TOP TEN GIFTS FOR A NEWBORN / NEW PARENT

 

Buying a gift for a newborn or new parent can be tricky; there's always that worry that you're going to duplicate a gift or you just don't know what is suitable as you haven't experienced it yourself. I mean there's so much to choose from, especially when it comes to clothes, they're all just adorable. When I was buying gifts, I'd 100% pick ip some cute clothes whether they were practical or not and more often than not, they'd be in newborn or 0-3 months. 

Since having my own baby, it has really opened my eyes up to understanding what is the best gifts to receive, and they don't all have to be a physical gifts to hold or even cost a lot. That may not sound exciting but to a new parents it could be a godsend. 

1. Nappies 

You might be laughing at me here reading this, but babies poop and wee a lot! At times we've gone through two to three nappies in one go as they like to shock you and do a wee during nappy change, not the one when you're half asleep at 2/3am. Any new parent would be extremely grateful if you came loaded with a few packs of nappies; just make sure you find out what brand and size they use. 

2. Formula 

Some mums may be breastfeeding so it's worth knowing this beforehand. But for those new parents who are bottle feeding, ask them what brand they use and when you next visit them and their bundle of joy, take a tub or two of the formula they use. You go through so much formula, it's always handy for having the extra stock in the cupboard. 

3. Rockit 

This crazy invention is heaven! 

Whoever created it needs a million awards thrown at them. I didn't know it existed until my sister and brother in law let us borrow theirs. This contraction is only small, but it attaches to prams, Moses baskets and bedside cribs and vibrates to mock the rocking sensation of what any parent would usually do to settle their baby. They can come up quite pricey so it's worth shopping around until you can find a decent deal. 

4. Clothing in bigger sizes 

Okay, I know what you're thinking, I have just said there's better gifts than clothing and to some degree that is true. However, it is always useful to buy something in a bigger size as the parents or parents to be will pretty much have newborn and 0-3 covered but may not have started on 3-6 and 6-9 months. One thing to bear in mind if doing this is to figure out what season it will be when the size is suitable; there's no point buying a knitted jumper when it will be summer when they turn that age. 

5. Freezer Meals 

This is more for the parents than baby - obviously! If you turn up with a couple of freezer meals then your friends/loved ones will be so happy. Sometimes in the first few weeks, cooking meals can go out the window and who wants to head out to a supermarket with a newborn (I can't speak, we ventured to our supermarket four days after giving birth as I wanted to go somewhere at that was easy). 

6. Baked Treats 

It doesn't even need to be homemade, shop bought is just as delightful. It doesn't even need to be baked goods; chocolate, crisps or biscuits will be just as good. That little pick me up might be just what the new parents needs especially after a night of no sleep. Again, these could be dropped off by the front door, they don't need to be especially for a visit. 

7. Coffee 

This can go down so well! New parents always love a good cup of coffee after a sleepless night, can always be decaf if the new mum is breastfeeding and unsure on how much caffeine they want to consume. You don't even need to do it when you've got a planned visit, a quick ring of the bell and a coffee on their doorstep is such a lovely gesture. 

8. Offer to do jobs 

Something that costs nothing but is priceless to any new parent is the offer to do their washing, hoover up or just do the odd dust around. These things can get pushed to one side when you're fresh out the hospital with a newborn. They may say no, but if you just head to the kitchen and wash the pots they will be so happy that it's one less job for them to worry about when they've managed to get the newborn off to sleep. Although, there's always that line you don't want to cross where it could sound offensive if you're hinting that their house may be a mess. 

9. Walk the dogs 

It may sound silly to you but if they have a dog, offer to take them for a quick walk around the block. Those few minutes of sitting around in the house with all their attention on their little bundle of joy without the guilt of knowing their firstborn (pooch) hasn't had their daily walk. 

10. Coffee and Gossip 

Something that everyone is used to doing at some point during their day, but for any new parent its maybe something they're missing out on in the early days. Particularly when the other parents has gone off to work or if they're a single parent, there's only so many gurgling and high pitched noises you can cope with before going stir crazy. This more so now we are coming out of lockdown! 

If you know of someone who's due to have a baby soon, I hope this blog post has been helpful. As mentioned earlier, these are things that I would have never thought of until having my own baby even though they're so obvious. 


Alice xxx

MATERNITY STYLING

 


Shall we discuss maternity styling?! 

Ok, I know I'm no longer pregnant but I am very passionate about this topic. I wanted to discuss my journey of styling my changing body, growing bump and what I actually think about maternity fashion- you really don't want to be clicking away! 


It's fairly easy to "hide" a bump in the early days, to be fair I barely had a bump until I was around four months and even then I just looked like I had one too many packet of crisps. It is so easy to get carried away with the idea of needing a brand new wardrobe and discovering what your favourite celeb or blogger wore during their pregnancy. Yes it is fantastic to get inspiration as that definitely helped me but personally, I couldn't justify spending a fortune on clothes that I'd wear for a few months and then throw into the back of my wardrobe just incase I had a second child - let's face it, we all know the items would be out of fashion by then. 

Not only that, but I actually found maternity fashion quite bland and ridiculously expensive. Zero shops stocked them in store (although heads up, Asda and Primark currently have a maternity range in store) so it was difficult to know what suited and fitted you. The amount of trips I had to make to the post office in the middle of a pandemic because all the items I had to order online weren't suitable or didn't fit was ridiculous. 


Every top seemed to be stripy or have the wording 'mama' plastered across the front - original! Season after season the collections still seem to the exactly the same but the odd dress or jumper will be thrown in. Even the celeb collaborations you see with certain brands always showcase the exact same pieces but may follow a different colour scheme. You're pregnant, not losing your sense of style or personality. 

