Third trimester –preparing for baby number 2!

I can’t believe how quickly this pregnancy is going and now I’m well into the third trimester I thought I’d share some preparations we’ve been doing for baby number 2 – both practical and emotional 🙂

preparing for baby number 2

Preparing Archie for his new sister

Given his age (currently 20 months), we haven’t really explained to Arch that he’s going to have a baby sister because we feel he’s too young to understand and any mention of it seems to go ignored at the moment! But he has started going to nursery for 2 mornings a week to get him well settled in before she arrives. This is the first time me and him have really spent apart and selfishly it wasn’t something I was too keen on but I think it’s definitely best for the long-term. My attention will obviously be split when the new baby arrives and I want to make sure he gets enough stimulation and social interaction. Plus I’m already finding that I can be more focussed during the time we do spend together so hopefully it will benefit him in both ways.

Practical preparations

The new baby’s nursery is coming together well and although it’s not necessary for it to be fully ready as soon as baby is born (because she will sleep with us for the first few months) it’s something that I want to do so I can feel fully organised. All the furniture is in and it just needs a bit of organising and a few pictures up for it to feel finalised. I’ve also been sorting through all of Archie’s old clothes and seeing what we can reuse or anything new we might need. I’m yet to start the mammoth task that is washing it all though – eek!

Although I plan to try and breastfeed, I’m also getting everything sorted for bottle feeding (new teats and bottles, setting up the Perfect Prep machine and sterilisers) so that we have a Plan B should we need it.

We’ve now bought the adapters for our pram (iCandy Orange) so we just need to work out what combination will work best for it to be converted into a double.

I’ve also read that it’s a good idea to get all toys/ equipment out for the baby 2-3 weeks before our due date so Archie has a chance to familiarise and will no doubt lose interest in them by the time baby arrives.

Childcare during labour

Although we don’t have family who live near us, my parents are about an hour and a half drive away and have kindly offered to stay at ours and look after Archie when the new baby arrives. This is a huge weight off my mind because it’s a potentially unsettling time for Arch but I know with my mum and dad around he will be spoilt with attention and probably won’t even notice we’re gone. My husband commutes daily into London which is about an hour and a half away too so I’m just hoping if I go into labour, I will spot the signs early enough for everyone to get to me in time! Having been induced last time, and because I laboured quickly, this is something that’s playing on my mind a little but I do have some lovely mummy friends locally who could hopefully hold down the fort in the meantime, if it really came to it!

Introducing the siblings

I’ve been giving this quite a lot of thought and although in my head I always pictured a sweet moment of Archie meeting his little sister in hospital, I’m now thinking it’s probably best for Arch not to come into hospital at all. I think it would be really unsettling for him, especially if we have to then say goodbye and I can’t leave with him. So hopefully I won’t have a long stay in hospital and we can bring his sister home to meet him instead. I’ve read up some tips on how best to introduce your second born to your first so I thought I’d share these in case they’re useful:

  • Don’t hold your baby when first introducing– make sure your arms are free to give your first born as many cuddles as they need for reassurance
  • Introduce baby as “your baby sister”
  • Try to make the environment as non-medical as possible so it’s not frightening
  • Ask firstborn if he’d like to stroke or cuddle his new sister but don’t force it
  • Allow and accept any reaction – it’s a big confusing moment for them
  • If you want to document the moment then get someone else to take photos/ videos – you want to be there to support your firstborn as much as possible

Preparing to feel all the mum guilt

Ah this is one which I’m already feeling to be honest with you but I know that it’s just the beginning! I think it’s important to know it’s totally normal to feel like this though and that it just reflects how much you care and love your children. The below are a few areas of guilt that I’m expecting to feel but no doubt the reality will be slightly different:

  • Turning Archie’s world upside down and any negative reaction from him
  • Not being able to devote as much time to the new baby as I did the first time with Archie
  • Breastfeeding guilt – something I experienced quite badly first time round so I’m hoping to be much kinder to myself this time if breastfeeding doesn’t work out
  • Feeling like I’m not doing anything well and we’re just about surviving!

