My Game changers and Must have’s for Pregnancy, birth and beyond…

I probably wasted ALOT of money first time around when having our eldest child, yet didn’t invest in the little extra’s that could’ve made a big difference to our wellbeing and overall experience! Four years later, I knew what would be important for creating a positive mindset, and also what would make our lives easier / happier! So here’s a selection of some of my best bits from bump to now (One month post partum!)

A Pre Packed Birth Bag for Labour from www.birthbags.co.uk

PREPARATION- Body and Mind

I Knew early on that after a difficult journey with my first-born, I would need to invest in what I could to empower myself with knowledge and skills to see me through a challenging time in my life. Announcing our pregnancy just a week before lockdown hit, doing what I could for our wellbeing was paramount!

The first thing I searched for was a support network, and I found this in Midwifery-led Underwood Baby Academy . I promptly started weekly yoga sessions to help prepare my body and mind for labour, and to de stress after working at home without childcare during the pandemic! Myself and my husband then completed their Hypnobirthing course , which was the biggest game changer of all. It gave me the answers to my questions, and the knowledge that we needed to be in control of our birthing options, whatever the situation! To help with my hypnobirthing prep, I listening to the Positive birth company affirmations on my Alexa every night before bed from 2nd trimester onwards, and read their book which contained a great Birth preferences template. As well as moisturising my bump twice a day,I also used the Natural birthing company ‘Down Below’ oil for preparing my body, and lets just say that I came away without any damage, so it was worth it! (It doubled up as a body massage oil/ moisturiser after birth!) The pre packed birth bag was amazing, as it contained almost everything we would need for a hospital visit , and took the stress (and cost) out of buying hundreds of miniature toiletries! The baby accessories were super cute too.

I started Reading each night, and factored in some regular self care, to keep this essential and healthy habit for when bubba arrived ! Sophie Fletcher’s Mindful hypnobirthing was great, and I also invested in Chantelle Champ’s guide to breastfeeding (as I hated Breastfeeding last time, and didn’t want to continue after a couple of days… so I wanted to keep my options open this time!) And also, one of the best books that I have dipped in and out of from late pregnancy until now is ‘The little book of self care’ by Alexis and Becky at The mother box. Its given me so many practical tips for looking after myself after baby’s arrival!

Photography by http://www.cherylcattonphotography.co.uk

Capturing memories was important to me this time. During my first pregnancy I hid my bump and hated my growing body, aswell as deleting all of the photos of me at the hospital having just given birth. Obviously I was mentally unwell, and for this pregnancy I wanted to really embrace the experience and capture some precious memories. If you’re on the fence as whether to book a shoot or not, I would definitely recommend it, and look out for package deals or model calls to make it more purse friendly where possible. we had a wonderful family shoot with my eldest by Rebecca Searle Photography and then I was lucky enough to be a model for Cheryl Catton photography who captured my bump at 38 weeks pregnant, and I love the timeless style of her images (see above.) I then also booked a newborn photoshoot in advance with my Friend Lorraine Claire photography who did a wonderful job of getting my fussy 3 week old to sleep and look calm for the most gorgeous pictures. I’m so glad that I will have a lifetime of memories to look back on!

It was then that I wanted to gather some practical items before baby’s arrival, and stocked up on the Lansinoh Therapearl breast pads, as I remembered the pain of engorgement very well! These were such a big help on day 3 when my milk came in, and for the first few weeks to soothe hot/ swollen breasts! I was then lucky enough to win a Baby Bjorn baby carrier from the Natural Baby shower on instagram, which was amazing as I had researched the benefits of baby wearing… and I can tell you now at one month post partum, it has been an absolute LIFE SAVER for a baby who wont be put down some days! It keeps my hands free for the school run too!

Fab book from www.themotherbox.co.uk

Labour came along, and I once again used my hypnobirthing skills and PBC positive affirmations. I lit some candles, my favourites being ‘Hello Calm’ from seven seventeen, and ‘Buonanotte’ by the Honeymoon apothecary. I managed the first stage of labour using my ‘UP’ breathing and the Freya app, and then used a TENS machine when my surges intensified in active labour. As I was having a home birth, I could keep my candles and essential oils close by, and played relaxing music in the background.

After Birth….

Ok so I forgot about the physical pain after labour, and struggled with finding positions that I could lay down in or sit comfortably. The Natural Birthing company ‘Bottoms up’ Cooling spray was super helpful… (If you know you know!) And if you’re pregnant, just trust me on this and buy some, you’ll thank me later! I also found a huge boost in placenta encapsulation, which whilst its not to everyone’s preferences, I was desperate to try anything that could help boost my mood, energy and milk supply this time around after my struggles with postnatal depression last time. Safe to say that these magic pills were a great investment, and my recovery both emotionally and physically has been fantastic!

We purchased a Sleep nest (one for safe overnight sleeping, as many are not fit for purpose) and have been really impressed with the Purflo sleep tight baby bed. It has become baby’s bed straight away and fits into our cot to create a snug environment for both daytime naps and nighttime sleep.

sleep tight baby bed from www.purflo.com

As for taking care of me, I have recieved some really thoughtful gifts that have lifted my spirits after a tough night of cluster feeding, or picked me up after a hormonal day. A Hug in a box was sent to me by a friend from ‘Mothers Love cookies.’ These lactation cookies are DELICIOUS , and I’ve already purchased a second box, as they are the perfect snack for eating whilst nursing when hunger sets in. I keep a giant water bottle filled up and bring it with me around the house wherever I go, and a thermos cup of herbal tea from Hot tea mama ! I also was sent a lovely box from the mother hive which contained the most gorgeous bath oil for me, alongside a super soft comforter and baby bits for my little man, such a thoughtful gift for the both of us, and an ideal present for any new mamas!

The biggest gift I have given myself is saving up for Doula support. At 2 weeks post partum I was frantically searching for a local doula as September seemed to have everyone all booked up, and as luck would have it, I met the wonderful Sam at the Mumma Baby space meet up, who nurtured me with a healthy smoothie, followed by coffee and cake, and a guided meditation (which you all know is my thing!!!) It was a match made in heaven, Sam is now joining me at home for a few hours one morning a week to help give me some respite. If you’re not sure what a doula does, they offer a mother’s help, from looking after the baby, emotional support, practical tasks such as cooking and cleaning and giving you the all important opportunity to nap! You can also buy gift vouchers for doula support, which is a great idea for any pregnant or new mumma’s this christmas .

Obviously I am using techniques every single day from my online Mindfulness and wellbeing course for mums, for more info click here

I hope you’ve found this list useful, whilst just my personal opinion, I wouldn’t (and haven’t) shared anything that I don’t rate so this is just my honest review on some things that have really helped me !

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