About Me

A first time mum blogging the journey.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Maternity Bag

I posted a link in my earlier post (The Third Trimester) which I found useful when packing my maternity bag.  I am going to give a rundown of what I took and why.  Bear in mine Poppy was born in summer so you may need to pack a few warmer bits for those winter babies and a nice warm dressing gown for mum!

Food.  I packed some cheese sandwiches.  Nice and simple. It's hard to know what you may fancy when in labour so try to keep it plain.  During the early stages of labour, when being checked at the hospital, it ran over dinner time so was very grateful I had packed something filling.  I also packed some dried fruit, nuts and seeds, as recommended by lots of pregnancy guides.  However during labour you become very dehydrated and its quite hard to chomp down nuts and seeds so would recommended just taking the dried fruit.  With hindsight I would pack soft sweets such as haribo which are easy to chew and keep your sugar levels up.  

Drink.  The hospital provides cups of water, so bring a sugary drink such as fruit squash.  It is really important to drink and keep hydrated during labour.  Pack a bottle for your birth partner too, he/she will be exhausted as well.

Chargers for you mobiles.  My partner phoned our family and friends with the good news, and also kept everyone updated during labour.  You don't know how long labour will last, so pack a phone charger!      

During birth whatever outfit you've planned goes out the window and you end up in a not so glamourous hospital gown.  It is in the early stages of labour when you are at home when you need a comfortable outfit.  I had some loose back maternity pants from gap (in fact I lived in these towards the end of pregnancy).

A nursing bra (get measured properly! I recommend the M&S twin pack nursing bra with clips.) is essential with you going home outfit, which (if breastfeeding) needs to be easy to either unbutton or lift up. Don't worry about breastpads to much yet,  the  leaking is yet to come...  Remember, you will still be in maternity wear for quite a while (very disappointing I know).  Pack a couple of pairs of underwear (comfy and large) and some socks for walking around in the hospital.  Along with slippers and a comfy dressing gown.  If you have an easy birth and you are eager to return home with your new family, then you may not need to stay in the hospital overnight however it's best to pack some nightwear just in case.  Pack a spare outfit for you birthing partner too.

Toiletries.  If staying overnight a toothbrush for you and your birth partner, toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.  Anything you usually use for a shower.  A nice towel and hair towel.  Most places allow your partner to stay overnight with you and they can help you shower the next day so pack a towel for them too!  Take a hairbrush and hairbands too, you will really want your hair out the way!  Maternity pads. Lots of them.  Big ones.  After birth you bleed for anywhere up to six weeks, although most women only bleed for around 2 weeks (even if you've had a cesarean).  You need to change your pad every hour for the first day after birth so stock up!

Your camera! with a full battery and lots of free memory. That way you can capture as much or as little as you want.  I love looking back at photos of Poppy's first few hours.  

Change for parking.  Hospital car parks. Enough said. 

For baby.  Size 1 nappies and baby wipes.  The hospital will probably provide and put on the first one, after then its up to you!  A baby vest (newborn size), and a babygrow (newborn size), bring a couple of each.  The hospital will also provide blankets but its nice to bring your own (especially if home knitted).  Everyone recommends a hat and scratch mitts.  These fall off within a matter of minutes so I would just bring one of each.  And finally a nice going home outfit for your baby, (which needs to fit in the car seat).  We had some nice knitted booties to keep her feet warm over the top of a babygrow (and vest) with a matching hat.  Muslin square, useful for everything baby related.  

Extras: music for you i-pod, swimsuits if having a water birth, makeup for the glamourous mums out there.  

I hope this post was helpful, if any mums had some essential items they would like to post that would be great, any advice is welcome.  

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Mince Pies For Baby

Follow this link for some festive weaning:

Thank you for your post Yummy Discoveries!

Folic Acid

Just a quick one for those trying for a baby or those who has just found out that they are pregnant.  Start taking folic acid now!  It prevents defects such as spina bifida and is recommended even before you're pregnant.  Don't worry if you already are pregnant though, I didn't find out I was having a baby until I was already 5 weeks pregnant.   It is available from Boots and other pharmacies and one pot will probably last the entire duration of the first trimester, which is how long you have to take it for.

Some foods are naturally high is folate, such as lentils (check out my lentil soup recipe), dark greens and citrus fruits.  Food sources are not enough to supply the folic acid you need in pregnancy, so this must be in addition to folic acid supplements.