Interestingly that last point is something I felt constantly during Archie’s first year and I found striving purely for survival quite a depressing prospect to be honest. But having lived through it, I know that things do get easier, the good days do get more frequent and parts of your old life (before children) do come back again so I’m hoping that I don’t forget this easily and it can help get me through when everything feels a bit overwhelming.

Expecting chaos!

It’s strange looking back to the first few months of having Archie because I remember feeling like things were chaotic then and a bit all over the place (I’m a typical Virgo in that I love routine so this was tough!).

But this time round, I know there will be plenty more chaos in the house! And I’ll probably rarely feel on top of everything which is a bit daunting but I’m hoping that maintaining Archie’s structure (of sleeping, eating, nursery, classes) will help to give me a bit more of the routine I craved last time.

One thing I’ve heard from speaking to other mums is that it’s easy, particularly in the early days, to let someone else look after your firstborn whilst you get to grips with the new baby. But that actually this can be unsettling for your firstborn so it’s important to give them as much love and attention as you can as a way of reassurance.

I’m also aware that the firstborn can display a few behaviour changes as they deal with the emotions that can come from having a new baby in the house. This could be being more clingy than normal, not wanting affection from their parents, eating regressions, problems sleeping, increased tantrums etc. So I’m preparing myself for this and will try to be as understanding and as empathetic as I can, knowing it’s not personal, but just a time of adjustment for us all.

Self-care

It sounds a bit cliché and self-care seems to be the new buzzword, but one of the main things I’ve learnt since becoming a parent is that to be the best mum I can be, I need to take care of myself and ensure that I’m not always bottom of the priority list! For me, doing some form of physical exercise has always helped with my mental health so I’m hoping I can get back to doing maybe just one quick HIIT workout a week or a short run every now and again. But more importantly just finding a little “me time”, even if it’s just 5 mins of time to myself to clear my head and gain a little perspective – it’s very easy to get caught up in the bubble and lose sight of the bigger picture.

Are there any second-time parents out there who can offer more advice/ reassurance? I would love to hear it 🙂

Second pregnancy – a whole new experience!

Being pregnant again has made me reminisce about my pregnancy with Archie and although physically my pregnancies have been very similar so far, it’s a completely different experience to the first time! I thought I’d share on the blog why this time it’s been a whole new ball game.

second pregnancy

  • Tired, tired and tired again
    • Running around after an active toddler whilst being pregnant is making me more physically tired than I think I’ve ever been in my life. I honestly feel like I have the body of a 100 year-old – I’m constantly creaking and groaning!! I do remember feeling tired the first time round but I also spent most of my weekends catching up on sleep and resting which is definitely a thing of the past now…!
  • Goodbye maternity leave
    • Last time I managed to plan a nice chunk of time off as part of my maternity leave before Archie came along (in hindsight I didn’t make the most of it so for any first time mamas out there please enjoy every second – indulge in those long baths, stay in bed all day, go to the cinema, enjoy those last date nights with your partner etc.). But this time round, it’s clearly very different and I won’t be having any time off (from being a full-time mum) before the new baby arrives which is a slightly daunting prospect.
  • Time flies
    • If you’d have asked me last time how many weeks I was and what size baby was I could have told you in quite a bit of detail and on size in so many different variations of fruit, veg, household objects etc.! This time, the weeks just seem to be flying by and I can barely remember what day of the week it is, never mind what my due date is!
  • Less time to think about the new baby
    • Until recently (when the physical side has taken over and is a constant reminder!) it’s been so easy to forget I’m having another baby as my whole world is completely focused on Archie and when I have thought about it my focus is mostly on the impact on Arch rather than the baby itself. This is such a contrast to my first pregnancy when I became a bit obsessed – all I thought about was meeting my baby and what he/she would be like.
  • Less focused on labour
    • First time round I thought about the birth a lot and even our antenatal classes focused on labour and having a birth plan. It sounds crazy but shortly after having Archie I remember thinking “Phew, the hard part is over”! Little did I know that the hardest was definitely yet to come. So this time round, I think it’s only natural to think about it less and I’m trying to maintain an attitude of “I did it once, so I can do it again” even though I’m fully aware the experiences could be very different.
  • More focused on life after birth
    • Linked to the point above, having struggled to cope with the huge changes to my life first time round, my attention has mostly been on how I’ll cope with 2 children and trying to envisage the changes to come. In theory, it shouldn’t be such a shock this time as I’m very used to being a stay-at-home mum now and some of our structure will stay in place as we work around Archie’s routine. But the prospect of bedtime and getting out of the house with a toddler and newborn does terrify me so they will be the first few things I’ll be trying to crack (any tips welcome!).
  • Mum guilt
    • The moment you become pregnant with your second, it’s natural to feel mum guilt and I’m sure it’s not something that will be going any time soon. For every hospital appointment I have to go to, for the moments I feel too tired to play, every time I think about my attention being split, it’s so hard not to feel guilty about the impact on Archie. But I do keep reminding myself that to grow up with a sibling will be so good for him and it will be well worth it in the long run.

