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    Pregnancy Symptoms




    My husband and I were reminising last night about all the pregnancy symptoms I suffered with while Dex was in-utero. It’s funny now when we look back on it, but there were times during my pregnancy that I’d really had enough.  Pregnancy is certainly not all glowing skin, shiny hair and cute bump. Before I was pregnant, I didn’t even know half this stuff could even happen to you, all I was worried about was stretch marks! This goes into graphic detail bordering on TMI, so if that’s not your thing, navigate away now…..

    Swollen Lady Bits

    The first of all my pregnancy symptoms and the reason I suspected I was pregnant despite three negative tests. During pregnancy, blood flows to your lady bits and for me it was so very obvious and quite painful. It also felt a little itchy at times which was embarrassing. Luckily this only lasted for a week or so, right at the start. The swolleness came back though in the final weeks of pregnancy. The whole area was super engorged and I really did not understand how a baby’s head would be able to vacate the premises! I’m pleased to say things do (eventually) return to normal.

    Extremely Tender Breasts

    This was my second symptom which lasted the whole of my first trimester. The pain was so bad that I was unable to wear an underwired bra. I had to dash to John Lewis at 5 weeks pregnant to buy a couple of supportive non-wired bras and go up two cup sizes while I was at it. I couldn’t have any pressure on them which meant no lying on my front or side and no hugs. People who didn’t know I was pregnant would hug me and I’d wince in pain pretending everything was fine. Ouchie.

    Bloating

    You’re only eight weeks pregnant and yet you have a belly the size of a woman in her second trimester. Lots of bloating happens early on which can look like a cute baby bump but really peanut is only the size of, erm, a peanut. I felt huge! And paranoid, that everyone could tell I was pregnant. This doesn’t really go away, it is simply replaced by the actual baby bump, a few months down the line.

    pregnancy symptoms

    The week before I gave birth, the first time in weeks I’d done my hair and make up.

     

    Spotting

    This started happening when I was 8 weeks pregnant and turned into a bleed. I went to the hospital to get checked out and we saw Dex on the screen for the very first time. It is quite normal to spot when you are in early pregnancy but I highly recommend going to get checked out if you’re worried. I also experienced implantation bleeding around the time my period was due, which I put down to, guess what, my period. It was much lighter than usual and only lasted two days which should have rung alarm bells, but didn’t.

    Tiredness

    During my first trimester, I’d wake up at 6am and leave the house for 7am. I’d be back home by 7pm and asleep by 8pm. This lasted for ten whole weeks. My boss suggested I work a six day week and try leaving work at 4pm. Um, no thanks. I need the whole of Saturday to sleep. It did ease as I went into my second trimester, but as I hit my third, most of my days were spent resting.

    Food Aversions / Cravings

    I suddenly didn’t want to eat hot wings anymore and this is completely unheard of. I love the Colonel and everything he stands for. By my third trimester I was cooking fresh meals everyday with actual vegetables and snacking on fruit. I had become the healthiest I had ever been and I hadn’t even needed to try. Good baby. My cravings were red grapes and chocolate muffins. But not any old muffins. They had to be a specific type of chocolate muffin from Sainsbury’s. One time, my husband brought me the muffins from Tesco. I tried to keep it together, I really did.

    pregnancy symptoms

    24 weeks pregnant, I was in a lot of pain with my pelvis.

    Mood Swings

    Which brings me on nicely to mood swings. One day Bolton Wanderers won a game and I remember I had never felt so elated in all my life. We were having a pretty tough season and were destined to be relegated but even so, this happiness was just ridiculous. I was practically bouncing around the flat. It cumulated in me, some hours later, throwing a frying pan across the room because my pancake went wrong. I cried and I cried and felt depression like never before. Hormones are just wow.

    Discharge

    There’s so much of it, it never ends. I’m glad for it, it kept baby protected from all those horrible germs but god, did there really need to be so much? Even my midwife kept asking me if I had thrush (I didn’t). Invest in many, many pantyliners.

