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Tracy the bear and miss rabbit

Tracy, The Bear and Miss Rabbit

The story of The Bear and Miss Rabbit So this is us, I am the taller one (or the grown up one!) and the little ones are The Bear age 3, and Miss Rabbit, now age 2!   The Bear  The Bear has always been called ‘Bear’ since he was very small! And as a baby who had some feeding issues and reflux he was small for quite a while. I thought he would never grow out of his 0 – 3 month clothes! But he did! I now I find it hard to believe that my dinky little Bear is now one of the tallest of his age group! Miss Rabbit Miss Rabbit came along in May 2011. A girl! What a surprise that was! We are a family full of boys, so after the question of ‘Are you sure?’, suddenly pink entered the house! The name ‘Miss Rabbit’ came from The Bear. The ever loving big brother…..well, most of the time   The life change January 2012 saw the looming return to work date. Out of the blue, the phone call came. Can you come for a chat? Childcare frantically arranged, work clothes dusted off, and off I went. The dreaded restructuring. The next few months were a haze of work chats, reapplying for jobs and before the final news came – redundant – one month before my return to work date. Such mixed emotions. If I’m honest; I was dreading the return to work. I worked 2 hours from where I lived, and although I worked from home, there was still overnight stays, lots of travelling and childcare to juggle. How do you arrange a meeting 3 hours away when you can’t leave until the 8.00am drop off, but also ensure you are home for the 6.00pm collection? Plus with 2 children under the age of 3, full time nursery fees would take all that salary. So the stress of work, travelling, and not financially better off in the short term – I guess it was a welcome relief. I also had my children in my late thirties. Did I really wait all that time to have them to put them in nursery from 8.00am – 6.00pm everyday? But I have always worked. And I have always enjoyed working. It gave me more confidence, a sense of purpose. So becoming a full time stay at home mum was daunting. I love my children to bits – but they can be real monkeys – and like most mums, we have good days and bad days! And it is constant – at 3 and 2 there is no time to just sit and do nothing! Self employed So what next? Every cloud has a silver lining! I love traditional toys, wooden toys and creative play. I am also lucky to have a son with the most wonderful imagination. All this combined, the business name was a natural choice, and therefore, with a push from the other half, in July […]

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Oliver's reflux story

The story of Emma and Oliver

The joys of reflux My beautiful little boy was dragged into this world 5 weeks early by cesarian kicking and screaming, we were over the moon to hear him crying and even more so to be told that at 4lb 4oz he was big enough not to need to go to the special care unit that we had been prepared for. I was even more pleased when he then also tried to feed in the recovery room, but this was the last good attempt at feeding we were to have for a while, by the time the night staff came on duty I was lucky to meet a fantastic midwife who listened to my concerns, looked at my jittery baby and realised that even though he was too sleepy he needed feeding so they set about cup feeding him overnight. Over the next couple of days he picked up a bit and was managing to have more feeds albeit brief ones. His feeding continued to be poor once at home and I found myself having to strip him naked and bounce him up and down to rouse him enough to convince him to feed. By the time he was a few weeks old his weight plateaued and then dropped. By this time he was also having difficulty with his breathing and ended up in intensive care on a ventilator with bronchiolitis. It was after this when we were back on the children’s ward at our local hospital for over a week that I first really thought that reflux may be an issue. He had always been uncomfortable during feeds, coughing and frequently having hiccups but now things were getting steadily worse. After every feed I would have a nurse come into our room to check he was ok as he would be screaming and arching his back in pain. I discussed the possibility of reflux and the nurses agreed that it probably was and I even had someone recommend a local osteopath. I decided to wait until he was over this illness and back home to see how thing settled. How did things settle? Well they didn’t and when we went for our follow up with the paediatrician he felt it was important to start medication as my son was already a low birth weight and he didn’t want him to start refusing feeds. The medication (Domperidone & ranitidine) helped a little but the symptoms of reflux were still there. At around 6 months of age we started another medication Omeprazole and after a week it suddenly seemed like we had an answer as we had a baby who was now happy for a large majority of the day. The reflux was by no means gone but it was being controlled a great deal better with this new medication. We were still getting little sleep though and by this stage I had resorted to sleeping with him propped up on my arm in bed, anything to get a bit of […]

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  Pregnancy – 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant, four stone heavier and still another four weeks until birth.  Feeling very sore and achy but crazily excited!