 

Baby number 2: We’re having a…

…girl! Yes we had our 20 week scan recently and they told us that Archie’s having a little sister 🙂 I still can’t believe it to be honest because, although you never really know, I did have an inkling that we were having another boy. This just goes to show I should always go with the opposite of my gut (as I got it wrong last time too)!

gender reveal

The scan

Whilst all went well with the scan, we did learn a very important lesson in that next time we won’t be taking Arch with us! He freaked out the moment I got on the bed and couldn’t understand why mummy couldn’t hold him (he’s going through a particularly clingy phase at the moment). So Daddy took him out of the room for a while but nothing really consoled him until right at the end when I could eventually pick him up. Luckily we had a very understanding sonographer!

Time to pick a name

Before we knew we were having a boy last time, we’d picked a girl name which I’d had in mind for a very long time – way before we’d even thought about having children! So this time, although it would seem like the obvious choice, we’re not 100% sure. With Archie, once we’d decided on his name it just seemed right straight away but this time we’re not quite settled on it. So if anyone has any name suggestions to throw into the mix, please feel free to send them my way!

And time to go shopping!

Despite not having a preference on gender, we’re thrilled to be having a daughter and feel that much closer to knowing more about her. The only slight downside (in Daddy’s eyes!) is the extra expense it incurs! I’m not going to lie, I am pretty excited to go shopping and pick out some cute girlie outfits. Although I’m still going to get as much wear out of Archie’s clothes as much as I can and have no problem in putting her in a blue sleepsuit for bed.

I’ve also started to make a list of things we need to buy ahead of her arrival. So far on the list:

  • Cotbed and mattress (Archie is still in the cot version of his and I don’t want to move him out prematurely)
  • New bottle teats (and bottles where our others have worn out)
  • Pram converters – we have the iCandy Orange which goes into a double but we need to buy the right adapters
  • Second monitor/ camera
  • White noise toy – Archie loves his MyHummy teddy so we might purchase another one of these or try something else

Mums of multiple children, is there anything else I’m really missing here? I’d love to hear your second-time essentials.

Pregnancy update

Other than that, I don’t think there’s too much else to report. My bump hasn’t grown much since the last post and I’m already getting lots of comments about how small I am but I’m sure I’ll pop at some point….! Baby girl is growing nicely at the moment so I’m trying to not let it concern me and I’m appreciative of the extra monitoring. The irony is that although Arch was a fairly small baby (7 pounds 3 so not exactly tiny!), we now get constant comments about how big he is for his age so I think it’s best not to take these things to heart too much, as long as everyone’s healthy.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please feel free to ask in the comments!

18 week pregnancy update

I can’t believe that in a couple of weeks’ time I will be officially half way through my pregnancy! Where does the time go? I thought I’d do a quick update to share with you; my bump progress, baby movements, whether we’re finding out the gender, my low PAPP-A level and what it means, and any pre-baby preparations so far.

First signs of a bump

As mentioned in last week’s maternity style post, I am definitely still more on the tubby side of things and it’s not obvious that I’m pregnant yet. But at the right angles there is the first sign of a bump so I’m just holding on to that and hoping that soon I will properly pop!

18 week pregnant

Baby movements

With Archie it took until about 24 weeks for me to feel him moving around but I’ve definitely started to feel some very faint movements already this time, which I think is more common in second pregnancies. At my recent midwife appointment they struggled to get a heartbeat reading because he/ she was such a wriggler which is exactly how Arch was (and has been ever since he was born!!).

