Author: Agnes

 

The best lightweight stroller for toddlers

It is hard to choose from all the range of different strollers available on the market. I know myself- I spend weeks on researching the best strollers for my baby when she reached the sitting down milestone. For me very important feature was the buggy’s weight so it would be light enough to take it with me when travelling, small size so it wouldn’t bother us in my small apartment and the parent-facing option (surprisingly not easy to find within strollers for toddlers)

When I was walking in the park I was acting like a creepy person checking out other mothers with prams, looking at the brand of their strollers. Uppababy Vista/Cruz, Babyzen YoYo and Bugaboo are the main brands mothers prefer. But when it comes to the functionality, the look and the lightweight option the winner for me was Bugaboo Bee 5.

The best look and quality

I know this might sound vain and shallow but who doesn’t want to have the prettiest and the cutest pram? Pushing a baby in a stroller is a bit like driving a car, am I right? (Ok, maybe there is a slight difference). So you want to own a nice car (meant a stroller) without sacrificing the quality of it. That is why Bugaboo Bee is the right choice. It curved chassis and bright colours definitely makes this buggy stand out from the crowd. You have a 3-year guarantee from a manufacturer so you can be sure it will last you for long time(or even pass it to your next baby).

What’s an extra plus is that you can buy loads of useful accessories to it: cup holder, umbrella, matching footmuff and liner, travelling bag etc. Another cool thing about it is that you can change basically any part of this pram starting from the wheels, seat, frame to sun canopy so it will look like new whenever you need to.

The best size

Bugaboo Bee 5 is really small comparing to other ones available on the market. It’s great if you have to keep it inside of the flat or somewhere with limited space. It folds really easily and although it is not one hand fold, it’s simple and quick when you get a hang of it. In my case, I don’t even have to fold the stroller as it’s small enough to stay in the hall of my flat without bumping into it. I also love how fast it unfolds (making my life easier whenever I have to travel by a car ) and the fact that it’s compact enough to fit into a small car trunk. Because of the adorable size of the Bugaboo Bee, it is best for urban use. If you live in a city like London pushing it around supermarkets, narrow streets or in the underground won’t be a hassle at all!

Best functionality

Simple to operate from the back of the seat, Bugaboo Bee has 3 reclining positions from lying to sitting down. With 2 steps you can reverse the seat from world-facing to parent-facing (my daughter is not ready to leave her precious mama out of sight just yet!). This feature had a big value for me when I was choosing this stroller as most other lightweight prams are not reversible. Another advantages are the adjustable height of the handlebar (which will please even really tall people) and the extendable padded seat that grows with your child. And my favourite feature is the extendable sun canopy; it really protects your baby from the sun as it covers your child fully (no need for an umbrella).

The manufacturer says the pram is suitable from birth if you buy an extra bassinet until your little one reaches 17 kg so approximately 3-3,5 years old. The shopping basket will carry max 5 kg and in my opinion is large enough for daily shopping (however I did have trouble fitting my changing bag into it so I bought hooks and just hanged the bag around the handlebar).

Best weight

This pram is great for everyday use as well as travelling; although there are some lighter strollers available on the market, Bugaboo Bee 5 with the weight of 8.9 kg can be easily lifted by a skinny person (or a person without muscles=me). It’s not only a useful feature for travelling but also when using public transport or when the elevator breaks in your building! I did not try to lift the stroller with the baby in it but my partner did it without a problem. Putting it into a car trunk is effortless as well.

Few things that are not ‘the best’

Bugaboo bee is of course not that perfect. It has small wheels, which even though have a good suspension and shock absorption, they do struggle on uneven ground or gravel. And although it grows with your child, it does have quite narrow seat so if you have a chubby baby this might not be the best option for you. Another thing that might annoy some of you is that it’s missing bumper bar, so your child doesn’t have anything to hold on to (rest assured, the 5-point safety harness is enough to secure your little one from falling). What’s more, make sure you don’t mind bending and kneeling when out and about as the stroller seat is situated lower to the ground than most others; it didn’t bother me personally as it gives the pram extra charm- just like the Lamborghini’s low suspension ūüôā And, unfortunately, it is not cheap but you have to look at it as an investment.

So is Bugaboo Bee 5 really the best lightweight stroller for toddlers?

I would say it’s definitely one of the bests available on the market. It’s charm and quality are something hard not to like. You can customize it and change the parts when you feel like it. It really ‘pushes like a dream’, with one or both hands. Fitting it in your flat and car won’t be an issue and when taking it into crowded places you will appreciate its small size. It has decent basket and a really great sun canopy

Is it the lightest- not really, however if you would go for a super light stroller that weighs around 6 kg (like Babyzen Yoyo) it would most likely do a better job when travelling by plane but could not live up to your expectations on other level (when shopping for example) .

Remember, there is not a perfect stroller, some of them are exceptionally good in one aspect and others in something else. Finally, you should find a pram that suits your lifestyle. If, like me, you live in a busy city, often travel and appreciate quality items then Bugaboo Bee 5 is the right choice for you.

Is it worth practising hypnobirthing? Mindful hypnobirthing review

You are getting closer and closer to the big day. You start to imagine how the birth of your baby will look like, how much this must hurt and how are you going to even manage this pain. If you are already getting the most horrific images in your head, please hold your horses. Does giving birth hurt that much? The answer is yes. Can I do something about it? Yes. Does it have to be so scary? Not at all.

 

How I came across the ‘hypnobirthing’ term

When I was browsing about different stages of labour and managing the pain the term hypnobirthing popped up. I looked at the Youtube videos which showed testimonials of women who had an amazing birthing experience thanks to the hypnobirthing technique.

I’ve always been interested in psychology: complexity of our brain, how does subconscious affect our lives or how meditation can improve our lifestyle. But I was sceptic at first, I couldn’t imagine a painless birth (can you?). Since I believe in the power of mind I decided to research the topic in detail.

What is mindful hypnobirthing

In short, hypnobirthing is a mix of meditation, hypnosis and visualising techniques. Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment, feeling all that is happening around you and bringing the attention to mundane but how important processes such as breathing, sitting or walking.

Because the idea of the most excruciating pain that labour involves has been embedded within us for ages, it is hard to change our view that it can be a positive experience. We have all watched movies with screaming women giving birth; your friends who already have kids probably told you awful stories and your mum just gave you that look when you asked about her experience.¬† So it’s apparent that in society persists this belief that suffering is an integral part of bringing a little human to this world.

There are courses available to attend and learn all the hypnobirthing method but for me the price was way too high (limited budget anyone?)¬† so I bought a book instead. It’s called Mindful Hypnobirthing by Sophie Fletcher.

How does the book help you to become more confident

The book is well written and introduce you the the world of meditation and self-hypnosis in an uncomplicated way. I really enjoyed listening to the meditation tracks from the book, especially to Sophie’s voice- it was so calming and relaxing! The CD (or the audio book if you choose it) is divided into short mindfulness part, visualisation, and longer meditation tracks. You are meant to listen to them daily, ideally from 28-30th week of your pregnancy.¬† Sophie gives you advice on how to write your birth plan, how to relax on a daily basis and how to shift your awareness in any situation. She¬†outlines the advantages of water birth and using hypnobirthing¬† techniques at the same time (which I also intended to do) and how to prepare the room you will stay in during your labour.

