Friday, 28 August 2015

Affordable clothes part two: Maternity clothes

When I was pregnant I quickly grew out of my normal clothes. At 4 months nothing fitted any longer so off I went merrily to the high street to buy some maternity clothes. To my horror I found everything was baggy on me. And I don't mean just the belly area but the whole thing, I looked like a little girl in her mother's clothes. Why oh why they all start in size 10-12 I do not know. Now please don't get me wrong here. I am not some tall waifish model type, but a tiny 5ft, slightly built, skinny with small boobs except around the hips and bum area which are rather buxom. I'm the average size of a 12 year old with bottom and boobs added on (see my previous post). Clothes are difficult enough to find in my size but I get by...or at least I did get by. Even the strappy tops were baggy on the boobs! They had nice designs in reasonable prices in H&M, Topshop, New Look and online from ASOS but hardly anything fitted with the exception of 2 dresses from ASOS that they did in a size 4...there's no way they were actually a size 4, they were more like an 8-10 and I bought them because I was clutching at straws (they only truly fitted when I was enormous in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy). I did however find some great over the bump leggings and jeans in H&M so got a couple of pairs of each. But what to wear on the top half? I decided to look at secondhand stuff. Up until Baby D was born I volunteered at a St Peter's Hospice charity shop so that was my first port of call. I ended up finding lots of great bargains in charity shops, not just St Peter's but all over the place. I found dresses and tops that were neither maternity nor my usual style but we're very stretchy and roomy. Here's a few of my bargains:
None of these are maternity wear, just roomy and stretchy (and charity shop bargains!)
And, as and when I passed clothes shops I'd have a quick look at the sale rails and ended up picking up a couple of nice things for special occasions again were not meant as maternity clothes but we're very stretchy and roomy.
Below you can see my work outfit (I'm a photographer and this is me working at a wedding at 30 weeks pregnant). I wore my over the bump leggings underneath the dress and nice comfy Sketchers Go Walks for my swelled up feet. And the other was to wear at a wedding, I love that dress. And bonus, it fits postnatally and I can breastfeed in it too. Winner!
2 bargain sale dresses, left one Warehouse, right one Yumi
Maybe you could pick up a few bargains yourself!

Thank you to Blue Daisy Photography who did the top middle photo and bottom right.

Dawn x

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Fun Farm Softplay & Sensory Coffee Lounge

Last weekend we had our first trip to The Fun Farm Softplay & Sensory Coffee Lounge on Hanham High Street. 

Baby D and her friends from NCT are all turning one around the same time so we decided to have a joint party and had exclusive hire of the softplay for 2 hours on a Sunday.

We were welcomed by smiley head farmer Jane, she was really helpful and friendly and the kids loved her.

It's a lovely little place. It's small enough that you can keep an eye on the children easily but big enough that there's lots to do and keep them occupied for a long while. There's a ball pool with a little slide, a sensory corner with bubble tube, mirrors, percussion instruments etc, several pretend farm animals that they can climb/sit on, squeakers, wobbly mirrors, big shapes and wonderful bubble machine plus more. 
Sensory corner
It's all for under 3s and was just perfect for our little one year olds who have just started walking (and climbing!) A concern I've had at other places is too many children and a wide age range with confident 5 years olds jumping about amongst tiny only-just-crawlers. I've often seen bigger kids pushing little ones off of apparatus, burying them in ball pools and knocking them flying whilst running past. But at the Fun Farm as they are all under 3 and they have a maximum number of kids at any one time (booking is advised) it's much safer for everyone.

Another concern that I've had at other softplay is the level of cleanliness - often they are filthy and I dread to think what you might find at the bottom of the ball pools! But at The Fun Farm it was super clean. I had no worries about Baby D touching apparatus, it really put my mind at ease.

They have a small cafe upstairs with food and drinks at good prices and if you've hired the whole place (only on weekends) they can provide food for your party.

