The first 1,000 days // The importance of the right nutrition from conception to two years old

Did you know that the first 1,000 days of your child’s life, from conception to two years old, are some of the most significant in terms of their growth and development? Making sure that your baby or toddler is getting the right nutrition is something we have all worried about. I know I have! SMA Nutrition has teamed up with medic and weekly health columnist Dr Ellie Cannon to help parents further understand how important the protein levels and nutrition for your baby is during this time.

If your pregnancy is planned then the chances are that from the moment you conceive you will start thinking about what you are eating (or more likely what you can’t eat – no more runny egg yolks!) and how that might be affecting your growing baby. I took pregnancy vitamins and folic acid, and tried to make sure I ate well during both my pregnancies – although there were probably rather more biscuits in my diet than is strictly healthy!

The first 1000 days

And then once your baby has arrived, feeding them becomes one of the most important (and sometimes stressful) things in your life. I think most of us probably know that breastmilk is the best thing for our babies. It contains just the right amount of protein along with all the micronutrients that your baby needs to avoid any deficiencies in early life. What is unique about breastmilk is that the protein level changes as your baby grows. It always provides the right quality and quantity of protein to ensure your baby grows at a steady and appropriate rate, which can actually help to stop them becoming overweight later in life. You can read more about the protein in milk and its importance on the SMA nutrition website.

Knowing all of that, I really wanted to breastfeed both my babies. As a lot of you mamas know though, breastfeeding isn’t always easy. I really struggled with Toby due to a combination of things, and you can read all about our breastfeeding experience here. I was proud that I at least managed to partly breastfeed for six weeks, but in the end, particularly with Toby’s reflux, it turned out that bottle feeding was the best option for us.

The first feed

With Gabe, breastfeeding was more successful, and I breastfed him for 10 weeks. Unfortunately, due to a combination of circumstances, including reflux again, we have ended up bottle feeding Gabe too. Although I know that exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months would have provided both my boys with the best possible nutrition, like a lot of women it just didn’t happen for us and I’m happy that formula exists and can provide my boys with the nutrition that they need.

Of course, after the first six months you’ve then got weaning to think about! We’ve just started weaning with Gabe and he seems to be enjoying his first solid food. I can’t believe he’s six months already though, the time has absolutely flown by!

We’re planning on following the same route we did with Toby, which was a mixture of finger foods and spoon feeding. That was mostly because I couldn’t cope with the extreme mess of pure baby-led weaning! We never gave Toby any purées though, he just had a little bit of what we were having, which made sure he was getting all the different food groups.

Messy weaning
From weaning until he was nearly two Toby was a fantastic eater and would eat anything we put in front of him. As a toddler he has become more fussy, but I think that is as much about asserting his independence as anything else! I think his fussiness definitely increased when he started talking and could tell us ‘Toby doesn’t like it,’ which we hear quite regularly! On the whole though he still has a fairly varied and balanced diet, it’s just very frustrating for me when something that he loves one day is completely rejected the next! I hope Gabe doesn’t pick up on his brother’s picky eating habits. Even though we are already past the first 1,000 days of Toby’s life I know how important it is to keep providing him with appropriate nutrition as it is so vital for his healthy growth and development.

Toddler tea

There is an awful lot of information out there about baby and toddler nutrition but I know sometimes it’s hard to find out what you really want to know. Everyone seems to have different advice, and this is one area where speaking to friends and relatives doesn’t always get you appropriate information, as the guidelines and recommendations have changed quite a lot over the last few decades. When I was a baby I was started on solids at just 10 weeks old. That’s completely unimaginable now but was the norm at the time!

If you have a question, something you would like to know about protein and nutrition during pregnancy or in the first two years of your child’s life, then leave me a comment below. Some of these questions will be answered by Dr Ellie Cannon and I’ll be publishing the answers in another post in a few weeks time.

Update: You can read the Q & A with Dr Ellie Cannon here.