There’s even track for your partner (if you convince him to listen to it you’re a winner!).

So the book gives you a sense of confidence: you will finish reading or listening to it with a feeling that you are in power during your labour.

My personal experience with hypnobirthing 

I’ve never done mediation before, although I tried few times. I even joined a class one day but came out laughing at the breathing exercises those people were doing; it just sounded so funny for me on that time! Plus I couldn’t focus at all; it’s actually difficult to clear your mind completely.

So deciding to try out the hypnobirthing was more like a challenge to me. I remember when I first listened to the track I felt weird but definitely more relaxed.¬† So I started doing it diligently every day, putting an alarm for the same hour. This was actually working, even my friends told me I look more calm and stopped complaining that much ( when I thought my mood swings don’t exist at all).

So when my first contractions started to appear at 4 am in the morning I immediately put the hypnobirthing tracks on and I started to do my visualisations. I have to say that at that point I was feeling as if I’m having a painful period so there was not that much to distract from. Few hours later I was in a bigger pain but listening to Sophie’s voice kept calming me down.

However my reaction to stronger waves of contraction that were about to come was not what I have planned or expected. In the hospital it turned out that I will be throwing up quite often during the second stage of labour. I could not eat anything, even water made me sick; eventually they had to put me on a water drip.

I have to admit that as much as I wanted the tracks to work during the last, most difficult stage of labour, I could not bother to listen to them. I tried to use all the advice that I learned from the book and although it didn’t work for me with every painful contraction, I believe I put the focus on a right thing when it was the most needed ( in the combination with gas and air).

Final thoughts…

So is it worth practising hypnobirthing? I would say yes, definitely. By this day I enjoy the benefits of mindfulness practice in the most stressful situations (and there are many when the baby finally arrives!). It is so important to keep the right mind while you are pregnant and during labour; I’d say any kind of mediation will be beneficial for you.

If you decide to buy the book or sign up for a hypnobirthing course make sure you don’t do it at the last minute. Your body has to get used to being in a ‘hypnosis ‘zone’ so if you start 4 weeks before your due date it won’t do much for you. The earlier you start practising the better for you.

Just because my birthing experience was not exactly as I wished for, it doesn’t mean your one won’t be positive. Nevertheless you have to be ready for anything as nobody can predict the unpredictable.

Cute and cheap maternity clothes- how to dress with a growing bump

Finding cute but also cheap maternity clothes can be a challenge, considering most of the high street shops sell overpriced goods. They often want you to pay way too much for a piece of clothing you will only wear for several weeks and then throw it away, put on the back of your wardrobe waiting for another child (like you were even thinking of it right now) or maybe for your sister/friend to get pregnant.

But then again, getting bigger and more curvy is a good excuse to spend some money on your new wardrobe, even if it will serve you only temporarily. After all, you deserve to feel and look fabulous during your pregnancy.

So, here are my tips on how to shop for some great and cheap maternity clothes.

 

 

 

 

Don’t start buying maternity clothes too early

 

I know you are getting weirdly excited to start wearing those funny-looking over bump maternity jeans but hold your horses. If you are just 12 or even 16 weeks pregnant chances are you are still not showing. In my case, people couldn’t tell I was pregnant up until 6 months!

However, as each woman is different, you may already feel bloated in your first trimester. That means you would find it difficult to squeeze into your regular jeans but your belly is not big enough to wear maternity trousers just yet.

What I would suggest is buying couple of stretchable jeggins or leggins, could be in a size bigger than you usually go for. They will fit nicely, without the need to zip or button up your growing belly.

I made a mistake of buying maternity jeans, jeggins and shirts while 4 months pregnant and didn’t wear them for weeks because my belly was growing rather slowly so the clothes were too big for me.

 

 

 

 

You will find lots of affordable staffs on Amazon

 

Amazon has everything these days, including clothing for every occasion.

They actually have a range of good-quality maternity clothes from jeans, dresses, T-shirts to bras. And the prices are attractive as well.

Some things I bought for myself :

  • Leggings: Elastic, with high waistband, available in different colors. Good from second trimester, depending on your bump size. I found these very comfortable and practical for spring/summer, especially if you prefer wearing longer shirts/ tops that cover your bottom or these warm, thicker ones for winter/autumn season.
  • Jeans: It’s worth to have at least one good pair of maternity jeans in your wardrobe. And they don’t have to be expensive at all. They’re better than leggins in terms of thickness and material, they won’t cling to your belly so tightly like most of the leggins would do. Plus, they will match with every casual style. Should be a good fit once you start showing.
  • Shirts: Very practical, come in 2-pack, made of cotton. Great for pregnancy and nursing, available in multiply colors.
  • Tops: Gorgeous long top/tunic available in different colors. Looks great with any leggins or jeans and it’s practical as it can be a nursing top as well. You can start wearing it at any time.
  • Bras: the trick with bras is that you should buy them gradually as your boobs grow (and they will!). So don’t be hectic when shopping. There is no point buying 4 bras straight away as you may find a huge difference between week 20, 28 and 34 of your pregnancy. For many expectant mums, even with the small boost, cup goes even three sizes up. However, if you really can’t wait, many maternity bras are stretchable so have a bit of space for your growing boobs; they also conveniently turn to nursing bras.
  • Dresses: they are the best for summer, when the heat make us sweat like pigs. I’ve experienced it myself, as my last trimester happened to last through the whole July and August (ironically, that was one of the hottest summers ever recorded in UK). So on that time you definitely want to use as thinnest clothes as possibles. Cotton dresses are the best option as they are breathable and loose; here you will find some cute, nicely designed dresses.

 

 

 

 

Look for second hand and outlet clothes

 

If you really want to save some money and don’t mind wearing second hand piece of clothing, visit charity shops and look for something suitable for you or ask your friends who already had babies, maybe they still keep their maternity clothes on the back of the wardrobe so you can borrow them if you are the same size.

Another option is EBay. There you won’t only find used clothes but also brand new ones with tags on; you can bid on some and pay half price (or less) for the product comparing to the original price from the high street shops.

You will find anything from smart tops (such as this one from New Look) to fancy dresses and maternity jeans from Mothercare.

 

 

 

 

Start buying bigger size clothes

 

At some point, in my last stage of pregnancy, I found it pretty annoying that there is a limited choice of nice and not overpriced clothes for expectant mums out there.

So what I started doing (and can definitely recommend) was buying ‘normal’ clothes from high street shops. Not forgetting about hunting for sale, I simply bought few items that were two (or three) sizes bigger than I was before getting pregnant.

Don’t get annoyed though coz not everything will fit on you; some designs of size 12/14 can simply look weird on you if you were an 8 before- too loose in your boob area/ too tight on your growing belly. But I was lucky enough to find a good bargain for larger trousers that would not obstruct my movements, or even a loose dress designed for not pregnant women (yay!). It all depends on your figure really.

 

 

 

 

Don’t go crazy

 

Speaking from my own experience, I know how hard is to not to get tempted by buying hundreds of new shirts/ T-shirts/ dresses and trousers since you’ve already outgrown the old ones.

Just remember soon you will be able to squeeze into your old size again, and those new maternity clothes will become useless to you. Especially that you will have your favorite, most comfortable clothes anyway and use them most of the time.

