thicker than what she is used to so naturally gets fuller quicker! 

Size
Aria is wearing 0-3 clothes and is still in size 2 nappies. She has been able to fit her 0-3 clothes in length from around 5 weeks - she's got very long legs! But there's plenty room for her to fill out, so she will get plenty wear out her clothes hopefully. 

Milestones
We've really noticed how much Aria has grown this last month, and she's really filling out her face from her little newborn chub! I think she is starting to look a bit more like me now too :) 

There's been so many milestones this month! Around 5 weeks we really started to see her personality come out. She's such a cheeky little thing, and so nosey! She loves to be up looking around and taking in her surroundings. 

The biggest milestone has to be the smiles! She is such a happy baby, and it doesn't take much to get a big cheesy grin :) there really isn't anything like a smile off your baby, it is such a reassurance that she is happy, and that she really loves us! She's also started to find her hands, so is a lot more interested in touching her toys and having a feel of different things. This has also lead to her sucking on her hands constantly, and usually tries to get her whole fist in her mouth!




We also had the dreaded 8 week immunisations... Thankfully, she took them like a champ and I managed to keep it together! The days after her injections were difficult. She was off her milk and wanted to sleep loads (mostly on me) . She was all smiles when awake, but settling her at night wasn't easy, so the routine has slightly broken while she gets back to her usual self. 


So there you have our 2 month update! I can only imagine what a difference there will be in her 3 month update - she's changing every day and is always amazing us with how quickly she is becoming her own little character. 

Thanks for reading

Nicola x

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29 August 2014

Stressful Mummy Moments

Today has been one of those days where being a mummy is really hard! 

For whatever reason, Aria hasn't been her usually smiley self, and has spent a good majority of the afternoon crying hysterically. 

It's rare for her to get like this, but when it does happen, I do find my self getting extremely stressed out! 

I feel stressed for not knowing what is wrong. I feel stressed for taking advice from the books/apps I have. I feel stressed because I'm a new mum, and feel like I can't handle it. 


Hours of screaming later... all is forgotten!
Dealing with the stress is easier said than done, as I'm sure every mum has felt like having a complete meltdown during these testing times. But I find telling myself 'it won't last forever, she will calm down eventually' really keeps me sane, as I know these tantrums won't last forever!

I wish I had a tonne of advice to share with you all, but for me, I am learning as I go... One tantrum at a time. 

This isn't a moaning or complaining post, just a brief insight to life as a new mum - I'm sure there are a lot of you out there that can relate! 

 

How do you deal with these stressful moments? Do you have any magic tricks, or do you go with the flow and hope for the best?
 

Nicola x

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23 August 2014

Combined Feeding... Is It Possible?

I hear mums asking time and time again, if it is possible to both breast and bottle feed successfully... I'm here to tell you my experience!

For the first 6 weeks, I had been exclusively breastfeeding Aria. You can read about my breastfeeding experience here

However, Tom and I were keen to start getting her into a nighttime routine. We weren't sure how 'bath, bottle, bed' would work with me breastfeeding, as she was still waking every 3 hours to be fed. So after much persuasion, I agreed to try a formula bottle for her first night feed. 

Don't ask me why I was so reluctant, as she took to it no problem at all! Although she only took around 2.5oz, that was her down for about 4/5 hours - result! After a few nights of one bottle, we decided to add another in when she woke around 2/3am. This meant that Tom could also help with the night feeds, and we were so surprised that she would take it without a fuss (as long as it was warm, of course!) and would go back down much better after her feed. No more up and down with the dummy for 15 min, woohoo! 

Thankfully, Aria was still happy to be breastfed through the day, and started to show signs of realising the bottle meant bedtime! 

Two weeks later, Aria now associates the bottle with bedtime, and goes down without a problem. However, she seemed to start struggling with not getting enough milk from breastfeeding through the day as she wants to feed every 2/3 hours now. I think this is due to me going 12 hours without feeding through the night, so my body is producing less milk. 

Our Health Visitor advised us to alternate between breast and bottle for each feed, and also to up my calorie intake to make sure I am producing better milk.

So right now, we are trailing the alternating feeds and hopefully my milk will increase in a few days. If not, it may be that I need to give up breastfeeding to make sure Aria is getting enough milk. 

For those of you wanting to try combined feeding, just make sure you do alternate the feeds, so your body continues to produce milk - I wish I had thought about this more so we didn't have this slight setback. 

Hopefully in my next update I will be able to tell you this is all sorted, but at the end of the day if Aria needs to be purely bottle fed to make sure she is getting enough milk, I am happy to give breastfeeding up. Whatever is best for my baby girl!


Have you tried combined feeding, or is it something you are thinking of doing with your little one? I'd love to hear how you are doing! 

Thanks for reading

Nicola x
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21 August 2014

Fashion Friday | #BOOTD

Happy Friday, Everyone!