The first 1000 days pin

*This post is in association with SMA nutrition



Gabriel: a home birth story

So, you can read about what happened in the run up to labour in this post and I’m going to continue the story here…

Give us a wink

Having told Barry and my parents I didn’t think anything was going to happen that night we went to bed at about 10pm and I was hoping labour might start the next morning when Toby was in nursery and we’d had a full night’s sleep. But as I lay in the dark I realised that the cramps I’d been having earlier were perhaps getting a bit stronger and more regular. I found the contraction timer on my pregnancy app and counted as I had three mild contractions over the next 20 minutes. The procedure for a home birth was that I call the consultant led unit at the hospital who would get in touch with the on call midwife. I decided it was probably a good idea to give them a ring and let them know what was happening.

I spoke to the hospital at about 10:40 pm and they said they would get the on call midwife to give me a ring. By the time she rang 40 minutes later my contractions were 5-6 minutes apart and with my history of a quick labour she decided she better get changed back out of her pyjamas and come over. While we were waiting for the midwife we got together all the things I’d prepared and put a waterproof mattress protector and old sheet over the sofa, just in case my waters decided to go when I wasn’t expecting it!

The midwife arrived not long after midnight. After a quick chat she felt my tummy – the baby was still head down and well engaged. She then listened in to the baby’s heartbeat. His heart rate was a little low – it should be between 120 and 150 bpm and the baby’s was only 104. Heart rates in babies fluctuate a lot though so the midwife said she would do an internal examination then check again. The internal revealed my cervix was soft and thinned but still only 1-2cm dilated. I knew this didn’t mean much though – with Toby I went from 3cm to having him 3 hours later so I knew this time things could progress just as quickly if not quicker.

The midwife checked the heart rate again. It was up slightly but still only 108 bpm. At this point the midwife advised us that if the heart rate didn’t pick up soon then we would be better off in hospital so he could be more closely monitored. I decided it was probably a good time to get my mum and dad over so they could watch Toby if I did need to go in.

Of course when the midwife checked again just after I hung up the baby’s heart rate was up to something like 126 bpm and it stayed up there for the rest of my labour! While all this was happening my contractions were still coming and getting a bit stronger each time. I was coping fine with the pain at this point just using the breathing techniques I had been taught at the pregnancy yoga classes I went to. The midwife decided we would probably be OK to stay at home so she started unpacking all the kit she needed. There was quite a lot of bumping and banging and Toby actually woke up and cried at one point but thankfully he got himself back to sleep quickly.

Over the next hour we found a Star Wars documentary to watch – a bit random I know but there’s not much on TV in the early hours of the morning. I had a go at bouncing on my birthing ball which was comfortable between contractions but I actually found standing up and leaning on the arm of the sofa whilst rocking my hips was the most comfortable place to have a contraction for this part, I had my TENS machine on by now too but only on about level 4 on the first programme (of which there were 3, and they went up to level 50!), I concentrated on my breathing and pressed the boost button every time I contracted, which was getting to be more and more frequently. The midwife was still checking the baby’s heart rate with the doppler every 15 minutes. It stayed in the normal range which was great but pressing the doppler into my bump started to get really uncomfortable and annoying!

About 1:30 am my mum and dad turned up. After a quick hello they headed upstairs to bed (although my mum didn’t actually sleep for the rest of the night – I suppose it must be quite weird listening to your daughter give birth and be wondering what is happening.) Around this point Barry cleared space on the living room floor in front of the sofa and covered the floor with some waterproof mats we used to use when Toby was weaning, along with an old sheet and some towels. I took up the position where I ended up staying for most of the rest of my labour – kneeling in front of the sofa, leaning forward onto a cushion. This was the same position I had Toby in too – I guess that’s just what works for me. I think when I made the move to this position the midwife realised that things were really moving along so she called the second midwife who arrived about 45 minutes later.