 

 

 

 

Best shoes for pregnant women- top 8 picks for different seasons

In my previous post I emphasised the importance of supportive shoes for your pregnancy journey. They can make a big difference in your posture and confidence and, therefore, alleviate any back pains you may have from the growing bump.

So here there are- 8  short reviews of the best shoes for pregnant women, my top picks for different weather/season. And you will actually like wearing them as they are not granny-looking-like, yay!

Spring

a) Skechers Memory Foam trainers

What is better than typical trainers? Memory foam trainers!

These will serve you not only during pregnancy but long after, they are perfect for getting back into shape when (or if) you find time for the gym workouts! And even if you don’t, they are still great for everyday walks or any other day-to-day errands.

Extra comfort and relief for your swollen feet guaranteed!

Features:

  • Product colour: Grey/pink
  • Material type: memory foam+ textiles
  • Sole: Synthetics
  • Fastening: Lace-ups

b) Keds slip-on sneakers

Must-have for vintage fans! Great for any occasion, whether you are going out to a restaurant or simply going to pick up some groceries.

Keds were invented over 100 years ago and with that long experience the company found loyal customers from all over the world, attracted by comfort and chic style.

Their shoes even appear on feet of Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing movie- now that’s a guarantee of a comfort and satisfaction!

Features:

  • Style: Fashion Sneaker
  • Closure Type: Slip-on
  • Sole: Gum rubber
  • Heel Type: Low-heel

Summer

a) Clarks flip-flops

These ‘higher-end’ version of flip-flops are very comfortable for the feet. They are perfect for expectant mums because they are easy to put on and allow the feet to expand.

The fit is great (got one pair for my tired feet as well), they’re very light and the colour matches loads of clothes. The soles are well padded and the toe posts don‚Äôt rub. You can adjust the fit with the Velcro strap which is also useful.

Features:

  • Product colour: Gold
  • Material Type: Leather
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Hill type: Low-hill

b) Verbenas Pink Espardrilles

If you are a fan of Espadrilles, these cute pair is one of the best you can get on the market. The Verbenas brand is originally produced in Spain, they provide you with a super comfort thanks to leather and foam- like padded soles.

They are also easy to put on, without the need of bending (which we all know suddenly becomes a challenge with a growing bump). Again the color is very feminine and neutral so will go with anything you have in your wardrobe.

  • Product colour: Pink
  • Material type: Leather
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Closure: Slip-On

Autumn

a) Cipriata Leather Ankle Boots

Produced in Italy Cipriata shoes is a great choice for classical (and affordable) taste. Made from genuine leather, these ankle boots are a great fit to anything you wear- from casual clothing to office look.

Available in black and brown (tan) colors, these will serve you well during and after pregnancy. Get the desired look without much effort!

Features:

  • Upper Material:100% Leather
  • Lining:
    100% Leather
  • Fastening:
    Pull On
  • Sole:
    Rubber

b) Joules Wellington Shoes

Highly durable, these wellies are a must-have for the rainy autumn days. Available in multi-colors and various design, they are very comfortable and great for swollen pregnant feet.

Made of 100% natural rubber upper with hand-drawn floral prints these wellies are also breathable and have a textile lining; they reach¬†your mid calves so you can be sure your feet won’t get sweaty.

Features:

  • Natural rubber
  • Outer Material: Rubber
  • Sole: Synthetic
  • Closure: Pull-on
  • Heel Type: Block Heel

Winter

a) Emu Snow Boots

Is there anything more comfortable on earth than Emu shoes? Although not the cheapest, they are worth the investment. Wearing Emu feels like walking on the clouds thanks to the wool inner material. And they keep you super warm during cold winter days!

I particularly loved the fact they are so easy to put on and being so cozy I didn’t feel like taking them off even at home!

You won’t regret buying them as they will last you for years, thanks to the top quality material. Emu are made with waterproof suede and 100% Australian sheepskin lining. Do you still need more convincing, winter mamas?

Features:

  • Water proof
  • Outer Material: Leather
  • Inner Material: Wool
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Closure: Slip-On
  • Heel Type: no-heel

b) Timberland Boots


Perfect for harsh snowy or wet winters, these comfortable Timberland shoes (known from its strong brand) will be a great relief for your swollen feet and provide you with safety when it comes to slippery surface.

They are great for more active women who spend a lot of time outside or have a long commute to work.

They are a bit pricey but worth the investment; available in different shades.

Features:

  • Material: Suede
  • Hill type: No hill
  • Soles: Rubber
  • Fastening: Lace-up

One more thing…

If you still feel like getting an extra support for your feet, simply buy a pair of so called ‘foot pillows’, ‘gel cushions’ or ‘comfy soles’ (depending on a chosen style of your shoes). They are cheap, invisible when put inside and will provide you with an extra comfort when you wear any type of flat shoes.

The technology used by Scholl conveys two gels that effectively absorb shock and reduce the pressure felt on your feet Рa firmer gel that supports the arches of your feet and your heels, plus a softer one to ensure the optimum shock absorption.

They are great for pregnancy, especially for those of you who are still working or standing longer hours.

Check them out on Amazon

Back pain during pregnancy-third trimester struggle

Back pain during pregnancy, especially once you hit the third trimester, is a common problem among women. And there is nothing really surprising about that- you are inevitably getting heavier and the growing baby bump is pushing your posture down. What’s more, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch preparing you for labour. This can overburden the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which ultimately causes back pain.

But fear not, there are many ways to alleviate this pain and make your daily life a bit more bearable.

Here are some of my suggestions:

 

 

 

 

Exercise as much as possible

There are loads of good exercises for your back in pregnancy. The best ones are stretching and strengthening exercises, such as yoga and/or pilates; doing them regularly will definitely eliminate the pain.

Good ones are core exercises which strengthen your back. One of my favorite without the need of any equipment is called Bird Dog- it will stabilize your back and give the relief you are looking for.

How to do it:

  • Go onto all fours (hands and knees)
  • Create slight tension in your abdomen
  • Extend one arm out in front at the same time extending the opposite leg to the back (hold this position for about 8-10 seconds and repeat on the other side)

Another great and pleasurable type of sport/ exercise is swimming. It’s not only safe for you and your baby but also relaxing (since you will feel much lighter in the water than you actually are). It works out every muscle in your body and on top of that it can reduce swelling of your feet and ankles.

 

Also, makes sure you walk a lot, don’t stand or sit in one position for a long time. Going for a walk in the park is a great option in those last weeks of pregnancy, especially in those days when you don’t feel like doing any work out at all.¬†¬†If you are still working and it’s a desk job, make sure your feet are elevated from time to time and you go outside for a lunch breaks so that you could stretch those overloaded joints.

 

 

 

 

Keeping the right posture

The right posture is one of the most important things during your pregnancy. Obviously your belly will keep ‘pushing’ your posture down so it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

However, pay attention to keeping as good posture as possible as it will reduce the pressure on your spine.

 

  • keep your back straight and knees bent when you reach for something from the floor
  • avoid lifting heavy objects
  • when carrying shopping bags makes sure you’ve got 2 of them to balance the weight out
  • avoid tilting your head- this will keep your head and neck in the upright position
  • when sitting keep your knees straight and don’t cross your legs
  • good support for your back when sitting at work or at home is essential ‚Äď you can use couple of normal pillows or look for maternity support pillows.
  • you would be surprised how a good fitted bra changes your pregnancy back issues so makes sure you get the right one for yourself. Ask the shop assistant for help if needed.

