Hey Beautiful People. For those that follow me on social media accounts Twitter and Instagram, you might have come across my announcement in the Summer as a HUGGIES ® Wipes Ambassador 2016. As you know, I am a huge advocate of all things natural, and after being contacted about the ambassadorship and doing further research on the product, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Huggies Wipes contained 99% pure water and gentle natural fibres and therefore decided to accept the role in order to raise awareness and enlighten other parents.
So far I have completed two vlogs as part of the ambassadorship and today’s instalment is all about Baby Bonding. Baby Eco and I had the pleasure of catching up over lunch a few weeks ago with fellow blogger and friend Charlotte who writes over at Berice Baby to talk about all things Pregnancy, Birth, Baby Bonding and the ever increasing list of Conflicting Advice given to parents.
I have captured our conversation below which started with the following question…
Describe your motherhood journey so far and what you’ve learnt.
Charlotte: I have learnt to go with the flow and not to be so worried. I was really worried with Hyden, like over every little thing and I found out over time that you don’t have to be.
Dani: After speaking to a few Mothers at my local baby group, they have all said you worry less with your second child. I guess being a first time mother you naturally worry and it can be overwhelming, especially with the conflicting advice we receive as parents.
Charlotte: Exactly! We receive advice from everywhere and everyone but every persons circumstances are different, that’s why I am going with the flow this time around.
What are you excited / apprehensive about with your second pregnancy?
Charlotte: I feel more confident and less stressed out with this pregnancy than I did with Hayden. Just going back to the point of going with the flow and making your own decisions we all no doubt have received advice from our Mother, our partners Mothers, our Aunt, the neighbour (Dani laughs), have probably read a blog post or three, watched a YouTube video etc… you name it but the key thing is to remember every child is different.
This pregnancy has gone by soooo fast Dani, like I can’t believe I’m in my third trimester already! I honestly thought I’d be incredibly anxious but I’m not anxious at all. I am really enjoying it and I feel good.
Dani: I’m so glad you’re enjoying the process of gestation. I absolutely LOVED the process to and was completely mind-blown by the journey. I just feel blessed to have had a straight forward pregnancy and smooth labour.
Ok so next question… Do you think your overall mindset has a part to play in how you feel? For example your feeling positive with this pregnancy and your thinking positive thoughts so therefore it projects out into the universe.
Charlotte: I thinks so. I guess I was worried the first time around as everything’s was new and you don’t want anything to go wrong. I remember I would stress about every little thing. Like if my stomach was getting tense from Braxton Hicks I’d panic whereas now I know what it is so continue on with my day. Or if I was getting lower back pain I know it’s from walking around all day and a cue to slow down a little and relax.
As a Mother, what you wish you had or hadn’t known before you had your little one?
Charlotte: I wish I had known more about allergies.
Dani: I know that’s a big deal with Hyden right?
Charlotte: Yeah. I knew I had allergies as a child growing up and I knew it could be passed on to my children as some can be hereditary but Hyden has different allergies to what I had. I wish I had known more information on how to prevent and deal with them.
At four months he still wasn’t sleeping through the night so the Health Visitor advised me to give him formula as a top up to my breast milk to fill him up. He came up in blotches shortly after and then threw up the whole thing which resulted in a hospital trip so we knew then he had a dairy allergy. At the time I thought this was rare but after reading sooo many blogs and articles I now realise it is quite common.
I also wish I had known more about swaddling.
Dani: Interesting… What makes you say swaddling?
Charlotte: At the time I was in a Facebook group which was predominately American so the in thing was to swaddle your baby and this had me curious as I had never heard of the term before.
Dani: See I tried swaddling with Baby Eco when he was a newborn but he didn’t seem to like the restriction at all so I didn’t persist.
Charlotte: (nodding head) Hyden didn’t like it either but you have to keep trying.
Dani: So you say swaddling definitely helps?
Charlotte: No, I think it would help. I tried it, Hyden didn’t like it and I felt bad so also stopped but think this time around with Berice Baby No 2 I would definitely persist a little longer.
Dani: Looking back I wish I persisted. From the minute Baby Eco was born he hated being on his back and naturally was a tummy sleeper.
Charlotte: OMG Hyden was too!