The story of Lilly and baby Oscar

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Baby Eve

The story of baby Eve’s mum

The longed for baby… My baby is my rainbow baby, that is the forever baby after a loss.  It was a long hard journey to get our baby. I met my husband when I was 28 years old and we quickly realised that this was it, we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.  The topic of children came up within the first few months and we both agreed that we wanted them, but not before we had enjoyed time together as a couple, and to this end we had five wonderful years before we married, travelling every summer. In August 2009 we got married and had the family orientated wedding we dreamed of, a day full of family and friends, sharing laughter and happiness. We decided that we would try for a family immediately assuming that it might take a month or two, but no longer than that.  The months passed by and there was no sign of a pregnancy. This hit both of us hard.  You always think that you won’t have problems conceiving, yet 1 in 6 couples in the UK do have issues. After over a year of trying we found out that we would need help.  Our infertility doctor was positive that we would be able to have a child and we attempted ISCI IVF full of hope.  The first cycle was full of hurdles, but every time we overcame a setback we felt that we were one step closer to our baby. When you first attempt IVF you believe it has to happen… that it is the answer to your problems… sadly we were bought back to reality with a big bump when it did not work. A failed IVF cycle leaves you grieving for what you dreamt could have been.  A few months later we tried again, this time with a more realistic view, and I was far more relaxed about the whole thing because I knew what was going to happen at each stage.  This time success!!! We were pregnant, the best feeling in the world.  I was going to be a mother. Everything with the pregnancy was going well.  I had morning sickness, food aversions and all the other classic pregnancy symptoms. I was loving being pregnant and I loved feeling my baby move for the first time. Yet fate played her worst card yet on me. At the 20 week scan the world stopped spinning for me, everything stopped, and life went into slow motion with the words this baby is not viable and will pass soon, there is nothing to be done. Three days before Christmas 2011 I delivered the most precious and perfect baby. I cherish the hours I got to hold my baby.  I loved her so much and still miss her every day. January and February 2012 were a blur.  The days passed me by, but I decided early on that I was not going to be defined by the sadness I felt. […]

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Jenny Pearshouse

The story of Jenny and baby Niamh

I’ve always been looked at funny. As a kid I wore what I wanted, as a teenager and a young twenty something I was a goth.  I dress somewhat “normal” now, but I still get stared at.  Why? Because I have two heads.  Well, not really but it looks that way.  There’s always my daughter, right there, snuggled on my back. She’s social, she chats to me, to people walking past and she tells me about everything she sees. She sees the world from my point of view, from my height. She is included in everything I do. My babywearing journey started out of necessity. I had a baby with reflux and I was on crutches or in a wheelchair, you really can’t push a buggy then. My daughter was only comfortable upright so I had to find a solution. I bought a cheap high street carrier and although it kept her upright and my hands free it wasn’t comfortable for either of us for long. My friend lent me a stretchy wrap and I never looked back. I have two degrees and, maybe for that reason, I like to know a lot of normally useless information, but my greedy brain absorbed the world of babywearing. The benefits for mum and for baby and the pure and simple ease of it. I tried more carriers and wraps that I can even count and learnt everything that I could. I am finally happy and confident in my abilities and have seen the benefits of baby and toddler wearing first hand. I believe that my daughter is more sociable as a result, she is more confident and independent, if she is ill or scared slinging her provides instant calm. Public transport and shopping are so much easier and convenient and crowded places induce far less panic for her when she is worn. Sadly information on baby and toddler wearing isn’t found in the mainstream yet (although it is becoming more so with time) and most people have to have an interest and actively seek it out. Knowing this and how it has changed our lives myself and my friend Kat decided to set up a sling meet for our area. We hold meetings once a week in various places and allow people new to the babywearing world to come and try wraps and carriers and get instructions on safety and correct usage from those more experienced. My top 6 tips for babywearing: Wraps are great for naptimes. My daughter is warm, snuggled and safe, cuddled up to mummy and I have my hands free and the ability to go anywhere without having to wake her! Win, win! Wearing my daughter for the majority of her life has created an amazing bond between us, she is happy and confident and more independent than I had every imagined. This picture, to me reflects how amazingly happy babywearing makes us both. Babywearing isn’t just for England, for cold weather, there are wraps and carriers manufactured […]