 

 

 

Supportive shoes

These are so important and invaluable when you have gained few (or more like a dozen) of pounds! I’m sure you’ve already heard about the possibility of your feet growing (or rather swelling) to even a full size up. Although it’s rather difficult to avoid the swelling itself you can make your feet and ankles feel more grateful¬† if you chose the right footing.

Say goodbye high-heels (I’ve never been a fan of them anyway) and say hello to low-heeled shoes, flats and flip-flops with a good arch support. These will assure your spine is aligned and well-supported.

Shoe inserts can also turn out to be helpful.

Here is my review of top shoes I found to be useful while I was pregnant.

 

 

 

Massage

There is nothing like a good massage for tired muscles. And having it done while you’re pregnant is a heaven for your aching back, stiff shoulders or sore hips. It will also improve your mood and get those endorphins flowing around your body, making you feel like a newborn again.

You can choose a spa that offers massages specifically for future mums which means the therapists taking care of you will have a special training for dealing with pregnant women.

You could also ask your partner to gently massage your back while you sit. Combine it with some relaxation techniques such as meditation or relaxation music and you will feel much better in a blink of an eye.

 

 

 

 

 

Back support during day and night

Sleeping on your side, especially left side, with your knees bent and a pillow between them is the best option for pregnant women. There’s no such thing as too many pillows in late pregnancy! Try different variations: you can use pillows under your belly, between your legs, and also behind your back.

You should avoid sleeping on your back in the third trimester; the reason being is that that position puts pressure from your enlarged uterus onto your spine, back muscles and major blood vessels which can decrease blood flow around your body and to your baby.

The best comfort will give you specially designed pregnancy/maternity pillow which supports your back, belly, and legs during rest or sleep, also giving you a proper back support in sitting positions.

 

 

 

Alternative treatments

I haven’t tried any myself however some women swear on this method and there is enough research suggesting that acupuncture might help to get rid of lower back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture uses fine needles to stimulate specific pressure points in the body that correspond with various systems of physical and emotional health. This method supposed to eliminate any blockages that are obstructing smooth flow of the body’s energy, ultimately improving health and ease any pain (including back) symptoms. Make sure you tell your practitioner that you’re pregnant when arranging an appointment.

Another solution is aromatherapy. Having a warm (but not hot) bath with just a few drops of lavender oil (and maybe some candles around you) is something you will genuinely be grateful for. Guaranteed you will feel an improvement after that as combination of warm water and gorgoeus essence will relieve your muscle tension, pain triggered by stress or fatigue, and soothe your pacing mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Rest, rest, rest

So, apart from staying active, using the right footing or pampering yourself at a spa, what is equally important for the back pain is rest. In the third trimester you will hopefully stop working and stay at home, preparing for your little one’s arrival.

But we all know that staying at home doesn’t necessarily mean being lazy. You will have hands full with cleaning the house, washing and ironing baby clothes, preparing the nursery room or doing the last minute shopping. On top of that you still eat for two so you spend some time in the kitchen, working on your cooking skills!

Just remember that rest in this time is essential for you and your baby. Sleep at least 8 hours during the night and have an afternoon nap if you feel tired- you deserve it like nobody else. When I was in my last weeks of pregnancy, I slept until 10 am most of the days and then I still slept one or two hours during the day as I felt like I won’t have that opportunity once my baby girl is here. And guess what- I’m glad I did because the sleep deprivation in those early weeks is not a myth (unfortunately). And having that extra rest is also good way of keeping up your energy levels for the labour day!

 

 

 

Top rated pregnancy pillows- best reviews

Insomnia during pregnancy is something very common and very annoying, especially in the 3rd trimester. Your growing belly (you never thought your skin can stretch to these measures did you?) unable you to find a comfy position, the baby is constantly moving and pressuring on your bladder, forcing you to get up at least twice during the night to pee. On top of that you are already aware that once the baby is here you will not sleep much anyway; so how is that fair that you need to fight with the insomnia right now as well?

The only solution I found for those sleepless nights was buying a good pregnancy pillow. It supports your back and front, making space for the belly and gives you the comfort you are looking for.

There is so much choice out there it might be hard to decide which pillow will do the job. Here are my 5 picks based on reviews of other pregnant friends! All available on Amazon.

Number 1: Chicco Boppy Total Body Pillow 3 in 1

Chicco Boppy Total Body Pillow Glacier

This pregnancy pillow achieved 4-star rating by its users (with few comparing it to ‘sleeping on the cloud’) and has become the pregnancy favourite for many mums thanks to its multipurpose use. Not only will it enable you to have a proper night’s sleep and get some comfort during the day, but it can also help you breastfeed. It was designed with a physiotherapist to remove any pressure on the spine, so if you’re suffering from so common back-pain, this pillow might be a great solution for you. It consists of three different pieces that can be used together, or separately, with support for the whole body, the head and the shoulders, stomach up to ankles. It’s safe to wash in a washing machine.

Disadvantages:

  • It is designed for left side sleepers (recommended position for pregnant women) so it’s not the best choice if you prefer to sleep on the right side.
  • Once the parts of the pillow get unattached you are left with scratchy Velcro.
  • Finally, the price is not very attractive; it’s the most expensive from the list below

Advantages:

  • It doesn’t take too much space as other pillows do,
  • It is a good quality and actually helps you get a good night sleep once the belly is on your way.

Number 2: Sanggol U-shaped Pregnancy /Maternity Pillow

Sanggol is marked as a best-seller on Amazon, with hardly any bad reviews. This full-body support pillow is made in UK and can be also used as a nursing pillow after pregnancy.

The U-shape offers support for your baby bump, back, neck, shoulder, and legs without the need to use other pillows or change sleeping positions.

Disadvantages:

  • It is a big pillow so it may be inconvenient for you if you don’t have a king-size bed and difficult to store once you stop using it
  • Couple of reviews say that the pillow seems too thin to give a proper support; after washing it and several weeks of using it, it apparently looses its firmness

Advantages:

  • Multipurpose use: for pregnancy support or to reduce heartburn, back pain and swelling in pregnancy, for breastfeeding and nursing but also for a relaxation time at home, such as reading or watching TV. It is also great to use by anyone else as a body pillow support to relief pain either after an operation or if you suffer from a chronic body pain ( so you can maybe give it to your grandpa when you don’t need it anymore?)
  • Great quality: 100% cotton pillowcase (removable and washable), it’s also hypoallergenic so suitable for people with allergies

Number 3: Summer Infant Body Support Pillow

This pillow is shaped like a 9 and designed to provide full-body support from your head, through your legs and around your back.

Post-pregnancy, it can be used as a pillow for baby’s tummy time (when he/she is ready to practice that neck and shoulder muscles), ‘converted’ into toddler’s reading chair (when your baby learns how to stay in a sitting position) or mum’s feeding pillow.