Dani: If he fell asleep after nursing I would attempt to put him down in his crib on his back but his eyes would ping open or his startle reflex would kick in and wake him up. I got very tiring and exhausting at attempting to put him down this way and given he wanted to sleep on his tummy, I found it easier for the both of us to bring him into our bed and sleep on my chest so we could both get some rest.
We’re still co-sleeping 9 months on.
Charlotte: (laughs) That’s exactly the same with Hyden. We co-slept because I was breastfeeding and it would make life alot more easier for me, especially during the night feeds.
I do think you create a rod for your own back though based on my own experience. Hyden is now 4 and will still wake up during the night and sneak into our bed. He rarely sleeps through and I think that is because of co-sleeping and bed-sharing when he was younger.
Dani: You see that’s what my other half keeps telling me so find this perspective really interesting. My other half is of the view that by continuing to bed-share with Eco will cause him to become solely dependant on me to sleep as he cannot self soothe at present and wants Eco to be independent.
Is there anything else you’d like to add before we proceed to the next question?
Charlotte: Oh yes… Baby First Aid!
Dani: I totally Agree!
Charlotte: I think all aspects of First Aid should be compulsory.
Dani: Yes, Basic First Aid should be completed as part of the national curriculum, First Aid at Work should be given to ALL employees and Baby First Aid should be offered as part of expectant parents antenatal appointments.
Charlotte: Right! These are the life skills we essentially need to be taught.
Dani: Not how to do Algebra
Charlotte: (laughs) or Trigonometry
As a Mother, what do you wish you’d done differently in terms of bonding and relaxation for both you and baby?
Charlotte: I don’t know as we bonded really well. Let me think, what do I wish I had done differently (thinks for a second) I’m not sure you know….
Dani: No worries hun, I’ll proceed. Ok so you I’m a babywearing advocate and I rarely use a pushchair.
Charlotte: I know, you’re sooo good to still be wearing him Dani, especially now he’s alot heavier!
Dani: I love it, even though he currently weighs just over 9kg. But do you know I didn’t actually start wearing Eco until he was three months old. Looking back at it I wish I had worn him from day 1 as it would have allowed me to get around a bit more in our house and not be confined to the bedroom or shall I say bed as all he wanted was to be held by me.
This of course meant that general housework would go amiss for a few days due to finding my feet in the early stages of Motherhood but babywearing would have definitely helped.
In terms of relaxing with your baby, Baby Massage is another way of bonding and relaxing but I didn’t do this from the get go and is something I wish I had done from birth as opposed to starting at 4 months.
In your opinion, what is the best ways to bond with baby from day one?
Charlotte: The best way to bond with your baby has to be Breastfeeding.
Dani: Snap! There really is no experience quite like breastfeeding! Knowing that my Son is getting all the nutrients his body needs through me is a wonderful feeling. I’m not gonna lie, I did struggle in the beginning due to an over abundant milk supply not know to me at the time and my fast let down making night time feeding during the first month quite hard and frustrating.
Charlotte: Ooo I remember you saying.
Dani: Between the hours of 1 am and 3 am especially was the worst as it would always resort to an hour + of non-stop hysterical crying. I guess because breast milk usually comes in around that time it made me slightly engorged making it difficult for Eco to latch.
We endured the same process every night for the first few weeks until I became physically exhausted which resorted in a desperate call to my local MW Support Group for new mothers and someone came out to see us. I was shown a different position by the lovely MW and Eco was finally able to feed without gagging / choking. By holding Eco higher up across my chest whilst reclining a little made the world of difference and our breastfeeding journey was a whole lot easier after this.
Charlotte: Didn’t you think of expressing so your other half can help out as I know how demanding breastfeeding can be.
Dani: The thought of expressing did cross my mind as I wanted to give my O/H the opportunity to feed our Son but after seeking advice I was told by many health professionals including my HV to wait until 6 weeks when breastfeeding is established in order to avoid the chance of nipple confusion happening.
After I reached the 6 week mark I kind of got used to the frequent night wakings as weird as it sounds. Eco would typically be up 2-3 hourly but after 4 months each feed reduced from the initial 20 – 4o minutes to 5 minutes or less. So even though my sleep would be broken I didn’t feel it necessary to disrupt our routine with the addition of expressing and introducing bottles.