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Ben in his LOC band for placiocephaly

The story of Beth and baby Ben

I understand that it is becoming more common these days with babies being put down to sleep on their backs. I have read that there are many factors that can be involved and Ben seemed to have them all, which made him a severe case that we felt we had to treat. Our doula recommended we have Ben seen by a cranial osteopath when he was 10 days old because of his difficult birth. He didn’t cope well in the labour and kept having decelerations (he had a scalp monitor), which led to a quick decision for episiotomy and forceps delivery. He didn’t breathe on his own after birth and was rushed to the special care unit, where he spent the next 5 days on his back attached to machines. No cause was ever found for it and all the tests they did came back clear. The cranial osteopath pointed out the flat spot on his head and showed us some stretches and gave us info on repositioning. Ben always slept with his head turned to his right and over the months the flat spot got worse and worse. When a stranger pointed out his asymmetrical ears and eyes at around 3 months we became concerned. We started taking him weekly for osteopathy but the asymmetry kept getting worse. Once he reached 5 months old, the osteopath was very frank with me and told me if it were her child she would seriously consider band treatment. We went for the free consultation and decided to go ahead with the band immediately. The only other alternative was do nothing and hope it becomes less noticeable as he gets older, but 3 different osteopaths all told me his case was too severe to ever correct itself completely. Even the GP was concerned, and referred me to a specialist. I was initially worried that Ben might not like having the band on, but from the very first day he didn’t mind at all. By day three, I realised it was going to be fine and from that point on it was easy to manage. He had to wear the band 23 hours a day. There were 2 half hour breaks a day, during which I had to clean the band and wash his hair. We started seeing results really quickly and that was reassuring. We chose a plain band so we could decorate it ourselves to make it look like a sports helmet. He had a Roger Federer logo around Wimbledon, then American baseball team New York Yankees for the summer, and finally a New York ice hockey team in the autumn. He was very popular on his trips to NY, particularly at airport security for some reason – all the guards seemed to be sports fans! Ben’s band treatment didn’t keep us from doing anything at all. I still took him to swimming classes, on a beach holiday (twice!) and on three long-haul flights to the USA. Other parents were understandably curious, […]

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Abby 2

The story of Abby and baby Ariana

I wasn’t one of those ‘glowing’ pregnant mums. I didn’t have the perfect pregnancy. I am cynical at the best of times but add 6 months of severe nausea, vomiting, sleepless nights, mood swings, bad skin… Not to mention watching my size 8 body get stretched and contorted beyond recognition- a blight that remains, I was struggling to ‘keep my eye on the prize’.   Like a lot of independent women these days I never wanted to admit gushingly and unashamedly how much I wanted to be a mum… Scrap that. Not a mum, a mummy. I met my now husband at the tender age of 21. I had moved to London from Australia just 2 years earlier on a whim and was enjoying ‘city life’ with all the trimmings (but a portion of the money!) I had found a job in an office. I was reserved in telling people that my main ambition in life- my dream, did not conform to their career centred ideals. I was surprised when by chance I met my husband and we shared all of the same ideas about what we wanted and how we would get it. 3 years later, surrounded by 100 family and friends we married in Phuket, Thailand.   Just 3 months after the wedding I was pregnant with our precious first child. I worked up until my 35th week of pregnancy, catching the tube (underground metro) to work and back as long as I could, until it became too difficult, when my husband would drive me in. He was very supportive. We had a ‘routine’ when I felt the urge to throw up, he would know, lift his newspaper up while I held a doggy doo bag up behind so that no one would see me being sick. It was not a smooth ride to motherhood but by the last trimester the nausea alleviated and was replaced with a much more manageable heartburn/general whale like feeling. At the 20 week scan we were eager to find out the sex of our baby. Not only are we the worst at being patient, but we can’t keep a secret, especially one as exciting as this! I also had another reason for wanting to know. All of the yuckiness had made me lose sight of the big picture. I was feeling less and less like I was growing a beautiful baby inside me and more and more like I was carrying a life sucking parasite. I needed to envisage this baby and the life we would have. The scan revealed to our DELIGHT- a baby girl!!! I immediately saw ballet shoes, chubby legs in fluffy bloomers, mary janes and handing down my childhood toy, beloved baby doll ‘Rebecca’. I was ecstatic! 6 weeks after taking maternity leave I had just finished eating a plundered ice-cream- stolen from my dear husband on the grounds that pregnant women get first dibs on everything, and stolen food always tastes better, and decided I should get […]