Disadvanatges:

  • It is quite big so takes some space on the bed (making your partner unhappy)
  • May be too hard for people who are used to sleeping on very soft pillows
  • Some reviews claim the pillow is not the best quality- too narrow and not firm enough

Adavantages:

  • Best used as a back and tummy support for growing bump while you’re pregnant, but also suitable as a breastfeeding pillow or a support for the baby
  • The soft cotton cover is removable and washable

Number 4: ClevaMama

Clevacushion 10 in 1 Nursing Pillow – Maternity and Baby Cushion

This pillow can be used in different combinations, from pregnancy stage to a moment your sweet pie arrives. Focusing on pregnancy, the pillow is made of memory foam so adjust naturally to your back plus has adjustable straps to fit your waist, giving you well- deserved comfort and enabling extra support and stability for future feeding. It’s a good choice if you want a product that will last for more than few months.

Disadvantages:

  • It is more of a back-support pillow when it comes to using it during pregnancy. You can put it between your legs when you’re sleeping as well but it’s not a whole body pillow.

Advantages:

  • The best choice when you want to keep using the pillow once your baby is here: good material, comfortable and sturdy; also many colours to chose from and has extra toys attached to it
  • Great if you stay a lot in a sitting position during your pregnancy
  • Multipurpose- mums swear it gives the best support while you’re feeding your little one; it is also a great pillow for a safe play time (converting it into a ‘baby nest’ ) as well as useful to keep the baby comfy in the stroller

Number 5: Dreamgenii Pregnancy Support & Feeding Pillow

Last but not the least is this shaped- like- a- 9 pillow, that has won my heart but also many of other expecting mums. I chose to go for it based on ‘Amazon’s choice’ tag and many good reviews from pregnant women. I had a back pain in my third trimester so I found this pillow as a life-savoir.

The Dreamgenii is a whole body pillow that provides back, leg and bump support, and its shape is designed to offer the correct blood flow between you and the baby during sleep.

Once your little one arrives, it can also be used as a feeding support pillow. Different patterns available.

Advantages:

  • It doesn’t take up all the space in bed
  • Well-made, it has personally offered me a better, less disturbing night sleep
  • The back support helps you to stay on the recommended left side position for the whole night
  • The pillow is easily rolled to the shape that makes breastfeeding your baby much easier

Disadvantages:

  • It is designed to lie on your left side so if you turn a lot during sleep you might find it annoying. However, left side sleep is the desirable position for mother and baby
  • There are few reviews claiming the pillow is not suitable for taller women and the fabric is too delicate and rips easily. (For me it wasn’t an issue though

The decision is yours

Hope this post has helped you to make the right choice.

Feel free to leave any comments or your own suggestions about pregnancy pillows:)

Sleep tight mamas!

Essentials for a newborn baby: what do you really need to buy

Preparing for your little one to arrive can be exciting but also daunting at the same time. After all, you are bringing a new life to this world and you need to make sure you are fully ‘equipped’ and ready to be a full time mum.

The list of essentials for a newborn baby may be overwhelming, especially for mums who are on a lower budget. But what is absolutely necessary for you to buy and what can you cross out from your list for now?

Essentials that you will need to look for

There are certain things that you just need to buy, paying attention to the quality, as some items you will have for longer period.

The list includes:

  • a crib/ a cot- when you do your research you will most likely find out that the best-seller for newborns in this category is Next2me crib which price ranges from ¬£140-¬£200, depending on colour and the seller. The cheapest place to get it would be on Amazon. And while it is a great cot with so many good reviews, keep in mind that it will only last you (or rather your baby) for about 6 months. This cot is designed to be installed next to your bed so that you will have easy access to your little one when he/she awakes in the night. And it’s an amazing thing for those few months when the baby cries a lot; you don’t even have to stand up to breastfeed¬† your baby, he will feel you are close and maybe even sleep better (but don’t set your hopes too high!). It is particularly a good cot if you are travelling as it doesn’t take much of a space.

However, I think ¬£200 is a bit pricey if it will only serve you for a few months. There are other cribs out there that have a similar price and are adjustable according to your child’s age. So, apart from having an option of 2/3 different heights, there are many cribs which actually convert into beds when your little one grows. Some of them also enable you to take one side off and simply put it next to your bed so you will have the same luxury of having your baby close to you. They will be bigger than the Next2me ones, but at least will last you for way longer, up to 3-4 years.

I bought a really great and affordable convertible crib from Amazon together with a mattress. Don’t forget to find a matching bedding set! Also, what turned out to be useful was the waterproof mattress protector; the baby may sometimes make the bedding wet for obvious reasons, even through the nappy.

  • a push chair- another very important item for a new mummy. There are tons of pushchairs out there, making it hard to chose from. Many of them are really expensive but then you get what you pay for: convertible, small not too sturdy, light and easy to operate. I’m not saying you cannot get a pushchair for less than ¬£250- because you can, there are plenty of them available online, but they probably won’t be as functional as those more expensive ones.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†It’s always better to have a look on the high street first before you decide to buy one on Amazon or eBay. Prepare yourself though: the prices may terrify you (you will find fancy pushchairs for up to ¬£1000 in shops like Mothercare), but you won’t necessarily go out there to make the purchase but rather to make sure what are the most important attributes of the product.

Look for pushchairs that are not too heavy and don’t take much of a space, especially if you live in a small flat. It is also important that the pushchair converts from lying down position for those early months to sitting down, (or even better if it includes a carrycot) facing both front and back, and it should ideally include a car seat as well, making it a proper travel system just like the one I had from Jane brand.

What I would advise you, if you can’t imagine spending that big amount of money on a new travel system, is to ask your friends who already have babies. They might be willing to sell you one (if it’s still in a good condition) , hopefully quite cheap or maybe just lend you.

That’s exactly what I did, not wanting to spend much at the beginning, I got a travel system from a friend, knowing that I want to save money for a proper stroller once my little one gets bigger. Here you will find a separate post about it with my honest review.

If not you can always look on eBay, where there are loads of good-looking travel systems offered for below £200, like this one here. 

You can also decide to go for a second hand one. Just make sure you see it before you buy it, so collection in person is always the best choice. After all, you will be the one pushing it all day long!

  • a car seat (if it’s not included with your pushchair) is always best to buy a new one as the second hand ones can have a fault that is not visible and you won’t be able to check it yourself. Look for group 0+ and the Isofix base; the Maxi Cosi company seems to be number 1 in this field for some time now
  • changing mat/mattress – look for one with edges so when you will be changing your baby he/she wouldn’t roll over like this one here
  • nappies and nappy wrappers- no need to comment on this one!
  • nappy bin- this was a life-saver for me in those early weeks when the baby’s diaper was constantly full of rather unpleasant surprises. I did not consider it as an essential until I got one; it will prevent you from making trips to the bin outside the house every 3 hours as the odour stay inside this great¬† Angelcare nappy disposal system.

  • baby clothes- don’t go crazy with them! It’s true that babies will need to get their clothes changed 2-3 times a day but remember they grow so fast you won’t even notice when they’ve outgrown this cute little outfit you bought recently!

What you really need is about 12-14 body suits and sleeping suits; maybe less if you are planning to wash them often (about 5 pieces of the newborn size and 7 pieces of 0-3 months size). The season your baby will be born indicates if you should opt for long or short sleeved type (or you can choose to have both).

Another items are: a hat, a cardigan if it’s an autumn/winter baby and couple of socks to keep those tiny feet warm.