Aria was so excited about her outfit, she wanted to share it with you all!

 It's been a lot cooler recently, so I picked this gorgeous little outfit up from F&F at Tesco when doing the weekly shop... It's the first aisle I head to!


I love the lace detail on the jumper, and the little flower is such a nice addition. The jumper is such lovely quality and is so soft inside. Why do they not make this in adult size?!


I love the leggings too, they are a great fit and I love the stitching that makes them look like little jeans!

Her socks are from H&M, they are by far the best fitting socks out there for little ones! They never fall off, so are the only sets of socks that actually match.


I hope you enjoyed this little outfit post, I'll make sure to do these more often, as she's got such a lovely little wardrobe... much better than mummy!


Have a lovely weekend.

Nicola x
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20 August 2014

Breaking the Routine...

Everyone says a baby should fit your routine, not you fitting your baby's. Well to those parents I have one question: how do you do it?!

We had family come to visit at the weekend and met for an early dinner, so not to disturb Aria's routine too much. At 7 weeks, I'm so grateful she's fallen into a nighttime routine well. With this, I thought she would easily fall asleep in her pram as if she were asleep at home. How wrong I was...

To cut a long story short, dinner ended much quicker than planned after hours of trying to sooth a screaming baby and taking it in turns to eat. By the time we got home, I was an emotional wreck and after finally settling Aria for the night I quickly jumped into bed vowing never to leave the house again! 

Finally, fast asleep!
I know this won't last forever, and it will get easier to take Aria out, but it really knocked my confidence. She does seem to be going through a bit of a growth spurt, as my Wonder Weeks app keeps reminding me, so maybe we just picked a bad time...

I will definitely try take her out again once this fussy period has settled, and I'd love to know if any of you have had a similar experience, and if you have any tips to make it easier?! 


Nicola x
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19 August 2014

Goodbye Nicola and Baby J!

Reading this post, you'll see my blog has had a little makeover! As well as a new layout, I've also decided to change my blog name...

To be honest, i didn't think I would enjoy blogging so much, or see it as something I'd want to do long term. Nicola and Baby J fitted my life at the time, but now Aria is here I feel like I need a blog name that will follow every stage of our lives, and even possibly on to having another baby!

So after some much needed reassurance from you lovely readers, I've decided to change my blog name to Love Little Poppins! My nana used to call me her little Poppins when I was younger, and has taken to calling Aria it too! It's extremely sentimental to me, so naming my blog this just seemed the perfect fit. 

I hope you like the change to my blog! I would really appreciate your feedback, and even a little help spreading the word and letting me know any social media links I've forgotten to change :)

As always, thanks for reading. 

Nicola x
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8 August 2014

Review | Arbonne Baby Care

You have probably heard of Arbonne before, but may not have known they also have a baby range, called Arbonne Baby Care

 

I didn't know about it until Aria was first born, where my mum treated her to her first pampering products! I was so exited to try the products right away, as I know Arbonne is all about using botanical based ingredients that work for even the most sensitive skin...perfect for me so I knew they'd be great for Aria. 

Arbonne’s ABC line of products that are:
•  Botanically based and pH correct 
•  Pediatrician and dermatologist tested
•  Non-sensitising, non-irritating
•  Formulated without nut oils 
•  Tear-free hair and body wash
•  Not tested on animals
•  Sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection

We've tried out all the products in the baby range so far, which include hair and body wash, body lotion, body oil, nappy cream and sunscreen with SPF 30, and it's safe to say Aria and I love them! They all have a lovely texture, and have a subtle fragrance that isn't harsh on her skin, but leaves her smelling incredible. 


Loving bath time!
 
Aria and I particularly love the body oil, which is great for doing a little baby massage before bed. It really relaxes her, and makes a great moisturiser for mummy too! 

The ABC range is a little pricey, but a little of the product goes a really long way, and I would definitely recommend to anyone wanting to try it out. And if mummy gets a little use out of it too, then even better!

Thanks for reading

Nicola xx
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The 'Why I Write' Blog Hop

Last week, I was tagged by the lovely Bella over at Along Came Jay to do the 'Why I Write' blog hop. I hadn't hear much about this tag before, but it's a chance for bloggers to share a little bit about themselves and answer a few questions about their style, reasons for writing and inspiration.

I hope you enjoy reading a little about why I write...

WHY DO I WRITE?
As a child, I was never big on reading. I would get bored easily, and would often let my imagination run off and create a story of my own, which is where my love of writing began.

I've always had a big imagination, and with a pen in my hand I could let all those stories run free across the pages and play out the fantasy world I had created. I am an only child, so quite often I'd have to make my own make believe games, and writing became a huge part of that outlet. 