My other half supported my decision and 9 months down the line we’re still breastfeeding with the addition of weaning.
Charlotte: Wait so no bottle at all?
Charlotte: Woooooooow. I’m impressed!
Dani: (smiles) Thank you. Exclusively breastfeeding is tough as the feeding is all down to the Mother which means I cannot be very far from home if out and about running errands by myself as Eco is fed on demand.
Aside from breastfeeding, for us, I think the best ways to bond are LOTS of skin to skin contact and babywearing!
In your opinion, what is the best moments to bond with baby?
Charlotte: I loved being able to breastfeed Hyden and treasured each moment he fed. I’m just gutted I wasn’t able to breastfeed longer than 5 months due to his allergies.
Dani: I introduced baby massage around 4-5 month mark and Eco loved it! I find the whole process extremely therapeutic whilst responding to his cues when he’s had enough on a certain area (to watch my Huggies video performing message techniques on my Son click HERE).
We’d usually do baby massage after bath time as a way of winding down before he went to sleep for the night or sometimes during change time after cleaning his diaper area with nothing but natural products such as HUGGIES ® Wipes that are hypo-allergenic and made with natural fibres. I love how soft on they are on his delicate skin but now he’s mobile and crawls / cruises everywhere he absolutely loathes being on his back!
Unfortunately Change time has been a bit of a constant battle recently with Eco crying in frustration at being put on his back so now I incorporate massage techniques whilst babywearing, reading a book or whilst bathing him.
What advice would you give to your followers / readership on what to expect when baby arrives?
Top tips for those first few days?
Charlotte: Don’t be afraid to accept help if offered. You’ll no doubt be knee deep attending to your new bundle of joy that things such as housework, laundry, getting groceries and making sure you eat yourself tend to go amiss. Those first few days are incredibly overwhelming as you, your partner and baby adjust to life as a three.
Dani: You know what I wholeheartedly agree with you and is something I politely declined from friends during those first few days and weeks. I ultimately saw Eco as my partner and I’s responsibility so didn’t feel comfortable in accepting offers to get groceries etc but looking back at it they was only trying to help.
My top tips for the first few days would be to hold off on people visiting you for the first few weeks at least. Of course your family and friends will be excited to see your new bundle but I think it’s incredibly important to utilise the time to get to know your little and adjust to your new role as parents. It’s worth mentioning that you’ll both be exhausted and sleep deprived so the last thing you need is a busy house full of people that shows no signs of leaving when all you want to do is rest!
Charlotte: OMG this is sooo true Dani! (laughs and hi fives) I wish I had done this myself. I had my family over, my partners family and a few close friends. It was hectic and exhausting which contributed to stress levels going up so I will definitely hold off on visitors with expectant baby number 2.
How you feel about all the conflicting advice to mums? What would be your best advice on what to trust?
Charlotte: I tend to read and see what other people are doing with their children who are the same age as mine often and it tends makes my head spin. BUT I’ve learnt to give other people’s advice a go, if you can. If it doesn’t work try something different.
Because there isn’t a handbook on how to raise your child and every child is completely different you just have to do things that are best for you and your child. I say if you feel strongly or passionate about a certain way of doing things do it that way if all fails try another way.
Dani: I totally agree! Guidelines are forever changing, sleep being one of them. It wasn’t all that long ago that our parents and grandparents were advised to put babies to sleep on their tummy and now it’s advised to put them on their back in order to reduce the chance of SIDS happening.
As Eco was a tummy sleeper since his arrival, I was strongly advised not let Eco slept on his front but as his Mother I know what’s best for my child and the same goes for any parent. There will always be conflicting advice but I would say, listen and respect other people’s opinions but ultimately do what you think is best.
I hope you enjoyed our discussion around the topics of baby bonding, pregnancy, birth and conflicting advice useful and informative. The ever delightful Charlotte is expecting her 2nd baby in February 2016 and genuinely wish her and bump the very best as she approaches the final 8 weeks of gestation.
Be sure to keep an eye out on the blog as I will be summarising my experience and sharing my thoughts on what it’s been like to have been a HUGGIES ® Wipes Ambassador 2016 with you all next week please god.
This post is in collaboration with Huggies Wipes but as always, all thoughts and opinions are honest and entirely my own.