  • Baby bath and a couple of soft towels-¬† ¬†¬†

there are simple plastic baths available everywhere, but if you have a bath at home I recommend going for a Soft Touch Bath¬†Support designed by Angel care. You can get it again from Amazon for a good price; it’s much more convenient to store as it’s smaller than the plastic baths. More importantly, the task of bathing your baby gets easier as this product gives a proper support for the little body, giving more freedom to your hands.

  • muslin squares- absolute essential, get at least 10-12 as you will use and wash them all the time.
  • Baby sling- great and affordable thing for you and your baby. Makes your life so much easier: enables you to run your daily errands (as your hands are free) and, at the same time, helps you to connect with your baby while his/her head rests on your chest. Again Amazon has a wide range of choice- have a look at one of the best sellers.

  • bottles –¬† useful to have when breastfeeding and expressing, especially when you need to go out and leave the baby with daddy or grandma. I used Tommee Tippee brand as their teats resemble mothers’ nipple so if your baby is a fussy one this should make a trick
  • dummies- for soothing your crying baby ( although my daughter hated them since the beginning)

  • nail scissors- you’ll be surprised how fast those tiny nails grow!
  • thermometer- absolute essential, you never know when your peanut gets fever (hopefully not too often). Make sure it’s FDA approved, just like this one
  • cotton wool pads- they are better than baby wipes for these first months as they’re more soft on the skin.

Things that are useful but you can probably skip

  • Changing table- you don’t really need it as you can change your baby’s diaper anywhere else: on the bed, on the chest of drawers etc. As long as you have a changing mattress you’ll be fine.
  • Changing bag- some good pushchairs include a nappy/changing bag but if your one doesn’t then you can use any larger bag that you already own. The proper changing bags are obviously better as they have divided space for each baby item but if you look to save money a normal bag will do its job.
  • Baby bouncy chair- useful but not necessarily needed, many babies actually don’t like it (because of the unsettling vibrations or music). If you are having just one baby, you should manage to entertain him/her without buying this ‘toy’. However, if you want to try there are loads of rocky chairs available on the internet which are not expensive, ranging from ¬£25-35 (unless you chose a fancy one that looks like a tiny spaceship and can be connected to the WiFi!)
  • baby monitor- unless you live in a big house, it’s not essential. You will be able to hear your baby crying from the other room if you live in a flat. Besides, those first months and sleepless nights you will most likely spend in your child’s room anyway.

Baby shower

Another tip I can give is throw a baby shower! Traditionally, few weeks before your due date you can invite your friends who will bring you plenty of useful gifts for the arrival of your baby. Prepare a ‘baby wish list’ beforehand and show it to your girlfriends so that they would know what you actually need, instead of them guessing what’s necessary and getting you something that you already have.

I am not saying use your friends to buy you staff but don’t be ashamed to ask for help. After all, they will soon become aunties for your little one and if they are close to you they will be present in your baby’s life forever. That’s why I am sure your true friends will be more than happy to help.

Shop smart

There are certain things that you can buy second-hand or cheaper online rather than on a high street. However, it’s good to browse on the high street first just to see what qualities are important to you and if you can find alternatives on the internet.

And while I’m a supporter of reusing staffs such as the stroller or baby clothes from your friends/ family, the thing that you should not save money on is the crib as well as the mattress. It’s crucial for your baby’s sleep so make sure they are both new and have all the safety standards.

If you are struggling financially by the end of seven months of your pregnancy but you are still working, what I would suggest is to get a credit card (check if you are eligible first). Find one with lower interest, but make sure you will be able to pay the balance each month as you don’t want to end up being charged for late payments. The right credit card will give you the boost of cash you need for all your baby essentials as well as build your credit score (important for the future if you are plan to get a mortgage one day!)

When can you find out gender of your baby? What to expect from the ultrasound

Would you like to know if it’s a boy or a girl kicking inside of your womb? You can play games with your partner and predict the sex of your unborn child, according to some old tales, or wait for the professional opinion.

So when can you find out the gender of your baby?

The sex of your baby is usually determined between 18-20 weeks of your pregnancy and you can find it out from the second ultrasound. The accuracy is never 100%, however with the advanced equipment technicians have these days, it is rare to make a mistake.

 

Ultrasound- your first scan at 12 weeks

 

In England, your first scan, called dating scan, is available for you through NHS at about 8-14 weeks.

Although you should see your GP as soon as you’ve found out you’re pregnant (they will assign you a midwife), most local hospitals will not book your scan appointment until you reach 12 weeks pregnant. This is because miscarriages are not uncommon in the first trimester of the pregnancy ( so the hospital ultrasound department basically just wants to save money- surprise, surprise).

Therefore, the waiting time for your first scan can be irritating. But be patient; this scan is something to look forward to as it will be your first insight into how your peanut looks like. When you finally get to that room, the scan lasts for only about 20 min.

Things that will be checked during the dating scan:

  • how far pregnant you are and what’s the estimated date of delivery
  • whether it’s only one baby in your womb
  • if the baby is growing in the right place and if it’s developing in the right way
  • baby’s heartbeat
  • whether you agreed to the screening : an estimated risk of a Down syndrome your baby may be born with (this is called a ‘combined test’)- you may have to wait outside of the room for a few minutes to get the results.

Second ultrasound at 20 weeks

The other offered scan, called an anomaly scan, will take place between 18-21 weeks of your pregnancy. This scan checks for structural abnormalities in the baby.

This is a chance for you to see your little one for the second time, this time with many more details as the baby is bigger and its parts more visible to you. Moreover, the sonographer will take more time to examine the baby, giving you chance to peak at her/him from different angles.

If you’re lucky you may be able to even notice your baby moving its legs or arms! The sonographer will zoom the baby’s different developing body parts and the inner organs such as heart, lungs and brain. At the end you will be given some printed pictures of your baby that you can keep with you. However, in some places there might be a charge for the service (still worth it if you ask me).

Your second scan usually allows you to get to know your baby’s sex. Make sure you tell the sonographer at the start of the scan that you wish to find out. Also, keep in mind that there is no such thing as 100% accuracy when it comes to discovering the gender. It may happen that your baby is lying in an awkward position, making it difficult or even impossible to tell.

In addition, some hospitals have a strange policy of not telling patients the sex of their baby. Ask your sonographer or midwife to avoid disappointment.

 

Pros and cons of finding out the gender

Finding out the gender of your baby is a very individual decision so make sure you (and your partner) are not pressured by your family members or friends.

1. Some benefits of knowing whether it’s a boy or a girl:

  • Bonding with your baby. You can start creating positive scenarios about you and your child, for example if you know it’s a boy you will imagine yourself playing football with him or, if it’s a girl, playing with dolls.
  • Choosing the name. Knowing the gender of your baby allows you to pick a name earlier and start calling your little one by name even when she’s still inside of you. This helps you, again, to bond with your unborn child.
  • Preparing the nursery. Being aware of the sex of your baby simply makes your life easier when you think of redecorating that room- painting the walls blue or pink? Choosing curtains with Disney princesses or Spider-man? Same when it comes to clothing- after all you need to buy few essentials for your newborn, such as bodysuits. And yes, you can buy neutral colour of those tiny clothes but let’s face it- it’s much more exciting to shop for something that has cute pink hearts or imprinted cars than just choosing boring white
  • Enough of surprises. If you got pregnant unexpectedly, the last thing you want is to get another surprise and be guessing for the whole 9 months who is residing your womb. You’ll be better off prepared. And let’s face it- even if you say it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl as long as it’s healthy ( I was saying that for quite a long time), your mind is subconsciously settled for one or another!