    Braxton Hicks Contractions

    These started for me at around 19 weeks. They would normally come on if I was worrying about something or felt anxious. It would start as a weird tightening sensation in my stomach and then my belly would go solid as a rock. Slowly, it would ease until my belly was soft again. They started as one or two a day, building over the weeks to up to six or seven per day by the end. They felt nothing like real contractions and were not painful in the slightest.

    pregnancy symptoms

    30 weeks pregnant. I was convinced I had a fat face so was trying to make myself look thin. In bed as usual.

    Pelvic Girdle Pain

    This was definitely the worst of all my pregnancy symptoms. I started with it at 16 weeks pregnant and it got so bad by 21 weeks I was signed off sick from work. Imagine someone kicking you in your pubic bone. It felt like that constantly. Plus clicking and grinding every time I walked/stood/rolled. By 30 weeks pregnant I could barely turn in the night. My husband couldn’t sleep because I was groaning out in pain. I couldn’t drive. Walking hurt so bad. If I walked to Tesco five minutes away I’d need to rest in bed for the following two days. I couldn’t put my knickers or leggings on stood up. I couldn’t use the stairs or get in or out of the bath. The good news is that it disappeared as soon as Dexter was born. The bad news is that it ramped up a gear when I started pumping my breastmilk. I hope I avoid this one in my next pregnancy. You can learn more about PGP here.

    Protruding Bellybutton

    My belly button has always been a cute little innie but at 14 weeks pregnant that was all about to change. 14 weeks! Who knew that this pregnancy symptom would appear so early on? I thought most women’s belly buttons popped out when they were ready to pop at 38 weeks or something. From 14 weeks onwards it started growing and growing. Until eventually, it was no longer an innie. That was until I had Braxton Hicks contractions. Then it would revert to an innie for a few minutes before slowly popping back out again. Weird.

    Sweating

    Apparently it’s hormonal. I am quite sweaty at the best of times but this was just ridiculous. It would be pouring from my face, hands, armpits, urgh. This was one that continued after birth as well. I’d be flapping my arms under my armpits, opening windows when it was chilly and having to change the bedsheets more regularly than usual.

    pregnancy symptoms

    A few days before I gave birth. Literally ready to pop

    Crying

    I cried over pancakes (see above), One Born Every Minute, every song that was ever on the radio ever, my husband got me grapes, my husband forgot my grapes, I couldn’t bend over to do my shoes, the postman knocked on the door and woke me up, feeling guilty about being off work, not being allowed to drink Red Bull…..the list is endless (and ridiculous).

    Nesting

    This started at around 30 weeks. You know things have got pretty bad when you are on your hands and knees bleaching the skirting boards when you are suffering with PGP and don’t know exactly how you are going to get back up. I washed and ironed all of Dexter’s baby clothes and there was a lot. I rearranged the furniture in my flat multiple times (or directed my husband to). By 36 weeks I was done in. I don’t think I left my bed much after this point.

    Constipation

    Sometimes it would be five days without going for a number two. That’s just not normal. It wasn’t even as if I were going to the toilet and straining, I just never really felt the urge to go. I found eating a daily bowl of porridge sprinkled with a range of seeds and fresh fruit helped me to be more regular. But, it was too late I was already suffering with…

    Hemorrhoids

    I think these are pretty much unavoidable during pregnancy. If it’s not because you are constipated, they come simply due to the amount of pressure your lady bits are under from the weight of the baby (and probably all that other weight you put on as well). I tried drinking plenty of water and eating fibrous foods but they stuck around until well after I had given birth. Ew.

    Heartburn

    By 35 weeks I was drinking Gaviscon out of the bottle. I kid you not. The heartburn was horrnedous. I couldn’t even have a sip of water without feeling like my oesophagus was about to burn itself to death. They say heartburn is a sign of having a hairy baby, not particularly true in my case. I can no longer look at a bottle of Gaviscon without shuddering.

    Drooling

    I would wake up in a pool of my own drool after every night’s sleep. It was disgusting. I later read online that it’s a side effect of the heartburn. Your saliva glands are producing more saliva to neutralise the acid bubbling up from your stomach into your oesophagus.

    pregnancy symptoms

    32 weeks pregnant. Mum bun firmly in place.