I think at about 2:30 I decided I couldn’t manage just breathing through the contractions any more and got the gas and air. I also got Barry to come and sit next to me so I could squeeze his hand, and I put him in charge of pressing the boost button on the TENS machine as it was starting to annoy me trying to find it every time (by this point I was on the second programme at about level 10). He was also in charge of dispensing Jelly Babies! I started to relax with the effects of the gas and air – I remember saying to Barry ‘I didn’t tell you this last time but it is like being drunk’ to which he replied ‘yeah, you told me that last time’. I also found it funny at this point that because I was leaning over in quite a short night shirt everyone could see my bum! I actually got quite chatty at this point, in between the contractions which were coming thick and fast, sometimes without a break in between them at all. I was moaning a bit at the height of the contractions but I did try and remember a couple of things I’d read in Ina May Gaskin’s ‘A Guide to Childbirth’; firstly that keeping an open and relaxed mouth would help the cervix open and relax too, and that low pitched noises would help me do this. A couple of times I caught myself clamping my teeth down on the gas and air mouth piece so I made a conscious effort to relax my jaw.

Some time after 3 am I started to really feel my cervix opening up. I think this was the point last time that I heard myself saying ‘I can’t do this!’ This time in my determination to be more positive I was saying ‘I can do this’. I was still on my knees, leaning on my arms on the sofa. I remember the midwife asking if I was feeling ‘pushy’ and I said no but on the next contraction I started pushing. The midwives were getting together all the things they would need once the baby was born, and they put some of those absorbent mats underneath me. After a few more contractions the midwife said she could see my waters bulging and then I think on the next contraction they went, splashing below me. According to Barry it was quite dramatic. Another couple of pushes (and some pretty loud screaming from me – how Toby didn’t wake up I will never know!) saw the head come out and one more and the body followed. At 3:43 am, after about 6 hours of active labour, our second son, Gabriel, was born.

Just born

The midwife caught him and passed him up between my legs. One of the first things I said was ‘he looks just like Toby’. I knelt and looked at him for a little while then the midwife helped me turn over to sit down. By this time the cord had stopped pulsating so the midwife tied on the cord tie I had made and Barry got to cut the cord. I was planning on having the syntometrine injection for a managed third stage but the second midwife asked if I would rather just wait and see if the placenta came on its own and within a few minutes and couple of small pushes it did. The midwife then checked me for any damage, I got away with just a small graze at the front – exactly the same as with Toby. I’m glad I make babies with small heads!

First kiss

I moved up to the sofa with Gabriel wrapped in a towel, which he had already filled with meconium that was getting all over his legs and feet as well as his bum! Barry went upstairs to let my mum and dad know the news and my mum came down to say hello. She chatted to the midwives while they filled in all their paperwork and me and Barry got to know our son. I managed to get Gabriel to latch on to feed fairly quickly which I was really pleased about as I’d found it so difficult with Toby. A while later the midwives weighed Gabriel – he was 6lb 13oz, just 3oz more than his brother had been.

First feed

Barry held Gabriel under his t-shirt for some skin to skin while I managed to go through to the loo and get cleaned up a bit. Just before this I had been really shaky. I didn’t feel unwell or cold but I just couldn’t stop my legs in particular shaking and jerking. Apparently it can happen because of all the adrenaline that is in your body after giving birth. My blood pressure was fine though so I had a banana and plenty of water and soon started to feel OK again.

Funny face

The second midwife left some time around 5 am and then by 6 am everything was cleared up and both midwives had left. Half an hour later Toby woke up so Barry went and got him dressed then brought him downstairs to meet his new brother. My dad made an appearance as well – he’d slept through the whole thing too! This was the main reason I had wanted a home birth; not because I had any particular desire to actually give birth at home but because within a couple of hours of having my baby I was in my living room with all my family around me.

A few hours old

So that’s it, the birth story of baby Gabriel. I’m sure there are bits I’ve missed out but it’s long enough as it is! I don’t claim to be any kind of expert now but if you have any questions about what it is like to have a home birth then I will do my best to help.

I’m sure I’ll be writing plenty more about life with a newborn too but for now, as I finish writing this, Gabe is sleeping beside me, he is almost 6 days old and he is adorable. He hasn’t done much except eat and sleep for the last week. Toby wasn’t quite sure about this new arrival for a few days but now seems to love his little brother already and is being so lovely with him. He comes over and gives him such a gentle kiss on the head while I am feeding, and he brings him toys to look at. Today he even gave him both his muslins – Toby uses muslins as his comforters and is very protective of them so that’s a massive thing for him!