2. Benefits of NOT finding out the gender:

  • Can be fun. For some people it’s more exciting to wait and play guessing games with your partner or friends and family. Plus, you get to stay ‘old-school’- you grow a baby and stay in that oblivious state just like women in times before the technology became so advanced. The moment you find out will be, undeniably, one of the most amazing things you’ll ever hear in your life!
  • Can be a bigger incentive to push. When the time comes, the mother’s deep curiosity held for so long can enhance her motivation to push. She will be desperate to hear those words in the delivery room: ‘it’s a boy’ or ‘it’s a girl’!
  • You won’t be misinformed. Imagine they told you during your scan that it’s a girl and you did everything accordingly to that gender, from preparing pink crib and cute little dresses to having only one settled name in your head. And then suddenly, when your baby finally arrives, you get to know that it’s actually a boy! Now that’s not the best surprise ever. Not knowing the sex of your baby can prevent you from getting a potential disappointment.

 

 

Is there any other scan available to me after the anomaly scan?

If your pregnancy is low-risk and is progressing without any complications, you probably won’t have more scans after 20 weeks.

From that point, your midwife will be looking after your baby’s growth by measuring its, so called, fundal height- the distance from the front of your pelvis to the top of your womb (uterus).

The regular check-up also include:

  • measuring your blood pressure
  • taking and testing your urine and blood samples
  • keeping an eye on your BMI (especially if you gain weight too quickly or too slowly)

However, if any problems or complications occur, you may be sent to conduct some extra scans. And don’t worry: there are no known risks for you or your baby from having an ultrasound scan.

 

 

Welcoming your baby

Just by visiting my website I’m sure you already made up your mind about finding out the gender of your little one. So, congratulations to all of you! Finding out the gender, sooner or later, is an unforgettable experience. It makes your pregnancy so much more realisitc and joyful:)

I’d suggest bringing someone for your scan appointment, especially the one at 20 weeks as you will want to share this moment with a close person. If your partner cannot make it (or is not around), then make sure your mum or a friend can come along- you will feel more supported and calm.

And don’t forget, you should be ready for any outcome if you want your baby’s gender to be revealed; after all, the doctors warn you they can make a mistake.

 

 

 

 

Best food for pregnancy- top 10 healthy snacks and dinner ideas

During pregnancy, it is crucial to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Just because you are growing a baby doesn’t mean you can eat anything.

Your body needs additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals (more on essential vitamin intake in here: http://topprettymama.com/pregnancy-tips-for-first-time-moms-dealing-with-all-the-information-you-come-across). Lack of them may negatively affect the baby’s development.

Bad eating habits also rises the risk of diabetes, may lead to premature birth and general complications during your pregnancy. What’s more, excessive gain weight may cause your baby to grow bigger than it supposed to and slow down the labor, making the delivery more painful,

I can bet that’s the last thing you would want! So, have a look and my tips for the best food for pregnancy. It is really not difficult to find healthy food out there, it’s just a matter of choice.

 

 

Top 10 foods that are good for you and your baby:

Let me lay out few snacks that are packed with nutritional ingredients, are tasty as well as affordable and easy to get in any supermarket :

  • yogurt– especially Greek yogurt, is rich in calcium and probiotic bacteria so it’s super beneficial for pregnant women and gentle to our digestive system. Top up with some cereals or muesli and you got a perfect breakfast or a snack for the day.
  • eggs– contain necessary calcium and vitamin D, both very important in pregnancy. Additionally, they are source of choline. Never heard of it? Choline is responsible for many processes in the body, including proper brain functioning.
  • avocado– source of iron, fiber, potassium. Eat it sliced with some cheese crackers or wholegrain toast and you get yourself much more nutritional snack than potato crisps¬† ¬†
  • mango, oranges– contain fiber, potassium and vit C. Slice it before you leave to work and put in the container; they are great to eat on the go, any time of the day.
  • oats- rich in fiber and antioxidants. I like to have them in porridge made on coconut milk; add some cranberries (another great thing in pregnancy looking after your urinal system), sesame or sunflower seeds or mix them all, topping up with honey. Delicious for breakfast! Alternatively, look for a granola bar which contains oats, there’s plenty of choice out there.¬† ¬†
  • carrots– contain beta carotene which the body transforms into vitamin A; it is needed for the baby’s cell growth. Note: since it is easy to get enough of vit A from foods that we consume daily (such as tomato, milk, eggs and oranges), the doctors don’t recommend taking any supplements containing this vitamin as you may easily overdose and harm your baby) .
  • nuts (especially walnuts and almonds) and dried fruits- contain omega 3; great to eat as a snack between the meals as it kills your hunger for a while
  • banana with peanut butter– perfect combination when you’re craving something sweet. Banana is a good source of vitamin B6 and magnesium while from peanut butter you will get sufficient amount of potassium.

  • berries– are rich in antioxidants and contain healthy carbs, vitamin C and fiber. Its high levels of compounds help maintain the accurate blood flow. Making a smoothie out of them is a great idea; simply mix berries with raspberries and strawberries and you get yourself a fruity vitamin bomb! Or you can play with the ingredients; if you prefer adding some diary into it, mix berries with a sliced banana, Greek yogurt/ milk and add some honey. Yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what to eat for dinner?

 

  • Salmon= contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are important for brain and eye development in the growing baby. Salmon is also a natural source of vitamin D. Its easy to prepare in the oven,:add some smashed garlic and oregano, wrap around with kitchen foil and bake in the oven for about 20 min. Voila!¬†

 

 

  • broccoli and leafy greens, such as spinach and kale= valuable source of fiber, vitamin C, K and A, as well as calcium, iron, folate and potassium. Mix with pasta and king prawns; by adding some sweet chili sauce you will make it a type of Thai food!

 

  • lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans = rich in folate (crucial especially in first 12 weeks of pregnancy) and fiber

  • lean meat such as beef= rich in proteins, iron and vit B12. Serve with earlier mentioned beans adding some gravy for a flavor.¬† ¬† ¬†¬†¬†

 

  • quinoa– alternative to rice that provides you and your baby with double portion of proteins, more fiber and additional magnesium as well as folate. You can make a great salad out of it that will fill your stomach. Add some avocado, falafel, feta cheese and some veggies of your choice (I liked peppers and sweet corn) and salad becomes a meal.¬† ¬†

   

 

 

  • sweet potato= is a great source of vitamin A, B and C. Also, you will get a fair amount of fiber, potassium, phosphorus, manganese and copper. You can grill them or bake them, serving with salmon or meat; you can’t get any healthier than that!

 

 

 

 

 

How many calories shall I be eating daily?

So as mentioned before, you don’t need to ‘eat for two’ in order to gain weight and help your little one to grow. In fact, it is not recommended even if you are expecting twins!

In the first and second trimester you should eat the same as usual, so for an average woman it equals about 2,000 calories a day. The reason behind is that your energy ‘demand’ doesn’t change in the first six months of pregnancy. Only in the last trimester you’ll need an extra 200 calories a day since the mothers’ energy starts to increase; this amount is not much at all, it is like having 2 more slices of wholemeal toast with margarine or cottage cheese daily.