    Swollen Nose and Hands

    My hands began to swell at around 35 weeks and I had to give in and take off my engagement and wedding rings by 36 weeks. I feared I would never have slender hands again. My nose and face also swelled. I didn’t actually realise this until after I gave birth and looked back on photos. My nose was so chunky it is actually funny. At about six weeks after birth I caught sight of myself in a mirror and was like ‘Hey who’s that thin lady?’ I’d got used to my new pudgy nose.

    Stress Incontinence

    I remember it like it was yesterday, I was sat in bed (what’s new) and I sneezed. I couldn’t help but shout out to my husband, “Oh my god I just weed myself!” It wasn’t like I emptied my bladder or anything, it was literally the tiniest amount, but I thought to myself, this is the beginning of the end. It didn’t get much worse, but it did happen frequently, every cough, sneeze, jump (not that I was jumping much). I started taking my pelvic floor exercises a bit more seriously but in all honesty, it’s just something that’s comes with the territory. The weight of your baby puts so much pressure on your bladder. It does go away eventually, lots of kegels are key!

    Stretch Marks

    I thought I’d largely avoided these but they turned up at around 35 weeks. I was much luckier than others, they were only apparent on muffin top, which had been created by all those lovely Sainsbury’s muffins. My tummy, thighs, boobs had been lucky enough to escape them. Stretch marks are every woman’s worst fear and I used to roll my eyes when people would say ‘I’m proud of my tiger stripes’. However, I have to say, they don’t bother me in the slightest. They have now minimised from angry red lightening bolts to wiry white lines and I hardly ever see them, mainly because I’m not one for parading half naked in front of the mirror.

    Weight Gain

    Silly me thought that I would just put on weight equal to the weight of the baby and anything above this would be because I overate. Ha ha ha. In my first trimester, I actually lost 12lbs but then I put on over THREE STONE during my second and third trimesters. There’s the baby, then all the extra blood in your body, the placenta, extra weight in your humongous boobs, fat stores that accumulate in your thighs in preparation for breast feeding and water retention. Luckily, it’s now, six months later, all but disappeared. Between the day I went into hospital for birth (19th) and the day I came out (22nd) I lost over two stone. Baby only weighed 8lbs. Crazy. Oh by the way, you can read my birth story here.

     

    What pregnancy symptoms did you suffer with? Any that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear from you.




    Baby Led Weaning Omelette Recipe

    I love having omelettes for my lunch and they have been my go to staple since I’ve been doing Slimming World because they are filling and can be syn free. When I first made these we hadn’t yet tried egg, but I was keen to introduce it to make sure Dex didn’t have an allergy. I decided to start with a simple baby led weaning omelette recipe. Omelettes became one of Dexter’s favourite meals as our baby led weaning journey continued. We made them adding all sorts of ingredients and he’d eat up every last crumb!




    To begin, I heated a frying pan on the hob on medium heat.

    I used Fry Light to grease the pan, but butter or any other oil will do. I also preheated the grill.

    three eggs in a blue bowl

    Next, I cracked three eggs into a bowl and whisked them with a fork until the whites and yolks were combined. I also added a little pepper and basil for taste. (I am a big fan of using herbs and spices in cooking, even for baby led weaning recipes)

    I  grated around 1 cup of cheese and added half of it to the egg mixture before pouring it into the pan.

    It cooked in the pan for three minutes, until the edges started browning. Then I put the rest of the cheese on top and bunged it under the grill for three minutes. I wanted to make sure the eggs were fully cooked. Baby shouldn’t have any runny eggs before 1 year old.

    Related Post: Baby Led Weaning Omelette Using Old Purees

    baby led weaning omelette cooking in the pan

    Once it was cooked, I put it on my chopping board ready to cut up into finger sized pieces. I then transferred it to my Munchkin White Hot plates until it was cool enough to offer to Dexter.

    Dexter enjoyed picking these up and shoving them in his mouth, although he got a little frustrated towards the end because I think they weren’t going in fast enough. Lesson learnt- don’t offer food too close to bottle time. It amazes me that he is able to pick up smaller pieces with his pincer grip and yet, the bigger pieces he struggles to get in his mouth! I was even able to have a bit of omelette myself as he ate, and ensured I exaggerated the chewing movements while I was eating.

    four pictures in a grid of Dexter sat in a highchair eating baby led weaning omelette

    As you can see I’ve got my trusty sweeping mop to hand ready for the inevitable scraps of food that fall on the floor.