In school and into adulthood, I spent a lot of time reading blogs and loved seeing peoples thoughts and feelings out there for the world to stumble across. Almost like having a sneak peak in someone's diary... Which they'd obviously let you read!! 

Starting my own blog has been such a positive experience, especially at such an important time in my life. I love how I will have this to look back on in years to come and have been able to meet so many wonderful people by sharing my thoughts and opinions - which can be a little scary at times! 

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
I write what I do because it's what I love. I love being a mummy, and I love sharing my journey from pregnancy to motherhood. I will write about what I feel, and am 100% honest in every post. I feel these make more enjoyable reads, as it is very obvious to see when someone's heart isn't in their writing. 

HOW DOES MY WRITING DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN ITS GENRE?
I usually write as I speak, rather than taking the time to make it 'flow' better. I think my writing has improved since starting my blog earlier this year, and it has been influenced by reading other blogs. I'm not sure how it differs to others... It is hard to completely stand out from other mummy bloggers, as our lives and interests are so similar. I don't think this is a bad thing at all, as it adds to what a close community the blogging world is. But hopefully you can hear my voice in my writing, and it sounds like you are speaking to a friend. 

WHAT AM I WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
My blog has taken a backseat to my new life as a mummy, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Everyone is so quick to tell you how these first few months fly by, and I don't want to miss a second of them. I am working on how to be the best mother an wife possible, and being a blogger when all these jobs are done. 

I blog whenever I have some free time, which isn't as often as you would think with a baby that sleeps so much! But when I do, I have mostly been writing updates on Aria's development, but have a lot more posts to upload on my experience of breastfeeding, as well as product reviews and general thoughts on life.

WHAT IS MY WRITING PROCESS?
I can't say I have a process to my writing, it is more of a 'as and when' approach! I have days where I feel totally uninspired, and others where I can't stop typing.

When I do have a topic in mind, I will make notes on my iPhone, and type up when I have some free time... This has been known to be during the 3am feeds, which I tend to find quite relaxing! I hope to have more of a process in the future, when Aria has a better routine. For now, I'm happy to run with my thoughts and try and produce posts that you enjoy reading. 


I would like to nominate the lovely Jessica at Lilypod and Sweetpea. Jess is mummy to the gorgeous Jasper, fiancé to Pete, and soon to be step-mummy to his adorable little boy Rhys. Jess is a blogger that I also consider a friend, and I really admire the honesty in her writing. Please take a look at her blog and her answers to this tag soon :)




Thanks for reading
Nicola xx
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5 August 2014

#teamupallnight



It's 2:30am. I'm constantly in and out of bed trying to settle Aria after her feed. I feel like the only person in the entire world who is awake (I give my husband the evil eye as he sleeps peacefully next to me... Arse) so I turn to the one place I know I am not alone - hello Twitter! 

Sifting through my Twitter feed, I immediately feel comforted by the amount of updates from other mums who are also awake at this insane hour. Welcome to #teamupallnight. 

Sometimes a little empathy in these early hours is all we need to get us through the night. I'm forever surprised at the amount of support that the blogging community gives (especially at these insane hours) and the friendships that it forms is one of the main reasons I love writing!

So to any mummies reading this that feel like during the night feeds they are slightly losing their mind - log on to Tiwtter and say hello! Even if you aren't a mummy and you just happen to be a little bit of an insomniac, the more the merrier! 

Nicola xx

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Getting Ready with a Newborn



Getting ready with a newborn is no easy task! Even brushing your teeth can feel like a military operation.

I can't say I'm an expert at this yet as Aria is still way too young to be in any kind of a routine, but since Tom has gone back to work I've found a couple of tricks to get myself up and semi-presentable while looking after her!


1. Don't expect too much!
I learned very quickly that I could no longer shower, get dressed, do my hair and my make up all in one swift series of movements (I count myself very lucky if I do ever manage this!). Instead, I aim to do one task at a time. If I can shower and get dressed, that's great. My hair and makeup can wait (or be forgotten in some cases!). 

2. Work around them. 
Some people don't agree with your baby setting the routine, but I think when they are so little this is exactly what you should be doing. When Aria settles for her morning nap, I have her in her moses basket in our room, while I get ready. This may be at 8am or 12pm - it can totally vary depending on her mood that day. If I cant get ready until the afternoon, I'm totally fine with that! Who doesn't love a lazy morning anyway!

3. Take turns. 
If possible, try and take turns with your partner at getting ready. One of you can shower and get ready while the other watches you little one. Then switch!

If this isn't always possible, Tom will at least being me tea and toast in bed before he goes to work, just so he knows I've managed to have breakfast. A must when breastfeeding! This gives me more time to get ready when Aria is napping.  

4. Pick your products wisely. 
Even when I do manage to put some makeup on, it is a lot more minimal than my pre-mummy routine! I tend to stick with my Clinique CC cream, YSL Touché Éclat, Maybelline The Rocket mascara and The Bodyshop blusher in Macaroon.