We’re all very happy in our new family of four. Now if we could all just work on getting a bit more sleep….


Gabriel: the lead up to labour 

I started off trying to write my birth story but it ended up being really long so I have split it up and this post is about the lead up to the birth of baby Gabriel. If you have been following my blog lately you’ll know I have been pregnant with my second baby. Despite my first pregnancy ending with the arrival of the lovely Toby after 38 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy and me being convinced this one would arrive early too, last week I made it to my due date and 40 weeks pregnant.

After a lot of deliberation, and a long wait to see if my previously low lying placenta would cooperate and move out of the way, I was booked for a home birth and had all the kit delivered by the NHS at about 36 weeks although I wouldn’t be allowed to stay at home for the birth unless I reached 38 weeks. Logistically we had a few issues about how we would make sure Toby was looked after if I stayed at home, or if I had to transfer to hospital as we don’t have any family nearby. We were very grateful that my mum and dad were happy to come up with their caravan and be on standby on a campsite about half an hour away, although I think they were hoping for an early arrival but instead they had to wait over two weeks to meet their newest grandson…

I saw the community midwife who I have been seeing throughout my pregnancy on my due date, she offered me a sweep which I refused and then wished me well as she would be on holiday for the next week. Saturday came and went and then on Sunday morning I decided I was fed up of just sitting about the house waiting and even though my pelvis was still making walking really painful we decided to head to the beach to let Toby have a run around. He wasn’t entirely convinced about how much fun the beach is but that’s another story. After some fresh air and chasing birds (that bit was just Toby) we headed back up the steps to the car park and home for some lunch.

Pregnant at the beach

I still didn’t feel like labour was imminent until I went to the loo when we got home and realised I had had a ‘bloody show’. I knew that it could still be days before labour started but I was happy that I knew something was starting to happen at least. I gave my mum a ring to let her know and put them on standby in case something did happen – it’s a good job I wasn’t ringing to say I was in labour though as my dad was off walking up a big hill somewhere at the time!

We carried on our afternoon as normal, I was feeling a few period pain like cramps but nothing different to I’d been having for the last few weeks and certainly nothing I would call contractions. We decided we should probably clear some space in our office/ spare room so we could open out the sofa bed if we needed my parents to come and stay.

As the evening went on I was feeling more cramps but still not really contractions and nothing regular and I told Barry I didn’t think anything would happen overnight so about 10pm we headed up to bed to try and get some sleep…

You can read the rest of Gabriel’s birth story here.


Introducing. . .

This is only going to be a short post, I’ll follow it up with the full birth story and some proper photos as soon as I get a chance. As I write this on my phone at 2am I am watching TV with a sleeping baby in my arms who is just less than 48 hours old. 

Gabriel was born at 3:43am on Monday, three days past his due date. He was born at home, after a very quick labour. He weighed 6lb 13oz (3oz more than his brother). 

Toby somehow, miraculously, slept through the whole thing! (Not so tonight, I’ve just spent an hour trying to get him back to sleep and he is still awake and talking to himself!). I think he was a bit confused when he came downstairs to find the baby wasn’t in mummy’s tummy any more. He slowly seems to be getting used to him though. 

I’ll leave it at that for now. Thank you to everyone who has congratulated us on social media, I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot more baby spam from me in the coming days and weeks! 

From poppy seed to pumpkin: 40 weeks pregnant

That’s right – 40 weeks and I am still pregnant! This is well and truly uncharted territory for me now. I was so convinced this baby was going to be early, I can’t quite believe I’ve made it to my due date.

I saw the midwife today – baby boy is still 2/5 engaged and she said he seems lower than when she saw me two weeks ago. I’ve been feeling some sharp pains in my cervix and some crampy pains still but not really any Braxton Hicks and certainly nothing approaching actual labour.