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Bea main image

The story of Emily and baby Bea

Here is Beatrix at two weeks old, she has nearly grown into her tiny baby clothes and so I thought she was getting really big.   How tiny she looks to me now compared to her 1-year-old self. For once she was having a happy nap in her Moses basket.  I am glad we photographed it as it didn’t happen very often (much to my mother’s disappointment as she had bought a very smart basket and stand for us). We thought we were destined for Beatrix to want to sleep on my chest forever but a friend recommended a sleepyhead and it was the best, best, best, best, best thing ever.  BeaBea would stay sleep in it by herself and it sat on my bed next to me for easy night time feeding. Mango anyone?! Quite an impressive feat given the lack of teeth! Purée wasn’t Beatrix’s thing so we followed the baby led weaning route and found it hilarious watching our tiny wee girl chomping on a whole pear or plum, which she always favoured over slices.  A great way to enjoy the introduction to solid food and make your child look like a squirrel! Astonishingly I don’t have any pics of Beatrix in the close caboo – our soft sling – which is amazing as she basically lived in it for the first 14 weeks of her life. I can’t emphasise enough how brilliant it was for us having a sling. We also loved our Baby Bjorn for getting out and about once Beatrix was a bit older.  This picture showsmy view of her in the grounds of one of the Oxford colleges. It was a chilly day and I was very grateful for the little cosy hot water bottle on my chest! This is Beatrix in the sleepyhead, with one of my nighties as a sheet. I used to wear it one night and then use it as her sheet the next, so the bed smelt reassuringly of mummy, then pop it in the wash and swap for the night before’s nightie! I did spend quite a lot of time panicking that she might suffocate on it as it would get slightly wrinkled from her sleepy wiggles (as you can see in the picture), so every time we had a feed the sheet was re- tucked under the sleepyhead! Sleepyhead is sold by John Lewis and is very often sold out, but if you read the reviews of hysterical parents who’ve finally had some sleep you can see why…

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The story of Josie

Conformity, peer observations, the gulf between what ‘should’ be and what is. I heard the phrase, ‘well at his age he should be…’ again today. Well, at 8 months he is not doing what he ‘should be’ and defying many books and opinions on what is expected and average for his age. he doesn’t sleep through, has continued problems with wind, and what feels like a billion feeds a day (and night) and thats just the tip of the iceberg. This constant reference to an what is expected and the average level for you babies age, can be, and is, very unnerving to new mums. As humans we like a yard stick to measure against. We come to motherhood from a life long career of school and otherwise, made up of targets and attainment at various stages and ages. For most of us these have been the mainstay of our lives, guiding us through with achievements to tick off and levels to reach. However, this is often not the case with our new bundles of joy, they just won’t follow the stages in the book. As a result many hours are spent questioning our own methods, be it on feeding, sleeping through, weaning, breast feeding, co sleeping, dummy use, etc. It goes a bit like this, ‘8 months, he shouldn’t need the night feeds and should be sleeping through.’ ‘She shouldn’t be having that many feeds a day if she is eating surely’ ‘He should be in his own cot by now, and shouldn’t need to co-sleep’ ‘At this age colic isn’t a problem, they should have grown out of it’ ‘3 naps a day seems far too many/few should you be putting her down more/less’ I’m sure you can think of many more (these are some that my friends and I have heard). After many hours worrying that in not reaching these goals I was somehow ruining my baby, I decided enough was enough. I reminded myself, these are rough ideas of where my baby could be at, and not where he should be. I also tell myself, that they are averages, and by its very mathematical nature an average is made up of a range of different numbers. Often with some lows and highs quite far from that average itself, and that without these high and low outliers the average wouldn’t be an average. I think of the second time mums who are floored by the sheer number of differences between their new baby’s habits and ways, when compared to baby number one. and take a moment to consider if two siblings can be so different, ‘why should’ my baby always conform to these ‘shoulds’. I think of all these different things, take a deep breath and know my baby and I will work through it together. So I have binned off the books and Internet (expect of course the encouraging words of Baby Wisdom) and smile sweetly and say ‘of course he is an individual’ if any […]

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