For those worried they made not get enough vitamins during pregnancy I recommend Pregnacare vitamins.  For those in the UK, when you receive your first Bounty pack from your midwife it will probably contain a voucher for Pregnancare so I would wait and use that are they are quick expensive.  Pregnacare can be used safely throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.  You can find more information about Pregnacare here:

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Third Trimester - The Countdown Begins....

  • Backache and rib ache
  • Heartburn
  • Swollen feet
  • Midwife checks
  • Nesting
  • Buying baby clothes
  • The head is engaged
  • Packing a maternity bag
  • Making a birth plan
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • The due date.
And so the backache continued... and along came rib ache.  The third trimester starts with a feeling of  'I am really getting the hang of this pregnancy thing' and ends with 'get this baby out of me'.  The third trimester can bring with it a number of discomforts, for me heartburn was another.  So avoiding acidic food, not eating late, and having a warm milky drink or peppermint tea were my remedies.  Now is the time to be really careful and take it easy.  Lots of women feel they have to work right up until the birth and continue doing all the housework, however it is easy to get run down and have all sorts of aches and pains.  At this point in the pregnancy it is hard to sit down/ stand up/ walk very far/ sit for very long and stay awake all day.... So what can you do?  Prepare for birth.  Birth is imminent.  Your baby could be early so its really time to get things ready for baby and to prepare yourself mentally and physically for birth.  

Just when you think nothing else can happen... your feet swell!  I have very tiny feet (size 3!) so its no wonder I had swollen feet carrying around all that weight.  I tried to keep my feet raised up whenever possible, wore comfortable shoes (not heels like Jessica Simpson) and moisturised them regularly.  Watch out for fluid retention, swollen hands and feet as it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.  For more information on pre-eclampsia check out this link:

Your midwife checks become more frequent during the third trimester, they will feel your tummy to check where the baby is.  For me the baby was always in the correct position and always kicked the midwife!  They let you listen to the heartbeat of the baby, which was always reassuring.  I never got used to hearing her heartbeat, it always amazed me.  They also check your blood pressure at each visit, as it can vary a lot during pregnancy, also another sign for pre-eclampsia.  My midwife had very cold hands, I remember that....Towards your due date the baby will drop down further into your pelvis, and then begins the infamous 'pregnancy waddle'.  The midwife will monitor this and will be able to tell you when the head is engaged.  Once it is, birth could happen at anytime really.

My bump got in the way a lot!
My new garden
Nesting.  What a lovely term.  Some women get a sudden impulse to clean, decorate and organise (especially the nursery) towards the end of pregnancy, all preparation for baby.  At that time I was doing up an old cottage so was in full nesting mode.  Painting/decoration/sanding you name it!  On my tired days I would have to settle for making tea for the builders.  If you do get the overwhelming urge to nest, be careful and don't over do it!  You will need all your energy for birth.  

Your first trip to Mothercare is a right of passage for parents-to-be and feels both exciting and daunting.  It's not a shop you would have previously browsed in, you feel out of place, like everyone is staring at you and thinking 'you don't have a baby', you start to push your bump out to to justify your visit.  You suddenly realise you don't understand baby sizes and haven't considered half the stuff you need to care for a baby!  You feel swayed by the pricey but gorgeous baby outfits in Mamas and Papas as well as their nursery sets and cots.  I will post a breakdown of the baby things I believe you really need as the extras can really run away with your budget.  My mum washed all my baby vests for me before the baby was due, it was so surreal seeing them all hanging on the line.

Waiting for baby.

As the due date draws near, it is time to pack a maternity bag.  I kept putting it off and making list after list.  You can find many examples of lists online, I found this NHS video useful:


I will post what I used from my maternity bag, bearing in mind Poppy was born in summer.

During the final weeks of pregnancy you and your partner will make a birth plan and the midwife will write it in your notes, this allows you to have some control of where and how you give birth, for example at home or in a hospital, an active birth or a water birth.  My birth plan was to have my baby in a midwife led unit (as opposed to a hospital), thus ensuring as little medical interference as possible, with no pain relief apart from gas and air, a birth pool and a playlist on my i-pod.  Did I get this birth?  Well check out my post on the birth to find out.  

My due date was the 2nd July 2012.  That day came and went.  So did another 10 days.  Poppy was born the 12th July.  I was born on the day I was due (April fools day) so I had a feeling she may have been the same, I guess she was just fashionably late.  I like to think I had a nice comfy womb.  It's a strange day, you are really waiting for something to happen, Braxton hicks contractions, waters breaking, anything. You try to get on with your day as normal.  My partner was on edge at work all day, waiting for a phone call.  Lots of people contacted me, everyone is holding their breath, especially me.