Keep in mind that every pregnancy and every woman is different, so the number of extra 200 calories is only based on average recommendations.

The real number of calories you need while you are pregnant depends on:

  • your height
  • your BMI (body mass index)
  • your activity (how fast you burn calories)

Final tips: don’t skip breakfasts as they are very important to maintain your energy level throughout the day and they will help you to avoid eating unhealthy snacks (high in fat and sugar such as doughnuts and biscuits).

Also, remember to eat regularly, up to 6 times a day: 4 times smaller portions of snacks/fruits/veggies and 2 bigger, nutritional meals during the day. The best meals will be based on starchy, wholemeal foods like bread, rice and pasta.

 

 

 

Convinced?

It’s really not that challenging to keep a varied diet; it often means only changing the amounts of different foods you eat rather than cutting out all your favorites.

If you still need an extra incentive to eat healthily, here’s one: you will recover after pregnancy and get into your old shape much sooner than when eating too much junk food!

So just make sure you get the best foods as often as possible; and don’t feel guilty if you have that craving for a pizza or a burger once in a while. After all, anything in moderation won’t harm you or your baby

 

 

 

 

 

When can you feel baby movement? Distinguishing first kicks and pokes

So your pregnancy is running smoothly, you are at the end of your first or beginning of second trimester. You start to notice changes within your body week by week, some are minor (you feel bloated but you can still wear your regular jeans), some are major (are these boobs even mine?). You definitely feel different with this constant fatigue and nausea, however you may not look pregnant just yet.

But many women don’t even feel pregnant until they actually start noticing there is something moving inside of them! It’s an exciting moment when you finally realize there’s’e a little active human creature inside of your belly. So when can you feel your baby movement? Here’s what you can expect.

 

How long do I have to wait?

Your peanut starts moving long before you can actually feel it, and his/her activity will vary with time.

Generally, you should be able to feel first movements at about 16 till 24 weeks time. It all depends if it’s your first pregnancy and on your body weight. It’s not always easy to distinguish those first kicks, especially if you are a first time mum. You may simply mistake those first gentle flutters for some kind of revolution in your stomach.

If a woman had kids before she already knows what to expect and she will feel those pokes much earlier at around 16 weeks; but if you are pregnant for the first time, you may only feel it at 18-22 weeks. Also, if your weight was normal before your pregnancy and you don’t have much fat around your belly you will most likely feel it sooner than more obese women.

In my case, I just reached 5 months when I finally felt it, and by that time I was certain it’s a baby, not something I’ve eaten an hour before!

 

 

How the first baby movement should feel?

That’s a tough question to answer, however I was curious as well and I bet many of you are too. I was actually anxious it takes so long for my baby to let me know everything is all right ! So I was asking my friends with babies and surfing the internet for some clues. Many of women described it as a feeling of a fish residing their womb. Some said it felt more like having butterfly nest or bubbles popping in their belly.

And for me? It just felt like a gentle punch from inside! So I guess every experience is different, when the time is right you will simply know it. However, if you don’t feel anything up till 24 weeks of your pregnancy, consult it with your midwife. It may be nothing to worry about but it’s better to stay cautious.

 

What is my baby up to inside of my womb?

Growing and getting ready for his/her arrival ! It’s amazing how fast the baby its growing its organs week by week. His/her ability to do certain things also evolves rapidly. Here are some major milestones of your baby’s evolution that you have every reason to celebrate:

  • 5 weeks: at this time your baby’s tiny heart starts pounding twice as fast as yours
  • 6-8 weeks: facials features begin to form, following arms and legs
  • 10-12 weeks: eyes have fully developed although they are still closed, the fetus starts to look more like a human. The main organs (kidneys, brain, and liver ) begin to function while fingernails are starting to form, bones are becoming more hard. The baby can yawn, stretch and hiccup but you won’t feel it just yet. By the end of week 12 (if you are having an ultrasound) you will be able to hear your little one’s heartbeat for the first time (how exciting!).
  • 14-16 weeks: the baby can suck his/her thumb! Even though the eyelids are still shut he can move his eyes and recognize the light as well as make facial expressions. If you are having an ultrasound now, you may find out the gender of your baby.
  • 18-20 weeks: the skin is wrinkly and covered by a protective layer. Your baby can hear your voice and others around you, but mainly recognize your partners voice. Its good time to put the biggest headphones you find at home over your belly and play some calming music, she may even react with some movements!
  • 23-27 weeks: your baby’s sense of movement and hearing continues to improve. You may be able to notice your little one squirming from time to time. The brain begins to develop in a rapid pace so now it’s particularly important to include those omega 3 in your diet. Lungs are also developing but won’t be working properly for few more weeks; she can now open her eyes as well. At the end of second trimester you may notice your baby’s pattern of sleeping and waking up. By now the baby weighs over 0.5 kg and measures around 30 cm.
  • 28-32 weeks: neurons in brain continue to develop, the eyesight is improving, the baby might be even dreaming! Tiny fingernails and toenails are fully formed. Your baby is also visibly gaining on weight in preparation for birth. It weighs over 1,5 kg and measures roughly 45 cm.
  • 34-37 weeks: lungs and central nervous system are on the finish line of developing. The baby’s skin loses the protective ‘coat’ and becomes soft. At the end of 37 weeks the baby is considered as “early term”, meaning if its born now it will most likely be healthy, but ideally it will wait for a couple more weeks.
  • 39-40 weeks: Your baby is now ready for life outside of your womb. The average weight of a newborn is about 3,5kg and length is about 50-52 cm.
  • If you reach 41 weeks you are over your due date and your baby will be considered as “late term”. To avoid complications, your doctor will probably suggest inducing labour.

If I don’t feel my baby kicks one of the days, should I be worried?

Definitely don’t panic, stress is not good for you these days (and when it is anyway?). Try to concentrate when counting your baby’s movements, you can lie on your left side with a pillow under your belly. (You’re more likely to notice your little one’s pokes when you’re lying down rather than sitting or standing).

Stay still for at least an hour or 2, during which time, according to many guidelines out there, you should feel around 10 separate movements. However, please be aware that this general rule does’t apply to all of us, it’s a bit outdated technique as each baby is different and has different patterns of movements. So don’t stress out if you felt for example only 8 kicks, instead of 10, everything is all right as long as you feel your peanut on the move.

What’s more, from around 30 weeks of your pregnancy you will feel change in the activity of your baby; those kicks will turn into¬†less vigorous movements (they will also occur less often than you may have noticed before)¬†because he or she is running out of space in your womb!

 

 

How to encourage my baby to move?

 

Here are some tips if you want to try making your baby move on your ‘command’:

  • Sit or lay down with your feet up. Your baby may be falling asleep while you’re moving around so he/she could wake up when you relax and have something to eat.
  • Have something cold to drink. Your baby may want to avoid the coldness so will try to move away from the change of temperature.
  • Play loud music (could be through the headphones) or try to switch on the torch and direct the light onto your belly

If your baby starts to move around, that’s great. But if not, it might be a signal for you to take an action. Keep in mind that you should feel constant movements every day from about 28 weeks of your pregnancy; ask your midwife if you have any concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

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