I was offered a sweep today but declined. Perhaps selfishly, although I am quite fed up of being pregnant now, it would be more convenient for us logistically if this baby comes on a weekday so Toby can go to nursery. Of course we have plans in place for if the baby does come at the weekend (my mum and dad have been waiting patiently in their caravan on a campsite half an hour away for the last two weeks!) but I don’t see the need for any artificial encouragement at the moment. I have said I will see what happens over the weekend and then I can ask for a sweep at the beginning of next week if I want one.

Everything is still fine with me and the baby – I’m just uncomfortable now. I still have quite bad pains in my pelvis which mean I can’t walk very far, and the last few nights I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to get comfortable in bed. My bump is more comfortable lying down in bed but my hips really hurt if I spend too long on one side so I’m constantly tossing and turning (which is quite difficult in itself!).

Anyway, enough moaning for now. I’m going to think positive thoughts and hopefully this baby will appear sooner rather than later!

40 weeks pregnant

From poppy seed to pumpkin: 39 weeks pregnant

39 weeks pregnant

39 weeks pregnant and I’m still here with bump updates. I have never been this pregnant before – Toby was born and 38 + 6 so I never made it to 39 weeks with him. I’m hoping I don’t have too much longer to wait with this one, although for convenience’s sake it would be easier if I can hang on until Monday now so Toby can go to nursery and I can have my home birth in peace!

It’s a bit strange with a second pregnancy that I still don’t see the midwife very often. I’m sure last time I was seeing them every week towards the end but this time I saw my midwife last Friday, and if the baby doesn’t arrive before I won’t see her again until my due date next week.

There’s not much to report really. Not a lot has changed since last week. Baby boy is still engaged and very low – I swear sometimes it feels like he is actually just going to fall out while I’m walking along! Movements are a lot smaller now, but there’s plenty of them. His little arms are obviously waving about, I can feel them very low down, almost in my hips sometimes.

I’m not too uncomfortable most of the time apart from the odd excruciating ligament pain on the bottom sides of my bump, usually when I’m in bed and my bump isn’t properly supported, or if I bend or pick something up without thinking about it properly. I haven’t really had any Braxton Hicks but I didn’t get them last time either. There have been a few crampy feelings but nothing that makes me think labour is about to happen any time soon.

At least I’m getting plenty of time to rest at the moment; Toby is still at nursery every day so once I’ve got him up and dropped off I have the rest of the day to do not much of anything! I was a bit fed up last week because I felt a bit useless not being able to do much, but this week I realised I should just make the most of it because it’s going to turn into a whole world of crazy as soon as there’s a tiny baby on the scene!

I think that’s all for this week – hopefully my next post will be a birth announcement rather than a 40 week bump update! Keep your eyes peeled…

From poppy seed to pumpkin: 38 weeks pregnant

I’ve made it to 38 weeks pregnant which means I can have my home birth if I want to! I’m all booked to stay at home and all the equipment has been delivered (and so far we’ve resisted having a go on the gas and air!) but to be honest I’m still not entirely sure that I will stay at home when it comes to it. Although I would like to give birth at home it just depends on when I go into labour and what that means for who will be looking after Toby. If it’s during the day when he’s at nursery then it should be OK but if I need my mum and dad to look after him then it will be much easier for them to do that at our house than have to take him out somewhere or take him to their caravan. The plan really then is just to wait and see and make a decision that will be best for all of us when the time comes. I’ve got everything gathered together for giving birth at home but also packed bags for hospital so in theory I’m ready for anything!

I’m really ready for this baby to come soon though. The last couple of weeks I’ve been really struggling with pain in my hips and pelvis. It’s eased a little bit in the last couple of days but walking is still slow and often painful. I’ve been getting some crampy pains in my back and low down in my bump on and off for the last week too. That’s how my labour with Toby started but these pains just seem to come and go. The baby is definitely head down though and when the midwife checked today he was 3/5 engaged so it seems things are heading in the right direction. Everything else is looking good too – so now it’s just a waiting game….

I had a little company in this week’s bump shot! I’m looking forward to being able to carry him a bit more easily soon!