    Of course you can add whatever ingredients you like to this omelette – finely chopped tomatoes, spinach, courgette, chicken, ham, minced meat, the list is pretty endless.




    For more baby led weaning ideas click here

    Baby Led Weaning Zucchini Pizza Recipe

    baby led weaning zucchini pizzas sat on a green munchkin plate

    Baby led weaning Zucchini Pizzas were the second food I tried with my first son Dexter. The first foods we tried on day one were banana pancakes. They were such a hit, that it gave me the confidence to try something a bit more adventurous on day two.




    I love zucchinis. They are so versatile and soft and I thought they’d be a good option for baby led weaning. Dex had already tried some zucchini purée and loved it so I hoped these baby led weaning zucchini pizzas would be as successful.

    A zucchini and a knife on a chopping board in preparation for making baby led weaning zucchini pizzas

    I started by slicing the zucchini. I didn’t want to slice it too thin as I wanted it to be a big enough chunk for Dexter to pick up.

    Sliced zucchini on a heart shaped chopping board

    I then boiled the zucchini slices on the hob for ten minutes. I knew they were ready because when I pierced them with a fork and they felt super soft.

    To make them pizza-esque I put a small dollop of Cirio tomato purée on each zucchini slice before adding a small slither of cheese.

    Finally, I put them under the preheated grill for a minute. Just long enough for the cheese to melt.

    Et voilà! Ready to serve. As usual, I used my Munchkin White Hot plates to ensure the food wasn’t too hot and placed two baby led weaning zucchini pizzas on Dex’s high chair.

    five baby led weaning zucchini pizzas sat on a green Munchkin plate

    He found them quite difficult to pick up because they were so soft and slippery so the first two I did have to hand to him. I realised I should have cut more finger like pieces perhaps. However, by the fifth one he was picking up small pieces of cheese that had fallen off with his pincer grip, so perhaps it was good practise for him.

    Also, after the first two I cut the skins off, mainly because they weren’t as soft as the inner flesh but also because he kept spitting them out.




    Dexter sat in his high chair after eating baby led weaning zucchini pizzas

    He devoured the lot. (What’s new?) I think I’ll try again tomorrow with a mixture of finger sized bits and circular bits, but offer more. This kid can’t get enough.

    Let me know if you give these baby led weaning zucchini pizzas a try.

    Find more of my delicious baby led weaning recipes here.

    Working Out How Old Your Baby Is




    Dexter and I went to Baby Babble class at the local children’s centre yesterday. We don’t often go to baby classes, mainly because I am scared of awkward mum chat, but I know I need to do what’s best for Dexter so have been making more of an effort recently. When we arrived, the receptionist told us that the usual leader was in a meeting and the other lady was on holiday so we would “have to get on with it ourselves“.

    Luckily, the women I met there were really nice and friendly and all was going well until I was asked how old Dexter is. “He’s going to be six months at the end of the week“, I proclaimed excitedly. “Ooh what day was he born?” asked another Mum. “May 20th“,I dutifully reply and I swear to god, every face in the room fell.

    “Then how come he’s not six month old yet? My baby was born in June and he turned six months two weeks ago.”

    I didn’t really know how to respond to this. It’s not the first time I’ve heard someone say their baby is older than what they really are. How is it possible that there’s such a divide in how old we say our babies are? Especially when it is so important to know their age to start things like weaning and increasing milk feeds.

    I have always counted how old Dexter is in weeks and every Friday he turns another week older. I have then counted how old he is in months by the date on the calendar. Every month on the 20th he becomes another month older. Therefore on the 20th November he will be 6 months old.

    Some people are counting four weeks as a month which doesn’t work. There are often more than four weeks in a month, after all February is the only month with 28 days. And if four weeks is one month, then that would make your baby 12 months old at 48 weeks. A full four weeks before his first birthday.