Phenomena Of Pregnancy

People you don't know start knitting for you.

Every woman you meet decides to tell you their own birth story.

People look worried when you walk into a restaurant, like you might eat somebody.

Strangers touch your tummy.

You eat a lot of gherkins.

Fed up of mashed banana?

Mashed banana is a great first food for baby, it is sweet, creamy and has a great texture, however if you want to try something new to start getting some more variety try using mashed avocado fruit.  

I always have a few avocados in my fruit bowl ripening.  So when soft, simply scoop out the flesh into a bowl, discard the skin and the stone in the middle and mash with a fork.  It has a creamy texture just like banana and is really easy for babies to eat.

Avocado contains lots of vitamins and minerals and also contain lots of good fats.  Not to mention babies will love the bright green colour.

And for mum?

Mashed avocado on wholemeal toast is a healthy and filling snack, so great during pregnancy and post-pregnancy!  So mash enough for both of you if weaning and remove a portion for baby, then add salt, pepper and a little lemon juice, spread on warm wholemeal toast.

If you want to be a little more adventurous, try adding coriander and some chopped spring onions, delicious!

And for Dad?

A delicious packed lunch for working dads; use any leftover mashed avocado spread into a sandwich with mayonnaise and top with some grilled bacon.  He will love it!

What was your babies first favourite food?

Please leave any favourite recipes mums and dad :) 

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Second Trimester

  • Feeling bump conscious even around friends and family
  • Backache
  • Glowing (a little)
  • Baby kicking!
  • The second scan - A girl!
  • Really feeling pregnant
I wasn't ashamed of my bump but it took a really long time to feel comfortable with people looking at it, I think this stems from it not being a planned pregnancy.  Eventually the bump is too big to hide and you begin to really like the lovely attention it brings, you realise that everyone really does love a bump. Checkout workers in Sainsbury's couldn't resist asking when the baby was due followed by giving me an account of all their pregnancies, births and children (much to the anger of customers queuing behind me!).  Instead of wolf whistles and general male banter on the street, the male population suddenly becomes polite, gentlemanly and helpful.  The elderly don't hold back and go straight in for a bump touch.  I think feeling attractive is really important when your body is going through so many rapid changes and I wish I'd invested in some nice maternity wear early on.  Maternity wear is expensive so I will recommend the items I found most useful.  Maternity jeans from Next, with a narrow bump band.  These jeans are a great item which works well with your normal wardrobe.  

If it is summer, some nice white linen trousers with a loose shirt works great, again Next do some comfortable linens.  

If you usually like tighter trousers I found maternity jeggins with a high maternity belt great, especially with a floaty top (which doesn't need to be maternity).

Also a maxi dress looks great over a bump and feels really floated and girly.  It doesn't need to be maternity, just make sure its comfy. Twin with a cardigan and comfy sandals.  

Don't worry about buying a few clothes that would usually be a bit roomy, you will really appreciate them after the birth as it takes a long time for your tummy to return to its normal size.  

Backache plagued me throughout the second trimester.  It made me really miserable.  Everyone knows pregnant women can't drink alcohol, so a night out can be a little more dull however with my backache there was no chance of even leaving the house in the evenings.  Pregnancy hormones makes all your joints weaker and your bump puts a lot of extra pressure on your back.  For me it felt like the position of the baby was causing all the trouble.  Lying down and a hot baths were my saviours. Don't be afraid to take it easy, you need to be in the best shape for birth.  Swimming is highly recommended early on in the pregnancy, it feels great to feel light in the water.

I waited and waited to hit the elusive glowing stage of pregnancy.  I think I got a little glow right near the end of the second trimester.  Do not worry if you're not glowing, everyone is different in pregnancy, some women look great, some (like me) look a little less special....

The first time I felt baby Poppy kicking was amazing.  I had been to a friend's house that day and had eaten a lot of her homemade honey.  That evening I was sure I felt a few movements.  I got my partner to put his hand on his tummy and exactly as he did so, boom! Massive kick.  It startled both of us and was the most amazing feeling.  It's great for partners to feel kicking, it allows them to really bond with the bump. You will find certain voices, music and food will make the baby kick, wriggle and turn.  It can take you by surprise some days and others you are so used to it you don't even notice all the little wriggles whilst you are doing things.   Poppy was a real mover, always kicking.  She also had the hiccups a lot.