38 weeks pregnant

Preparing for baby number 2

With the arrival of baby number 2 imminent I finally feel like we’re prepared – well in a practical sense at least; I still don’t think I’m mentally prepared to have a newborn in the house again! We haven’t had as much to buy this time round with having a lot of the things we need from when Toby was born. We haven’t had to decorate a nursery, or buy lots of new clothes but there are a few things that we’ve needed this time round that either we didn’t have with Toby or we have since sold on so I thought I’d share with you a few of the things we’ve done to prepare for baby number 2.

Preparing for baby number 2


When Toby grew out of his baby clothes I passed them all on to my friend Claire who has twin boys three months younger than Toby. After a mammoth sorting session a couple of months ago I now have most of them back again (plus lots of extra) and the rest are packed up ready to be sold at some point. I have bought a few new things for this baby partly because I think it’s only fair he gets at least some things that aren’t hand me downs, but mostly because tiny baby clothes are just irresistible to a hormonal pregnant lady!

baby clothes

The main thing that I have bought new for this baby to wear that Toby didn’t have is newborn cloth nappies. I knew I wanted to use cloth nappies with Toby but didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself in the early days so he didn’t start wearing cloth until he was about 7 weeks old and he went straight into birth to potty nappies. With this baby I know I want to use cloth as soon as possible and as I’m already used to them and in a routine with washing it won’t be too much extra work to use them from the early days. I’ve got a selection of newborn nappies to try; some Tots Bots Teenyfits and Bamboozle size 1, Bambooty Easy Dry newborn, Close Pop-in newborn and finally Bambino Mio miosoft prefolds and covers. They’re all pre-washed ready to go and I can’t wait to try them! I have bought a couple of packs of eco-disposables for the first couple of days but hopefully once the dreaded newborn treacle meconium has gone we’ll be ready to start with cloth. I’m hoping the newborn nappies will last 3 or 4 months and then I can sell them on, and who knows, by then Toby might have started potty training! And if not, well then I’ll just have to add a few more nappies to our birth to potty collection!

newborn nappies



When Toby was born he slept in a crib which we were kindly lent by my godmother. It was lovely but the stand was quite high (and our bed is very low) meaning I had to get out of bed entirely just to check on Toby in the night. He also grew out of the crib quite quickly and was soon waking himself up hitting the sides. On top of that, because of his reflux, Toby was a very noisy sleeper. He used to grunt and snuffle all night  and even though he was asleep I would be kept awake with his noises. All this meant we moved him into his own room when he was about 6 weeks old. We put the crib basket in his cot for a week or two and then he has been in his cot ever since.

This baby is going to have to stay in our room for much longer. The boys will have to share a room eventually but as Toby has only just started consistently sleeping all night at the age of two I don’t want to do anything to disturb that for as long as I can! Knowing this I wanted somewhere for the baby to sleep that would fit it our bedroom but also last longer than a Moses basket. I was also keen on the idea of a co-sleeper crib so I will be able to feed or even just see the baby without having to get out of bed. Due to the style of our bed frame, which sticks out quite a long way from the mattress, we were a bit limited in our options so after some research we decided to go for the Chicco Next2Me Crib. This crib can be used either as a co-sleeper or as a stand alone crib. It has a mesh side which can be zipped down for easy access. I also liked that it can be tilted to help babies with reflux, we had to use books and towels and all sorts to tilt Toby’s crib! The Next2Me is also significantly bigger than a Moses basket or some of the other cribs on the market so I’m hoping it will last until the baby is at least 6 months old.

Chicco Next2Me

Another thing I’ve bought for this baby which will hopefully help his sleeping is a Gro-Snug from the Gro Company. We used grobags with Toby but they aren’t suitable until the baby is a bit bigger. The Gro-Snug looks fab – it can be used as a swaddle but also converts to a sleeping bag for those first few months. I can’t wait to give it a try!