    It doesn’t bother me if people want to count it in this way. Do whatever the hell you want, but when people actually start trying to correct me? Then that gets my goat. My poor friend Kirsty hashtagged her son as #fourmonthsold and then got some busybody commenting and saying ‘actually 21 weeks= 5 months’. Argh!

    I think it is quite scary that our HVs are not explaining this to us. People could end up feeding their babies at sixteen weeks thinking that they’re now 4 months old and ready to be weaned, when really solid food before seventeen weeks is very dangerous!

    If you are unsure how many months old your baby is you can use this handy calculator here.

    Anybody else had the same issues?




    Baby Led Weaning Banana Pancakes Recipe

    baby led weaning banana pancakes on a plate featured image

    Dexter turned six months old at the end of November and we decided to bite the bullet and start our baby led weaning journey. Like a lot of Mums, we were scared of choking and as I was at home by myself, I decided to start with something really soft and simple: baby led weaning banana pancakes.




    This baby led weaning recipe is so easy and you only need two ingredients! It couldn’t be simpler!

    Method

    Take one banana and mash it up with a fork. The riper the banana,the better. Of course you can use a food processor/blender to save time but to be honest I’d rather spend the extra time mashing than cleaning up the blender!!

    mushed banana in a bowl ready to make baby led weaning banana pancakes

    Crack an egg into the blended banana and whisk with the fork. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes frothy and batter-like.

    the egg and banana mixture after being whisked by a fork ready to make baby led weaning banana pancakes

    And that’s it! Your batter is ready. Heat some coconut or olive oil in a frying pan and added a tablespoon of mixture for each pancake you want to make. (You can also use butter, margerine or other oil)

    six baby led weaning banana pancakes in a frying pan

    I let the pancakes fry for around two minutes before flipping. You can see when they’re ready to be flipped because they start browning at the edges.

    Related Post: The Ultimate List of Baby Led Weaning Breakfast Ideas

    six baby led weaning banana pancakes in the frying pan after being flipped

    I then served them on a plate ready for Dex once they were cool enough. These fab Munchkin White Hot plates tell me when the food it too hot.




    baby led weaning banana pancakes on a munchkin plate

    Did Dexter Enjoy the Baby Led Weaning Banana Pancakes?!

    I put them on Dexter’s tray two at a time so as not to overface him. I ate one pancake to show him how to do it.four photos of Dexter sat in a high chair eating baby led weaning banana pancakes
    He absolutely adored them! A few bits ended up on the floor as he got to grips with picking them up but that’s a given with baby led weaning. I was actually surprised with how much he actually managed to eat. The pancakes were soft enough for him to gum and ‘chew’ off smaller pieces.

    Related Post: Banana and Peanut Butter Baby Led Weaning Cookies

    dexter sat in the highchair with the baby led weaning pancakes all gone, a few crumbs remain

    You can also drop extra fruit into the batter once you’ve made it – squashed blueberries, raspberries, raisins, anything goes.

    Let me know if you try it with your baby and how you get on! I think banana pancakes are the perfect first food when you’re starting out with baby led weaning.

    Once you get more confident why not try these banana and oat pancakes for babies?

    For more baby led weaning ideas, click here

    Increasing the Size of the Bottle Teat: Is Your Baby Ready?





    A few nights ago I finally changed the teats in Dexter’s bottle from size 2 to size 3. I had previously attempted to change him to the bigger teats around a month ago but had failed spectacularly. Milk had spilled everywhere, he had choked, gagged, spat out the milk and finally started clamping his mouth shut. I had read online that many babies don’t need to increase the teat size and I decided that Dexter must be one of those babies.

    Then I realised I had missed so many signs that he was actually ready to move up a teat. It’s so easy to see all those signs once you figure out what is going on but prior to my epiphany a few nights ago I put the signs down to teething/weaning/growth spurt/leap.

    Here, I am going to list all the signs that I missed- hopefully sharing this will help you understand if your baby is ready to progress onto the next sized teat.