20 week scan

We will soon have our 20 week scan and the option to find out whether Archie’s having a brother or sister. We will most definitely be finding out if we can because we’re so impatient! And, for me personally, I found it really helped me to bond with Archie during pregnancy last time and I think practically it will be very useful this time. I’ve kept all of Archie’s old clothes so if we’re having a girl there will be a lot of sorting and passing on to friends/ charity!

I’m really undecided as to what I think I’m having. Last time I was convinced I was having a girl but I have no idea this time and as I’ve mentioned before, I really have no preference. I’m just wishing and hoping for another healthy baby.

Low PAPP-A level

This is a little bit niche but I thought I’d mention because when I was pregnant with Archie I received a letter which said I had a low PAPP-A level and I would need extra monitoring but very little other information, which to be honest just terrified me. I have a low PAPP-A level again with this pregnancy and having been through it before, I feel much calmer and understand more about the implications.

Essentially, pregnancy associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) is a hormone that is made by the placenta during pregnancy. And if you have a low level you’re at a higher risk of:

  • A lower birth weight baby as your placenta may not work as well
  • An increased chance of having an early birth
  • Miscarriage in the second half of pregnancy
  • An increased chance of developing pre-eclampsia

However, having said that, for most women they go on to have a normal pregnancy so it really is just a case of extra monitoring (additional growth scans between 28 and 40 weeks and being under consultant care) and taking extra pre-cautions. I’ve also been prescribed a low dose of aspirin which I need to take daily until the baby arrives.

With Archie, I was lucky enough that it didn’t really affect my pregnancy/ birth/ after-birth so I’m hoping that it will be the same this time. Arch was technically a small baby according to the weight percentiles but at 7 pounds 3 he was very healthy and after 24 hours of monitoring in hospital we were allowed to go home as normal.

Baby number 2 preparations

From a practical perspective, we haven’t done too many preparations but we still have plenty of time and it will just be a case of re-setting up the nursery and going through Archie’s old things. But I have been doing some reading up about how to prepare yourself and your firstborn for the new arrival.  “The Second Baby Book” by Sarah Ockwell-Smith has been particularly useful – it talks you through practical preparations, how to tell your firstborn, childcare during labour, the various feelings of maternal guilt and dealing with difficult behaviour once baby is here. As mentioned, I have so much anxiety about the negative impact on Archie and so I will be trying everything I can to reduce that where I can. If anyone has any other recommendations, I am all ears 🙂

 

Maternity style

Although I’m still in the ‘tubby’ phase of pregnancy (if you know, you know!) I am slowly starting to see the first signs of a bump. So at the weekend, I dug out my maternity clothes from last time and it reminded me of how frustrating maternity shopping can be. There are very limited options in-store so you have to order mostly online and often your style changes quite a bit to accommodate for your change in shape so it can become a bit of a minefield!  I thought I’d share my favourite maternity finds for anyone who may be having a similar struggle 🙂

I’ve grouped by my 4 favourite maternity retailers (UK) and listed the clothing types I’ve found to be the best from each one, with a few specific examples linked. Please note all views are my own and none of the links are affiliated.

Topshop

topshop jeansSkinny black jeans

I always shop in Topshop for my jeans because I personally prefer a skinny fit and I like the fact that they offer different leg lengths. Usually I wear the Jamie Jeans but in maternity these seem to constantly fall down and lose their shape very easily. So I much prefer the maternity Joni Jeans – both under the bump style (for early pregnancy) and over the bump (for later in pregnancy).

H&M

h&m skinny jeans


Super skinny blue jeans

I usually prefer black jeans to blue but when I found these maternity ones I literally lived in them because they are so incredibly flattering – I could not recommend them highly enough.

 

h&m vests


Vests

I’m not sure you can go too wrong with a vest but I liked the length of these and the fact that they are nursing appropriate for post-birth.

 

 

h&m jersey dress 2

h&m jersey dress 3


Jersey dresses

Pregnancy for me is all about comfy jersey dresses – especially the bigger the bump! Last time I found some lovely long sleeved ones from H&M but their Summery ones are just as nice – number 1 and number 2.