There's good baby changing facilities and loads of clean high chairs - my favourite IKEA Antilop with fully working harnesses. They have all sorts going on with messy play, grandparents and non walker and crawler sessions.

All of the little ones had a wonderful time, I highly recommend a visit. Check out their website, Facebook page and Tweets.

Dawn x

Monday, 3 August 2015

My Breastfeeding Journey update: one year in

As its Breastfeeding Week I thought I'd give a little update on my breastfeeding journey.

Nearly 5 months ago I wrote about the beginning of my breastfeeding journey. I had a rocky start but soon got on track and ended up loving it and along the way learned to love my body - especially my boobs which I used to hate.

I have now been breastfeeding Baby D for over a year and still love it.
It's become even more valuable a tool as a soother and comforter after the inevitable falls and knocks whilst learning to crawl and walk, calming after a tantrum or settling down for a nap or bed and making her feel better when those pesky teeth are cutting. She now has 8 teeth with another 2 imminent.
I thought that she would cut down on her feeds once we started baby led weaning at 6 months but to be honest she's only started cutting down in the last few weeks along with establishing her appetite for solid food. And she still feeds quite a lot, the feeds are generally only a couple of minutes in the bulk of the day and longer in the evenings, night and mornings. Or if she's cutting teeth she'll have a few days when she's completely off solids and all she wants is boob. I don't mind this but once she cuts back down again it takes my boobs a few days to settle back down and not get engorged.

Speaking to my breastfeeding friends with similar aged little ones, their babies' feeding habits seem to vary greatly. Some now only feed at night, some only feed a couple of times a day, some are very much like me and Baby D. Like many baby related things, almost any variation is normal because they and we are all so different.

Something I really like is the fact that Baby D can clearly ask for milk when she wants it. She'll say 'mama' and do the Makaton sign for milk (mime milking a cow), there's no mistaking it. She can also crawl over to me, climb up onto the sofa and onto my lap ready for feeding, there's no need to pick her up anymore. It's so much easier. Plus she is so funny, giggling and smiling at me during a feed, it's so sweet.

I find however that feeding whilst out and about is not so easy. There's several obstacles I've encountered: 
- Distractions. There's just too much exciting stuff going on for Baby D to settle and have a good feed. She'll hear a noise or something and pull away (typically at the letdown causing milk to spurt all over the place)
- Lack of suitable seating. As I'm so small and Baby D is comparatively big I can no longer feed her whilst sitting on a dining style chair, she's just too long and I'm not strong enough to take her weight. I need a sofa or to sit on the floor. Both of which are harder to come by than you might expect.
- Self consciousness. For months and months I totally lost my boob inhibitions and felt very proud to feed in front of people. Baby D would tuck straight in and there would rarely be a nipple flashing moment and it was a calm and beautiful experience without drama or fuss. Now however because of my last two points Baby D often flails her arms and (very long) legs around, hums, whoops, shakes maracas (yes true story) and generally multitasks whilst feeding. It brings a lot of attention to us...and as she's now toddling with a face full of teeth it seems that some people are grossed out by a 'big baby' breastfeeding. I've lost count of the number of people - both acquainted and strangers - who have said along the lines of "isn't she a bit old for that now?", "oh, you'll be stopping that soon then" or "I wouldn't feed a baby with teeth, maybe you should stop". I understand our westernised society is weird about natural term breastfeeding and I expect some of these comments but quite frankly I don't want a debate or to have to justify my parenting choices when I'm trying to enjoy a cup of coffee in a café. I know I should carry on regardless but if someone does happen to remark, stare or whisper to their companion (always too loudly so all around hear) I'm likely to get riled and upset and it will play on my overactive mind and likely ruin my day. I have stages where I can blank out things like this and not let them affect me at all but most of the time I'm a bit of a sensitive sort.

Like I said before, I love breastfeeding and I know Baby D does too. I have no intention of stopping any time soon, we are quite happy as it is at the moment. I plan on letting her self wean, I'm not sure how realistic that is...watch this space!

Happy boobing 

Dawn x