The big investment for this baby was a new pushchair. Although Toby walks really well now he still can’t walk that far without getting tired and there are also plenty of times when having him contained in a pushchair makes life easier for everyone! Some people suggested we might manage with just a single pushchair and a buggy board, or for Toby to go in the pushchair and carry the baby in a sling. At the moment I don’t think we could trust Toby to stay on a buggy board, when he gets it in his head he wants to go somewhere it is pretty hard to stop him! I’m sure a sling will work and we will use that option sometimes too but I really wanted a pushchair that I could use for both boys (and when it came down to it I just wanted a new pushchair!). After a lot of research we decided to go with the new 2015 UPPAbaby Vista. I really liked that it came with the carry cot included so the only thing we need to buy extra was the adaptors to convert it from a single to a tandem, and they were only £40. There was the added bonus that the car seat we already have from when Toby was little will fit on the chassis too. Most importantly the Vista is just as good as a single as it is as a tandem. We’ve been using with Toby for a good few months now and it’s great. We’ll have to see if Toby still needs to use the pushchair once the new baby grows out of the carry cot. If he does we’ll need to buy an additional seat unit but I liked that we don’t have to make that decision until we need to.

uppabay vista 2015

As I mentioned, the infant carrier we used in the car with Toby fits on the new pushchair so that was one expense we didn’t have this time round. I just put it back in the car yesterday and now whenever Toby gets in he points at it and says ‘baby’ – too cute!


We sold the baby gym and bouncer chair that we had with Toby. They were both OK but the baby gym took up loads of room and the chair was a bit basic. I’m not planning on replacing the baby gym for the moment. We have another play mat that the baby can use and I’m sure with Toby around there’ll be plenty to entertain him. I have just ordered a new baby bouncer though. This one from Babymoov is more padded than the old one we had – when Toby first started using the old chair we had to prop him up and support him with towels so hopefully this one will avoid that problem. The other feature I liked was the adjustable back rest. I’m hoping this will mean we will get a bit more use out of the chair – Toby grew out of the old one fairly quickly as he wanted to be more upright as he got older so this new seat should help with that too.

babymoov bubble-bouncer

I haven’t bought any new toys for this baby either (apart from an soft elephant with a bell inside which will be Toby’s present to his little brother). We’ve still got all Toby’s toys and he has so many that they are all still in great condition. I’m sure we’ll get a few more gifts this time round too!


I didn’t have a very successful breastfeeding experience with Toby but I am determined to give it another try this time. One thing I am getting this time is an electric breast pump from Ardo (which I will be reviewing on the blog in a month or two). I had a manual pump last time but it was rubbish and I hardly used it. We ended up combination feeding with Toby from very early on and I’m hoping that if we have to do the same again this time I can top up with expressed milk rather than use formula. Having said that we still have all the bottles and sterilising equipment we used with Toby so if we do need to go down that road I just need to buy some new teats for the bottles.

I’ve also bought lots of new muslins! I got a set of Rainbow muslins from Faye & Lou before Toby was born and he still uses them as his comforters now so I wanted to get some new ones, and I’ve gone for patterned ones this time, so I can use them for all the usual things with the newborn without Toby thinking I’m taking his comforters away!


I think that’s most things covered! Although we could probably have got away with buying even less this time round I knew there were some things that we didn’t have before that will (hopefully) make life easier this time round…and some things that I just wanted because I think this baby boy deserves at least some new things of his own! What do you think – is there anything I’ve forgotten? Did you end up buying lots more for your second (or third, or fourth…) babies or did you make do with what you already had?

**I have not been compensated in any way by the brands mentioned in this post, however there are affiliate links which may earn me a small income but will not cost you any more to use. As always, all opinions are my own.


From poppy seed to pumpkin: 36 weeks pregnant

36 weeks pregnant

I turned 36 weeks pregnant yesterday, the baby is the size of a honeydew melon although he feels a lot bigger than that sometimes! The last few weeks have been quite tough at times. I’ve been trying to get organised for this little one’s arrival, and prepare for Toby’s 2nd birthday last weekend. I think I’ve been doing too much some days and my body is definitely letting me know about it! Last week (after a rather expensive trip to IKEA!) I got the drawers and wardrobe sorted in Toby’s room so I could put all the baby clothes and newborn nappies away, and then on Friday I reorganised our kitchen storage to make some more room and finally clear the windowsill of the ever-growing collection of plastic plates, bowls and cups! I also spent most of the day on Friday baking Toby’s birthday cake and by Friday night my hips were in agony and I could barely pull myself off the sofa and up the stairs to bed! Lesson learned I think, I’ve definitely been taking it a bit easier this week.