 

Tights

Clearly very seasonal but I was pretty shocked to find that my trusty ‘tights source’ M&S don’t stock maternity tights. Luckily the H&M ones are fab and fit really well – I tried quite a few other brands which constantly fell down and it drove me mad!

ASOS

asos topasos top 2
Tops

I always like ASOS for tops because they tend to be really affordable and a nice twist on a basic – number 1 and number 2.

 

asos top 1asos jumper
Sweaters

Who doesn’t love a comfy sweater and in the UK they’re needed in pretty much all seasons. I personally prefer these ASOS ones to many I’ve tried – number 1 and number 2.

 

maternity bra


Bras

Underwired bras were really uncomfortable for me from around 20 weeks so I found these Emma Jane non-wired ones which also double up as nursing bras for post-birth. They are so comfortable and are seam free so work well under any top – I could not recommend them highly enough.

Seraphine

seraphine
Formal dresses

Seraphine is definitely more high-end but they have great sales so it’s worth keeping an eye out because the quality of their dresses is so lovely and flattering. I picked up this dress on one of their offers, specifically because I had quite a few Xmas parties, and I had so many compliments – most were disappointed it was maternity only!

leggings
Leggings

I didn’t wear leggings as much as I thought I would but these were very flattering and comfortable so I would definitely recommend.

 

 

 

 

I’m pregnant!

I mentioned last week that moving house was one of the reasons I’ve been a little quiet on here but the other (rather big) reason is because we’re having another baby! We’re so thrilled and can’t wait to meet Archie’s brother/ sister later this year. As is common with most pregnancies I’ve been dealing with a whole host of different emotions so I thought I’d share on here. I’d love to hear from any fellow mummies who have experienced similar – please do let me know in the comments 🙂

pregnancy

First trimester

So far my pregnancy has been very similar to last time. I felt very nauseous during the first trimester and although I was never sick I found it very difficult to prepare and be around certain foods – these unhelpfully seemed to change on a daily basis. I’d also forgotten how tired the first trimester makes you and it felt so much harder this time – probably because I was running around after a toddler! Both of these things made me feel quite down overall and I just didn’t really feel like myself. I think the fact I felt like I couldn’t be honest with people (because we didn’t share our news until our scan) was also a contributing factor. I find it very hard to hide my feelings and I think it was obvious to my nearest and dearest that something was bothering me.

Sharing the news

We waited until our 12 week scan to tell our family and friends, mostly because it didn’t feel real until that point and I was convinced that something was going to go wrong (for no specific reason – I think it’s quite common to feel like this). When we did tell our family we had quite a few shocked reactions, almost implying it was too small an age gap.

It’s something we had thought about for a long time and I truly don’t believe there is the perfect gap. But for us, we decided we wanted to have them fairly close together (it will be about 22 months). And if I’m really honest one of the reasons is because I found the first 6 months really hard last time and I’m fully anticipating it could be the same again so I just want to get that period out of the way. Plus I’ve been so concerned about the impact a new baby with have on Archie and I’ve read the younger your first is when you have the second the easier the transition will be for them. I have no idea if this is the case but I’m happy to keep you posted!

Archie – the big brother!

I’m so excited for Archie to have a brother/ sister and I know that in the long term it will be so beneficial for him. My husband and I both grew up with siblings and I honestly can’t imagine a childhood without having someone to share it with. However, since having Archie I can completely understand why some people choose to have just one. I know it sounds cheesy but he is everything I ever hoped for in a child and so much more. My heart is so full.

I do worry about the short-term effect on him in terms of having to share the limelight and not having our full attention. I know that the impact is often hardest on the relationship with their mummies and I’m so worried that we won’t be as close as we are now. If you read my previous post about our bond (see here if not) you will know that it took a while for us to get to this point and so I’m really hoping there’s no long-term impact on it. But he’s such a sociable little boy that hopefully he’ll soon see the positives of having a permanent playmate around!