The second scan.  Boy or Girl. We just had to know, and as we had already guessed from the start, it was a girl!  A lot of mums seem to instinctively know the sex of their baby.  The second scan is also important to check the health of your baby, so its a real relief to hear everything is ok.  After the scan I realised the next time I saw my baby it would be in my arms.  Crazy.

By the end of the second trimester you are undeniably pregnant.  Acceptance sets in and you begin to think about birth.

Lentil Soup

As winter is closing in everyone starts to crave a bowl of warm, comforting soup.  This is a really healthy recipe so great if you are pregnant, very low fat so perfect if post pregnancy and can even be used for weaning (Which I am looking forward to trying out in 2 months time!).  I would like to say this is my own recipe however it is from the Vegetarian Bible, that is Rose Elliot's 'New Complete Vegetarian'.

So fry 1 onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes until lightly browned, add 8oz of red lentils and 1 litre of vegetable stock, then simmer for around 20 minutes. Simple!  Take off the heat and blend.   If you want add lemon juice, salt and pepper.  

To make this baby friendly, simply make with water (not stock) and do not add salt and pepper.  

If you want to make a batch for the family, I recommend making it baby friendly, taking out a portion before stirring in a stock cube and seasoning. 

Let me know if any babies out there enjoy this soup!  

The First Trimester

  • Feeling tired, make that exhausted.
  • Morning sickness or rather hunger sickness, that is, only constant eating could keep queasiness at bay.  
  • Looking dreadful.
  • Going off tea and coffee.
  • A tiny bump concealed by not very flattering combinations of baggy clothes and my partners jumpers.
  • Graduating whist hiding the little bump.

  • First scan - amazing, everything well.

Everyone's experience of pregnancy is different, these were the main things that I remember from the first trimester.  Feeling tired was the first symptom of pregnancy that I had, swiftly followed by a form of morning sickness.  I was never actually sick but constantly queasy.  The only thing that kept me from throwing up was grazing all day.  Coping with morning sickness is extremely hard, I recommend ginger tea and lots of healthy snacks.

Check out the infamous Emma's Diary for more information on morning sickness:


I had to graduate whist hiding the little bump.  It was a surreal day, suddenly my degree didn't feel so important.  But graduation is a ritual and marked completion for me.  Putting my studies behind and concentrating on becoming a mother.

The first scan is both exciting and scary. For me the first scan really confirmed I was pregnant (no going back now!).  It is a special experience for mums and dads and nothing can prepare you for seeing your baby moving on that screen.  It is also a marking point for a lot of mums to spread to good news about their pregnancy, knowing finally that their baby is healthy.  The other main bit of information the first scan can give you is whether you are having one, two or more babies!  I was relieved to find out, it was just one little baby in there and not twins.  Get pictures from your first scan, trust me you will want to keep looking at them over and over and over....

Check out the babycentre for information about the first (dating) scan as well as for general pregnancy information:

I felt that I looked dreadful during the first trimester, that twinned with the bump just looking like you've gained a few pounds.  And so began the gradual acceptance of my changing appearance.  From the beginning of a young girls life, all that she is told is how beauty matters, she should be slim, fashionable, wear make up and accept no less than perfect.  Then they are pressured to have children, to fulfil their 'purpose as a woman'.  With pregnancy comes, weight gain, stretch marks, a little affect called gravity amongst many other irreversible changes, all of which are associated with 'not being perfect'.  Within nine months you have to accept these changes, and try have a positive view of them.  The bump is not fat, it is beautiful.  I call my stretch marks, my war wounds and my partner loves my new extra bit of fat, in fact its made me feel much more like a mum.

Oh and by the way, I used all sorts of expensive stretch mark creams, none if which made a difference, however they smell great and make your bump feel lovely, so treat yourself .....

Saturday, 24 November 2012

I'm Pregnant!

So I better start at the beginning....... Last November I found out I was pregnant.  I was a student when my partner and I found out I was pregnant.  What a shock.  Deciding to keep the baby was the easy part, pregnancy and birth was the hard part and motherhood, well, motherhood is the most amazing part.   

This blog is a space for mums-to-be and first-time mums to find advice, support, and to read what is to come! So new mums please ask questions and experienced mums leave tips and comments.  From morning sickness and stretch marks to breastfeeding and teething.  There is no better expert than a mum!