I made the decision to only purchase a few essential maternity pieces that I knew I would wear daily and throughout the nine months. After that you can size up in non maternity pieces but find items that will grow with your bump and also what you can wear postpartum too. 


Here's my three go to maternity items you need in your wardrobe: 

1. Jeans - there's no way in hell you can squeeze your ass into your regular fit even if you size up. It's all about the super comfy fabric waistband that either sits under the bump or goes over. I found the latter was so much better later on in pregnancy and even post pregnancy too! 

2. Leggings - For the first few months I just bought a size up in my non maternity style (high waisted River Island leggings for the win) but you do need to venture for a maternity fit as you'll end up living in these towards the end. Comfort is key! 

3. Bras - I only picked up a couple of nursing bras and then invested in some bra fastening extenders so I could get away with my pre pregnancy bras. Let's face it, your boobs get bigger and you also get wider! 

You could also debate a coat if you're pregnant in winter, I personally didn't as I never fasten my coats up (weird I know) and as I was due early December, I wouldn't have a bump for those really cold winter months. 


Apart from the odd maternity dress and skirt I picked up in a sale, the majority of my wardrobe was non-maternity but sized up, as I knew that I could wear these after the arrival of baby too. My staple pieces were knit midi skirts from Primark as they're super soft, stretchy and excellent quality for the price of them. I then sized up to either a L or XL in tops and added a knot in them at the front so they would sit just above my bump when wearing my midi skirt or they would work with my leggings too. 

In terms of footwear, I got away with wearing most of my shoes/boots/trainers until the 7/8 month mark where my feet finally swelled. After that I lived in my trainers as they worked so well with my midi dresses and skirts. Find a pair which is soft under foot and lace up so you've got room for growth - this definitely happens!! 

Alice xxx

Four Months As A Mum

 


My first blog post as a mum, pretty weird hey! I guess it's time to give you the lowdown on how the first four months has gone.

It has been such a whirlwind but an incredible one at that, with everything I expected it to be as a mum and yet it has been very different to what I had anticipated. Weird hey. 

The first third of our boys life and our time as new parents has been stuck in lockdown which I have got to admit has been quite a blessing in disguise. It's allowed us to soak up all the newborn goodness to ourselves and settle into life as a family without any distraction from the world which you could say is a little selfish but I'd say is perfectly acceptable in those circumstances. However, it has been extremely difficult to not share our beautiful little boy with our family and friends in person or even make new friends at all the baby classes. 

Fellow parents, those days are now upon us - hoorah! 


For someone who has always been maternal and spent many years around my young nieces and nephews, I did find myself second guessing a lot of things - was he drinking enough, is he warm enough, why is he making that noise, should he be crying this much and should he be doing that? 


The answer probably is a yes, that is all normal. 


Those first few weeks at home were a bit of a blur; we spent a lot of it awake as he was a little night owl and only settled in our arms rather than his crib. Our money was well spent on that rocking bedside crib .... not. Those 2/3am mornings during my pregnancy thanks to insomnia certainly made the sleepless nights much easier, well that along with Netflix and copious amounts of tea and biscuits. About a month in, speaking to fellow parents and through trial and error, we soon discovered how he felt the most comfortable at night and managed to get a pretty decent nighttime routine going. 

These routines do change regularly, so be very prepared for that. I would say from our own personal experience, they do get much easier to deal with but that could be down to growing and learning as a parent as the months go along. 

Not only do you see a change in routines but you also see a massive change in your little one and it is so magical to see them grow and develop into the cute little characters. By week six we noticed the biggest difference in him; not only was he feeding and sleeping better but he suddenly had a growth spurt and became extremely aware of his surroundings and he started to use his senses so much more. It was like you clicked your fingers and bam he was a completely different baby. 



That first smile is absolutely incredible, again this came completely out of the blue and we spent the next few days doing anything and everything no matter how silly you look just to get him to smile again - then all of a sudden they just smile at everything which melts you every time. 

Skip a few more weeks and your little bundle of joy giggles away, is strong enough to lift their head during tummy time (this doesn't go down very well in our house haha). He's started to acknowledge the dogs and if they're close enough he will move his hands cross their fur or just pull it out in clumps and he's so, so close to rolling over onto his side. 



Moving on from baby, it's time to discuss the change in you as a mum or as the health team call it, the fourth trimester. As mentioned earlier, I have been around babies for the majority of my adult life and I honestly thought I was fully prepared for what was to come. No one really tells you about this part, you're supported throughout your whole pregnancy and yes you have visits from midwives and then health visitors after birth but you're barely supported during recovery. 

Shall I start with hormones? 

Wow, I literally cried at everything, here's a couple of examples; we tried setting up the prep machine, for some reason we didn't quite figure it out properly and I just burst into tears. At around three weeks after birth I looked over at Wild and cried because he had changed so much since the first moment I saw him - Martyn laughed and so did I a little later. 


My recovery physically was hard and I'm still not back to how I was pre baby or even how I felt during pregnancy. In one sense I am shocked at how hard it has been and yet I'm not surprised as you grow a baby for nine months your body isn't going to go back to normal straight away. Throughout my pregnancy I suffered quite bad with PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain) and have just discovered that you can continue with this post pregnancy too so am currently on the waiting list to receive some physio to ease the pain. The list goes on but I won't bore you with them, plus I don't want to put you off from having a baby or scare any parents to be. 

After all of that, I wouldn't change anything for the world and if we are fortunate enough in the future (a long way off though) I'd put myself through it all again. 


If you're expecting a little one very soon, good luck and soak every little thing up as it is incredible :) 


Alice xxx