Baby number 2

So many people have asked me if I’d like a girl this time round and I honestly do not have a preference. It’s funny how we always assume women want girls but I can fully envisage myself as a mum of 2 boys and being the only Princess in the house….and I’m totally fine with that! Equally, if we did have a girl I’d be just as delighted because I have such a close relationship with my own mum and I’d hope to have the same with my daughter.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about how I’m going to cope with 2 children, particularly with my husband working long hours and my family being far away. When Archie is giving me a particularly challenging day, I do wonder how an earth I’ll cope with a baby to take care of too. But I’m really trying to not let the anxiety take over like it did last time. I’ll find ways of managing and I know that in the end things do get easier so it’s just about riding the storm. I’m hoping that I’ll feel a tad more confident with some experience under my belt but I’m also aware that all babies are so different and we may face completely different challenges this time! All in all though, I’m just so excited and feel privileged to be able to expand our family.

I’ll keep you posted as to how the rest of the pregnancy continues and if you do have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments!

Gifts for new parents/ new baby

When we had Archie I was blown away at how incredibly generous our friends and family were with gifts. So many people asked us if there was anything we wanted and we’d bought so many practical things for the baby that we couldn’t really think of anything at the time. So, with hindsight in our favour, I thought I’d put together a little list of ideas for anyone who needs some inspiration. 

new baby-parent gifts

Keepsake gifts

Newspaper of the day baby was born – I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t ask someone to buy this for us because I’m seriously sentimental and I think it would be a lovely keepsake to show Archie when he’s older. You can buy back copies but they’re not cheap so it’s worth asking someone to do this for you if you’re the one expecting!

Photo frame – I know this is a little old school but I love having photos printed and put up around the house so a photo frame is right up my street.

Baby record book – Some organised mums-to-be might have bought one already so it’s worth checking first but it makes such a lovely sentimental gift and a year later I still love filling Archie’s in and looking back at the entries so far.

Imprint kit – I’m sad that we never got round to doing one of these and the off-the-shelf ones are inexpensive so it definitely makes a lovely present for anyone wishing to cherish those tiny fingers and toes!

Teddy bear – We received quite a few of these which is lucky because Arch is a big fan! But it might be worth checking with who you’re buying for so they don’t have too many. The personalised My 1st Years ones make a lovely keepsake.

Gifts for the whole family

Homemade meal – when you’re a new parent the likelihood is you’ll be grabbing more convenience food than you’re used to so some homemade food – whether that’s a whole meal or just some snacks – will be seriously appreciated!

Food box subscription – when Archie was small we invested in a weekly Hellofresh box for a few months and it was brilliant at getting us back to cooking at home. The recipes were very simple to follow with the ingredients pre-measured (very important for sleep-deprived parents!) and we were surprised just how healthy and tasty they were. I think it would make a great gift for any new parent – whether they’re competent at cooking or not.

Newborn photo shoot – this will not be high on a new parent’s priority list but it makes for some lovely memories that you can cherish forever so again I think this would make a lovely sentimental gift.

Gifts for mum

Pamper kit – you can buy ready-made ones specifically for new mums – the Elemis gift sets are great – but they tend to be pretty pricey. It’s very easy to compile your own – personally I’d include a face mask, lip balm, hand cream, body oil – anything that feels a little luxurious and is really moisturising.

Loungewear – new mums will likely spend a lot of time in clothes that resemble PJs but are slightly more appropriate for leaving the house in! Next do some lovely ones as do ASOS.

Something with Mum/ Mummy on it – whether it’s a mug (the Emma Bridgewater ones are my personal favourite), a piece of jewellery (this Next necklace is lovely) or a slogan top (I love the Selfish Mother ones) most new mums will be so proud to flaunt their new role!

Gifts for baby

Outfit/ Babygro’s – It’s worth bearing in mind that for the first few months a baby will mostly live in Babygro’s so if you’re choosing a cute outfit then you might want to size up for when they’re a bit older. Remember to consider what season it will be when the baby’s at the age too so you don’t buy something impractical for the weather.

Muslin cloths/ bibs – From someone with a sicky baby, there were never enough muslin cloths or bibs clean in the house despite owning enough to put a normal retailer to shame! For bibs, any soft round bibs with a popper fastening are great for the newborn days (save the more stylish dribble bibs for when they’re older). And for muslin cloths TK Maxx do some great ones and I really don’t think you can beat the Aden & Anais ones for quality.

Blanket – Particularly for a winter baby, a blanket makes a lovely gift. My most used one was this Chenille one from Asda as it was super soft and washes well. But for something a bit more special I love this personalised My 1st Years blanket.