I’ve had to take it easier anyway because I’ve been feeling rubbish since Tuesday. Toby is choked with a cold and I think I must have the same virus but rather than a snotty nose and cough like him I’ve had a pretty much constant headache and have been feeling quite flu-ey – either shivering and can’t get myself warm or like last night in bed and sweating buckets all night. I’ve been getting lots of sleep; I’m so glad Toby has still been sleeping well and is at nursery so I’ve been able to get some naps in too. I did phone the maternity assessment unit at the hospital yesterday just to double check that the persistent headache was nothing to be worried about but they agreed it was most likely just a virus as I don’t have any other symptoms that could point to pre-eclampsia or anything more worrying. It was good to get some reassurance though! I’m actually feeling much better today so I’m hoping that I’m over whatever it was anyway.

The little one is still wriggling about a lot. It’s much bigger movements now, more like rolls than anything else although I do get the odd kick or poke too. He’s been getting lots of hiccups in the last few weeks too. Toby was the same and I’ve heard that it can be a sign that the baby will have reflux. There’s no actual evidence to suggest it’s true though so I’m hoping this one isn’t going to suffer like Toby has. Mostly though the hiccups just drive me bonkers! They can last for ages and if you’ve never experienced them just imagine someone poking you in the stomach every half a second for half and hour and you might get an idea of how annoying it is!!

The midwife is coming on Sunday to complete all the paperwork for the home birth – eek! I have a feeling though that this baby will be making an early arrival, just like Toby did. I think I have to get to 38 weeks before I can stay at home so we’ll have to wait and see I guess. I did have another organising (maybe nesting!) burst yesterday and built the crib (we got a Chicco Next 2 Me co-sleeper that I’ll write about at some point soon) and packed a hospital bag just in case. I think my bump has dropped and I’m starting to feel pressure and twinges in my undercarriage, for want of a better term! I had a few Braxton Hicks yesterday too. I know it could still be weeks and weeks yet but I just have this feeling that we might see a baby in the next couple of weeks…I guess we’d better make a decision about a name sooner rather than later!

Home birth v. hospital // It’s decision time!

If you’ve read some of my pregnancy updates or this post about birth choices then you may know that I have been considering a home birth. I was really keen on the idea at the start of my pregnancy but when I found out at the 20 week scan that I had a low-lying placenta I tried not to really think about how I would be giving birth until the next scan at 32 weeks to see if the placenta had moved. I had all but convinced myself that it wouldn’t have moved and I would have to have a caesarean so I was very surprised to find out that in fact it had moved and I could have my home birth after all! But having convinced myself of one outcome I’ve been finding it quite difficult to get back my enthusiasm for a home birth 100%. When I saw the midwife last week she was wanting to know if I had decided but despite going over everything in my mind I was still swaying backwards and forwards between staying at home or going into the midwife-led unit where I had Toby. I keep trying to think about it and weigh up the pros and cons of each option but I’m still struggling to make decision so I’ve come to the conclusion is that what I need is a list! Hopefully this will help me decide once and for all…

Home v hospital

And so, I think I have made my decision….and I’m going to go for the home birth! As the midwife said, if it comes to the crunch (or the push!) and I really feel like I would rather go to hospital then I can, but I can’t suddenly decide I want to stay at home. The real big reasons for me are; as my labour with Toby was quick (8 hours from the first twinge to having a baby) it is likely that this labour will be even quicker and I just don’t fancy a manic drive to hospital or even worse not making it in time; and being at home straight after the birth, not having to hang around waiting to be discharged. With Toby I was still in the delivery room over 24 hours after giving birth, there were no beds on the ward and eventually I just decided to come home.

So, with the decision made I guess that means it’s time to start getting organised.

I would love to hear if you had a home birth and what you thought of it, or maybe you just can’t imagine giving birth anywhere except in hospital!