     

    1. Dexter reduced the amount he was feeding per session by 2-3oz. This started happening around the time I started weaning him and I presumed his little belly was full from the fruit purees he was eating. Now I realise he was probably getting sick of sucking on a teat that was too small for him.
    2. He started wanting six bottles instead of five per day. This is related to sign number one. He wasn’t getting enough milk during the day so he needed an extra bottle in the evening. We recently had a clock change and I thought it was down to the early nights as he had started to want to go to sleep earlier.
    3. Dexter started going less time between feeds. Again, all fits in the above. He went from having a bottle four hourly to wanting it three hourly.
    4. He started waking in the night. The poor kid was probably starving. I was trying to hold off on giving him the sixth bottle if I could help it so he started waking at 3am for the food he needed. I thought he was teething!
    5. He began grunting during bottles I thought it was because he was windy, so I’d stop and burp him, but now I realise it’s because he was getting frustrated that his milk wasn’t coming fast enough.

    Since we have replaced the teats I have seen a huge change in Dexter. He is generally more content, probably because he’s not always on the edge of hunger and he is sleeping a lot better during the day as well. He is finishing all of his bottles, he is back to drinking 8-9oz during each feed and he is also back to feeding every four hours.

    If you think your baby is ready for the next sized teat there’s no harm in trying it. Below I have listed some of the things to look out for:

     

    teat size

    What it should look like

    ♥Most of the milk is being swallowed perhaps with a little escaping here and there.

    ♥No choking or spluttering on the milk.

    ♥Baby finishes the whole bottle and in record time.

    Signs it’s too soon

    ♥Coughs and chokes on the milk.

    ♥More milk ends up spilling out of the mouth than is swallowed.

    ♥Clamps mouth shut or pushes bottle away and refuses to feed.

    ♥Manages to finish the bottle but then projectile vomits everywhere.

    If you think I’ve missed any other obvious signs please comment below to help other Mums! I hope you found this useful.




    Review // Sudocrem Care & Protect




    Nappy rash can be a real pain in the butt (no pun intended!) It results in angry looking, sore skin and a grouchy baby. Definitely want to avoid the grouchy baby! Dexter has been super lucky that he has only ever suffered with nappy rash a handful of times. I put this down to ensuring his nappy is changed regularly and that he is always smothered in a good quality nappy cream.

    I was lucky enough to receive a free sample of Sudocrem Care & Protect to review for this blog. Sudocrem offer a range of creams primarily to help treat nappy rash. It is such a recognisable brand, I remember my Mum always having a pot of Sudocrem to hand growing up to rub on any skin irritations I might be suffering with as a little girl. (I still use it now on my nose when it gets irritated from having a cold!)

    sudacrem tube

    The original Sudocrem is a medicated antiseptic cream to treat nappy rash, but Sudocrem now also offer Care & Protect which is designed to help prevent nappy rash occurring in the first place. Sounds great to me – prevention is the best cure in my book.

    Sudocrem Care & Protect retails at £4.29 for 30g; £5.99 for 50g or £10.39 for 100g*. It is widely available to purchase on the high street or you can buy it from Amazon here. It offers triple action protection to prevent nappy rash and contains vitamin E and Pro Vitamin B5 to protect baby’s delicate skin.

    Looking at the market, this product is priced in the mid-range category. You can certainly purchase creams that are cheaper and there are plenty of others which cost a lot more. What I like about this cream is that, like the original Sudocrem cream, a little goes a long way and it is a brand I know I can trust.

    image1-2

    The cream is a lot thinner than the original Sudocrem and comes in a handy tube making it easy to squirt as little, or as much as you need onto your hand. I love the fact that I can open the tube with one hand instead of battling with a lid of a tub. Surely I am not the only one whose baby has had their hand in said tub during a nappy change? It also rubs in nicely to leave a thin layer of residue which has disappeared by the time you come to change the nappy again. It has a lovely smell to it, slightly medicinal but I love that about this cream.

    The size of the tube makes it handy to carry around. God knows, my changing bag is full to bursting! No longer do I need to lug a big tub around with me meaning more space for other essentials.

    If you are looking for a mid-priced, quality cream to help prevent nappy rash, this is a great one to choose. It also won Product of the Year 2015 in the nappy rash cream category.

    Disclaimer: I received a sample of Sudocrem Care & Protect and no payment to write this review. All thoughts are my own.

    *RRP found at http://www.boots.com