5. Learn to love your bed head!
I personally like to wash my hair every day. I feel like my second day hair lack a lot of life, and gets extremely greasy! But investing in a good dry shampoo (I love Dove's) has made all the difference, and I'm learning to love the 'messy bun'! You may be one of the lucky ones and can go a few days without washing - how I envy you!
 

And finally... It's OK to accept help!
I'm a very independent person, and like to think I can do most things without help. But becoming a mum made me realise that it's OK to let family and friends help you out, even if it just so you can take a shower or purely for some company. Definitely take advantage of this where you can, and take comfort in knowing things will get easier, and you'll eventually have yourselves in a little routine that works for you.

For me, my mum has been my rock now that Tom has gone back to work. We are extremely close anyway, but I feel like our relationship is even better now I understand what it is to be a mum - you'll do anything you can to help your baby, no matter how big!
 

Do you have any tips for getting ready with a newborn? I'd love to hear them! 

Nicola xx
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2 August 2014

My Breastfeeding Experience So Far...

Let me start off by saying in no way is this post about me blowing my own trumpet. I know breastfeeding is no easy task, and my heart totally goes out to the mums that find it difficult and really struggle with it, but I wanted to write a post about my positive breastfeeding experience so far, and let you know that it isn't all doom and gloom!


if you've been reading my blog for a while, you may have seen a post I did a few months ago, where I was trying to weigh up the pros and cons of breastfeeding (you can read that post here). I decided that I wanted to give breastfeeding a go, but was putting no pressure on myself to do it. if I felt comfortable and my baby latched on, great. If not, I had no problem using formula.

So when Aria was first born, the midwives asked if I wanted to have a go at breastfeeding, which I said a definite yes to. if I was going to give it a go, I wanted to have as much support around me as I could! I was so surprised that Aria latched on right away, and stayed on for well over an hour! This was probably more comfort than feeding, but it felt amazing, and I wanted to keep trying while I was still in the hospital.

Throughout our night in the hospital, I felt like I had so much support from the midwives. Every time I tried to feed her, they would be at my side and show me little ways to improve our positioning, and how to get her to latch on correctly. I feel like this support made all the difference, and after several great feeds they were more than happy to let us go home the next day, as they could see Aria was doing just fine.

Once at home, I did find things a little more difficult. I was only comfortable feeding while lying on my side, so it meant that whenever Aria needed fed we would need to go upstairs onto the bed. This was very tiring, especially when we had visitors who had come to see us, and we were stuck upstairs! This continued for the first 3/4 days, and my right boob in particular was becoming really sore, and I would dread the feed that came from that side!

At her four day check with the midwife, I was so surprised that Aria had only lost 1oz of her birth weight!! This gave me a huge confidence boost, as I knew that she was getting a great amount from me, and we didn't need to move onto formula just yet.

My midwife was absolutely fantastic those first 10 days, and whenever she was round she would give me so much encouragement that I was doing a good job, and that the 1/2 feeds I was expressing were great (so Tom could have some bonding time, and also let me have some sleep!). I was able to get 3, possibly 4oz in around 10 minutes! I feel like her support really helped me push past that pain barrier, and thankfully I have now have no problems feeding from either boob.

Three weeks on, I am still enjoying breastfeeding. I'm a lot more comfortable holding Aria while she feeds, and have even fed her in public a few times! This was really nerve-wracking for me, as I didn't think I'd feel comfortable at all. Thankfully, it hasn't been anywhere near as bad as I had thought, and it's actually quite empowering! The health visitor weighed her again at her two week check-up, and the little chunk has put on 1lb! Again, another huge confidence boost that she is getting everything she needs just from me. *gives self a little pat on the back*


I feel like I could tell you so much more about my breastfeeding experience so far, but I will save that for another update! (I think I will do these monthly) My biggest concern now is building my confidence at feeding on public, but I'm sure that will come with time and practice!


I really hope that this post has helped some of you, and let you know that sometimes things can go really well! Although it is extremely hard, try not to be put off by any horror stories. Breastfeeding is different for everyone, and if you do give it a go, don't put too much pressure on yourself! Just do what is best for you and your baby.

Thanks for reading

Nicola xx
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1 August 2014

I'm in Mother & Baby Magazine!

If you have picked up a copy of this month's Mother & Baby Magazine yet, you may have noticed my little face in one of their articles!


I was contacted by one of the writers at the magazine to be part of a feature they were doing about pregnancy and age, and I was lucky enough to be their '20's girl'!.

I was a little nervous about it being published as I felt quite shy about it, but I'm really happy it's out there now and I'm excited to show it to my family and friends.

It's just a small piece, butI won't tell you any more about it here, you will need to pick up a copy to see for yourself :)

Nicola xx


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